This page discusses safe, sane, and consensual electrotortue.

All discussions of safety assume healthy adults. Children and people with pacemakers will be considerably more vulnerable. This page, by itself, should not be considered adequate safety training for electrotorture. You will find some safety information here, however, which to the best of my knowledge is not availible anywhere else on the web.

Improper electrotorture can result in death due to cardiac arrest, nerve damage, torn ligimants and broken bones from severe muscle contractions, burns, or physical trauma from being propelled across the room by involuntary contractions.

High voltage arcs can ignite flammable materials and liquids (such as rubbing alcohol).

Violet Wands

This is a Quack Medical device based on combining the type of AC Line operated hand held Tesla Coil found in any High Vaccuum Laboratory with some rarified gas filled blown glass accessories.

Safety Warning: The "ground" for the high voltage winding on the tesla coil is normally made through a connection to the AC line (it might be the hot lead or it might be neutral - want to play russian roulette?). This will not electrocute you through one of the glass electrodes but it will if you accidently come into contact with the high voltage connection or use any of the metal attachments.

The wand should be modified to use a 3 wire grounded cord. Note, however, that I have heard that most wands with a 3 wire cord are not connected properly and are still potentially lethal. Electrical outlets which have the ground and neutral connections reversed or don't have a proper ground connection are very common even though they violate the National Electrical Code.

PROPERLY WIRED, these can be safe to use above the waist, and accross the heart, at lower output levels.

In lieu of rewiring the Violet Wand to use the ground lead, you can check the outlet wiring using one of those outlet testers you find at a hardware store for about $4. You still need to verify with an ohmeter or continuity tester that the high voltage ground is connected to the neutral and not the hot lead and you must verify that the cord uses a three prong or polorized plug which cannot be plugged in backwards.

The violet wand can cause sunburns if used on one area for too long. Both the high voltage and the ultraviolet light can produce ozone. Inhaling too much ozone can cause lung damage.

The Violet Wands which use the Electro-technic Products High Frequency Generator (handle) are better quality than those which use the Master high frequency generators. Most violet wands will overheat and be damaged if they are used continuously for very long. Limit use to 5 minutes for the Master units and 10 minutes for the ETP ones. You can find the lower quality violet wands at some beauty supply stores. JT's Stockroom sells violet wands based on the ETP generator which have been remanufactured to permit continuous operation.

Avoid direct contact or a short arc to the high voltage output terminal (the socket the accessories plug into) on the end of the generator. There are a number of accessories which have safety features which may not be apparent. For eaxmple, the ball chains apparently have built in current limiting features. The metal probe tips have an airgap built in which is supposed to protect you from the AC line; this protection is likely to be innefective, however.


Transcutaneous Electronic Neuorological Stimulator. This device is normally used to reduce existing pain but can be adjusted to induce pain. Use above the waist (including hands) or in any configuration which will cause current to flow across the chest does have some risk of inducing cardiac arrest. Typical specs: The electrodes cannot be cleaned; therefore, do not use them on more than one person. You can purchase additional electrodes.

Diversified Services sells an imported TENS unit for around $100.

EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulators) are similar to TENS units. These are also sometimes called Relaxicisors. The pulses they generate are usually about the same as those generated by a TENS but they alternately apply stimulus and rest for a few seconds at a time. It seems pretty silly that they make two kinds of boxes when one box with a few more adjustments could do the same job.

Plasma Globe

Mass produced plasma globes can be had for as little as 10% of the cost of a good violet wand.

Dome Lighning. $39.99 at KB Toys (normally $59.99). Iluma Storm model #2888BR. UPC Label 0-31192-02880-0. Made in Korea by Lee Home Products Corporation.

Voltage: Unmeasured (probably 15-30KV). Alternating Current naround 90Khz. Current flow when covered with foil around 275uA.

The high voltage electrode (and all internal components) is hot to the AC Line (actually rectified AC line). Do NOT attempt to connect directly to the high voltage lead, bypassing the glass globe, by disassembling the unit; the result is likely to be fatal. If you manage to break both the inner and outer glass bulb there is an electrocution hazard from contact with the hot lead. Particularly dangerous would be an accident where the globe is dropped from a distance onto a person breaking both globes and making electrical contact with the high voltage lead.

If you want to modify the unit for three wire operation, the "ground connections" of the flyback transformer, FT1, is the two center pins of the four pins on the bottom (the output lead is on the top); Use a moto tool to isolate these two leads from the existing connection making at least a 1/8" gap. Connect the ground connection of the cord to this point.

Sharp metal objects held near (but not touching) the globe can cause permant marks and possibly even holes in the glass.

If you place your hand over the globe, the sensation will usually be very mild but both the glass and your hand will start to get uncomfortably hot after 5 to 10 seconds. If you hold a part of your body near the globe (or vice versa) such that only a single point is near the globe, you will get a more intense effect but won't really see an arc outside the globe.

If you place a coin on top of the globe or cover the globe with aluminum foil, you can easily draw an arc to your body which will cause a painful sensation. You may also notice the smell of burning flesh and a pin sized burn on you skin.

Some experiments with 1 megaohm and 10 megaohm quarter watt resistors (not adequate for high voltage use) as current limiting resistors (one lead curled to rest on top of the globe), showed that 10 megahoms rendered the sensation negligable while 1 megaohm did not noticably reduce pain or burning.

Unlike a violet wand, you cannot conduct energy from one hand to the other to zap someone even with the globe covered with foil. The limited availible current is apparently all lost to the air through your whole body (even if your feet aren't grounded).

The globe can be covered with foil and a clip lead used to connect to a metal probe of your choice. Some energy will be lost as sharp corners of the foil cause discharge.

