Author Topic: Suicide shower head teardown  (Read 54325 times)

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Offline ivan747

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Suicide shower head teardown
« on: January 28, 2016, 01:08:59 pm »


I used to own two of these ...things... They are really crap and I never really trusted them. This was before I got into electronics, living with my parents so we didn't know much better. None of the two models that were installed had the earth wire installed by an electrician (due to the electricians own incompetence, we weren't being cheap or anything like that). Not that it would matter over time... look at the video. We no longer have those deathtraps. Good riddance. They did give the tingling sensation the guy describes.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 01:32:32 pm by ivan747 »
 

Offline MrSlack

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 01:24:54 pm »
I saw that this morning. It's horrible and makes me think I'm damn lucky to be a) not ignorant of such things and b) living in the UK which has more than half arsed electrical safety laws.

(b) isn't strictly true but it's better than most places even if every damn electrician I've ever met is an incompetent cowboy.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 01:29:11 pm »
Incredible how many people actually survive after using this.
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 01:31:34 pm »
The thing that gets me is the bare copper earth wire. How would that survive hard water or even slightly corrosive water over time?
 

Offline Towger

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 01:39:47 pm »
Trip the RCD Clive! They don't commonly have RCDs in countries which use these... The whole thing brings a shiver to my bones. Keep up the good work :-)
 

Offline MrSlack

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 01:40:48 pm »
Trip the RCD Clive! They don't commonly have RCDs in countries which use these... The whole thing brings a shiver to my bones. Keep up the good work :-)


In Soviet Russia Brazil, you protect RCD!
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2016, 01:43:52 pm »
Trip the RCD Clive! They don't commonly have RCDs in countries which use these... The whole thing brings a shiver to my bones. Keep up the good work :-)

My lab is the only residence that I know of that has RCD outlets in this country, apart from my uni's physics, electricity and chemistry labs. And I think, except for electrics, those RCDs came with the benches!
 

Offline Towger

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2016, 01:56:13 pm »
My lab is the only residence that I know of that has RCD outlets in this country, apart from my uni's physics, electricity and chemistry labs. And I think, except for electrics, those RCDs came with the benches!

Such is the world. My brother in law in the Philippines is an Electrical Engineer, he has own company now designing and building systems for sub stations etc.  Previously he worked for ABB and with my father in law (mechanical engineer) they tried to start a company to upgrade existing domestic installations with RCDs, needless to say there was no interest.
 

Offline marshallh

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2016, 05:12:39 pm »
Was stuck under some of these down in Guatemala. They were exactly like that, no ground wire, and mostly-stripped romex twisted onto the ends. No insulation (Wire nuts? what are those?)
If you reached your hand up too high above the showerhead you were liable to shunt full AC voltage through yourself.

And yes, the tingling sensation is real. It is extremely unnerving, but countless other people use it without a problem... In  a 3rd world country there are always much quicker and more likely ways to meet an untimely end.
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Offline vinicius.jlantunes

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2016, 06:13:43 pm »
I haven't watched the video yet as I'm at work, and I will probably get shot for saying it... but there seems to be a bit of an exaggeration going on here...

These, as some of you seem to know, are common here in Brazil. I shower twice a day using one similar to this, 220V nominal voltage. It's actually a "fancier" one with an electronic heat control, but overall same concept.

1) I never felt any tingling. Maybe some of you are super sensitive...
2) If properly earthed, I don't see how it would be more dangerous than any other equipment. And you know what (now I will get shot), even without earthing it's not like end of the world... it's not that low of an impedance between a shower sprinkling water 30 cm above you and ground for you to certainly get deadly zapped if a wire goes loose inside. Again, of course it should be properly earthed just like anything else, but a metal chassis of any other equipment (say, a fridge) could potentially be much more dangerous may a wire come loose inside it and the chassis is not earthed
3) There are (or used to be) some with an isolated heater element - but they were less efficient and I think might have been discontinued

It was mentioned below about the fact that the earth wire is made of copper and it would get crusty / corroded and not perform - that may be a problem indeed but I think most I have seem are actually aluminum or some other metal less bound to cause problems. The ones that seemed to be copper did show corrosion definitely, but I remember measuring its resistance once as I had the same thought and it was not noticeably higher (I made very light contact with the side of the probe to make sure I was not poking through the corrosion).

