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  #1  
Old 15 July 2013, 06:02 PM
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Cell Phone Apple to probe death of Chinese woman who used iPhone when it was charging

Apple Inc is investigating an accident in which a Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock when answering a call on her iPhone 5 while it was charging.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...96E08P20130715
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  #2  
Old 15 July 2013, 09:38 PM
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I'm not sure how this would be possible, at least on an American iPhone. iPhones charge via a USB cable, so you can charge it either by plugging it into your computer's USB port, or they provide a little transformer with a USB port on it that you can plug in to the wall. Either way the voltage at the phone shouldn't be any more than 5 volts. I suppose it's possible the transformer was defective and was putting out way more than 5 volts. But if say the mains voltage was somehow shorted to the output (I assume that would be 220V in China, but I don't feel like looking it up), I would expect that to fry the phone in short order before she could receive a call on it. I also kind of wonder if she was using some dodgy third party charger instead of the one provided by Apple.
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Old 16 July 2013, 01:47 AM
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Yep, very weird, which is probably why Apple is investigating. I've taken 48V zaps from phantom power via bad mics, and they hurt like heck, but that's about it. I can't see this being the fault of an iPhone, even a defective one.
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Old 25 July 2013, 06:41 PM
dungeondragon18 dungeondragon18 is offline
 
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It's not the voltage that determines how dangerous an electric shock is, it's the amperage. (Voltage is a measure of "pressure", for lack of a better word, and amperage is a measure of "volume", or how many electrons are passing through the circuit.) It also depends on which body part is being shocked; a jolt that passes through the chest is more likely to kill you than a jolt that goes up your arm and down a leg into the ground.
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Old 25 July 2013, 07:28 PM
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But the human body is essentially a big resistor. Since Ohm's Law says I = V/R, it takes a high voltage to overcome the resistance of the human body and push enough current through it to do damage. A 5V USB charger won't do it regardless of what kind of amperage it's capable of producing, since the resistance is too high.
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Old 25 July 2013, 07:41 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
But the human body is essentially a big resistor. Since Ohm's Law says I = V/R, it takes a high voltage to overcome the resistance of the human body and push enough current through it to do damage. A 5V USB charger won't do it regardless of what kind of amperage it's capable of producing, since the resistance is too high.
The Resistance of a human body is pretty low, the resistance of human skin is very high. Under certain conditions 9V is high enough and I would SWAG it that 5V would be high enough as well to get a shock (though not so sure about killing). You would need to penetrate the skin or contact a salty and wet surface like the tongue.

In the cased of the OP though it seems likely that there was a short to the mains voltage, assuming she was indeed electrocuted by her phone.

Edit: For reference, external defibrillators use 1,000 to 2,000V and have to overcome the skin's resistance. An implanted defibrillator, whose electrodes are basically bathed in salt water, might work as low as 20V (new type of implanted defibrillator).

Last edited by jimmy101_again; 25 July 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 26 July 2013, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
You would need to ...contact a salty and wet surface like the tongue.
Wait, isn't that how we always tested 9-volt batteries?
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Old 26 July 2013, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanLegends101 View Post
Wait, isn't that how we always tested 9-volt batteries?
Yep.
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Old 26 July 2013, 04:01 PM
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Since most people do not have their heart in the middle of their tongue, I think it is probably okay.
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Old 26 July 2013, 04:07 PM
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While we are on the subject:- Does a charged battery taste differrent to people than a depleted one? To me, a charged battery tastes more salty. I never knew why that was. Maybe the electricity activates the salt taste buds
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Old 26 July 2013, 04:20 PM
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It depends on the battery, Duracell batteries have a bit of salty with a piquant after of moss if they are charged. But Energizer batteries have hints of spice with a strong nose when they are charged.

ETA: Make sure to lick a galvanized nail between to cleanse your palate.
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  #12  
Old 26 July 2013, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Since most people do not have their heart in the middle of their tongue, I think it is probably okay.
Most? I'd like to see your medical license, sir.
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Old 26 July 2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Since most people do not have their heart in the middle of their tongue, I think it is probably okay.
True, but the tongue is just an example. I've been shocked by 12V car batteries. That shouldn't be possible given the high resistance of skin and the low voltage. But let a single strand of a car's 12V battery cable poke through your skin while you are holding onto a metal part of the car with the other and . Not sure if that could kill a person, even in the worst case, but it sure got my attention when it happened.

Not on my tongue.

Last edited by jimmy101_again; 26 July 2013 at 06:28 PM. Reason: footnote
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  #14  
Old 06 August 2013, 05:32 PM
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TV Apple offers $10 trade-ins for third-party chargers

This program has almost certainly been prompted by reports from last month, which alleged that an iPhone had electrocuted and killed a Chinese flight attendant. Later reports pointed to a third-party charger, not the phone itself, as the actual culprit.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/tech/m...ade/index.html
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