Experts in magnetic and electric field strength: help with pacemaker safety

sheepfarmer

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I have suddenly acquired a pacemaker and have a vested interest in not having its programming stopped or reset by an external source!

The information for the type I have says the field strength test limits are 6kV/m and 100uT or 80A/m. Another source says avoid strolling under high voltage power lines, electric fences and fence chargers, pet containment lines, battery chargers, jumper cables, gasoline? engines, "large" generators and so forth. No information as to what large is.

So my question is how would one go about measuring field strength around the farm? I use all of those things frequently.

Anyone know if our new Kubotas put out any kind of field? I don't hug my tractor a lot but commonly stand next to it while running.
 

Biker1mike

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Not my field.
Do some research on GAUSS meters. Betting for under 200 bucks you can get a decent meter to fit your needs.


In the days of old a bunch of us brought fluorescent bulbs under the local power lines at night as a protest.
The locals went ape shi* when they saw all those lamps glow in the night.
Local PD wanted those damn hippies charged but Con Ed did not need any more publicity about high tension lines and electromagnetic fields.

Be safe and good luck with the new ticker.
 

Pawnee

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I'd go about this a bit differently because measuring field strength is going to be full of variables that need to be left to the backroom boffin boys.

1/ In case the pacemaker goes wonky. Will you know and can you reset it?
2/ You can buy EMI shielding clothing. Found this with a quick search.
3/ You can probably make a tube top out of some conductive fabric that does what you need pretty cheap and you could test it with maybe a rented meter.

I'd be a little flipped out about this too but really, if these things were easily messed up they would not be installed so much.
And to echo Mike, good luck with the new ticker.
 

GreensvilleJay

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FYI ,neighbour has a 'defibrulator' not a pacemaker, but 'similar' . A defib will 'taze' you when the computer says so ( NOT fun BTW..) he was told same line including no welding. Him..kinda hard to do bodywork without welding. He's got a MIG welder, gnd is next to piece he's working on,so he is NOT 'inbetween' the current path. ZERO problems,over 10 years though one day defib 'zapped' him 10-11 times as doctors 'dialed in the numbers'
as for the 'numbers'... 6kv/m means 6,000 volts every meter(say 3'). Our 3phase pole overhead feeds are 4,800 volts so you'd have to be closer than 3' to the wires that are 40' overhead....so NO problem.
80A/m, means a current of 80 amps, within 3', 160 in 6,... That you could be exposed to if arc welding.
best thing is to read up,get info from doctors as well as mfr of the pacemaker. All will err on the 'safe' side, but unless you are happy flippin cards all day and night long,...continue doing what you normally do.
BTW 1m aka 3' is about an arm reach....
Biggest issue for me are the drugs you probably are on ! Once you get a set that you can live with do NOT change them because the doc says ' I'd like to try this or that' (usually something new..) A new drug can not play nice with the others.......
 
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NCL4701

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If you have some specific activities that are concerning, it may be worth checking with your cardiologist and/or directly with the manufacturer. For example, when my father got his a few years ago, he wanted to know if he really couldn’t use a chainsaw or weedeater and also if he could continue to occasionally use a stick welder. His cardiologist said he’d never had anyone really push him on that so he gave him a contact at the manufacturer.

The manufacturer told him if he was using a gasoline engine, not to hold it up close to his chest but it really wasn’t a problem otherwise. He could use the stick welder on DC up to 120 amps but no AC at all. That was several years ago and no issues with the pacemaker.

Point of that isn’t to run out and follow those guidelines. Point is the manufacturer, and maybe your cardiologist, should be able to guide you on exactly what you can and can’t do if you give them specifics.
 
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JimmyJazz

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I agree It would probably be a good idea not to hold a gasoline engine next to your chest .I make this recommendation to those even without pacemakers. Be advised I am not a doctor.
 
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Mark_BX25D

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Do some research on GAUSS meters. Betting for under 200 bucks you can get a decent meter to fit your needs.
Not enough. He needs an electrical field strength meter too. OR maybe instead of. He's more likely to encounter strong electrical fields.


And, as was mentioned, this isn't really DIY stuff. I'm an RF (radio frequency) engineer, and this is my field. Yes, for a few grand you can buy a decent meter, but then you have to know how to use it, what the variables are, and what the readings are telling you.

Those are pretty significant numbers, though. Probably not a real issue. Shooting from the hip, I'd say, on a farm, stay away from welding. Anything that throws a good arc is probably not your friend.

Riding around on a tractor? Shouldn't be any problem on a modern tractor any more than in your car. One with magnetos? I don't know one way or another. I've never messed with them.

Maybe you can find a local consulting engineer (electrical, not mechanical or civil) to come take some measurements if you are concerned. If you have any high voltage stuff near you, that might not be a bad idea. A firm that does AM tower measurements will have the expertise and equipment to take the needed measurements. Here's a firm that I know of - great folks.



Really, the best advice was mentioned above - consult your cardiologist.
 
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sheepfarmer

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Good suggestions in there. I should be able to find out what the device will do if exposed to an excessive
field when I go for device recheck next month. The guy that does this seems to work for the company.

Their advice so far seems to be limited to what I shouldn't lift or do so the wires will get stuck down to the tissue.

