TUTORIALS

How to Make a Circuit with a Battery and Light Bulb | Shortcuit

This tutorial will show you how to make a circuit with a battery and light bulb. It also explains what happens when you use a too high or low battery voltage with your light bulb.

17 Mar 2022

Video Tutorial


The incandescent light bulb has a filament inside of a glass bulb. When the light bulb is connected to a battery, the filament heats up and the light bulb glows.

Light bulb with an arrow pointing to the Tungsten filament

Circuit with Light Bulb and Battery

To make a circuit, you’ll need a 1.5V mini light bulb with a bulb holder and 1 AA battery which supplies 1.5V.

The light bulb has 2 terminals. It doesn’t matter which terminal goes to the positive or negative side of the battery. Once you’ve connected the two sides, it will light up.

Circuit with 1.5V battery and 1.5V light bulb
Circuit with 1.5V light bulb and 1.5V battery - light bulb is glowing

Without light bulb holder

If you don’t have a light bulb holder, you can touch one wire with the base of the light bulb, and the other with the foot of the bulb.

Light bulb glowing with arrows pointing to base and foot of the bulb

Light Bulb and Battery Voltages

If you’re currently using a 1.5V light bulb with a 1.5V battery (AA), it will work fine. But do pay attention when your light bulb needs a different voltage.

Before you connect a light bulb with a battery, you need to check the voltage on the bulb. On each light bulb, you can see some numbers on the side. These are the amount of voltage needed to make each light bulb light up well.

3 light bulbs with their voltages highlighted (1.5V, 4.8V and 12V)

Brightness of Light Bulbs

Let’s see what happens when the battery voltages are lower or higher than the given voltage on the light bulb.

5 light bulb circuits and all of them with different battery voltages (in Shortcuit)

In this example, I use a 4.8V light bulb and 5 batteries with different voltages.
The light bulb in these 2 circuits are a bit dimmer because it needs more power to have a brighter light.
The third circuit has a 4.5V battery which is ideal for this light bulb.
The 4th and 5th battery have a higher voltage than 4.8V (volts) so the light bulb could burn out and stop working. That’s why you need to make sure to not use batteries with too high voltages for your light bulbs.

Circuit with Light Bulb, Battery and Slide Switch

If you want to use a slide switch in your circuit, connect one side of the battery to the middle pin of the slide switch, and one side of the light bulb to the left or right pin of the switch.

Now if I toggle the slide switch, the current will flow through the circuit.

Circuit with a 1.5V light bulb, 1.5V battery and slide switch

Get on early access list

Be one of the first to try it when early release launches.