Questions

Can clicking digital camera with flash near high voltage wire cause burn?

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Can clicking digital camera with flash near high voltage wire cause burn?

dhirengupta
Can clicking a digital camera with flash on near a high voltage electerical wire cause current to pass through the body and burn the body of the camera holder?

This is part of email sent to me and others and I want to know the truth, scientific evidence and veracity of the incident, whether it is scientifically possible or just another bundle of lies doing round the corners.
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    OldER Mycroft

    Try taking a fluorescent tube with you, the next time you go walking under some high-voltage pylons after dark.

    Stand immediately under the high-voltage lines where they meet the lowest point of their arc with the ground.

    Your moment of fame looking like Darth Vader is now only seconds away - or just have a look at these photos.

    http://www.stopgeek.com/richard-boxs-light-field.html

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    dcolbert Contributor

    A comment from the site linked to above:

    "Ugh. He???s using ???waste??? power. By setting up fluorescent tubes near power lines he has caused them to be inductively coupled to those power lines. Meaning they???re drawing their power from the lines just as they would if they were plugged in directly - but far less efficiently. I???m not even going to bother with the throwaway line about ???the potential dangers of power lines???.
    Your geek card is officially revoked."

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    seanferd

    check at Snopes.com.

    I don't find anything related by searching "high voltage" though. If the email has a title or such, search that.

    Can't see what a camera would have to do with it much - being really close to high-voltage wires can get you zapped regardless. But I <i>suppose</i>, being just close enough, plus the discharge from the camera, could allow enough ionization to cause current to seek ground through the camera. Seems like a "just-so" story, though.

    Any further information you want from us in particular, post the text of the email.

    edit:
    This is hilarious, if dangerous (and not really related):
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Camera_flash_high_voltage_power_supply/

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    dhirengupta

    Dear All,

    With deep pains (and tears in my eyes), one accident took place in
    Mumbai with Mr. Aditya Suresh Josh, age 19, studying in 1st year of
    engineering, died in Keshvani Hospital, Mumbai. He was admitted in
    Keshavani Hospital as burned patient.

    Reason

    4 days back this boy had gone to Amravati (One of the district place
    located in State of Maharashtra) on study tour. After their study was
    over, he, his classmates & his teachers, all of them were standing on
    "Badnera" railway station to catch the train. "Badnera" is the name of
    the railway station for "Amravati" city.

    As soon as they arrived on Badnera Railway station, many of them
    started taking pictures of their friends using "Mobile Phones" and/or
    "Digital Camera". One of them complained that, in his camera, he was
    not able to capture more number of friends in one frame. He was not
    able to catch the angle. Another boy suggested that let's climb on
    train boogie and take picture so that all of them can be accommodated
    in single frame.

    At that there was one goods wagon (all of them were oil tankers) train
    resting between 2 main railway lines.

    Kumar Aditya climbed up oil boogie. Above his head, 40,000 volts
    electrical line was passing through. As soon as he clicked the digital
    camera? 40,000 volt current passed through the camera flash light to
    his camera and then from his camera to his fingers and then from his
    fingers to his body. All this happened within fraction of minutes.
    Next moment he was thrown from the top. His body was half burned on
    the spot.

    At that time, his father (my friend) was traveling in Bangkok. His
    many friends in Pune came to know about this via mobile SMS. They
    instantly arranged air ambulance in Amravati and his burned body was
    brought to Keshavani Hospital, Mumbai. i was told that this is the
    best hospital in Mumbai. For 1 and 1/2 day or so he was talking to his
    relatives. When he was admitted to the hospital, at that time only,
    doctor informed his relatives that don't keep great hopes. Because of
    lot of complex issues in half burned body? He died yesterday morning.


