How to Turn a Calculator Into a Metal Detector

By Jerry Garner

Updated September 26, 2017

You can build a metal detector with a calculator

The age of broadband networking, combined with the explosion of personal video sharing web sites online, as fueled a number of phenominon that brings out the techno-geek in all of us. One such video is a film produced by a teenage boy, known only as "Razorg606". This video spread across the internet like wildfire, because it contained an amazing trick that would easily impress your friends - how to turn a calculator into a metal detector. The trick itself was very simple and could be accomplished in less than 5 minutes. Results on the ability to create a metal detector with a calculator varied. Some people scoff at the idea and call it a hoax, while others enthusiastically proclaim that they have done it themselves. We'll let you be your own judge. These materials are probably readily available to you, so it will be an easy experiment for you to try. Be sure to leave a comment to let us know how successful you were with turning a calculator into a metal detector.

How to Turn a Calculator Into a Metal Detector

Gather all of your materials at your desk or work area so that all items are easily accessible.

Turn on your AM radio. It is best if you can find a small hand held radio, particularly if it is roughly the same surface size as your calculator. We have also heard reports that you can use a walkie talkie rather than a radio, so you may wish to try that as an alternative. Turn your radio on, with the volume loud enough to clearly hear the static, and adjust the frequency to be as high on the AM frequency spectrum as you can get, without tuning in a radio station.

Turn on your calculator. It is better if you have a battery powered calculator instead of solar powered. Many calculators will turn off automatically if they are inactive for a few minutes, so try to find a cheaper model that does not have this feature.

With the radio on and adjusted, and the calculator turned on, place the calculator face up on the back of the AM radio. You may need to adjust the position slightly, but when both items are in position, you should hear the static of the radio switch to be more of a steady tone.

With the radio and calculator positioned correctly, wrap scotch tape around them to secure both devices in this position.

Move your new hand held metal detector over your test metal object, with the calculator side facing down. The calculator metal detector should beep as it nears the object, and beep faster as it passes over the metal.

Items you will need

    • A calculator
    • An AM Frequency radio
    • Scotch tape
    • Metal test object


Try to secure your calculator metal detector with a leash so that you can swing it like a pendelum over the ground as you walk.