Introduction: Make a Water Bottle Capacitor

Picture of Make a Water Bottle Capacitor

Do you have loads of water or soda or frizzy bottles everywhere in your house and want to use them for something good?

Well, here is one good use of them, make a High Voltage Water Bottle Capacitor! The bottle capacitor is very similar to the Water Leyden Jar I made a while ago, but the only difference is it uses a bottle, not a jar.

The bottle capacitor is a high voltage capacitor, high voltage capacitors are one of the most dangerous things you could ever use in electronics. A large charged bottle capacitor is potentially lethal if you touch its live terminals, and a small charged bottle capacitor can cause injury and it still be lethal in some ways.
So, I am not responsible what ever you do with this information and bottle capacitor.

Step 1: What You Will Need...

Picture of What You Will Need...
What you will need are:

  • A bottle of any kind
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Stainless steel nail
  • Aluminum foil (or even better, use AL foil tape if you have any!)
  • Tape (you won't need it if you are going to use foil tape

Step 2: And the Tools...

Picture of And the Tools...
Not much tools is needed to make a bottle capacitor.

  • Hammer
  • Hot glue (or anything to seal up the container to prevent water coming out)

I think that is just about it.

Step 3: Take the Sticky Stuff Off!

Picture of Take the Sticky Stuff Off!

Before we start making a bottle capacitor, take all of that sticky stuff off! It can reduce the performance of the bottle capacitor, or even cause problems if you don't take the sticky tags off!

Step 4: Fill It Up!

Picture of Fill It Up!

Fill the bottle with warm water.

Step 5: Add in the Salt...

Picture of Add in the Salt...

Add a few teaspoons of table salt, and stir well! After that, put the cap of the bottle back on.

Step 6: Hammer in the Nail!

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Hammer in the nail in the center of the cap, and leave the head of the nail about a centimeter away from the cap.

Step 7: Seal It.

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After that, put some hot glue around the nail and the cap to stop the water coming out.

Step 8: Wrap the Bottle With Foil...

Picture of Wrap the Bottle With Foil...

Cut out a sheet a foil that will wrap nicely around the bottle. Then wrap the foil around the bottle, I used tape to hold the foil onto the bottle. You can use glue if you want, but don't use flammable glue because of sparks, it is likely to catch on fire, or maybe even explode... Then I soothed the foil down onto the bottle to increase the efficiency of the bottle capacitor.

You can use something much much better than foil if you have, use foil tape. You can just simply tape around the bottle and not have a hard time wrapping the bottle with foil and tape (or glue).

Step 9: Attach the Wire to the Foil...

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Attach a piece wire to the foil of the bottle - that would be the negative terminal of the capacitor, the nail on the top is the positive terminal,

Step 10: Completed!

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There! You made a bottle capacitor!

I also added a magnet and a ball to give it a "Leyden Jar" like.

I measured the capacitance of my bottle capacitor and my meter reads 1842pF (1.8nF)! That is very high for a cheap high voltage capacitor!

Step 11: What to Use It For.

Picture of What to Use It For.

If you want to electrostaticly charge your bottle capacitor, read this site, it will show you how to make a simplest charger you can ever make.

Or even far more dangerous, treat it as a normal high voltage capacitor, you can use it as a capacitor bank for the tesla coil, or something like that.
I tested my bottle capacitor with high voltage power supply to see if it works. Never ever try that, unless you have good experiences with high voltage.

Well, I hoped you enjoyed this instructable!
If you have any questions, or need help, or found an error, or anything, make a comment! I like comments! :)


SHOE0007 (author)2017-10-18

Hello, I made a Lidden salt water (Potassium chloride salt) aluminum foil capacitor out of glass bottle, etc and got a beautiful orange flame! However, it was attached to a 12 kV 35 mA SOLID STATE TRANSFORMER. It ended up burning out the transformer.

Any suggestions within series? I am not sure if it worth investing 90 dollars US again.

NowAds (author)2016-07-17

hello dude , I wanna make About 100 KV Super Capacitor to use it for Strong Coil Gun , is this battle Capacitor can help or no ?

BrendenK2 (author)NowAds2016-12-02

i am wondering how many you would need to make to use for a coilgun (gaussgun). i would be shooting ball bearings and am hoping for an effective range of at least 30 ft.

LasseT4 (author)2016-06-18

Vittu mitä paskaa?

pr0cesor (author)2016-05-04

7 years ago risking life for 100 bucks. Huahuahauahau try that again now.

Thelonelysandwitch (author)2008-10-21

These aren't 100% lethal, but they can really hurt (and make you 100 bucks :) ) There is a way to charge these by turning on the tv with it near the screen, but me and my best friends did this but like 100 times with the tv. I got dared to touch the screw for 100 bucks. I did it, and I fell directly to the ground twitching from like 500,000 volts (tested it with a special tester) going through my chest. I couldn't feel my entire body for like 20 min. and couldn't walk or move for that matter for almost 5 min. but I still got 100 bucks.

WTF!?! You nearly killed your self just to get $100!


Niiiiiiiiice Man!

