More harmful shock from AC or DC?

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rattus

Senior Member
Edison proved AC is more dangerous:

Edison proved AC is more dangerous:

Edison saw AC as a threat to his DC systems, so he set about to prove AC to be more dangerous than DC. He arranged to electrocute an elephant with AC to prove his point. Not a very scientific experiment though, so we now have all these wonderful AC systems throughout the world.
 

drbond24

Senior Member
Edison saw AC as a threat to his DC systems, so he set about to prove AC to be more dangerous than DC. He arranged to electrocute an elephant with AC to prove his point. Not a very scientific experiment though, so we now have all these wonderful AC systems throughout the world.
I'd say he proved his point rather nicely. :)

When they set about to make a word for being killed by electricity, Edison suggested calling it being 'Westinghoused' as a jab at his competitor who was promoting AC at the time.

I've got a book at home called 'Edison and the Electric Chair.' Its a very good read.
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
Edison saw AC as a threat to his DC systems, so he set about to prove AC to be more dangerous than DC. He arranged to electrocute an elephant with AC to prove his point. Not a very scientific experiment though, so we now have all these wonderful AC systems throughout the world.
His name was Topsy, and there is a statue of him somewhere (Niagra falls I think). Here is the video, in fact this is one of the oldest videos in existence of anything.

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/1898-electrocuting-an-elephant/A55E497B2B2CB14B9165A55E497B2B2CB14B9165
 

steve66

Senior Member
Also, since a taser runs on batteries, it would have to be DC. I doubt they have internal inverters/converters (I can never remember which is which). I bought my wife a stun gun once, one of those you can hit a button and get a real nice arc across the two metal posts. It ran on a 9 V battery.
I would bet on the opposite. Stun guns probably work on AC or pulsed DC, not because that gives a better shock, but just because it is so much easier to step up the voltage with AC. Going from 9V to something that can give a good zap probably requires a switching power supply, or a small transformer.

Just as a side note, I've always heard that radio frequency signals also give RF burns, which are supposed to be very nasty. Maybe it's kind of like getting shocked and microwaved at the same time.

Steve
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
I'd say he proved his point rather nicely. :)

When they set about to make a word for being killed by electricity, Edison suggested calling it being 'Westinghoused' as a jab at his competitor who was promoting AC at the time.
One of my all time favorite quotes. That is like Ford suggesting someone killed by a car crash was "Chryslered"
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
Lots of things in this thread that start with, "I have heard. I thought, I was taught, etc...."

IEC 479 is a compliation of all the reasearch done over the last 100 years on the effects of electric shock to the human body, I highly sugest reading it.
 

techntrek

Member
Location
MD
I'm pretty sure that the answer to this question could easily be obtained by calling your local penitentary and asking whether the electric chair is AC or DC. I believe that when they set out to kill somebody on purpose they use AC. :) That would make me think it is the more dangerous of the two.

Also, since a taser runs on batteries, it would have to be DC. I doubt they have internal inverters/converters (I can never remember which is which). I bought my wife a stun gun once, one of those you can hit a button and get a real nice arc across the two metal posts. It ran on a 9 V battery.
Edison's team in the late 1800's, hoping to show AC as the dangerous/lethal alternative to "safe" DC, developed the electric chair with an AC generator as the source. Of course at the amps applied across the heart either AC or DC would work just as well.

I just found a test report on the Taser output, and it appears to be AC for the first 30-50 μs (time depends on load applied during test), with steadily decreasing peak voltage during that time until it zeros out.

Edit: I see others were quicker on the draw...
 

Vertex

Senior Member
One of my all time favorite quotes. That is like Ford suggesting someone killed by a car crash was "Chryslered"
Or at this forum it's like suggesting that some got Shunked. For the record, I have only the utmost respect for Mr. Shunk.
 

ohmhead

Senior Member
Location
ORLANDO FLA
Well AC 60HZ 110 VOLTS 220VOLTS may induce ventricular fibrillation heart stops at 60 ma .

DC needs 300 ma to 500ma to do the same .

So it takes less current with ac then with dc current to stop your heart fact but also it needs to take the path to the heart which it depends on location of being shock or how your shocked .

AC voltage above 250 volts increase in fatal effects .

AC at higher frequency yes has skin effect just like wire runs on the outer skin of wire and also the human skin were a wire .

Less fatal but burns are the result at high freq current flows on outer skin .
You must penetrate the human skin to kill or stop the heart .

DC causes muscular contractions that make you hold on thats why for years i thought it was a worst to get hit by DC at 480 volts .

AC tends to interfere more with the heart beat but it also can jerk you free so it seems its less of a hit but i will now say AC will kill you faster with less current as i read more on this ac tends to effect you heart beat so its the worst to get hit by i take back my theory .

Even at 35 volts AC can kill so even a old timer like me can see the lite !

And current kills not voltage . Ive been shocked
 
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