A long-desired experiment in many Intro-to-Lighting lectures, the famed Electric Pickle Experiment is something that many older lighting teachers have shown to their classes over the years. Ever seen this done?
And one more, for posterity — what’s hilarious at the end of this video is the comment “I wonder what other fruits will glow?” followed by the hot dog…
The Electric Pickle is an interesting experiment that literally burns out the idea of a non-ohmic resistor. Think light emitting diode — dependent on voltage in order to work. What happens in the Electric Pickle Experiment is that once a voltage (120V) is placed across the pickle, there are Sodium anodes (Na+, electron expelling) and Chloride cathodes (Cl-, electron grabbing) that are excited to outside orbital levels of the atom. Just like a sodium vapor lamp, once the electric field charges the pickle, sodium atoms let go of an electron, causing a photon to be released once the haul tail back to lower energy levels in the atom. The result? Pickle light!
HERE’S A BOLD TYPE WARNING: 120V to GROUND CAN KILL YOU DEADER THAN WHITNEY HOUSTON. IT’S SERIOUS. YOU PERFORM THESE STEPS AT YOUR OWN RISK, NONE OF THIS IS MY FAULT IF YOU SCREW UP. YOUR ERRORS IN THIS EXPERIMENT CAN CAUSE YOU DEATH OR SERIOUS BODILY HARM, AND EVEN HARM OR DEATH TO THOSE AROUND YOU.
SAFETY STUFF FIRST:
- The most salty pickles are the ones that work the beat for this experiment.
- MAKE SURE that you’re working with some kind of circuit-breaking device in line, like a 15A power strip or a custom-built breaker system in line for this experiment.
- KEEP THE STUDENTS and OTHER OBSERVERS AWAY FROM THE EQUIPMENT!!!!!!!!! If possible, get some kind of a blast shield or Plexiglas panel between the pickle and the observers.
- Get some air to the place you’ll be doing the Electric Pickle Experiment, this thing stinks like none other, seriously.
- REFRAIN from EATING THE COOKED PICKLE! It tastes like roasted refried shit!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- SALTY PICKLES
- two (2) large nails
- some kind of circuit breaking device in line with your “pickle circuit”
- a length (let’s say 3 feet for posterity) of 12 gauge, INSULATED 2-conductor lamp cable or a white insulated and black insulated 12 gauge lead
- obviously, a male Edison plug (which is a redundant statement, five extra credit points for WHY)
- a glass container that is JUST larger than the pickles you’re using
- two 20A alligator clamps WITH RUBBER SAFETY SHIELDS on them
- install your lamp cable or single lead runs into the Edison plug
- install the alligator clamps to the other ends of the lamp cable or single leads — ONE CLAMP PER LEAD!
- insert a nail into either side of the pickle
- place the pickle onto the glass jar, allowing the nails to rest on the glass jar, suspending the pickle
NOTE: MAKE SURE THE NAILS AREN’T TOUCHING INSIDE THE PICKLE, but that they are SOLIDLY MOUNTED in the pickle
- plug your circuit breaking device into the power source with the DEVICE IN THE OFF POSITION
- attach the alligator clamps to the nails, one per nail, to complete the circuit once the pickle is plugged in
- MAKE SURE NO ONE IS TOUCHING ANY OF THE EQUIPMENT!!!
- CHECK AGAIN to MAKE SURE NO ONE IS IN ANY KIND OF CONTACT WITH THE EQUIPMENT!
- Have someone standing by at the light switch in the room
- Plug in the pickle in to the power, then switch the breaker ON
- shut off the room lights, observe the pickle light!
- AS SOON AS THE PICKLE STOPS GLOWING, KILL THE POWER TO THE PICKLE!
Lots of care and caution need to go into this experiment. Why? Because I said so, and because this is putting 120V, 15-20A through a PICKLE. It’s DANGEROUS!
Items of Note:
- You can use a dimmer or rheostat to achieve this experiment successfully, too — just make sure you kill the power when the pickle quits doing its light bulb trick.
