Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I jumpstart a car with my hands!

A week ago, I was invited by a friend to watch a christmas singing tree show at  a local church.  Before that night, we went shopping in the morning. It was just me, my girlfriend and her little boy.  We used the old car that they just purchased.  It was a 19-something model ford mercury.  Since she's a novice driver, and her husband was at work that morning,  I was tasked to drive the car. 

First, I was hesistant because they told me that the car broke down one time while on the road and that they had to call BCAA (British Columbia Autmobile Association) to jumpstart their car.  Then later, they found out that the car's battery was old and weak.

That's the very reason why I was having second thoughts driving the car.  But since my friend assured me that she's a BCAA member as well, I finally gave-in and trust my technical ability to deal with it -  If and when it broke down on me.

So before leaving, I warmed-up the car for a few minutes. On start, I didn't have problem with the ignition.  The engine started at once. But when we were all settled down, buckled up and ready to go, the engine wouldn't start.  I tried, and tried four times, and still wouldn't start. We looked at each other. Then before I almost gave up, I instinctively jumped off the car and opened the hood.  I  was positive, it was the battery.

I clamped my fingers on the posts of the two terminals and tried winding it.  It looked tight and secure.  So I tried slightly tipping the battery off and clinching back to place (just imagining how my dad would do it in the same situation) After pretending that I knew what I was doing,  I went back the driver's seat, and re-started the engine.  Wah-lah!  It worked!  I was completely stunned. My friend was also amazed and said, she didn't have a clue whatever I did that make it work.  And for the whole morning we went shopping, the car was smooth running till we got to the show.

But later that night after the two-hour show, in the frigid parking spot, the car weaselled out on us again. Being successful with my first endeavor in the morning,  I did exactly the same thing, and once again, it worked.

I really don't know if it's just coincidence or real science.  But I'm puzzled myself.

So here's what I gathered:

"...When we scuff our shoes upon a rug on a dry winter day, our bodies typically charge up to a potential of several thousand volts with respect to the ground. In physics this is a well-known fact, and is easily verified by meter measurements. Touch a grounded object, and a spark will leap between the object and your fingertip. This kind of electric spark can only exist when a high voltage is present. The tiniest spark requires about 500 volts. Big, nasty, painful sparks require lots more voltage, up to several thousand volts. But even when no sparks are jumping, there is still a high voltage between your charged body and the ground, and your charged body is surrounded with an invisible electric field..." - http://amasci.com/emotor/voltmeas.html

An Amazing Fact

According to the scientists, in 15 per cent fat in a human body, it is possible to generate 11,000 watts of electricity per hour. In fact, different yielded energy levels are 81 watts from a sleeping person, 128 watts from a soldier standing at ease, 163 watts from a walking person, 407 watts from a briskly walking person, 1,048 watts from a long-distance runner, and 1,630 watts from a sprinter.  http://hubpages.com/hub/Generating-Electricity-From-Body-Heat

So next time your car battery dies down on you, try using your hands to jumpstart...But scuff your shoes first on a rug.  Who knows?