Author Topic: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety  (Read 3529 times)

Chad Hoefler

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Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« on: April 13, 2009, 10:10:18 AM »
Hi all,

After our move last year, I rebuilt my studio in a room with outlets that do not register as grounded on my surge suppressors.  I have read conflicting reports about the dangers associated with ungrounded outlets and equipment safety, and I wanted to collect your thoughts on this.

I recently had a nearfield monitor burn out on me.  Literally (nasty burnt smell and everything).  However, this was preceded by an accident with a software synth that resulted in a horribly loud and strident sound for a minute or so before I got things under control.  The problems with the monitor began after that, and it died the following day.  I've had no problems with other equipment plugged into this outlet/surge suppressor.

Thanks!

mgriffin

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2009, 10:14:12 AM »
So your studio is wired with 3-prong grounded outlets, but the ground connection is not actually grounded?  It might be as simple as just calling an electrician and having him run a proper ground cable to the circuit board.

I would really not mess around with plugging expensive and sensitive electronic equipment into substandard circuits.  In my first house, I had all kinds of problems, persistent hum, pops and clicks... awful!
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Scott M2

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2009, 10:31:41 AM »
This is just personal experience - so don't sue me when your studio goes China-Syndrome
but while I did have an electrician add a properly grounded outlet set to my studio
(went outside the house in a conduit from the breakers in a faraway part of the house)
For many years I've had to isolate the 3rd prong on some of my gear to eliminate hum.
ie: my Moogs and computers - including the laptop which I'm typing on right no#^*#&#%HHGUG878%#$^(&)&@&(___@&&_. . .  :o

LNerell

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2009, 04:27:43 PM »
Your studio should be properly grounded, and ground lifting should only be temporary until the actual problem is fixed. My first studio was in a space with no grounding and I use to get shocked when I would touch two or more pieces of equipment or walked around in my bare feet. Once I grounded the space that stopped happening.

Your speaker problem sounds to me like its not related to the grounding issue, but as you suspect to the loud noise. You probably damaged the speaker, then it was just a matter of time before it completely died.
Take care.

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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2009, 05:12:39 PM »
Often people with old wiring in their homes will "update" the electrical by adding 3-prong outlets in a situation where it really is ungrounded.  This can be  at best a shock hazard and, at worst, a fire hazard and is absolutely in violation of building code.  I suggest calling in an electrician to have the outlets properly grounded.  It's worth the cost if it means saving your expensive equipment and home from fire damage, shorts, etc.

Here's a link:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Hidden-Electrical-Hazards-Check-Your-Grounded-Outlets&id=581914

Chad Hoefler

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2009, 06:04:44 PM »
Thanks all!  I will definitely call an electrician.

Chad Hoefler

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 12:37:29 PM »
Short update:  I just checked the outlet into which the monitors were plugged, and it does appear to be grounded. 

Anyway, this was an unfortunate event, but my ADAM a7 monitors arrived today, so I am happy.   :)

darkenedsoul

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Re: Ungrounded outlets and equipment safety
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 07:04:40 PM »
Often people with old wiring in their homes will "update" the electrical by adding 3-prong outlets in a situation where it really is ungrounded.  This can be  at best a shock hazard and, at worst, a fire hazard and is absolutely in violation of building code.  I suggest calling in an electrician to have the outlets properly grounded.  It's worth the cost if it means saving your expensive equipment and home from fire damage, shorts, etc.

Here's a link:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Hidden-Electrical-Hazards-Check-Your-Grounded-Outlets&id=581914


I paid an electrician to do some work as well as replace a bunch of old 2 prong outlets with 3 prongs. He just added a copper wire connected to a screw in the back of the outlet box to the ground on the 3 prong plug and wired in the black/white wires. I have mixed BX and 3 wire/phase/whatever the new stuff is called.

I still have to find the breaker to an outlet in the kitchen as it has hallway light switch (other at bottom of stairway to exit door) and a couple switches and maybe the GFI. I think I had that replaced, I do know I need to replace the switches still and I think 1 more outlet (all white ones now). I have a 3 prong beige I am leaving alone as it's out of site/mind for the refrigerator so not worried about not replacing it with a white one ;-).

But yes, pay an electrician to do it as it won't cost you that much ($45-55/hr for a person doing it on the side/licensed electrician).

Mike