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Old 02-13-2008, 07:24 AM   #1
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What did I feel?


I am still learning alot about electricity...

A few weeks ago I was working on a house with habitat for humanity wiring up all the devices in the house. I completed one of the bedrooms, installed the breaker, tested and moved on to the living room. 1 of the receptacles was wired to the bedroom circuit, and when I grabbed the hot wire only, I got a good tingle. What exactly did I feel and what is the difference between touching hot only compared to hot and neutral or ground?

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Old 02-13-2008, 08:14 AM   #2
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What did I feel?


You felt voltage. You only got a tingle because you were not fully "grounded".
If you had been touching the neutral or ground wire you would have felt the full voltage.
Similarly, if you were on wet ground you would have felt most of the voltage as well. The ground is actually a poor conductor, but when wet it becomes better. Also, the current flowing when you get a shock is minimal, minimal enough that the dirt can carry it. This is why you feel it. If you were an electrical load, and you had just the hot and the dirt ground itself to conduct, nothing would happen. The dirt can only flow so much current, and it's not enough to complete any real circuit or trip a breaker under a fault.
THIS is why all grounding electrodes must be bonded to the service equipment. A ground rod alone does NOTHING in the steps it takes to trip a circuit breaker.

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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:06 PM   #3
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What did I feel?


Quote:
when I grabbed the hot wire only, I got a good tingle
.

You only grabbed the hot wire but you were likely also touching "ground" somewhere...probably the metal box or the grounding conductors.

If you are wearing dry shoes and are not in contact with and "grounded" metal you can touch the hot wires. Electricity can't go into you, it can only go thru you.

Quote:
What exactly did I feel and what is the difference between touching hot only compared to hot and neutral or ground?

You felt the 120 volts pulsating thru the wire (thru you actually) 60 times a second, on and off. Thats where the buzz or tingle comes in.


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I am still learning alot about electricity...
Hopefully you have now learned to TEST for voltage before handling wires
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:48 AM   #4
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What did I feel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
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Hopefully you have now learned to TEST for voltage before handling wires
Indeed I did.

That was my first experience working with whole house wiring... everything I have done so far only involved 1 room at a time (remodeling) so EVERYTHING I was working with had no power to it.
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