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Geocaching Electrical Safety

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I say use common sense. If you have a fear of electricity then stay away from such caches. I work in the electrical field. I've had to turn off the main breaker to homes where the customers had such a great fear of electricity that my turning off the breaker to the load being worked on scared them because the "lights still work."

Much of the discussion here seems to be around "high voltages". That can be a problem but it is mainly the current that kills - not the voltage. I've been hit by thousands of volts of electricity almost every day by static. A taser gun zaps you with thousands of volts. Most people will not die from those high voltages. On the other hand people have been killed from 13 volt car battieries and there is even one account of somebody figuring out how to kill themselves with a 9v battery. That makes me happy that my GPSr runs only on 3 volt.

The movie "JAWS" didn't make it less safe to go into the ocean but LOTS of people suddenly had a great fear of sharks and stayed out. Perhaps this discussion will have people think - if only for a moment - before sticking their hands into a place that just might be unsafe. And that's good.

Bottom line (for me): I believe most cachers use common sense. No new rules are needed.

No new rules, right. Voltage not involved in electrocution, WRONG!

Current = Voltage divided by Resistance. Current and voltage are inter-related mathematically and cannot be separated.

The higher the voltage the higher the current, assuming you do not exceed the current CAPACITY of the source. In order to be killed by a car battery, one would have to have an EXTREMELY LOW body resistance, like perhaps being immersed for hours in salt water prior to contact.

Getting a lethal shock fro HIGH VOLTAGE only requires NORMAL body resistance and a VERY SHORT exposure time- provided the SOURCE has at least 100 milliamperes current capacity.

Your argument fails because STATIC electricity has almost NO current source capacity. The typical static shock is about 5000-10000 volts but almost zero current.

The HIGH VOLTAGE electricity found in COMMERCIAL POWER SYSTEMS has a source capacity of HUNDREDS or in some cases THOUSANDS of AMPERES (depending on wire size and distance from nearest transformer, among other factors)

...Did a fake light box switch teach me to open all light switches? No. It taught me how to spot a fake one.

Yup and if being mistaken open a real one ? You run the risk to be enlightned no ?

Nope, it's sprinkler heads that I mistakenly open. Not electrical equipment.

Did you ever stop looking under rocks for risk of scorpions and biting spiders? Did you stop hiking in the woods for risk of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lime Disease etc. I can make a list a mile long of things that you put yourself at risk just to get through life and have a little fun. Don't box me in just because you may have a problem telling a fake box from a real one.

But how many in this list can kill you in < 1 heartbeat?

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I say use common sense. If you have a fear of electricity then stay away from such caches. I work in the electrical field. I've had to turn off the main breaker to homes where the customers had such a great fear of electricity that my turning off the breaker to the load being worked on scared them because the "lights still work."

Much of the discussion here seems to be around "high voltages". That can be a problem but it is mainly the current that kills - not the voltage. I've been hit by thousands of volts of electricity almost every day by static. A taser gun zaps you with thousands of volts. Most people will not die from those high voltages. On the other hand people have been killed from 13 volt car battieries and there is even one account of somebody figuring out how to kill themselves with a 9v battery. That makes me happy that my GPSr runs only on 3 volt.

The movie "JAWS" didn't make it less safe to go into the ocean but LOTS of people suddenly had a great fear of sharks and stayed out. Perhaps this discussion will have people think - if only for a moment - before sticking their hands into a place that just might be unsafe. And that's good.

Bottom line (for me): I believe most cachers use common sense. No new rules are needed.

No new rules, right. Voltage not involved in electrocution, WRONG!

Current = Voltage divided by Resistance. Current and voltage are inter-related mathematically and cannot be separated.

The higher the voltage the higher the current, assuming you do not exceed the current CAPACITY of the source. In order to be killed by a car battery, one would have to have an EXTREMELY LOW body resistance, like perhaps being immersed for hours in salt water prior to contact.

Getting a lethal shock fro HIGH VOLTAGE only requires NORMAL body resistance and a VERY SHORT exposure time- provided the SOURCE has at least 100 milliamperes current capacity.

Your argument fails because STATIC electricity has almost NO current source capacity. The typical static shock is about 5000-10000 volts but almost zero current.

The HIGH VOLTAGE electricity found in COMMERCIAL POWER SYSTEMS has a source capacity of HUNDREDS or in some cases THOUSANDS of AMPERES (depending on wire size and distance from nearest transformer, among other factors)

It is a mistaken belief that only high voltages kill. Of course there is a relationship between the current and voltage. But it still remains that it is the current which will do the killing. That 9v example I gave may be a 1 in 4 billion chance happening and would not have happened if dry skin resistance was used. Generally extra low voltage devices (less than 50v) do not kill.

