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Q & A: live connections

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Most recent answer: 08/02/2009
Q:
What would happen if an electrical appliance's pin connections are both connected to the live socket of the power supply, apart from chances of an electric shock to the user?(i.e. the neutral pin also in live socket) (As I understand it there will be no consequnce since there will not be a voltage drop across the appliance.)
- Nimish (age 17)
Mumbsai, India
A:
The entire device would be at the 'hot' voltage. Depending on how well shielded it is, as you say the user could be seriously shocked, since they would provide a path from the device to ground. Some devices may also have internal paths from neutral to ground, which could result in shorts and fires etc.  Well-designed products wouldn't have these problems, but why take the chance?

p.s. A well-wired house puts the light switches in the hot, not the neutral, line. That didn't stop my garage lights from flickering in the rain a couple weeks ago, despite being off. People don't always follow the proper plan. (They're fixed now.)

Mike W.

(published on 08/02/2009)

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