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shocked by lamp

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by norwintd, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. norwintd

    norwintd Member Fight Leukemia

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    i had an interesting occurrence today . I was holding a blow lamp in my hand that i had removed from a fixture. I want to grab it with my other hand and it shocked me. It felt like getting shocked by a car battery and the sting lasted for a minute or so. It made a loud enough snap that the person beside me heard it. I was wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else?
    Could a lamp store a charge like a capacitor or was it a static charge amplified by the lamp.
    it was a EHD lamp if that helps
     
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hold on so you had already removed it from the base? Exactly how were you holding it? What part did you touch with the other hand? You know you can't give yourself a shock so the charge would have to be insulated between the one hand and the other somehow. I've read things about ancient glass jar capacitors that aren't that much unlike a lamp turned upside down.

    SHIP!!... We need your help on this one big guy!
     
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    What were you standing on/near?
    It could just have been a huge static build up that used the lamp as a conductor.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    norwintd, you had FIRST unplugged the fixture before removing the lamp cap, right? Just wanted to eliminate the possibility of an electrical circuit between: What you were standing on -> your feet -> your hand -> lamp cap -> grounding pin -> building's electrical ground. Was it dry that day in Irwin, PA? What was the relative humidity inside your building? I feel that gafftaper's "I've read things about ancient glass jar capacitors that aren't that much unlike a lamp turned upside down," hypothesis is plausible, and worth exploring. Did you save the 500W EHD lamp? What was the make and model of the fixture in question? What color, if any was inside the glass envelope? Was there an obvious break in the filament? What brand lamp? This may sound sadistic, but are you able to re-create the incident? Peculiar that norwintd describes "like getting shocked by a car battery and the sting lasted for a minute or so." Car (all) batteries are DC.

    Since Ship is our resident expert on "all things lamps," I look forward the hearing his thoughts.
     
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Yeah, but a Leyden Jar, <early battery/capacitor>, has to have some form of electrolyte inside the glass envelope. While it would be plausible to think that the two leads could act as electrodes for the "Battery" what would act as the electrolyte. We know that the halogen gas in the envelope is "Noble" and therefore incapable of holding a charge. If there were an even microscopic hole in the envelope, which happens occasionally, it could have let in some atmosphere, which is often what causes the cool discolorations on the inside of blown lamps. Perhaps, some form of Tungsten oxide could then have been suspended inside the lamp. Now for this to work properly, the envelope would have to have been breached, the filament blown, and the envelope then resealed in very short order. So let's say a microscopic hole develops, atmosphere rushes in, oxygen reacts with filament creating Tungsten Oxide Gas, Filament breaks at weak point caused by oxidation, white-hot filament hits Quartz envelope at precisely the point where the microscopic hole had developed, White-hot filament causes quartz envelope to melt and re-seal itself resealed envelope contains some bizarre ionic compound hither to unknown to modern science, Said Ionic compound then stores a static charge not unlike a Leyden Jar of old, and then Shocks the heck outta poor Norwintd.

    How's that ?
    For an experiment hold the glass in a set of insulted pliers, rub it up and down someone wearing a wool sweater, then bring the contacts close to something metallic and grounded, like a piece of bare conduit, to see if it discharges.
     
  6. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    No big Ham Radio rigs around? I remember a girl that got her butt zapped sitting on a sofa while her boyfriend was keying his rig in the next room!
     
  7. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Can't wait to hear some more on this one. I love Van's explanation for turning a lamp into a Leydon Jar. I am not tempted to experiment.
    Everything that can possibly happen eventually will.
     
  8. norwintd

    norwintd Member Fight Leukemia

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    ok guys i will try to answer some of the questions

    yes it had been removed from the base by one of my students carried from the stage to our storage room behind our light booth. probably about 75 foot walk. He handed it to me. i had it in my hand for a 20 -30 seconds then I got nailed. I believe i had it by the base in one hand and hit the glass with the other. The filament was broke and there was a hole melted through the glass after i got shocked(not sure if the hole was there beforehand)

    I do still have the lamp I will take a closer look at it tomorrow.

    I think avkid is on the right track. After thinking about it, our storage room is actually part of the circulation system for the auditorium it has two large air handlers in a not so large room. I think the room became one big static chamber
    and the lamp became the conductor


    I will see if i can recreate the occurrence, the weather is staying about the same the next few days so conditions should be similar.
    Ill let you guys know
    and hopefully Ship will drop in with some help
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I doubt its acting as a capacitor with that long of a walk. You probably got a static shock. Now... every time I have got hit by 120, it tends to be a "warmer" shock, I think you were describing a quicker more high voltage shock like a static shock would be.
     
  10. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    But, you have to admit........ It is possible.
    :twisted:
     
  11. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Dont' wait for me, sounds solved by the group not just one.

    Derekleffew sounds better than I do in helping to refine and understand the situation about the shocking lamp. Also Van’s scientific expiation is what I’m thinking also but in a less scientific way. The specific lamp in question was very important - if strobe light was in question - he he he, touch to circuit board or capacitors. :) but the lamp itself does not hold a charge - no lamps hold a charge. If you were on the grid at the time it’s a different story as to what might be the cause. Could still be totally un-related to the lamp and more a short but doubtful.

