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electrocution by car battery

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], May 25, 2005.

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  1. Guest


    Just a question running through my mind. I know that a 12volt car
    battery can't electrocute you.

    What if i pass it through a step up dc converter to let say 110v for
    the or 240v . Would the car battery now electrocute me if i were to
    touch the neg and pos since the power supplied by the battery is almost
    equivalent to the power supplied by the house electrical power source?
  2. Nog

    Nog Guest

    110 and 240 is 110 and 240. It can stop your heart or make you stab your
    self in the eye with a screwdriver.
    Don't think a 12 volt battery can't hurt you. The current can fry your ass.
    Think about your wedding ring turning white hot..
  3. vic

    vic Guest

    Yes it could hurt you, the difference is that you must touch both
    terminals at once since there is no ground path.
  4. PeteS

    PeteS Guest

    Fibrillation (which is what kills you) is perfectly possible with a 12V
    battery in the 'right' conditions.

    What it takes is 100mA through the heart (an acquaintance of mine got
    killed this way doing a charging check on the 28VDC system in a
    helicopter many years ago)

    As your effective skin resistance varies, it will depend on your
    effective resistance being about 80-100 ohms, and the current going
    from one set of fingers to the other (so the current path is through
    the heart area).


  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    The way your question is phrased, the answer is no. The 12V from the
    battery won't hurt you any more if it's supplying a load than if it's
    not (this not counting open wounds (neglibile body resistance), hot
    wrenches (you can weld with a 12V battery, under the right conditions),
    and that sort of thing, which is a different question). But the 12V is
    still 12V.

    But the 110 or 240 definitely will at least give you a painful jolt,
    and can very easily burn you or kill you.

    Hope This Helps!
  6. Art

    Art Guest

    Fill out your organ donor card and give it a try. Let us know what your
    symptomatic diagnostics verify to be true?
  8. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    Power is the rate of doing work. It doesn't just jump out of a battery.

    Study some about power.
    Measure your body resistance and make calculations of current flow with 12
    volts as a source.
    Find a chart that shows the effects of current flow through the body.

    Respect the potential energy in that battery.
    Work safely,
  9. Bob

    Bob Guest


    As someone else pointed out, it only takes about 100mA through your heart to
    kill you -- and maybe less.

    Normally, the skin resistance is very high. If you're sweaty the it's less.
    If you're under the epidermis then WATCH OUT. Don't take a chance unless you
    really know what you're doing.

  11. Guest

    what i meant was after stepping up the battery to a very high voltage
    such as 110 or 240 volt... would it kill you if you touch the terminal
    at the point after stepping it up? cuz from my guess it should right?
    because the voltage is now high enough to penetrate the skin and the
    current is also quite big.
  12. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    Maybe you meant that but that's not what you wrote.
  13. 120 or 240 V will be equally hazardous whether it comes directly from
    the power company, or from an inverter powered from your car battery.

    Peter Bennett, VE7CEI
    peterbb4 (at)
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  14. Bill Bowden

    Bill Bowden Guest

    would it kill you if you touch the terminal
    120 or 240 is not very high. You would get shocked, but probably
    wouldn't die.

    An electric chair that kills people operates on 2000 volts and can be
    powered from a 12 volt car battery.

  15. DaveC

    DaveC Guest

    If the voltage you're grabbing onto is 110 or 240, yes, you could stop your

    It doesn't matter, as someone already pointed out, if it's in an electrical
    outlet in your home, or in an inverter in your car; 110 (or 240) is still the
    same lethal potential.

    Be careful.
    Please, no "Go Google this" replies. I wouldn't
    ask a question here if I hadn't done that already.


    This is an invalid return address
    Please reply in the news group
  16. DaveC

    DaveC Guest

    What news source are you reading? People are electrocuted every year from
    those "not very high" voltages.
    Please, no "Go Google this" replies. I wouldn't
    ask a question here if I hadn't done that already.


    This is an invalid return address
    Please reply in the news group
  17. Bill Bowden

    Bill Bowden Guest

    120 or 240 is not very high. You would get shocked, but probably
    I'm not reading a news source, just stating experience.
    I've been shocked many times from line voltages with
    no ill effects. Once, I was shocked by 10KV from
    an aviation radar system, and it threw me across the room,
    but I got up and went back to work.

    120VAC is low voltage. Why do you think it's used instead
    of 880 or higher, which would be much more efficient?

  18. Guest

    i thought it's the current that kills not the voltage. the voltage is
    just to get past the skin resistance to your heart. I read somewhere if
    the current at about 0.030 amp would even stop your heart.
  19. Most references say fibrillation is generally a problem at 100 mA to an
    amp, with one or two saying this starts at 50 mA.

    I do not believe the risk of fibrillation drops to zero when the current
    decreases to 99 or 49 mA. I have heard of someone getting killed by a 30
    mA neon sign transformer.

    As for 12 volts being enough to push enough current through you to cause
    electrocution? Not impossible, but very rare - requiring broken skin
    or large skin contact area with wet skin.

    I think a greater hazard is shorts causing those burning hot wedding
    rings, also burning wires causing fires, and burning wires or sparks (and
    flying droplets of molten metal from sparks) igniting explosive gases that
    lead acid batteries sometimes produce.

    Other hazards to watch out for: Ignition voltage - usually not lethal,
    but I don't feel certain. Also shocks could jolt you into dropping a
    wrench onto a +12V point and a ground point, or getting
    fingers/hands/clothing caught in moving fans or belts.

    - Don Klipstein ()
  20. One problem with 120V is its perceived safety. People get more
    careless, and as a result despite a small percentage of shocks from that
    voltage being fatal, that voltage has a high body count.

    US Navy warships have most of their power circuits being 440V, and most
    of their electrocution deaths from the 110V that also exists there.

    - Don Klipstein ()
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