who knows of someone who has died from electricity?

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Post by rjd2 » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:01 pm

i have tasted 250v as well. working on a project, and was just careless. my vision went black for a moment, and my reflex caused me to jump. i also got spaced out for the rest of the day. wouldnt recommend it, but didnt permanently hurt me. i think.

i just assumed most of us have tasted 110 here and there, right?

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Post by RefD » Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:49 pm

when i was 10 i grabbed onto a cattle fence on a dare.

i didn't know cattle fences were electrified.

i don't recommend it.
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Post by earl parameter » Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:55 pm

yeah electrified fences are no joke. that reminds me, an old friend and i were walking through a tractor/farm supply place in middle america back in our teens and i can't remember if i dared him or if he was just trying to be a tough guy but the idiot (this guy was an arrogant prick that later stole shit from me) grabbed a cattle prod and stuck himself with it in his outstretched hand. it blew away from him in one direction and he blow away in the other and knocked down all the shelves and everything on both sides of the isle. one of the funniest things i've seen.

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Re: who knows of someone who has died from electricity?

Post by blakbeltjonez » Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:35 am

versuviusx wrote:ok
i need to know if there is anyone here who knows of someone who has accidentally died from electrocution via Cap discharge on a power supply or just some freak accident on stage, etc. if they died from electricity they count. then i need to know how much voltages were in play here so i can do more research on the topic. i'd like to know how much voltage can kill someone and what are the max voltages that any audio equipment can produce. this includes guitar amps, vintage PA systems, modern audio equipment, compressors, etc.
the most famous example of this was Keith Relf, the former singer for The Yardbirds - he died on a stage in 1976 from a faulty guitar amp. it's worth pointing out that freak accidents like this are very unlikely, lots of people have been shocked without suffering any serious injury.

lots of old (typically Fender) guitar amps had capacitors going from the ground to hot leg of the power on those janky ground switches that you used to see on old amps in the back. in my experience, those switches are pretty well worthless and i've always just used an AC ground lift to eliminate unsolvable ground loop problems. the stock ground switches go right to the chassis ground - the capacitor is even sometimes referred to as "the death cap" by some techs.

the old caps that are still in place can obviously go bad when they are many years old - current at 120 or 240v leaks across the hot leg of the AC to the chassis if the switch is in the "grounded" position, and if you are unfortunate enough to put your lips on an SM-58 (it has a metal body that is connected to ground via pin 1 of the mic cable) that is pretty close to 0 volts, you will feel it.

in the UK or anywhere 240v is the standard voltage, the situation would obviously be much more dangerous. Keith Relf died in the U.K., i believe.

there probably isn't any modern gear made in the past 20-30 years that has that kind of flaw built into it - regulatory groups like Underwriter's Laboratory and others have made products that use electricity a lot safer.

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Post by blakbeltjonez » Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:46 am

it's also worth noting that old Hammonds (B-3,C-3,A-100's and probably others) with worn front rails (the metal panel below each manual - primarily the top manual) are also a shock hazard unless there's an isolation transformer used. Hammonds do not have a ground, per se - it's somewhere around 60-70 volts or so, so a singing Hammond player is subject to the same risks as a guitar player playing through a faulty amp.

easiest fix is for the Hammond owner to paint or tape the exposed metal, or just use a windscreen on the mic. something to watch out for, though.

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Post by trask » Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:48 pm

I pulled a 1000pf cap out of a stompbox project I was working on, and stupidly grabbed both leads between my thumb and finger. I didn't know that something that small would hold a charge big enough to shock, but it tingled a bit, and made me happy that it was only a tiny cap in a box instead of a big one in an amp. I wont make that mistake again!

My boss threw himself across a room once working on an old field-coil speaker. But he's still alive and kickin.

either way, always be extra careful.
off somewhere listening.

