Ballasts and Static Electricity
I just discovered something kind of disturbing. I touched the top shelf of my grow shelf and I got shocked! It wasn't like a quick shock or anything it was a steady and drawn out tingle but it started with a shock.. The only reason I'm thinking it was static electricity is because it's gone now.. like I held onto it for so long that it all went out through me.. but I'm kinda worried that something dangerous might be going on here.. That shelf happens to be the only shelf that has nothing on it as well. My other ballast isn't doing it though.
Is it possible that static electricity could've gather there for so long that it took that long to diffuse?
My fingers are all tingly now. >_>
That sounds kind of scary.
I'm not an electrical engineer, but if your lights are properly grounded they shouldn't be source of the problem, what you describe sounds like a RC (resistive capacitive) circuit had formed somehow with you being the resistor. the amount of time it would take to discharge would depend on the resistance, more resistance = more time.
personally, I would swap out the lights, and see if the problem follows the light or stays with the shelf... when you do this, keep the lights plugged into the same outlet and using the same cords/ whatever.... otherwise you really wont know anything
might be a good idea to electrically bond everything, in other words connect the shelfs and fixtures with small jumper wires, this will give any leakage current or static charges a path to discharge as it is created
I don't think I would be too worried, sound more like nuisance that a safety issue
do you have a digital multimeter?... we can run some better test if you do
now the cya disclaimer, I would recommend that you consult a licensed electrician and have it professionally checked out
are both lights plugged into the same receptical?
was the lights on when this occurred?
have you had any issues with static in this area before?
My step dad has this thing that he uses to measure how much power a batter has, it's got two prongs (one for each pole) and it's got a meter.. I think he called it an electrometer but I'm not sure.
All I know is that the electricity is gone.. I think maybe the surge protector that I'm using could be the problem, it's metal and it's actually sitting on the bottom shelf of the plant shelf.. it's also pretty old from the looks of it. I'm going to get a new one anyways since it only has 4 outlets but now I have another reason so I'll probably pick one up on the way home from work tomorrow.
I don't have any other light ballasts so I can't switch them out. They DO have grounding wires, but maybe since the surge protector goes through an appliance timer it doesn't ground correctly? I did get kind of a cheap appliance timer.. 5 bucks at walmart. I have been thinking of getting a digital one anyways.
The lights are in the same receptical, the lights were on when it happened, and no I haven't had any problems with static before but my houses electrical sockets have been going bad one by one lately. My step dad replaced three outlets already and said that it looked like whoever did it hadn't a clue what they were doing.
[QUOTE= my houses electrical sockets have been going bad one by one lately. My step dad replaced three outlets already and said that it looked like whoever did it hadn't a clue what they were doing.[/QUOTE]
Chrono, I would suspect two problems,
1. something has excessive leakage current
2. something isnt grounded correctly... or it would give that leakage a path to discharge through
is there a (metal) cold water pipe anywhere nearby you can run a ground wire to?
My step dad has a multi tester which I found and I used that.. the grounding wire works so I went to check and see if there was a problem with the grounding connection in the appliance timer.. and it turns out that the appliance timer doesn't have HAVE a grounding prong.. and that's probably the problem, lol.
So yeah I'll just have to get a new appliance timer.. the one I have now is a pain anyways.
LOL, good work dude!
now put one end of the meter on the ground at the receptical and touch the other lead to all the metal parts and see if you can find where the leakage is coming from
Okay whoever designed those fixtures is an idiot, because not only were the holes for the chains way too small and almost impossible to get in.. but it's made that the chain goes directly into the electrical box where all the cords are, and I found this out when I touched the electrometer to the second shelf and it jumped a bit.. so I knew it had to be coming from that fixture which was the one that I originally had not suspected.. So then I touched it all around the fixture and got nothing.. then I touched the link holding up the fixture and the needle moved about 6mm.. so after that it was kind of obvious. So I just replaced those chain links with another plastic tie. Now I just hope that the plastic doesn't get melted or something. I doubt it could since I touched the link myself and didn't get shocked but oh well. After that.. I touched the electrometer pin to the plastic... just to make sure. :P
Anyways.. mission accomplished! Electricity is a neat thing.
...are ballast and fixture the same thing?..I've been using them as if they are but now I'm not sure.
Ballast is the actual electrical part (rectangular box with wires) fixture is the whole lamp assembly...
and its usually called a "multimeter" instead of electrometer
very nice work Chrono, most would be too intimidated to even try.... way to go!