A noob level question and I am afraid of electric current since childhood shock.

So a wire goes into wall socket, 200v input. If I hold a resistor of 32 Kilo-Ohm and touch wire with it's other hand and at another place with my other hand, something like:

Wire end 1 ---- resistor --- my hand 1 -- body -- my hand 2 --- wire end 2.

Could I die? (I meant I calculated current, I = V/R, it's low. But am I making newb-mistake?)

What about parallel? (I do not know concept here.)


Imaginary scenario:

enter image description here

Guys, I am afraid of electric current. I have now started to look at electrical and electronics concepts to get over this fear. Relax, all I am trying to do is to find definitive answers which books do not provide (and not electrocute myself or someone else).

Regarding color combination.

It's not a real resistor. I picked up high enough value 32 K-Ohm, because 220/R is 0.006875A, read that it's low to kill a human and I wanted to keep the tolerance low thus 1%; did that in gResistor in ubuntu.

enter image description here

I will read up on what you guys have mentioned in the answers and get back with on topic but better questions.

Problem I find with books is that they tell how to calculate and what to calculate, but do not relate to real life scenarios.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure it isn't violet orange red orange? That fits the E48 series (732k). Is there a fifth band to indicate tolerance? Did you measure its value? \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Nov 22 '15 at 11:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ What you want is probably one of these: fluke.com/fluke/sgen/community/fluke-news-plus/… \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Nov 22 '15 at 17:01

Anyone that has to describe a resistor by reciting its color bands definitely shouldn't be sticking it into a wall outlet, especially when holding on to the other end. Put another way, if you have to ask, the answer is NO, don't do that.

Just for interest, each color is just a digit. ORN RED ORN VIO is the same as writing 3 2 3 7. However, that doesn't mean 3237 Ohms. Usually such things are written using a floating point scheme, so that might mean something like 232 x 107, but that's a rather unlikely value. Four bands would usually end in gold, meaning 5%. 1% resistors have 5 bands, so it's not clear what you actually have.

Perhaps the first orange is really gold, so the colors are actually VIO ORN RED GOL, which would be 73 x 102, 5 %, another unlikely value.

Again, don't stick it in a wall outlet.


Now that you've provided a diagram, it's clear that this is even a worse idea than it might have been. Not only are you directly connecting yourself to the power line, but you are doing it between the arms, which means the current will flow close to your heart. Unless you're going for a Darwin Award, this is a really dumb idea.

Let me make it really clear for people with your level of understanding:

Don't poke anything into a electrical output other than a commercially made plug for that purpose. Ever. No exceptions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And preferably only a commercially made plug which has something commercially made attached in the factory. You can buy plugs with nothing attached to them for DIY stuff, best steer clear unless you know what you are doing. \$\endgroup\$ – Tom Carpenter Nov 22 '15 at 22:58

Yes I think you could get shocked or even die. Please don't try this :)

  1. According to V=IR, if you have 200Vac (with a peak of 1.414 * 200 = 282v) then divide this over the resistance of 32k, you end up with around 9ma of current. This is enough to shock or possibly kill you.

  2. I certainly would not try this regardless of the resistor's value because only some kinds of resistors are rated to be safe with mains voltage. Often those "touch" lamps will have a big blue resistor going to their sensor, not because it needs to dissipate a lot of heat, but because it is the only thing separating the operator's hand from mains voltages so needs to be specially rated.

  3. I am also concerned that your "Wire-resistor-hand-body-hand-wire" model doesn't include your legs that are going to earth. If the resistor is on the neutral wire, you're basically grabbing the active wire directly and you could die very easily.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This raises one more question regarding neutral wire and earthing. Also, that peak has to taken in account. Cool. \$\endgroup\$ – Anubhav Nov 22 '15 at 17:11

Short version: you clearly don't have the experiance to be designing circuits involving mains, let alone circuits that involve both mains and the human body. Messing around like this could get you killed.

Long version:

orange-red-orange-violet seems an unlikely code. If we interpret it as digit, digit, multiplier, tolerance then we get 32K but with 0.1% tolerance. It seems unlikely to me that a 0.1% resistor would use a coding scheme with only two significant digits and while 32K is a standard value it's only in E192, again I find it unlikely that an E192 resistor would use a code with only two significant digits. Other possible readings of the code don't seem to lead to anything sensible for me either. Colour codes are easy to misread, if in doubt measure.

Anyway lets say you actually do have a 32K ohm resistor. That's about 7ma into a short circuit load, a bit less (but same order of magnitude) into a good connection to the human body. This is definately enough to give you a shock and quite possiblly enough to kill in the right circumstances. Then there is the risk of failure, cheap resistors are often not designed for mains and also not designed for the power levels that will end up being dissipated in the resistor (1.5W if driving into a short, a bit less if driving into the human body).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point about the maximum voltage rating. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Nov 22 '15 at 15:13

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