Ozone is produced by the high voltage ionizing oxygen molecules in the air.

When using the globe directly on a sub, I recomend removing the protective plastic shield which will block your view. I removed the plastic shield by ripping it off - it was held on with some weak glue. The sound and light seen through the globe will tell you want sensations are being delivered. Particularly, look and listen for pinpoint hot spots.

I disassembled one of these units and reverse engineered it to produce a (very ugly) schematic and took some measurements.

The globe is not designed to be hand held; care must be taken to hold it securely.

The Illuma Storm Junior has a form factor which is almost ideal for electro play. It is an oversize lightbulb with a removable socket base. The one I got was way to wimpy, however, even though it uses the same flyback transformer. I suspect that unit was defective. The cylindrical portion below the globe fits comfortably into the hand. The unit can optionally respond to sound. Three wire modification should follow the same directions as for the normal tabletop model. The light socket would need to be bypassed entirely, a grounding ring added to the base, or a grounding strap outside. There is a little plastic rivet located to the audio/continuous switch; the top of the rivet is two parts- pry the two parts apart to unset the rivet which can then be pried out. Behind the rivet is an intensity adjustment control. CAUTION: Shock hazard - this control is not isolated from the AC line. Use a plastic screwdriver. There is no guarantee that some settings may exceed the power ratings of certain electronic components. Even at the highest setting, the intensity (and zap potential) was wimpy; again, this was probably a defective unit. These units were being closed out for $20 (normally $50).

I note that the 8" model sold at radio shack has 450uA current limiting, intensity, and focus controls (from their tech support web site).

The plasma globe, when used with a metal object to increase the current output, produces little pinpoint size burns and might be better for temporary branding than a violet wand. The difference is probably due to the fact that the violet wand operates at a higher frequency.

Laser Power Supplies

I am just talking about the supplies for the small helium neon lasers. Unmodified, these are dangerous since they produce curent which exceeds the "can't let go" level. A typical supply might produce 2KV at 10ma but will produce a starting voltage of 12KV. There is substantial internal capacitance. May be made safe with a high voltage current limiting resistor. Might also need to be isolated from the AC line in some cases.

Isolation Transformers

Isolation transformers will not work to protect against AC line electrocution with high voltage generators with two wire AC line cords; these high voltage devices need the lack of isolation to work normally and the high voltage will probably damage the isolation transformer if you arc the high voltage output to ground. Once the high voltage arcs between the primary and the secondary of the isolation transformer, the transformers protection will also be circumvented.

Ground Fault Interrupters

High voltage gernators with two wire AC cords may trip ground fault interupters. There is also a slight possibility that that the high voltage would damage or confuse the GFCI. The GFCI is probably safe until it trips, at which point it may self destruct. Before it trips, the low impedences involved may protect it. Whether a GFCI is vulnerable to the high voltage after tripping depends on which side of the breaker contacts the sensing circuitry is on; if the breaker contacts are between the sensing circuitry and the output terminals, it should survive. Also, if the GFCI itself is accidently unplugged while the violet wand is in operation there is a danger that the GFCI can be destroyed by the stored energy in the Tesla Coil. The use of GFCIs is probably still a very good idea, just think of them as an expensive single use fuse rather than a reusable circuit breaker; once it trips, be prepared to replace it (use the "test" button to see if this is necessary.

Computers and Electronics

Don't subject your computer or other electronic devices to electroturture from high voltage devices; it could be a very expensive mistake. Don't try to use the sound card as a TENS unit either; this could be fatal if there is a miscontact on your computers ground connection.

Temporary Brands

A temporary brand can be made by arcing to the skin. It probably begin to disappear in a few hours.


Janet Hardy reported to SSB on injury reports received while working on the book Juice.

Also, note that the use of the glass electrodes can cause sunburns.

Juice: Electricity for Pleasure and Pain

I recommend that anyone interested in electrical play read this book. There are a number of errors in the book, however; some of these errors are serious.

The descriptions of various devices commonly used in BDSM usage is VERY skimpy. I found far less information on physiology than I expected. More information on effective electrode placements and settings for TENS units would have been appropriate. I hope that the next edition will correct the errors and be more complete.

The book is availible from Amazon. A link to Uncle Abdul's website can be found below.

Current Levels

<100ua "Microshocks". Could actualy be fatal in medical apparatus or other situations where current is applied directly to internal organs (particularly the heart). Accidental microshocks can be a serious risk for medical apparatus and elaborate precautions are normally used.
1ma Barely perceptable tingle.
5ma Shock felt but not painful. This is the limit set by the National Electrical Code and is the trip threshold for ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
18ma Prolonged exposure causes contraction of the diaphram and may result in suffocation.
6-39ma "Can't let go". Painful shock and loss of muscular control. The victim is unable to, for example, pull their hand away from the source of the electric shock. Average can't let go limit is 10.5ma for women and 15.5 for men.
50-150ma Severe Pain. Muscular Contractions. Respiratory arrest. Ventriculaar fibrolation in most adult by 100ma. Death possible. Person cannot let go but induced muscle contractions may cause them to be thrown clear.
1000ma-4500ma Ventricular fibrillation, muscle contraction, nerve damage. Death is "most likely."
10,000ma Death is probable. Cardiac arrest. Severe burns.
DC and frequncies higher than 1Khz are ten times safer than the same current at 50-60Hz. Effects listed above are for 60hz. The electrical power grids operate at the most frequencies (50/60hz) that people are most susceptible to.

Electrically induced muscle contractions, as well as peoples reactions to pain, can result in injury or death from striking external objects. Muscle contractions can also break bones and do other damage directly.


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