I know that static electricity can damage components, even if it does not destroy them or “break them” studies and tests have shown that it could decrease performance even a little if no noticeable damaged happened. Does the same principle apply to the issue below?

While working on a broken air conditioning unit and seeing if it would work (cable was completely cut and unit was dropped from a windows), I was not going to go through the hassle of putting rubber on them or a coating if I am just testing if it will work, the exposed wires touched by accident and short circuited.

My apartment is small so the bedroom has all my electronics and they were on the same circuit/circuit breaker as the short circuited AC unit. The circuit breaker did go off but I was wondering since the extra amps and electricity caused by the short circuit was on the same circuit as my electronics like TV, router, etc, could of it gotten damaged even a little. Because before the circuit breaker caught it it could of cycled throughout the same circuit.

Also do regular power outlets have some sort of mechanism to burn themselves out or stop the short circuit?


closed as off-topic by brhans, RoyC, Warren Hill, Voltage Spike, TimWescott May 31 at 23:42

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on the use of electronic devices are off-topic as this site is intended specifically for questions on electronics design." – brhans, RoyC, Warren Hill, Voltage Spike, TimWescott
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Things like TVs and routers, when properly engineered, usually have their own protection against surges in the power lines. They're also usually galvanically isolated since they're using transformers to step the mains voltage down, so there's technically no "wire" connection between the plug and the internal circuitry of the devices. \$\endgroup\$ – Gallifreyan May 26 at 6:17

Your electronic appliances are safe.

House wiring is parallel connection like this:

parallel wiring

Image source: Electrical Technology - How To Wire Lights in Parallel?

This diagram shows three bulbs but you can imagine your router, AC, TV etc connected in a similar fashion.

Right at the supply end, there will be an MCB to break the circuit if any of downstream appliances gets shorted.

When a short circuit happens (assume bulb 3 which is OFF in the diagram above), the shorted appliances will draw a huge current from the source. It has to be noted that the current will not flow through other appliances because of the way they are wired. If it was a series connection, current would have had flown through all of them but for a household wiring (Parallel connection), the current won't go through all of them.

When MCB's threshold is reached, it opens the circuit. Worst thing that could happen is wire damage in case your MCB cut off rating is higher than what the wires can safely handle. In some cases, it can lead to fires as well.


I'll somewhat disagree with the answers so far.

You probably did not damage your electronic equipment.
But, you may have :-(.

While your equipment is PROBABLY OK, for the general reasons given, this is not certain. The very large fault currents leading to a likely inductive kick would interact with the filters in the "properly designed probably made in Asia to compete on an open domestic market " equipment.
Survival is likely.
But, damage would not be surprising.

The nature of any damage that did occur (if it did) is unknowable.
Full immediate failure is probably the most likely result, but a degradation of components in a power supply or elsewhere is possible.

IMPORTANTLY: Your enthusiasm in playing with the defenestrated unit is commendable :-)
BUT what you did with the wiring was careless stupid and lethal.
It is good that you survived.
It is trivially easy to tape over temporary connections so that they do not short. Ascended masters MAY get away with hanging-in-space air insulation - but lesser beings may find themselves ascending before their time - as you could have done.
Tell us if it works in due course

  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, when I started opening up devices as a kid, I was scolded every time I didn't make sure it wasn't plugged into the wall. Later,when I was clear on that, I always made 100% sure that when plugging a device that was somehow not in its original state of encapsulation,I was aware of which parts might be connected to live electricity intentionally or in case of failure,and that all things I might touch intentionally or as an accident were isolated so that they can't cause damage. ESPECIALLY open wires. Seriously,put on a bit of isolating tape, silicone tubing, a lustre clamp…it safes a life. \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller May 26 at 10:16

The short circuit current may be 1,000 amps for a few milliseconds until the mechanical inertia of the circuit breaker is overcome by the extremely high mechanical kick of a small solenoid in the circuit breaker.

When the breaker opens and interrupts that 1,000 amps, the stored energy in your house wiring must convert into heat and electromagnetic fields. As the breaker starts to open, the inductive kick of the stored energy causes an arc across the breaker contacts. As the breaker contacts move further apart, the arc is broke. Then the stored energy causes a large voltage across the contacts, and another arc occurs. This arc strike and arc extinguish repeats until enough energy is dissipated that the arc can no longer be re-ignited. Exciting times within the breaker. But that is its job.

As others have written, well-engineered products have filters on the power input wires, so fast transients are ignored.

Some high-voltage testers produce 4,000 volt pulses in bursts, with 10 nanosecond rise times and 50 nanosecond fall times, to simulate such events.


I doubt it. The load you describe is not inductive, so you don't have a large inductive "kick" that could increase voltage above normal. The short is a resistive load, albeit a very low resistance one, so it's only going to pull voltage downward.

The A/C in normal operation is a different deal. It is a large motor load and highly inductive. When it cycles on and off, an inductive kick is likely. Your surge suppressors sound like they're of reasonable quality and I'd expect them to handle it.

As far as splicing uninsulated mains wiring connections, go get a sampler pack of wire nuts. You should have used 3 yellow wire nuts to make the temporary splices you just made. Those self-insulate. If you really are obsessed with messing around with uninsulated mains wires, at least get a GFCI device. However even a GFCI will not protect you if you make your body a series connection in the normal supply-hot-load-neutral-supply loop.


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