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Electrocution

11/29/2007 8:13 AM

I would be interested in hearing from others who have experienced electrocution and perhaps there are some others here who can explain what I experienced during the process (obviously, I survived).

About five years ago I was working with a 10kVDC e-gun supply capable of floating a 12VAC, 3 amp filament supply on top. According to my control panel instruments, my output was dead. I had run the supply output through a large barrier strip on the floor so I could measure it with a 40kV probe.

I knelt down between the control cabinet (grounded) and an oscilloscope on a rolling cart (also grounded) and reached out to pick up the 40kV probe, being fully aware of the potential hazard if the instrumentation was lying to me. I made it a point to carefully avoid the barrier strip "just in case".

Then, "BAM"...suddenly my right hand was on the barrier strip and it was live. I found myself bouncing between the two grounded chassis' and unable to stand up. It hurt like hell (I have since decided electrocution is an inhumane way to kill a person). I could see, but everything was a monochrome blue (maybe it affected the optic nerve?). No, my life didn't flash in front of my eyes. All I remember thinking (quite calmly and rationally, by the way) is if I don't stand up I'm going to die. But, I was frozen in place and couldn't will my legs to stand up.

Suddenly, it was over. I was standing up and vaguely remember running around in circles "screaming like a girl" as I was told later. The damage to the thumb and two fingers on my right hand was pretty severe...a lot of burning and charring (ended my bowling season..lol), a lot of hair was burned off both my right and left arms as I bounced between the grounds and it blew about a dime sized hole in my left arm. My heart was in arythmia (did I spell it right?) when I reached the hospital, but I had a full recovery. I might add that I'm a tad more religious and fateful about death than I used to be since the doctor at the ER told me it should have killed me. I was told by another engineer working not far away, that from the time he first heard the popping and cracking till the time he reached me and found me standing up, nearly ten seconds had passed.

We've all been shocked from time to time in this business...it's a hazard of the trade, but this was the first time I've ever been hit like that.

I'd be interested in hearing from others with similar experiences and maybe even some of you medical gurus who might explain why the human body reacts the way it does. I had a friend that was once caught on a 220VAC single phase line in a similar fashion and he too saw blue and ended up running around "screaming like a girl" when it was over.

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#1

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 9:13 AM

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/14266 may prove interesting reading.

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#2

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 9:50 AM

Flying boots,

Technically speaking, I don't think you will be receiving responses from "others who have experienced electrocution"...

By definition, electrocution is a fatal electric shock.

My worst shock was from a DC -DC multiplier /capacitor bank charging circuit I was working on many years ago that zapped me with about 150 kv. All I can say is it definitely woke me up. After throwing me across the room and into the nearest wall, that is...

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 11:32 AM

Jman, technically speaking you are probably right. But, when it happens and you cheat death you don't make much distinction between the two. I'm well aware of why the burning occurs though I'd be really curious why, from a medical standpoint, most people seem to see blue.

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#3

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 10:04 AM

Hello. I too had a similar experience , when I was a young boy!

I was playing in a old mec shop and grabed a wire that was unprotected and electrified.It made a sc trough my body...Men, that was a world of pain for a few seconds-I also get a blue "vision" from the event that lasted for about half a hour, and I felted that my bones were shook violently ...

I guess that experience (for painfull that it may had been ) help me find myself hehehe !!

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#5

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 12:50 PM

Although my shock was not as powerful as the others' responses, it was memorable. As a 14 year old interested in autos, I was looking under the hood of my parent's car, and wondering what a 6 cyl motor would sound like on only 5 cyl, I pulled out and held one of the spark plug wires of the idling engine while leaning on the car. I figure about 18 to 20 kV hit me, about as hard as a ruler blow on my open palm by Sister Mary Margaret. Probably a minute amount of amps. No blue visions, but lots of regret.

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#6

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 1:36 PM

I know I shouldn't , but I just cried laughing. My score is 2. First was when I was a kid - trying to extract a broken light bulb, I didn't realise some idiot had put the lighting circuit on 'neutral switching'.* "ouch" But since I had my hands extended over head, all was well. I simply fell away from it ( After I thought " What the **** just happened")

My second joyous experience was doing some home electrics ( Now very illegal in UK). Having cobbled together some cables on the upper floor I stopped for lunch. Needing to boil the kettle I put the fuse board back on..Yumme. Nice half hour stop. Oh crap......bloody good job I have the habit of flicking any exposed wires ( despite what any neon driver will tell me). I really should have killed the circuit before going back to it. Spent a good 10 minutes pasted to a wall screaming every swear word known to mankind (when I had the power of speech back). And that was just flicking a finger on mains 240. Ain't done that since, I learnt my lesson.

