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Old 09-18-2011, 11:59 PM   #16
WT Sharpe
Grand Muckity-Muck
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Location: Chesapeake, VA, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
I seem to remember some news story when I was a kid where people claimed that living near an electrical transformer (power lines) was having an adverse effect on their health. Sounds like these people just took it to the next level.
As far as I know, the majority of the studies done have not confirmed any long-term ill effects, but I can tell you from personal experience that living with high-voltage power lines in the back yard can lead to some interesting experiences. One came when I ran electrical lines to a box on my deck. I only had black and green wire, so I planned to one black wire for the neutral and put some white phase tape on it to differentiate it from the hot wire. So I ran one green wire (for ground), and two black wires to the box. The I energized the circuit and used a proximity voltage detector to discover which one was hot. I placed the detector next to one of the wires and pushed its button. It immediately sounded an alarm to signal it had detected current. Just to be sure, I checked the other wire. It also sounded alarm. Was there a short? Then I held the detector in the air and pressed the button. Again, it sounded an alarm, and I realized it was detecting the voltage induced in my body by the overhead lines. It was only after I grounded myself by holding onto a metal pipe that I got an accurate reading.

Even more interesting was the time I put a volleyball net in the backyard for a party I was having. I drove the metal poles into the ground, then climbed up a ladder to attach the net. As soon as I touched the pole, I received a shock. Had I inadvertently driven one of the poles into an underground electric line? I noticed that the same thing happened when I tried to hang the net on the other pole. At last reflection came to my aid, and I realized that as long as I was isolated from ground by the wooden ladder, the overhead lines were charging me up like a huge capacitor. After that, I had a bit of fun. I began calling folks over to the ladder and putting my finger near their nose. Each time a spark would jump from my finger to my victim. I had a grand old time, and wondered if perhaps I could make money by building a church on the site.
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