Teen Girl Electrocuted by Cell Phone While in Bathtub

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Top Tier Gear USA

cell phone

A 14-year-old girl from Texas died Sunday after being electrocuted in a bathtub while using her cell phone.

Madison Coe’s mother and grandmother told KCBD that she was in the bathtub and either plugged her phone in or simply grabbed her phone that was already plugged in. The tragic accident happened at her father’s house in Lovington, NM.

Donna O’Guinn, Madison’s grandmother, said, “There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone. And that was just very obvious that that’s what had happened.”

This sort of thing could happen to anyone, and Madison’s family wants to try to prevent anyone else from suffering this kind of loss.

“This is such a tragedy that doesn’t need to happen to anyone else. And we want something good to come out of this as awareness of not using your cell phone in the bathroom as it is plugged in and charging,” O’Guinn told KCBD.

People on social media have been sharing Madison’s story. Her family hopes that the tragedy serves as a warning about the power of electricity and the danger of plugging in any electrical appliance near water.

“It’s overwhelming to realize that there are people that we don’t even know and we’ll probably never even meet that have taken this message and shared it to protect another child or even an adult. We don’t want to lose anybody,” O’Guinn said.

“We need to be aware. We need to teach our children that electricity and water do not mix,” O’Guinn added. “She’s just going to be greatly missed by all of us. She has a special place in my heart.”

A fundraiser for Madison’s family has been established on GoFundMe to help them with medical and memorial costs.

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  • elbustaroyjetspeekerson

    Sooo, this isn’t crystal-clear, painfully, brutally obvious, REALLY?? The VLG (Very Last Generation) is truly upon us.

    • M_111

      Was thinking the same thing. Sorry but Darwin Award there.

  • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    “We need to be aware. We need to teach our children that electricity and water do not mix,” O’Guinn added.

    Maybe – just maybe, if you’d been smart enough to figure that out a few years back, your grandkid would still be alive.

    • It wouldn’t have mattered if the grandkid didn’t know it.

      • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

        Since the g’ma was the “spokesparent,” I figure that she had a fair amount of involvement in the grandkid’s upbringing.

  • tonye

    House to code?

    (1) No outlets without a GFI circuit in kitchen and bath.
    (2) No outlets four feet or less from a tub.

    I realize that (2) might be hard to do in an older house, but a CFI’d outlet is trivial to install.

    • juskom95

      GFI is only required on NEW installs, not existing ones.
      GFI is not ‘trivial,’ in older homes and with older boxes.
      GFI is not ‘foolproof,’ either; the breakers do not always trip. Age has to do with that. Breakers can ‘expire,’.

      • tonye

        House with working grounds have been around since the 50s or 40s, huh? I suppose a house older than that might not support it but IMHO, if I had such a house, I’d spend the money and rewire the whole place.

        Putting a GFI is easy. It’s an easy drop in replacement. In my experience they trip very fast.

        My house was built in ’60 and I have just finished rewiring it. Did it in two separate rebuilds and I got to tell you things work a lot better now.. less noise, better TV, lights don’t dim when I run the garbage disposal, each room has its own circuit, etc….

        The codes are there for a reason. And in this case, you can see why.

        • juskom95

          Aaaaand . . . you’re an idiot who thinks they know more than they do. I’ve lived in plenty of older homes and in plenty of cases the entire wall box had to be removed for a GFI outlet to be installed.

          You’re an idiot. Period.

          • tonye


            I happen to know a LOT about electricity…. and electronics. I suppose my college degree about such things makes me a know nothing?

            I rebuilt my house… took it ALL apart, took out the original box and put 300A service. EVERY room has a separate circuit with an RFI like relay -modern code in my city- plus home run lines for the stereos (yep, multiple), computer/file server closet, bathrooms, etc, etc…. My kitchen alone has its own 100A subpanel.