* for those non conversant, a lighting system will function just the same whether switched on the 'line' or 'neutral' phase. Only difference is that when the switch is 'off'' the appliance may still be live. Bad lesson to learn the hard way.

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#7

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 3:24 PM

Wow! That's a rough one alright.

I can't say I have ever been hit that hard, but like Kris, I had a couple of bad ones as a kid. The first involved sticking my finger in an overhead light socket (the bulb was missing). I didn't see blue, but I did get a most curious "copper" taste. The second was working on some house wiring. I knew the circuit was hot, and was being careful, but not careful enough. I couldn't let go of that wire to save my life (literally). When I did manage to swing my body around enough to break contact, I was one scared kid. My father (an EE), didn't say a thing about the swearing, but he did chew me out for not turning the juice off.

I have been shocked since (and thrown by the jolt), but those 2 times hurt the worst.

I hope you recover fully.

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#8

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 3:53 PM

2kv from one hand to the other right across the chest ...

I was measuring 6.3v heater voltage on a test set...The idiot who built the test set neglected to mention that the 6.3 was superinmosed on top of 2kv!

Threw me backwards.. I went out into the fresh air, took a couple of deep breaths, wiped some rainwater off a car winscreen and washed my face with it...thumped my chest, turned around to go back in and saw two of the secretaries staring at me out of the window.... they looked white as a sheet! So I can't guess what the hell I must have looked like !

They took me in and gave me tea and sympathy.

I then went and bawled out the guy who built the rig, then I built a safety shield for it.

Del

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 5:34 PM

I really shouldn't laugh , but heck............tea and freekin sympathy !! "2 Kv sounds bad" even if it wasn't paw to paw.

I haven't read the instructiions yet, but; http://www.engadget.com/2007/08/30/how-to-build-a-crt-powered-electrified-pet-prison/

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#17
In reply to #10

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 9:27 AM

That's a good one Kris, look real safe!!!!!!! Probably a good microwave for ones precious pets, however it could keep them warm in winter.

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#59
In reply to #8

Re: Electrocution

12/06/2007 7:44 PM

"So I can't guess what the hell I must have looked like !"

They probably saw your back arched and fur sticking straight up.

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#9

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 4:34 PM

Life sure can be exciting

Lets see as a young man was using electrified ground rods pushed in the ground to collect worms for fishing. I pulled one up forgetting to unplug it. That was some thing i tried hard not to forget. Don't remember seeing blue just trying to let go.

Then there were those times on the farm working in the dark and forget where the electrified fence was. That was an eye opener in the early AM. Remember one evening one of my Grandmothers friends shows up with a dog. I jumps out the car runs over and cocks it leg on the electrified fence. I dropped dead right on the spot. Can you try to imagine what that felt like.

Then there was the time while doing repairs to a circuit board I shorted a capacitor with my beard. Picked me up and threw me backwards off the stool about 15 feet. As I got up everyone was looking at me with that dumb what happen expression. My jaw was sore for a week.

The real winner was while closing up the covers left open left open on a job. A wire flicked out of a box throwing the connector and traced across the back of my hand. A 277 volt lighting circuit. Took my breath away and buckled my knees. I know if i had not been pinned between to A.C. ducts would have dropped the ten foot to the ground. Taking the ceiling with me. Took me a few minutes to get it back together.

Well enough reminiscing of the good old times !!!

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#18
In reply to #9

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 10:03 AM

"I shorted a capacitor with my beard"

Ouch... Must have been a pretty big capacitor!

I have had my beard for more than a quarter of a century, and in all that time, I never imagined that it had the potential to cause such an incident.

Sounds like a good reason to keep my beard well -groomed!

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#60
In reply to #9

Re: Electrocution

12/06/2007 7:51 PM

"I shorted a capacitor with my beard."

Always remember to remove soup and gravy from beard before playing with KV.

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#11

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 9:48 PM

I am happy to hear you were not seriously hurt!

I had a few episodes where I was shocked by lower potentials.

My first experience with electricity was when I was only 5 or 6 years old. I picked a wall socket out of the wall that was not securely screwed into its socket. Grabbing the socket with both hands I pulled it from its electrical box and got 117 VAC through both arms and across my chest.