One of the reasons that utilities transmit using high voltage is because the current is so much lower allowing a smaller transmission line (i.e. lower cost). Just for the record AC voltages of less than 1000v are considered to be low voltage. You home is powered with low voltage.

Talk to your local certified Journey Electrician. He can explain things to you.

Most of the electrical in the USA is covered by the NEC codes. Those codes keep us pretty safe. I am confident that the risk of shock at a public accessible electric box or post is extremely low. I would personally have more fear of injury crossing the street on a green light than I would grabbing a magnetic cache off of a green transformer box.

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I just keep thinknig about the movie "Tango and Cash" (appropriate)

Cash (Kurt Russel): You don't know anything about electricity do you?

Tango (Sly Stalone): No

Cash: As long as you're only touching one wire and you're not touching the ground, you don't get electrocuted.

-Beat-

Cash: Right?

Tango: I don't know

Cash: I don't either...

Hahahahahha lol

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...

Nope, it's sprinkler heads that I mistakenly open. Not electrical equipment.

Did you ever stop looking under rocks for risk of scorpions and biting spiders? Did you stop hiking in the woods for risk of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lime Disease etc. I can make a list a mile long of things that you put yourself at risk just to get through life and have a little fun. Don't box me in just because you may have a problem telling a fake box from a real one.

But how many in this list can kill you in < 1 heartbeat?

None, neither can fake electrical equipment. Sure it would hurt to have one of criminals boxes fall on my toe but I'd trust him to attach them pretty good and would worry more about that scorpion.

If public electrical equipment of any kind is a real problem, then the Electrical Engineers who desing it should take the time to design it to be less of a problem. My job is roads. Be stupid and you can still die on them. But I am not and would not give you the advice "don't place a cache anywhere where you may have to get to it using a road, you could get hurt and die" It' true enough, but then we build those roads for public use. Public electrical equipment (meaning where the public can access it) is placed for the use of beneift and the publid as power goes from Transmission lines to it's ultimate distributed form in lights and homes.

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I respectfully disagree. apples to oranges here...

Let's use apples to apples...

-Roads are to used by the public. Electricity is used by the public.

-Roads are maintained by someone competant. Electricity is maintained by someone competant. (competant=training+experience)

-We do not hide a cache in the middle of the road because someone might get killed and you would need permission from that city/owner.

We do not hide a cache on/in electrical equipment because someone might get killed and you need permission from that city/owner.

NOT Correct...

-The power box is accessable... I will play on and around it.

The highway is accessable... I will play on and around it.

(Just my opinion)

Edited by Johnnygeo
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I have a question... do you guys think that this cache is approriate... its not a real electrical box... just an imitation

<Quote> This is my answer to "no room for anything but a micro".

user posted image

The sticker reads:

United States Geocache

Site Logging Station

Do Not Disturb

</Quote>

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I respectfully disagree. apples to oranges here...

Let's use apples to apples...

-Roads are to used by the public. Electricity is used by the public.

-Roads are maintained by someone competant. Electricity is maintained by someone competant. (competant=training+experience)

-We do not hide a cache in the middle of the road because someone might get killed and you would need permission from that city/owner.

We do not hide a cache on/in electrical equipment because someone might get killed and you need permission from that city/owner.

NOT Correct...

-The power box is accessable... I will play on and around it.

The highway is accessable... I will play on and around it.

(Just my opinion)

Heck I just want to be able to sit on the power box in my front hard and not worry that my butt's going to get fried off.

Oh and they do, benchmarking in the road. , They also place caches in the right of way for roads. The key thing is not in the road, and not INSIDE the electrical equipment. Think of the edge of road as the out of bounds while I'll look at the inside of the box as out of bounds.

Apples and Oranges? Yup, but still public and accessable in both cases which is the larger point.

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I have a question... do you guys think that this cache is approriate... its not a real electrical box... just an imitation

<Quote> This is my answer to "no room for anything but a micro".

user posted image

The sticker reads:

United States Geocache

Site Logging Station

Do Not Disturb

</Quote>

The cache is fine. It has all the information a cacher needs to konw they can dive right in just as the owner of the box intended.

When terrorists start placing false geocaching stickers on real electrical boxes with the combination to the lock or a key hidden in a nearby micro, I"ll reconsider.

