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I'm new to electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by phileaton, Oct 11, 2010.

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  1. phileaton

    phileaton

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Hi everyone, I'm a sophomore in high school and I'd love to learn more about electronics. One thing I tried to do, stupidly I know, was take the wall plug off a lamp, and take of the rubber end and touch the negative and positive sides to a metal plate, then plugged it into the wall. The first time I tried this with a brass plate and it sparked yellow and fairly large, the second time, I tried it with a silvery metal, probably aluminum? and this time it glowed bright green and had a span of a foot give or take. the fuse blew in that area of the house. Could anyone explain why it sparked at all first off, then why the spark changed color and height? I assuma this has to do with intensity, but I'd love to know for sure. Finally, why did the fuse blow? Thanks for your time!
     
  2. NickS

    NickS

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    Apr 6, 2010
    How is your parents insurance(fire/health/life)? Because you are well on your way to helping them file a claim on one or more.

    The fuse blew because its calling in life is to stop you from destroying the house. When you direct short the two lines through a piece of metal you are dumping huge amounts of energy through not just the metal plate but also the outlet and household wiring. If the fuse or breaker did not do its job you would end up melting the wires in your wall and destroying the outlet and perhaps catching the structure on fire. And you very easily could have killed yourself as well. I think a consensus is that 0.2Amps across your heart can be lethal and you were pushing significantly more than your fuse was rated at 5A, 10A, 20A?

    Its fine to be interested in high power but you need to find a safer was to exercise your curiosity.
     
  3. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    Another Darwin Awards Candidate in the making :rolleyes:

    D
     
  4. phileaton

    phileaton

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    Oct 11, 2010
    Ok, I understand it wasn't all to great an idea. Could you point me in the direction of studying electronics hands on without expensive kits? I've been reading courses and I understand a lot of it, but it's all theory stuff. Which doesn't explain to me what happened and why I shouldn't do it. (I do understand now though.)
     
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,482
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    Jan 21, 2010
    The answer to your first question has more to do with chemistry or physics than electronics. Approach both your chemistry and physics teachers with your observations and ask for their insight.

    In answer to your second question, yep it can be expensive.

    About a thousand years ago I started with a "10 in 1 electronics kit" and was later bought a "150 in one electronics kit". I'm not even sure that they still sell them, but if used properly (especially with outside help) you can learn an awful lot with them. Key to learning a lot is to understand what's going on, not so much to build stuff.

    This is NOT the one I had, but you get the idea.

    p.s. please stop sticking forks in power points.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  6. phileaton

    phileaton

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    Oct 11, 2010
    I didn't stick a fork anywhere? Or is that tech talk? But I will check out that kit, thanks.
     
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009

    No, we realise that, but what you did was just as dangerous, as sticking a fork or other conductive object into a power point :(
    Please dont do anything similar again unless you wanna meet your maker much sooner than you should

    electronic kits are great, some like the one Steve has linked to, provides the way to experiment with a large number of projects and if you work your way through them you have opportunity to learn lots about the various electronic components, what they look like, how they work etc

    Dave
     
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