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Homework Help: AC Outlet

  1. May 23, 2006 #1
    This isn't anything really involved, I just have a question about AC electrical power outlets. Most have 3 wires behind them, so it is plausible to say that only one of them is safe to touch? This was a multiple choice question on a quiz I had and I figured that since there are two "hot" wires and one "ground" wire, the two "hot" wires couldn't be touched by bare hands.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2006 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    There is a single hot wire, a single neutral wire, and a single ground wire. The ground wire is typically connected to the neutral in the circuit breaker in your house. You could touch either ground or neutral without any consequence, assuming that none of the devices connected to your circuit are malfunctioning.

    - Warren
  4. May 23, 2006 #3


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    So your prof is encouraging his/her students to touch AC Mains connections? Pretty dumb, IMHO. Sounds like they haven't rewired many things hot -- I've been shocked too many times to take these things lightly.
  5. May 23, 2006 #4


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