Safety

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This page is a work in progress What we will be doing is not dangerous if proper respect and care is taken. But each person must be responsible and not do things beyond their knowledge level as well as taking all necessary precautions. So I neither want to over exaggerate the dangers (which is hard to do if dealing with high voltage and high amps) nor downplay the dangers. In general most any circuits we will be dealing with will be harmless even to direct contact.

Electricity is Dangerous

Electricity is a powerful force, which we harness for beneficial uses. As such, it is a force that can also be lethal if not handled properly.

Assuming is dangerous

You are the most dangerous component of electricity. Don't assume you know what you are doing.

The old adage is to Always treat a gun as loaded! (Accidental deaths or shootings by firearms often involve "unloaded" weapons.) In electronics just because a device is unplugged does not mean it cannot shock you. Capacitors can hold a charge after being unplugged. Likewise, just because a device is powered by 2AA 1.5V batteries (3v total) doesn't mean it cannot shock you. Again, a capacitor can build up voltage from those 3Vs to a whopping 200V or more.

  • Basically, Treat a circuit as live until you verify that it no longer holds a charge.
  • Secondly, Don't assume a circuit with a low voltage source is safe.

Low voltage doesn't mean safe. Apart from the above warning. Due to the inverse relationship between Volts and Amps (current), low volts can produce hi-ampage, which means large quantities of heat, sparks and explosions.

Batteries

Treat all batteries with respect.

  • never short-out a battery. That not only means that the negative and positive should not be connected direct by touching with metal objects but that there should always be a sufficient load/resistance.
  • The contents of batteries are contain acid and toxins in general they are not to be messed with.
  • Do not use different batteries together. Their differences can cause an overload on one or more of the batteries.
  • Dispose of properly and responsibly.

Soldering

  • Eye protection is necessary. Hot solder that is flicked of a wire could burn your eye.
  • Fumes from solder are toxic and should not be inhaled. Thus work area should be well ventilated.
  • Solder burns and can ruin furniture flooring and cloths. Use in appropriate area with clothing that is not dear to you.

Hazard for chips

  • Chips, boards and components can be fried if not protected.
  • Static electricity can be enough to render a chip useless. Your body should be grounded before touching boards and components.
  • Circuits need to be designed to protect the chips and boards from an overload.

Fire/explosion hazards

  • Protect form shorts by insuring proper insulation of wires, leads, components and any points of contact.
  • Insure proper fuses and protections are in place.

Shock Hazards

  • Water and electricity do not mix.
  • Avoid high voltage circuits. 9Vs is plenty for what we will be doing. No need to connect to mains.

Electric-magnetic fields

  • Electricity produces fields of varying degrees that can interference to other devices, harmful biological effects as well as interfering or destroying other fragile electronics, magnetic tapes and such.
  • These fields can create interference to household devices and hinder their proper utilization.