The Pain of Electricity – AC versus DC (video, “for Science”)


Ever wonder which hurts more, getting shocked by AC or DC?  Neither did we.  But this guy did.  “…anything for Science“.

Don’t miss his channel, here.

More on our intrepid researcher here in his intro video:

Categories: General, Videos


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18 Comments on "The Pain of Electricity – AC versus DC (video, “for Science”)"

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Bizarre. He could withstand twice as much DC voltage as AC voltage. The wiggling tongue was as expected but very strange looking. The second video really doesn’t need to be here…

Pain aside, I thought DC is generally more dangerous than AC, is that not true? Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly.

(Obviously not talking about low voltage DC here, but something like 120VDC compared to 120VAC.)

DC becomes deadly at 60volts and up

DC also locks up your muscles more and you can’t let go as easily as you can with AC.

I thought it was high amps that was deadly, not high volts?

Well… Indeed it’s current through the body which causes problems/damage. But…

We humans aren’t very good conductors: we’re basically a big resistor, although its value can vary widely as shown at the beginning of that video. Cranking up the voltage is therefore needed to get enough milli-amps flowing.

Our electrical resistance makes low-voltage sources (e.g. a 12V battery) harmless, regardless of how much current they could deliver to “better” loads.

Thanks for the clarification. 🙂

the AC voltages were stated as RMS and not peak-to-peak so that you could make meaningful comparisons between the DC level and the AC level. 120V rms is 170V p-p.

“120V rms is 170V p-p.”

You are assuming that it is sinusoidal wave (which is a good assumption for a good clean wall power).

120 rms can be more/less than 170Vpp if the waveform is NOT sinusoidal…

All I know is that grabbing a wet extension cord to the lawn trimmer was a lot less traumatizing than catching DC jolt off the briggs and Stratton spark plug!

D.C. is a mother

That has NOTHING to do with the AC vs. DC.

Spark Plug Voltage can be in the thousands of Volt vs. your typical 120V AC RMS household voltage.

Of course, the amount of current is different. But spark plug drive voltage is designed to have enough pulse to generate a large spark over air gap, so you will feel the high voltage…

Reminds me of all the times my buddies and I were adjusting distributors on cars. I’ll hold the timing light while you turn the distributor….No, I’LL hold the timing light while YOU turn the distributor. Gotta love the errant spark from that new MSD box and coil setup! 🙂

Bit by ~300VDC from EVs twice. Luckily other hand was behind my back 🙂

Was your EV negative terminal connected to the body of the car?

this is pretty funny, although i suspect that the “screw ups” were planned…notice that he was able to withstand 7V rms at 5 hz. using 60 hz can be pretty dangerous because at the frequency of the AC signal can interrupt the rhythm of your heart.

Comparing AC vs. DC is silly. Both are equally dangerous at high enough voltage and current…

But in the real world, depending on the working condition, it is easier to create a path to ground for AC power lines than a DC power lines which requires a close circuit between two terminals…

I work with this guy! I won’t let him touch my Volt!