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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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stray voltage

my fish where acting rely strange lately. I went to test the water and ouch. I unplugged everything to see ware the current was coming from and it was from both canister filters. one is a sunsun 404 and the other is a cfs 500. Ive had both these for a couple of years. has anyone ells had this problem?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 02:55 PM
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The last time I heard about it the problem was traced to a faulty heater.

I would start by examining the equipment and looking for wires with the insulation compromised. Sometimes it is obvious, where a wire got scraped. Sometimes the hole is so small you cannot see it.

Do you have a tester for electricity? Can you SAFELY run the equipment on a separate container of water (not involving fish) and test to see what might be the problem?

Is the aquarium grounded? I would think it would have to be for current to go through it, and affect the fish. You would have to ground the bucket or whatever you are using as a test container.

If you are not comfortable working around electricity, then it is much the safest route to throw away the defective equipment (or return it, if it is still under warranty) and get new.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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I did it the stupid way. I unplugged every thing then started plugging thing back in one at a time to see if I get that tingly feeling in my hand when placing it in the water. I no that is a bad way of doing it. but I figured if I didn't get electrocuted when testing the water. I didn't have much to fear trying to find out witch of the equipment was to blame. the only time I got the tingling was when plugged in the filters. the cfs felt like a needle prick.but the sun sun was a little more of a jolt. Ive been thinking of modifying the sun sun with a outside pump fora wile now. looks like I have to stop thinking about it.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 03:52 PM
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You'll be fine. It's very unlikely that 120 volts will kill you. It certainly can, but again, not likely. The fish tank doesn't need to be grounded for the water to complete a circuit. However it's weird both of your canister filters are giving you a shock. Try testing it again on another outlet. Maybe you have a faulty plug.

This time go grab a 10 dollar volt tick from any hardware store.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 03:54 PM
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It doesn't sound like you're using a GFCI receptacle, or a GFCI-protected circuit. Please fix that. They're designed to trip when they lose around 5 mA to ground, which is happening when you get shocked. It's also possible that what you're feeling is below the 5mA threshold, and the GFCI hasn't tripped yet, in which case, well done on using a GFCI.

Are both filters, independently, shocking you? Try plugging them in one at a time, and removing the other one entirely by unplugging it and removing the tubing (so they're not connected via water).

Bump: By the way, I'd recommend not being barefoot and standing in a puddle when you do any of this.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I'm using a GFCI. I tested the pumps separately and they both gave me a zap. the cfs 500 was not as noticeable as the sun sun that one rely gave me a jolt. funny I just cleaned out the sun sun. maybe I did something to it. I no the GFCI works Ive splashed water on the power strip and its tripped before.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 10:38 PM
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Test on a different circuit, like in your kitchen or something. I find it really hard to believe they are both malfunctioning. The odds are just not in their favor. I really think your GFCI is malfunctioning.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
You'll be fine. It's very unlikely that 120 volts will kill you. It certainly can, but again, not likely. The fish tank doesn't need to be grounded for the water to complete a circuit. However it's weird both of your canister filters are giving you a shock. Try testing it again on another outlet. Maybe you have a faulty plug.

This time go grab a 10 dollar volt tick from any hardware store.
Voltage has little to do with it. Amperage is what kills you. A handyman I knew was in an attic and hit a live 120.

Figure also that a static shock is in the 1000s of volts.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 02:52 AM
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Voltage has little to do with it. Amperage is what kills you. A handyman I knew was in an attic and hit a live 120.

Figure also that a static shock is in the 1000s of volts.
I'm an Electrician by trade, I know it's amperage that kills. Amperage is the difference between voltage and resistance. That being said. You're much more likely to die taking 347 volts at 15 amps than you are 120 volts at 15 amps. However the point is mute. He's probably got his equipment plugged into a 15 amp circuit. I've been poked by 120 volts 15-20 amps almost once a month. Did it kill me, no. Can it? Yes. 120 volts is just something we in the field call a standard circuit in a house. Sorry my terminology wasn't sound.

A static shock is upwards of 2000-3000 volts. It needs to be at least 2000 volts for your body to feel it.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 02:58 AM
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There is a good deal of mis-information about voltage and hazards involved. We all know that some is often too much but there is a lot more fear involved when it is high voltage like 7600. While it is true that 7600 will jump further and therefore has to be avoided with bigger distance, there is another item which is more important to most of us who deal with 110 and 220 far more often than the high voltage stuff.

