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Quite a SHOCKING Situation

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morbe
(@morbe)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Hello all,
I'm new to the forum here and been a long time guitarist and a in the past two years been brushing up on my vocal skills that landed me a lead singers gig. I have been practising and jamming with this group for about two years now. I have never had any issues with my equipment before and we practice in houses that are built no more than 5 years ago. I have a peavey Delta Blues 210, the PA is a Phonic PA. When we hooked up and and started playing I was playing my guitar and and when I placed my lips on my mic I felt a light shock, passing it off as a static electricity discharge. I approached the Mic Again and again I was shocked on my lips yet again. I made this very clear to my band mates and the other guitarist thought it may be a new vocal pedal that I was using. TC-Helicon Mic Mechanic. I doubt it would be that its only 9 volts? but it doesn't have a ground, but its not high powered I dont see why it would cause a shock. My Guitar amp was plugged into a wall out let that I checked with an outlet checker and Im sure that at one point and time I checked all the outlets and there all good. The amp and vocal pedal were plugged into the same outlet. But when I looked at the PA it was plugged into a power strip that looked as if a few outlets on the strip had smoke burns. this power strip was plugged into another power strip that didnt look any better. So I demanded that the PA be removed from the questionable looking power strips. and into another out let, and it was. And everything was fine. I'm sure that everything is fine but this darn internet has got me worried. Since then I read that going wireless is the safest way to protect myself from shock. So I have purchased and wireless guitar systems and now looking into getting a Wireless Mic. I have checked my mic and PA by checking to make sure that I have continuity from the ground plug and metal on the frame and it checked out that there is continuity So I can only assume that the equipment is properly grounded. I also made sure that there was no continuity between the other two prongs and the chassis and both amp and PA's power prongs are not connected to the chassis. So can I assume that my equipment is okay?
So am I just freaking out here? do I really need a wireless mic?
what could have caused this?

Ibanez Hollowbody
1993 Fender Standard
1981 Fender Super Reverb
Fender Super Champ
Peavey Delta Blues 210

"If I live this life and can only bring happiness to one person then I've made a difference, even if that one person is me."


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Polarity.

Back in the day, plugs were the same size on both sides. When you plugged it into the wall, it would go in either way - right side up or upside down. I don't remember when a wider side to a plug became standard - my 1976 Fender amp still has a plug that will go in either way - but essentially you could have "hot" going into either side of the plug.

That creates a potential for a dangerous situation. If you've got voltage running through - let's call it the A side - of one piece of gear, and voltage running through the B side of another piece of gear.... something connecting them can route each voltage to ground on the other side, completing the circuit. And that something might just be you. Musicians have died that way - Les Harvey from Stone the Crows bought the farm during a soundcheck when he touched a microphone while holding his bass.

The idea that plugs shouldn't be symmetrical, so they can only go into the wall one way, is an effort to prevent that grounding situation. But it's not foolproof - it depends on the power source within the wall being connected to the proper side of the outlet. My guess would be that the outlet the power strips were plugged into was wired in reverse.

Back in the day you'd use a tester to see which side was hot. Many pieces of gear (like my old Fender amp) came with a polarity switch - so if the tester showed there was trouble, you could flip the switch and avert the potential danger. Now that we have plugs with different widths, we don't have polarity switches anymore. So we have to trust that the electricians wired the outlets right.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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morbe
(@morbe)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Thanks Noteboat, I have been reading that same info on the web. and I read that either way you can protect yourself by going wireless. I have been singing with this amp and PA a couple times now and never had I been shocked. I guess it does get someone worried when you do read about musicians who died in in the process. I don't mind going wireless but I really and most importantly want to make sure that my equipment is still in good working order. My Amp does have a spliced in power plug but I have never been shocked before and I eat the mic when I sing. So I'm guessing who ever did the splice did it right.

Ibanez Hollowbody
1993 Fender Standard
1981 Fender Super Reverb
Fender Super Champ
Peavey Delta Blues 210

"If I live this life and can only bring happiness to one person then I've made a difference, even if that one person is me."


   
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KKayser
(@kkayser)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 10
 

It seems to me that going with a wireless mic, is just masking the problem, unless the problem is the mic you are using now. It could be that your residence has a wiring or utility ground problem. Then again, remember that electric takes the shortest path to ground, so if you are holding a bass that is connected to equipment that is on another circuit or for whatever reason is a shorter path to ground, then it is going to...well, you know the rest. Come, to think of it the problem could be on the guitar amp side. The point is I would take a look at what's going on with your utility ground for saftey sake, and I would ditch that splice, AC cables are really cheap. Also, take a look at your mixer / PA head. You may consider running a dedicated ground from your equipment to the utility ground or even a 5' cooper rod. If it doesn't have place for it, you might find a good place and run a self tapping screw in the case and wire up the ground like that.


   
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