Tell me the Dumbest thing you have ever done with Electricity (and lived to tell about it)

When I was about four years old, I grabbed my mom's keys. They were on one of those old style cheap chains - and I stuck two keys into the 110V plug and almost got killed. It blew up in my hand and knocked me to the ground. The chain melted and after pulling out the keys, the plug still worked. I never got a spanking for that, mom just grabbed me and held me and cried. I never knew why till I got much older...

I got more of them, I've had a history with Electricity and it always wins...

Later, now tell me yours...

I once was working on a high power RF tube type amplifier. It seemed to have a tube socket problem. It is much easier to troubleshoot this problem with the amp turned on and warmed up. Needless to say I ended up with 1500+V blasting into my thumb and out my pinky finger. I also wound up on my arse on the floor.

When I was 3-4 years old, being in my grandparents home, I decided to take a spare push button switch from a lift/elevator my grand father had in his garage, and I just plugged it in a socket, don't tell me what I was thinking it was going to happen..

This doesn't quite fit the question, but almost: I was playing with a yo-yo, trying the trick "around the world", and the yo-yo smashed the light bulb in the ceiling. I carefully picked up every single bit of glass I could find, and did nothing else. When Dad came home, of course it wasn't long until I got in big sh*t. There was of course still the metal light-bulb base stuck in the socket, and being a dumb kid, I vehemently denied knowing anything about it. :)

Okay this story fits: at work, I was troubleshooting this piece of equipment, and I stuck my hand into it, but stupidly, my left hand, with a watch on it. I touched the wrong things and my reflexes pulled out my hand fast, but of course my watch band got stuck on something. That caused a few nice gouges.

I did the same thing as old-lumens too, but just with a twist-tie. The twist-tie instantly lit up and melted.

From when I was a little kid, I was curious about how stuff works. Even read an entire twenty tome encyclopedia about "how everything works" before I turned ten. This curiosity, never left me...

Once upon a time, I was 16 or so and I was curious about how does the elevator locks the door and decided to do a little experiment to see with my eyes. I understood that the elevator "knows" when the door is open and I had to "fool" it to believe the door is closed while it was open so I could feed my curiosity. My brother was already one floor down and was ready to call the elevator as soon as I fooled it...

I searched for a button on the surface where door closes, found it and press it with no luck, elevator still "knew" the door was open... So I searched some more and found another button on the other side of the door. With my right hand's index finger I pressed the right button and with my left hand's index finger I pusGGZZZGGZZTZZZZZZGGZAAP!

I don't know if I got 220V, but the experience was about the same as another time that I know it was 220V I "saw" something like blue thunders all over my both hands up to the arms and electricity "kicked" me pretty hard, my arms were in pain and all my body was in pain, almost like I over-exercised and my muscles suffered. But, after a few hours, I was fine again.

Yep, I've done the exact same thing. :)

I work on dental equipment for a living and on a install of some many years ago, I found myself above a ceiling installing a track mounted light. In the process of wiring up said light i had to squeeze my arms in between the drop ceiling and the backing. Unbeknownst to me was nameless electrician had wired up a nice neutral reverse for me. No meter 10 ft. in the air so i do my usual hot to ground to get a spark trick, partner verifies to breakers are off, and I proceed. As I start feeding the bundle through the hole the neutral bit me and held on, grounding my arms to the drop ceiling. Screamed like a banshee and my partner kicked the latter out from under me, I fell, taking the drop ceiling with me. Needless to say 2nd degree burns and a small trip to the emergency room, which luckily was just across the street, and no nerve damage! Extremely lucky.

Side note...

When the office opened the next week. The doc went to drill on his first patient in his new ops, and low and behold, the electrician strikes again! This time he had ground the dental chair plug to the chair itself the neutral reversed the lighting in the handpiece from the unit. Lets just say his patient was less the pleased to have 24 V DC running through their jaw. And as far as I know that electrician is still working.

In a big hurry once I had to remove a ceiling fan from my moms house. I was in such a stupid hurry that I didn't feel like taking the time to go in the basement to hit the breaker and got it in my head that I could do it carefully with the juice on. Because the thought of doing it live was in my head I didn't think to just use the wall switch to cut the power. Because this is a stupidest thing you have ever done thread, you know how that turned out. No injuries when I touched the wrong things together but a few of my wife's opinions were confirmed that night. Many times in my life I have said thanks that I live in a 110V country.

Got my hands across a 600VDC tube RF power amplifier in an old two-way radio that a customer wouldn't replace with a new set.

Never forgot it!


