On Testing Batteries

Who among us has not tested a 9-volt battery by touching its leads to our tongues?

I discovered this as a child–taking the 9-volt, sticking out my tongue, touching the exposed leads to the tongue, and getting a shock as the current flows. At a recent inventory, after I’d pulled a weak 9-volt battery from one of the portable scanners I touched it to the tongue, and after a brief shock I said, “Well, it’s still got some juice in it.”

I’d never have thought that testing a 9-volt battery’s juice with one’s tongue could have potentially fatal consequences.

Could someone die from a 9-volt?

Well, it’s really, really unlikely:

Dr Xheng Hu of the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of Sydney confirms that a 9V battery does not have enough voltage to kill a person by testing it on the tongue.

He adds: “It cannot be entirely excluded however. If a person is very ill, for example, has heart problems, or has a heart pacemaker that could be disrupted, and so on, they could possibly die from testing the battery in this way. But normally it wouldn’t happen.”

So, now we know–a 9-volt battery, applied to the tongue, won’t kill you. If any of you were worried, fear not! You, too, can test 9-volts with the tongue and suffer nothing more than a mild shock and the taste of metal. πŸ˜‰

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