- Make SURE you have some air to your room, this is a stinky experiment!
- Once you have done the experiment, make sure that you either remove the “pickle probe” from student pervue for safety. You never know, even in University settings. Hide that thing.
- DON’T EAT THE PICKLE!
- If the pickle weren’t already green, you’d be seeing light in the 588-590nm wavelength range. Crazy, huh?
Now BE CAREFUL!
BONUS NERDERY: Here’s Vladimir Bulovic to tell the world about how OLEDs and the glowing pickle have SO many things in common!
What the what?! That’s William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, the guy who invented the Kinetoscope, among other completely awesome stuff! Today is Billy Boy’s birthday! Happy Birthday, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!
Dickson was one of Edison’s “muckers,” the guys who did all of Edison’s work for him. What a d-bag he was, that Edison!
Hi everyone! Oh, how I have missed you.
I’ve been on the hunt for a new job, and I am very proud to say that after almost five months of hell, I have been offered the most perfect job for a great lighting company in south Florida.
Perhaps even better news than that is that I accepted the position, and I start August 15! I’m keeping the company under wraps for now, mostly because I am continuing my lifelong research and writing obsession with light and the lighting industries through JimOnLight, and I want to maintain my integrity as a researcher and writer. But let me just say this — a position has been created for me that I am honored to accept, and I am excited to get back to work — this time for a company and a boss who will treat me like a human being. How exciting is THAT?!
My experiences over the last almost five months have been intense to the point of Albert Camus’ worst nightmares – doors that I thought would be wide open I found locked tighter than Fort Knox, while other doors that I assumed would be deadbolted swung wide open and welcomed my big bald head with open arms. If there is anything I have learned from this experience since March is that you never really know who your real friends are, even those you’ve supported at every turn, until you need a friend in return. It’s literally made me change my entire philosophy of life and work. On one hand I’m pretty thrilled to change philosophy, but on the other hand I’m pretty bummed to see that the majority of the people for whom I’ve done lots of work were just as quick to turn their backs as someone I never met before. Ce la vie.
One thing is definite for all of you out there still in the situation I just got lucky enough to slide out of — you have to hold onto hope, you have to hold tight, and you have to beat the pavement in order to make something happen. Finding a job in this economy is no small feat, and it’s no small victory once you’ve found a way out of the mire. Let me be the first to tell you that sometimes the shit can get dark. It is hard to exist when you have no money. It’s hard to get by when all of the laws are written to help those who can help themselves but live on the system, I know this for a fact.
I’ve had lots of time to think about what to say to help those lighting industry folks who are down and out, and are losing hope:
- Get used to the fact that your life needs to be different (read that as cheaper) until you get steady money coming in again. Life’s not over, it’s just stalled out a bit.
- HANG IN THERE. This crap will change if you keep doing what you’re doing, which hopefully is making the calls to everyone and anyone you know, letting them know that you’re looking for something.
- JOB SEARCH RESOURCES — Check it out, nothing hurts when you’re without a job!
- Tune up that resume — put a call on Facebook to some of us out there, any number of us would be more than happy to help a fellow industry member by taking two minutes to look over your resume.
- Do you have a savings account? GET ONE. Are you sticking a decent portion of your take-home after bills in that savings account? If you answered anything other than “you bet your bottom dollar I am,” START SAVING. Save ANYTHING YOU CAN. it will help down the line.
- Expect some percentage of rejection and disappointment. Sorry folks, but it’s true. When you send out resumes and portfolios en masse, you’re going to experience a good portion of “no, sorry” responses. It happens. It just means that its time to get out there and keep pushing.
- If you have family, see what they can do for you. You might need to suck it up and move home for a bit (hey, I did it, I can never thank my Dad enough for what he’s done for my wife and I, he literally saved us) until you can get back on your feet.
- If you have friends, see if they can help you out. Suck it up if you’re destitute, your pride isn’t doing anything but screwing you up.
