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Warning for stupid users?


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#1
Metrogirl

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I bought this fine 6" extension cord at the weekend. It's designed so you can plug a big transformer into a power strip without blocking three or four outlets.

What I can't understand is the purpose of the tag attached securely to the cord, with the warning that it must not be removed. Captain Obvious strikes again! Both sides say the same thing...

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#2
AWhiteFlame

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"This is a six inches extension cord"?

It must be foreign. They can't use their articles correctly >.<

#3
suleiman

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This is complete stab in the dark Metrogirl, but being a student of the law I'm more than confident the "notice" was put there in the hopes of thwarting liability that could potentially ensue from a "6 inches extension cord."

Perhaps at 6 inches the circuitry is varied enough to pose risks other extension cords do without? Just a guess of course :angel:

#4
jbjonas

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Well, the simple answer might just be that this "six inches" product was designed and marketed by Microsoft. Hence the idiocy, and the fact that it 'sucks' (sorry Metrogirl - hope you didn't pay a lot for it :D ). It was most likely produced in China, hence the broken english.

On a similar note, I have found myself in recent years, violently removing such labels from everything I buy... including mattresses!! (god forbid) As soon as they get home, I take out my dikes (or diagonal-cutters for the non electricians :( ) and cut off all the wire-ties holding stupid labels and all of it. I usually get carried away and even cut off the stupid hologramed silver UL certification labels. But really... Do I need to be constantly remided that my 'Six inches' extension cord is certified by Underwriter's Laboratories? I'm not too worried about it. :dev: Where does this misplaced violence towards product labels come from you ask? Probably just redirected over-technologicalized society-driven angst! :angel:

#5
Metrogirl

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I totally agree with you, JBJ. I have always removed those sodding labels from everything I buy, sometimes with unfortunate results too. (That inexplicable 6" label & its UL friend lasted just long enough to photograph). It's an English trait to dislike flashy labels, titles, grand badges and so on but I take it to an extreme.

<soapbox>

Why the f*** is it necessary for manufacturers to plaster labels all over my TV saying "Super HiFi Component Input Upsampling Mega{censored} etc. etc."? Maybe for the showroom, but I don't want that in my living room. I'm amazed at the number of people who leave those labels on their stereos, dishwashers, everything... Maybe they've discovered that you can't get the damned labels off without leaving a gooey mess which isn't easily removed, even with kerosene, xylene, "Goof-off" or nastier stuff. UL labels are *particularly* tenacious. And if you start to use MEK or DMK (acetone or nail-polish remover for the non-chemists) you risk removing the finish too.

When I bought my car I insisted that the dealer NOT put any extra labels, stickers or chrome decals on it. Then I used a kettleful of boiling water to remove the model variant lettering from the rear because frankly I don't see why I should tell the world what sort of car it is. If they don't know they don't care.

I peeled the Centrino label off my Vaio laptop and that left a nasty mark so I ended up putting it back, but I object to it being there. At work most of my colleagues have auto-signatures with titles, qualifications and all that stuff. "John Doe, MBA BA CPP CISSP, Corporate Director of Not Very Much". I just sign mine 'Sarah (division)'. I run the division, but either people know it or they don't. Actually then I have fun when idiots don't know me and don't check before sending snotty mail. That's when I reply and use my title...

Oh, that was fun. Rant over.

</soapbox>

#6
cyrana

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They put crazy labels on hair dryers, too. I know most of them have a huge picture that makes it known that it is not in your best interest to blow dry your hair while taking a bath.

#7
jbjonas

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:) Have any of you seen the Mythbusters show where they actually test if dropping a hairdryer (or other elect. appliance) in the tub with you will kill you? That was a cool demonstration :dev:
Back to the subject... I think the funniest is when you're helping some non-techie friend with a computer problem: "Do you have a CD Burner?" you ask them. When you see the puzzled look on their face that means they have no idea what a 'Burner' is, you lean down to look at the front of the case, and discover the stupid-{censored} HUGE sticker from HP or eMachines with their entire system specs. Of course the sticker has been there for the past 3 years, since they bought the damn thing. Friggin idiots! grrrrr. :)

#8
Swad

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Will a hair dryer kill you in the tub? :)

#9
cyrana

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Will a hair dryer kill you in the tub? :)


By law (In the US at least), equipment like this has to have an immersion protection plug. So, they will cut off and no fry you. If you disable it or buy a faulty unit, it will make you into fricassee though.

#10
Swad

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Yeah, I was just curious what the mythbusters decided.

And yeah, metrogirl - that's about the dumbest thing I've seen in awhile. Especially since it looks longer than 6 inches, but maybe that's the just the picture.

You should measure it to see it's actual length. :pirate2: If it's not exactly 6, the tag is fairly pointless!

#11
Metrogirl

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...
You should measure it to see it's actual length. :pirate2: If it's not exactly 6, the tag is fairly pointless!


:D Yep, it's actually 12 inches end-to-end (30.5cm) and the cord part is 7 inches long (~18cm). I photographed it on my Powerbook keyboard (10.75") so you'd get an idea of the size!

