back to article Teen sticks Xbox 360 power supply in bowl of water

A North Carolina teenager who decided the best way to cool his Xbox's overheating power supply was to stick it in a bowl of water was knocked unconcious by the resulting electric shock and earned himself a trip to hospital with "minor burns to his right hand and foot". According to local news reports, the 14-year-old Brevard …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darwin would be proud

    Beats kicking a ball in the bark. Kicking the bucket in your living room.

    Perhaps he had no friends and wanted to play against the goldfish...

  2. Tom

    Where?

    Which hospital?!

  3. Mad Mike

    Darwin

    This is the problem with Darwins theories. Some obvious candidates manage to survive. We obviously need to increase the current available to ensure a good toasting, or equip the emergency services with humane destroyers.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pass me the brain, Igor

    Messing around with high-voltage equipment and being sent to the "Transylvania Hospital", one wonders if the youth still had all his limbs attached at the end of his visit, or whether he emerged with a bolt through his neck...

  5. Graham O'Brien

    Problem with US mains supply

    This highlights one of the big problems with the US 120v mains: there's just not enough poke to help Darwin. Also, it makes electric kettles a problem: a 3kW kettle would pull 25A ... no wonder my American friends use old technology gas hobe for their cuppas.

  6. Rob

    <a flash of light>

    "Igor! Throw the switch!"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He did it wrong....

    I don't know if he is likely to read this but he made an error. It is the Xbox itself that overheats, not the power supply. You need to use a bath of water and drop the actual Xbox in there. It works best if you are in the bath with it...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    perhaps not a darwin award winner..

    Although we hope this kid should have known better, the level of parenting these days means that if there is not a game that revolves around killing baddies so that you don't get electrocuted via a water based conductor, then why should the kid know.

    Perhaps we should be asking MS why they cant make products that can be used for extended periods without over heating and becoming unusable until they cool. Other people make such products but it seems any hint of a standard (even if it is a safety standard) is enough to make MS think they can re-write the rules.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cleatus?

    "Momma, I think I done sumfink bad!".

    Don't know why Cleatus from the Simpsons sprang to mind?

  10. kaiserb_uk

    Litigation

    He should sue - I bet nowhere on the device does it say "do not submerge in water" (although it most certainly will after the case) - he should win millions. He may even force Microsoft to redesign the XBox and PSU to be fully waterproof, and damn right too. Won't somebody think of the children?

  11. Graham Hawkins

    Re: He did it wrong....

    He would of course also need to cool the power supply in the bath to get the Darwin Effect. Dunno what comes out of the LT side of an X-Box PSU, but it's probably not enough to do the trick...

  12. Stephen

    RE: Litigation

    It does actually state in the user manual that you should not expose the power supply or the console to water.

    Still, this does beg the question. How come a 14 year old didn't understand that water conducts electricity? If this is this an indcation of the state of the US education system then it explains a lot....mind you we have the same kind of problems over here (UK).

  13. Jason

    Well....

    As a teen, and I know this a quite a huge assumption, shouldn't he have been told, at ANY point in his life "Don't put electrical equipment in water!".

    Maybe he was just so keen to get online and hurl racist abuse round like most Yanks do on 360Live that in his red-neck opinion it'd work.

    As for finding the suggestion online - I'd like to congratulate said author and hope that all people with such problems and lack of IQ follow his suggestion.

    Here's hoping the jolt was enough to make the little idiot impotent!

  14. jonathan keith

    Title

    He obviously wasn't playing Bioshock then - where you can fry any enemies standing in pools of water by zapping them with electricity.

  15. Steven

    ROFLMAO

    I'll get me coat...

    (Sorry been one of those weeks)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why I deny MS products entry to my house

    They emit radiation that makes you stupid, which ends you up in a vicious circle of aquiring more MS products, until the radiation level reaches a critical point, as in this case.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly...

    ...we should ban that evil Internet before it gets out of hand.

  18. Darryl Ashton

    Tips online

    "tried to fix it on his own based on tips he found online"

    I don't know about anyone else but I want to know where he found advice on dunking power supplies.

  19. Steve Sutton

    Re: Darwin ( @ Mad Mike )

    "This is the problem with Darwins theories. Some obvious candidates manage to survive."

    To be fair, I think nature gave him credit for at least attempting to wrap it in plastic. Although still plain stupid, credit must be given for an attempt to play it safe. He should consider this a last warning, however!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    120 V is about right to kill ...

    ... because the voltage across the body produces just the right current (about 100 milliamps) to throw the heart into fibrillation. Here in America, we're told that Europeans think that we're nuts to run on 120 V, which is a perfect killing voltage. That kid is just plain lucky.

  21. Nick

    Really puts..

    ... the live in x-box live! I guess he really could feel the power.