; P

mmmmmm.... 100 bucks.... yummmmm

beehard44 (author)imrobot2010-04-07

seriously, that much voltage from a CRT?!?!
i made leyden jars before, but i never thought that mch voltage thru a CRT...

static (author)beehard442016-02-24

Plenty of tall tales can be found on the internet, right ? :)

Betelgeus3 (author)beehard442010-12-20

A CRT is basically a giant capacitor. When a TV says WARNING, it means it. Be careful with teles.

beehard44 (author)Betelgeus32010-12-21

but 100 bucks > risk of touching a fully loaded leyden jar

ender_scythe (author)Plasmana2015-11-22

Nah his experience was almost all volts, he just got tazed.

sora (author)Plasmana2009-08-26

wow what has this world come to almost dying just for money ...

charged to 5000,000 volts by merely placing it is close proximity to a CRT? Not likely, even if it was a color CRT, that operates at higher voltages.

Dilitritho (author)2016-01-26

Can you use gatorade instead of salt water?

EvanJ6 (author)2016-01-25

Just to make sure, how long would it take to charge this w/ 6 9v's?

TheVividYoshi (author)2015-12-26

I build one from an old pill bottle I had. Am I correct in thinking that if I charge it with my TV and touch it, it would just feel like getting shocked by somebody?

ghest1138 (author)2013-05-11

I'm trying to make a mini one out of an aprox. 2*0.5 plastic cylinder w/ one closed end that I got out of a pen. I've filled it w/ salt water, wrapped it with foil, attached the - wire, and to seal the top, I first put electrical tape over it, then I inserted a small nail, then I put clear Gorilla Glue around it to seal it. I was wondering if this would work, and if it did, how much voltage might it put out? Enough to light an LED?

CestarianI (author)ghest11382015-12-15

More like enough to blow up an LED. I guess you found out by now the hard way.

CestarianI (author)2015-12-15

Are these reusable?

robot1398 (author)2010-12-28

can i use a very! very! very! small bottle

ender_scythe (author)robot13982015-11-22

Duh, use the same instructions but smaller.

ender_scythe (author)2015-11-22

The website that had the directions for the electrostatic charging instructions didn't link properly. I'm not very experienced with capacitors, so what is the maximum voltage, and what is the maximum amperage (power and "battery length")?

Yonatan24 (author)2015-07-28

If there is one nail, where are the negative and positive connections?

MaransC (author)Yonatan242015-08-17

The foil is the other terminal.

zain_de (author)2015-06-18

Hi Mr.Plasmana,

I made my water bottle capacitor and its rating is 1.3uf that's cool and cheap capacitor i ever made; but how to recharge it? Plzzz help me.

MaryP6 (author)2015-04-03

what is this good for? What specific application would someone use this on?


Doctor90250 (author)2015-03-21

to slaserj: this is normal . it simply means that the salt and the top electrode created a reaction, taking metal from the nail or wire and drawing it into the solution. look up simple metal plating and youll understand that a little better. if you put copper on the neg of a battery and a quarter on the positive and submerged the 2 in vinegar, youd eventually copper plate the quarter and copper ions were drawn from the copper, through the vinegar and adhere to the positively charged quarter, and youd be left with a solution of copper chloride.

Juan-PabloG (author)2015-01-13

This is great! have you seen any build up of sodium in the bottle's inner surface?

nschreiber0813 (author)2014-09-29

Dear: Plamana

I am hoping to build my own capacitor but I have to ask you this. You see I am trying to build my own Ionocraft but there are a few problems. Ionocrafts need powerful capacitors but how powerful. So what I am trying to ask you is what is the break down voltage, resistance, watts, volts, amps, and farads of your capacitor. Also how would you determine it with a different capacitor.

Thanks :)

From: Noah

nikisuryawanshi27 (author)2014-07-14

can you tell me how much high voltage you give the capacitor

Sarthak31 (author)2014-05-31

Will this capacitor work with ac current and can i charge it with a flyback transformer

Mighty T H O R (author)2014-03-24

I read about caps replacing batts. hOW DO WE do this?
can you come up with an instructable about this ?

this is my user name (author)2014-03-12

i completed this project but the method but the PVC method is more of a exercise than a way to generate static

candrewneal (author)2014-01-30

Thanks for posting this. I built mine and checked my multimeter for capacitance and it's 2.1nF. Cool project!

ewcrew (author)2013-12-18

would it be possible to use this to make an EMP?
(Not that I am thinking of making one I am just wondering)

HenryJonesVictor (author)2013-10-31

You'll have to use around 8-10 of them.

j_herzog (author)2013-10-24

I hooked three of these in a parallel sequence and got a HUGE discharge

sgfidlin (author)2013-09-28

How long will it keep a charge for? Also, how could i disable it if i didn't want it any more?

highvoltagedude (author)2013-03-25

Hi I built this and it does nothing. Can you help me?

what are you charging it with?

Jesse Jarrett (author)2013-04-28

I still think its a neat concept though

Jesse Jarrett (author)2013-04-28

This does nothing. I even hooked it up to an AC four wheeler charger.

bswt (author)2012-07-16

if you heat the water in a pan then add the salt you could add more

iTixle (author)bswt2013-04-04

This extra salt will only stay dissolved when the water is hot. Once the water cools down the solubility of the salt in the water will go down and the salt will precipitate out of solution.

Blad2011 (author)2013-02-27

how do you do step 11

About This Instructable




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