Danger, 10,000 Volts!

Ok, you know I like to talk about safety, often based on experience, so here is a quick one I bet you haven’t thought about.

I am planning to try some of those 10 cent FS70 solar panels that Sun Electronics is selling and then write a review. I have actually used 4 of them in the lighting system in my “boxcar”, a 40′ boxcar-red shipping container. At the Solar Shed, some space freed up in my test rack, so I reconfigured for these modules. Next step was to fetch them and try them on a larger scale.

They are not big, but they are heavy, so I move them only two at a time. With one pair on board the Solar Yamaha, I went back for another. I am very careful with these as the panels can put out about 100 volts and some are missing the MC3 connectors, exposing bare wire.

So I curl my fingers around the corner to tip it toward me–there should be no wires at the corner–and, OMG!!!! 100 volts, my hairy hind end! It was more like 10,000 volts! I fully expected to see a charred nub where the finger used to be, but, no, there it was, all pink and healthy-looking, even if it did still feel like it had a hot nail driven through it. What the heck?

Then I saw the wasp fly out from behind it! Great! One more thing to worry about. If there is a moral to this story, it would be to watch out for Mother Nature. She is a practitioner of Murphy’s Law. Look out for wasps behind panels that have been leaning. Black widow spiders like to live under things on the ground. Don’t overlook the possibility of a snake or a scorpion under a pallet. It’s always something, isn’t it?

For a day or two, I went around with a hand that looked like those big foam “we’re number one” hands that people wear at football games. I learned a lesson I won’t forget and I am admitting to it so maybe you won’t have to learn it for yourself.–Neal

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