- If you have “habits,” like drinking or smoking, guess what? YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT RIGHT NOW. You also can’t afford to be eating out all the time, either — it’s time to get used to bologna and ramen for a bit. The stuff isn’t all that bad, believe me. It’s way better than fucking starving.
- If you have a wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, whatever — MAKE TIME TO SPEND WITH THEM. QUALITY time. Spend time with them where you’re not looking at your phone searching for jobs, and get used to dumping the shit out of your brain so that you can also be a good partner. I cannot stress this to you enough — being unemployed and broke is EXPONENTIALLY WORSE when you have to fight all the time with your loved one. Also, it costs nothing to walk around the park holding hands and talking about things.
- I said this before, but HANG IN THERE! This WILL get better. It might take a month, two months, or twelve months. It does happen. It just might be a while. It was for me, anyway.
If you need a pick-me-up, drop me a line. I’d be glad to do what I can for you. I have great jokes. Sometimes all it takes is a smile on your face to greatly improve your day when you’re out of work.
From a press release at High End Systems:
Following the extremely successful HOG4 launch and due to incredibly high demand, High End Systems is today releasing a series of Hog4 training videos.
In tandem with the large number of worldwide training classes undertaken both by High End Systems and it’s extensive distributor network, the initial 12 videos will allow everyone to learn how to use a Hog.
The videos have been split into easy to watch segments meaning that beginners as well as experienced users will benefit from them. They are also in a logical order allowing for the user to move from one element of the Hog software to another with ease. The 12 videos means that users who only need to look at a specific area of the console may do this with ease.
“The addition of these videos to our already extensive training program is testament to our commitment to offer education at multiple levels” says Jeff Pelzl, VP, Technical and Marketing Services “and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to Hog training.”
“We realized that not everyone is able to attend training classes and also that users want the ability to brush up on certain areas of the platform’ says Chris Ferrante, Director of Product Management “so we partnered with Colin Wood of Pre Production Services and now have a brilliant suite of training videos”
These videos can be seen at the following location: http://www.highend.com/support/training/Hog4Training/index.asp
As well as launching this suite of videos, High End Systems has recently launched version 1.2 for the Hog4 platform adding a host of new features including Command Keys, which continues the aggressive release schedule embarked upon on the platform’s launch.
Lesson 1: Starting a New Show
Lesson 2: Default Layout of a New Show
Lesson 3: An Introduction to Patching
Lesson 4: Basic Programming
Lesson 5: Cue Playback
Lesson 6: Using Palettes
Lesson 7: Basic Cue Timing and Editing
Lesson 8: Tracking
Lesson 9: User Kinds
Lesson 10: Command Keys
Lesson 11: Multi-Console Setup
Lesson 12: Configuring Art-Net
I hope to see more of these from MORE console manufacturers in the near future!!!
Who is THAT?! Wait, is that — is that Nikola Tesla?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Nikola Tesla!
Well, it’s birthday time for one of the most prolific inventory of humanity — Nikola Tesla’s 207th birthday is today (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943)! If he was still alive, I would definitely suggest we have a Tweet-up and buy that man a round! A man who thought all human beings should have free energy, believed in the power of peace, and created more useful inventions than most people alive today — Nikola Tesla is one historical badass. He also got legally fornicated by Thomas Edison, which is another post altogether, but still managed to do unbelievable work on alternating current electricity.
We here at JimOnLight want to share your amazingness with the world:
Also — from The Oatmeal — MAD PROPS to our man Nikola Tesla! I cross-post this with every positive intention possible:
We celebrate your life here at JimOnLight.com — and here’s a toast to hoping someone makes your dreams of free energy generating devices and perpetual motion systems a reality!
Until next year… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIKOLA TESLA!
I did this once before, but since then there have been a hell of a lot more facts posted. Now the funniest thing for this post is… we expect more women than men to read it!