            Now, if you had READ what I wrote, you might note that I wrote that truly older homes will require “rewiring the whole place”…

            Why is it that the Internet is full of posters like you who never read posts before they jump on people.


          • L. A. McDonough

            Which is why I never sign up for emails on any blogs of any kind..

          • Give your degree require you to have a working knowledge of the national electrical code, which requires no electrical knowledge?

          • tonye

            Actually my electrician (guy I’ve used for a long time) is pretty good at his job.

            My degree did not cover the electrical code.

            That’s why together we did such an awesome debugging team.. he’s very good at understanding how things get wired and I’m very good at doing the theory.

            And smoking hardware in the lab at work.!!!!

          • Several years ago a friend of mine with ASs in electronic engineering and computer science decided to get his electrician’s license. Of course, he had to go through an apprenticeship, so he got hired by a general contractor who built 7 figure custom houses, and was put with a master in their service department. One day, a house came on their list that had a huge chandelier that wouldn’t work that was on a 3-way circuit. The master was about to rip out the walls when my friend broke out his toner. The wires all converged on a blank spot in the middle of a wall. It turned out that the drywall guys had buried a square box before the final connections could be made, and 5 minutes with a toner saved days of rework. The master thought the toner was too difficult to operate. My friend was offered his own van and unsupervised position, as an apprentice, but he walked away from it. He walked away from our friendship when I caught him in a lie.

          • M_111

            Do you know how many people I talk to on a daily basis who claim to be electrical engineers and they don’t even own a volt meter or know the difference between voltage and amperage?

          • tonye

            LOL… I still have a Radio Shack analog multimeter from 1979. I take care of it and it works fine.

            About ten years ago I took it to work to debug some simulation driver software I was writing (verifying the programmed output voltages and duty cycle -by eye, it was like in the order of multiples of 2 secs…).

            My younger coworkers, punk all, were amazed.

            But them most young ones are CompSci grads, not real engineers or physicists.

          • That is a requirement of some electrical codes but not all of them. No wall box is required if no metallic conduit is.

          • BR549

            Whoa, there, Buckwheat. Years ago, I bought a house WITHOUT ground wires; they were 2-Wire without the ground, but the Circuit panel was obviously grounded. But I made darn sure the bathroom receptacles had GFCIs installed. Of course I needed to rewire those outlets. The kitchen I wasn’t so much worried about, but the bathroom CAN be very dangerous.

            Tonye is right. Just because an older house doesn’t have a device that could make it safer doesn’t mean we can fall back on being stupid by blaming someone else for not installing it.

            Alas, another child lost to Darwinism.

          • Jas

            My house was built in 1952, no boxes at all or ground wire. The space is very small, I had to chip out the plaster to create a larger hole, then install a box and run a ground wire, not simple.

        • All houses have always had working grounds since electricity wouldn’t flow without a return path.

          • tonye

            No. Real older home have two wires, a neutral and one of the sides of the 240VAC.

            The expectation is that the neutral is held at the midpoint between + and – 120VAC but this is not true, depending on the load on each side you can have a difference in the neutral.

            We had this issue with my local power company where they would not provide sufficient voltage at low current loads. Consequently, my lights would flicker with certain appliances. Their tests are either no load or full load. My electricican and I, after testing all my wiring (!) kludged our own test with volt meters and we figure out that with a simple 1KW load we could see the voltage drop from 120 to 118, which is nuts.

            Needless to say, they had to fix their transformer and pay me for his time.

            And yes, engineers and physicists know a lot about electrics too… and so should your electrician, if not, don’t hire him/her.

          • And the neutral was normally at ground, wasn’t it?
            The grounding rod pretty much insured it, after they became required for lightning protection.

          • tonye

            No, not at all, this is why the other side was also being affected.

            The return side goes to “ground” at the electric vault, about 150 feet from my house. My ground rod provides an independent ground in the electrical circuits.