This was my first time I started to sing in my life by quickly going up and down the musical scales as I was jolted. My short song never became a hit, unfortunately, but I never forgot that melody!

Capital punishment by electrocution is most likely different than what you experienced. The voltage and currents used are much higher and I suspect that consciousness is very fleeting (virtually instantaneous) from the moment that the switch is thrown. It is probably much, much more humane than the trauma that the original victim suffered.

When that switch is thrown, my only prayer is that the person in that chair is really guilty.

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#12

Re: Electrocution

11/29/2007 11:52 PM

I was hung up twice on 240vac thirty odd years ago. I didn't see blue but the continuing upper back pain more than compensates. I remember saying at the time it didn't seem like a humane method of genetic cleansing and of course was told that the method was different etc.

I've still got scarred hands to remind me. Thankfully the industry has come a long way since then, positive isolation is now mandatory. Back then hardly any leckies even owned a multimeter.

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#13

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 3:59 AM

Interesting Blog, I won't bore you with my "shocking experiences", but I have had my share, but I always maintain that up to around 220 volt, DC is "kinder" (and I strongly maintain that it does not cause you to "hang on" as many experts feel by the way!) than AC.

Above 220volts, it probably does not matter too much if it is AC or DC.....its just deadly....

Some of the people here have experienced being "held on" with AC, which is also my personal experience too and I still maintain that for the same voltage AC is more dangerous......and what a lot of people forget is that for the "same" voltage, the AC peaks are far higher than the DC!!!!

As we measure the "work done" in comparison to a DC voltage......x 1.313 if I remember correctly! So a 220 volt AC line will actually have peaks of around 290 volts!!!! A significant increase!!

I have actually had a 440 volt AC shock (NATO Navy Shipping Voltage) and lived to tell the tale, but my brain took 10 minutes to function again. I do not remember blue vision, but its a long time ago too.....

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 4:26 AM

but my brain took 10 minutes to function again.

Have you solicited a second opinion?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 7:13 AM

Now...boys. Hee, hee, hee! Picks nose.

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#23
In reply to #14

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 11:34 AM

yoo be do be dooin' jus be be ba doin just be bein a scat !

<OK, I can't sing or spell>

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#32
In reply to #14

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 6:07 AM

Funnnneeeee!!

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#16

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 9:16 AM

I've had a few 240V belts, not big ones though. I remember getting a shock from a plug, it turned out my dad had wrapped fuse wire round a blown fuse but left an end sticking out the side of the plug. I touched this when I tried to unplug (his fridge), my hand hurt but so did his ear afterwards.

The HT lead from the car story reminded me of a trick I experienced during my apprenticeship, one mechanic would grab on to an HT lead from a running engine, and then hold hands with series of people, the last in line would point his finger at the bumper so you could see the spark. I have no idea if that was particularly dangerous.

And yes electrocution is death by electric shock. A distinction that a lot of people fail to observe, newspapers and TV news. Shocking.

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#19

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 10:31 AM

I 'ad some of them electrocution lessons to 'elp me to speak propper.

Del

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#20

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 10:53 AM

Funny story...

So when I was a teenager I worked on a farm that raised Red Deer/American elk. The deer were fenced in by a 10 foot high, high-tensile strength wire mesh, with 3 electified wires at the top to keep the deer from jumping up. The farm was organized in a number of pens and to get from one pen entrance to another usually required alot of waking, even if the pens were right next to eachother. So, the owner asked me to go into one of the pens to repair somethng and told me to just hop over the fence. He also told me that he had shut down the electricity going to the upper lines. So, I climb the fence, swung my leg over the top, so I was straddling the lines, when the wind picked up and I made the discovery that the farmers son had turned the electricity back on and didnt tell anyone. If I have painted the picture for you all correctly, you can imagine what part of me (Hint: I'm male) acted as the "lightning rod". I shook pretty good and then fell off the fence. Fortunately the ground was very soft, otherwise a 10 foot fall might have caused some real damage.

If I ever have children, they'll probably be born with 3 feet of hair, sticking straight out.

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#21

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 11:24 AM

When I was a young hoodlum doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing.

1. I was playing with a commercial A/C unit and must have touched something I REALLY shouldn't have. The guys I was with said it knocked me about 6 feet away. All I remember is reaching in and then being woke up by one of the guys. No side effects that I know of.

2. Again doing something I shouldn't be doing. Trespassing on Some very private property. I tried climbing an electrified fence. They really should put warning signs on them things. Guess they figured if you stupid enough to try climbing a 10 foot high fence and the hot wire is at the top you deserve to get fried.

