02 May 2015

Damage Due to Electra Start

NOTE: While the following commentary on Harley Davidson is meant to be humorous and not to be taken seriously, the following commentary on Shock “Therapy” is very serious, and not at all funny. ECT is a violation of human rights, and no moral society can support its use, particularly on the vulnerable.


Some may wonder what harm 800 mA of electricity for 8 seconds can do to a person. First of all, most persons don’t know that it’s the amount of current that causes damage, not voltage. Depending on how much impedance there is will vary how much current will flow given the same amount of voltage. To produce 800 mA of current through  a hand to hand circuit with dry skin can vary anywhere between 700 V to 1200 V for the average person. This would likely kill a person since only 30 mA for less than a second may induce ventricular fibrillation, which can cause cardiac arrest.

Of course this is a hand to hand circuit. Most scientist haven’t been all that interested in publishing data about a circuit going through a persons head since the 1940s (i.e. after it became unpopular to suggest causing brain damage is a good thing). As well, a conductive gel is used in ECT to decrease impedance so much lower voltages can be used to produce such high amounts of current. It is not uncommon for less than 400 Volts to produce more than 600 mA of current through a persons head, which is 20 times the amount of current that could cause ventricular fibrillation in a hand to hand circuit.

But all this math and science is very confusing, so let’s look at a real life example of how dangerous electricity can be. From 1958 to 1964, the Harley Davidson Motor Company produced the FL Duo-Glide with the beautiful Panhead engine. The ones from 1960 to 1964 were particularly beautiful with the two-piece stamped aluminium fork nacelle to shroud the headlight. But things began to drastically go wrong in 1965 when the 6 Volt system was replaced with 12 Volt electrics and an electric starter. The beautiful Duo-Glide became the Electra-Glide.

At first, nobody noticed too much except the replacement of the beautiful, often chrome, oil tank under the seat with an ugly box to hold a battery. In only a year, the Panhead engine was gone! Replaced by the Shovelhead! (You bake cakes with pans. You dig graves with shovels.) But in 1969, all hell broke loose.

In 1969, The Motor Company was bought by American Machine and Foundry (AMF). Thus, Harley Davidson lost it’s true identity and, given the subsequent decline in quality, lost respect and self-esteem. The following year, 1970, the the generator was replace by an alternator, and the shape of the engine's bottom end was forever changed.

It all started with an electric starter, but in only five years, everything that made Harley Davidson “The Motor Company” was lost!

Some thought The Motor Company would come back to life in 1981 when AMF sold the company to a group of investors led by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson. Real improvements seemed to be happening, particularly in quality. In 1984, the beautiful oil tank even returned with the introduction of the Softail. But none of this acknowledged the hidden damage done deep inside the company.

While this campaign to reduce the stigma seemed successful, it was all cosmetic. The truth was rarely talked about. However, in 2001, the truth could no longer be concealed. In 2001, the VRSC, or V-Rod, was exposed for all the world to see. Below are listed the aberrations of this “Harley Davidson”:

  • overhead cams (ok, this is a good thing)
  • liquid cooling (i.e. it has a radiator!)
  • 60° transversely mounted V-twin
  • liquid cooling (i.e. it has a radiator!)
  • fuel tank under the seat!?!?
  • liquid cooling (i.e. it has a radiator!)

This is NOT Harley Davidson! It all started with an Electro [Shock] starter in 1965!


Disclaimer: This post is meant to be humorous and is not intended to offend anyone who has a radiator, has anything other than a 45° transversely mounted V-twin, or who doesn’t know where a gas tank goes on a motorcycle. However, even if you have any of these disorders, I’m sure you’ll agree that running well over 30 mA of electricity through a persons brain (they’re usually running between 600 to 800 mA) is a crime against humanity.

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