Death by Capacitor?

Thread Starter

cjdelphi

Joined Mar 26, 2009
272
I Give up, I once ages ago managed to touch something in a circuit which obviously was connected directly to the 300v camera flash... I lived, felt the entry/exit from 1 hand to the other hand, I know, I know, I never died...

I've been googling for the past 10 minutes or so, and I can't find anything relating to actual death from capacitor discharge, not 1 single news story, am I being retarded?

Anyone ever read a proven case from death by Capacitor? I'm googled out lol
 

R!f@@

Joined Apr 2, 2009
9,734
I don't think average caps used in flashes or house hold item SMPS stores a charge that would but I might be wrong.

I too have lived to tell the tale on the shivering jolt on cap discharge from flashes to SMPS filter caps more than I can remember.

Basically I think it is because of the area of contact being too small that we are able to back away u know
 

Thread Starter

cjdelphi

Joined Mar 26, 2009
272
Think defibrillators.
Defib is hardly a capacitor discharging through your body, but, if someone used a Defibrillator on a living person, can you or an expert categorically agree that using one on a perfectly healthy person would kill them?... of course I hope nobody has tried..

I see the warnings, blah, but has anyone actually died? that's the question.
 

praondevou

Joined Jul 9, 2011
2,942
I think it's absolutely possible to die by a capacitor discharge. It all depends on the energy stored in it, i.e. how big they are. Probably not the relatively small caps in an smps, even though it's quite unpleasent to touch them.
You want an actual article/report of someone who died from such a discharge... Maybe you should ask in a hospital:D
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,220
It would be most likely that such a death would be reported somewhat generally as "electrocution" rather than getting so specific as "high voltage, high current discharge from a capacitor"; most people wouldn't want to know the details, and it's doubtful that a reporter would want to risk being incorrect.
 

iONic

Joined Nov 16, 2007
1,650
In the right place, under the right conditions, with the right person, even that 300V cap can kill. And since we don't always know if we are the right person under the right conditions, then it is far safer to play it safe then to play roulette.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,220
People have even survived being struck by lightning, which is perhaps the ultimate capacitor discharge. However, death is the usual result.

So, if you see "death by lightning strike", that is in fact a capacitive discharge.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,164
You have stated it takes 10µa to kill with electricity on another thread, which was incorrect.

I looked up defibrillators on Wikipedia, early experiments killed many a dog. A little reading goes a long way. Defibrillators can induce fibrillation (or stop the heart altogether) as well as restore normal heart rhythm. It's been mentioned before, but current path of electricity is extremely critical.

There are quite a few medical procedures that involves stopping the heart. How do you think they do it?
 

steveb

Joined Jul 3, 2008
2,436
There is no doubt that capacitors can and have killed people by electrocution. As said it comes down to voltage and stored energy. Personally I work on a system which uses a capacitor bank at about one Farad and over a thousand volts. You can bet this could kill you easily.

Large capacitors can also kill you by exploding or by falling on your head from a sufficient height.
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,220
When I was on active duty in the Marines, a fellow technician got 'zapped' with 18kv from our radars' HV power supply. Fortunately, he survived the shock. He did a 1-1/2 back flip into a large galvanized trash can that was behind him. He had no idea how he got in there.
 

rmarotta

Joined Dec 24, 2009
2
It all depends on the circumstances.
Over the years I have been shocked many times by UNpowered picture tubes while servicing TVs. Even a few jolts from the live 30kv+ flyback power supplies from time to time.
I'm still here.....
 

steveb

Joined Jul 3, 2008
2,436
When I was on active duty in the Marines, a fellow technician got 'zapped' with 18kv from our radars' HV power supply. Fortunately, he survived the shock. He did a 1-1/2 back flip into a large galvanized trash can that was behind him. He had no idea how he got in there.
Wow! In the future the Olympic committee may need to ban electric zaps along with performance enhancing drugs.
 

TBayBoy

Joined May 25, 2011
148
A doctor filling in the death certificate would use a medical condition as cause of death if possible, so these cases probably are buried under arrhythmia or death by mis-adventure.
 

someonesdad

Joined Jul 7, 2009
1,583
He did a 1-1/2 back flip into a large galvanized trash can that was behind him. He had no idea how he got in there.
When I was a student, I was alone in a lab one night poking my finger in a circuit I was too stupid to figure out that I shouldn't poke. I heard a bang and the next thing I know I was on my back looking up at the fluorescent lights. The bang was the large lab table hitting the ground; my convulsive jerk after touching a high voltage spot caught the table on my thighs and lifted it up off the ground. You should have seen the beautiful bruises on my legs from that. Some lessons from school are more strongly remembered than others. :p
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
The flash capacitor from a camera does have the ability to kill someone if discharged directly across his/her heart. It could be enough to cause fibrillation, which obviously, can lead to death. Also, if someone has an artificial pacemaker, he or she is at risk from a simple electric shock. It could easily cause the pacemaker to malfunction, trying to defibrillate a heart that is still beating. It could cause a heart attack that would ultimately kill the victim.
A couple of videos to watch, and I'll let you decide for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Photonicinduction#p/u/8/4EdvUZsvvcQ
http://www.youtube.com/user/Photonicinduction#p/u/1/PiDPKX9ldh8

Regards,
Der Strom
 

KMoffett

Joined Dec 19, 2007
2,903
Besides the current, timing is very important to electrocution death by heart stoppage. If the current pulse occurs during certain parts of the cardiac cycle it can cause ventricular fibrillation or complete stoppage.

Ken
 
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