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Wow a major boner was pulled tonight. My buddy hooked up positive and negative properly on the subie in the proper orientation. Then grounded his car properly but then for whatever reason, fatique, the positive was put on the negative terminal of the dead battery car. This did not charge the car, but it did provide a nice smoke show while my friend waited for real help.
The subie turns on and off properly, drives, and everything seems to work. Is there anything I should keep an eye out for? Thanks for the help.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Is there anything I should keep an eye out for?
Your buddy.

There are lots of electronic components in a modern automobile. Luckily there are lots of fuses to protect them as well. Take a few minutes to test every switch and function to be certain they are all working properly - lights, radio, heat, AC, etc. If they are working fine then I'd say you got away with this one. If not, check your fuses, especially the ones in the engine compartment including the slow blow larger ones.

PlainOM could tell you more for sure.
 

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2019 2.5i Touring (Wilderness Green)
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If I understand correctly, what happened is simply a battery short. As long as things were disconnected quickly, there shouldn't be any real harm. All the current went through the jumper cables and back into your battery (path of least resistance). If you got your car started, I would probably make sure you do an extended drive or two to let the battery recharge.

That sort of situation is risky though, as a battery like this on a short can dump a good amount of current. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of a shock from that. And it can quickly deplete the battery if not disconnected.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input. Everything works as far as my button pushing and driving has shown.

After thinking about it, he basically turned the cables into a filament. No bueno but crap happens.
 

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2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
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+1 Having the Neg- terminal of the Subie connected to ground (frame) on the jumped car and the Pos+ terminal on the Subie connected to the Neg- battery terminal on the jumped car puts both Subie + and - to the same place electrically--- or a dead short of the Subie battery.
 

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2013 Legacy Lim CVT Car: 2011 OB Prem 6MT Car: 2006 Miata GT 6MT mc: 2003 Honda GL1800A * Reunite Gondwanaland *
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... but it did provide a nice smoke show ....
Where did the smoke come from? You had a direct short circuit
of the OB battery -- but that shouldn't stress anything except:

- the OB battery

- the jumper cables

- battery-to-frame cables (on either car,
- depending on the jumper connection points)

Probably no permanent damage, but keep an eye on the OB battery,
and inspect the jumper cables and cable ends for toasted insulation.

Looby
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The smoke came from the cables so I pitched them. I do not want to survive this time to die next time from electrocution.
 

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Was the Subaru running at the time, or off (key at Off or out)?

If the car was off at the time, and with the sudden severe drop in system voltage due to the short, some functions might have been affected. for example, if the radio had preset stations (memory), did they get lost? Is the security system functioning properly (e.g. keyless entry works, security light flashes properly when the key is out -- check Owners Manual for details)? It's the functions that are "always on even when the car is turned off" that would have more likely been affected.

If all is okay, then it's just the battery that took a bit of a beating. It might not have been affected, or perhaps it lost a few months of life.

If the car was running at the time, then the alternator and related charging circuits would also have been stressed. As with the battery, symptoms of the impact, if any, might not show up for a long time.

It's one of the reasons (and advantages) many service trucks (e.g. AAA) now use portable battery packs to boost cars, and not the truck's own battery/electrical system.
 

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The smoke came from the cables so I pitched them. I do not want to survive this time to die next time from electrocution.
It is possible to burn yourself pretty badly with 12 vdc, but it would be quite a feat to electrocute yourself. Your body supplies plenty of resistance to defeat 12 volts.
 

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Keep any eye on the battery was was supply the current. Looks for bulges and it may die an early death.
 

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It is possible to burn yourself pretty badly with 12 vdc, but it would be quite a feat to electrocute yourself. Your body supplies plenty of resistance to defeat 12 volts.

It's possible but it's not very likely. Depends on the entry/exit points and the wetness of the skin.
 

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Depends on the entry/exit points and the wetness of the skin.
For example, standing knee-deep in sea water. Don't ask.

...don't try this at home, kids,

Looby
 

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The smoke came from the cables so I pitched them. I do not want to survive this time to die next time from electrocution.
Smart!

Hooked mine up wrong once, jumping a truck with two batteries, both the positive and negative battery terminals had red wires, and I goofed...

Fortunately I had a fused jumper cable and all it cost me was the fuse.
 

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You aren't going to shock yourself with a 12V battery, even if you lick your fingers before directly touching both terminals. Worst you could do is burn yourself on the jumper cables as they will get really hot with a short (which you are aware of since you smoked the insulation on them) - you also risk bursting the battery or causing a fire due to the copious amounts of hydrogen and oxygen you will be generating at the battery - tossing the cables is a good idea - not because you were in any danger of electrocuting yourself, but because you could have a short somewhere in the cables if the insulation melted away between the positive and negative cable/wire.

The only batteries you need to worry about in an car (in terms of causing a shock) are the battery packs in hybrid vehicles, where you have a whole bunch of cells and the overall voltage can get pretty high.
 

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You aren't going to shock yourself with a 12V battery, even if you lick your fingers before directly touching both terminals. Worst you could do is burn yourself on the jumper cables as they will get really hot with a short (which you are aware of since you smoked the insulation on them) - you also risk bursting the battery or causing a fire due to the copious amounts of hydrogen and oxygen you will be generating at the battery - tossing the cables is a good idea - not because you were in any danger of electrocuting yourself, but because you could have a short somewhere in the cables if the insulation melted away between the positive and negative cable/wire.

The only batteries you need to worry about in an car (in terms of causing a shock) are the battery packs in hybrid vehicles, where you have a whole bunch of cells and the overall voltage can get pretty high.
All true, with the exception of the example that Looby gave. There are plenty of electrons in an automotive battery......They just lack the "Pressure" to get to your vitals, without a much better than normal pathway.
 
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