    Now how many of us are aware about this technological threats &
    dangers? Honestly, Kumar Aditya and his father was not aware. His
    family was not aware. Our entire friend circle of more than 12,000, we
    were not aware. Now should we call ourselves as fully educated and
    fully knowledgeable people? Think of it. Please avoid mobile phones on
    petrol outlets. Please avoid talking on mobile phones while driving. i
    also know many of my friends who do not bother about this good
    suggestion and each one of them have opted for "Chalta Hai Yaar
    Attitude". Please avoid talking on mobile phones while they are in
    charging mode. Avoid charging mobile phones near Your bed and/or near
    wooden furniture. Avoid mobile phones near high voltage electrical
    lines like railway stations and avoid using flash lights. My friend,
    his family members and we all friends learned our lesson with loss of
    young life. Now Would You like to empower Your friends about this
    accident so as to avoid future accidents? We can save human life by
    empowering all the IT users who are in Your network?

    thanking you

    Paritosh Kumar

    +
    0 Votes
    santeewelding

    Welcome to young, dumb, and stupid.

    I share no anguish with you whatsoever. Nor, do I share your wish for sharing same.

    Lean too far over and you will fall.

    If you are ignorant of the oldest in the books, good luck.

    I remain uninvolved in your grief.

    Take a number.

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    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    What a moron you are, mate!

    You start off with what appears to be a genuinely ill-educated query as to whether a camera flash can bring about any form of danger from overhead power lines.

    Then you post some gormless bloke's email wherein he describes some equally hapless numpty who climbed ON TOP of rolling stock in order to fit some cretins into a framed photo-shot. That was really clever!!

    This author of the original email - does he, by any chance, have electro-magnetic shutters on his eyes??!! Does he have HIGH-SPEED VISION?? "Above his head, 40,000 volts electrical line was passing through. As soon as he clicked the digital camera? 40,000 volt current passed through the camera flash light to his camera and then from his camera to his fingers and then from his fingers to his body. All this happened within fraction of minutes."

    Actually - all this would've happened in a fraction of a second! A bit like this:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fc0_1243424473

    How your eagle-eyed friend was able to capture in detail, the arcing motion of the current, which entry point it 'chose' first - the flash THEN into the camera THEN into the fingers THEN into the body - this is all great stuff. I can just see the CGI that'll be employed when this is made into the next blockbusting Bollywood film, the slo-mo techniques for watching in minute detail as the 40,000 volts courses through the described route.

    Personally, from what I know of the misuse of Carbon Arc Lighting, you cannot SEE anything - all you get is a blinding flash and lots of sparks and bits of burning flesh.

    I'd also hazard a guess that your loquacious pal knew it was 40,000 VOLTS because of all the DANGER!! 40,000 VOLTS OVERHEAD POWER LINES!! warning signs plastered around the area in vivid colours.

    One final salient point, if I may be so bold. WTF has some kid frying himself on top of some rolling stock, holding a camera, under WARNED ABOUT overhead power lines - have to do with using a mobile phone?????

    Wake up and smell the coffee!

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    isuzu803

    Sir, it is a known fact that high voltage can jump several feet. If humidity and other factors are in line. Eletric current can jump more than 20ft. In 1 video I viewded of a man dieing on top of a train. The power lines were less than 10ft over-head. We learned these things the hardway, when 2 firefighters were lost on a Snorkel Truck. It is bealieved that the power jumped almost 40ft. Killing 2 men and turning 1 Snorkel truck to ash.

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    manishyadav

    Dear All
    I Want Share Some Facts About Indian Railway Regarding This Indecent.Indian Railway Works On Two Operation Mumbai Sub-urban 1500Volts DC,Other 25kv AC,How these Boys Comes under 40kv(40,000).If i supposed Grid Line Of Indian Railway it works on 133kv & cross Through min 93.6 feet(Standard) Tower.
    Another Fact :- esp Of Indian Railway 25kv traction is 5cm...

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    vishal kamdi

    I think this thing is not possible
    1) because sun light is already falling on it and it does not harm person standing under a 400 KV line
    2) For current to carry it should pass through air and air has sufficient resistance to block it
    3)In esp we need 4KV (dc)to ionize 1 cm ,so 400KV may ionize 400 cm or may be 5 to 600 cm

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    robo_dev

    It does not mention exactly how close he was to the 40KV power line.

    Obviously a camera is no more conductive than his wristwatch, ring, or metal eyeglasses, so the moral of the story is that it's a bad idea to stand on top of trains near high-tension wires (duh). It's not all that uncommon for electric trains with overhead power lines to arc to the chassis of the train every once in awhile.

    Surely he was a boy with great potential, a well-grounded individual.

