The battery in a disposable camera is usually a single 1.5V AA battery. It charges a large capacitor. When the capacitor is fully charged, it will contain a voltage very close to 1.5V correct?

If one was to touch the charged capacitor, it will shock them. Why is this? Surely 1.5V can't do that kind of damage, right?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ A TASER runs on a 9v battery, just sayin. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2012 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Photoflash capacitors are charged to hundreds of volts using various methods (flyback transformer, etc). Don't assume that because the input is a AA battery that there are no greater potentials within the circuit.

The example below was taken from a Texas Instruments application note. This circuit is battery powered yet charges a capacitor to 300V.

Photoflash Carger

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, also electric shockers often run on batteries yet they produce very high voltages using some clever electronics. \$\endgroup\$
    – sharptooth
    Jul 27, 2012 at 7:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I never thought that there was a circuit that might be increasing the voltage. \$\endgroup\$
    – blake305
    Jul 29, 2012 at 2:19

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