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Voltage and Tasers

  1. Aug 19, 2009 #1
    I was told that you need a low voltage, high amperage taser to make any damage. I know that touching devices with high voltages will only make your hair frizzy if no current goes through you, but can someone please explain to me why is that so? I know that no damage can be done without amperage, but why don't high voltages harm you?
    Thanks a lot :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2009 #2
    You have to understand the behaviour of electricity for that. To give an example that is quite simple to grab, I will compare electricity with the flow of a river.

    Amperage can be seen as the flow of the water in the river. The voltage in this example would be the height difference between the beginning and the end of the river. OK.

    For the purpose of the example, if you go swimming in this river. Apart from your swim skills, the chances of you drowning in this river are dependant essentially on the current. The current will be strong if alot of water flows in the river (high amperage) and the height difference is subtantial (high voltage). But there are also some probabilities in a river with alot of low and little height difference.

    But the chances get pretty close to null if you don't have any water flowing, eventhough there is alot of height difference.

    Is this clear??? Did I confuse more than anything else???

  4. Aug 19, 2009 #3
    I get it now. I didn't think of it like that, thanks a lot!
  5. Aug 19, 2009 #4
    http://www.taser.com/products/Pages/default.aspx [Broken]

    It's the current that determines how strong the shock feels but a higher voltage is able to force more current through your body. Taser used to show peak currents of their units on their website but now I believe they only show average current which is much less.

    The peak currents are in or above the range of currents, which if they pass through the heart, can cause the heart to go into fibrillation. The possibility of this happening depends largely upon where the darts strike the body. There have been a number of deaths associated with the use of Tasers, but not officially attributed to them.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Aug 19, 2009 #5


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    Gold Member

    Tasers generally work in the 50,000 volt region, with very low current. Their main effectiveness comes from them being pulsed at a frequency that stimulates uncontrollable muscle contractions.
  7. Aug 19, 2009 #6
    The TASER X26 is programmed to deliver a very short electrical pulse of approximately 100 microseconds' duration with about 100 microcoulombs of charge at 19 pulses per second for 5 seconds[2]. The voltage across the body is about 1,200 volts during the shock. The peak current of about 3 amperes is far less than that of a strong static electricity shock, which can be as high as 37.5 amperes.[3] The average current from the TASER X26 is approximately 2 milliamperes (0.002 amperes).

    from http://www.taser.com/research/Science/Pages/BasicElectricPrinciples.aspx [Broken]

    Electric Current
    (1 second contact)

    Physiological Effect
    1 mA Threshold of feeling, tingling sensation.

    10-20 mA "Can't let go!" current - onset of sustained
    muscular contraction.

    100-300 mA Ventricular fibrillation, fatal if continued.

    from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/shock.html
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Aug 19, 2009 #7
    Sure those are all typical effects but it takes very little current to stop the heart. The effects of electricity on the body aren't always predictable.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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