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The cache is fine. It has all the information a cacher needs to konw they can dive right in just as the owner of the box intended.

When terrorists start placing false geocaching stickers on real electrical boxes with the combination to the lock or a key hidden in a nearby micro, I"ll reconsider.

Lol... you know electrical boxes are the next antrax... I'm sure they will get thousands of people who are stupid enough to break into an electrical box lol

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Talk to your local certified Journey Electrician. He can explain things to you.

Most of the electrical in the USA is covered by the NEC codes. Those codes keep us pretty safe. I am confident that the risk of shock at a public accessible electric box or post is extremely low. I would personally have more fear of injury crossing the street on a green light than I would grabbing a magnetic cache off of a green transformer box.

I AM a qualified Journeyman electrician. Local 212 Cincinnati from 1978- 1984. (graduated valedictorian) I am also a certified electronic technician and holder of an FCC commercial radio telephone operator's license (formerly First Class untill they degraded the licenses back around 1985- which i had held for eight years by that time)

I ATTEMPTED to explain it to YOU, but I guess I am just not that articulate that you would be able to understand it.

I would suggest that you contact your local electrical utility regarding their power line safety demonstration. Typically the fry a few hot dogs, electricute a few toy squirrels and make a (literarly) *bang* up "fireworks" show. (A high voltage fuse blowing is quite spectacular- can you say "fire in the hole"?)

And NEVER DID I SAY that "high voltage is the only lethal voltage". READ MY POSTS! The lethal potential of an electrical contact depends on several facctors:

1. Pathway through tht body- if the heart is in the path, the lethal potential is greatest

2. Length of time of exposure- the longer the body is in contact with the current the more likely the bad outcome

3. VOLTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!! The higher the voltage the more likely DEATH will result- this is based on the mathematical formula I gave in my earlier post. I=E/R As voltage INCREASES, CURRENT INCREASES (assuming resistance remains constant- in an electrocution it doesn't, but I don't want to get into a doctoral thesis in a geocaching forum!)

4. The MINIMUM current required for lethality, given a normally functioning, healthy, human body, according to many experts, is 100MA (one hundred milliamperes or one tenth of an ampere)

Using the formula I=E/R (that inexorable relationship between voltage current and resistance), it should be clear that ANY COMBINATION of I,E,andR that will result in 100mA can result in a LETHAL shock.

For your 9V example that would mean a body resistance of 90 ohms or less. While it MIGHT BE TRUE, I very seriously doubt the internal resistance of a body, hand-hand, is that low. Furthermore, the story is VERY SUSPECT because the 100 MA current would only be realized if there was a DIRECT connection of the 9V battery to the test probes. This is not the case.

The Simpson 260 meter listed in your linked article is a simple analog meter which, when measuring ohms, at the minimum, has the meter movement and the zero adjust potentiometer in series with the battery. This would limit the current to the maximum full scale reading of the meter movement which is PROBABLY a 50 MICROAMPERE movement- meaning 50 MICRO (millionths) of an ampere for full scale deflection (in making ohms measurements with this meter, the user shorts the probes together and sets the full scale zero reading using the "zero adjust" pot.) The SUM of the pot resistance AND the meter movement resistance would then be the resistance which LIMITS the current that could flow through the body. Since we know that the meter movement has EXACTLY 50 microamps flowing through it at zero ohms (because we SET it that way) and the current in a series circuit is the same through ALL elements (the battery, meter, set-pot, probes, and body), we can conclude that the current passing through the body is LESS THAN 50 microamps or less than 1/2000 of the current needed for electrocution!

While I will grant that your story MAY have an element of truth in it, YOU SHOULD BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET!

Can you say "urban legend"?

If it DID really happen it was a *Fluke* (Internal pun that only an electronic tech will get)

You are correct that "any voltage below 1000 is considered "low voltage"- to an electrician, (actually the "breakover point" is more commonly regarded as 600volts), to the AVERAGE JOE, low voltage means like 12v as opposed to "house current" (120volts- incidentally the most common voltage in electrocution cases, not because it is terribly dangerous, but more so because of its ubiquitous availability and SHODDY practices which are the main gist of this debate)

Anyway:

If public electrical equipment of any kind is a real problem, then the Electrical Engineers who desing it should take the time to design it to be less of a problem. My job is roads. Be stupid and you can still die on them. But I am not and would not give you the advice "don't place a cache anywhere where you may have to get to it using a road, you could get hurt and die" It' true enough, but then we build those roads for public use. Public electrical equipment (meaning where the public can access it) is placed for the use of beneift and the publid as power goes from Transmission lines to it's ultimate distributed form in lights and homes.