    I would guess that maybe this darwin-award-nominee rested his hand on the wire to balance himself as he stood up to take the photo?

    How, exactly, did he even climb up onto the train? That's like ten feet up, other passengers would likely yell/scream for him to get the $%$$$ off of there, not to mention the transit security, conductor, station master, etc. It was mentioned that it was an oil tanker.

    In most train yards there is something like a ten-foot chain-link fence topped with razor wire to keep idiots like this out, and a passenger train station typically would have the platforms in the middle, such that the guy would have to jump down (about five feet) off the platform, cross the (active) passenger train tracks, scale a ten-foot tall chain link fence with razor wire on top, then climb up about 15 feet into the air onto an oil tank car.

    In the time it took to do all that, the passenger train surely would have arrived, and presumably some of these students might have a life and need to go home.

    Of course, many electric trains here in the states use a third-rail on the ground, and if the (victim) were perhaps laying down taking a closeup photo of the third rail using a macro lens, there *might* be the chance that an arc could goto the camera lens, and therefore cause electrocution. Of course this ignores the risk of being eaten by rats or run over by a train, neither of which would not be happy endings to the story.

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    cmiller5400

    Surely he was a boy with great potential, a well-grounded individual.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahaha - ROTFLMAO

    robo_dev you are naughty

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    mansoorpv4

    Im almost agreeing with this OldER Mycroft post,because in the case of higher electric field everything will turn to an conductor,there will be no insulators in the case of an sudden application of higher electric field,the flash light even conduct electricity.
    When the higher electric potential the electrons from the valance band of an atom acquires energy and moves to the conduction band so that the current will conduct through any material,for example in the case of lightning(introducing higher electric field for shorter interval of time) even the woods an stones are crashed because of the conductivity acquired by the electrons in the valance band.this is why the poor fellow burned

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    robo_dev

    That boy had great potential....he was a well grounded individual, but he always had a certain spark of genius....

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    CharlieSpencer

    robo_dev should be put in a dry cell. He has surged beyond watt is considered tasteful. At the very least, he should be sent ohm.

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    TheChas

    It is true that electricity will seek the lowest resistance path to the return / ground.

    It is also true that you can light a florescent lamp with the stray / leakage current from a power line.

    It is also true that your conventional camera flash is a high voltage Xenon tube that needs from 150 to 400 volts to fire.

    However, your average cell-phone camera uses an LED for the flash. Even some compact point and shoot cameras use LED based flashes not tube based flashes.

    Also, even with a Xenon based flash, you do not change your potential in relation to the power line by much if any at all. The flash circuit is fully isolated from any part of the camera that you can touch. And, even 400 volts versus 40,000 volts is not much of a change.

    Also, given that air is a very effective insulator, one would need to be very close (less that 3 feet away) for an actual arc to form from the high tension line to you or your digital camera.

    Further, the power lines near even industrial areas are usually under 20,000 volts, the chance of an arc drops even further.

    Not to say that you cannot make a scientific case for a set of circumstances that could result in current flowing from a high tension line. But, a number of conditions would need to be just right for the described event to happen.

    Bottom line, an arc discharge from a high-tension power line is possible. But, the use of a cell phone or camera flash would not create any more of a change in conditions then just raising your hands over your head.

    Chas

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    robo_dev

    Just to clarify a bit...the camera flash uses an anode voltage of around 250, but typically a trigger pulse of something like 4000 volts to fire it.

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    acharyajb

    Whether one gets shock or not depends on voltage and distance. Normally such lines are kept at safe height for no normal access to them. However if one climbs up and reaches near high voltage lines, chances of shock are there. Flash requires high voltage and that is also DC and may add to the transmission line voltage slightly. Little extra danger due to this may be there.
    From ground chances of getting shock are very less.

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    THawk2574

    The other issue with this story is that the boy was still talking to his relatives for a day and a half. After taking a jolt from a 40000 volt power line and getting thrown from a 10-foot height??? 50% electrical burns on his body not to mention physical trauma from the fall...

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    mjd420nova

    Having personally taken a 12KV shock, grounding was the lifesaver, as I was completely isolated and only experienced a mild shock, feeling just a bit more than 120 volts. Higher voltages will travel along the surface of the skin and not penetrate internally. Most electrocutions result in death due to the stopping of the heart and unavailability of cardiac shock resusitators.

