How to: Build a Leyden Jar Capacitor


MAKE presents: The Capacitor from make magazine on Vimeo.


Simple yet effective, capacitors come in a dizzying array of forms and materials, vital to so many circuits for storage, timing, and filtration – the mighty capacitor!  In this installment of the MAKE presents series, Collin Cunningham explains – how to build a Leyden jar, how the capacitor was invented, and how to use one to light an LED.

To make your own Leyden jar, you’ll need a plastic film canister (or pill bottle), some glue paste (or tape), basic copper wire, and some aluminum foil. After building a Leyden jar, you’ll also learn how to power an LED with a capacitor, charging the capacitor with a 9-volt battery. The charge doesn’t last long, but it shows you exactly what a capacitor is for.

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