Instructables

Electric Pickle Lamp

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Picture of Electric Pickle Lamp
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Plug a pickle into a 120V AC outlet and watch in glow.

Materials:
  • Pickle
  • AC power cord
  • Thick copper wire
Procedure:
  1. Cut and strip the power cord.  Wrap together the neutral and ground wires.  Cut the live wire about 6 inches shorter than the neutral/ground.  This will reduce accidental shorts.
  2. Cut 2 pieces of thick copper wire, about 3 inches long  I used a piece pulled from a household electrical wire (the kind that go in the wall)
  3. Stick the wires in the pickle
  4. Connect the AC power cord to the copper wires.  I've used a cheap set of jumper cables between the power cord and the pickle. 
  5. Plug the the power cord into an electrical outlet.
  6. Wait for the pickle to glow.  It took about 10 seconds to get going.
  7. Unplug everything.
  8. Be careful -- safety eighth!
Science:
The sodium in the pickle burns yellow.  Yellow street lights are sodium-vapor lamps.

Video 1:


Video 2


Kiteman1 year ago
It will work on 110V? I thought it needed more than that.
marc.cryan (author)  Kiteman1 year ago
Yup - This is from a regular 110V household outlet (North America) - on a 15amp fuse.
On 240 volts??
It might blow up with 240. Safety glasses, yo.
Its ok if you get your pickles from the UK :)
marc.cryan (author)  tutdude981 year ago
I don't see why not -- careful though. My only 240V circuit is behind the dryer. Did not work with a 12V car battery.
Cool...
Toga_Dan1 year ago
nice lamp.

I wouldn't eat it. There's likely to be metal from the wires /nails dissolved in it, and possibly even a bit of metalic sodium (toxic)

One of those chem ironies that sodium ions in salt is a necessity for life, but metallic sodium is toxic. I don't really know if the current will separate sodium.
lesizz1 year ago
Is said pickle still edible after the experiment?
marc.cryan (author)  lesizz1 year ago
Sure - but it is a little cooked.
Grzld1 year ago
We do this all the time in physics, because we can.
mrmerino1 year ago
This is a really cool project. On an unrelated note, I just thought of an awesome band name.
kassa1 year ago
Wow!!! Itz cool!!!!
Nice work!!!!!!
WWC1 year ago
Shocking!
nnygamer1 year ago
You can cook a hot dog that way too.
love it! So will this work with anything that is saturated with salt?
marc.cryan (author)  amandaghassaei1 year ago
I don't really know -- I think the nice glow happens because the sodium vapors are contained in the structure of the pickle.