How Can We Help?
Home / Support Center / Knowledge Base / LED power supplies / Would 24V have lower electric shock risk/severity than 12V?
Would 24V have lower electric shock risk/severity than 12V?
I'm trying to decide whether I'd be better off choosing 12VDC or 24VDC product. In the article Pros and cons of a 12V LED System, it's mentioned that 12V LED systems have a lower electric shock risk. This seems to be stated about 120V AC mains current; but do 12V systems also have lower shock risk than 24V? I've often heard that it's not the voltage that kills its current. In the article Advantages of a 24V LED system vs 12V, it's pointed out that a 24V LED system will draw half the amount of current as a 12V LED system to achieve the same power level. Then would 24V have lower shock risk/severity than 12V? Or is my thinking flawed?
Generally, we believe that "shock risk" increases as the voltage increases. At a very basic level, this suggests that 12 volt LED systems would have the lowest possibility of causing an electric shock, while 24 volt would be slightly higher but still relatively low, and 120 volt line voltage would be much higher in terms of the possibility of causing an electric shock.
Shock risk, however, is not the same as the potential to cause bodily harm or injury. The zap from static electricity that you feel on a dry winter day, for example, has a very high voltage of tens of thousands of volts, but does not cause any harm due to the inherently low amount of energy (as you mention, it lacks the "current which kills").
The primary reason lower voltage systems have a lower shock risk, is simply due to the fact that low voltage systems generally lack the voltage potential to overcome the high electrical resistance in our human skin. Therefore, a 12 volt system, even one with a higher amperage rating, is seen as generally lower risk because the 12 volts is usually insufficient to penetrate skin and other objects.
Low voltage systems do have a lower risk, but that is not to say they are risk-free. Please use caution and consult with an electrician when installing any LED systems you are not familiar with.
In any scenario, I want to have zero probability of any conducting wires making contact with the bodies, tubes, etc. through which I route them. The DC barrel jack plug adapter (PN 7094) on your site looks like it could be useful to me. If I'm assembling this adapter onto 18-gauge wire myself, would it be recommended to apply shrink wrap around the screw-clamp wire connection area afterward? Do you have some good suggestions for space-saving ways to permanently join wires as I assemble the power supply circuit to my led rope light?
We understand the concern, and it does sound like you have the right idea in terms of insulation and protection from short circuits. I do agree that heat shrink tubing would be a good way to protect the exposed wires.
Our recommendation here would be twofold:
1) If possible, solder all wire connections directly. This will reduce the footprint of the connections, and make it far easier to apply heat shrink. Furthermore, connections will likely be more robust, as opposed to connectors which (although unlikely) may allow the bare wire to unexpectedly fall out.
2) Place all exposed wires and connection locations away from any electrically conductive surfaces. If your wire run must pass through or along any electrically conductive material, ensure that the wire has sufficient insulation, and avoid or resolve any sharp edges which may snag or cut the wire insulation.
Question posted under:
LED power suppliesLED Drivers