SHOCKING! I want one. [Disneyland Game]

I mentioned this in another thread, but that thread really wasn’t geared toward the question.

There is a “game” in the Penny Arcade on Disneyland’s Main Street. It is a large wooden console with a dial at eye level. Below that is a glassed-in area that shows an electrical coil. On the front of the console are two metal handles. Hold onto the handles and an electrical current courses through the player’s body. As the pointer on the dial rotates clockwise, the power of the electical current becomes greater. The game is to hold onto the handles until the pointer (and current) reaches the maximum and the bell rings. Releasing the handles before that ends the game. Whenever I go to Disneyland (maybe once a year) I like to play the game over and over until my biceps are quivering. Great fun!

I think it would be fun to have one of these. 1) What is its proper name? 2) Are there any plans available to build one? (Finding a manufactured one would probably be too expensive.)

I took a look around the net but most stuff was about the effects and prevention of electric shocks.

It does seem though that old fairground machines are collectable and my bet is that you could contact a specialist dealer who will put you in the right direction, and maybe even sell you one.

I believe they were thought to have life enhancing properties in Victorian times.

It doesn’t shock you. You didn’t happen to notice any pacemaker warnings did you? I doubt it.

I’ve done those. The handles actually vibrate extremely rapidly giving a “sort of” feeling of electrical shock. It does get hard as hell to hang on though and it does kind of hurt. But I’m a MAN, I got to the end. :slight_smile:

Remember the whole point is to try and HANG on till the end. Where it real electricity giving you those feelings your hands would be clamped down and you’ed have to yank them off.

In the victorian times yeah. They had shocking posts for fun and such. Not in Disneyland however.

I’d bet money.

Maybe not, but the one my brother built in his high school shop class sure did. I don’t know if it was an authorized project or not (my brother was in high school a long time ago – it’s just possible). IIRC, it was just a transformer with 120V AC going in one side and some (presumably non-lethal) voltage feeding two copper handles and a dumb kid brother on the other side. I also recall a switch being involved so you could get a good grip before he turned on the juice. In fact, he could make it particularly excruciating by sliding a long bolt along the switch contacts to make and break the circuit rapidly.

As for how I know what it felt like, I can only plead extreme youth and a brother with a strong sadistic streak. FWIW, I have another brother slightly older than me and he knew what it felt like, too. Maybe it’s in the genes.

I beg to differ. The one(s) at Disneyland do run an electrical current through your body. I’ve used the vibrating ones as you described (at Dave & Busters, I think) and they are completely different from the kind that actually does use electricity. The current is not so strong that you cannot let go, but the Disneyland model definitely does not vibrate, and it does pass a current.

I’d like to get plans to build the real thing.

I’ve seen both versions. The electric one was vintage, and I’d be surprised if it was still legal to make them. All it would take would be one person with a bad heart, and you’d have a huge wrongful death suit on your hands.

Electrical Engineer type people are familiar with insulation testers that attempt to push up to 500V into a circuit to test its properties.

They have a very high impedance though, which means in English that if there is even a slight fault in insulation the voltage falls off very rapidly.

The maximum current they can deliver is so small, I’ve never seen warnings about electric shock risks on them.

There is a very common type of insulation tester that has a hand powered generator on it and I’ve seen bets placed, when I was in the Navy, on who could hold the test probes the longest as the handle was turned faster and faster.

Such fun days.

Voltage is not the threat. Wattage is. Even a relatively low wattage can be fatal.

If you keep the wattage fractional, it’s probably safe enough.

You’re thinking of amperage, AKA current. Watts are a product of current and voltage.

Johnny… you are one of my trusted posters here… I know you have answered one or more of my very own questions here. I trust you. Thats why it hurts me to say this. However, “SITE PLEASE!!!” :smiley:

It hurts me more then it hurts you… :slight_smile:

I love that game. I’m pretty sure it’s electricity too because you can play it by yourself or with a whole family. And if you’re 1 of 3 and in the middle you can still feel it. Or so my mom said. She didn’t really want to play it, we made her, my sister and I.

<—another he-manly rating on it


Strictly speaking its the amount of energy delivered within a certain time frame - joule/second, which is another naem for the Watt.