            Now, _some_ devices “ground” their chassis by putting a 1Mohm, 1/4W resistor between the neutral and ground but that’s up to the designer.

            The house circuit does not have such a connection.

            BTW, we also had an issue with their transformer that caused some induction noises to feedback and flash our lights. It was like our house was haunted.

            Interesting question, up until three years ago I was in a team designing SoCs for cell phones. 😉

          • I can’t imagine a 1MegOhm, 1/4 Watt resistor lasting too long with a 110 volt supply. It isn’t uncommon for a pair of 500 watt resistors in parallel to be used as a static drain for an antenna, but the voltage would be negligible at any connection point with the appropriate matching impedance.
            In either case, I’d more inclined to use a small choke if it had to pass DC only.
            LEDs draw no little current by comparison with halogens that that wouldn’t surprise me. Why would you bother with the halogens?

          • tonye

            True, you are right. I had a brain fade there. Usually you see the resistor to chassis ground behind the diode bridge of the power supply and by then it’s DC. I was thinking of the termination of a balanced input where you see 100Kohm between the two line and 1Mohm to chassis “ground”.

            Again, chassis “ground” does not have to be real ground, it all depends how the power supply was wired.

            LEDs are not really connected to AC anyhow. The halogens I’ve had for 20 years and they work fine, indeed I like their spot beam pattern and color bandwidth. Since I don’t use them often I see no need to spend 100 bucks to replace them.

          • Why would it cost $100 to replace them when LEDs are dirt cheap?
            It sounds like the resistor is a safety drain off for the capacitor.

          • tonye

            The lamps are PAR16s. Five of them. Narrow spots. 35w. On a dimmer. In a hallway.

            I don’t want to replace the entire fixture, just the bulb and that runs about 20 bucks per lamp.

            I also have four PAR30 75W wide spot halogens over our dining room table -on a dimmer. The light of halogens is much, MUCH better than any LEDs. It has broad black body radiation, much better than LEDs and it brings out the china, glasses and food in a way that LEDs can not match.

            The LED PAR30 wide spots are fine but not good for food.

          • Cree XLamp XP-E2 Color High Power LED Stars are $3.99 each at ledsupply.com. Of course, you’d have to rewire for low voltage DC to supply 3.15V @ 350mA for probably more light with less heat. You could probably build them onto lamp bases yourself.

          • tonye

            I’m very lazy…. These are recessed fixtures and I’m not gonna put 12VDC and rip into the ceiling- again.. it’s cheaper to get the 120VAC fixtures.

            But 100 bucks gets me a box of cigars over the Internet.

          • And smoking cigars will give you nasopharyngeal cancer, which my mother died from as a result of being a life-long smoker. If I had 100 bucks to spare, I’d buy a bottle of zymessence.
            What would you need 12VDC for?

          • tonye

            Smoking cigars may kill me slowly… but handling my cellphone in the bath, while its charging, might kill me fast.

            I’ll take the cigars.

            The 12VDC are for the low voltage LED fixtures. I replace the 12V halogen lights over my kitchen island with LED replacements… interesting lights. They claim the same lumens but the spectrum is different so the eye actually sees less brightness.

          • Most of them come in multiple spectrum choices, from UV to IR. Some even come with multiple different color emitters so you can mix and match. 12VDC would work well with what they call 4 ups, 4 LEDs in series. No rewiring required, just install the connector, which is bi-pin, is it not?
            I would think that a lazy man, which I am myself, would prefer to never have to replace a halogen bulb ever again.

          • tonye

            Bi pin indeed.

            I’ve looked at the multi color LEDs.. they look OK for grow lamps I guess but they look funny indoors as a “normal” lamp.

            The halogen lamps in question have been in place for 17 years and going strong.

          • Unless you need a very precisely tailored spectra, there are 3 kinds of white. I bought a roll of bright white tape from superbrightleds and I’ve been slowly reducing the length of the applications, because they are too bright. They sell all kinds of neat modules for very reasonable prices and I’ve been thinking about using a PWM dimmer instead of messing with the tape. A 1500 lumen brake light fires my imagination.

