Fourth o’ July entertainment


Maybe you didn’t have a crazy physics teacher, or missed [Mr. Wizard], so you might not have seen the hot dog cooking by electrocution. There is one new idea this time – stick some LEDs in your victim. Thanks[ Matthew]

If that’s not geeky enough for you, check out this simple ibook server mod sent in by [Jonas].

31 thoughts on “Fourth o’ July entertainment

  1. a couple af days ago you were railing against the dangers of DIY scuba gear, and then you publicise this! yes, the project says not to repeat it, but hell, if your dumb enough to put 120v across a pair of exposed forks, your probably not going to listen. also not that this is probably a 120v outlet. try doing this from a country with 240v. double the voltage, double the current, four times the power!

  2. giskard makes a good point.

    Can someone from the uk please try this and post a link to the youtube video.

    Thanks!

  3. Thing is, one min you are telling us not to do somthing, next, you propose somthing even more dangerous, lethal, posted by some 12 year old kid. some of the stuff on this site may be dangerous, but this is getting unreal, people will ty this, and posibly kill themselves, how bout we keep hackaday a little less like sewerside a day?

    this is getting stupid, i think you are running out of good stuff to post, who really wants to cook a sausage? why not cook on a telsa? just as safe.

  4. Actually, 220V systems require HALF the current of 110V systems. Power is voltage times current; double the voltage and the current gets halved to deliver the same power.

    I did this when I was 8 years old; you need 110V; it took a full four hours or so to cook my weiner with a decent 12V/15A supply, and by that time the ends of the hot dog turned green from the forks.

    Screwing about with 110V is a lot safer than trying to breathe compressed air on a dive.

  5. It’s better to put it across a pickle, the Na+ makes it glow yellow, (at least this is the explanation I got for it glowing yellow). Although this is probably true, Na+’s glow does over power basically everything else in a flame test. Anyways worth a try.

  6. Many moons ago… Let’s say mid 1970′s… My parents had a hot-dog cooker (wedding gift) that worked like this. It was more or less a plastic tray with strips of metal on either side and blunt spikes on the metal to place the hot dogs. Insert a couple hot dogs, close the cover, plug it in, wait a minute or so, unplug it, and voila… Cooked hot dog. No burnt ends or anything like that, but I do remember the dogs tasting “odd”.

    No clue what kind of electronics it had, if any. I would hope it had some current limiting to prevent serious electrocution in the event someone decided to “check” the hot dog while it was cooking. Fortunately we never did anything like that, but there was nothing to prevent us from doing so, save close parental guidance.

    Ahhh.. Those were the days… High voltage devices with little to no protection for the end user. “People are smart enough not to open it while it’s operating” mentality. They wouldn’t be able to get away with it now without some sort of cover-lock, indicators, ground-fault protection, and wotnot.

    Speaking of which, this looks like the updated version:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/WARING-HOT-DOG-EXPRESS-90-SECOND-HOT-DOG-COOKER_W0QQitemZ200092044894QQcmdZViewItem

    Only one I could find… Interesting… :)

  7. You can probably avoid the black ends by using stainless steel or gold electrodes, er, forks. My life insurance isn’t paid up, so I’ll take a pass on doing the lab work.

  8. Everyone who is comparing this to DIY scuba gear with an air compressor is flat out wrong. Think of all the ways to die/poison yourself with the scuba gear. Then think of the one way with this: you get shockwed by stabbing the forks into your chest. Getting shocked with house AC != death.
    We just did this in the last weeks of school on 120v AC. The hotdogs were really good and cooked in about 5 minutes, since you just have to heat them because hotdogs are precooked.

    SOMETHING MORE FUN TO TRY: put a pickle in place of the hotdog. Current arcs across inside the pickle and the pickle lights up like a lightbulb.

  9. #4, you are incorrect. The same sort of hotdog will have approx the same resistance R whether it is connected to 220 or 110V.
    Then I=V/R and P=V^2/R so twice the current and 4x the power will flow at 220 compared to 110.

  10. Provided some basic precautions are taken this experiment is perfectly safe. It is hard to electrocute and kill yourself with 120V AC. Provided your skin is dry 120V will usually only give a mild shock. Dry skin has a resistance in the 10s of kiloOhms. AC starts to get dangerous at more then 10mA. You do the math.

    This is not to say that I would recommend that anyone go stick their finger in a light socket. If a person has any number of heart conditions even a few mA could cause a heart attack.

