Let's Make Robots!

Ten Commandments of Electronics

Keeps you alive to build more robots.

Considering some of the posts I have seen here lately, I thought it might be a good idea to share this.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I didn't write it.  The author is listed at the bottom.

Ten Commandments of Electronics


I.    Beware of the lightning that lurketh in an undischarged capacitor, lest it cause thee to be bounced on thy buttocks in a most ungentlemanly manner.


II.   Cause thou the switch that supplies large quantitites of juice to be opened and thusly tagged, so thy days may be long on this earthly vale of tears.


III.  Prove to thyself that all circuits that radiateth and upon which thou worketh are grounded, lest they lift thee to high-frequency potential and cause thee to radiateth also.


IV.   Take care that thou useth the proper method when thou taketh the measure of high-voltage circuits so that thou doth not incinerate both thee and the meter; for verily, though thou has no account number and can easily be replaced, the meter doth have one, and as a consequence, bringeth much woe unto the supply department.


V.    Tarry thou not amongst those who engage in intentional shocks, for they are surely nonbelievers and are not long for this world.


VI.   Take care thou tampereth not with interlocks and safety devices, for this will incur the wrath of thy seniors and bringeth the fury of the safety officer down about thy head and shoulders.


VII.  Work thou not on energized equipment, for if thy doeth, thy buddies will surely be buying beers for thy widow and consoling her in other ways not generally acceptable to thee.


VIII. Verily, verily I say unto thee, never service high-voltage equipment alone, for electric cooking is a slothful process and thou might sizzle in thine own fat for hours before thy Maker sees fit to drag thee unto His fold.


IX.   Trifle  thou not with radioactive tubes and substances lest thou commence to glow in the dark like a lightning bug, and thy wife be frustrated nightly and have no further use for thee except thy wage.


X.    Commit thou to memory the works of the prophets, which are written in the instruction books, which giveth the straight dope and which consoleth thee, and thou canst not make mistakes.


Hathery Electronics

Rick Curl, Chief Engineer

Product Design -- Research -- Development

Computer-Aided Schematic Capture -- Computer Aided Printed Circuit Layout

PO Box 191 Birmingham Al 35201 205 681 9999


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Hmmm........first major shock.


When I was in college (2nd quarter) I thought I was "Captain Electronics" and got a bunch of old home electronics to repair. After not finding what was wrong with the TV. I figured I would plug it in with the back open and measure around. So about 2 minutes in, I found out a sweaty arm touching a charged picture tube was a bad thing to do!  I literally could not move my arm for nearly 2 hours as it was frozen in place with minor nerve damage. Hospital trip and the whole fun time resulted. All is healed now, but.....Lesson Learned!!!

Turns out the Tuner was bad!  :-)

Once, I got myself shocked from the mains power (~120 v). All I can say is that my arm was vibrating insanely from the AC.

Thanks bdk6.

That list takes me back to my distant youth as a young cadet working on high powered radio transmitters!

We should devise a low voltage/solid state/logic equivalent.

i.e. Beware the magic blue smoke that lurketh within black plastic.

?any others?



i've had 2 major shocks first was in high school science class. myself and five other students had 10,000 volts go threw us from an large induction coil very few amps just hurt like hell

and fixing a guitar amp on my lap (dumb), my hand brushed the back of the power switch 240V 10A went from my left hand to my legs , that was the closest i came to death. it was a new level of pain everything hurt and my arms and legs did not work very well for about 10 min . i was lucky to just be stunned.  

so all i can say is UNPLUG and then test then check then test again and don't mess about in science class

Many years ago, I was working at a computer and had a can of Coca-Cola on the desk to my right. I accidently knocked the mouse off the desk and its cord ...TOSSED... the Coke across the room like a catapult.  As you can imagine I was SHOCKED and STUNNED!  That was 12 ounces of caffiene and sugar lost.  I was much more careful after that.

(There is a reason I am a software guy, less screaming and burning when I make mistakes...LOL)

As an electrician I have also been zapped by mains power. 240V A.C.

It feels burning hot and then freezing cold as the current changes direction.


I like #4

You don't have an account number and can be easily replaced. The meter does have one and will bring woe to the supply department.

#6 is missing the bit about loosing limbs. When I worked at Hills Industries in Australia we had a mechanical engineer that had disabled the safety interlocks on a piece of hydraulic equipment and he ended up loosing some fingers. A few years later he tried the same stunt again and had his hand lightly crushed.  He was commonly known as "Fucking Idiot".

I think the company kept him on as a warning to others and a punishment to him.

Good list.
If there's one law that's easy to remember and important when working on mains and HV it's test before you touch. Simple but often forgotten. Simply don't assume the breaker you turned off has isolated the circuit. Test to make sure you have isolated it either with a test pencil or multimeter of suitable rating.
Oh I can vouch for the first commandment as well. 2000+ volts from a non-discharged microwave oven capacitor is not something you easily forget if you survive it.
What a lot of people don't realise is that you may survive many shocks but everytime you get one there is an increased chance of damage to your heart. A very common ailment in electrical workers is an irregular heart beat (arrythmia).
So while the 10 commandments is a humorous look at electrical safety, lets not forget the serious side as well.

What would ya'll add? Mine would be: "Operatest ye not thine soldering iron whenst ye wearest not pants, nor underwear, nor whenst ye fail to coverest thine jingly bits completely."