I build an inverter to power some panels of EL paint (If you don't know what EL paint is check out this link). It puts out some very high voltage and I thought I'd check to see what amperage it is capable of delivering since the voltages it is operating at are rather dangerous (I measured 329v with my meter). Anyways, I tested the output amperage in several different ways. First I checked the amps on the high side while it was powering the EL panel and got ~874uA, pretty small. What really surprised me was that when there was no load present (direct short) my meter only measured 10.5mA, still pretty small. I would have thought that shorting the ends of the transformer through the meter would have caused bad things to happen, specifically white smoke and a melted transformer, but I experienced nothing of the sort.
I tested it with several different MOSFETs and also tried a small transistor (2N3904). The transistor actually caused it to supply less amperage so my thought is that it has something to do with the amount of current the MOSFETs and transistors are allowing to flow through them. My question is, why am I seeing such a small amount of amperage on the output of the transformer? Also, is this design safe since 10mA isn't fatal and the human body would provide some resistance lowing that number a bit more?