84 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

I have actually stuck a knife into a toaster, and I can confirm that yes, it is very definitely electrified. Please, Please, Please, don't do this. The only reason I'm still alive is because of a good ...
  • 761
59 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

The toaster is going to have heating elements of a type of wire that has very high resistance, usually nichrome wire. When electricity is applied to the wire, it becomes hot enough to toast bread. You'...
  • 6,427
41 votes

Why does the manual to a 1989 TV almost dedicate a page to the "pin assignment" of the SCART connector?

There was no Internet then. The only source of most of that information was through the manuals and if it wasn't published you could be stuck. Many of us made up adaptors and cables and this ...
  • 8,824
21 votes
Accepted

What is this small rotating part from a cell phone?

These types of motor configurations are used in the cellphone's vibrate/buzzer function. Here is a Youtube video demonstrating the vibrate function and two other references: How it works:Cell phone ...
15 votes
Accepted

Unknown metal-piece connected to the case of an iPod Nano 2

It's a naked piezoelectric buzzer. Some piezoelectric crystal grown on a metal circle are the active part and the bottom contact glued on the back cover. The top is then metallised to get the second ...
  • 265
13 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

How could they possibly sell a consumer-oriented product like that which zaps its users if they happen to touch the interior slightly as they stick a knife into the piece of toast bread to get it out ...
11 votes
Accepted

Why do modern phone cameras apparently have three or even more different camera lenses in almost the same spot?

The answer depends on what phone this is exactly but here is my best guess for each spot: The three big lenses are to provide different focal lengths. The white spot is an LED for flash. The ...
10 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

Why would they have the metal parts responsible for pressing against the bread and keep it in place be having electricity going through it? They don't. The metal parts responsible for pressing ...
  • 309
8 votes

Why do microwaves get louder when the timer goes off?

When the timer reaches zero, the microwave tube is turned off. Depending on your house wiring, this large reduction in load may allow the line voltage to rise a bit. The fan, which continues to run ...
  • 6,759
7 votes

How is it possible that "fiddling around with" batteries can apparently give them more power?

It is common for both the button contacts on the ends of a battery and the springy metal fingers that make contact with those buttons to get a thin film of oxide forming on them. It does not take much ...
6 votes

What is this small rotating part from a cell phone?

That is a micro vibrating motor to produce the "buzz" effect from your phone. I used much much larger vibrating motors, air driven, on the bottom of my Class 7 dump truck. Mounted under the bed, they ...
6 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

Yes, and no. When the toaster is actually toasting, then obviously there's electricity running through the elements, which need to get hot (and will be seen to glow). Once it's turned off, but still ...
  • 209
5 votes

Why do modern consoles require active cooling when old consoles did not?

Power Consumption The shortest answer to your question is to look at the amount of power consumed by some of the consoles you listed as examples: Nintendo 64: 19 W Playstation 1: 15 W (supply) XBox ...
5 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

A toaster is simply a length of nichrome wire put across the mains power, which will be 120 or 240 VAC, depending on your country: Those red-hot wires you see in the toaster? That's the nichrome wire....
5 votes

Why does the manual to my floor fan tell me to pull out the cord whenever it's not in use?

No good reason Probably the legal department decided it was a little safer to not have power to the device all the time. Practically, there is no reason to do this.
  • 4,953
5 votes

Is it dangerous for a child (or anyone) to bang away with a hammer and unscrew an old clothes washing machine?

the washing machine does not contain any energy storage capacitors which would retain a lethal charge for days after being unplugged. In addition, there's no pressure or vacuum chamber inside the ...
4 votes

Why are LED blinking?

The basic problem is that the power source is not matched to produce exactly the right voltage and current that the LED takes to put out the light you want. Some conversion is required between the ...
  • 11.3k
3 votes

How is digital image-data converted to a laser projection in laser printers?

I'll answer the questions in reverse order. If the laser beam draws like a pencil, how is the laser guiding mirror that directs the laser beam onto the drum able to move so fast that a page is ...
  • 8,824
3 votes
Accepted

Why does audio equipment buzz/humm when a long signal cable is used and how do I eliminate it?

The reason for the humming noise is improper grounding. Audio signals are low voltage level AC signals (over simplified). An audio signal could be for example 1V, 1 KHz signal. When there is improper ...
3 votes

Is it possible that an electronic device "half-works" when the power adapter supplies too much voltage?

Modern power adapters tend to be electronically regulated and not vary much in output voltage with load changes. Older ones that used iron core transformers were often less stable in output voltage ...
3 votes

Why are LED blinking?

The reason LED's are blinking is because they use Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) power the LED. Using PWM, the LED are switched on for a specific period of time and switch off rest of the time. The ...
3 votes

Do smoke alarms become more sensitive as they get older?

The isotope used in smoke detectors, americium-241, has a half-life of 432 years. It would take a very long time for simple radioactive decay to affect the operation of a smoke detector.
  • 171
3 votes

Looking for a current multiplier circuit - if possible

What you ask for won't work. First, if you were to create a current amplifier as you describe, it would require a separate power source. You can't cheat physics. Twice the current out at the same ...
  • 11.3k
3 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

Inside the toaster is a special type of wire, usually a nickel-chromium (Nichrome) alloy, that has a high resistance and lasts reasonably long at glowing-orange temperatures. It will be mounted on ...
3 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

I just to want to add a caveat here for people reading this who might read these answers and think the advice applies to all electrical devices. For a toaster, sure, turning if off and removing the ...
  • 131
3 votes

Why Sony headset's charging station doesn't charge other NiMH batteries rather than which came with it?

Looking at photos of the battery used in your headphones, I believe they use one of two ways to do this: 1- The cells are parallel in orientation, leading me to believe they are electrically parallel. ...
3 votes

Why Sony headset's charging station doesn't charge other NiMH batteries rather than which came with it?

Based on the information shared and available there mostly three more possibilities. There is a make break switch that is triggered based on the battery packaging. Review the original battery package ...
3 votes

Is using your mouth and lungs to blow away dust inside your computer somehow bad for the computer?

Another option would be to use a vacuum cleaner, that way any dirt is not pushed inside the computer but its pulled outside.
  • 22.9k
3 votes
Accepted

How to know which opto-coupler is suitable for high current application?

Optocouplers are made for milliamperes. You expect a switching circuit where a high current transistor or mosfet is controlled through an optocoupler or other isolation providing part. Such circuits ...
3 votes

Why do I not get zapped when I hold my fingers on each end of an AA battery, like 3R12 ones?

with dry fingers, your skin represents a high resistance to the flow of electricity and so very little of it flows along your skin. In addition, there are no nerve endings right at the surface of the ...

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