No, I WOULD say however, "don't place a cache IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROAD". Apples=oranges

The problem is not with FAKE electrical equipment, but with it NOT BEING READILY DISCERNABLE as fake. IF it can be readily discerned as fake, it would be much like placing a cache in an ABANDONED and CLOSED OFF road- no danger, no problem.

COULD this encourage cachers (especially the young) to go probing around in electrical boxes that THEY MISTAKINGLY REGARDED as fake? I think the answer is YES. Others may disagree.

In the power line safety demonstration put on by the Cincinnati Gas and Electric company during my apprenticeship training, the instructor told us how to KNOW a wire was "dead"- "when it is on the reel in the stockroom and the stock-person is sitting on it". Outside of that case, even an EXPERT electrician cannot tell for sure a line is DEAD without testing it. Electricity is invisible and in most cases, silent. When you touch it, you get shocked. You could die. In less than one heartbeat.

IS IT WORTH IT? Your call. No new rules, just YOUR PERSONAL CALL as a geocacher.

I know not what course others may take, but as for me, I WILL LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE'S ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT ALONE unless I am called to work on it and it is equipment i am QUALIFIED to work on... (that leaves "high voltage" equipment OUT!)

NOT Correct...

-The power box is accessable... I will play on and around it.

The highway is accessable... I will play on and around it.

(Just my opinion)

Heck I just want to be able to sit on the power box in my front hard and not worry that my butt's going to get fried off.

Have you ever wondered why those green boxes have a sticker that reads "Don't play on or around this equipment"?

You should NOT sit on that box without worrying about "getting your butt fried off", you should AVOID sitting on that box. 99.999999999999% of the time it will be safe. But why tempt fate? Buy a chair and sit sevral feet away from it. you,ve got good brakes on your car. Do you drive rapidly toward your child in the driveway, "knowing" that you can "stop on a dime"? I hope not! The transformer in your yard is not a stool; it is not a ladder; it is not a toy; it is NOT a fixture the electric company placed there for the hiding of geocaches.

I have a question... do you guys think that this cache is approriate... its not a real electrical box... just an imitation

<Quote> This is my answer to "no room for anything but a micro".

user posted image

The sticker reads:

United States Geocache

Site Logging Station

Do Not Disturb

</Quote>

The cache is fine. It has all the information a cacher needs to konw they can dive right in just as the owner of the box intended.

When terrorists start placing false geocaching stickers on real electrical boxes with the combination to the lock or a key hidden in a nearby micro, I"ll reconsider.

Agree. Provided the cacher coming in does not encounter other boxes (that might be CLOSER to HIS coordinates) that are real.

No Problem as long as the cache is clearly identified as such and there is no similar equipment nearby that can be mistaken for the cache. Cache on.

edit; technicality "90 ohms" changed to "100MA" in beginning rant

Edited by Confucius' Cat
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Wow... That's some great information. I enjoy reading and learning from people who have experience.

You explain things clearly for all to understand.

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The cache is fine. It has all the information a cacher needs to konw they can dive right in just as the owner of the box intended.

When terrorists start placing false geocaching stickers on real electrical boxes with the combination to the lock or a key hidden in a nearby micro, I"ll reconsider.

Lol... you know electrical boxes are the next antrax... I'm sure they will get thousands of people who are stupid enough to break into an electrical box lol
They won't get too many of us. Most people will take the fried body as a sign that something isn't right.
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... Heck I just want to be able to sit on the power box in my front hard and not worry that my butt's going to get fried off.
Have you ever wondered why those green boxes have a sticker that reads "Don't play on or around this equipment"? ...
Insurance purposes, I suspect.

However, could you imagine the lawsuit if somebody's kid bumped his bike against one and was killed? For this reason alone, I suspect that these big green boxes are safer than you suggest. Further, imagine the similar lawsuit that would be filed if someone was killed because they merely touched the outside of a meter box.

This entire thread is much ado about nothing.

Edited by sbell111
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I did see a cache recently that I felt went too far.

It's an outdoor electrical junction box with a piece of steel conduit extending into the ground.

The box is made to be screwed to a wall, maybe 10" off the ground.

Looks like any outdoor electrical connector box.

The cover is held on with two screws.

You must remove one screw and swivel the cover out of the way.

Inside are wires, tied together with wire nuts.

Looks just like any electrical connection.

You pull the cluster of wires out and they are attached to a cache that hangs down in the conduit tube.

