Introduction: Electric Pickle Lamp

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


Comments

author
carl5blum (author)2017-07-02

Works fine on 240v, 50cyc. in New Zealand.

author
ScullRipper (author)2016-04-01

Does it work on a cucumber or a tomato?

author
Kiteman (author)2012-08-21

It will work on 110V? I thought it needed more than that.

author
marc.cryan (author)Kiteman2012-08-21

Yup - This is from a regular 110V household outlet (North America) - on a 15amp fuse.

author
tutdude98 (author)marc.cryan2012-08-22

On 240 volts??

author
Toga_Dan (author)tutdude982012-10-19

It might blow up with 240. Safety glasses, yo.

author

Its ok if you get your pickles from the UK :)

author
marc.cryan (author)tutdude982012-08-22

I don't see why not -- careful though. My only 240V circuit is behind the dryer. Did not work with a 12V car battery.

author
Kiteman (author)marc.cryan2012-08-21

Cool...

author
Toga_Dan (author)2012-10-19

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.

author
LesB (author)2012-08-21

Is said pickle still edible after the experiment?

author
marc.cryan (author)LesB2012-08-22

Sure - but it is a little cooked.

author
Grzld (author)2012-08-21

We do this all the time in physics, because we can.

author
mrmerino (author)2012-08-21

This is a really cool project. On an unrelated note, I just thought of an awesome band name.

author
kassa (author)2012-08-21

Wow!!! Itz cool!!!!
Nice work!!!!!!

author
WWC (author)2012-08-21

Shocking!

author
nnygamer (author)2012-08-21

You can cook a hot dog that way too.

author
amandaghassaei (author)2012-08-21

love it! So will this work with anything that is saturated with salt?

author

I don't really know -- I think the nice glow happens because the sodium vapors are contained in the structure of the pickle.

About This Instructable

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Bio: Married to Domestic_Engineer (but I call her Meghan).
More by marc.cryan:Kitchen Sink - From AmazonCheapest, Bestest computer around, in beginning of 2015Cryan Family Gothic Green House
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