I just put this up on the Mythbuster's site......

I just posted the following over there, so hopefully a method can be devised to test this safely:

(1999) A US Navy safety publication describes injuries incurred while doing don'ts. One page described the fate of a sailor playing with a multimeter in an unauthorized manner. He was curious about the resistance level of the human body. He had a Simpson 260 multimeter, a small unit powered by a 9-volt battery. That may not seem powerful enough to be dangerous… but it can be deadly in the wrong hands.

The sailor took a probe in each hand to measure his bodily resistance from thumb to thumb. But the probes had sharp tips, and in his excitement he pressed his thumbs hard enough against the probes to break the skin. Once the salty conducting fluid known as blood was available, the current from the multimeter traveled right across the sailor's heart, disrupting the electrical regulation of his heartbeat. He died before he could record his Ohms.

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thejrb9 years ago
No amps are what kills. There is no way a 9 volt battery could put out enough.


endolith thejrb9 years ago
tech-kingsays: "its usually the amperage that kills, not the volts." thejrbsays: "No amps are what kills." You don't know anything about electricity, do you? You're just parroting something you heard on the Internet from someone else who knew nothing about electricity. Please learn more about the subject before misleading others.
Goodhart (author)  thejrb9 years ago
Under normal circumstances I would agree. But, there are cases of "low amperage deaths" caused.
I am neither arguing for nor against the idea the moment, but just fielding both sides.

Posted at BoingBoing under the topic of: Edison electrocuted an elephant 105 years ago today
It's all about the wattage folks (volts x amps)- not AC vs DC. High voltage with low amperage will not kill you, nor will low voltage with high amperage.

But ramp up wattage and either DC or AC will kill. AC will defibrilate your heart ...

This was the contention of the those perpetuating the idea I started with: that the ramp up and back down was sharp and fast, and created the problem. Death can occur with as little as 0.03 Amps (30 milliamps) of electricity passing through the heart and disrupting the electrical circuitry of the heart.

Take note of: from Engineering.ORG

Hellchild9 years ago
cool, I want to see this on Mythbusters
Goodhart (author)  Hellchild9 years ago
I haven't seen any interest yet.... *sigh*
Well yeah, I'm kind of a Mythbusters geek and, maybe later someone will think that this is cool too. : )
Firebert0109 years ago
I doubt this actually happened. In theory it sounds exciting and feasible, but I doubt there's any way a 9v battery, even directly across the heart, will kill.
I guess it just comes down to what would cause the heart to start pumping with an irregular rhythm. I too am skeptical about it, but I would like to know if it would be possible.
Goodhart (author)  Firebert0109 years ago
I am a bit skeptical myself, but I never totally dismiss anything without fully understanding it first. (BTW: I only hate this time of year because I become a human capacitor and discharge lightning bolts everywhere I go....I HATE being shocked.....)
I lost my feel for electricity (I can hold a 9 volt on my toung until it dies)
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