DC-Cember: Unwrapping the Dangers of Direct Current Arcs

Tyndale is proud to present our new December video series, DC-Cember: Unwrapping the Dangers of Direct Current Arcs, where we emphasize the importance of proper protection against direct current (DC) hazards. Through our own video footage, we reveal the cold, hard truth to electrical workers everywhere and how they can safeguard themselves with the proper arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) garments. Join Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical at Tyndale, as he takes you on an engaging journey through real-world DC arc testing, vividly illustrating the importance of wearing the right protective garments in the workplace.

Episode 1: What Happens When a DC Arc Meets Poly/Cotton Workwear?

Electrical workers may believe that poly/cotton garments provide adequate protection when working in a DC environment. Is this true? Find out as Scott Margolin subjects a poly/cotton work coverall to an oncoming DC arc:

The video starts in slow-motion to illustrate the difference between a DC arc and an alternating current (AC) arc. Once the DC arc ignites, the coverall is quickly ablaze. The head-on camera view shows the swift progression of the fire. By the time Scott and the firefighters reached the cell, the manikin was almost completely engulfed in flames. The bottom line? Poly/cotton clothing is not safe to wear in your workplace. Wearing AR / FR clothing – and wearing it properly – can be the difference between returning home safely or suffering serious injury.

Episode 2: Unmasking the Superior DC Arc Protection of AR / FR Rainwear

Is your rainwear tested to the necessary garment standards? Watch Episode 2, as we compare protective rainwear garments that are compliant with ASTM F1891 versus ASTM D6413 to learn why you should pay close attention to the standards when choosing protective rainwear:

The video tests ASTM F1891 compliant AR / FR rainwear against a DC arc, proving its effectiveness with no afterflame, shrinkage, or breakopen in the manikin test. In comparison, the ASTM D6413 compliant FR rainwear falls short in the manikin test ̶ showing significant breakopen and damage done to the garment. The difference in outcomes leaves no room for doubt ̶ AR / FR rainwear tested to ASTM F1891 is the only true protection against DC arc hazards.

Episode 3: Exploring Arc Rating’s Impact on DC Arc Safety

Wearing the proper AR / FR protection is vital to ensure protection against DC hazards. Curious to see what happens when a garment’s arc rating is higher than the incident energy of a DC arc? Check out Episode 3 to find out:

Dressed in a NFPA 70E compliant CAT 2 AR / FR coverall, the manikin endures the oncoming DC arc flash. Since the coverall’s arc rating is higher than the DC arc’s incident energy level, the garment withstood the hazard, showing no breakthrough or residual afterflame, while keeping the closures intact. Don’t guess when it comes to your safety. Before heading to the jobsite, ensure that the arc rating of your garment is equal to or greater than the incident energy level of DC arcs common to your workplace.

Episode 4: The Crucial Role of AR / FR Outerwear in DC Arc Safety

In cold weather conditions, electrical workers must prioritize outerwear designed to protect against DC arc hazards. In Episode 4, witness the life-saving impact of arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) outerwear when pitted against its non-FR counterpart:

As you can see, the manikin is wearing a CAT 3 AR / FR outerwear overtop of a CAT 2 baselayer. Initially, the garment receives minimal afterflame that extinguishes immediately. Once extinguished, the garment remains intact with no visible damage or shrinkage, and the closures remain operational.

Choosing non-FR outerwear poses a significant risk to electrical workers, as illustrated in our DC arc test:

The footage depicts the outerwear igniting instantly, with flames rapidly spreading and covering the back of the garment. As the fire continues, the garment begins to melt off the manikin’s body – leading to what would be a catastrophic or fatal injury. Don’t risk being unprotected in cold conditions. Opt for AR / FR outerwear to stay warm and secure in the face of DC arc hazards.

Episode 5 (Bonus): CAT 4 Arc Flash Suit vs. Massive DC Arc Unveiled

Although the holiday season has come to an end, we continue the spirit of giving with a special bonus episode of our DC-Cember series! Ever wonder what happens when an arc flash suit meets a massive direct current (DC) arc? Tune in to find out:


The video begins in slow-motion, capturing the incredible size and duration of the DC arc that hits the suit. In real time, the garment is hit with minimal afterflame and rapidly self-extinguishes. The suit remains intact, and the closures can be used to remove the garment from the manikin’s body. The bottom line? Arc flash suits offer exceptional protection for electrical workers who may be exposed to massive DC arc hazards.

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