Testing Voltage By Touching Wires To Fingers And Tongue In 1953?!

1953 American Electricians’ Handbook!


154. Electricians often test circuits for the presence of voltage by touching the conductors with the fingers. This method is safe where the voltage does not exceed 250 and is often very convenient for locating a blown-out fuse or for ascertaining whether or not a circuit is alive. Some men can endure the electric shock that results without discomfort whereas others cannot. Therefore, the method is not feasible in some cases. Which are the outside wires and which is the neutral wire of a 115/230-volt, three-wire system can be determined in this way by noting the intensity of the shock that results by touching different pairs of wires with fingers. Use the method with caution and be certain that the voltage of the circuit does not exceed 250 before touching the conductors. (This and several paragraphs that follow are taken from Electrical Engineering).

155. The presence of low voltages can be determined by tasting. The method is feasible only where the pressure is but a few volts and hence is used only in bell and signal work. Where the voltage is very low, the bared ends of the conductors constituting the two sides of the circuit are held a short distance apart on the tongue. If voltage is present a peculiar mildly burning sensation result, which will never be forgotten after one has experienced it. The taste is due to the electrolytic decomposition of the liquids on the tongue which produces a salt having a taste. With voltages of 4 or 5 volts, due to as many cells of a battery, it is best to test for the presence of voltage by holding one of the bared conductors in the hand and touching the other to the tongue. Where a terminal of the battery is grounded, often a taste can be detected by standing on moist ground and touching a conductor from the other battery terminal to the tongue. Care should be exercised to prevent the two conductor ends from touching each other at the tongue, for if they do a spark can result that may burn.

Posted: to General News on Thu, Oct 12, 2017
Updated: Thu, Oct 12, 2017