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Thread: Getting shocked

  1. #1
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    Getting shocked

    So something weird happened to me a couple days ago. I had wet leather gloves on and was using a Hypertherm 85 to cut some metal. Well the dang thing shocked me! In 15 years of using plasma cutters ALOT Ive never gotten shocked that I can remember so Im like what the heck? It wasnt a hard shock to knock me on my butt but more like a shock from a milder electric fencer which is still enough to wake me up. So then I took that finished piece and starting welding on it with the Miller 252 and got shocked again! Id had it by now and tore those gloves off. Well I had a metal splinter in my finger that Id gotten days before but it was under the skin so I didnt bother with it yet but now it had worked its way up and was just sticking out of my skin so I think between the wet gloves and that metal sliver acting as a lightning rod into my body it was just the perfect little setup I guess. Ive welded many a time with damp gloves but never been shocked like this with a welder before. Would that little metal sliver make that big of a difference vs not having a metal sliver? Seems if the gloves are wet vs dry that would be the bigger deal but like I said Ive welded with wet gloves before without incident. I pulled that sliver out AND put on some dry gloves and no more problems..

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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcreek View Post
    So something weird happened to me a couple days ago. I had wet leather gloves on and was using a Hypertherm 85 to cut some metal. Well the dang thing shocked me! In 15 years of using plasma cutters ALOT Ive never gotten shocked that I can remember so Im like what the heck? It wasnt a hard shock to knock me on my butt but more like a shock from a milder electric fencer which is still enough to wake me up. So then I took that finished piece and starting welding on it with the Miller 252 and got shocked again! Id had it by now and tore those gloves off. Well I had a metal splinter in my finger that Id gotten days before but it was under the skin so I didnt bother with it yet but now it had worked its way up and was just sticking out of my skin so I think between the wet gloves and that metal sliver acting as a lightning rod into my body it was just the perfect little setup I guess. Ive welded many a time with damp gloves but never been shocked like this with a welder before. Would that little metal sliver make that big of a difference vs not having a metal sliver? Seems if the gloves are wet vs dry that would be the bigger deal but like I said Ive welded with wet gloves before without incident. I pulled that sliver out AND put on some dry gloves and no more problems..
    Yup....that will cause you to get zapped, I been zapped through fillings in my teeth a time or 2...thats a sensation gets your head spinning in circles. I have some pins in my right hand and some of the fingers on it....Ive been zapped already that I could feel it in the bones where the pins are...that dont feel good at all

  3. #3
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    Re: Getting shocked

    When I was a kid, learning how to frame houses, we worked in the rain a lot; it is/was Oregon, after all.

    We'd be out on some job site, with a temporary power service, and the rain coming down in barrels full; you'd pick up the Skil saw, (the older one's didn't have plastic handles), and you'd get about 50-60 volts. Not enough to make to cramp up on it, and make you jump, but it was not a pleasant feeling.

    I couldn't stand it, and refused to use the dang saw. The old a** I worked for would just grab the thing and saw all day. "What's the matter with you?", he'd say.

    You really shouldn't get shocked with a modern welder/cutter, with newer wiring. If you're getting shocked, it means the business end of the tool is finding a less resistant path to ground through your hand, body and out your feet. There's actually a lot of resistance in the body.

    I don't have/use a plasma cutter; does it use a ground cable like welder? Not getting a good connection through a ground cable could zap you, wet or dry. Otherwise, it has to be caused by the internal grounding, or lack thereof, in the box, or wall where it's plugged in.

    Does a plasma cutter use a higher frequency to generate the plasma? A higher freq might be wanting to 'jump' easier, but I'm speculating. It might be worth an eMail to customer support of the manufacturer, and ask them what could cause you to get zapped. If it's something wrong, but not completely 'broke', 'wore through', etc, in the machine, and it completely breaks, you might get more than a tickle...

    After falling off a two foot step ladder and ruining my life at 50 years old, I tend to advise, and live by: better to be safe, than sorry.

    Two foot ladder, and a plastic garbage can 3/4's full of water caused me to lose everything I'd gained in life, up to that point, (except my tools; never sell your tools!)

    GeoD

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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcreek View Post
    So something weird happened to me a couple days ago.

    I pulled that sliver out AND put on some dry gloves and no more problems..
    90 volts,, is 90 volts,, it will shock you if the right conditions are available.
    A welder welds at ~around 20 volts, but, when a stick welder is waiting to strike an arc, the voltage is usually 90.
    Plasma cutters have an even higher voltage,, IIRC,,
    Maybe not just water, but, toss in some salt from a LOT of sweat,, better conduction occurs.

    MANY times, when welding, I just changed where I was standing, and picked up the stinger, and started welding again.

  5. #5
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    Re: Getting shocked

    Once years ago I was part of a crew building a house. Lunch time discussion came around to why some people feel they've been severely shocked, others in the same situation barely feel it. I got out a very precise ohmmeter, and found a wide difference in human conductivity.
    Plumber had high blood pressure, a no salt diet, skin very dry, thick callouses. He conducted very little.
    Carpenter & I were somewhere mid range, and a lovely female tile setter was a very good conductor.

    I think shock is about current, voltage, and pain tolerance. Those less resistant to current will suffer more. Wet gloves, a sliver bypassing skin might make a difference.

    Get your metal off the floor with something non conductive. Make sure the work lead is well connected. Cover skin with clothing, use dry gloves. Get your torch into position on the metal before hitting the trigger. Rubber soled boots will help. Don't provide a path for electrons with your body.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Once years ago I was part of a crew building a house. Lunch time discussion came around to why some people feel they've been severely shocked, others in the same situation barely feel it. I got out a very precise ohmmeter, and found a wide difference in human conductivity.
    Plumber had high blood pressure, a no salt diet, skin very dry, thick callouses. He conducted very little.
    Carpenter & I were somewhere mid range, and a lovely female tile setter was a very good conductor.