    Most people know that electricity can be dangerous. Most people would know that touching any of the bare metal could be bad and they would know to take precautions against that. In contrast most people would not know the dangers with the DIY diving contraption. There was apparently no attempt to outline those dangers (I did not see the site or video). Judging by the write up there was no attempt to mitigate any of the dangers either.

    In this wiener roasting experiment stupidity and bad luck could result in serious injury or death. With the DIY diving rig good luck was the only thing preventing serious injury or death.

  11. It is valid to compare this to the DIY scuba video, because here the greatest dangers are also subtle: no one has mentioned that the biggest danger is not getting electrocuted while cooking the hot dog, but getting poisoned by the chemicals produced by the electrolysis of the metals stuck in the hot dog! You really don’t know WHAT metal different people are going to use for electrodes when they try this. I’m not even sure that stainless steel is 100% safe to do this with, and copper (i.e., bare wires) would produce poisonous copper salts in the hot dog.

    Cutting off the ends won’t, er… cut it… either, because the chemicals are going to naturally diffuse throughout the hotdog if it cooks long enough.

  12. Supposing someone were to use copper wires or a fork containing a copper-alloy coating, what would be the effect? It would produce copper salts inside the hotdog. Here’s what one site has to say about copper sulfate (one of many kinds of copper salts that would be produced): “copper sulfate has clinically been used as an emetic, and it was also a popular MURDER WEAPON and abortifacient in France in the 19TH century.” (Emphasis mine.)

    http://ceramic-materials.com/cermat/education/178.html

  13. Provided some basic precautions are taken this experiment is perfectly safe. It is hard to electrocute and kill yourself with 120V AC. Provided your skin is dry 120V will usually only give a mild shock. Dry skin has a resistance in the 10s of kiloOhms. AC starts to get dangerous at more then 10mA. You do the math.

    This is not to say that I would recommend that anyone go stick their finger in a light socket. If a person has any number of heart conditions even a few mA could cause a heart attack.

    Most people know that electricity can be dangerous. Most people would know that touching any of the bare metal could be bad and they would know to take precautions against that. In contrast most people would not know the dangers with the DIY diving contraption. There was apparently no attempt to outline those dangers (I did not see the site or video). Judging by the write up there was no attempt to mitigate any of the dangers either.

    In this wiener roasting experiment stupidity and bad luck could result in serious injury or death. With the DIY diving rig good luck was the only thing preventing serious injury or death.

  14. This is dangerous enough, some stupid kid will touch the sausage and the saltwater in it will lower the resistance and kill or seriously harm him or her. Also this is kind of lame since all the projects on hack a day have appeared shortly before somewhere else. Either the make blog or endgadget. lame

  15. And how many ‘stupid kids’ do you think read hack a day? Im not saying everyone on here is an adult (hell I’v been reading since I was 17) but for someone to understand most of the articles on here you would presume that they would have some sort of basic knoweledge on electronics. And I know one of the first things I was taught was not to mess with the mains, until I could understand it better. Saying that I’m now a qualified electrician/audio viusal technician and sometimes let my guard down and I get the odd shock :( But other than that, when I was a kid it was all AA batteries and 3v lamps….

  16. BTW, in regards to the comment by akmixdown, the fact that 220 volt appliances require only half the current of 110 volt ones is only because the devices are engineered for that! For instance, a toaster sold in the US might have a nominal heater resistance of 11 ohms. 110 volts / 11 ohms = 10 amps current. 10 amps x 110 volts = 1100 watts power. Now, that same brand toaster, when sold in the UK, would have to be built with a _different_ heater wire so that it would have 44 ohms resistance (four times as much resistance). 220 volts / 44 ohms = 5 amps current. 5 amps x 220 volts = 1100 watts power.

    Yes, the toaster will have 1100 watts in both cases – but the heater resistance has to be _four_times_ as great to get that. Devices don’t _magically_ draw half the current on 220 volts systems because they are getting more volts; it is because they are built for it.

    The hot dog, however, has the same resistance whether you connect it to 220 or 110 volts. So the observation that appliances on 220 volt systems generally draw 1/2 the current is neither here nor there.

    Say the hot dog has a nominal resistance of 110 ohms. 110 volts / 110 ohms = 1 amp current. 110 volts x 1 amp = 110 watts power if it’s on a 110 volt system.

    Take the same hot dog, same number of ohms. Hook it up to a 220 volt system and we have 220 volts / 110 ohms = 2 amps current. 220 volts x 2 amps current = 440 watts: four times as much as before.

    giskard is right. akmixdown is wrong.