This is why you hear the medics mention joules when using those defibrillator machines in so many popular hospital shows.These machines deliver their power in a very short time, less than a second and so it is more convenient to refer to the amount of energy in joules rather than Watts.

Well, no.

The reason that the measurement is in joules is that one measures the amount of electricity generated in the Automaticity “circuit” in the heart as joules. Since TIMING is every bit as important as wattage when analyzing a heart’s electrical activity, the TIME taken during the firing of the Sino-Atrial Node, down to the Atrioventricular Node, finally landing in the bundle of Purkinje Fibers is key. If one is to calculate by computer HOW the nodes are firing and for HOW LONG they fire, then measuring simple wattage is insufficient. Thus, the amount of electricity is measured in Joules because 1 Joule is 1 second of 1 amp of voltage.




or the next time you’re in Disneyland read the nameplate data.


My favorite, seen in the background of the movie “Some Kind of Hero” is “Palm Reading and Horoscope brought to You by the Miracle of Electricity” It consists of fluorescent lights, wheels, and a key punch card feeder. Drop your quarter and pick your sign. (All zodiac sign switches are wired in parallel.) The white lights go out while the big marquee zodiac wheel starts spinning and where you place your hand the small spiral painted wheel stops spinning and the red lights come on. A key punch card feeder is started that has a stiff metal bar riding on a gear (similar to a child’s pull toy) that goes clickity clickity click to simulate a printer working. The feeder spits out the top preprinted key punch card.



It isn’t the wattage or the amperage that kills you. It’s the coulcombs.


Haha! If I had a cite, I could go to the site and find out how to buuild one! :smiley: I fear you’ll have to trust me on this one. I’ve actually used the antique machine at Disneyland and I’ve actually used the vibrating kind you describe. There really is an electic-current version and I’ve played it myself. As brother rat says, more than one person can play. A person can hold onto one electrode and hold the hand of another person, who holds the hand of another person who holds the other electrode. I’ve seen it. Think of the old Leyden Jar experiment.

If someone has plans, maybe I could build one and let you try it out yourself? :wink:

Alright alright I believe you. I want one now.

In 8th grade I took a small engine class and the teacher got volunteers to stand in a circle holding hands. One kid would hold the spark plug wire and the kid at the other end would place his free hand on the motor casing. Teacher would yank on the pull start and send an electric jolt through the circle of kids. Fun stuff.

There’s an antiques dealer in Kensington MD who has an original of the Victorian medical electric thing. He has all kinds of specialized antique medical equipment.

A long time ago, I ran into a device like the OP describes in a bar in Ensenada, Baja California. I believe it was a surplus military hand-cranked generator. It was painful.

“It’s not the volts, it’s the amps.”
“Well, are there a lot of amps?”
“Enough to push a train!”

You’d lose your money. I visited Disneyworld around 1977 and tried out that machine. Even then I was surprised that Disneyworld, of all places, would have such a device—later on they even had to make the Haunted Mansion less scary—but they did, and it DID give a significant shock. And, at the end, my grip DID tighten till I felt I’d not be able to release the handles, but that was right before the bell rang. Once I’d done it the fun was in making the bell ring—took just a little determination—and thus luring in OTHER tourists to try it. If was rather startling the first time.

Now that was a long time ago, and I’d not doubt they’ve replaced it with something more tourist friendly, but I’ve no way to know. I can’t imagine why a vibration would cause pain or make one let go. But I was a country boy and have come in contact with electric fences on more than one occasion, so I know what a real shock feels like. I’ve also done my share of DIY wiring and gotten zapped a time or two by 110. I’ve also had electrodes stuck in my skin to test my nervous system and, when the nurse had left the room, played with the rheostat to see my arm jerk around without my conscious control. So, yes, it DID shock the user. And you had to pay for the privilege. Nowadays, I don’t know.

~ John Mayer

Welcome to the Straight Dope. The thread you responded to was from 2001. A Zombie we call them. However, Johnny LA is still a prolific poster (not a zombie):slight_smile: and will appreciate your interest and backup.

Please stay around and enjoy the questions and commentary.