I was somewhere between 12-15 and my friend and i found a 250,000V neon sign transformer in his dads garage. That thing had to weigh 20+ pounds... (he worked for a sign company at one point)

We decided to turn this into a jacob's ladder with some really thick copper wire we had also found. Long story short, we made it and it worked, then we started lighting things on fire with it. All of this is pretty stupid. At some point he bumped it or something and it fell over on him and starting electrocuting him. I ran over and kicked the electrodes off of him and he got to live :)

Im guessing GE or Motorola.

LOL! Breaker? Switch? What’s that? I have a nasty habit of doing most fixture, outlet, and switch replacements with the juice live. Been bit a lot but heck, that’s the challenge, no?

Worse I've received was as a teenager working on theatre lighting for the local amateur theatre. I was connecting some huge spotlights and one of them had a bad plug. 400+ volts knocked me back a few feet on my ass.

As a drywall finisher for many years, I've worked on more than a few homes where the electrician decided to let the electric be live even though nothing was connected to the wiring. Switch receptacles are always right along the joint path and when pushing the wiring into the box to get a smooth finish on the joint I've been bit plenty of times and had wires melt in my hand.

I ended working on the elevator industry, did you also do the same? Haha.

H) I worked in an industrial environment for most of my life. We had machines that had cages which could slide aside, to work on the equipment. I was watching a worker who was inside the open cage working on an issue. I put one hand on the cage frame and one hand on the cage itself. WAHM! 240v ran from one side thru the other, using my body as a conductor. I could not move and the current made my hands grip the cage and frame. The other guy saw me looking strange and he figured it out quickly. He did a kung foo kick on me and it blew me to the ground. I was in the hospital for three days.... After I woke up...

The machine manufacturer had relied on using the cage's sliding track for a ground when the cage was open. The cage contained a 240v 3 phase motor and the track was the ground to the machine. They said it was not possible to get electrocuted in the manner I did. Famous last words... :exmark:

One of the plants I worked in had an electrician die. Good friend of many, we all knew him. He got pulled into 480 3 phase and got fried. There had been a lockout on the machine, but the lockout proceedure was wrong. Only one lock for 5 guys working. He was on the back side of the machine and one other guy took off the lockout and powered it up.

I will never forget the smell when I arrived at the scene...

I used to work in the Engineering Test lab of a company that manufactures heavy earth moving equipment. We were running tests on a ~400HP DC motor hooked up on a test stand in our lab. We were monitoring the voltage with Fluke meters connected directly to the bus bar. Part-way through the test, the low-battery warning on one of the Flukes came on; rather than disconnect the leads from the power, I simply unplugged them from the Fluke and changed the batteries. When I went to plug the leads back in, I accidentally shorted them together on the back of my hand, with the motor running at full load. Needless to say, there was a very loud 'bang' at that point. Unfortunately, the short killed the speed sensor on the test stand resulting in the motor beginning to accelerate rapidly to unsafe speeds. I was able to hit the E-stop switch while I still wasn't sure exactly what had happened. When I looked at my hand, it was entirely black, apparently from the oxidized metal from the leads. When my boss saw it, he wouldn't touch it. I later found out that he thought it had been badly burned from the arc and was a solid third-degree burn. Fortunately, it all washed off in water. My other co-workers had been hiding in the break room when they heard the motor run away. They were worried the motor would overspeed and start slinging shrapnel from the coils. As it turns out, I only ended up with second degree burns on the back of my fingers and blisters under my fingernails. And a valuable lesson on being careful with electricity... Cool

In a former lifetime as a commercial photographer, I was attempting repair on a set of portable strobes that had been subjected to water intrusion from a rainstorm on-set.

The pack that provides power to the head units (4) contained four capacitors that, when energized, provided the energy to fire the flashtube in each head.

One of those capacitors still had a charge. When it discharged from shorting with a screwdriver, the electric shock in my arm was so violent that I elbowed myself in the ribs hard enough to bruise them severely. They turned an amazing shade of purple-green.

I should have known better, having made rather effective stun-guns out of disposed single-use cameras' flashes as an early teen. Nope.

I also explored the mains plug as a wee lad, but rather than with a set of keys or a twist-tie, I used the tiny tweezers from a Swiss Army knife. POP-BURN-BLISTER-PAIN. Lesson learned.

I have a weird story for you .

I have a potted ficus tree on my back patio that I habitually put christmas lights on every year . One year I was watering said tree while decorated and didn't realize that the extention cord was sitting on top of the soil in the pot , or that the circuit was hot .

I was shocked by electricity coming up the stream of water !

Maybe none of us should be modding flashlights. ;)

Great stories! I'm waiting to hear more!

Arc drawing and other experiments with mains connected MOT's when I was younger, bad idea. Never did have any mishaps, but it is still a really bad idea and one of the dumbest things I've done with electricity due to "500mA @ 2kV".