[Amps] Working on my Darwin award

Manfred Mornhinweg manfred at ludens.cl
Mon Feb 24 14:49:51 EST 2014

Well, folks,

you all know that to win a Darwin Award you have to kill yourself in a 
sufficiently stupid way, BEFORE leaving any descendants that perpetuate 
your faulty genes.

So, you all know what you have to do to avoid that Darwin Award, NOW, 
before sticking your fingers in the path of HV the next time! ;-)

I got one of my chances at a Darwin Award when working in an amplifier 
at age 17, very carefully of course, with the interlock defeated, and a 
test probe slipped, and I tried to catch it before it made contact... It 
didn't throw me back, instead it pulled me in, with the muscles 
cramping, and somehow I must have made a very terrible noise, because my 
little brother came running, then ran back to the home's power panel and 
cut the power. He says he later regretted that.

I still have the burn scars. The muscle pains in my arms and chest 
lasted for two weeks only. And the heart didn't miss a beat. So much for 

I also have another burn scar, which I earned at only 12 volts! That was 
when my dad's Chevy Nova one day started smoking from under the 
dashboard, and I quickly reached in to separate the cables that had 
chafed through and shorted. That was easy enough, but I forgot to first 
remove my wristwatch, with its metal band. It made a short from the 
ampmeter connections (unfused!) to the car's metal dashboard, and after 
that it was mighty hard to remove the watch from the remains of my skin...

That burn was much worse than that from the amplifier.

Both incidents smelled quite like barbecue.

Manfred the Darwin Award Escapee

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