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    mjd420nova

    The current produced by a magnetic field close to a high voltage power line does not use any power from that line. The magnetic field is a by-product of the AC voltage and would just be reduced by distance anyway. Much research has been done in determining the effects, if any, are produced when within the field. Look at the length of the insulators used to support the lines themselves and that will give you a clue of how close you have to be to draw an arc. Those lines are protected by circuit breakers(very huge ones) and will react to any disturbances within a tenth of a cycle. Getting close enough to draw an arc from a powerline does not require a ground point. 40KV is pretty high but the insulating distance needed for safety is small, on the order of two feet. Higher frequencies have more arcing distances and can even ionize the surrounding air.

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    robo_dev

    I hope the boy's father said: 'Son, You're Grounded'. Ohms law is the law, no matter watt I say.

    So, once his father punished him, as a obedient child, this boy never again climbed up on top of railroad cars in close proximity to high-voltage power lines to take photographs ever again.

    This, as we hopefully all know by now, is a totally made-up story that circulates the Internet like the one about the man getting his kidneys stolen or the JATO rocket strapped to the Chevy Impala out West.

    If an individual did get a bite from the overhead wire, through a camera or not, they would be quite dead.

    I suppose the suitable follow-up story would be that the camera flash, once energized by the considerable current of the power line, blinded everyone at the train station permanently.

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    harryolden

    When I was 18 I workt in the railwas as fireman on the steam trains I was ask't to dip the oil tank on the tender from the steam engine.
    I climbed on the tank and stood up my head touched the electric wire I had on a very thin cap and had rubber boots on plus there was oil on top of the tank I did not feel a shock I survived the ordeal but did learn a lot from this watch before you leap.

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    robo_dev

    In the 'camera' case discussed here, we are talking about an electric train, thus the overhead wire is an exposed conductor with something like 40KV and enough current to propel an electric train.

    In the days of 'Steam' an overhead wire would have likely been an insulated wire for lighting or power for the station, carrying at most 220 volts.

    If your head touched an insulated power feed line, you certainly would not feel the shock, because there would not be any.

    I don't mean to be argumentative, just want to

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    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    Try taking a fluorescent tube with you, the next time you go walking under some high-voltage pylons after dark.

    Stand immediately under the high-voltage lines where they meet the lowest point of their arc with the ground.

    Your moment of fame looking like Darth Vader is now only seconds away - or just have a look at these photos.

    http://www.stopgeek.com/richard-boxs-light-field.html

    +
    0 Votes
    dcolbert Contributor

    A comment from the site linked to above:

    "Ugh. He???s using ???waste??? power. By setting up fluorescent tubes near power lines he has caused them to be inductively coupled to those power lines. Meaning they???re drawing their power from the lines just as they would if they were plugged in directly - but far less efficiently. I???m not even going to bother with the throwaway line about ???the potential dangers of power lines???.
    Your geek card is officially revoked."

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    0 Votes
    seanferd

    check at Snopes.com.

    I don't find anything related by searching "high voltage" though. If the email has a title or such, search that.

    Can't see what a camera would have to do with it much - being really close to high-voltage wires can get you zapped regardless. But I <i>suppose</i>, being just close enough, plus the discharge from the camera, could allow enough ionization to cause current to seek ground through the camera. Seems like a "just-so" story, though.

    Any further information you want from us in particular, post the text of the email.

    edit:
    This is hilarious, if dangerous (and not really related):
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Camera_flash_high_voltage_power_supply/

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    0 Votes
    dhirengupta

    Dear All,

    With deep pains (and tears in my eyes), one accident took place in
    Mumbai with Mr. Aditya Suresh Josh, age 19, studying in 1st year of
    engineering, died in Keshvani Hospital, Mumbai. He was admitted in
    Keshavani Hospital as burned patient.

    Reason

    4 days back this boy had gone to Amravati (One of the district place
    located in State of Maharashtra) on study tour. After their study was
    over, he, his classmates & his teachers, all of them were standing on
    "Badnera" railway station to catch the train. "Badnera" is the name of
    the railway station for "Amravati" city.

