SAFETY WARNING - Alternating Current is DANGEROUS


Alternating Current Electricity (aka: Electrical Mains, wall current, et al.) can and WILL KILL YOU, if you give it half a chance.

See that picture? See those black marks? Those are electrical burns my friends. That doesn’t wash off! But for the grace of God and the fact that I only violated ONE of my safety rules, I could very well be dead in the floor of my garage right this second!!!

1) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS disconnect the power and/or turn off the breaker to the circuit that you are working on.

2) Before you start ACTUALLY working, VERIFY that you followed Rule #1 and disconnected the power or turn off the breaker to the circuit that you are working on.

Narrative: There I was… making a custom heavy duty extension cord to run my germination/seedling station lights and heaters in the garage. I did NOT turn the breaker off, because I was building the cord from scratch with cable stock and plug/receptacle ends.

After terminating one end (I taped the other end up triple layer) I plugged it into the wall so I could lay it just right, route it, and put the right amount of slack in several places. I did just this, and determined how much cable stock I would need and marked it.

THEN, I let myself get distracted from walking directly to the 2-gang duplex on the wall and unplugging the terminated end. It doesn’t matter how or why I got distracted, but I did. I then proceeded to pick up my dikes and carefully CUT THE CABLE at my mark.

POW!! Poof… Electrical burns, no tripped breaker, and almost death.
Had I NOT been using a quality set of electrically insulated Klein cable cutters in my right hand, and/or had my left hand been touching the cutting surfaces of the Kleins when I cut, I could have easily stopped my heart… or at least been injured badly.

@MattyBear @dbrn32 @Bogleg @Missiles @TDubWilly @MacGyverStoner @Rob @kabongster

It was a 125 VAC, 20 AMP circuit with NOTHING ON IT… but my cutters.

I lived. And the lesson only cost me a couple of electrical burns and an expensive set of cable cutters.
Yeah… the arc over evaporated about half of one side of the cutters!!

I work with AC current all the time. I am a rule follower. But everyone makes mistakes. That’s why we use redundant safety measures and procedures.

How I could have avoided this near death experience:

1) Follow rule #1.
2) Follow rule #2
3) Don’t plug in single end terminated cords UNLESS you follow Rules #1 and #2 via turning off the CIRCUIT BREAKER to the receptacle you are going to plug into.

End of Safety Brief! Be careful out there. Learn from my mistakes. :slight_smile:

I’m tagging a bunch of you. Please tag out and spread the word. Wish there was a way to post announcements and safety tips.


Thank you for the reaffirmation @QST_59. Sorry for the hard lesson. And glad you survived your shocking experience to tell the tale. Peace brother. :v::+1:


Thank you. I got complacent and stupid! Plain and simple. Sharing it here as a reminder to all to NEVER let down your guard! Use proper procedures. Use checklists.


And that’s all it takes is a moment of inattention for something serious like this to happen. I’ve had a lift before so always very careful. Only takes 1 amp to stop your heart given right circumstances. @QST_59.


Wow glad you made it out alive… This is why I don’t mess with anything electric! Lol that’s my rule. Be safe man.

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You’re lucky the blue arch angle didn’t take you to paradise!

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I had a similar flash burn when I did a stupid thing while wiring.
Wiring a 220v air compressor for a friend I was simply running the wires into the junction box on the compressor and one of the leads rubbed on the edge of the knockout hole. The conduit connector was on the metal conduit so the knockout had those sharp edges on it. Fortunately it only cut through the insulation of 1 wire so it was a 110v to ground short …but it burned me good. It did blow the 30 amp breaker. 40 years later I still remember the sound of that flash.
So I agree you got to follow the rules.

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Ouch! Sucks to say, but could’ve been worse.


BTDT! Still have the hole in my thumb too.


Good rules to follow @QST_59

I need to come out of the dark ages and quit touching leads together to throw the breaker in order to figure out which circuit it is :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


LMAO!!! I have a complete mapping of every light, receptacle, et al in the place reduced to a table taped the main and each sub box.

And yeah… sparking breakers to trip is dangerous and shortens the breakers lifespan.


If that breaker didn’t trip, I’d replace it. Glad you’re ok! :v:

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@QST_59 wow, very lucky mate,glad your ok ,at work we used to have to isolate it with a physical lock,so you cannot turn it on or touch while locked,or anyone else. so lock the power switch with a key from the breaker attached to it so you cannot turn power on unless you take breaker key out with big writing on it, BREAKER KEY :slight_smile:


I would like to add that if you have all your equipment and lighting plugged into an ARC FAULT circuit or arc fault/gfi multi function circuit breaker could save your life. All new homes are required to have that now for Everything. Electrical safety is number one. Smoke detectors are not a bad idea also.thumb


I did that at a job site once. I am a generator guy. Customer didn’t know which breaker powered the wires I needed to work with, so I put on my 1000 volt gloves and cut the 240 volt wires, lol ! It scared the shit out of him and blew the side out my cheap dikes, lol. We found and labeled the breaker

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At least this wasn’t you @QST_59