    Shame the health service is so good these days (comparitavly) - there are far too many inDuhViduals around to be good for the species as a whole.

  22. Rob

    the best part it...

    Water conducts heat better than air but it's much more difficult to move around - the vents in the PSU likely wouldn't allow enough water to convect through and if it has a fan it likely wouldn't be powerful enough to move the water away from the overheated parts (never seen an xbox PSU so I don't know if it has a fan or not) so even if it was waterproof electrically, dunking it is going to make it overheat faster.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jason

    "Maybe he was just so keen to get online and hurl racist abuse round like most Yanks do on 360Live that in his red-neck opinion it'd work."

    Hmmm.

    Firstly; "redneck" (not hyphenated, BTW) is an abusive term relating to a specific racial group and is therefore by definition "racial abuse".

    Secondly; "Yank" is a contraction of "Yankee" and as such makes the opposite geographical implication to the word "redneck" (Yankee being a northerner, redneck being a poor, white southerner).

    And no; I'm not a Yank or a redneck, just a limey with an annoyingly sharp eye for hypocrisy ;-)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Litigation

    "Still, this does beg the question. How come a 14 year old didn't understand that water conducts electricity? If this is this an indication of the state of the US education system then it explains a lot."

    This seems to support my hypothesis: The IQ of the USA is constant.

  25. Ru

    Back in my day,

    We all knew that you should never use electrical weapons whilst swimming, unless you also had a handy pentagram.

    "Although we hope this kid should have known better, the level of parenting these days means that if there is not a game that revolves around killing baddies so that you don't get electrocuted via a water based conductor, then why should the kid know."

    I blame the lack of lightning guns.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he we 8 this would be acceptable. 14? You'd expect more.

    While he's hacking his XBox to make it better tell him if he wants to see where all the enemies are hidden in a level you can cheat by taking off the cover and looking directly into the CD Laser. They all show up as ones and zeros I hear.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re:the best part it

    I would have though with the specific heat capacity of water the thermal difference between the water and the PSU that water would not have been a hugh issue.

    Also the XBOX had a on-board PSU so unless you dunked the whole unit in water would not have been an issue.

  28. Andy Worth

    "Public service" website

    This story got me thinking that perhaps I (or someone else) should start a public service website in order to cleanse the gene pool. It would work by posing as a sensible tech site but with suggestions for fixing products which are stupid and potentially dangerous.

    Anyone with half a brain would see it as a joke and laugh, and anyone too stupid to realise it was a joke would soon be out of the way.

    So is anyone up for helping me start it? :)

  29. laird cummings

    Education system?

    State of the US education system? Some people are just stupid. Others are just thoughtless. They come that way out of the box - education systems aren't needed to explain that fact. One incident is hardly evidence - it's an anecdote. Anecdote != data.

    OTOH, the number of people claiming that an anecdote = data is sufficiently large that perhaps we can call *that* data on *some* people's education...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this isn't the dumbest

    thing I have ever heard of but there are tips out there

    that are as far as I can tell designed to maim blind kill

    someone who doesn't know any better just as there are

    viruses and malware that do nothing but damage don't

    believe anything you read on the internet it's populated

    by Darwin Award sadists and cruelty freaks.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: "Public service" website

    Their is one for the car industry maybe there should be one for the IT industry.

    http://www.sniffpetrol.com/ > www.forkinapowersocket.com anyone?

  32. Tim

    Water cooled.

    You'd think he'd have gradually learnt over time that everytime his mobile phone ("cell phone") got dirty and he gave it a bath it stopped working, and began to slowly lean away from submerging his electronic devices in liquids, even if he wasn't specifically told not to dip the power supply in.

    Also why water and not in a bucket of ice...which is colder (I think he might have know this one), or a fan?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gotta laugh

    I just had to laugh at all these comments saying that water conducts electricity... Nope. Go to the bottom of the class...

    Pure water (we're talking H2O, not spring water etc) does NOT conduct electricity. I bet that he just used plain old tap water, or worse would be bottled water, which does conduct electricity by virtue of all the chemicals and minerals that are in there with the H2O.

    So, if anyone else is planning to do this, make sure you use pure, distilled water. Or better still, dump the xbox. Failing that, oil is the best thing to use... if you look on mini-itx.com (I think) you'll find that someone has made a silent computer by removing the fan, mounting it all inside an aquarium and duly filling it with (used) cooking oil. Brilliant for silent cooling but does smell and I would HATE to have to replace dead components.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Muzbee ome skooled

    They didnt have electrickery in the bible back in the days of Jesus so I suppose there was no go reason for him to have learnt about it.