    As soon as they arrived on Badnera Railway station, many of them
    started taking pictures of their friends using "Mobile Phones" and/or
    "Digital Camera". One of them complained that, in his camera, he was
    not able to capture more number of friends in one frame. He was not
    able to catch the angle. Another boy suggested that let's climb on
    train boogie and take picture so that all of them can be accommodated
    in single frame.

    At that there was one goods wagon (all of them were oil tankers) train
    resting between 2 main railway lines.

    Kumar Aditya climbed up oil boogie. Above his head, 40,000 volts
    electrical line was passing through. As soon as he clicked the digital
    camera? 40,000 volt current passed through the camera flash light to
    his camera and then from his camera to his fingers and then from his
    fingers to his body. All this happened within fraction of minutes.
    Next moment he was thrown from the top. His body was half burned on
    the spot.

    At that time, his father (my friend) was traveling in Bangkok. His
    many friends in Pune came to know about this via mobile SMS. They
    instantly arranged air ambulance in Amravati and his burned body was
    brought to Keshavani Hospital, Mumbai. i was told that this is the
    best hospital in Mumbai. For 1 and 1/2 day or so he was talking to his
    relatives. When he was admitted to the hospital, at that time only,
    doctor informed his relatives that don't keep great hopes. Because of
    lot of complex issues in half burned body? He died yesterday morning.


    Now how many of us are aware about this technological threats &
    dangers? Honestly, Kumar Aditya and his father was not aware. His
    family was not aware. Our entire friend circle of more than 12,000, we
    were not aware. Now should we call ourselves as fully educated and
    fully knowledgeable people? Think of it. Please avoid mobile phones on
    petrol outlets. Please avoid talking on mobile phones while driving. i
    also know many of my friends who do not bother about this good
    suggestion and each one of them have opted for "Chalta Hai Yaar
    Attitude". Please avoid talking on mobile phones while they are in
    charging mode. Avoid charging mobile phones near Your bed and/or near
    wooden furniture. Avoid mobile phones near high voltage electrical
    lines like railway stations and avoid using flash lights. My friend,
    his family members and we all friends learned our lesson with loss of
    young life. Now Would You like to empower Your friends about this
    accident so as to avoid future accidents? We can save human life by
    empowering all the IT users who are in Your network?

    thanking you

    Paritosh Kumar

    +
    0 Votes
    santeewelding

    Welcome to young, dumb, and stupid.

    I share no anguish with you whatsoever. Nor, do I share your wish for sharing same.

    Lean too far over and you will fall.

    If you are ignorant of the oldest in the books, good luck.

    I remain uninvolved in your grief.

    Take a number.

    +
    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    What a moron you are, mate!

    You start off with what appears to be a genuinely ill-educated query as to whether a camera flash can bring about any form of danger from overhead power lines.

    Then you post some gormless bloke's email wherein he describes some equally hapless numpty who climbed ON TOP of rolling stock in order to fit some cretins into a framed photo-shot. That was really clever!!

    This author of the original email - does he, by any chance, have electro-magnetic shutters on his eyes??!! Does he have HIGH-SPEED VISION?? "Above his head, 40,000 volts electrical line was passing through. As soon as he clicked the digital camera? 40,000 volt current passed through the camera flash light to his camera and then from his camera to his fingers and then from his fingers to his body. All this happened within fraction of minutes."

    Actually - all this would've happened in a fraction of a second! A bit like this:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fc0_1243424473

    How your eagle-eyed friend was able to capture in detail, the arcing motion of the current, which entry point it 'chose' first - the flash THEN into the camera THEN into the fingers THEN into the body - this is all great stuff. I can just see the CGI that'll be employed when this is made into the next blockbusting Bollywood film, the slo-mo techniques for watching in minute detail as the 40,000 volts courses through the described route.

    Personally, from what I know of the misuse of Carbon Arc Lighting, you cannot SEE anything - all you get is a blinding flash and lots of sparks and bits of burning flesh.

    I'd also hazard a guess that your loquacious pal knew it was 40,000 VOLTS because of all the DANGER!! 40,000 VOLTS OVERHEAD POWER LINES!! warning signs plastered around the area in vivid colours.

