# Thread: Would dropping a radio in a bathtub kill you?

1. Depends on what's playing I guess. If High Voltage were playing, yes, you'd probably die.

2. Batteries are DC (direct current) wall outlets are AC (alternating current) and it's not volts that kill its amps. Something like a radio? Low amps, but would go to infinite amps to trip the breaker. You may not die. Something like a toaster that uses high amp resistance to heat elements would be much more likely. But who knows, I have no desire to find out personally. Lol

3. Originally Posted by Roypoitras
Batteries are DC (direct current) wall outlets are AC (alternating current) and it's not volts that kill its amps. Something like a radio? Low amps, but would go to infinite amps to trip the breaker. You may not die. Something like a toaster that uses high amp resistance to heat elements would be much more likely. But who knows, I have no desire to find out personally. Lol
Infinite amps? Not hardly. Current would be limited by the impedance of the transformer and the wiring. And it doesn't take much current to kill you. It's on the order of a few hundred milliamps. Electrical Safety: The Fatal Current

4. Lol, I'm an electrician by trade. The definition of a short is infinite amps. And that is a few mili amps straight across your heart. You keep researching to best my 10 years experience though buddy

5. Originally Posted by Roypoitras
Lol, I'm an electrician by trade. The definition of a short is infinite amps.
No, it's not. The resistance of the circuit sets a limit on the current that flows. This is important to understand for two reasons:

1) Breakers have a limit on how much current they can safely interrupt. It is usually on the order of 10,000 amps for breakers in domestic load panels. Exceeding this would make interrupting the circuit difficult or impossible, and could damage the breaker.

2) If a long run of thin wire is used to distribute power from a breaker, then the resistance may be somewhat high. If there is a short at the end, the resistance may limit the current to less than the breaker's rating. The classic case is a (say) 40 amp dryer outlet that someone has added a connection to by adding thin gauge wire to a second outlet. "I won't be drawing much power so the thin gauge is fine" they reason. Then there is a short - but due to the high resistance of the wire, only 35 amps flows, which is not enough to trip the breaker. It IS enough, however, to heat the thinner wire to ignition temperatures, and a fire starts.

So any distribution system must ensure that shorts 1) do not exceed the interrupting capacity of the breaker and 2) provide enough current to trip the breaker during a fault.

6. Billvon, you can always have an overload or high impedance fault, so the lesson from your example should be to have your overcurrent protection properly sized for the ampacity of the wire.

7. Would dropping a radio in a bathtub kill you?

Seems likely to me.

8. Originally Posted by Roypoitras
Lol, I'm an electrician by trade. The definition of a short is infinite amps. And that is a few mili amps straight across your heart. You keep researching to best my 10 years experience though buddy
I've been an electrical engineer/technician for 25 years and I have never heard anyone claim a short is infinite amps.

billvon pretty much explained it in the above post.

Back to the op,

The answer depends on many factors which have been pretty much covered in this thread.
The out come of this scenario will depend on 3 main factors

1: The bodies resistance to the current flow (across the heart for fatality)
2: The heart's current flow maximum threshold (how much current in amps the individual's heart can withstand before failure)
3: The amount of current flowing in relation to the time exposure of this current.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_shock

obviously if there is some sort of protection device such as a RCD (residual current device), RCBO, GFI or similar that has been correctly installed and operates sufficiently fast enough then the likelyhood of a fatality is dramatically reduced.

Here is a link explaining how Faraday cages work, for those that mentioned it in the thread. HowStuffWorks "Electrostatic for the People"

9. if I add a lot of salt in the water/bathtub, plug, hmm, 3 old eletronics in the same outlet, and maybe use some copper into my chest/heart direction, it would kill me?

hypothetically, ofc, ofc

10. I doubt if dropping a radio into a tub would hurt me much, but whoever is in the tub might be in for a bit of a shock.

11. Originally Posted by Roypoitras
Lol, I'm an electrician by trade. The definition of a short is infinite amps. And that is a few mili amps straight across your heart. You keep researching to best my 10 years experience though buddy
In my 40 years in the field, I have learned, through research and training, water (being a poor conductor) allows electricity to disperse, in some cases away from ground, to complete a circuit. A/C is far more dangerous, because (even below threshold amperage) it can cause arrhythmia. One can receive a shock, shack it off, then go home and die of a heart attack 3 hours later.
Edison was a big D/C advocate, and his electric chair was adopted for executions, it was however quickly learned that the amount of "juice" and the physical results proved grotesquely ineffective. Westinghouse's A/C chair did a much better job, because A/C does wonders to mess up body's nervous system.

12. Originally Posted by MacGyver1968
Back to the OP - probably not.

13. Originally Posted by billvon
Originally Posted by MacGyver1968
Back to the OP - probably not.
On battery probably not. Plugged in, I wouldn't try it. That is why GFIs are strictly required by codes.

14. Originally Posted by keeseguy
On battery probably not. Plugged in, I wouldn't try it. That is why GFIs are strictly required by codes.
I wouldn't want to try it either, same way I wouldn't want to try breathing in the smoke from a plastic fire. But in both cases it's very unlikely to kill you. Electricity returns to ground via the closest/lowest resistance path, and that's going to be the radio's neutral or ground.

15. See post #55 for forensics on bathtub electrocutions.
However the current would not need to stop your heart to kill you. Paralysing of the skeletal muscles would be enough to either stop your breathing by peventing your ribs or diaphram from moving, or else if the arms to neck paralysed let your head slip under water drowning you.

16. 4 Electrocution

Although pure water does not conduct electricity by itself (I bet you didn’t know that!), any impurities, like salts in the water, enable it to be an extremely effective conductor. When salts are dissolved in water, they separate into positive Na ions and negative Cl ions. These opposite charges, like the opposite poles of a battery, create the potential for the conductive effect. Waters conductive properties make it very dangerous as it allows an electric current to travel through it rapidly and shock any unsuspecting person in contact with the water.
Electric shock occurs upon contact of a human body part with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current through the skin, muscles, or hair. Large currents passing through the body may make it impossible for a shock victim to let go of an energized object. Still larger currents can cause fibrillation of the heart, damage to tissues, and death. For example, in 2012 two boys were electrocuted while swimming in a lake in Knoxville, Tennessee. As it turns out, a boat house floating at a dock nearby had frayed wiring that became exposed and contacted the lake water. The five adults who jumped in the water to help were also shocked.

17. water being a poor conductor forces the current to disperse over a large area seeking it's path to neutral

18. Originally Posted by keeseguy
water being a poor conductor forces the current to disperse over a large area seeking it's path to neutral
Also to note, high resistance also creates a high voltage gradient.
This means anything with a lower resistance between the high and low voltage points should conduct a higher proportion of the current.
In effect a body in pure water would become the short path(circuit) for the current.

19. Originally Posted by keeseguy
water being a poor conductor forces the current to disperse over a large area seeking it's path to neutral
Also to note, high resistance also creates a high voltage gradient.
This means anything with a lower resistance between the high and low voltage points should conduct a higher proportion of the current.
In effect a body in pure water would become the short path(circuit) for the current.

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