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Old 30th March 2014, 12:50 AM   #1
ag8908 is offline ag8908  United States
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Default Question about electrical shock

Strangest thing just happened. I was unplugging an amplifier's power chord from my power strip, and it was stuck. I had pulled the plug about one-half way out but it wouldn't come out any more. When I pulled on the plug, it would lift up the power strip, rather than unplugging. So I stuck my finger between the plug and the power strip to get a better grip, and accidentally touched the metal part of the plug, instantly sending a charge to my right arm.

I quickly let go.

Now here's the funny part. It didn't feel that strong really. I'm not sure I would even characterize it as a shock, it was more of an electrical vibration. I felt like I could have tolerated a few more seconds of that, maybe more. Is that what a 120v shock feels like? Or was the power strip putting out a weak amount of power or something? Or, perhaps, I have electrical super powers that I just discovered this evening?

Just out of curiosity.

Last edited by ag8908; 30th March 2014 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 30th March 2014, 01:03 AM   #2
DUG is online now DUG  Canada
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Some people use their fingers to test what the voltage is...other people die.

I don't really want to find out which type I am.

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Old 30th March 2014, 01:04 AM   #3
ag8908 is offline ag8908  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DUG View Post
Some people use their fingers to test what the voltage is...other people die.

I don't really want to find out which type I am.

Really? What's the biological difference in such people?

Edit: Actually I see in this link that it takes 2000v, pumped for many many seconds, to kill a person in an electric chair so I'm guessing 120v is tolerable for a second for most people (but don't try it).
http://hypertextbook.com/facts/NancyRyan.shtml

Last edited by ag8908; 30th March 2014 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 30th March 2014, 01:16 AM   #4
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If you can't let go, you die.

My brother-in-law's neighbor was a Scot import who worked as an engineer for Con Ed in Queens NY. He could sense voltage just by getting his finger near it.
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Old 30th March 2014, 01:19 AM   #5
ag8908 is offline ag8908  United States
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Originally Posted by jackinnj View Post
If you can't let go, you die.

My brother-in-law's neighbor was a Scot import who worked as an engineer for Con Ed in Queens NY. He could sense voltage just by getting his finger near it.
Without even touching it? That's fascinating. How high of a voltage? I'm guessing professional power line stuff.
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Old 30th March 2014, 01:26 AM   #6
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120v is the RMS value, the peak value is higher.
see: Electric shock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 30th March 2014, 06:55 AM   #7
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If a part of your body is grounded, you'll get a much bigger shock. Whether it is fatal depends partly on where the current flows through your body. If your hands are wet (especially with perspiration), you will get a bigger shock.

120 volts can definitely be fatal.

I got hit by lightening and didn't die, but I wouldn't recommend it. I was bruised and burned and didn't feel very good, but I was OK the next day (except for a little deafness). I did need new shoes and jeans.

I would like to point out that the voltages inside many amplifiers can be dangerous. I'm working on an amplifier that has a 122 volt split supply. I guarantee that you could get a nasty shock from that.

Last edited by Fast Eddie D; 30th March 2014 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 30th March 2014, 07:13 AM   #8
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If there is no current path you wont feel a shock.

If there is a good current path you will feel a severe shock.

And all variations in between.

UK plugs now all have half shrouded pins to stop this happening.
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Old 30th March 2014, 10:18 AM   #9
laplace is offline laplace  Australia
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It was probably going through your fingernail and shoes which are both kind of high impedance, which means the current was small.

However if you felt the shock, you must go see a doctor. Even tiny (2mA) shocks through the heart can cause interesting arrhythmias that you will not be able to detect yourself but might put you in danger over the next few days/weeks. Get yourself on a ECG and make sure there is nothing damaged.
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Old 30th March 2014, 11:40 AM   #10
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post
Strangest thing just happened. I was unplugging an amplifier's power chord from my power strip, and it was stuck. I had pulled the plug about one-half way out but it wouldn't come out any more. When I pulled on the plug, it would lift up the power strip, rather than unplugging. So I stuck my finger between the plug and the power strip to get a better grip, and accidentally touched the metal part of the plug, instantly sending a charge to my right arm.

I quickly let go.

Now here's the funny part. It didn't feel that strong really. I'm not sure I would even characterize it as a shock, it was more of an electrical vibration. I felt like I could have tolerated a few more seconds of that, maybe more. Is that what a 120v shock feels like? Or was the power strip putting out a weak amount of power or something? Or, perhaps, I have electrical super powers that I just discovered this evening?

Just out of curiosity.
Quote:
UK plugs now all have half shrouded pins to stop this happening.
That's why the UK changed the specification of the BS1363 plug tops.
The older had pins that were unshrouded along their whole length.

The new standard specifies that the Live and Neutral pins are shrouded along part of their length so that a tiny finger inserted into the gap will only contact a disconnected pin

But most of the world think the UK is over protectionist.
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Last edited by AndrewT; 30th March 2014 at 11:43 AM.
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