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Post by RefD » Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:59 pm

when i lived in NZ back in '90s, i was mortified to see an electric fence around a small utility construction project behind the museum in Auckland Domain park.

kids were walking right past it, mere feet away.
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Post by lefuquaire » Wed Apr 25, 2007 5:52 pm


"Rumours that Keith was electrocuted while playing his guitar in the bath were strongly denied by his family. The most likely scenario seems to be that he was rehearsing in the cellar of his house which had been converted into a studio, standing on an old gaspipe by the fireplace, when his guitar, which had not been earthed properly, developed an electrical fault and killed him. One source I have read says his body was discovered by his son, but I have found no trace of a marriage or any children. His death, which occurred on 14 May 1976, was registered in the Hounslow area - but I have been unable to discover exactly where his death occurred. Since his death was not registered until the September quarter, it may be that he died in the USA - or his registration may have been delayed by the Inquest."

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Post by madtho » Wed Apr 25, 2007 6:32 pm

I believe we're doing a disservice to the original post's intent by posting 'war stories' about the voltage we've taken (I'm guilty). It sounds cool to have gotten a big shock, and few mentions of folks dying.

I know I would trade the stories for not having gotten the shock, it sucked, it was very scary, I felt like crap for quite a while, and was nervous about my long-term health for longer.

All of the electrical shocks I got were while I was working on very poorly maintained equipment. A broken amp, or any poorly constructed gear are essentially poorly maintained equipment. I now know how not to get shocked, and getting those shocks is not what schooled me. Read, build 9 volt pedals so you know what all these parts are, and work up from there. You can learn quickly, and you will never stop.

You can get a good starter education in the DIY forum's some stuff to read sticky.

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/0 ... ath15.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... A96E948260

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Post by river » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:52 am

Does lightning count? I had a friend in highschool who had a job mowing a golf course. He got caught in a storm and bought the farm. Between playing music and doing construction for a number of years, I've been hit multiple times with 120V, which is more likely to kill than 220V. 120 sucks you in, 220 blows you away.
Speaking of electric fences.......years ago a friend's parents started raising sheep and put some up. My buddy had a pool party and strolled off into the shadows to take a pee. Boy, did he let out a yelp.
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Post by the tiny dancer » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:52 am

versuviusx wrote:SO your saying 60-80 milliamps will kill you. does that mean 59 will not?
i'm trying to do research on this kind of stuff and i soon wan to start to work on some DIY kits but before i do i need to know what's important when it comes to getting shocked and getting killed.
Please don't build anything. Yer gonna get hurt.

Just that type of thinking is enough to get you hurt. If it's humid, you're more likely to be shocked. The environment will never present you a perfect scenario to specify a killing voltage. And how's your heart?

I mean seriously. And please, if you ever see a downed powerline, hop on one leg or run, never walk. Don't be a path. Seriously.

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Post by Vartan K. » Fri Apr 27, 2007 1:10 pm

I don't personaly know anyone and im a electrician.

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Post by kdarr » Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:17 am

bplr wrote:if dead musician facts are your thing - check this site out:

Interesting site, somehow simultaneously morbid and totally dry.

Until I read that, I didn't know that D. Boon's full first name was "Dennes". How about that?


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Post by junkstar » Sun Apr 29, 2007 2:47 pm

The people on the other side of my town living under and near the massive power lines that feed the large county we live in are not dying, but are one step closer than the rest of us. Leukemia, severe arthritis, various cancers... scary stuff. Coincidence? Who knows. Most always folks from that area? Yup.

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Post by markitzero » Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:52 pm

I did HVAC and ductwork installation years back... been hit by 120 more times than I can remember, both in that job and in live production (I seem to get bit every time I do lighting, especially dealing with dimmers in outdoor venues during the rain). One time I saw an electrician get hit by 240 while working on a ladder up in a brand new drop ceiling. He flew across the room and took out most of the new ceiling. He was ok though. The only electrician I knew personally that died on the job was killed after falling 14 feet onto his neck. One time an electrician had accidently some bare ends touch a drop ceiling grid and walked away. Every time I went up in the ceiling a few rooms away, I got bit. It took me quite a while to track down why the ceiling grid was electrified.

That said, I constantly try to learn more about electric safety. Can't know too much about this subject, IMO. I wish I could get the nitty gritty details on some of these lethal cases so I know what to look for and avoid. I always check for pops and other strange noises when I touch microphones while setting up live and in the studio before any musicians get a chance to. Check your XLR cables on a regular basis too, as I believe it is a broken pin 1 connection that can be the culprit in some of these lethal cases.

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