    One final salient point, if I may be so bold. WTF has some kid frying himself on top of some rolling stock, holding a camera, under WARNED ABOUT overhead power lines - have to do with using a mobile phone?????

    Wake up and smell the coffee!

    +
    0 Votes
    isuzu803

    Sir, it is a known fact that high voltage can jump several feet. If humidity and other factors are in line. Eletric current can jump more than 20ft. In 1 video I viewded of a man dieing on top of a train. The power lines were less than 10ft over-head. We learned these things the hardway, when 2 firefighters were lost on a Snorkel Truck. It is bealieved that the power jumped almost 40ft. Killing 2 men and turning 1 Snorkel truck to ash.

    +
    0 Votes
    manishyadav

    Dear All
    I Want Share Some Facts About Indian Railway Regarding This Indecent.Indian Railway Works On Two Operation Mumbai Sub-urban 1500Volts DC,Other 25kv AC,How these Boys Comes under 40kv(40,000).If i supposed Grid Line Of Indian Railway it works on 133kv & cross Through min 93.6 feet(Standard) Tower.
    Another Fact :- esp Of Indian Railway 25kv traction is 5cm...

    +
    0 Votes
    vishal kamdi

    I think this thing is not possible
    1) because sun light is already falling on it and it does not harm person standing under a 400 KV line
    2) For current to carry it should pass through air and air has sufficient resistance to block it
    3)In esp we need 4KV (dc)to ionize 1 cm ,so 400KV may ionize 400 cm or may be 5 to 600 cm

    +
    0 Votes
    robo_dev

    It does not mention exactly how close he was to the 40KV power line.

    Obviously a camera is no more conductive than his wristwatch, ring, or metal eyeglasses, so the moral of the story is that it's a bad idea to stand on top of trains near high-tension wires (duh). It's not all that uncommon for electric trains with overhead power lines to arc to the chassis of the train every once in awhile.

    Surely he was a boy with great potential, a well-grounded individual.

    I would guess that maybe this darwin-award-nominee rested his hand on the wire to balance himself as he stood up to take the photo?

    How, exactly, did he even climb up onto the train? That's like ten feet up, other passengers would likely yell/scream for him to get the $%$$$ off of there, not to mention the transit security, conductor, station master, etc. It was mentioned that it was an oil tanker.

    In most train yards there is something like a ten-foot chain-link fence topped with razor wire to keep idiots like this out, and a passenger train station typically would have the platforms in the middle, such that the guy would have to jump down (about five feet) off the platform, cross the (active) passenger train tracks, scale a ten-foot tall chain link fence with razor wire on top, then climb up about 15 feet into the air onto an oil tank car.

    In the time it took to do all that, the passenger train surely would have arrived, and presumably some of these students might have a life and need to go home.

    Of course, many electric trains here in the states use a third-rail on the ground, and if the (victim) were perhaps laying down taking a closeup photo of the third rail using a macro lens, there *might* be the chance that an arc could goto the camera lens, and therefore cause electrocution. Of course this ignores the risk of being eaten by rats or run over by a train, neither of which would not be happy endings to the story.

    +
    0 Votes
    cmiller5400

    Surely he was a boy with great potential, a well-grounded individual.

    Bwahahahahahahahahahaha - ROTFLMAO

    robo_dev you are naughty

    +
    0 Votes
    mansoorpv4

    Im almost agreeing with this OldER Mycroft post,because in the case of higher electric field everything will turn to an conductor,there will be no insulators in the case of an sudden application of higher electric field,the flash light even conduct electricity.
    When the higher electric potential the electrons from the valance band of an atom acquires energy and moves to the conduction band so that the current will conduct through any material,for example in the case of lightning(introducing higher electric field for shorter interval of time) even the woods an stones are crashed because of the conductivity acquired by the electrons in the valance band.this is why the poor fellow burned

    +
    0 Votes
    robo_dev

    That boy had great potential....he was a well grounded individual, but he always had a certain spark of genius....

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    robo_dev should be put in a dry cell. He has surged beyond watt is considered tasteful. At the very least, he should be sent ohm.

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    It is true that electricity will seek the lowest resistance path to the return / ground.

    It is also true that you can light a florescent lamp with the stray / leakage current from a power line.