3. Under the car hood trying to start my car in the middle of no where. I Shorted out at the starter coil. Welded through the screw driver I was holding. And sent a hell of a shock thru me.

4. Working Maintenance at hotel. On heating cooling unit. I killed the circuit to the room but didn't tag the line as under maintenance do not touch. Another rooms circuit went dead and someone went to flip the circuit back on instead of calling me to do it. Flipped my circuit on instead of the one for the other room. 240 v ac hurts. And fried the meter I was using.

5. And many more small shocks from working on electrical outlets around the house when I'm to lazy to run all the way down stairs to kill the power to replace a switch or outlet.

Wonder why I don't seem to have any after after after effects from so many shocks.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 11:26 AM

Sorry didn't realize I wasn't logged in.

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#33
In reply to #22

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 6:10 AM

Take fuses out, put in your pocket, write message and stick over the empty fuse holders/switches etc...

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#24

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 11:47 AM

This thread sure caused some old memories to come floating up to the surface.

I got myself electrocuted when I was about 20. I think I use the term properly, although the final outcome, obviously and thankfully, didn't end with my funeral. Whether or not it was "dying hallucinations" or whatever, I did do the whole out of body...light at the end of the tunnel thing.

I was a buck Sergeant in the USAF working comm/nav avionics on BUFFs (B-52 for those that don't know that term of endearment). When not on the flightline I spent the majority of my bench time working the old 1960s era HF radio system. I was observing all proper safety stuff and doing a powered final alignment at 25Mhz. When I pulled my left hand out and away the vtvm probe passed about 6 inches in front of the big tetrode PA tubes. Like in slow motion my elbow slammed down on the ground plane bench top and I watched this really cool looking blue arc come out of my pinky finger and go into the xmitter. The intensity of the RF hit feels nothing like getting buzzed by 60cycle. I also remember the blueing tunnelvision and I remember it seemed an eternity before I went airborne. Blew me up and back. I clearly remember seeing the 2 flourescent tubes out and thinking our Captain (a real dink) was gonna have a cow over the burned bulbs being out. I clearly remember the sound of the Chief launching out of his squeaky chair. But I don't remember... even under hypnosis ... screaming. Everyone that was in the shop told me I let out a blood curdling scream that lasted from when I got blasted to when I hit the deck.

Hit the ground in full cardiac arrest and locked diaphragm. My Chief was on me and started CPR. I lost hearing...I could see him barking orders but had no audio. I remember thinking "ah..geezus..pastrami?...salami?"... when he gave me breath...I remember the sound and feel of my ribs breaking when he started pumping. I could literally feel the blood flow every time he pumped.

And then I died. Or maybe it was hallucinations like the Major in Phsych kept telling me later. But own observations, comparing notes with co-workers, and a couple times doing hypnosis didn't add up to an LSD experience.

One instant I was looking at my boss, thinking I could never eat pastrami again, and the next instant I was looking down at the scene. Looking down was total clarity...looking out away was like...i dunno how to explain but it wasn't like a stupid movie...more like in a dream...the walls were there but weren't. I can't say there was a "tunnel", it was more like tunnel vision when I looked out. But in that tunnel there WAS depth, warmth, light, and the feel of someone out there. Never saw anybody though. Almost total disconnection, no fear, nothing except that every time the Chief pumped my chest I could still feel it in my ears. I watched the paramedics run in and take over CPR. Watched them check me...watched them set the defib box. I watched the 1st hit of the paddles. I felt the 2nd hit...hard. The 3rd hit I think pulled me back because on the 4th hit it felt like every friggen nerve in my body seared. That one hit hurt 1000 times worse than the arc or anything else I've ever experienced put together. It worked though, cause here I am, boring you with my memories.

The arc blew my fingernail off but it grew back...spent a few weeks in the hospital and it took over a year for the holes in my pinky and elbow to close and I still have a numb strip down my arm. A few occasional chest pains but that's cool...I lived and I didn't lose my arm.

The military investigation said there was a crack in the ceramic in one PA tube that had some kind of capacitive action with the ground plane, my bod and the vtvm probe. Hit me with an estimated 35kv charge..but RF..no real current...probably micro or milliamp. 3 month later the Chief wrote me up for failing to catch the cracked tube on inspection.