I figured the doc wouldn't actually know, but keep in mind that as a little old lady they aren't expecting me to be concerned about tractors, generators, or electric fences. I get patted on the head a lot and told not to worry. Turns out the one other thing that could trip me up is my new induction cooktop! I had forgotten the obvious until I asked my kitchen contractor if he had a Gauss meter.

The shielded clothing I assume wouldn't work unless grounded properly, or at least my Faraday cage when I was at work sure needed a first rate ground to keep out the 60 cycle from the lights. I got the mental image of frying eggs trailing a ground wire...

I did finally find some practical recommendations from the maker of another brand of pacemaker, like a foot for an electric fence, two feet for an induction cooktop. It should be workable as long as I pay attention. Now that is another issue :ROFLMAO:
 

sheepfarmer

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Not enough. He needs an electrical field strength meter too. OR maybe instead of. He's more likely to encounter strong electrical fields.


And, as was mentioned, this isn't really DIY stuff. I'm an RF (radio frequency) engineer, and this is my field. Yes, for a few grand you can buy a decent meter, but then you have to know how to use it, what the variables are, and what the readings are telling you.

Those are pretty significant numbers, though. Probably not a real issue. Shooting from the hip, I'd say, on a farm, stay away from welding. Anything that throws a good arc is probably not your friend.

Riding around on a tractor? Shouldn't be any problem on a modern tractor any more than in your car. One with magnetos? I don't know one way or another. I've never messed with them.

Maybe you can find a local consulting engineer (electrical, not mechanical or civil) to come take some measurements if you are concerned. If you have any high voltage stuff near you, that might not be a bad idea. A firm that does AM tower measurements will have the expertise and equipment to take the needed measurements. Here's a firm that I know of - great folks.



Really, the best advice was mentioned above - consult your cardiologist.
Thanks for that link. My house was built so long ago that the back door is directly under the high voltage distribution lines for the neighborhood. Been trying to get Consumers Power to move poles out by the road and even offered to pay for it. No luck so far.
 

fried1765

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Not sure I’m buying your claim that you don’t hug your tractor! 😉
What is wrong with hugging your tractor?
I hug my Kubota L48 TLB all the time!
She is my baby!
 
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ctfjr

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fwiw, I'm pretty sure the electric field intensity is reduced by the square of the distance. So the field present 1m from a 5kv line would only be 1/4 as strong 2m from it, 1/9 3m from it etc.

I think the best advice given is to contact the pacemaker mfgr for their recommendations. You can be sure they are going to be conservative.
 
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Mark_BX25D

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I tried to find a picture of someone hugging a tractor, but struck out. This was the best I could do:

I-Love-My-Tractor-T-Shirt-159675633.jpg



(PLEASE NOTE: THIS T-SHIRT DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY RF SHEILDING. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. SOME RESTRICTIONS APPLY. SEE DEALER FOR DETAILS. NOT AVAILABLE IN ALL STATES. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. And, oh, yeah, the most important one: CONTENTS MAY HAVE SETTLED DURING SHIPPING AND HANDLING!)
 
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Mark_BX25D

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fwiw, I'm pretty sure the electric field intensity is reduced by the square of the distance.
Correct, essentially. To be more precise, it's reduced by the inverse of the square. In fact, it's called the Inverse Square Law.

So, double the distance, quarter the power. 4 times the distance, 1/16th the power. It's very handy to have around in a situation like this. (y)

It's also why spaced based solar generators beaming electricity down to earch is science fiction, but that's another topic. ;)
 
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Bmyers

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How electronics have improved over the years. Back in the 90s, we had to be careful transporting patients with pacemakers and such. As the pacemakers improved, the ability of the pacemaker to handle adverse conditions improved. In addition, electronics as whole have become more shield due to so many of them being around. Just think, if you got your pacemaker in CA, it probably has a sticker on it saying that it may cause cancer.

As others have pointed out, the best bet is to talk with your cardiologist and if you have specific needs, explain that to the manufacture and they can give your a better answer than just the normal warning.

My BIL has a pacemaker/defib unit and works around everything as normal. Although, I haven't seen him welding since the pacemaker, so that might be one area that he no longer does or it is because my nephew is a better welder than all of us.
 

Mark_BX25D

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My BIL has a pacemaker/defib unit and works around everything as normal. Although, I haven't seen him welding since the pacemaker, so that might be one area that he no longer does or it is because my nephew is a better welder than all of us.

I have heard welding mentioned specifcally as a problem for pacemakers, but I can't put my finger on where I heard that.
 
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sheepfarmer

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How electronics have improved over the years. Back in the 90s, we had to be careful transporting patients with pacemakers and such. As the pacemakers improved, the ability of the pacemaker to handle adverse conditions improved. In addition, electronics as whole have become more shield due to so many of them being around. Just think, if you got your pacemaker in CA, it probably has a sticker on it saying that it may cause cancer.

As others have pointed out, the best bet is to talk with your cardiologist and if you have specific needs, explain that to the manufacture and they can give your a better answer than just the normal warning.

My BIL has a pacemaker/defib unit and works around everything as normal. Although, I haven't seen him welding since the pacemaker, so that might be one area that he no longer does or it is because my nephew is a better welder than all of us.
Good news is I have no intention of taking up welding in the near future!
 
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