I have a power tool that occasionally gives me a little tingle when I
touch it with an abraded area of skin or maybe the cuticles of my
fingers. It doesn't shock my through dry skin.
I tested the device with a volt ohm meter and got a current....as did
just my body and a plant I tried on a whim.
How much leakage is too much?
What can I do to fix this problem?
I don't mind the "Shock" (it really isn't enough to even call it that)
but don't want the kids to find me dead on the floor one day
I don't have a GFCI ( Y E T ) on the circuit but will put on one there
Suggestions on trouble shooting and fixing this problem?
On Apr 25, 3:20 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Information is not complete .............. but ......... Will assume
for moment this is in a North American situation?
Sounds as though the (metal?) frame of the tool is not grounded?????
(Or there is something very wrong with the power supply or generator
or inverter that is supplying the power?)
If not grounded and even if there is not an actual metallic fault
within the tool there may be sufficient capacitance between the live
windings/wiring etc. inside the tool and the frame to couple a few
micro-amps/milli-amps of detectable current to a human hand touching
the frame. It only takes a few thousandths of an amp to shock and
perhaps kill ... hence GFIs which disconnect with a few l milli-amps
Potentially very dangerous; because even at North American voltages
(probably 115 volts) and frequency 60 hertz) sufficient current could
flow, perhaps suddenly and without warning to kill someone.
The worst situation would be if one was wearing say leather shoes
standing on a damp surface such as concrete or bare earth (or metallic
ladder) and the hands were a little sweaty from physical activity; all
providing an excellent path for current to flow through the trunk of
the body, thus stopping the heart!
IMO if a GFI was used there might be sufficient such leakage to
unbalance and operate it; at very least the frame of the device should
If it has metal frame, tool does have a 3 pin plug into a properly
grounded outlet?????? maybe the grounding wire (usually green!) inside
the tool has broken off!
Personally I wouldn't use the tool until situation corrected. Or
The accepable amount of current coming through the case and into your body
You have a short circuit, that has to be fixed.
Good idea. Even if it is not the kids that find you dead on the floor,
fixing the problem now is a really great idea.
Two kinds of tools exist, those that have grounded cases and three prong
plugs, and those that are "double insulated.
The first type no part of the wires or any electrically "hot" conductor is
supposed to connect with the case of the tool, and if it does, then the
ground is supposed to carry the current back rather than your body.
The double insulated type of power tool has a plastic shell between you and
the wires inside.
Since you are getting zapped, you probably have the first type and there is
some internal short like a wire that the insulation is worn, or the switch
inside is broken. Split the case and inspect, or take the tool to the shop
Also inspect the cord. If damaged it is possible that the leak is between
the hot and the ground and back feeding to the case of the tool.
You can buy GFIC extension cords also but that does not fix the problem.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
*When I worked for my dad hundreds of years ago he had corded tools that
would occasionally have the same problem. It was always in the cord where
it entered the power tool. That part gets a lot of stress and the
insulation on the cord wears out. The solution at that time was to either
shorten the cord or replace it altogether.
BTW that is an accident waiting to happen. Don't use that tool until it is
fixed. There is no such thing as acceptable leakage through a human.
Install a GFI today.
I was gonna say, it is a Darwin filter in the making. But by the time
people start hanging out on here, they usually already had kids, so it
doesn't apply. But yeah, DUH! If a tool is 'tingly', you fix or replace.
And if you replace, you throw it away in pieces so somebody else does
not get hurt.
On Apr 25, 12:20 am, email@example.com wrote:
Somewhere inside the case a hot wire is touching the case. I smiled,
as I thought back to the drill I used as a child. That drill would go
for weeks at a time just being a drill, then it would bite, and bite
hard, I couldn't just open my hand and let it drop, it would stick
fast with the electricity & sometimes shaking it off wouldn't even
work. I'm sure i was a comical sight dancing around with the drill
defying gravity off of my palm. I had no replacement, and it happened
infrequently, so I kept using it. Times were different, folks didn't
try to child proof everything. I can tell you it was much worse
barefoot, than wearing tennis shoes.
Yeah, before all that I turned 10 in '59, so around that time. I liked
to build stuff, boats, cars & such, crude, but entertaining. There was
no shortage of wood scraps with a cabinet shop in the basement. I
still don't know it the shocking drill gift was to encourage or
discourage me, Dad was a hard man to read.
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