    You would presume that if you wrap an overheating plastic cased power supply which relies on air circulation to remain cool in a plasic bag and then leave it in a bucket of water so ensuring that there aint no way on earth air is going to get to it, it is going to eventually melt and with the thing plugged in to the mains the flash, bang and cloud of acrid smoke is going to be spectacular.

    Somehow a runners up place in this years Darwin Awards seems appropriate.

    In both the case of the overheating power supply and its moronic owner one thing can be certain. There sure as hell was no Inteligent Desginer involved.

  35. Alistair

    An Electrical Engineer writes

    They didn't have the Bible back in the days of Jesus, either.

    Didn't Cray cool their supercomputers with a flow of CFC-based refridgerant?

    Us EE's have a saying: "Volts jolts, mills kills". Meaning that you can have an alarmingly high voltage electric shock and suffer only minor ill-effects, but it only takes a few milliamps passing across the heart to stop it. So it all depends on how you receive the shock. Taking a bath with a mains-powered appliance is likely to result in lots of both whether its half-assed american or full-on euro supply voltage.

  36. Morely Dotes

    @ Andy Worth

    I'll host it at the "personal or family" rate. Seems like it's a good way to improve the human "family."

  37. Franklin

    Well, if you REALLY want to get technical...

    ...water DOESN'T conduct electricity. Pure water is actually a pretty good insulator. It's actually the stuff dissolved in the water that conducts electricity; purified, distilled water won't.

    And when it comes to voltage...hell, there are sex toys that generate tens of thousands of volts, but such negligible current that they do little more than tingle. Violet wands, they're called.

  38. The Cube

    RE: "Public service" website

    There is one already there and waiting, it even has the perfect target audience for eugenic cleansing already provided for you. It is called 'Conservapedia' and there is no chance of any of the moderators or readers (in those states where witchcraft such as 'readin n ritin' are not punishable by crucifixion at the hands of the men in white sheets and pointy hats) understanding enough science to spot the 'killer' hints.

  39. Law

    An idea

    I think we should put the cases like this one (the ones that should have made it into the darwin awards but somehow escaped death) into an anti-Darwin awards list.

    I think the Creationists-award is appropriate. Because obviously god saved the boy as he had important gaming to do in the future...

  40. Phillip Rhodes

    Redneck / Yank

    Redneck doesn't necessarily mean Southerner in the US. If it means anything at all, it really translates to more like "poor and uneducated." Using that definition, there are Rednecks in every state of the US. It's just that within the US, the stereotype (which is mostly invalid, this example excluded) is that many/most Southerners are also Rednecks.

    And yes, in the States, Southerners use the term Yankees to refer to Northerners, but to anybody outside the US, it seems common to use the term Yank to refer to any American. It's not wrong, it's just a different perspective.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He wrapped it in plastic and duct tape, so how did he get shocked?

    Hey, he wrapped it in plastic and duct tape, no doubt creating a water tight seal around the cords and power supply so how on Earth was he shocked?

    Oh and for those of you discussing PSU thermodynamics:

    1) The PSU on the XBOX 360 is EXTERNAL so no he didn't need to put the unit in the water, (unless it wasn't the PSU overheating but the CPU)

    2) There are no vents, fans, or holes on the external brick PSU for the XBOX 360.

  42. Erlang Lacod

    Wii ?

    Poor guy, at least it was only water on a xbox though.

    No doubt if it had of been a Wii device he would have misunderstood them words of the web that's outa ya head and dunked it in a big bucket of piss.

    To which the paramedics would have to say ' looks like ur in trouble here son, another case of over pissistent gaming.'

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't ask. Don't tell.

    "Don't Ask Don't Tell" works for the education system as well. Maybe he was in a school that specialized in Abstinence Training.

    ba-dum-dum

    Hey, get back here – you took my coat! ;)

  44. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    Quake?

    "We all knew that you should never use electrical weapons whilst swimming, unless you also had a handy pentagram."

    If you had 10 cells remaining, you could safely use the Lightning Gun, with 100 health and no pentagram. ;)

    Even though pure water is not conductive, tap water and such has some concentration of salts that are highly conductive; that is why we have the notion of water being conductive. I wonder what kind of "tips" did the teen find to dip a *connected* PSU in water (bags aren't that watertight).

    I'd prefer going for Liquid Nitrogen. Now THAT'S some liquid cooling!!!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ @JASON

    "Firstly; "redneck" (not hyphenated, BTW) is an abusive term relating to a specific racial group and is therefore by definition "racial abuse"."

    So what?

    What's wrong with a bit of "racial abuse"?

    You pathetic politically-correct pom.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: Litigation

    "Still, this does beg the question. How come a 14 year old didn't understand that water conducts electricity?"

