Bumper cars electrocution

Thread Starter

salvus

Joined Apr 2, 2020
20
With the bumper cars fairground ride, the version that uses the Floor Pick-Up (FPU) System, what stops people from getting electrocuted if they fell over, or stepped on two opposite strips at the same time? I am just looking at the Wikipedia description of how it works.

Many thanks
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
2,062
The article makes no mention of voltages but I'd imagine to meet safety regs the voltage between strips is 48v or less, which is more than adequate to power those vehicles. In fact, this site that sells new and vintage bumper cars suggests they are 12v (which makes contact reliability much harder than 48v IHMO).

1604829592227.png
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
2,062
The ones I rode as a kid, the floor was GND and they had a post rising from the back of the car to a "slide" on the HOT ceiling. But then, I am getting ancient...
Yes, me too. Can't say I've ever seen the floor-grid type. They still make the 'pole & shoe' type.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,058
With the bumper cars fairground ride, the version that uses the Floor Pick-Up (FPU) System, what stops people from getting electrocuted if they fell over, or stepped on two opposite strips at the same time? I am just looking at the Wikipedia description of how it works.

Many thanks
The voltage is low, very low. So figure 12 Volts (maybe) and then figure human skin resistance dry or wet and there is not enough current going to flow.
" The NIOSH states "Under dry conditions, the resistance offered by the human body may be as high as 100,000 ohms. Wet or broken skin may drop the body's resistance to 1,000 ohms," adding that "high-voltage electrical energy quickly breaks down human skin, reducing the human body's resistance to 500 ohms". I am guessing on the about 12 volts power but it is low.

Ron
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,243
The included ad shown in post #2 gives the voltage as 12 volts, which would not be a hazard to anybody with shoes on. And I also have not seen any of them. The grounded floor and hot ceiling make a lot more sense, really.
And with the current law-suite-happy atmosphere I doubt that we would even see bumper cars any more. Or even half of the amusement park activities. But it seems that they do exist.

Avoiding shorted circuits must certainly be a bit of a challenge for the floor-only bumper cars, and it seems that there must be a bit more to the controllers circuit to avoid reversals as the polarity changes. OR some interesting technology that is not obvious.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,484
The ad does say 12V battery 2 pc (24v?), so why would any power be coming from the floor? Some kind of safety interlock system to prevent "out of bounds" activity or power cutoff? The old "pole and shoe" style would arc some and occasionally throw a short-lived spark from the shoe.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,250
The ones I rode as a kid, the floor was GND and they had a post rising from the back of the car to a "slide" on the HOT ceiling. But then, I am getting ancient...
Nearly all bumper cars I've ever ridden have had the same configuration with HOT overhead and GND below. However, in Coney Island, New York, I do remember one set of go-karts that were electric powered from multiple rails in the floor. The trick to the greatest speeds was to ride in parallel to these rails. Crossing them meant reduced speed some how. I don't know if they were low voltage AC or DC but when the carts crossed over opposite poles there must have been some overlapping causing higher currents to be drawn and thus, shorting (sort-of). Like I said, the one I rode had both electrodes in the floor.

[edit] tried googling it but only came up with modern go-karts gasoline powered. Maybe someone else remembers the ones I mention. I was 13 when I was there. I'm 50 years older now.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
9,243
The ad does say 12V battery 2 pc (24v?), so why would any power be coming from the floor? Some kind of safety interlock system to prevent "out of bounds" activity or power cutoff? The old "pole and shoe" style would arc some and occasionally throw a short-lived spark from the shoe.
The internal battery would be to provide hold-up power while the bumper car was between power strips. Otherwise they could often stall as they lost contact, since to avoid short circuiting the feed source the gaps would have to be larger. Battery power alone would not be suitable because the cars would certainly need a lot more recharging time.
 
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