Although, I must say I am opposite of those opinions I read above when it comes to capital punishment. I am of the opinion that we should draw and quarter molesters...real real slow. And the guy that kills his ol'lady and three kids...cause he's bonkin the waitress...or the jackass that bashes his baby against the wall because "it kept crying" ...oohh...give him a month..a year...of the absolute searing pain I felt when that 4th defib went through me. I do not believe in 'humane' execution. Make it hurt...bad...and make it last.

I still can't stand Pastrami.

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#52
In reply to #24

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 11:01 AM

WRT death penalty - Getting a little too politically/emotionally charged?

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#69
In reply to #52

Re: Electrocution

12/14/2007 6:51 PM

I agree. With both of you.

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#25

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 12:23 PM

This won't answer Your question, but I like to elaborate on what happened to Me.

While using an amprobe on a 440 volt three phase line. I had the probe in one hand and a hanfull of wreches in the other. As I put the probe around one leg I accidently hit one of the other legs with My hand. All I remember was the wrenches and I went flying in different directions. I too had a coppery taste in My mouth afterwords.

on another occasion I was checking fuses with a small vohm tester when I must have (according to the head electrician) crossed phases. All I remember was seeing the most intense yellow/white light and thinking "there goes My golf game" The vohm meter was a mangled mess, all My eyebrows were burned off, hair on both arms singed plus I had burns on both arms, plus I blew the main fuses for the entire plant.

I think I'm very lucky to still be here! Amen!

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 12:25 PM

Yeah, yeah...but how was the golf?

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#27

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 12:40 PM

Having experienced several electric shocks over the years, none as severe as you mention, I can remember that it was quite scary to say the least. While I have heard it said that "AC power will release you and throw you away from the source while DC power holds you on", I was "shocked" enough (no pun intended) by the experiences that I have no wish to repeat them even remotely.

My only question regarding your experience is whether your employer had "locking and tagging" procedures in effect at your site and if not, why not?


Does anyone know what the threshhold levels are for detection of current flow through the body (or epidermis) for AC or DC current? It might be an interesting piece to the puzzle as to why we sometimes feel the current flow and sometimes dont.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 12:46 PM

I often enjoy a walk around the countryside. With the absence of public urinal facility it is occasionally of need to relieve oneself against a fence or similar. Checking that it is not an electrified fence is a wise precaution.

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#29

Re: Electrocution

11/30/2007 6:38 PM

I have Pencak Silat teachers, Pendekars, (masters) that have the capability of generating this blue light just when they hit you. The color is just like watching lightning in the dark sky. It surrounds your entire body and picks you up and projects you! This power I've experienced twice from 2 different teachers in 2 different places 3,000 miles apart. One place was in San Francisco, California and the other place was in New York.

The effect of getting hit was obviously controlled by these masters as they did not want to hurt me. This powerful energy generated from their bodies was the result of a slight contact with either their palm or fore knuckle that seemed to barely touch me, as I flew off my feet airborne about one or 2 feet off the ground and about 10 feet back, I landed like everything was in slow motion and painless. It left me very confused and amazed at the same time.

This blue light that I am talking about I experienced when I was a kid, curious about how the energy in the light socket worked to make electrical appliances function. I was only 7 at the time and stupid me, I took my mom's hair pin and stuck both ends in the socket and guess what, was stuck to it for a split second and experienced that same blue color.

Most people do not believe that electricity can be generated from a human being but in fact, a lot of people generate this electrical power within their body by dragging their feet on the rug as they build up this static electricity. Not even knowing that they are charged up they discover they have this energy contained in them that is easily discharged when they meet ground when they touch someone.

This electricity is subtle to us now but can be harnessed if we take an electro-conductive line, anchored to the ground and put an electro-conductive ball on the end of it and put it into space. This line would generate a massive amount of energy that is free!

Sorry, I have to work now! More on acupuncture and chi as in tai chi and chi gong and yoga and how we are all a manifestation of nature and our biological relationship with everything in the universe.

Namaste! Kyp

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#70
In reply to #29

Re: Electrocution

12/14/2007 6:56 PM

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?

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#30

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 5:05 AM

...hearing from those who've experienced electrocution? How about the experience of those who've expereienced drowning? I think you are looking for ghost whisperer. Otherwise, they're not talking.

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#31

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 5:37 AM

Man! A lot of the experiences here really make my own experiences pale in comparison.

I've had two electrocutions (somehow "electric shock" doesn't fit the bill), both during my childhood.