I tried to find some info about deaths linked to these showers and couldn't find anything - that doesn't prove it's safe of course, but the fact these are broadly used here in Brazil and it doesn't seem to be that bad... corroborate my opinion it's not such a suicidal thing to shower in one of these. There are much easier ways to get electrocuted.

So bottom line - if properly installed, I don't think these are any more dangerous than anything else really.

Offline 1xrtt

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2016, 07:05:12 pm »
You beat me to it, but I confirm what Vinicius said:
In Brazil, this is the most common type of electric shower and I dare to say that the majority of them are not even earthed! At least I never saw one!
I felt tingling a couple of times when touching ones with a metal case, so you quickly learn to not stretch yourself while bathing. I guess only plastic ones are fabricated now, so this probably helps the survivability rate.
After marriage I moved to a building where each apartment has gas heating, so it's not a concern anymore, unless I'm staying with my parents.
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2016, 07:54:41 pm »
The mechanical design us quite clever in some ways...
But there also far too many options for failure!

Not for me thanks.
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Online wraper

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 08:45:07 pm »
Trip the RCD Clive! They don't commonly have RCDs in countries which use these... The whole thing brings a shiver to my bones. Keep up the good work :-)


In Soviet Russia Brazil, you protect RCD!
In Soviet Russia something like this would never had a chance to reach the customer BTW.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 09:10:09 pm »
1) I never felt any tingling. Maybe some of you are super sensitive...

Or maybe you're a shortass who's far enough away that the water is now droplets (not conductive).

How about tall people?

2) If properly earthed

"If"....

If you watch the video the "earth" is just a bare copper wire in the stream of water. How long until it oxidizes over or gets covered in limescale?

(And that assumes they even connected the earth wire).

Other problems: A switch that will happily make contact on only one of the incoming mains wires, possibly dumping the full live potential into the water stream.

The 'earth' wire in the video was apparently covered in silicon sealant when he opened it up, no amount of correct installation would fix that.

So bottom line - if properly installed, I don't think these are any more dangerous than anything else really.

:scared:
 

Offline Delta

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2016, 09:30:47 pm »
 :wtf: :wtf: :wtf:
A bare heating element surrounded by water?
 :scared: :scared: :scared:
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2016, 09:41:44 pm »
I consider this thing rather dangerous:

As is, it will very likely not work together with a GFC/RCD. Making it work could be tricky though not totally impossibly.

With just the live wire conected (e.g. cable failure, or just the shitty switch) the water is at life potential - so they really rely on the ground conncetion. So at the very least the switch should be only single pole and have a fixed polarity. At 5 kW it should not work with a standard outlet anyway - though I guess it is used this way sometimes. Having the short cables and thus the connections just at the shower is just a bad joke. There isn't even enough room in the tube for a good knot to connect the cables.

The switch part does not look good too - if it fails to disconnect (e.g. overheated contacts) the whole system overheats up to the point of spitting boiling water and melting the whole thing over someones head.  So it not only the electricity that is dangerous, but also high temperatures.

So it looks like the chineese way of fighting overpopulation.
 

Offline Hydrawerk

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« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 09:49:56 pm by Hydrawerk »
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Offline Delta

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2016, 09:57:16 pm »
Surely that thing would trip an RCD/GDCI immediately!  No wonder they don't use them!
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2016, 09:58:01 pm »
I haven't watched the video yet as I'm at work, and I will probably get shot for saying it... but there seems to be a bit of an exaggeration going on here...

These, as some of you seem to know, are common here in Brazil. I shower twice a day using one similar to this, 220V nominal voltage. It's actually a "fancier" one with an electronic heat control, but overall same concept.