    Further refining of your description of being shocked, it might perhaps be useful figuring out what happened by describing where you were - the floors etc. better. More important about the shock, was it just for a moment or prolonged? Kind of thinking that it was a huge static zap which would be instantaneous and not last more than a moment without you doing anything to remove yourself from this condition. Think about this student walking across the carpet in the auditorium with say some form of shoes that don’t get along with it so well and you with an opposing charge from your room etc. The very refined glass than holds the charge as possible - though I would not think it would hold much of one. You on the other hand have an opposing charge. (Once the filament is broken it equals nothing, though the aluminum of the lamp base might add to the charge some. Been years since high school science class but hard to believe a monumental charge were held by the lamp. This especially if you didn’t get it the moment you touched the lamp - one handed or not. Perhaps the aluminum lamp base otherwise held that charge but again not much area to collect up a charge large enough.)

    Static should be instantaneous no matter how monumental, so would the capacitor shock - not that I have ever had one - others about me get them when they touch stuff they should be careful about, the other types of zapping should be prolonged and less a “what happened” type of thing than a “oh’ my type of thing.” The battery would qualify as “oh’ my!”, so would a short.



    Here is what I would recommend for days like this. Add a humidifier to the room, if nothing else the dust will kill you over time that this would do away with in no longer being able to help with the charge. This should help with the static problem some. Perhaps an ionizer fan otherwise.

    Otherwise and especially recommended is the use a product like “Static Guard” in a way much like you might apply bug spray on yourself. As if bug spray, kind of spray/wipe all about yourself from hair to toe before mid-morning and it should be good enough for the rest of the day. Change the type of shoes you were wearing, some allow you to get zapped more than others - my current boots in my last shop would instantly zap anyone working near me every time I reached out a hand. Changed buildings and I don’t have that static problem any longer, or perhaps the boots wore down more in not as much having an effect. Didn’t have that problem before I got this specific pair of boots.

    Next would be the investment type of thing, stuff like static floor pads and arm bands. Tell the school that you deal with electronics and send in a request for what takes you liking in solving the static problem. Otherwise the school might take a more broad discharge problem solution such as changing your floor (what type of floor do you have?) Or doing something with the ventilation.

    Other more theoretical options might be to wash your light prep room’s floor at least once a week and dust with a dusting product. Perhaps even add a bit of salt to the wash bucket in getting really theoretical by way of grounding path.

    Never seen this type of static discharge thing before associated with a lamp. People yes, larger equipment sure. Assuming you were not directly getting the charge from the person who gave you the lamp, it’s a fascinating and no doubt unique thing that has happened - one to tell the young students about. Yell at the student to pick up his feet!
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    thinking also that you should go to the Mythbuster's website and submit your problem. Do a link to them for our discussion in getting them up and rolling but this could be a curious thing for them to study. They are tech people afterall and would know what a EHD lamp is no doubt.
     
  13. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    With electricity... anything is possible... we think we know how it works but in reality we know how it acts, we have no clue why it actually works all the way down, we simply have a "because it does" argument.
     
  14. norwintd

    norwintd Member Fight Leukemia

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    to answer a few of ship's questions
    the floor in storage room is a tile floor, some couches piled up( i was not in contact with them) metal shelving and two large air handlers overhead
    i will try to take some pics of the room to help understand a little more.

    the shock was like a static shock it was very short but much stronger than a rub you feet on the carpet shock.

    I am going to talk to the hvac guy about it because he is the only other person who spends time in that room and may have experienced something similar.
     
  15. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    What color is the floor? I hear the white floors are a real problems... paint on the walls.... if you have blue pain on the walls you should probably never walk into that room again.... and if the couches are purple... i'm surprised you survived.
     
  16. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I've had static shocks that were much stronger than carpet shocks. Dry climate, JLG rolling man lift moving around on carpet produces enough static shock that you'd think you'd touched bare wires.
     
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Hmm...
    Somebody give you the wrong drugs at the pharmacy?
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    10-15 years ago we were on vacation somewhere down in Reno or Vegas. Anyway, it was a really bad combination of carpet and weather or something. Every time you touched anything metal from door knob and elevator button to objects in the room you got zapped... and I mean HARD. You could actually see the room key arc as you put it in the door. My wife and I would take turns pushing buttons and opening doors but it was actually better to get zapped because the other person would just build up an even stronger charge. It was terrible.
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Gafftaper, yes, that's the price we in Las Vegas pay for living in "pair o' dice." Our winters are brutal, getting shocked every time we walk across carpet. Keeps us grounded. Relative humidity about 5%. I'd so much rather be shoveling tons of white stuff. Grog12, I almost fell out of a scissor lift to a shiny concrete floor once when I touched the metal ceiling. After the third or fourth time, I decided I didn't like it and came down and clipped an extra lighting safety to the frame of my lift and dragged that around for the rest of the day. Problem solved, except people kept asking me if I knew I had a safety attached to my lift.
     
  20. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    My college TD, while teaching us Stagecraft, had this to say about electricity, " You turn on the switch there, the light comes on up there. It's magic. Any questions?"
     

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