Edit - yes, it was made in China and it cost $2.95 - no great expenditure there :) And it works, I can plug my Wacom transformer into the same UPS'd strip as the computer now.

Another Edit - in the UK at least, hairdryers don't have any sort of GFCI/ELCB plugs, but it's illegal to have an outlet/socket in the bathroom anyway unless it's a special isolated 15VA shaver socket. With 240V that makes a lot of sense.

#12
ampTK

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Will a hair dryer kill you in the tub? :pirate2:



That depends, most hair dryers have a fuse to prevent that, but if it didn't (change the plug, etc), it could. Depends on your position relative to the dryer and the metal pipe. High salinity on water (AKA aromatic stuff, bath bubbles) will increase chances... against you.

#13
jbjonas

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Yeah, the US has building code laws that all kitchens and bathrooms need to have GFI (ground fault indicator) outlets. They're basic outlets, but include a built in breaker that will trip if you draw too much juice.
I have always wondered why the brits and other countries are silly enough to pipe 240V AC into their homes for general use (and not for just large appliances) More to the point- The mythbusters of course were using no such GFI safety precautions. They were wired straight to the AC :) as many older houses may still be set up in the US. They even went so far as to put electrolytes into the bath water to simulate body salts, which improve conductivity. :pirate2: In the end I can't remember which appliances they decided were deadly enough to kill you- although I do remember that a majority of them were deadly.

edit: The toaster was most deadly! not surprising if you think about how it works...
Here are some Pics from that episode I found for you on discovery.com

#14
Swad

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Haha, thanks crazy - thanks jbjonas for the mythbusters info. I always knew they had fuses to trip, but wasn't sure about the sheer force of everything.

I'll have to say that I'm not a huge fan of the british plugs in general - they're so big!!! You can fit 2 US plugs in the same space.

I'm really not sure why there isn't a worldwide standard on this kind of thing. I know that Britain carried its method to its colonies back in the day, but there are way too many different kinds of plugs.

#15
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It's not the voltage that'll kill you, it's the current. Your not better off in the US than the UK - it takes less than 100 micro amps to disrupt the human heart - so provided you've got enough voltage to drive that much current through you your dead. I emphasise the word through there because even if you did drop a hairdryer in the bath with you, unless you are holding on to the bath tap or a nearby radiator (or if your determined the earth wire) then there would be no circuit to complete and nothing would happen.

However our plugs are too big - they are a real pain to carry in laptop bags!

[Edit - I made the assumption the bath was plastic, if you happen to be sat in a copper bath your dead.]

#16
jbjonas

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Yes, but the amount of AC that will kill you is vastly different from how much DC will kill you. Either way, in the tub, the key point is that there has to be enough Voltage drop for the current to arc over the water to a ground (whether it's salty or not) It's been too long since my freshman course in Electricity and Magnetism, but I believe that 240V AC will jump the 'gap' much more readily than 120V AC. Then again, in the US, a bathroom circuit might be set to trip the breaker at 15 or 20 Amperes, what kind of setup do they use in England? Is there less current since it's at basically twice the Voltage? Anyone here an Electrical Engineer? Lord knows I'm not digging out my damn college texts... :D

#17
Metrogirl

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The standard setting for an ELCB (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker) or RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) in England, mandated by the IEEE, is 5 milliamps discrepancy between the phase current and the neutral return. For a whole house ELCB it's 20 milliamps. 5ma may sound like a lot, but remember that any outlet is prohibited in a bathroom in the UK so it's academic. In the UK ELCBs are usually used on garden outlets to protect idiots who mow through cables, and they're as much to protect against electrical faults as electrocution through misuse.

In case you're wondering how I know, I happen to have the IEEE regulations here among the heaps of documentation for a raised-floor computer installation I was once involved in... Not sure why I brought it to the US but I guess thought it would be useful (and it was!)

In the US, UL standard 943 quotes a trip current imbalance of 6ma for a domestic GFCI. (I googled for that) :o

#18
jbjonas

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Damn! *jbjonas is in awe of Metrogirl*
See, I told you I didn't remember sh!t from college :o

#19
bluedragon1971

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By law (In the US at least), equipment like this has to have an immersion protection plug. So, they will cut off and no fry you. If you disable it or buy a faulty unit, it will make you into fricassee though.


I'd think it would trip the breaker in your house before it really hurt you though (and I've worked as an electrician before, so I should know).

#20
ampTK

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I'd think it would trip the breaker in your house before it really hurt you though (and I've worked as an electrician before, so I should know).



I was unhappy by the Mithbusters test because they didn't took that into account.

I have some experience with electricity, and my guess is that in some cases it may save you, but in others it may not (Depending on your position, the dryer and the drain). That's because even when the breaker trips it is a lot of current flows before that (depending on the breaker, 10 Amps, 15) so it could kill you anyways. It probably increase your chances of receiving a big shock but live to tell the story.

To give you an idea of how much current can flow before the breaker trips:

When you make a short circuit in your house (for whatever reason) (kids don't do this at home... really), the Breaker will trip, but it doesn't mean the short circuit didn't happened, you will probably have the wires FUSED TOGETHER because of the heat produced by the amount of current flowing there.





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