    I think shock is about current, voltage, and pain tolerance. Those less resistant to current will suffer more. Wet gloves, a sliver bypassing skin might make a difference.

    Get your metal off the floor with something non conductive. Make sure the work lead is well connected. Cover skin with clothing, use dry gloves. Get your torch into position on the metal before hitting the trigger. Rubber soled boots will help. Don't provide a path for electrons with your body.
    Seems to me Ive heard of some kind of special non conductor type boots electricians who work in underground mining are supposed to wear, or am i thinkin of something else. I dont know its been maybe 20 years since i last did any underground mining, and that mine didnt have no elecric in it evrything was air powered or muscle powered

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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoNOregon View Post
    After falling off a two foot step ladder and ruining my life at 50 years old, I tend to advise, and live by: better to be safe, than sorry.


    GeoD

    Would you mind exaggerating this story please. I mean 20 foot ladder and a pool full of alligators at least.

  9. #8
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    Re: Getting shocked

    Wet gloves are all you need to do it. I have picked up a cracked stinger in the rain and found that white people can and do jump.

    I was taught to TIG weld with one glove for that reason. The truth is that you need to be grounded or you can get shocked by a very small ARC created with a few volts and a few amps.

    Lack of contact with the ground because you fall back on your heels can kill you if you have a metal object in an AC ARC or a pulsing DC ARC.

    I once punched both busses of a new live panel box that had no branch breakers installed yet, broke the skin, and drew blood on both contact points, and it felt like a 120-volt shock on my hand even though it was 220. It was the hertz more so than the voltage.

    I remember first learning to weld aluminum in Grumman Aero Space, and I was very aware of the electricity going through me. But after a while, I became more interested in the ARC and forgot the electricity. I would bet that the area near the sliver of metal was irritated and the nerves had heightened sensitivity.
    There have been people killed by plasma ARC welders but you have to get it just right to die. A poor ground would be my guess. Or holding a metal part in the ARC that is not grounded.

    I am sure that holding a metal object in an ARC can mess you up if you are not well grounded, standing in water, very moist concrete, or falling back on your heels. Concrete and your body are capable of transmitting 16 volts of a 24-volt source rather nicely.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    If I wasn't so.....crazy, I wouldn't try to act normal, and you would be afraid.

  10. #9
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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by old miner called Pop View Post
    Seems to me Ive heard of some kind of special non conductor type boots electricians who work in underground mining are supposed to wear, or am i thinkin of something else. I dont know its been maybe 20 years since i last did any underground mining, and that mine didnt have no elecric in it evrything was air powered or muscle powered
    Welder power is usually less than 100 volts. Most footware can effectively insulate from 100 volts.

    Welder work lead is not intentionally grounded. You weld on a bulldozer, it is connecting itself to earth, connect your work clamp to the dozer, it then makes everything grounded & conducting through you to earth is a concern. If you had something nonconductive under that crawler, the current can't flow through you to earth. As a teenager, I welded outside the garage, often as not in rain, wearing soggy sneakers. I got zapped a lot. Raising the item being welded on an insulator prevents that. Of course, touching the work with any other part of your body will yield different results.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  11. #10
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    Re: Getting shocked

    I was standing in wet grass, barefoot, twisting telephone wires together when a 90V ringer pulse came along.
    MillerMatic 252, HTP 221 w/cooler, Hypertherm PM45, Lincoln IdealArc 250 AC/DC

    "I'd like to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible"

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  13. #11
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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by old miner called Pop View Post
    Seems to me Ive heard of some kind of special non conductor type boots electricians who work in underground mining are supposed to wear, or am i thinkin of something else. I dont know its been maybe 20 years since i last did any underground mining, and that mine didnt have no elecric in it evrything was air powered or muscle powered
    Our elictricians in the copper industry were required to wear dielectric hard toe shoes, I think a lot of the steel toes are being done away with in favor of composites.
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    Re: Getting shocked

    I've been zapped too. Been lookin for that filler rod for 3 months now. No idea where the hell it went. Keep your work clamp as close to the work as you can and keep your gloves dry.

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  16. #13
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    Re: Getting shocked

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Welder power is usually less than 100 volts. Most footware can effectively insulate from 100 volts.

    Welder work lead is not intentionally grounded. You weld on a bulldozer, it is connecting itself to earth, connect your work clamp to the dozer, it then makes everything grounded & conducting through you to earth is a concern. If you had something nonconductive under that crawler, the current can't flow through you to earth. As a teenager, I welded outside the garage, often as not in rain, wearing soggy sneakers. I got zapped a lot. Raising the item being welded on an insulator prevents that. Of course, touching the work with any other part of your body will yield different results.
    Even a twelve-volt automotive electrical system can kill you because the ARC that is created from shorted wires is capable of delivering 30,000 volts. The white light of the ARC created by a twelve-volt battery is not twelve volts. To give you an idea of just how high the voltage is I once disintegrated the glass on multiple bulbs in a string of Christmas tree lights when I accidentally shorted the wires from the battery. In the circuit was a neon bulb that survived and it lit up like a very bright strobe light. And all I had was 12 volts. Yet I disintegrated the glass on the Christmas tree bulbs with the ARC. That is what kills people.

    Sincerely,

    William McCormick
    If I wasn't so.....crazy, I wouldn't try to act normal, and you would be afraid.

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