Many amateur electricians and some professionals have had considerable trouble with gravity batteries. They
Settine Up A Gravity Battery
Setting Up a Gravity Battery follow directions carefully and then fail to get good results. The usual trouble is not with the battery itself, but with the circuit. A gravity battery is suitable only for a circuit which is normally closed. It is therefore undesirable for electric bells, induction coils and all other open-circuit apparatus. The circuit should also have a high resistance. This makes it impractical for running fan motors, as the motor would have to be wound with fine wire and it would then require a large number of batteries to give a sufficiently high voltage.
To set up a gravity battery: Use about 3-1/2 lb. of blue stone, or enough to cover the copper element 1 in. Pour in water sufficient to cover the zinc 1/2 in. Short-circuit for three hours, and the battery is ready for use. If desired for use immediately, do not short-circuit, but add 5 or 6 oz. of zinc sulphate.
Keep the dividing line between the blue and white liquids about 1/2 in. below the bottom of the zinc. If too low, siphon off some of the white liquid and add the same amount of water, but do not agitate or mix the two solutions. This type of battery will give about 0.9 of a volt, and should be used on a circuit of about 100 milli-amperes.