Seriously evil cache, a challenge to any hunter, and a totally bad idea!

While I don't have a problem with a magnetic micro on an outdoor electrical box, or even the electrical connector box as described above that isn't attached and is empty, having cachers actually pull wires from an attached box just isn't right.

I don't know if this cache has actually been placed yet, I saw it when someone won it at an event, but I hope it never is!

Ed

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RE:Seriously evil cache, a challenge to any hunter, and a totally bad idea!"

That is an evil cache. Thanks for sharing what's really out there.

Edited by Johnnygeo
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....You should NOT sit on that box without worrying about "getting your butt fried off", you should AVOID sitting on that box. 99.999999999999% of the time it will be safe. But why tempt fate? Buy a chair and sit sevral feet away from it. you,ve got good brakes on your car. Do you drive rapidly toward your child in the driveway, "knowing" that you can "stop on a dime"? I hope not! The transformer in your yard is not a stool; it is not a ladder; it is not a toy; it is NOT a fixture the electric company placed there for the hiding of geocaches....

The box is in my front yard. Therefore it should be safe. This is not a hard concept to grasp. I should not be at risk of sudden death if I trim my shrubs to keep them clear of the box (as is posted on the box). I should not have my kids be at risk if they climb on the box. All power companeis know kids will do this. I did it, odds are you did it. Thus you need to factor that into the design. If you can't, the box should not be there. It should be behind a power company fence or burried to where we can't access it. Objects need to be designed for the environment they are going to be used in.

When I walk into a store the sign should not fall on my head. If I walk on a lawn the electrical system used to operate the valves for the sprinkler system should not fry me.

The list goes on. Everone and their brother will be happy to tell you to "don't do this don't do that" just to cover their butts. Still it's our world and we need to be able to engage in our lives withn it.

There are limits, and I have no issue with not crossing them. Just that 'everything' is off limit is a bit much. If lamp posts are a problem then why do the skirts lift up? If they are a problem even when the skirts don't life up why aren't they grounded such that you can't get shocked by touching the pole? Why isn't the pole plastic covered so we don't tuch the metal? Etc.

Inside a live box. No. Near a box. yes. In a fake box. Yes. Reasonable limits. Not wholsale off limits.

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RE:Seriously evil cache, a challenge to any hunter, and a totally bad idea!"

That is an evil cache. Thanks for sharing what's really out there.

It's not 'really out there'. It is a box that was given away at an event. It is not a cache until it is placed and listed. Heck, I have several ammo boxes and a bucket of film cans in my garage. Are those caches, also?

Edited by sbell111
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RE: "It's not 'really out there'. It is a box that was given away at an event. It is not a cache until it is placed and listed. Heck, I have several ammo boxes and a bucket of film cans in my garage. Are those caches, also?"

My mistake. Thank you. (though we're being a little picky(you should be in politics )... "Giving away at an event " in this forum tends to mean a geocache event, which in turn means that someone may try to hide it... I'm sure it's not going to be used to wire up a hot tub )

I would like to hear from others with some good comments... (pro or con)

What have you seen out there for electrical type caches?

Edited by Johnnygeo
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...What have you seen out there for electrical type caches?

Good question. 1 Fake Light Switch. and um... yeah, that's it.

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Who hasn't found a magnetic micro stuck on a piece of electro-whatsit.

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Who hasn't found a magnetic micro stuck on a piece of electro-whatsit.

Ignoring Light Poles. One magnetic micro stuck on a piece of electro-whatsit.

Here is a question for you electrical types. I go to Walmart and buy a roll of speaker wire. I hold one end of the roll in one hand and the other end of the role in the other hand. I'm holding it so that electricity if it were flowing from one side of the wire to the other would flow through me. I then find a standard distribution line overhead (32,000KVA?) and run just under it. How fast do I have to run to shock myself?

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RE:"Here is a question for you electrical types. I go to Walmart and buy a roll of speaker wire. I hold one end of the roll in one hand and the other end of the role in the other hand. I'm holding it so that electricity if it were flowing from one side of the wire to the other would flow through me. I then find a standard distribution line overhead (32,000KVA?) and run just under it. How fast do I have to run to shock myself?"

I give up... the suspence is killing me (I feel as if this question is a trap / a question I'm not fully understanding)

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RE:"Here is a question for you electrical types. I go to Walmart and buy a roll of speaker wire. I hold one end of the roll in one hand and the other end of the role in the other hand. I'm holding it so that electricity if it were flowing from one side of the wire to the other would flow through me. I then find a standard distribution line overhead (32,000KVA?) and run just under it. How fast do I have to run to shock myself?"