I have no memory of the first. My dad said that I had been watching him fix the iron. He'd work on it, plug it in, unplug it, and work some more. He didn't notice when I left. Then, he heard a loud bang and the unmistakable sound of a child crying. I had gotten my mom's knitting needle and stuck it in the convenience outlet. When he told me this story, I understood the reason for the deformed fingerprint on my right thumb.

The second one, I remember but still not all of it.

Wanting to watch TV, I moved behind the set to plug it in. The plug refused to go in so I pushed harder. My fingers slipped and touched both prongs on the plug.

'Know all those cartoons where the character gets electrocuted and a sine-wave or triangle-wave travels up his arm and body? That's what I saw go through my arm. That wave travelled up my arm and when it reached my body, my grip on the plug released and I fell backward on my butt. That's how I saw it. Only thing is, that's not how it happened.

Dad found me thrashing about near the TV and grabbed me. Big mistake. Now both of us were thrashing about near the TV. Mom, smart one that, ran to the breaker box and pulled the handle. End of the episode.

No blue lights though.

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 6:18 AM

So you got stuck on AC, that is my personal experience too and not what the text books and academics tell us!!!!

The books all say you get stuck on DC and thrown off AC....

I really do feel that they all have got it wrong, theory and practise are about 180° apart!!

I had three ELCBs (one per phase) installed in my house yesterday by a qualified electrician, getting stuck on AC has happened to him too......though he has no DC experience in this respect....

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 8:27 AM

I think the AC/DC bit here is irrelevant, Any current is going to make muscle tissue contract. This could cause you to get 'thrown back' or 'grab'. It depends upon how you make contact with the live device. Is there a Doctor in the house ? I've never experienced a big DC jolt (apart from when playing with a 9 volt cell to tingle my tongue). Those electrified fences I mentioned earlier sound painful, but I guess the manner of contact would help cut the circuit.

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#37
In reply to #35

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 6:56 AM

Regarding muscle contractions, the muscles that grip are stronger than the ones that release. Given the same electrical input (which in a shock is more than required) both sets of muscles (in the forearm) will contract and the gripping ones win. Hence the recommendation? about using the back of your hand. People who survive must be using another technique to disconnect from the supply.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 7:21 AM

I thought muscle tissue was all the same - it was just the leverage that was different ? More muscle mass and leverage is usually available for closing (eg) an arm than extending it. A part of the anatomy engaged with an electric fence may be slightly different, but I'm not a Doctor.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 8:44 AM

I was thinking of the gripping action of the hand, flexors versus extensors (I just looked it up), strength being equal to volume which side of the forearm has the greater muscle mass / volume? That's how I understood it anyway. If you are gripping the source of the shock, above a small current value you can't let go, ac or dc.

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 11:16 AM

Agreed. Them muscles just wont want to relax if they make contact. Shouting that it's DC will make no difference. Even when playing with some home electrics that's why I always flick the wire ( even if I have killed the circuit by removing a fuse etc ). A rapidly moving finger may hurt you if the cable is live, but it's better than a full blown grip.

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#46
In reply to #41

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:46 AM

Exactly.

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 11:33 AM

Interesting thought there...flexors vs. extensors... I was always under the impression that AC would kick you off due to the sine wave going thru 0. But the more I think about it I gotta be wrong. There's been alot of sparky types ...and would be rescuers .. smoked on AC because they were stuck on. I'm going to chase that one a bit for my own edification.

In my previous work I cleaned up alot of electrical messes. One of the best/worse was at a state prison. Convicts were cleaning the level4 chow hall, hosing down the floor. One convict sprayed another. He in turned blasted the guy back. Except that the 1st guy was standing in front of a 480v 1200amp auto transfer switch mounted into a 30 year old wall flush can...NEMA 1 ...if that. Smoked them both and blew out the ATS.

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#45
In reply to #39

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:45 AM

You are making a serious misconception of shocks, in my experience, people do not go and grip the conductor, they usually touch it while gripping some sort of tool or maybe with just the forefinger.......just in case power is on. They do not grip it as most people imagine, at least not for the first contact, if there is no power, then a grip may be used further.....

Further to this, when power is definitely off and you grip the conductor, a lot of people die because some idiot switches the power back on.......! while using a grip!

On DC ships, we removed both the + & - fuses and then we bridged each fuse holder position with the forefinger and little finger,(one side at a time) so only the ends of the fingers touched power (when chasing earths!).....it did not hurt even. You could actually tell the conductivity of the earth to a degree by the size of the shock......!

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#44
In reply to #35

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:36 AM

I have had both types....

I also believe that the DC makes the muscles cramp/close in your arms AND PULLS your hand away involuntarily!