It is my pleasure to introduce some of the great Facts and Chicks’ Facts and Chicks — Light, Lighting, and Electricity Edition!
(PS: Ladies and Men, if you want men to look at with facts on them, let me know where they are! We are equal opportunity expoloitationists for the sake of science!)
I’ve done a lot of shows in my career so far. I’m lucky as hell, don’t get me wrong – but because of it, I feel like I have a real “bond” with incandescent and high-intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) that we use in this industry. It’s almost creepy sometimes – in my head, I know how a good ol’ no-color Source Four looks in a dark theatre. I know how an Altman 360Q looks in a theatre sitting next to it, too – and how it looks sitting with a Shakespeare, also uncorrected, next to a Source Four. As I close my eyes to write this, I can see how an old Strand 30-degree feels inside of a theatre or outside during an outdoor performance, and how a tried-and-true PAR64 can burns so beautifully bright and amber when it’s going through red shift during a nice slow fade-up during a song in an arena. Even awesome old Kliegl 6×8’s have a good beam still, as long as the optics are changed from those miserable step lenses!
As a side note, I listened to Vesa Honkonen tell a story when I was attending graduate study in Sweden about “trusting” the light from a certain type of reflector, and how that trust cost him time and money on a project. So as a bit of an aside, with every statement is an equal anti-statement!
I have gotten to know the fixtures in our industry very well because I’ve been fortunate to use them in a real variety of performance situations and installations. When you get to know something like an ellipsoidal fixture with an incandescent lamp in it and you use it over and over and over again, you get to trust the fixture. I can say with ease that I trust the light that comes from the business end of a Source Four; at the same time, I trust the light that comes out of an Altman 360Q as well, whether it has an HX601 lamp in it or an old FEL lamp. As a designer, as an artist — I know what that light from an incandescent lamp in one of the “typical” variety of ellipsoidals is going to do for me in a scene on actors of any skin tone, or on a presenter during, or on film and video, and whether it has a chunk of R26 or L181HT in it. I know that kind of light. I trust that light.
In the world we live in now, incandescent lamps are slowly becoming forcefully shunned by a growing portion of the lighting industries as a whole (and politicians, sadly), with LED replacements becoming the forced norm by pretty much all of the companies that at one time were pushing an incandescent based fixture. These companies are all now driving quickly on the road of a really good trend: to produce a fixture that provides the same kind of light or better than that of an incandescent lamp based fixture with a lot less power consumption and without losing any light quality. Sounds easy enough, right?
There is a strange, edgy, “new car smell” feeling towards the new strains of LED fixtures making their births into the industry. We are inundated with them at the trade shows in our business, just like we were with the incandescent conventionals. Manufacturers, this is perfectly acceptable, and I think that it’s one of your biggest assets in this industry. It’s your job to make us trust your fixtures, through hands-on videos and “shoot-outs” between incandescent and LED fixtures out there. My informal surveying of conference attendees over the last three years has seen many responses like “TOO MANY LEDS” and “If I see another crappy wannabe LED fixture at another trade show, I’m going to die.” Believe it or not, this is a really good thing — it provides an opportunity for the exceptional equipment to rise to the top of the Diode Ocean, as I like to call it. Lately, these exceptions are overcoming their inferior rivals, much to my happiness.
Users, we have a job to do, too — we have to give the manufacturers the chance to trust LED light. We have to learn how it is different than its incandescent counterparts. We’ve had all of these decades to learn how to work with incandescent light (and HID light too, for what it’s worth), and we know it. We trust it, and we love it. But why is that? It’s because it’s what we know, and it really is that simple. Once we give the LED ellipsoidal generation a chance, you know we’re going to trust that too. This isn’t to say that LEDs are done developing, this obviously isn’t true. But I am noticing some unbelievably incredible advances in LED engines and output technology lately, especially after LDI in October 2012, and I have to say that I am finally ready to learn to trust LED conventional ellipsoidals. It’s hard not to at this point to see that LED ellipsoidals are becoming the obvious choice, with the color temperature tuning we see now and the low power requirement that they provide — and to argue against energy consumption and power conservation is just not in my DNA.
