High voltage components are very important, but they can also be very dangerous. You’ve doubtless seen a DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE sign, or perhaps even worked on equipment that has this level of power.
So how do you properly insulate and handle your high voltage components, and what are some ways to do things safely? Read this quick guide for your top three tips for handling high voltages!
Ensure Your Insulation Is Sound
The first thing you should do is make sure you have sufficient insulation for your high voltage transformer, wire, or anything else. This is true for both AC and DC high voltage situations. Controlling your withstand voltage is the key here, and it is determined by two factors: creepage and insulation distance.
Creepage distance is basically the distance along an insulating material between two conducting points. If you have two wires separated by 5mm of insulating materials, your creepage distance is 5mm.
Insulation distance is basically the thickness of your insulating materials. If you have 10mm of materials wrapped around the entirety of your conductive materials, you have an insulation distance of 10mm. You can also use things like Riedon Resistors to help reduce electrical flow to certain areas, which can make things safer or bring the electricity to the needed level.
You need to make sure you have the proper level of withstand voltage for the project you’re working on. That will vary depending on a wide variety of factors, including your insulation, distances, and voltages.
When working with high voltage wires and equipment, it’s always a good idea to attach grounding wires or other means of grounding. This will ensure your safety as well as the safety of the equipment.
Basically, if things go wrong, you want the electricity to go through the ground rather than through your or something else. Set up your grounding wires so that they connect directly with a non-insulated portion of ground, and make sure they can handle the potential electrical load.
The goal is not to need grounding, but if something goes wrong, you’ll be glad you have safety measures in place.
Always Pay Attention and Focus on Safety!
The most important thing when working with high voltage is to have a constant safety mindset. You are working with dangerous materials, so act like it!
A few things you can do besides ensuring your insulation and grounding are to make sure you and all operators are sufficiently trained, and that you have the proper materials to make things work. The danger of high voltage means that this isn’t the time for amateur hour!
You’ll always want to power down equipment if possible and ensure you don’t touch exposed wires or conductors. If possible, always work with one hand, keeping the other hand in your pocket. This makes sure that if you do get shocked, the current will be less likely to travel across your chest and out the other hand into some other conductive material.
And as important as all of these are, you also want to make sure that everyone around you knows emergency and medical procedures to deal with electrical shock. If worst comes to worst, you want people who can handle it!
Learn More About High Voltage Work!
If you’d like to learn more about how to safely work with high voltage components, the basics of electrical work, or anything else related to work and life, we’d love to help!
So feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns, or topics you’d like to know more about! We’ll do our best to help, and maybe even write new articles on the topics you’re interested in!