1) I never felt any tingling. Maybe some of you are super sensitive...
2) If properly earthed, I don't see how it would be more dangerous than any other equipment. And you know what (now I will get shot), even without earthing it's not like end of the world... it's not that low of an impedance between a shower sprinkling water 30 cm above you and ground for you to certainly get deadly zapped if a wire goes loose inside. Again, of course it should be properly earthed just like anything else, but a metal chassis of any other equipment (say, a fridge) could potentially be much more dangerous may a wire come loose inside it and the chassis is not earthed
3) There are (or used to be) some with an isolated heater element - but they were less efficient and I think might have been discontinued

It was mentioned below about the fact that the earth wire is made of copper and it would get crusty / corroded and not perform - that may be a problem indeed but I think most I have seem are actually aluminum or some other metal less bound to cause problems. The ones that seemed to be copper did show corrosion definitely, but I remember measuring its resistance once as I had the same thought and it was not noticeably higher (I made very light contact with the side of the probe to make sure I was not poking through the corrosion).

I tried to find some info about deaths linked to these showers and couldn't find anything - that doesn't prove it's safe of course, but the fact these are broadly used here in Brazil and it doesn't seem to be that bad... corroborate my opinion it's not such a suicidal thing to shower in one of these. There are much easier ways to get electrocuted.

So bottom line - if properly installed, I don't think these are any more dangerous than anything else really.
Read some of the youtube comments. Yes there are those who haven't had any problems but people have been killed by these. It's quite possible many people die but the cause death isn't always correctly recorded.

The most dangerous thing is if it's not earthed of the earth connection rusts, then if the neutral connection becomes corroded, you have the shower head live at mains potential and you'll get a nasty shock at the least.

These wouldn't be allowed in the UK. In fact even an electric heater needs to be installed at a safe distance from water.
 

Offline apelly

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2016, 09:58:12 pm »
A couple of mates and I experienced one of these in an apartment in Rio. Exactly as described; twisted wire connections and everything. Adjusting the temperature caused rather exciting sparks. Not the good kind of exciting either.

After much discussion about how to deal with the situation, and since we hadn't already died, we adjusted it until we were sure it was off and never touched it again. It was so bloody hot there anyway.

Just one more story from an epic holiday.
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Offline Muxr

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2016, 10:09:21 pm »
The thing that gets me is the bare copper earth wire. How would that survive hard water or even slightly corrosive water over time?
I don't think it would be a major problem. A lot of the kitchen pots and pans used to be made of copper. Some still are. Gutters are also commonly made of copper in some places.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 10:11:26 pm by Muxr »
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2016, 10:34:12 pm »
So bottom line - if properly installed, I don't think these are any more dangerous than anything else really.

The only way I can think to properly install this is into a garbage bin.
 :o
 

Offline vinicius.jlantunes

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2016, 10:35:50 pm »
Well, yeah, I knew I would get shot... risk perception is very personal thing. I made all the observations about proper installation, and some simply assume it CAN NOT EVER be properly installed so those who use these on a daily basis are all doomed to die... and that the switch WILL fail with one side still connected as it can't be properly engineered of course (by the way it's the only equipment where a switch could fail), and the earth connection will corrode / get disconnected, and unlike all other things electrical, this is the only equipment where this live potential would then become "exposed" to touch.
I won't attempt to convince anyone otherwise.

Now excuse me, I will go take a shower so you probably you won't hear from me again  ::) (or the several million other Brazilians getting home from work at this moment and doing the same).

Offline vinicius.jlantunes

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2016, 10:41:38 pm »
Just one caveat though, as I hadn't watched the video (was at work) - the one in the video is definitely a lot worse than what we get here in Brazil. There are standards that mitigate some of the concerns regarding the internal switch, earthing, etc, and agencies that certify the products before they can be sold.

Someone mentions in the comments that that one is a different version made for Chinese market... maybe it is, don't know about that.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 10:43:10 pm by vinicius.jlantunes »
 

Offline Muxr

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Re: Suicide shower head teardown
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2016, 10:42:24 pm »
Proper installation will limit the risk, but I would still use one hand on my hip and the other hand to adjust the temperature, never two hands.
 


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