New discussion spun off from
Emergency Preparedness Kit for the Gig
Oh John....Please say it ain' so.....As for anyone reading this post...Don't Do It...One should never use a 'cheater' plug...it may indeed kill you and anyone who touches your amp.
Nowadays one can buy a ac/dc instrument amp.The battery amps work great...here is one such
AMPphil jones briefcase bass amp
What happens if you cut off the ground prong or use a cheater plug so you can plug a three-prong appliance into a two-prong outlet? Nothing really -- the appliance will still operate. What you have done, however, is disable an important safety feature that protects you from electric shock if a wire comes loose.
Let's say that a wire comes loose inside an ungrounded metal case, and the loose wire touches the metal case. If the loose wire is hot, then the metal case is now hot, and anyone who touches it will get a potentially fatal shock. With the case grounded, the electricity from the hot wire flows straight to ground, and this trips the fuse in the fuse box. Now the appliance won't work, but it won't kill you either.
PLEASE DON'T END UP LIKE THIS...this is a real life death emergency....there is no debate..
Moved Reply: Yeah, John. The Bose engineers have really told me to never use a cheater. I still carry one from habit, but I really believe you are taking a serious risk after what I was told - repeatedly.
Moved Reply: A direct box and a couple extra cables can almost always take the place of what a 2 prong 'cheater' provides.
If you get ground hum, unplug the audio inputs one at a time, when you find the one that kills the hum, place direct box between it and the L1. The DI box will isolate the two ground from each other and take care of the hum - at no risk.
Sending a line out to some other board for FOH is the most frequent cause of group loops.
FWIW, I also keep $5 in ones, and a couple dollars in change in my gig emergency bag. Its come in handy a couple times...
I think John was "not" talking about getting rid of hum, but "was" talking about older buildings where one might not have a choice of outlets.
True, I missed that the first time around Youll have to excuse me, I see red whenever I see the phrase 'cheater' when talking about power cables :-)
At least here in Boston, I don't even think you can be grandfathered in to having a performance license (that bars/clubs should have for live music) without three prong outlets.
I hope its like that in lots of places....two prong outlets are scary.
Moved Reply: I don't about other places but here in the south it is not that uncommon to find a grounded outlet and the ground is not connected. I always use my tester especially in older buildings or where there has been an add-on such as a stage. You never know. Now with that said........ sometimes and I repeat"sometimes" when you have to use that "cheater" plug, and if you have a meter to test the outlet, that little screw that holds the cover plate on might be hooked up to a ground. If it is then you can take that screw out attach it to that little piece of metal that comes off the "cheater" plug. Again the keyword here is "sometimes".
I didn't mean to derail the original intent of this post, but since a few of you have some pretty strong convictions about using a "cheater plug" ( and rightfully so for safety reasons ), I started to wonder what you actually do when confronted with only a 2-prong outlet(s) at a venue. I truly appreciate the concerns expressed for my safety by dancingdogmuse, Tom Munch and others and must say, this is a personal decision of mine to use these. I'm not advocating the general use of these "cheater plugs"!
That said, I can tell you that in the Midwest USA, and especially with 100+ year old buildings, electrical challenges abound! If I were to investigate the actual electrical wiring of some of these venues, I suspect I'd find 60-amp electrical service for the entire building, or a DIY addition to the service that would send chills down any qualified electrician's spine!
So, when confronted with 2-prong outlets in a building, what do you do??? Do you refuse to plug in your equipment? Do you say to the person who hired you for the gig, I "refuse" to play because of your outlets? Keep in mind, we may have driven a few miles to get to the venue in question, not knowing what to expect, since we hadn't been there before. Do you cancel the gig? Play without backline amps or sound support?
"Sometimes" that little screw holding the cover plate might be hooked to the ground, but if I were to actually test some of them, I suspect the majority are not. And even if it that little screw does indicate "OK" by your testers, would you trust it?
I've never "thought" this much about using them, but your inputs have caused me to re-think things. I'm really curious on what action(s) you take whenever confronted with 2-prong outlets at a venue where you've been hired to play music and entertain. Do you really 'cancel' the show?
Forum-Admin: Please feel free to spin this off to a different subject heading, if you deem appropriate.
Hey John - Carry a big old roll of copper wire. Find a water pipe and there you go. Instant ground connection.
What to do in an old building with only 2-wire outlets?
Carry a loooong extension cord.
I kid you not ... when I know I'm going to an old church building, for example, I try to remember to put in at least one 150-200' heavy-duty power cable cable (preferably 12 gauge) ... because most old buildings will have a newer addition or a refurbished office (e.g. for computers!) or one "true ground" outlet somewhere -- with the added advantage that such a circuit is probably NOT connected to the lights in the main room with the 2-wire outlets!
More than once has that kept me from having to use a cheater.
Recently, I plugged into an existing 3-prong outlet strip ... and got terrible hum. Turned out the 3-wire strip was connected to an extension with a 'cheater'
I moved my power connection.
That is what I do John. I have a 200' 12 gauge extension cord that I carry in my vehicle all the time. I have my tester and I test the circuits till I find one that is wired properly. Most times it’s the one on the bandstand but occasionally I have to use my extension cord. I have been lucky I have always found one good connection within 200 feet.
I honestly don’t know if I would cancel or take a chance. Fortunately I haven't had to ask myself that one “yet” but that is a great question John.
The only downside to a long extension is when I have had to do that, that is when T1 problems start to raise they're ugly head. If you have to make a 200' run try and make sure it is clean power minimal things plugged in. Keep in mind in a comercial building what is on the other side of the wall. If it is the kitchenespeccially in an older building I will bet you that outlet is tied into something else. This is really a flip a coin solution. If you want to make sure about your power do waht the big boy's do and carry a break out box and tie directly to the main breaker. This is a big headache but the only way to be sure.
Its an expensive tool, but an Ideal SureTest will tell you just how much juice that 200' run will let you pull at the other end.
It will also reveal "cheater" grounds where they tie the ground pin to the neg side.
(except if the outlet is withing 10' of the actual panel)
The only time I had a minor issue was where the outlet was in fact within 10' of the panel. Since the building was also a Fire Department and the outlet was on the back side of the wall to the kitchen where the panel was - I took a gamble that the outlet was in fact good.
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