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Ok here's the deal. I am creating an O gauge layout for my son. I hooked up a lionel transformer and it works fine. My question is, with the unit plugged in, but the handle turned to no power (or off), if my son wants to change cars that the engine is pulling , and he accidently touches the outside rails, will he get zapped? or is it more of a strange tingle? [I was installing a new dishwasher in my house over the summer and was playing with hot wires and got zapped.] Is it that bad or worse? Second question: Does he have to complete the circuit by touching something else metal or just the inside/outside rails? I haven't been in volved with trains for over 25 years and need assurance....
 

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I believe the maximum voltage for O gauge is 20 volts which is very safe.
The most danger is with the high voltage cord that gets plugged in.
Most trainsets recommend a minimum age of 8 but if alone I would go higher.
The kid would have to know what to do if he/she smelled an overheating unit or other emergency.
 

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If the transformer is plugged in and the handle to off you should have no power to the rails. Use an electric tester light.
It's a big difference then the dishwasher. LOL that must have curled your hair! (that's were some kind of tester comes in handy! I got one for when I'm doing electric work on the house, they are cheap enough and could save a life! check Home depot for them.)

I just went down to the dungeon before I answered and turned on the transformer with the handle off and laid my hands across the rails nothing happened. I then turned on the handle to full power and laid my hands across the rails and nothing happened.

Do you want me to try it with wet hands?:D

Even if you lay a piece of metal across the tracks with it on full power all it should do is kick the circuit breaker. On the newer transformers the green light will blink and you will have no power to the rails. The same thing happens if your train derails it will just blink till you set the wheels on the track again.

8 years old? The kids now a days are pretty smart just teach him on the hazards of electricity.

Now.....let me know if you want me to wet my hands and experiment on what happens......I'm game. :D

Edit part***************************************************
Ham got his post in before mine....and he is correct the most dangerous part is the cord make sure it's in good shape. And be careful if you ever take one apart to work on it too.
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Never deliberately wet your hands before touching anything electrical. It would probably be safe but tempting fate isn't a good idea.
It takes .1 amps to kill a person. You'll feel a tingle or higher at .01 amps. The normal body resistance of a person is high enough where you typically won't have a problem.
The military considers anything over 30 volts to be potentially dangerous. This is based on the person being wet which is the lowest resistance at about 300 ohms. 30 volts divided by 300 ohms worse case can kill.
at 20 volts you should feel it pretty good with wet hands.
 

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Never deliberately wet your hands before touching anything electrical. It would probably be safe but tempting fate isn't a good idea.
It takes .1 amps to kill a person. You'll feel a tingle or higher at .01 amps. The normal body resistance of a person is high enough where you typically won't have a problem.
The military considers anything over 30 volts to be potentially dangerous. This is based on the person being wet which is the lowest resistance at about 300 ohms. 30 volts divided by 300 ohms worse case can kill.
at 20 volts you should feel it pretty good with wet hands.
I was working in a camp kitchen when I was a teen. We were mopping the mess hall and the floors were sopping wet along with my PF Flyers sneakers. Here I come carrying a metal ladder, (for what reason I can't remember) well the ladder hit one of the light bulbs in the ceiling and I was being electrocuted right there on the spot.
Good thing the main cook knew what to do! He grabbed one of the brooms that were all wood and gave me a big push to break the contact. When I hit the light bulb it was like I was glued to that spot! Good thing he knew what to do and did it quick!

I still have curly hair. :D
 
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