I give up... the suspence is killing me (I feel as if this question is a trap / a question I'm not fully understanding)

It's the set-up for the worst Mythbusters episode ever (or the best, depending on whether they fry Buster).

Edited by sbell111
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What have you seen out there for electrical type caches?

There is a rather well-known cache around here that consists of an electrical box screwed to the side of a building. You remove the screws to open the box and inside you find the cache container. It sounds a lot like the cache mentioned above, right down to the fake conduits running to the ground -- no wires inside though.

My thoughts:

1) Very well done cache. Even finding the screwdriver adds to the fun. I really enjoyed it and it has made several "Best Cache" type bookmark lists.

2) For anyone with common sense it is pretty obvious that it is safe -- if you look closely the conduits end just above the ground and there are no wires in them and the wires from the building don't connect to the box.

My only concern:

It "trains" people to look at these things as cache locations. The next cache may be a micro in the ground near a similar box but the cacher thinks "Ah, another one of these! Let me pop this cover off and see what's inside..."

We're never going to be able to regulate everyone to be safe in all situations so I guess each person needs to look after themselves and know their own limits. I have walked away from a cache when I felt the location was beyond my limits, or wasn't safe or wasn't fun and I expect others can and will do the same. If not, that's why we have Darwin Awards.

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RE: "It "trains" people to look at these things as cache locations. The next cache may be a micro in the ground near a similar box but the cacher thinks "Ah, another one of these! Let me pop this cover off and see what's inside..."

Great comment!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by Johnnygeo
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RE:"Here is a question for you electrical types. I go to Walmart and buy a roll of speaker wire. I hold one end of the roll in one hand and the other end of the role in the other hand. I'm holding it so that electricity if it were flowing from one side of the wire to the other would flow through me. I then find a standard distribution line overhead (32,000KVA?) and run just under it. How fast do I have to run to shock myself?"

I give up... the suspence is killing me (I feel as if this question is a trap / a question I'm not fully understanding)

It's the set-up for the worst Mythbusters episode ever (or the best, depending on whether they fry Buster).

They did do one about how to get electricity from transmission lines just by being close. If I recall they figured out you could but your house would have to be under the lines and you have to have a lot of \$ invested in equipment to create enough power to do much of anything.

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Talk to your local certified Journey Electrician. He can explain things to you.

I AM a qualified Journeyman electrician. Local 212 Cincinnati from 1978- 1984. (graduated valedictorian) I am also a certified electronic technician and holder of an FCC commercial radio telephone operator's license (formerly First Class untill they degraded the licenses back around 1985- which i had held for eight years by that time)

I'm grinning. I am a certified journeyman electrician in the state of California. For the past 29 years I've been troubleshooting electricial problems and I've seen some really weird stuff. The codes have changed a lot since 1984 but the safety issues are still very real as they were back then. I wanted to be an ET and I was accepted in the ET program at Mare Island Navy Base but that was one of the first classes to be canceled in 1977 before the base finally closed down. I never did go for my FCC license but I hold a general ham license (been a ham since 1976).

Sounds like we could trade some great stories. But back to the subject at hand...

I'm not going to rehash what I've already stated. Just let me say that I personally have no problems with caches hidden on the surface of transformers, loadcenters or around conduit. On the other hand, caches hidden INSIDE of old electrical boxes, etc. is a bad idea IMOHO. And caches hidden inside ENERGIZED equipment is just plain nuts!

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I'm not going to rehash what I've already stated. Just let me say that I personally have no problems with caches hidden on the surface of transformers, loadcenters or around conduit. On the other hand, caches hidden INSIDE of old electrical boxes, etc. is a bad idea IMOHO. And caches hidden inside ENERGIZED equipment is just plain nuts!

(KB4BYQ here- general class by FCC designation upgrade- originally a "code" tech)

We certainly agree on all of the above quote.

As I stated earlier (for RK & sbell's benefit) - There is NORMALLY no hazard in touching the OUTSIDE of any electrical box. IF (GREAT BIG 2 letter word) they are installed correctly, have not been tampered with, and the connections (especially grounds) have not corroded or deteriorated with age, there is no hazard whatsoever.

Attaching a magnet cache or some other container to the surface of a properly installed, not malfunctioning, LIVE electrical box that is located in a place generally accessible to the general public is no more risk than any other cache placement. The liklihood of danger is roughly equivalent to the likelihood of being hit by a meteor or reentering space vehicle (hey it happens in Sims®). (Did you see the 99.9999999999999% thing? That's what that meant.)

