Public advisory

Lichtenberg generators pose life-threatening danger to users

Last updated


Lichtenberg generators
Consumer products - Electrical hazard
Consumer products - Unauthorized products
What to do

Do not attempt to build or use a Lichtenberg generator for any purpose; immediately disassemble and deactivate any homemade Lichtenberg generators; and report the sale of any Lichtenberg generators to Health Canada.

Affected products

Lichtenberg generators


Health Canada is aware of six reports of fatal injuries in Canada since 2017 resulting from the use of wood-burning devices know as Lichtenberg generators. This information was reported from provincial and territorial electrical safety authorities.

Lichtenberg generators are often promoted as wood-burning devices that are intended to create art or abstract objects. They rely on high-voltage electrical currents to produce patterns, a technique called fractal burning. These devices also contain live accessible wiring components and are extremely unsafe for any use or handling.

These high-voltage electrical devices have been found for purchase online as complete units and have been built by users from electrical sources salvaged from consumer products, notably high-voltage energy sources from microwave ovens.

Health Canada is strongly advising Canadians not to attempt to use or assemble a Lichtenberg generator for any purpose because they can result in fatal injuries to users and bystanders. 

Despite advertisements or information consumers may find online, these devices are not approved by certification or inspection bodies and have not been evaluated or tested to any Canadian safety standards.

What you should do

  • Do not attempt to build, purchase or use a Lichtenberg generator for any purpose.
  • Discontinue the use of any homemade Lichtenberg generators immediately. Safely deactivate and disassemble the devices and dispose of the electrical components according to local/municipal guidelines.
  • Discontinue the use of any complete Lichtenberg generators that may have been purchased and report the sellers to Health Canada.
  • Use consumer electrical products as they are intended and only use those that bear a recognized Canadian electrical safety certification mark.

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada is committed to helping protect Canadians from potentially dangerous consumer products. The Department regularly monitors consumer products on the Canadian market to verify that they comply with Canadian legislation and do not pose a danger to human health or safety.

If Health Canada becomes aware of Lichtenberg generators being imported, distributed, advertised or sold to Canadians, the Department will take appropriate action to mitigate risks to human health and safety.

Report health and safety concerns

Health Canada advises consumers to check the Government of Canada's Recalls and Safety Alerts website regularly for any recalled products and to report any consumer-product-related health or safety concerns.

For more information

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Additional information

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Alert / recall type
Public advisory
Consumer products - Hobby and craft items
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Health Canada
General public
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