          • Jas

            The neutral (or return) white wire does that, completes the circuit.

          • Of course it does, at the same time that it provides the ground. The color of the insulation is academic.

          • Jas

            Grounding at the main box isn’t the same as grounding at the GFCI outlet, from a safety standpoint. They will still work on just the two wires, it’s just safer with a dedicated ground right there, or even the dedicated line returning to the box. Anyway, I don’t think we are agruing against each other.

          • Grounding only takes place at the rod driven into the ground or the water or gas pipe that is used instead.
            My experience with grounding is based on 8 radials with a screen silver-soldered to it and buried under at least 6 inches of dirt, which is much closer to the datacom requirement than the electrical one. Grounding is the most poorly understood characteristic of any grounded system.

    • There has never been a cellphone that AC plugged directly into, nor any with a three prong plug.

      • tonye

        Quite true… I never claimed that!

        That’s why I wonder how the hell someone would get electrocuted by handling a cell phone that was hooked up to an USB charger.

        Unless, as posted below, the charger blew up and somehow threw 120VAC to the phone….

        Which should have blown up the battery, huh?

        • The chopper supply would probably have exploded, but I can’t imagine a direct coupling even in a cheap one.

    • How would a two prong wall wart trigger a GFI?

  • David E

    I have my doubts this is the whole picture. 5 volts and the low amperage of a cell phone OR charger is very unlikely to cause death. Perhaps water ran down the cord to the transformer, but otherwise something isn’t right here.

    • NonYo Business

      Or the direct connection to the 120V outlet. Water is quite the conductor and it gets into the connections.

      • Pure water is a pretty good insulator, but very little tap water is pure.

    • juskom95

      It could have been one of those USB wall bricks that had a cord. So it would be a 120v line.

      • David E

        the line leading from the wall wart carries five volts. At the wall and inside the wall wart (the transformer) 110 is running. So to have a high enough voltage/amperage the current has to somehow get from the wall wart to the girl, and the wire carrying five volts isn’t it.

        • juskom95

          You’re thinking of the bricks with the converter at the wall. That is far from the only type.

          This type would have 120v right next to the bath.


          • David E

            yeah I guess so.

          • tonye

            WHat I’m curious, though, is that USB carries a 5vdc line current limited at ~1A… it goes up to 2.0A with USB2.0.

            There is no ground, only two wires, + and neutral, which should be isolated from the true ground. In fact, those bricks are not grounded either, they carry a two prong cord to 120 and neutral.

            So how could someone holding a phone hooked up to a USB brick with a 5.0V DC signal get electrocuted? Did she handle the line cord to the brick?

          • What is 5WDC? Do you mean 5VDC?

          • tonye

            Yes, typo.

          • Only in the black box.

        • NonYo Business

          someone who knows their stuff! Thanks David

      • Wall warts don’t have outputs over 12VDC.

        • tonye

          I have wall warts that will put out as high as 48VDC with 2A output. It’s a power supply for an audio preamp.

          I also have several that put out 18 and 28 VDC.

          • And wouldn’t have anything to do with a teenage girl with a cellphone in the bathtub. What kind of audio preamp would need that kind of voltage?

          • tonye

            A home made clone of a Nelson Pass First Watt B1 with “options”.

            Sounds fantastic. I built it into a cigar humidor. It looks awesome too.

          • A tube audio amp in the 21st century?

          • tonye

            And tube amps, and JFET Single Ended Class A Solid State amps… and a turntable…

            And currently four Magnepan speakers in the living room (keeping a pair for my son)…

            Yes. It sounds fantastic.

          • And the filament voltage comes from where?

          • tonye

            Transformers… big ass transformer and 6550 driver in the amp… Smaller, but still BIG transformer for its power rating in the preamp.