Electrical Tech Geek Stuff follows (stop reading here if the off topic thing bothers you)

OBTW (as if anyone cares) I found a Simpson 260 meter at our shop today and I did some measurements on it to debunk the "darwin awards" urban myth... (this is kinda fun actually)

There is a 9v battery and a 1.5v D cell battery used in the meter. Both of these are used in the ohms function of the 260. The 9v battery is ONLY in the circuit in the 50K ohms range- in this range the open circuit voltage (measured on Fluke 77) was 5.6v. The lower ranges use the 1.5 v battery- the full 1.5v of the battery could be measured between the probes in the 1K and 100 ohm ranges.

Operating into a short circuit (measuring zero ohms) the 260 IS actually capable of supplying 108mA of current, however if the probes are connected to a 100ohm resistor (substituting for the alleged human body resistance) the current flow is only 0.08mA. Using the two higher ohms ranges, the short-circuit current supplied by the 260 is 0.08mA.

It can be seen from this that a normally functioning Simpson 260 meter is NOT CAPABLE of producing a lethal electrical exposure- NOT EVEN CLOSE. Also, if indeed the electrocution resulted from a properly functioning meter, it would have involved a 1.5V D cell, not a 9V battery. Even MORE far-fetched.

Next step- find out what the lowest possible body resistance really is. I seriously doubt it will get as low as 90mA that would be required for electrocution by direct connection to a 9V battery. Perhaps experiments on steak and/or simulated or real blood?

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Here is a question for you electrical types. I go to Walmart and buy a roll of speaker wire. I hold one end of the roll in one hand and the other end of the role in the other hand. I'm holding it so that electricity if it were flowing from one side of the wire to the other would flow through me. I then find a standard distribution line overhead (32,000KVA?) and run just under it. How fast do I have to run to shock myself?

Depends entirely upon your age...

If you run fast enough to cause severe chest discomfort, profuse sweating, and pain radiating from the center of the chest through the jaw and down the left arm....

You won't shock yourself, but perhaps the paramedics will shock you.

(provided they can find the defribrilator you left in the electrical box cache- and they aren't afraid to touch the box)

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Next step- find out what the lowest possible body resistance really is. I seriously doubt it will get as low as 90mA that would be required for electrocution by direct connection to a 9V battery. Perhaps experiments on steak and/or simulated or real blood?

I might suggest soaking your hand in saline (salt water) for as long as you can stand it. Then check the resistance across your hand...

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What have you seen out there for electrical type caches?

Out of our only 68 finds, we've seen:

* A metal, single-gang box spray painted green and magnetized to a transformer box similar to this one:

* A magnetic key hider on the same type of box

* An outdoor single-gang box with a 6-inch metal conduit magnetized to a light pole.

* A PVC pipe with a right angle and short neck sitting along side an outdoor cable box (the ones that are about 2.5 ft tall and 8 inches square). It wasn't exactly electrical equipment, but it took a few minutes to realize that it wasn't part of the box.

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Thanks for all your great comments. Also, I thank those cachers with other comments that are not so positive towards the site... I learn from all. (It shows me I have much more work to do)

Please visit my site at My Webpage

Thank you,

Johnnygeo

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i couldnt agree with you more, safety is paramount !!

im a avionics technician ( fancy name for aircraft electrician) and thier are times where we have to reach into places where we cant see or just physically have to become a contortionist to get into. about 8 years ago we had a guy who on a routine check had dropped a tool behind a power panel and was shocked thru his wedding ring. luckily he didnt kill himself or lose his finger, but his finger is to this day is still slightly deformed from the loss of skin.

its unfortunate that with all the knowledge we have regaurding safety, it really doesnt sink in until you get hurt or someone you know does..

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NOT Correct...

-The power box is accessable... I will play on and around it.

The highway is accessable... I will play on and around it.

Sorry, but.... your analogy doesn't quite hold together for me.

As regards highways, there's a big difference between "playing in traffic" and walking on the shoulder, pulling over and stepping into the bushes for a bit, pulling into a rest stop, etc.

Similarly, there's a significant difference between touching the OUTSIDE of a sealed transformer box and opening it up and fiddling with what's inside.

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What have you seen out there for electrical type caches?

Out of our only 68 finds, we've seen:

102 finds here..

What I've seen:

1. A small electrical box (front plate the size of a household light switch or plug plate) attached, about a foot off the ground, to a power pole at a park and ride lot. There are real electrical boxes and wires on the other side of the pole, about 4 feet up.