AC makes the muscles "Vibrate" and they stay locked in the position they were at the moment of contact!!!!

This is my personal opinion as the result of many shocks of both AC & DC.

AC is to my mind therefore more dangerous and in the RN, AC has killed a lot more people over the years....

I do realize that the AC is a higher voltage than the DC was in the RN and that this also has a bearing on the matter.....but I have had many shocks from AC 230 and DC 220, DC is far "better"(?)....safer? Less painful....

I do realize that I am in the envious position (did I say that?) of being able to compare both, few people have this luck (did I say that too?)

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#48
In reply to #44

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:55 AM

Hi Andy,

Respect to you for having served in the RN. Never having done so myself I'm not familiar with the AC/DC contact that may occur.

I agree that the arms may 'pull away' but this is still just muscle contracting. If a hand grasps the electrified part, muscles will make it contract. It's simply a question of mechanics and how the muscles are arranged. They work by contracting, and this can either be used to open or close a limb etc. Most joints have 'flexors' and 'extensors'.

I'm uncertain still of how this all works, and while agreeing that AC is probably more lethal, I'm gonna keep safe distance next time I see a strong DC on board a ship.

This is an electrifying good thread. Very cool. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_flexors

much better than my spelling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_tensor_theory

Somewhere I just know there is a good thread on communication type stuff.

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#50
In reply to #48

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 10:10 AM

Kris, which has the stronger muscle? your fingers or your arm? Which one will "win" in such a situation? The arm of course.....on DC at least....

The bad part of being afloat was that you were always VERY close to an earth return!! The ship's hull being of metal.....

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 10:59 AM

What about mine-sweepers ? Don't they have some sort of plastic hull or is it all de-gaussing ?

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#53
In reply to #51

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 12:08 PM

Old ones wooden (built before my time, but still in use to the 70's), first fiberglass version built in the late 60s, if that is what you mean by plastic!

I am personally not aware if they had degaussing coils or not, probably yes as there is still a lot of metal around.....

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#55
In reply to #53

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 5:30 PM
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#40
In reply to #34

Re: Electrocution

12/03/2007 8:56 AM

Forgot one.

Back when I was still studying, we were building a 20Watt amplifier. As I was testing it, I happened to touch the 24Vdc supply. All I felt was a tingle but I jumped anyway. I guess the memory of that previous experience kicked in.

I don't know about AC or DC voltage holding you. My guess is that the muscles go rigid. In my case, when I touched the prongs on the plug, the muscles in my fingers just locked up. For others, if their arms were bent when they touched the wire, it would suddenly straighten and fling them away. This is just a theory of mine and I have no intention of testing it.

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#36

Re: Electrocution

12/01/2007 3:25 PM

Great stories, I'm glad you all survived I started my electrifying experiences at about 3 years old, with my mom's set of car keys and the wall socket, don't remember the effects,but had a fascination with the wall outlet. Christmas time was made more fun by pulling the light plug halfway out of the socket, then dropping some lead tinsel across the prongs of the plug, made a neat popping sound and blue flash, smelled odd though. Then my go-cart , 3HP B & S, grabbed the spark plug a few times while trying to kill the engine. No blue vision, but a seriously numb arm for a while. While trying to fix an old distributer testing machine, with it plugged in of course,I had my arm buried to the shoulder through a hole in the back and touched something I didn't need to, I removed my arm in a "hurry" leaving much tissue and blood on all the gears and sharp metal edges inside. I didn't like electricity much after that, so when I started working for a friend in the AC business I was wary. a few minor shocks here and there but nothing serious, I got confident. While remodelling a restaurant I was at the breaker panel, on a stool, with a screwdriver. Not safe I knew, so I held the screwdriver with the blade facing back, that way when I touched the hot lug getting power from an unknown sub panel, the blade didn't get burnt, just bloody where it impaled me in my side, and threw me to the floor, ouch again.

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#43
In reply to #36

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:14 AM

As we have heard, many of our engineers have been lucky in their escapades with electricity, otherwise this forum may not have been that interesting.

However some are not quite so fortunate. Here are just a couple of examples.

This is showing severe electrical burn at the entry point(note the black spot in the centre of the burn). Only just missed his spine at the point of exit from the body.

In this case the foot was the point of exit of the current. The foot looks okay,but because of massive internal injuries inside the foot it had to be amputated a few days later.

I don't wish to be a party pooper, but electrical safety cannot be over emphasised, many do not get a second chance.

