Instructables
Picture of Electric Pickle Lamp
IMG_1236-2.JPG
IMG_1245.JPG
IMG_1233.JPG
IMG_1247.JPG
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


Kiteman2 years ago
It will work on 110V? I thought it needed more than that.
marc.cryan (author)  Kiteman2 years 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)  tutdude982 years 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_Dan2 years 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.
LesB2 years ago
Is said pickle still edible after the experiment?
marc.cryan (author)  LesB2 years ago
Sure - but it is a little cooked.
Grzld2 years ago
We do this all the time in physics, because we can.
mrmerino2 years ago
This is a really cool project. On an unrelated note, I just thought of an awesome band name.
kassa2 years ago
Wow!!! Itz cool!!!!
Nice work!!!!!!
WWC2 years ago
Shocking!
nnygamer2 years 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)  amandaghassaei2 years ago
I don't really know -- I think the nice glow happens because the sodium vapors are contained in the structure of the pickle.