Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Edrick, Mar 27, 2012.
How many of you actually check the wiring / voltage before plugging your gear in at venues?
Do you mean with an outlet tester or a VOM?
I'm guessing it would depend on whether or not there was a tie-in for a distro. Or what receptacle was encountered.
Either or just curious how many people just plug in to outlets without checking. You never know what backwards wiring someone's done.
As a former mobile DJ I ran my main audio and lighting rigs through power conditioners that would fix most problems, or at least notify me if something was wrong. Anything I placed around the room that was not part of the main rig, if it was a new location that I had not been in before I would usually use a circuit tester to make sure it had power and ground and the hot and neutral wasn't reversed.
For my older mobile haunt stuff I didn't usually bother unless I have reason to believe there was something wrong. But most of that stuff is more hardy (and cheaper to replace) than audio and lighting. Currently if I run a mobile haunt I run all my audio and lighting through dedicated temporary circuits, fed from a feeder, much like in a theater.
Do you mean individual wall outlets? Never, unless I have some reason to believe that they would be weird. However, now that I think about it, I'm rarely using wall outlets for anything more electrically sensitive than a Genie lift. I do meter anything that I tie in unless I know the venue really well and/or have just been there.
This begs the question - is there a story behind this question?
Not me personally but an electrician on another forum I use had a concrete saw and he thought it was a L5-20 receptacle for 120v he was plugging into, but it turned out to be 220v and he cooked the saw after he kept starting it up after it shutdown.
I myself just installed Furman power conditioners into my racks and know they list protection against stuff. But not everything runs through it.
At my uncles new place the old owner wired a bunch of 15A straight blade plugs as 240v
If I'm not there to see the tie-in, or if I'm in a venue that I'm not familiar with and am using wall power, I absolutely measure my AC. Someone else's mis-wiring could kill somebody…and I don't want that on my conscience.
If it's a new situation I at least use an idiot tester.
I've tried that, but they just keep creating better ID10Ts.
Stick with an outlet tester.
Checking the receptacles is a good idea but most 'power conditioners' won't do much of anything other than probably provide some high frequency filtering of the power, perhaps provide some surge suppression (with many being MOV based) and maybe shutting down if the voltage drops too low, but they won't fix or compensate for any electrical system or wiring issues.
If you want something that will tell you more than just that the outlet is wired correctly, then you might want something like http://www.idealindustries.com/prod...cuit_analyzers/suretest_circuit_analyzers.jsp.
I don't test, but maybe I should start when I'm in an unusual space. Never really thought about it until now.
I seem to remember (or mis-remember, it was over 10 years ago that I sold my company) that mine had something in it that would flip the hot and neutral if they were incorrect, as well as offer surge and brown-out protection (it had a built in ups) I do remember that I paid way too much for it at the time!
There are power devices that incorporate UPS, voltage regulation, real surge protection and so on but those are much more comprehensive, and as you noted more expensive, devices than the simple and relatively inexpensive 'power conditioners' that many people use. An online or double conversion UPS can also often resolve many power issues as it always runs off the battery and inverter, thus providing clean, isolated power while a true sine wave UPS will give a clean waveform rather than a stepped waveform. But many and probably most power regulation and UPS units will not address wiring or grounding issues.
I would say about half the groups we have in will check voltages before they throw the switch on their distro. Most distros anymore have meters built in that make is fairly easy to do. I also have metering built into my company switches so that helps people a bit. Still does not protect against a hot/neutral switch.
Now, what really does trip people up is our stage is wired with L5-20, L5-30, L6-20, and L6-30. All of them are 120v. One is sound/band power, one is not.
How did that get by the electrical inspector? (Or is one of those time where your ownership makes you special?)
I use the higher-end version of this one. It's cheap enough that, if I lost it or it got fried, I wouldn't be too sad. I may get a Fluke MM in the future, but can't justify the price right now.
All my tours are supposed to meter all tie ins before hook up. I recently had an electrician tie into a generator set for 240/480.... Every mover setup for 208 had $1800 in damage... 40 fixtures or so....
That was a bad day.
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