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#47
In reply to #43

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:47 AM

That does put a stronger view on the matter indeed. What were the voltages in both cases....

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#58
In reply to #47

Re: Electrocution

12/05/2007 7:57 AM

Sorry I cannot help you there Andy.

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#49
In reply to #43

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:59 AM

Youch !

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#61
In reply to #43

Re: Electrocution

12/06/2007 8:30 PM

Hear, Hear,

Legislation has tightened up considerably since the 70s when mention of "Effective Isolation" isolated you from management, but too many "it was alright before" attitudes and plants still exist.

Thank you fellow CR4 members, we can't emphasise effective isolation including test for dead too strongly.

Crushing injuries caused by the same system failures are even more shocking to the senses.

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: Electrocution

12/07/2007 4:45 AM

"it was alright before"...

I'll raise that with a..

'We've always done it that way'

Del

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#54

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 1:03 PM

"I would be interested in hearing from others who have experienced electrocution . . . "

You are going to have a L O N G W A I T !

There is no one alive today that has been electrocuted. See online dictionary and others.

No doubt but that you meant to say nearly electrocuted which is an entirely different experience.

No fun, tried it once, didn't like it. Not as bad as your experience. Now I take extra steps to avoid any high voltage contact.

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#56

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 9:24 PM

Hello: Cup of souls here, Get a load of what happen to me. Since I can remember I have been Interested in repairing TV sets. I became pretty good at it, To the point I found myself replacing boards On different type's of Projection Tv"s. "The company sent me out on House call, on a cold rainy night, I was wet to the skin, about to replace the intire Mother board. I sat on the ground behind the unit and I installed the chassy. Everything looks A,O,k, Lets plug It in. Perrrrrrrrrrfict picture. Lets put the back cover on and go home. I reach behind me I grab the rear cover, I turn my head back to the picture tube and my forehead Rubs the board on the back of the picture..........OUCH............Tube::::: I see a blue screen In my Head,. My head is slammed back to the wall behind me. I am daized with a black powder mark on my forehead. The unit Never worked the same again, I have never been able to spell again. I found my way home, soaked to the bone,. Alive............

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Electrocution

12/04/2007 11:20 PM

.....but you made it ! Survival is all. I'm glad you are here for the party.

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#63

Re: Electrocution

12/11/2007 5:33 PM

The place: Steel Plant

The time: Graveyard shift

The task: Repair welding receptacle

The potential power: 600 VAC, 60 amp, 3 phase

The safety precautions taken: Went to M.C.C., shut off and locked & tagged breaker marked Welding receptacle beside stairway.

Action taken: Went to welding recept. by stairs, checked for power with my "Wiggy" (don't laugh- it's a voltage tester). No voltage shown. Started to disassemble receptacle.

Reason why I recieved 600 volts from my left hand holding one wire through my body and exiting by my right ear against said stairway: Incorrect marking of said breaker and failure to test my "Wiggy" (again; please don't laugh) on a known live circuit before use as my "Wiggy" had a bad probe (again; enough with the laughing already)

Lesson learned: Never ever blindly trust your "Wiggy". Always test your "Wiggy" before and after each time your "Wiggy" is used or else your "Wiggy" could let you down in the most inappropriate situation.

Why I'm still alive with only slightly fried grey matter? Priceless.........................(AND STOP LAUGHING ; A "WIGGY" really is a voltage tester)

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: Electrocution

12/11/2007 6:42 PM

Does your "Wiggy" between your legs still function? If yes, no problem, if no take Viagra!

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#65
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Re: Electrocution

12/13/2007 10:00 AM

Yes

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: Electrocution

12/13/2007 12:00 PM

We are all very happy for you (and for your better half as well!).

Have a great day!

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#67

Re: Electrocution

12/13/2007 5:07 PM

Well...now one of my baby girls has learned the lesson.

I have twins... 22 months old. Yesterday while they were in the house napping (I thought) I was dinking around with the Christmas lights. I figured I'd see just how many strings would blow the fuses. I hear BabyA let out a whoop and start yelling. She had gone and stuck a finishing nail in the end of the cord. No harm, thankfully. But it rung her little bell good.

Now I've got her running around saying "ZAP!" and doing this neck twitch thing.

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: Electrocution

12/13/2007 5:20 PM

"Speed doesn't kill. Sudden stops, brick walls, and old women in Buicks do."

As do high-tension power lines attached to poles when Buicks collide.

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All worthwhile programmers know that constants always vary.
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