If you’ve seen a lot of espionage movies or thrillers, you’ll recognize the scene. The hero has been kidnapped, shackled, and is unable to fight as his kidnapper connects a set of jumper wires to a Car Battery. We have been trained as obedient media consumers to understand that this signals that our hero is destined to undergo torment, maybe to the point of imminent death.
But that only appears in films. Can you genuinely electrocute by a vehicle battery here in the real world?
The exact answer to that question is, as one might expect, complicated, but at its core, this is just another of the numerous lies Hollywood tells in order to provide a more compelling narrative and a more impressive spectacle.
The odds are stacked against your car battery electrocuting you. Much alone killing you. even if batteries themselves may be toxic and several components of automobile electrical systems can be hazardous.
Why Can’t You Get Electrocute By Your Car Battery?
The major reason you may safely contact the positive and negative terminals of a standard automobile battery and remain unharmed, despite some challenging arithmetic, has to do with the battery’s voltage. Despite the fact that automobile batteries theoretically contain enough amperage to kill you, voltage is another matter.
Depending on the state of charge, car batteries’ nominal voltage of 12V might go up or down a bit. That by itself is just insufficient to create an issue. You might be able to get a voltage high enough to enter hazardous region if you wire multiple batteries in series.
The primary reason that outdated lead-acid technology is still in use is because conventional automobile batteries can generate a significant amount of amperage in brief bursts. Lead-acid batteries are good at producing brief, powerful bursts of amperage, which are what starter motors need to operate.
The high contact resistance of the human body and the coils of a starting motor, however, are worlds apart.
Just explained, voltage equals “pressure,” thus even while a vehicle battery theoretically has enough amperage to kill you, the meager 12 volts DC simply doesn’t produce enough pressure to drive any appreciable amount of amperage through the contact resistance of your skin.
Because of this, you can touch either terminal of a car battery without getting shocked, albeit if your hands are moist, you could feel a tickle. However, it’s nothing like the possibly fatal, confession-inducing electrical torture you may have witnessed in the movies or on television.
Warning: To test this, avoid immersing yourself in seawater, connecting yourself to jumper wires, or placing electrodes on your fingertips and touching a vehicle battery. The math indicates that you would probably be alright, but because the human body is complex, these trials aren’t worthwhile.
Car Battery Remain Dangerous
Even if your automobile battery can’t by itself provide a lethal or even perceptible electric shock. It doesn’t imply it isn’t harmful. The primary risk posed by automotive batteries is an explosion. Which can happen as a result of “gassing,” a condition in which the battery produces explosive hydrogen gas.
You might be covered in sulfuric acid if the entire battery explodes if the hydrogen gas is ignited by a spark. This is why it’s crucial to connect jumper wires or a battery charger in the proper order.
Accidently connecting any +B wire or connection. Such as the starter solenoid, to earth, or accidentally bridging the terminals are further risks related to automotive batteries. A metal wrench has far less resistance than a vehicle battery. Which means it will tend to become extremely hot and may even become welded in place if it bridges battery positive to ground. A car battery cannot, however, pump a lethal amount of amperage into your body. That is essentially negative news on all fronts.
There Are Some Dangerous Automotive Electrical Systems
Recall that we previously stated that the fact that automobile batteries only have 12V is the fundamental reason. Why they cannot electrocute you? Yes, it is true, however not all automobile batteries have a 12 volt output. The transfer from 12V to 42V systems, which would have been significantly riskier to operate. It was heavily promoted in the early 2000s, but it never truly happened for a number of reasons.
The starter, lights, and ignition (SLI) tasks are handling by a conventional lead-acid battery. While the electric motor or motors are powered by a considerably higher voltage battery or battery pack. It is typically in hybrid and electric cars. Instead of lead-acid, these batteries frequently employ lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride technology, and they are frequently rate at 200 volts or more.
The good news is that hybrid and electric cars nearly always utilize some sort of color code to alert you about high voltage lines, and they almost never put their high voltage battery packs anyplace that you’re likely to run into them accidentally.
Before beginning any repairs, it’s a good idea to confirm what color your car uses for high voltage wiring. High voltage wires are often orange color, however some vehicles use blue instead.
When 12 volt electrical systems might shock you in reality
The low voltage of a typical automobile battery prevents electrocution by just touching its terminals. But other parts of a conventional automotive electrical system might still give you an unpleasant jolt.
For instance, an ignition coil is there to supply the enormous amount of power needed to send a spark over the air gap of a spark plug in ignition systems. That employ a cap and rotor. You will undoubtedly feel a bite if you come into contact with that voltage. Generally by contacting ground with a spark plug wire or coil wire with torn insulation.
The voltage pushed out by the ignition coil is powerful enough to push past the skin’s contact resistance. It explains why contacting a worn spark plug wire might shock you. But touching the battery terminals would have no effect.
Even though electrocution generally won’t kill you. It’s still a good idea to avoid it. particularly if you’re working with the greater voltage of a distributor less ignition system.
The Persistent Car Battery Torture Trope: What’s it all about?
The scene we started with genuinely has a grain of reality. A scenario that is based in truth is one in which the villain begins with a vehicle battery. Connects it to another gadget, and then utilizes that device to torment the hero.
A really real tool called a picana can produce electric shocks of very little amperage at high voltages. Which, like gripping a faulty coil wire, is quite uncomfortable. A standard 12V Car Battery is in use to make it work.
This cliché may therefore be mostly attribute to artistic license. Despite if grasping the terminals of your battery is unlikely to give you even the mildest shock, let alone kill you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What voltage does a shock feel like?
When the voltage exceeds 3,500 volts, the human body experiences a shock. A carpet may produce 35,000 volts when you walk on it. This voltage’s Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) has the potential to hurt. Even while the discharge is not life threatening, it hurts. Any way, think of your safety whenever you begin with a work.
2. How can I tight Car Battery connections without any electrocution?
However, there are steps you can do to reduce your chance of being shocked, and we’re here to assist. Make sure you put on gloves first. Thanks to this you can be protect from the electrical current. Before you remove the positive terminal, use a wrench to loosen the nut on the negative terminal. Do not stop here read and find more about this.
3. What happens if I connect the negative terminal first?
This is due to the negative terminal’s connection to the grounded car’s chassis. A circuit would be made between the negative terminal and the chassis if the negative terminal can connect first. Sparks may result from this, potentially harming your battery or electrical system. I expect you get an idea regarding this matter, by reading this answer.
4. Do you switch off the ignition before unplugging the jumper cables?
This might lead to an electrical arcing condition that is extremely dangerous and could harm both persons and automobiles. Keep your jumper cables from dangling loosely near the engine. They could cause problems for moving parts. Before connecting the cords, make sure both vehicles are off and the keys are out.
5. How long can a dead Car Battery last?
The good news is that, as long as it’s properly handled and maintained, the new battery may lie around inactive for two to four years and still function. If you: Store the battery upright, you may securely store an unused automobile battery for years. Keep it somewhere dry and well-ventilated. Hope you got the answer for your question.