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Shocked by shopvac

xosder11's picture

Everytime I run my shopvac (the actual brand with the metal canister and handle) I get shocked when I touch it. Just a quick bang and thats all. Usually it's not so bad but yesterday I got hit my finger was hurting for a while. Is this common with shopvacs?

(post #69999, reply #1 of 50)

It is common - but only for the ones that actually kill somebody.

Get it fixed, or even better, cut the cord off it, throw it away, and buy a new one.

(post #69999, reply #3 of 50)

So then it's not just static buildup from the motor? It doesn't happen unless it is running for a little while. It is fairly new so if this is abnormal, and worse dangerous, I will take it up with their company.

(post #69999, reply #5 of 50)

With the motor running, does it bite you once, or every time you touch it?

If it only shocks you once, it is static.  if it shocks you everytime you touch it, there is something wrong and it needs to go back.


(post #69999, reply #6 of 50)

just once, but man does it

(post #69999, reply #8 of 50)

is this your friends shop-vac........I hope this doesn't turn into another screamfest like the time with the drill.........;>o

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(post #69999, reply #9 of 50)

I try not to get people too fired up these days. I can't take the abuse : )

All I can tell you is this is not a case of tool abuse.

(post #69999, reply #10 of 50)

well try a different pair of shoes and see if the problem changes...

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(post #69999, reply #12 of 50)


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(post #69999, reply #14 of 50)

I'll let you know. I'm not at my vac at the moment. Can't wait to repetedly shock myself as I conduct my little experiment.

Maybe I should try touching it once wearing sneakers and then take my shoes off and stand in a puddle of water for comparisons sake.

all kidding aside, you were kidding about the different shoes thing right?

(post #69999, reply #15 of 50) I was not.

...there are workboots that are supposed to dissipate / prevent static build-up..

.perhaps you need to put a ground strap on yourself while walking around that thing

or wear gloves......

I've spent many hours working on scissor liifts, and have gotten knocked silly by touching building might be caused by driving on tile or because we used to wrap duct tape around the tires to prevent scuffing up the floor...but after an of constantly being zapped you get a little goofy......

Edited 1/19/2006 5:33 pm by maddog3

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(post #69999, reply #16 of 50)

well, you learn something new every day... especially around here.

(post #69999, reply #22 of 50)

My shop vac with the stainless steel canister does the same thing. Makes me wonder why they didn't make the dumb things with a grounded cord.

I often roll mine up against the metal on my table saw when I use it in the winter. It's grounded and disappates the charge as I use it.

If the world was a logical place, men would ride horseback sidesaddle.

(post #69999, reply #23 of 50)

I added a grounded cord to mine, ran a alum. tab from the ground mounting screw to one of the clips that holds the plastic top to the can.  No more zapping.  :-)


(post #69999, reply #28 of 50)

If you have a metal canister, try attaching a piece of wire to it, or perhaps a short piece of chain, so that it drags on the floor. All of the carts they use for shuttling electronic parts around our plant have pieces of chain dangling from them.

If ignorance is bliss why aren't more people

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #69999, reply #45 of 50)

Got a blue print machine in the office that in the winter, will accumulate quite a static charge from running mylar film through it.

The worse is when you turn to grab a sheet and lean up against one of the flat file drawers that are about 32-34" high. Arcs right through the darn pant zipper.

Man what a ZAP?

(post #69999, reply #2 of 50)

It's probably static. Some of them will just about knock your socks off if you vacuum carpet in the winter. I dont know if this will work, but try a small drag chain from the vacuum to the floor

(post #69999, reply #4 of 50)

I'm figuring static as well. Good idea with the chain, thanks. I don't mean to sound like a wimp, just that after I got wolloped yesterday I was nervous there was a short somewhere.

Edited 1/19/2006 2:20 pm ET by xosder11

(post #69999, reply #17 of 50)

I would suspect static, too. But he should get it checked.


This time of year I hate to get out of the car because everytime I close the door I get a static shock.



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(post #69999, reply #19 of 50)

When you get out, hold a metal part of the door with your left hand and don't let go until both feet are on the ground.  Works.  Someone explained it to me, but if I tried to guess why (grounding?) I'm sure I'd get it wrong.


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #69999, reply #21 of 50)

the flow of energy through you is not what hurts, it's the huge resistance and heat that occurs when the charge builds to a peak, then arcs from the metal to your finger that hurts. if you stay grounded while you generate the charge, it flows smoothly through your hand into the ground.

(post #69999, reply #24 of 50)

Sounds like static. The static could be on the vac or on you.  For you, try bare feet or more conductive soles (not rubber). For the vac, a chain may be hard on the floor. Get a graphite-impregnated rubber drag strip made for vehicles.  They are made to ground vehicles containing flammables because the tires insulate the vehicle from the ground. The straps are attached to the chassis and drag on the ground.


(post #69999, reply #7 of 50)

I would go put a volt meter on the vac and a good ground. If I saw 120v AC, there is a serious hazard.

(post #69999, reply #11 of 50)

I've got the 10 gallon Shop-vac with the stainless canister for about 10 years.  I always get a click from the handle, never thought much about it till now.

(post #69999, reply #13 of 50)

me neither, but yesterday the actual pad of my finger got a little scorched

(post #69999, reply #18 of 50)

You may have one of the earlier prototypes, originally named "ShockVac"

(post #69999, reply #20 of 50)

yeah, it really sucks.

hardy har har : )

(post #69999, reply #25 of 50)

Until you fix the problem, try this:

Use a key, pliars, pocketknife, screwdriver, etc. to touch the thing with first.  You will feel very little then.

I get the same thin happening when going down the plastic playland tube slides (with my kids) when the dry winds blow here.  One pair of shoes I can feel my big toe getting shocked INSIDE my shoe as I go down.  Otherwise I have a key in my hand the whole time - usually I can get at least a 1.5" spark off the exposed carriage bolts at the bottom.  Better the key than my butt!

Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA

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(post #69999, reply #26 of 50)

My boys loved those because they could shock each other as they emerged from the tube. They had long hair that would stand straight up as they slid down. Their favorite was the ear shock, next was the back of the neck shock.

(post #69999, reply #27 of 50)

What are you touching when you get shocked? The unit should be double-insulated and would be incapable of shocking you unless it had become wet or some such, so I'm guessing it's static.

Oddly, if you've never used it to suck up water, I'd suggest doing that. Follow instructions to change out the paper filter with foam, plug the unit into a GFCI-protected outlet, and then vacuum up, eg, rainwater from the driveway, water used to wash the garage floor, etc (ie, something slightly dirty). This should be sufficient to coat the inside of the hose with an "antistatic" coating and eliminate the static buildup.

If ignorance is bliss why aren't more people

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #69999, reply #29 of 50)

It is static and yes pretty common.  The dust particles that you vacuum up create an electric charge.  Your shop vac acts like a Van De Graff generator and stores the charge that is created from the passage of the dust particles.  This is a pretty strong effect high amounts of charge can be built up pretty quickly in this way.