The high voltage is more prone to jumping and when it does jump to your body, it is likely to burn so bad that you may lose a leg or arm. Really bad stuff until you know how 110 or 220 may work. The high amperage burns but the lower amperage may be just the right level to change the way your heart beats!! Look up fibrillation and then consider whether you want to test the old song about 110 won't hurt you.

Want to guess what happens when your heart stops beating?
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 03:37 AM
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
I'm an Electrician by trade, I know it's amperage that kills. Amperage is the difference between voltage and resistance. That being said. You're much more likely to die taking 347 volts at 15 amps than you are 120 volts at 15 amps. However the point is mute. He's probably got his equipment plugged into a 15 amp circuit. I've been poked by 120 volts 15-20 amps almost once a month. Did it kill me, no. Can it? Yes. 120 volts is just something we in the field call a standard circuit in a house. Sorry my terminology wasn't sound.

A static shock is upwards of 2000-3000 volts. It needs to be at least 2000 volts for your body to feel it.
Back when I lived in NY an electrician that did the work in the shop I worked in never trusted meters. He'd go over to the panel and touch the first hot and said here's your 120 single. Then he'd hit the second and say here's your 220. Finally he'd hit the third and say here's your three phase. While I used to work on live circuits when I was doing it every day these days I kill the breaker.

While you may get zapped it also matters what you are wearing. So long as you're not grounded so that power can't find a path you're probably fine. Now do the same thing barefoot standing in a puddle of water.
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A lot of whether a zap will kill you or not is the body's own resistance.
Any electrical device used on a house wiring circuit can, under certain conditions, transmit a fatal current. While any amount of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock, currents between 100 and 200 mA (0.1 to 0.2 amp) are lethal.
Electrical Safety: The Fatal Current - Physics

https://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~...l_current.html



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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Back when I lived in NY an electrician that did the work in the shop I worked in never trusted meters. He'd go over to the panel and touch the first hot and said here's your 120 single. Then he'd hit the second and say here's your 220. Finally he'd hit the third and say here's your three phase. While I used to work on live circuits when I was doing it every day these days I kill the breaker.

While you may get zapped it also matters what you are wearing. So long as you're not grounded so that power can't find a path you're probably fine. Now do the same thing barefoot standing in a puddle of water.
In actuality the second bus bar is still only 120 volts. As is the third. Depending on your system. Your first phase is still a part of a three phase system. It's when you add the two together that it's 240 volts. But in a 3 phase system you'll never have 240 volts. You'll have 120/208 or other normal voltages. Such as 347, 600 volts, so on.

I'd still trust a meter over using nothing. Who's to say you turned off the correct breaker?
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 11:14 AM
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It doesn't sound like you're using a GFCI receptacle, or a GFCI-protected circuit. Please fix that. They're designed to trip when they lose around 5 mA to ground, which is happening when you get shocked. It's also possible that what you're feeling is below the 5mA threshold, and the GFCI hasn't tripped yet, in which case, well done on using a GFCI.
Most aquarium devices do not not have a 3 prong plug, lacking the ground.
GFCI's ground is also not in contact with your water to detect current leakage.

The water may become energized, depending on how well you are grounded will determine the shock factor.

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But in a 3 phase system you'll never have 240 volts. You'll have 120/208 or other normal voltages.
This is only true in a "Y" configuration.
240 and 480 delta configurations exist with 2 live phases and a bonded center phase.
Meaning 240 or 480 to ground from any phase.
High volt phases also exist, maybe as high as 192 volts.
Don't plug a drill in that one, it will spin very fast then smoke.

It is said that 200mA can cause cardiac failure in susceptible individuals.
That is only 1/5th of an ampere.


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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 11:28 AM
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Most aquarium devices do not not have a 3 prong plug, lacking the ground.
GFCI's ground is also not in contact with your water to detect current leakage.

The water may become energized, depending on how well you are grounded will determine the shock factor.
Yeah, I know how a GFCI works. It compares outgoing to return voltage, and, as I said, if the difference is around 5 mA or more, it trips. That difference will be due to the electricity finding a different path to ground, possibly through you, and none of that changes depending on whether aquarium equipment uses a ground wire. Not trying to be a jerk, but why are you picking a fight over this?
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