    That's what I'm wondering. I mean, if he's 14 he obviously would've been around in the era of Pokémon, and not an episode went by when someone didn't state that water conducts electricity... It's thanks to a Japanese cartoon that I'm doing so well in Science. =)

  47. Matthew Pinches

    RE: Tips Online

    ' "tried to fix it on his own based on tips he found online"

    I don't know about anyone else but I want to know where he found advice on dunking power supplies. '

    maybe from here http://www.weakendproductions.co.uk/movs/jebsjobs.html might have thought this was a real life situation

  48. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    @ @ @ jason

    to the best of my knowledge, "pom" is only used by aussies. The Yanks - or their rhyming slang derivative "Septics" - would use some other term. "Limey" has probably faded from the lexicon.

    As for rednecks.. its a state of mind, not an ethnic group. Anyone claiming ownership of it probably does qualify as one, but that doesnt give them exclusive rights.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: Litigation

    "Still, this does beg the question. How come a 14 year old didn't understand that water conducts electricity?"

    The kid is clearly just thinking, he is trying to cool an air cooled electrical device by putting it in water, which as above just wouldn't work. He could have just gone for a simple option, like open a window or point a fan at it!

  50. Maty

    electro safety

    It's evident that this kid's kit was overheating because there was an unplugged socket leaking extra electricity into the room. Instead of dunking his kit in water, cos it doesn't work after that blue flash, (which releases the magic blue smoke that makes electric stuff go). Instead he needs to change all his electrical fuses for tinfoil or copper wire. That stops electrical stuff from cutting out. I did it on my kettle and it stopped cutting out right till it exploded.

    By the way, it's stupid to say that water doesn't conduct electricity. Why do you think there's lightning in rainstorms? doh!

    Jus' also want to say hi to my fellow redneck, Jason, ol' buddy! er, hi!

  51. Mitchell Jones

    Hmm

    I live in Arkansaw and i do know better. I think that God decided to let darwin lose this one because he wanted a good laugh.

  52. Rhys

    @ The Jim Bloke & Jason

    "Brit" singular and "Brits" plural is the NZ common usage for residents of the british isles, further subdivided into scots, welsh, irish and english, except for when in a pub, whereapon they become scotties, welshies, paddies and pommies.

    Yanks is the usual term for those that live in the US, if the south had won their war, maybe Yanks would now be known as Niggers, because if there was a big slave population around in the '60s, the civil rights movement would have been another civil war instead. And with more blacks in the fields than whites in the mansions, I'd be betting on the slaves winning, MLK or no MLK preaching forgiveness. :P

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: "Public service" website

    Maybe have a section for 1337 h0x0rs.

    1) If your desktop computer is acting slow you don't need to get any expensive software to fix it. Just find the red tab on the back near the power cable the says 230 and move it over to 115. You will then have a big puff of smoke and your computer will work perfect after this.

    Seriously though, how? Surely he has watched (probably illegally downloaded) enough films of people getting chucked electricuted when in water?

  54. Aubry Thonon

    It's good to see...

    ..El Reg keeping current. But what it really needs is to amp it up so it can volt over all obstacles and objections. It's only a pity this boy was not contemplating a sex-change operation or I could also make a trans-sister joke in here. And it might be a good idea for this kid never to learn to drive - apparently, he's not that good a conductor.

    <sigh> Ahhh, Monday mornings...

  55. Mark Nelson

    Actually Mr. Philip Rhodes

    Here in ALABAMA they are called <B>THOSE DAMN YANKEES</B> or other things that are very derogatory.

  56. Simon

    Re: electro safety

    "Instead he needs to change all his electrical fuses for tinfoil or copper wire. That stops electrical stuff from cutting out."

    I've always wanted to go into a hardware shop and ask where the ten amp nails are located...

  57. Jason

    Re: @ JASON

    I could have done some good research like yourself there matey, but at the end of the day I didn't feel inclined to log onto Wikipedia and attempt to rehash it's entries regards "redneck" and "Yank".

    Seeing as language evolves I was using the terms in their most base meaning;

    "Redneck" - Hillbilly, hick, dunce etc

    "Yank" - American (As per the other posters commenting on Brits, Limeys, Poms etc)

    So, wasn't being racist at all, didn't specify anything about ethnicity.

    I was saying that this kid, was, blantantly as dense as the material making up a collapsed star and really shouldn't be allowed to breed when he reaches age.

    That's all. ; )

  58. Jonathan Fitt

    US Electricity

    The US electrical system seems hugely dangerous to me: They operate at half the voltage which means that identical devices need twice the current, there are no fuses in the plugs, and the plugs are crappy and still work when half pulled out the socket exposing the pins.

    Combine that with a poor public school system, and I'm not surprised we get these stories.

  59. tony trolle

    re:@ @ @ jason

    limey still used, funny stopping scurvy became with a slang word

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