Bathroom pull light dangerous wiring?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Ross89t15, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select


    Also consider this, the neon screwdriver requires electrical current to flow from the metal end cap on it through your body to earth.

    So picture yourself in a bathroom working on a ceiling light switch.

    You’re wearing trainers with plastic soles, stood on a hop up that has plastic feet which are standing on the vinyl flooring, which is laid on dry plywood over wooden floor boards, supported on timber joists over a 7’6” air gap to the floor of the room below.

    What are the chances of your body providing the earth path required to allow the neon screwdriver to work?

    Don’t trust neon screwdrivers.
    RolandK likes this.
  2. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Thank you, my point indeed

    I’m not saying there hasn’t been a single death globally whilst using one of these but surely, there just ain’t that many, realistically

    Ok, means working live so always a risk of stray fingers but that’s not the screwdrivers fault directly is it ?
  3. sparko69

    sparko69 Screwfix Select

    And I said 'nobody with an understanding of electrical theory' which includes anyone called diy dave or diy anything:)
    tina lucinda lane likes this.
  4. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    A few years ago I fitted some “touch sensitive” cooker hoods and lights that would not work because the kitchens had laminate flooring over underlay.

    The only way to get them to work was to put one hand on the touch sensor and the other on an earthed screw in an electrical fitting or the like.

    Likewise in a bathroom you may get a neon screwdriver to work by putting one hand on a chrome radiator with a finger of the other hand on the cap of the screwdriver, then again you may not.
  5. sparky steve

    sparky steve Screwfix Select

    Apart from the fact that such a device will register any voltage from about 5V upwards, the safety of the user depends entirely on the integrity of the current limiting resistor in the neon screwdriver.
    It only takes around 10 to 15 mA to cause severe electric shock, and 50mA (1/20th of an ampere) to kill.
    Another danger in my opinion is that the neon bulb may not light under certain conditions leading you to believe that an energized circuit was not powered.
    You decideo_O
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  6. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    I happily admitted I was diy and always do, and yes, it’s in my forum name

    So if the risk is real, just why are they so readily available, humble diy’ers have been using them for decades and why don’t we hear of more ‘Instant Deaths’ associated with neon screwdrivers

    And why are they included in loads of screwdriver sets from the better brands such as Wera, Wiha, C.K ?

    Surely common sense tells you if they were such a high risk, then they would be withdrawn from sale

    I understand pros not using them on the grounds that they have very limited worth and also professional pride dictates you have better gear - your not gonna turn up with a set of Silverline tools for instance

    But c’mon, as an instrument of instant death to the masses ,,,,,,, just simply not the case

    As ever, I’m always ready to be proved wrong and will happily admit I’m wrong ..... when and if that happens :)
  7. RolandK

    RolandK Screwfix Select

    I think we've established that generally pro's do not approve of nor use neon screwdrivers.
    So they would mainly be used by amateurs/ DIYers which a dangerous combination for working on live circuits. I don't expect many death certificates specify cause of death as a neon screwdriver but one would one too many.
  8. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    A non contact voltage detector AND a two pole voltage tester are much more preferable, because if both poles of the two pole voltage tester are put onto terminals or conductors which are at mains voltage it won’t light up or indicate that there is a voltage present.

    That’s one of the dangers of proving dead with a multi meter, the other being that you have to select the correct test manually and may make a mistake.

    The Fluke testers give a single pole voltage indication even when wearing gloves, I have a better version than this, but this basic version is leagues in front of neon screwdrivers.
  9. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    I did a job some years ago for the consultant in charge of a busy A&E, were chatting over coffee about risks involved with electrical work and he said I was describing the things that had happened to many people who ended up in A&E on a Saturday afternoon.
  10. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    I’m not debating the worth of a neon screwdriver or comparing it’s uses to one tester or another

    I’ve said numerous times that they have a very limited use (apart from stirring tea)

    I’m simply asking if they really are as dangerous as some people are making out, using one is a high risk manoeuvre and is there any actual evidence to back up these claims

    Of course as said, one death would be too many but likewise, most of us drive a car, drink alcohol, travel by plane, cross the road, and for some, have a wife :)

    All can be risky from time to time and all can lead to ‘Instant Death’

    But, these risks are tiny, and every time there’s a fatal car crash, we don’t sell the family car do we

    I like a good discussion me, really do :)
  11. sparky steve

    sparky steve Screwfix Select

    Not just useful for stirring tea, it appears to be stirring a debate:)
  12. tina lucinda lane

    tina lucinda lane Screwfix Select

    Ask yourself how does doggy dangerous electrical items enter the UK even tho they don't meet safety standards ie UK plug with no provision for a fuse and a part insulated earth pin or a USB charge plug that blows up in use or can cause a fire yet are still readily available and for sale I think the answer answers your own question also most manufacturers include them simply because 1. They have to give them away to shift stock lol, 2. Its like giving you cheap nasty zinc carbon batteries with something high drain and stating batteries included ie we are giving you something for free buy our product, when really it's just cheap bulking out to make it seem a better deal
  13. RolandK

    RolandK Screwfix Select

    Yeah I would put a neon screwdriver as the second worst thing for testing live circuits.
  14. RolandK

    RolandK Screwfix Select

    Oh, the worst thing being a wet finger!
  15. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    Try using a neon screwdriver wearing wellies or plastic shoes then touching a bit of earthed metalwork, at the very least it should brighten up when you touch the earthed metalwork and go dimmer when you take your hand off it, but it might stop working altogether.

    Says the guy who has one of these, guess what is on the back of it!
  16. RolandK

    RolandK Screwfix Select

    Probably just me but not following the logic of your arguement.
  17. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Well, whaddya know ......
    I clearly have some time on my hands today so to prove a point regarding a comment above;

    I’m in my bathroom
    GU10 lamp fitting on ceiling
    Standing on ladder with rubber feet
    Sheet vinyl flooring
    Plywood underneath
    Floorboards underneath
    Air gap underneath
    And I’m wearing trainers with rubber soles

    So, same set up as described above

    Let’s do a test with a neon screwdriver
    Turn on switch, remove a lamp and let’s have a poke around and see what happens

    Attached Files:

  18. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    To set the scene

    Not only does the neon light, even with all that rubber, vinyl, air, between me and earth, ive somehow lived to tell the tale and post the pictures :)

    Maybe a Google search will give me some grizzly facts relating to Neon Screwdriver Deaths’ ??

    Attached Files:

  19. tina lucinda lane

    tina lucinda lane Screwfix Select

  20. tina lucinda lane

    tina lucinda lane Screwfix Select

    Must be made of low restance then (you not the screwdriver)

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