Over the next 2 weeks I’m going to be comparing the LED conventional ellipsoidals we see in Entertainment to their incandescent counterparts over the next month, starting with ETC’s new Source Four LED line first, followed by Robert Juliat’s Zep and Tibo ranges, then moving on to the RevEAL Profile from Prism Projection, and so on. In the mean time, let’s take a look at the characteristics I’ll be examining that I find important to applying trust, at least on paper – you can argue that there are more to see, but for the sake of argument, let’s start with:
- Cost Comparison:
What kinds of costs are we looking at over the course of an LED Ellipsoidal lifetime? How different is it, really?
- Light Output, or Perceived Brightness:
How does it compare to a comparable incandescent conventional?
- Spectral Analysis:
What is the white light in the beam comprised of with respect to wavelength?
- Power Consumption:
When you put an LED ellipsoidal up against an incandescent lamp at 575W, how does it perform?
I have to stick these in a truck and on a truss at some point, so what is the difference I need to know?
- Controllable Properties:
Obviously I have only a few with an incandescent fixture, so what comes stock in an LED ellipsoidal that makes a difference?
Let’s go on this journey together. When we work on something together as an industry, we get to make it how we want it to be, and manufacturers listen. Once we started to get involved with the ways that incandescent lamps were developed and lighting designers started demanding better control over design and engineering of incandescent lamps, they improved. All we have to do now is learn what the LED Ellipsoidal generation can do for us, and we can really make a difference.
I just found this on the Creative Stage Lighting Blog, and this is about an hour and 20 minutes’ worth of your time that will come in handy in the future. From Kevin Loretto’s Creative Stage Lighting Blog (bolding is mine for emphasis):
How do you measure the environmental impact of a light fixture? There are many ways to look at it, starting with the light output compared to the energy input. But that’s just the beginning. Take a quick trip through the green valley of sustainable lighting including best practices for lessening the environmental impact of your lighting designs.
About The Presenters:
Richard Cadena is the author of several books for the production professional, including Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician, Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light, Lighting Design for Modern Houses of Worship, Focus on Lighting Technology. He is a 24 year veteran of the entertainment lighting industry and he has a background in electronics and electrical engineering.
His work experience includes stints with two of the world’s largest automated lighting manufacturers and he has designed lighting systems for tours, theatre, and permanent installations. He is also the technical editor for PLASA Media, an Authorized WYSIWYG Trainer, and freelance lighting designer. He is proficient in WYSIWYG, LD Assistant, and Vectorworks and he teaches classes in lighting, electricity, and control systems. His training seminars and webinars are renowned for their humor and creativity and are among the most popular in the industry.
James Bedell is a lighting designer based in New York City. Bedell has lit productions for Pace University, Off and Off-Off Broadway theater and dance companies, and has earned a SpotlightOn award for best lighting design.
Today Bedell is focused on lighting architectural spaces including corporate headquarters, restaurants and retail locations. He is the founder of Build2Sustain, a consultancy dedicated to making the business case for sustainable design in commercial spaces.
Bedell is the owner and principal designer of JPB Lighting.
James and Richard are awesome brains. You need to watch this webinar if for some reason you haven’t already!
Whoa! It’s pre-tattoos JimOnLight!
When I first started up the JimOnLight YouTube Channel, I posted a video on how to fold a drawing — when I was in grad school, my mentor Mary Tarantino taught me perhaps one of the coolest skills in all of the world when dealing with paper plots and scenic or lighting drawings. Check it out for yourself, you’ll never go back to shipping shit in a mailer tube again!
(unless of course you would rather spend the extra money, or you have a plate set that is more than 20 pages and you don’t want to fold them all…)
This method works on any type and any size of plate up to ARCH E, ANSI E, and A0, and will get your drawing small enough to fit in a manilla envelope or folder for transport and shipping!