    It is also true that your conventional camera flash is a high voltage Xenon tube that needs from 150 to 400 volts to fire.

    However, your average cell-phone camera uses an LED for the flash. Even some compact point and shoot cameras use LED based flashes not tube based flashes.

    Also, even with a Xenon based flash, you do not change your potential in relation to the power line by much if any at all. The flash circuit is fully isolated from any part of the camera that you can touch. And, even 400 volts versus 40,000 volts is not much of a change.

    Also, given that air is a very effective insulator, one would need to be very close (less that 3 feet away) for an actual arc to form from the high tension line to you or your digital camera.

    Further, the power lines near even industrial areas are usually under 20,000 volts, the chance of an arc drops even further.

    Not to say that you cannot make a scientific case for a set of circumstances that could result in current flowing from a high tension line. But, a number of conditions would need to be just right for the described event to happen.

    Bottom line, an arc discharge from a high-tension power line is possible. But, the use of a cell phone or camera flash would not create any more of a change in conditions then just raising your hands over your head.

    Chas

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    robo_dev

    Just to clarify a bit...the camera flash uses an anode voltage of around 250, but typically a trigger pulse of something like 4000 volts to fire it.

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    acharyajb

    Whether one gets shock or not depends on voltage and distance. Normally such lines are kept at safe height for no normal access to them. However if one climbs up and reaches near high voltage lines, chances of shock are there. Flash requires high voltage and that is also DC and may add to the transmission line voltage slightly. Little extra danger due to this may be there.
    From ground chances of getting shock are very less.

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    THawk2574

    The other issue with this story is that the boy was still talking to his relatives for a day and a half. After taking a jolt from a 40000 volt power line and getting thrown from a 10-foot height??? 50% electrical burns on his body not to mention physical trauma from the fall...

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    mjd420nova

    Having personally taken a 12KV shock, grounding was the lifesaver, as I was completely isolated and only experienced a mild shock, feeling just a bit more than 120 volts. Higher voltages will travel along the surface of the skin and not penetrate internally. Most electrocutions result in death due to the stopping of the heart and unavailability of cardiac shock resusitators.

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    mjd420nova

    The current produced by a magnetic field close to a high voltage power line does not use any power from that line. The magnetic field is a by-product of the AC voltage and would just be reduced by distance anyway. Much research has been done in determining the effects, if any, are produced when within the field. Look at the length of the insulators used to support the lines themselves and that will give you a clue of how close you have to be to draw an arc. Those lines are protected by circuit breakers(very huge ones) and will react to any disturbances within a tenth of a cycle. Getting close enough to draw an arc from a powerline does not require a ground point. 40KV is pretty high but the insulating distance needed for safety is small, on the order of two feet. Higher frequencies have more arcing distances and can even ionize the surrounding air.

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    robo_dev

    I hope the boy's father said: 'Son, You're Grounded'. Ohms law is the law, no matter watt I say.

    So, once his father punished him, as a obedient child, this boy never again climbed up on top of railroad cars in close proximity to high-voltage power lines to take photographs ever again.

    This, as we hopefully all know by now, is a totally made-up story that circulates the Internet like the one about the man getting his kidneys stolen or the JATO rocket strapped to the Chevy Impala out West.

    If an individual did get a bite from the overhead wire, through a camera or not, they would be quite dead.

    I suppose the suitable follow-up story would be that the camera flash, once energized by the considerable current of the power line, blinded everyone at the train station permanently.

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    harryolden

    When I was 18 I workt in the railwas as fireman on the steam trains I was ask't to dip the oil tank on the tender from the steam engine.
    I climbed on the tank and stood up my head touched the electric wire I had on a very thin cap and had rubber boots on plus there was oil on top of the tank I did not feel a shock I survived the ordeal but did learn a lot from this watch before you leap.

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    robo_dev

    In the 'camera' case discussed here, we are talking about an electric train, thus the overhead wire is an exposed conductor with something like 40KV and enough current to propel an electric train.

    In the days of 'Steam' an overhead wire would have likely been an insulated wire for lighting or power for the station, carrying at most 220 volts.

    If your head touched an insulated power feed line, you certainly would not feel the shock, because there would not be any.

    I don't mean to be argumentative, just want to