    Also, sorry to keep nitpicking you, akmixdown, but it really bugs me when people confuse the _max_current_rating_ of a power supply with how much current is actually flowing through a system. When you say “a decent 12V/15A supply” it most certainly does *not* mean you actually had 15 amps flowing, and does *not* mean you cooked the hot dog at 180 watts! The 15 amps you mention is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1.5 amp supply, or a 15 amp supply, or a 15,000,000 amp supply. That’s just the most the supply can put out without damaging itself, not how much it puts out all the time! The only thing that controls how much current is flowing is the volts (12) and the resistance of the hot dog. Now I don’t know what the resistance of a hot dog *is*, but let’s use 110 ohms for the example again. That means that at 12 volts you actually had approximately just 0.1 amps flowing, which results in a meager 1.2 watts cooking power. That’s why your hot dog took so long to cook.

  17. 0. place yellow DO NOT CROSS tape around cooking site.
    1. place hotdog on plate
    2. put on gloves to prevent accidental touching of sharp forks.
    3. remove forks form drawer (report any accidental fork-stick injuries)
    4. place forks on hotdogs. (You may want to mark the forks so you know how far to push them – use non toxic marker)
    !WARNING! PUSHING forks too far will result in the opposite hand getting fork injuries
    5. attach clips to forks – use 50 foot extention cord and plug in behind sandbagged bunker.
    6. switch on for effect. (use megaphone to announce cooking zone is LIVE) observe results with standard binoculars.

    when cooking complete:
    7. switch off at wall.
    8. unplug from wall. (announce cooking zone is SAFE)
    9. carefully step over sandbags (sandbags are a common tripping hazard)
    10. remove DO NOT CROSS tape.
    11. remove sharp forks
    12. …see safety manual on handling hot objects

  18. I remember this…
    Way back in the 70s, before the microwave oven was a common kitchen appliance, we had the Hot Dogger. Same idea, except maybe just slightly more safe and without the LED’s.

    You can still get them on ebay:
    http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?sofocus=bs&sbrftog=1&from=R10&_trksid=m37&satitle=presto+%22hot+dogger%22&sacat=-1%26catref%3DC6&sargn=-1%26saslc%3D2&sadis=200&fpos=ZIP%2FPostal&sabfmts=1&saobfmts=insif&ftrt=1&ftrv=1&saprclo=&saprchi=&fsop=1%26fsoo%3D1&coaction=compare&copagenum=1&coentrypage=search

    and since you can cook many dogs at the same time, the LED possibilites are almost limitless :)

  19. that iBook is ingenious! It’s like some sort of well thought out pun! An iBook hidden inside a real book… pure genius, that’s all I can say..

  20. I mixed nothing up; I mentioned the current rating of the power supply in order to prevent “yeah but your 12V supply had no capability to deliver current!” type of comments. Seems I got the opposite now. :-)

    You’re right, the heater wire of a 220V toaster will be different than that of a 110V toaster, and the resistance of the hot dog is the same in both cases, so it will draw more current (and thus cook faster) — My comment was more in general of “ooh, it’s 220V, it takes more power” and not so much specifically in this case.

    As far as the poster saying some dumbshit will touch the cooking hot dog — no big deal; unless you’ve just come out of the swimming pool and are standing on a grounded metal pad, you are highly unlikely to even feel a mild shock; the hot dog is simply a better conductor between the L and N than you are between L and ground. You *could* have a better capacitive path to ground and receive a shock that way, but that is highly unlikely.

    In general: This is a very safe hack, even at 220V. Exposed house current is a little dangerous, but unless you’re being colossally stupid the most you’re going to do is trip the breaker or get a shock that’ll set you on your ass.

  21. I’m still trying to figure out how AC power will light the LEDs. Don’t leds only work with DC current? Also, if you hurt yourself doing this, you are just stupid or ignore proper safety procedures. Lastly, if you are not grounded, touching the hot dog wit ONE HAND/FINGER only “shouldn’t” give a shock…my high school electronics teacher demonstrated this to us many times….safely of course. Keep up the good work!!

  22. We took a scrap of wood, drove two nails through it, “liberated” a power cord from a dorm lobby lamp and wrapped the exposed wire around each end. Impaling a hot dog across the nails then plugging it in resulted in a HOT dog pretty quickly.

    No animals or dumb college students were harmed.

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