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Thread: Touching 120V wires

  1. #1
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    Touching 120V wires

    Ok, this is going to sound crazy, but a electrician came to my house to install a water heater and told me that touching 110V coming out of the outlet has healing effects. Regardless of the healing aspect, I was more curious how he hasn't died the many times he has done this. He went into his truck, stripped a standard cord, plugged into the outlet in my garage, and touched two exposed ends. He felt a vibration, but was fine (the green ground wire was left unconnected). I don't get it. I didnt want to get anywhere near him to test current and validate voltage, but he offered the cable to me to touch. Even though I had no intention to try it myself, since he offered the cable to me I trust he wasn't tricking me, otherwise I would have been hurt and he would have been sued ans lost his job.

    Any thoughts?

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    First of all, I HATE getting shocked! It hasn't happened to me in years, because I'm careful, but it has happened. A bad shock affects me emotionally.

    It surprised me how little a finger-to-finger shock felt on one hand, but never surprises me much it hurts from hand to foot or other parts of the body.

    I have seen guys intentionally touch wiring to test for power, but I have never done that, and don't intend to start any time soon. That's just nuts.

    Healing powers? I'm very doubtful.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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    The more "calloused" his hands are as well as having no broken skin, cuts, lacerations... the higher the insulating value of his skin may be. This may allow him to tolerate something that average skin won't tolerate so well, and definitely not something very tender skin may be able to handle.

    Current through the body generally "cooks" whatever it passes through. Not much chance of healing effects as a general rule, maybe some benefit when targeted as a treatment to tissue that is not in healthy condition though, but such a treatment should be administered by a qualified medical professional IMO.

    There is "shocking the heart" back into rhythm, but that is a targeted and controlled procedure for time/duration, voltage level, as well as what specific part of body it is applied to and not just randomly grabbing an energized pair of conductors.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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    Any thoughts?

    Uh...the guy is crazy?

    And he is trying to get his customers to touch the cord?

    Never let this guy back in your house.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  5. #5
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    The journeyman I worked with back when dirt was new would check voltage on 240 volt receptacles with fingers of one hand.

    Work toughened hands and wood flooring. Not me. Not happening on purpose.
    Tom
    TBLO

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    The journeyman I worked with back when dirt was new would check voltage on 240 volt receptacles with fingers of one hand.

    Work toughened hands and wood flooring. Not me. Not happening on purpose.
    AMERICAN ELECTRICIANS' HANDBOOK 7th Edition 1953 McGraw-Hill MEASURING, TESTING, AND INSTRUMENTS

    154. Electricians often test circuits for the presence of voltage by touching the conductors with the fingers. This method is safe where the voltage does not exceed 250 and is often very convenient for locating a blown-out fuse or for ascertaining whether or not a circuit is alive. Some men can endure the electric shock that results without discomfort whereas others cannot. Therefore, the method is not feasible in some cases. Which are the outside wires and which is the neutral wire of a 115/230-volt, three-wire system can be determined in this way by noting the intensity of the shock that results by touching different pairs of wires with fingers. Use the method with caution and be certain that the voltage of the circuit does not exceed 250 before touching the conductors.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  7. #7
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    One of the videos I have from Mike Holt refers to this method of checking for voltage...also for how to do cpr... the old way..stick two fingers up someplace...
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    Where I did industrial training, there was an electrician who would regularly test bayonet cap light fittings. It was 250V then.
    Known as Andrew "Digits" Leck. He had huge hands and was wicket keeper in the works cricket team.

    An electrical safety training course, the trainer stated that the lowest voltage that carried a risk of fatal electrocution was 70Vac..
    Big difference.
    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

  9. #9
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    If the current only passed through fingers, the likelihood of a fatal shock is low. But any current passing through any part of the body will create heat, the same way it does while passing through a wire. That heat will not be healing; it will be destructive. The healing will come later, when the body repairs the damage caused by the current.

    If, however, this person touched one wire with one hand and the other wire with the other hand, then the current would likely pass through his heart. 120 volts is enough for that current to be fatal. Show him the math: 120 volts divided by 1000 ohms of body resistance (pick other values, if you wish) and compare that result to the statement that 100 milliamps is enough to kill.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  10. #10
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    ill second K8- and im suprised every reply is not telling this op how stupid his electrician is. and wrong. this idiot is just enjoying the little trick he learned, but other things aside, asking a customer to do it is deplorable... i cant wait till the dummy (the "wireman") runs out of luck.

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