            Tubes and Transformers… a pair made in heaven. The output transformers are usually as important as the tubes themselves.

          • Transformer output stages on tube amps are usually easier to deal with than capacitive outputs, beyond the fact that they don’t have DC leakage.
            I’ve wanted to be a ham since junior high, but I wasn’t willing to learn Morse Code to get a license. I became a technician class last year and I want to build my own SSB transmitter to use with an Icom IC-R71 that I’ve had since my longhaul days. I have asked everybody I know and searched the ham sheets for plans or schematics to no avail. It seems that most hams are appliance operators anymore and can’t build or repair anything, let alone design their own. I’m planning on building a stacked power transistor PA stage that get its power from the secondary of a balun with primary SO-239. I’ll buy or build a VFO that will get me on 10 meters and a balanced modulator and sideband filter that will drive the PA. Have you ever played with HF RF?

          • It still seems to be a lot of trouble to get the same IMD as you could get with a properly biased diode and an op amp.

          • tonye

            Driving low efficiency planar speakers like a Magnepan? No way.

            Now, if you had a 100db efficient Zu… which I want to get as I also got a 20W Class A JFET… which weights about 50 lbs and dissipates 250W at idle.

            BTW, my Class A JFET monos -different design- dissipate 300W each at idle… for an output of 90W at 4 ohms.

            That’s why my main audio rig has two 30A home runs.. one for analog, one for digital. And their grounds are tied very closely for no ground loops.

          • You are talking about power level, where the IMD comes from mechanical linkages like the spider. I’m talking about generating the IMD at line level, as it is done in fuzz boxes.
            Ground loops aren’t caused by lack of coupling but by doing so at both ends of the loop, setting up a circuit. I was very good at clearing RFI and birdies when I was a broadcast engineer and live board op because I understand ground loops.

          • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

            Tube amps are where it’s at, if one is an audiophile – just like vinyl is making a comeback.

          • Unlike vinyl, tubes have never been as high-fi as solid state. The reason why tubes are popular with musicians is because they intrinsically produce some level of IMD, which was fuzz before there was fuzz. The level of IMD is adjustable in both tubes and transistors by adjusting the bias, but it is never gone from tubes. Audiophiles like tubes because the IMD enhances the bass frequencies.

      • 120 volts would never get to the cord unless there was internal leakage.

      • Jeff

        Dude, please study up on transformers and such. If you wish I can supply you with all the links you need.

        AC = Alternating Current.

        DC = Direct Current.

        Volts can be equated to the Pressure in a hose. Amps can be equated to the Amount of water flowing through a hose.

        Watts are the amount of work the electricity is doing. Roughly 750 watts = 1 horsepower.

        Please do not come here and attempt to educate us.

        You will lose.


        • Don’t forget that Ohms are resistance to the water flowing through the hose.

          • Jeff

            Did not want to get that far into it, D_3. Ohms always confused me until I made the connection on the resistance thing. Pretty easy when you think about it though, huh? Friction.

            Dude fancied himself an expert and tried to educate us.

            Thanks Bro.


          • tonye

            Then you got AC which is truly interesting.

            The flow is based on wave velocity, not particle velocity there. Which is why AC is SO much more efficient than DC.

            Imagine a damn filled with water where the water is vibrating… then you attach a hose to it.. the size of the hose is the resistance (EMF, back flow)…. the power is the flux of water flowing through the hose… always in vibration!

            Tesla was right, Edison was wrong.

            Of course, you have to deal with Bernoulli too!

            Fysiks is Phun!

          • Jeff

            Yep. It is. Had not considered Bernoulli in there. Makes sense though.

            Shall we get into the actual sine waves and such?

            Fascinating stuff to me.

            If these folks want to come and educate us, then I say we fight back with actual knowledge.


