Growing up, you may have heard that you should never
stick a knife in a toaster, and today, we want to try
and do a few tests to find out why that is. What is going to happen if you put a knife in a toaster while it’s turned on? [Captions by Judy V. at Y Translator]
[Music] [Music] Many years ago,
when I was a child, I actually did stick
a knife in a toaster. I had never been told
that this was a bad idea, and I don’t know the exact
circumstances behind what I did, but I remember getting one
heck of a jolt through my body. It wasn’t comfortable, and I want to avoid doing that,
or anything potentially fatal today. Here’s the basic idea. We’re going to test
a few different methods of seeing what happens
if you do stick a knife in a toaster. We’ll try and measure
the current flowing through it, and we’ll try
and create an analog to see what would happen if the current were
flowing through a person. So here’s what I’m going to
be doing to avoid getting shocked. First off, my knife
will be attached to a stick using some plastic zip ties. This should allow me
to have some distance away from the toaster, and to not have
the current of the knife traveling through my hands. Second, the hand holding the stick will
be wearing a thick leather welding glove. This does not conduct
electricity well at all, so, that should prevent
even more current getting to me, even if it manages to
travel up through the stick. I’ll be wearing these strange slippers that I made out of
Proto-Putty in a different video, and I’m going to be standing
on a block of insulation foam. My left hand, the one
not holding the stick will be behind my back,
or in a pocket the whole time. So, there’s very little chance
of any electricity conducting from one hand through
my chest and my heart into the other hand. If any electricity
does get conducted, it’s much more likely
to go through my arm and down out of my feet, and finally, in case there
are any really bright sparks, I’ll be wearing a welding mask. Let’s get all of our safety gear ready, plug in our toaster, turn it on, and then see what happens
if we start poking around in there. First, I’m going to try and touch
one of the nichrome heating coils without touching any of
the other metal in there. This is on a stick,
so, my dexterity may be a little limited. But, that’s the goal. [Music] Well, I managed
to make the knife warm. So, that’s your first danger. If you leave the knife in
too long while you’re holding it, it’s going to get hot,
and then you’ll burn your fingers. Now, let’s see if I can touch
one of the nichrome wires while touching the
metal sides of the toaster, see if that does anything different. [Music] I thought maybe I would
get a couple of sparks, something like that. Maybe the circuit breaker would trip, but a knife not connected to anything
isn’t really completing a circuit. It’s just poking at stuff, and I presume the toaster’s
already built in such a way that if something metal touches
those nichrome wires, it’s not going to short anything out. So, we may have to force the issue. I want to see if I can get the knife
connecting from one wire onto another, but since my knife is very straight, I’m gonna have to try,
and wrap a little bit of wire around some of the
nichrome in the toaster, to give me a sort of access point, so
I can see what happens if the two connect. Right. That wire is now definitely
in contact with some of the nichrome. So I’m gonna try two different things,
I’m going to try touching that wire, and the copper wire
connecting those with the knife, and I’m going to try touching that
nichrome element in the wire at the same time. Let’s give this a shot. Oh, I saw a spark! [Music] So not only Is that sparking,
but it’s actually like sticking. it’s like welded the knife
onto the nichrome wire. You can also see that the whole toaster lights up a lot more
when I’m making this connection. [inaudible] the copper wire is actually
attached to the steel knife now. All right, we tried one side,
we got some cool sparks, the knife started welding itself onto
the nichrome wire and the copper wire, so, that’s not something you want
happening while you’re making toast. Your knife welding itself down in place… Let’s see what happens
on the other side. Will it be the same effect? [Music] Oh, yep! That’s that same look we got before,
sparking, welding, glowing extra bright, Check this out. where I’ve been connecting, the copper wire has heated enough that where it touches
the plastic housing of the toaster, it started melting into it. The coils inside the toaster
have been heating up way hotter than I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to. I want to see just how much electricity
starts flowing through these things. What we want to do now
is take a voltmeter, and connect the leads
to the two different sides to see how much energy is
flowing through these things. Plug it in and I’ll just touch
the knife to one of the wires, and we can see what
shows up on our voltmeter. It looks like while these are connected, we have about 50 volts running
from one nichrome wire to the other. Another test I want to try
is to see what happens if we touch the knife to one of the coils, and at the same time to
something that is grounded. We’re going to take an extension cord, fit a wire into the grounding port
of the end of the extension cord, and then see what happens
if we touch one of the nichrome wires to that grounded wire. [Music] That popped the toaster up immediately. And I believe I popped the toaster up because there’s no longer
electricity to the toaster, which means almost certainly
we have tripped the breaker. We have a GFI in the kitchen, and we just had to hit reset on that, took us a few minutes to find it. It’s possible that if something
less conductive than a knife had this current running
through it though, it could get a good jolt of electricity
without resetting the breaker. I have an idea of how we can test that. We’ve now got wire running
from the knife down into the hot dog. At the other end of
the hot dog is a wire that’s connected to
the ground wire in our extension cord. And we have both of these plugged in,
and we touch the knife to the nichrome, we’ll see if it conducts electricity through
the hot dog well enough to trip the breaker or if it starts frying the thing. [Music] Oh! Popped it immediately. That’s probably good for security. Now, we have our knife
connected to our hotdog. Our hotdog is connected to
one end of the voltmeter, and the other end of the voltmeter
is going into our ground wire. [Music] 109 volts traveling through
that hot dog right now. This is pretty interesting. I didn’t see this coming, and that’s possibly just
because I don’t know everything about how toasters work. But every different segment
of nichrome wire that I touch gives a different readout on the voltmeter. Once again, I’ve hooked
the knife up to the hot dog, and the hot dog up to the ground. However, this time our toaster is
not plugged into an outlet with the GFI. Now, our toaster is plugged into
an outlet that only has a breaker switch to turn it off if something goes wrong. So, we might see some difference
in what’s happening to our hot dog [Music] And our hot dog is starting to cook, Random fact, the first electrical toaster
was invented in Scotland in 1893, 35 years before sliced bread
started being sold in stores. [Music] Parts of our hotdog got a little
bit scorched by electricity there. It was burning, you can see the steam coming out– This part’s actually quite hot in fact. By connecting our hotdog to
a circuit that doesn’t have a GFI on it, we were allowing over a hundred volts
of electricity to run through this hot dog, which as you may remember, is an analog for what would happen if you held
the knife in your bare hand? Based on this set of experiments, we learned that if you stick
a knife into a toaster, not too much really happens. Unless some part of your body
is electrically grounded as you do, in which case, you’re going to get
a real shock that could potentially kill you. if the toaster is plugged into
a switch on a GFI circuit, you’ll likely get a little shock, but the GFI should
trip instantly and save your life. But why take the chance? Don’t stick knives in toasters. Guys, we’ve got more for you to see. That box up at the top will transport
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Don’t Stick Knives in Toasters
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