Pop lets put this in perspective. He didn't say he got killed, only that he
felt a shock. That is a lot lower current.
Folks have sent him off on an easter egg hunt looking for a loose wirenut or
other bad connection upstream without taking into account the one right in
front of him that he was screwing with.
If he really wants to check into this, button it up properly and check the lamp
shell to ground.
No, not so at all: The loose nut was the one fooling with
the fixture/s. The right perspective is, he was doing
something he had no business doing because of his lack of
knowledge and experience, as evidenced by many other posters
in this thread. It's made for interesting reading, but it's
getting boring now. ONLY getting a shock instead of dying
is a lucky fluke in his case because he (and no one else)
doesn't KNOW what he had in front of him.
I guess that means "turn off the breaker"?
Do you think that may be why it is the first thing in the installation
Maybe he will read them next time huh?
If everyone reading this thread picks up on that one our work is done. ;-)
Try this Toller-
Get into a ceiling of a commercial building and just grab any handy 277v
neutral (properly working and eventually tied to ground) with a load on it with
one hand, and building steel with the other.
Here's a less deadly experiment:
On any residential 120v circuit with any load on it, try using a neon tester
between and of that circuits outlets neutral and a known ground. WHY does the
neon tester emit light if the neutrals are all, eventually, tied to ground?
Gee, I though we were talking about 120v. One of us is a moron.
You are denying that neutrals are not grounded, or do you not understand the
concept of resistance. A neon tester has almost no resistance, so
significant current will flow through it to a good ground. A person has
very high resistance, so virtually no current will flow through the person.
You and Doug can babble to each other.
I see, you reasoning applies only to 120v circuits and no other?
No, far from it. I'm not denying neutrals are grounded. The point is that even
though the neutrals are grounded, current will take unexpected alternate routes
to ground even though the entire electromechanical neutral system is totally up
Why, when the neutral is grounded just as well? The neon tester HAS to be a
higher resistance than a continious, properly connected and eventually grounded
neutral path, no?
You haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about. A neon tester has an
_extremely_high_ resistance, so that hardly _any_ current will flw through it.
That's why you *don't* get a very bright arc, when you connect one of those
testers across hot and ground.
If you have one of those testers, open it up and see what's inside. Mine has a
150K-ohm resistor in it. That's not exactly my definition of "almost no
Wrong again. The internal resistance of a human body is nowhere nearly that
high. Think about it for just two seconds, Toller: human beings are mostly
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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It's pretty plain from this that *your* understanding of "the concept of
resistance" is tenuous at best.
My digital multimeter, according to the manual, will measure resistance
up to 40 M-ohm, yet it shows infinite resistance across the leads of my
neon tester (indicating that the resistance of the tester is > 40 M-ohm).
Opening the tester reveals a 150 K-ohm resistor in series with the neon
lamp. Neither figure is compatible with my understanding of "almost no
Holding the multimeter leads tightly between the thumb and finger of each
hand shows the resistance of this person to be approximately 200 K-ohm.
That's a fairly high value, but the resistance of the neon tester is at
least twenty times higher, and clearly *much* more current can flow
through a human body than through one of those neon testers.
AC resistance is different from DC resistance. A multimeter measures DC
resistance. A neon bulb passes AC without much resistance, even if it has
a high DC resistance.
This is not a constant. Dry skin resistance is much higher than wet skin
resistance. Current is determined by the resistance to the applied
voltage, AC or DC. I don't want my body to substitute for a neon bulb, no
Resistance is resistance. AC *impedance* is different from DC resistance.
In any event, a device with an internal 150 K-ohm resistor does not meet
any reasonable definition of a very low resistance device, as was
Quite true. The individual to whom I was responding seems to believe that
the human body has such a high resistance to electricity that very little
current can pass through it, and seems also to be unaware that 120VAC
60Hz can be fatal even at currents of a few tens of milliamperes, given
the right (wrong?) circumstances.
A non activated neon lamp has (for all practical purposes) infinite
A neon lamp is a variety of a 'gas discharge' device.
These do no not conduct (i.e. have high resistance) until sufficient voltage
(typically IIRC 70+ volts peak?) across them to cause the gas to conduct.
Whereupon, depending on the type and mixture of gases they tend to adopt a
typical voltage across the discharge.
This property is made use of in gas filled voltage regulator tubes which
were/are frequently used in tube electronics.
Also gas discharge (commonly neon) used in timing circuits and for voltage
One thing that no one has mentioned so far, is the false shock.
A neophyte working in a switch or outlet box, assumes that he turned off
the power to the box. While working in the box and probably anticipating
a shock, part of his hand touches the end of a bare wire. Because he is
highly sensitive to an electrical shock, the touch of that sharply cut
wire gives the impression of an electrical shock, and he recoils.
This is similar to having a person blindfolded, and is being told that a
boiling hot cup of water will be poured on his hand. Even if a cold cup
of water is poured on his hand, he will immediately think it is boiling.
The difference is that once his hand has recoiled from the water pour,
he will have either hot water or cold water on his hand and will feel
the difference. Once his hand recoils from the wire, he has no idea
whether that 'shock' was actually electrical, or just the sense of a
contact with a sharp wire end.
Tried to ignore this, but can 't <g>: Yes, there may well
be current in the neutral, but ... if there is current, and
nothing is wrong with the ckt, you will NOT get a shock by
touching the neutral and any other wire/metal EXCEPT a hot
one! Current may be flowing, but there will be very little
voltage on it, if nothing is wrong with the ckt, to allow a
shock to be felt. The voltage developed in a ckt with no
problems will be less than one volt: not enough to give a
shock that could hurt anyone, or even be felt, for that
Just because current flows in a wire does NOT mean you
can get a shock off it. You must have voltage to cause
current to flow, and the voltage to earth on a neutral wire
is theoretically zero, usually a ver low voltage up to the
rated current/temp of the wire. Only the wire's own
resistance could develop any voltage potential.
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