Eli5: What is a Floating Ground?


I saw a clip where a girl was moving her hand around a lamp and it would disrupt the energy enough to flicker/turn off the light. Chat claimed it was a floating ground and very dangerous.

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It’s just a term of art that means “There is no connection to ground.” External magnetic fields can induce a current in a system like that, which can be intentional, but can also be a safety issue.

The safety section on the Wikipedia article on the topic is direct and to the point https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_ground

> Floating grounds can be dangerous if they are caused by failure to properly ground equipment that was designed to require grounding because the chassis can be at a very different potential from that of any nearby organisms, who then get an electric shock upon touching it. Live chassis TVs, where the set’s ground is derived by rectifying live mains, were common until the 1990s.

> Exposed live grounds are dangerous. They are live, and can electrocute end users if touched. Headphone sockets fitted by end users to live chassis TVs are especially dangerous, as not only are they often live, but any electrical shock will pass through the user’s head. Sets with a headphone socket and a live chassis use an audio isolation transformer to make the arrangement safe.

Without knowing the specifics of the case in the video you’re describing, it’s impossible to say whether it was really a safety issue.

Touch control lamps exist.


Most likely it was something like this not a regular lamp