Picture of Make A Water Leyden Jar
Here is another type of high voltage capacitors - a Salt Water Leyden Jar!

Don't know what a leyden jar is? No worries! Read here on Wikipedia!

The water leyden jar is easier to make than a normal leyden jar because putting foil tape perfectly on the inside of the container can be very difficult. If the foil tape job is messy, it can cause a lot of corona discharge, therefor draining its charge very quickly. So instead of having a hard time of perfectly putting foil tape on the inside of the container, just simply pour salted water in!

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

Step 1: Get the things!!

Picture of Get the things!!
Okay, what you will need is...

  • Plastic or glass container
  • 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)
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wolf9962 years ago
It's Actually The Amperes That Kill Not Volts I Have Taken A Nasty Shock By A Million Volt Stun Gun

it is a combination of amps and volts that are able to kill. you have to have enough voltage that the charge is able to make it through the resistance of your body(skin. etc) but once you over that voltage (no, i dont know the exact value, it probably varies a lot) the amps do damage. in the future please dont make such a "blanket response" as it is a combination fo many factor that determine fatality. IN TheKingOfRandom's youtube channel there is a video where he grabs onto the live ends of a modified microwave oven transformer, he brought the voltage down to just 3 volt with it and although there was lots of amperage (he used it to weld steel washers) there wasnt enough voltage to go through the skin.

(I nearly killed myself while taking apart a 60cm crt tv that was just plugged in. i cut the cord going to the cathode ray tube and was knocked against the wall and temperarily blacked out.... fun..)

ItsNick4 months ago
The nails have to touch the water? And can I wrap the outer layer with some tape for better looking?
cmackenzie28 months ago
is the tinfoil touching the inside of the jar ? or is it just on outside

Just the outside, the foil is used to "ground" the Leyden jar when it is ready to be used.

As your physics teacher should have told you, the charge is stored at the conductive surfaces - the charge flows when the surfaces are connected.

mrmolamola7 months ago

Should the foil be wrapped all the way around the container?

Yes, it is more effective when you wrap the foil all the way around the container.

Disclaimer aside, what damage could you really expect this to do to you?

My Physics class made some of these, and they had only 2oz. of salt water. When they are properly built and charged, the 2oz. Leyden jar produced enough charge that it actually traveled through the teacher's arm and he could feel it in his chest. If you were to make a large Leyden jar, say a 2 liter jar, then it could hold enough charge to do nerve damage or damage a pacemaker. They are more dangerous as the size grows.

ryan.sergas8 months ago

Ohm my god, it works!

andersmolzen11 months ago
The chain will live om!
do a 9v battery will work?
A way to charge the leyden jar is to get a tube of PVC piping, then get a tissue or cotton cloth then rub it till you can hear craclking, then put the pipe near the nail and repeat for as much as you want.
if you scale this down alot a 9V batery should work but the charge you'll be able to store will be REALLY tiny!
Plasmana (author)  impedance2145 years ago
Proabably not, that's a very low voltage.
jwoo20231 year ago
Yay, it works!
dupes8882 years ago
Even though this is basicly a capacitor,you can buy a disposable camera (or get a free used on from where ever film is developed) and look up on instructables ''how to make a mini tazer'' and you will find a one where the tazer is like 1 square centimeter in size.This is about 400-500 volts and is only powered bye1 or 2 AA batteries and takes up to an hour but usually takes 20-25 minutes.
Have fun and be safe!(or not! :-))
What I said before when I said ''it takes up to an hour or 20-25'', I meant to make,not to charge!10 minutes if expert,25 minutes if s to intermediat,30 minutes if beginner,45 minutes-1 hour if no all. experiance at
Homepwner3 years ago
I tried this with foil tape both on the inside and outside of the jar. It didn't work . Most likely because the adhesive acts as an insulator so the joints do not conduct. I wouldn't recommend using foil tape. I figured this would be a problem before the build but I thought I'd try anyway.
mdwfg3 years ago
Dear plasmana i like your works but i wanted to tell you this:
energy can be created or destroyed if a positive and negative charge is created at same exact time or if a positive and negative charge is destroyed at the same exact time respectively.
well I certainly hope this isn't true! If it was then our ideas of how the world work are completely wrong! Almost all theories of physics are based on thermodynamics.
I 'm not dissing your ible but i found that a tin foil lining gave me a 10x improvement in capacitence
thats only because there is not a layer of glue interfering with the conduit.
nice  job!!!!!!!!!
1 question:what exactly would this be used for wen fully charged?
tesla coil or some thing
or a trick taser ("touch this wire while holding the nail. it doesnt hurt, i swear")
Kryptonite6 years ago
wtf is an nF or pF?
nF - nano Faraday pF - pico Faraday a Faraday is a unit of energy there are 1000 pF in 1 nF
Plasmana (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Did you mean Farad?
yeah... sorry.
Plasmana (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Thats okay, just umm.. Teaching you! That is what instructables is all about!
my dad usually does... he's a proffesor!!!
Plasmana (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Cool!!!! What does he study on?!?!
Physics! it comes in handy for dangerous science!
Plasmana (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Cool! I wanted to be a scientist when I grow up!
My parents I am already a scientist!
High voltage is physics?
well, he knows alot about it... and yeah... electrons, how they react in low temperatures, etc...
Plasmana (author)  AnarchistAsian6 years ago
Electrons react in low temperatures?
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