          • tonye

            My pet thought experiment is to model freeway traffic with hydrodynamic models. I spent hours traversing the I5 in Oregon.. dealing with thousands of drivers who can NOT hold a steady speed, thus creating waves of congestion.

            Stop an go in the middle of nowhere because some moron an eighth of a mile ahead kept using his brakes.

            I would have love to apply some real back EMF to that clown.

          • Jeff

            No laminar flow. It is why I get impatient with people. It is also part of the reason I can’t stand to go in stores. People just stop in the middle of aisles.

            I think the freeways are fine.

            It’s the idiots.


          • Ohms measure friction at the electron’s level. But the analogy works well. You are lucky I didn’t get into holes:-)

          • Jeff

            Go for it D_3. Always willing to learn.


          • Much of the conduction that occurs in semiconductors doesn’t involve electrons, but the movement of “holes” where electrons could be if there were enough of them to fill the holes.
            It is similar to the current theory that many electrons don’t actually exist, but are statistical probabilities.
            This is the new cosmology that some scientists are starting to say is driven by consciousness rather than Newtonianism. Some of them are calling it Biocentrism.

          • Jeff

            I don’t really understand that. My internet access is very limited so if you could post a link I would appreciate it.


          • You can try the Wikipedia page on biocentrism for that.
            My sources for the electron theory are probably deceased. They are/were my two-way radio teacher in votech, Bart Whitehouse at Emily Griffith Opportunity School in early 70’s, and Dr. Howard Davidson, a solid state physicist with lots of patents, who was also the chief engineer for KGNU radio, and a designer for Hewlett-Packard at Loveland, CO a few years later. I’ll poke around and see if I can find anything online for you.

  • This is simply not possible. The voltage used to charge any cellphone I have had is 5 volts, which wouldn’t even produce a detectable shock in any normal human being, let alone cause electrocution. 5 volts wouldn’t leave a mark even if it could produce a shock.

  • Zionist Hunter

    If only more people that are addicted to there cell phones would do this maybe I wouldn’t have to hear everyone’s conversation while standing in the checkout line! I don’t care that you think you are cool talking to another nobody on a tracking and cancer causing device. Fuck Off

    • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

      I give shit to rude people like that all the time.

      I’ve told more than one man, “Hey! Nobody wants to hear about the kinky shit your boyfriend did to you last night – take it outside!”

  • Dan Quixoté

    I designed many models of cell phone chargers sold domestically and in international market. This is what we call a triple corner case. 1) Lack of GFCI or GFCI failure. If working, GFCI trips in less than one quarter of the 60hz cycle, long before electrical burn or smooth muscle clench. 2) Insulation failure between the primary and secondary windings of the flyback transformer. Major brands have excellent insulation that should never break. Gas station cheapies offer no such guarantees. 3) The internal fuse should have blown. Major brands have this. required element. Cheapies might not.

    I would speculate this was a gas station cheapie on a non-GFCI outlet on a non-GFCI circuit. It’s very sad that this happened.

    • tonye

      Meaning that 120VAC was leaking through the USB wire? Wouldn’t that blow up the circuit in the phone? Would that blow up the battery?

      • Dan Quixoté

        No – Leakage from primary to secondary makes the output wires go common-mode… The 5VDC differential to the phone then rides on a 120VAC wave. The phone internals only see the differential, but the phone itself is flying around at 120VACrms (340Vpp!). So anyone grabbing the phone while earth grounded gets the wall current. I wrote a whitepaper for a lesser version of this, which was later incorporated into IEC 62684. But a non-paywall version is comprised of pages 2,5-9 (look at the document footer page numbers, not the PDF page numbers) of https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/2418/attachments/1/translations. If the “~30pF” capacitive coupling shown in the top figure on page 6 is replaced by a resistance or a short, then you get what this girl got. Looking at the lower two diagrams I pasted into that page, in that case the amplitude of the sinusoidal component of the red (USB VBUS) & blue (USB “Ground”) will skyrocket from the 1-ish volts to full wall power. Results are highly non-good. Which is why legal sales by reputable manufacturers are required to pass lots of rigorous design iterations and regulatory testing phases. It’s why your major U.S. branded phone and laptop chargers cost so much. Most of us who work in this field have an actual conscience, they’re not just trying to gouge you. Rule number one I was taught when I entered the power distribution industry decades ago was “Don’t kill the customer!”

