The “experienced with electrical shock” badge (LEVEL III)


In which the recipient has had experience with the electrical shocking of himself/herself. (JL)



  1. I’m pretty confident that I can now tell the difference between AC and DC purely from what the shock feels like. (AC is more tingly).

  2. There needs to be a level 4 for this maybe? Yeh, Ive electric shocked myself. often. 2500V once. you should see what your muscles look like when they get hit by that kind of voltage. No ill effect except a sore arm and ‘wow, holy shit!’

    That was all in my teenage years, the learning how to make really dangerous electrical stuff phase. Now Im an uber really dangerous electrical stuff maker. I often calculate out the internal inductances in things to make sure they maximum pulses are in the low several thousand amp/ low numbers of megawatt range, so they dont destroy themselves in case of a fault… When you can make electric arcs that are louder than most guns, you’re really cookin…

  3. Definitely needs a level 4! As in, for a shock that laid you flat out on the floor, possibly in an unconscious state.

  4. Oh yeah, in one lab I worked in, they got so used to my “woo-hoo-hoo!” cry when I got a zap that they didn’t even bother laughing at me anymore.

  5. RF burn from a radio transmitter. Arc went in the palm of the hand, out the elbow. I’ll never point things out with a metal pen on the antenna field again.

  6. I shocked myself so often as a child that I discovered many commonly unknown side-effects of electrical shock. Including the wiping of short-term memory. Which is partly to blame for the high number (I lost count at the age of 6 when I had shocked myself in the last year more times than I had digits). I have also managed to bruise myself from such violent shocks including one from a TENS unit. The strangest side-effect I’ve developed in the last year is picking up my cell-phone as it gets a signal from the cell tower. Whether it’s a call, text, or just a update to the system.

  7. Oh, yeah. I was about to work on a piece of equipment powered by 3-phase, 400Hz, too-much-voltage. As it had burst into flames the previous day and the first step in extinguishing a blaze is “turn off the power”, I assumed the power was off. Rule two: don’t assume. I was alone. On a weekend. On a ladder. I lived, but did not work any more that shift. I presume the loss of one of the 1.5kv phases was not related…

  8. I’m not sure this should be level 3, surely many people would be elligible for this badge but not badges 1 or 2.

  9. Considering all of the other discomforts involved, I was surprised that I noticed I was shocked. -15 degrees F, windy, tired and at the end of the night shift and then suddenly I felt so alert and awake and disoriented and tingly. Oh yeah. Turn the geophysical equipment off before you dismantle it. Ooops. Although I* would* recommend it as an alternative to camp coffee.

  10. I’ve done the disassemble a disposable camera specifically to make it into a taser, and shocked myself several times intentionally while testing it.

    Then there was the time I was testing a wall outlet, and my finger bridged the multimeter leads. It felt tingly for about half an hour afterwards.

    Then there was the time I was debugging a test light assembly that was hooked up to a 12 V lead acid battery. I’d been unplugging it and replugging it every few minutes. The one time I forget to unplug it, I unwrap the electrical tape from both solder connections from the light to the battery connector, then touch both of them, one in each hand, at the same time. There was a sizzling bang, I felt like I got kicked in the chest, and I got knocked a good two feet backwards. Ooops.

  11. My personal favorites:

    Using a pair of lineman’s pliers I found on the street to adjust the gap on a running 15kV Jacob’s Ladder. Turns out the insulation on the handles wasn’t quite what it used to be. It took me a second to realize WTF just happened and I had a few episodes of random near-fainting the next two days. By far the most interesting shock I’ve given myself.

    Replacing a ceiling light fixture, standing on a chair. Tested it – no current, start disassembling *shock*, test it again, no current, *shock*. Two days (took a break to think about what I could be overlooking) and SIX shocks later, the wires finally shorted and tripped the (wrongly labeled) breaker it was _really_ connected to. Even after shorting it again like 4 times, I was still flinching when I went to grab it again. Do not trust that the previous owners of your home understand how to properly wire things.

  12. I’ve done a VERY stupid thing. I did the tongue test trick to see is two small wires were live before connecting them to a small electric motor. It turns out I had set my bench supply to high voltage and high amperage instead of low voltage and low amperage. everything tasted like copper for the next day or so. I still tell the story and show the scars to people.

  13. I’ve zapped myself with 3,000 volts once. It was harmless because it was low amperage, but it was a continuous stream of 3,000 volts. It hurt.

    Also, I’ve touched a 9 volt battery to my teeth. That hurts a hell of a lot more than touching it to your tongue.

  14. When I was a kid, my dad gave me the ignition coil out of a Model T and a lantern battery to play with. Brzzzt. Over and over in the name of pretty blue sparks.

  15. When I worked at a Science Museum, I was demonstrating the Van der Graaf generator to a roomful of schoolkids. One of the demonstrations was pulling “lightning bolts” off with a grounded metal pole. I turned off the lights and started the demonstration and the electricity went straight to me. The last person using the equipment forgot to plug in the ground, and I forgot to check. “Uh, kids, did that lightning bolt hit me? Hang on, kids, I need to turn on the lights and check something…”

  16. Shouldn’t this be for those of us who’ve experienced shocking ourselves *on purpose*? Or would that count as a Level 4?

  17. I was working at Deep Submergence Unit in the early 90’s at North Island Naval Air station, San Diego CA. The Deep Submergence Unit (DSV-3) was having a new ground system being tested. I was working on the Mercury trim can and was leaning over the can looking inside. The drop light I was using was plugged into the building. They lit off the new ground system and it sends and electrical pulse three times a second. It turned out there was a bit of a jump between the building electrical system and the ground system. I was told that my legs twitched, I slid out of the DSV and sat on the ground giggling. I still don’t recall that to this day. A grounding cable was added when we were doing work.

  18. We had a game in high school: all classmates hold hands of persons nearby and one of them shocks entirie class using a transformer (literally something like an induction coil: 9V battery + generator based on a relay + transformer increasing the voltage).

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