The cache has a PVC tube on the bottom that makes it look as if there are wires leading down into the ground. On close inspection, one sees that the bottom screw is missing from the face plate; the interior is accessed by swinging the face plate to the side. Also, once you pay attention, you can see that the entire thing isn't the same color/quality as what's on the other side.

I'd have to go back and look at it to be sure, but I believe the real equipment is inoperative.

2. A metal electrical box the same size as the one described in #1, camoed to be the same color as a light pole, and stuck to it with magnets.

3. Same as #2 (placed by the same hider in areas about 30 miles apart), only difference being that it's stuck to the side of the base rather than to the pole.

4. If we're counting them, four or five hide-a-keys stuck somewhere on the outside of a transformer box.

5. A micro which I declined to continue hunting for because GZ was a OPEN electrical box, and it appeared that the cache might be inside with the switches etc.. The box may have been inoperative - it was unusual that it wasn't closed/locked - but I wasn't going to mess with it!

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Hurray! This thread's back.

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5. A micro which I declined to continue hunting for because GZ was a OPEN electrical box, and it appeared that the cache might be inside with the switches etc.. The box may have been inoperative - it was unusual that it wasn't closed/locked - but I wasn't going to mess with it!

Definitely the right thing to do. Since you apparently didn't find it though, it would be wrong to ask that the cache be archvied. A note that the coords led you to an open and potentially hot electrical box might be in odrer. Bet the note gets deleted though.

One who is not an electrician and/or does not have an appropriate tester should NEVER assume electrical equipment is "dead". "May have been" is too much risk when a single touch can kill.

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Hurray! This thread's back.

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Hurray! This thread's back.

Took you six years to get the joke?

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Dangers of Geocaching in and around Electrical Equipment

I’ve been geocaching for about a year now. I have found many creative types of geocaches. This is what makes it fun and challenging. Lately I’ve been concerned about the amount of geocaches that are hidden in and around electrical equipment.

I am a Safety Coordinator for a Power Utility here in Alberta. It is my job to look out for the men and women who work on our electrical lines and equipment. It’s also my job to look out for the general public. One of my job tasks that I really enjoy is teaching kids at schools electrical safety smarts. I’ll go to elementary schools throughout the year to present a safety cartoon and explain in detail the indoor and outdoor electrical hazards that exist. I explain real life examples of people getting hurt really bad and death due to electricity. I show them what dangerous wires, boxes and other equipment looks like. I teach them to stay away from all electrical lines and equipment and not to play on guard rails that sometimes protect the high voltage electrical equipment.

I am asking all parents and kids not to geocache around any electrical equipment. This is power poles, street lighting posts, electrical boxes that are in your yard or power boxes in some other location.

Please let me explain my concerns.

I want you to remember two very important characteristics of electricity.

1. Electricity always wants to go back to the ground.

2. Electricity is lazy. It will take shortcuts to get to the ground. That could be a ladder touching a overhead power line or a geocacher touching the side of a damaged electrical box.

Cars hit these types of boxes all the time and sometimes there are no visible signs of damage. Inside there may be wires loose that come undone due to impact and cause the area to be energized. (Step Potential/Ground being electrified) Also, the cabinet may become energized and when you touch the cabinet the electricity will pass through you to get to the ground.(Touch Potential) In North America we have had fatalities due to Step & Touch Potential. There is no second chance.

Sometimes equipment just fails. It happens. The insulating factors that protect the public may fail due to age and possibly energize the equipment.

Vandals may break into equipment and leave a cover open... Kids or adults may be so used to caching around the stuff... until it's too late. Let's make sure kids or adults never "get used to" playing around this stuff.

The City of Edmonton Electrical boxes (Switching Cubicles) have a voltage of 13,800 (phase to phase). Pad mount Transformers(On the ground) are 8000 volts.(to ground) That’s over 100 times the voltage in your wall that you may use when you plug in a toaster. Imagine that going through you. Just don’t take the chance.

I am asking in behalf as a Safety Professional and Geocacher please not to hide caches on or around electrical equipment and not to even look for a cache that may be on or around any electrical equipment.

If you believe that it is in a hazardous zone please contact the person who placed the geocache. If that is not a successful route please contact the person who approved it. Most of the time the approver of a geocache is not aware that it is in a dangerous zone. Let’s look out for each other.

Thank you for listening to my concerns and play safe,

Johnnygeo

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Closing this resurrected zombie thread.

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