        • tonye

          Page 6 graphs: So the AC noise goes through the cap but since it’s common to both USB VBUS and “Ground” it’s rejected…. the 120VDC base is filtered by the cap… so if the cap fails, you get the full 120v? Hmm.. no good.

          What are the most commong failures modes of a cap? Shorts?

          It’s a good policy not to kill your customer.

          • Dan Quixoté

            That capacitor is symbolic of the inter-winding capacitance between the primary and the secondary windings. In phone chargers, they are wound concentrically around each other on a polyamide (nylon) bobbin, fitted into a sintered ferrite “E-core”. The two windings are separated from each other by a number of layers of polypropylene tape. Then the assembled transformer should be vacuum impregnated with an insulating varnish, then cured. The resulting protection is impressive, and has to be, to be safe even when people do dumb stuff. But the mfg process can be botched, or offshore mfr’s can skimp on the process steps, creating a latent weakness. Each charger s to be “hi-pot” tested with a number of kilovolts applied from the AC prongs to the output ground, with Gigaohm resistance.

            Laptop and tablet chargers have primaries and secondaries wound on separate parallel bobbins, which is larger but is inherently safer.

            Some phone charger manufacturers will put a “Y-Cap” between output ground and AC Neutral, to internally shunt the common-mode noise for improved touchscreen compatibility if they haven’t figured out how to wind the transformer right (it’s an art I’ve had to teach, there’s some tricks to it, including how to handle something called a “dummy winding”). The Y-cap is constructed out of two series-connected capacitors, so that if one fails short, the other is still maintaining insulation.

            If windings short, or if the Y-cap is actually a single-cap failing short, yeah the 120VAC is coming across the gap relative to earth ground, with the 5VDC differential still riding on top of it. GFCI can stop the bathtub path if present, but apparently wasn’t present.

            Capacitors can fail open or short, depending on the type of electrical overstress applied, btw.

  • Ok, Have a look at ANY cell charger. Get a magnifying glass if you need, then look at all the different ratings ANY charger has to comply. GFCI is just ONE level of protection. The failure of all of them is UNLIKELY. This story reeks of Lies, Anyone that thinks that one can be killed by ANY shock from a USB device is not thinking rationally. Isolation is a PRIMARY requirement for ANY USB device. With Isolation NO means to delver a deadly shock is possible. Burns? Somebody is lying Big Time.

    • Jeff

      All of them are.


    • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

      Of course, there would never be any condensation or settled water vapor on the cord leading to the 120v wall socket – because bathrooms are bone-dry during baths and showers.

      • Yeah and condensation is going to pass enough current to harm someone, Forget it’s AC not DC and forget the contact will be broken once the water is hot enough… Sheesh… is everybody so uninformed about electricity?

        • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

          Apparently you are, so you tell me.

          • You know what… I have a big industrial sized can of shut the F*$% up, Here is your bit.

          • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

            Poor baby.

            QQ some more.

  • travis690

    Did we just have a Darwin Awards nominee?

    That’s what it appears to me. But I guess I learned about electricity and water being a dangerous mix before I turned 14.

    The horrific part is that someone somewhere believed you need to always have your cell phone with you, even in the bathtub.

    • I got my first shock by pulling a lamp cord out of a extension cord far enough to get my fingers in between, before I could stand up and walk.

      • Jeff

        Key for me.


        • You stuck a key in an outlet?

          • Jeff


            Never did that again.


