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This is a question Home Science

Have you split the atom in your kitchen? Made your own fireworks? Fired a bacon rocket through your window?
We love home science experiments - tell us about your best, preferably with instructions.

Extra points for lost eyebrows / nasal hair / limbs

(, Thu 9 Aug 2012, 17:25)
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Where to Start…

My dad always said I would end up in smoke… he hasn’t been proved right yet but he’s been close.

All the below happened to me up to the age of 14 and are the result of curiosity and lack of knowledge – not so much ‘experiments’.

I fondly remember my mum and dad walking in on me in the garage whilst holding a lit candle in one hand and a can of air freshener in the other. The best response I could muster was ‘Its not what it looks like’…

Drying the dishes with the hair dryer. (because it’s a genius idea – towels are for muppets) - Dryer overheats, I remove plug cover to inspect - I electrocute myself.

Cutting the grass with my dad’s petrol lawn mower. The only way to turn it off was by pressing a strip of metal onto an exposed spark plug which cuts the engine out. But you HAD to do this with your feet. I didn’t know why I had to use my feet, so I tried using my hand. The resulting shock knocked me about 10 ft down the garden.

Wanting to see what happens when you put the back of one tea spoon in a standard 240v plug socket . One in the Earth socket and another in the Neatral (making sure they touched). Result = Nothing. Unless you touch them – this resulted in a massive shower of sparks and the spoons becoming spot-welded together.

Working as a Dishwasher in a restaurant – had to get some stuff out of the big chest freezer upstairs. Opened the lid and saw a small hole, not sure what this hole was for, I inserted my finger. When I picked myself off the floor several feet away from the freezer, I concluded that the hole was indeed a light bulb socket.

Following a slight knock to my ankle, going home and sitting in the sun with my foot in a bowl of cold water. After 20 mins, I’m bored and get my acoustic guitar out. After 10 mins, I’m bored and get my electric guitar out…. And plug it in….then play, sat on a chair on the patio with my feet in a bowl of water. How I got away with that one I’ll never know… the look of panic and shame on my dads face was awesome.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 9:16, 5 replies)
Ah, we had one of those lawnmowers.
Your problem is that there was a little rubber cap missing from the metal strip. You're supposed to push on that. The strip connects to the top of the spark plug, and shorts out the HT lead.

Just so you know, that was somewhere between 10,000 - 20,000 volts going up your arm. Not a lot of AMPS, fortunately, which is why you (and I, to be totally honest) are still alive today.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:19, closed)
"I concluded that the hole was indeed a light bulb socket."
Cue the sound of coffee meeting keyboard
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 13:29, closed)
Not so much Home Science
as all-round stupidity.

But it was funny, so I clicked anyway.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 15:35, closed)

If you keep that up, you'll end up as a superhero, with the ability to shoot electricity from your fingers.


BTW, shouldn't the guitar be OK, as it's only the amp with mains voltage?
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:42, closed)
indeed. Pickups generate millivolts.
some microphones require 48V DC 'phantom power' but this is to the condensor capsule and/or valve preamp (studio style vocal mics) but that is kept well away from the bits you touch.

There used to be an urban myth that if you dropped an old-style GPO telephone reciever into a bucket of water during a phone call it would give the person on the other end an electric shock but that also seems to be BS to me.
(, Fri 10 Aug 2012, 19:32, closed)

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