          • I have been shocked more times than I can remember.
            I didn’t get real precocious until I was two. My father used to keep his honey do tools in a bottom drawer in the kitchen. One night, after everyone else was asleep, I got up and took all the doorknobs in the house off, and went back to bed. This freaked out my mother (IQ185) who took me to the doctor. He told her that her son took after her and to put the tools in a higher drawer.
            I never took anything apart that I couldn’t get back together.

          • Jeff

            Heh-heh. Good story.


          • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

            Analog cell phones would cause a static tone in computer speakers if the phone was close, just before it would ring.

            I used to freak people out by answering the phone before it rang, too.

          • They did the same thing with some of the equipment in radio stations. Fortunately there were few early adopters where I worked. I have noticed that current cellphones sometimes do the same thing to my shortwave radios, but they seldom ring. If anything, it is getting a text. It is probably just spooks listening in otherwise, so I put the phone next to the radio so they can hear it clearly:-)

          • tonye

            In our first semester analog electronics course ( linear amps, power supplies, filters, stuff like that ) we used to beat the boredom by plugging transistors into the power outlets. The class was taught in a physics lab.

            First the base into the ground, then the source into one of the 120 vac sides and then, carefully!!, the source into the other.



        • g.johnon

          spanning my first two fingers to touch both contacts on my old lionel electric train transformer. did not repeat the offense.

    • g.johnon

      lol, my thunder has been stolen, i was coming in here to remark on how this looked like a darwin award candidate. could also end up being on “1000 ways to die” if they are still making that show.

  • Jeff

    LMAO. And Darwin is out of his cage!

    I hope she didn’t breed yet.

    Blame the Cops! They done it!


  • The whole point to UL certification’s is for the dumb. The whole story is BS. You have to be pretty dumb to think that a 5 volt USB charger can kill someone… But 157 folks were dumb enough to contribute $8,515 bucks

    • UL desertification?

      • Do you know of any other UL? Ahh let me guess Underwater Librarians, the Unitarian lawyers? Any more dumb questions?

        • I think i will just block you, Ta Ta.

          • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

            Another fact-fearful ignoramus.

            Good riddance to bad rubbish.

          • I have seen enough of this persona to think blocking is a very good idea, Trolls are like that. It’s nice to not have to read stuff from someone you block.

          • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

            He’s not a troll – he’s just smarter than you.

        • You are kind of pissy for someone who won’t proofread.

  • SP_88

    Tragedy for sure. My condolences to the family. But something just doesn’t add up. How does a 5v phone charger carry enough current to cause burns and electrocute someone?
    Even if the bathroom wall outlet wasn’t a GFCI like it should be if it’s within 6 feet of a water source, there isn’t any 120 VAC source beyond the point where the charger plugs into the wall.
    The only thing I can think of is that she had an extension cord running from the wall outlet to within reach from the bathtub, and the charger was plugged in right near the tub. And if so, she could have grabbed the charger right at the end of the extension cord, and got zapped from the 120 VAC in the cord.
    Otherwise, I don’t see how this could have possibly happened.

  • Larry

    God forbid the idiot should be without her cell phone even in the bath tub. We have incubated multiple generations of stupid, worthless, good-for-nothing morons in this world and especially in the USA. Anyone who did something this stupid isn’t fit to live anyway!

  • Bill L

    These smart phones are making people dumber and dumber. The latest managing tool are these fidget spinners. Perfect for putting yourself into an altered state of consciousness, hypnotic suggestion, probably blue beam compatible. The overlords are just waiting to issue the commands for these techno-zombies.
    Watch out.

  • Kendoaz

    If the outlet in the bathroom was a properly working GFCI this would not have occurred. Plus, I thought cell phones use low voltage current which should not have killed her, although she may have been using an aftermarket charger of some kind. My thoughts and prayers go out to this young girl and her family, but it would be nice to get all the facts in these stories so we could all be truly aware.

  • Oboehner

    This site should be called the daily conspiracy theory, golll…