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are 3 prong to 2 prong adapters safe?? Condenser Microphones
Old 10th August 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 
asmonica's Avatar
 

are 3 prong to 2 prong adapters safe??

i dont have any grounded outlets in my entire house!! i just got an avalon 2022 and i hesitated when i saw those 2 prongs.. i still havent plugged it in yet. i have the rest of my gear going through the cheapest furman model conditioner, which is plugged into a 3 to 2 prong adapter. my question is: does the little green tab that you screw through into the faceplate actually ground the outlet safely and effectively? thanks in advance for any help
Old 10th August 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Kyle S's Avatar
 

i dont know about the green tab thing, never seen or heard of it.

You should really hire an electrician to wire in 2 or 3 good, properly grounded outlets from your mains.

one of my friend's house was like that. wires were so old they had that old cloth insulation on them. half the outlets in that house worked intermittently and once the fuse box started smoking.


there are ways around this but you have your gear at the other end of the line. or possibly your life if you try to rig something up.
Old 10th August 2008
  #3
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmonica View Post
i dont have any grounded outlets in my entire house!! i just got an avalon 2022 and i hesitated when i saw those 2 prongs.. i still havent plugged it in yet. i have the rest of my gear going through the cheapest furman model conditioner, which is plugged into a 3 to 2 prong adapter. my question is: does the little green tab that you screw through into the faceplate actually ground the outlet safely and effectively? thanks in advance for any help
NO, the tab connects to nothing, if there were a ground it would be a 3 pin outlet.
Old 10th August 2008
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Studio people often refer to these devices as "ground lifters" but in fact, they were not designed to be used that way. The metal tab is supposed to go under the wall plate screw, which hopefully is connected through to ground by a green ground wire or a conduit connected to the box. But often the box is not grounded, in which the ground tab does nothing at all.

I agree with Kyle. You should hire an electrician to come out and install grounded outlets for your studio gear.
Old 10th August 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
Wow.

The tab is supposed to be screwed into the middle of the faceplate on old 2-prong receptacles. Old wiring with 2-prong outlets have metal boxes, not the blue plastic ones typically used nowadays. Those metal boxes SHOULD be grounded (there was just no grounding pin on the receptacles), which is why the tab is supposed to be screwed onto the faceplate, and thereby making a grounded 3-prong outlet out of an old 2-prong.

However, people tend to use these incorrectly, especially for lifting the ground when you get hum and noise. (I use one for this purpose ONLY on my laptop's power supply, otherwise it injects serious noise into any audio system on the same ground bus. Using one of these to lift/disconnect a ground in an audio system is/can be DANGEROUS. Hum problems are better taken care of with isolation transformers in the signal path, if the hum is one that isn't eliminated with proper cabling.
Old 10th August 2008
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kulka View Post
Studio people often refer to these devices as "ground lifters" but in fact, they were not designed to be used that way. The metal tab is supposed to go under the wall plate screw, which might be connected through to ground by a green ground wire or by conduit, but often is not grounded at all.

I agree with Kyle. You should hire an electrician to come out and install grounded outlets for your studio gear.
Sorry, for the redundancy.... too busy writing to notice what was just posted.
Old 10th August 2008
  #7
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Well, at least we agreed!
Old 10th August 2008
  #8
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Geoff_T's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmonica View Post
i dont have any grounded outlets in my entire house!! i just got an avalon 2022 and i hesitated when i saw those 2 prongs.. i still havent plugged it in yet. i have the rest of my gear going through the cheapest furman model conditioner, which is plugged into a 3 to 2 prong adapter. my question is: does the little green tab that you screw through into the faceplate actually ground the outlet safely and effectively? thanks in advance for any help
Hi

My 2c is that the Furman conditioner will be more use as a boat anchor, surely, if you have no grounds in your building as the unit probably has RF rejection as well as the over voltage limiting that references and dumps the errant signals to ground.

I would put a very high priority, particularly for your own health and safety, to have the outlets properly grounded.

heh
Old 10th August 2008
  #9
Gear Nut
 
asmonica's Avatar
 

thanks for the advice guys! fyi, i realize how they are supposed to work (screw through the tab.. yeah) , i just am nowhere close to an electric engineer, so i was asking if it was effective. so i think ill call an electrician.stike
Old 10th August 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I am an electrician (15 years)...to tell ya the truth..I have had to use a pair of pliers and yank out the ground plug on power strips befor..because ther was not a grounded receptical..never had a problem...now if you were to get electricuted..then it would be a problem...See all the ground wires in a house meet back at the elec. panel...and from there one bigger ground wire goes to ground rods out side..and another to the cold water pipe...this is so..if you get a shocked..the current will mostly go to the groundrod and the cold water pipe..because it is grounded better than you are...As for gear..if you plug in without a ground and there is no noise..go for it...but you should always unplug your gear when there is a storm..even if you are not useing it....Hope I helped a little with all this!! And ..never grab your mic and have your hands wraped around you guitar strings...use the back of your hand to tap the mic first..cuz once you grab on..your muscles tence up and you cant let go...rarely happens..but if you really need to be ungrounded than you should always use caution!!..PS..make it a habbit..if you have to open your panel(breaker box)..always touch it with the back side of you hand first....you never know..
Old 11th August 2008
  #11
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DamnYankee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmonica View Post
i dont have any grounded outlets in my entire house!! i just got an avalon 2022 and i hesitated when i saw those 2 prongs.. i still havent plugged it in yet. i have the rest of my gear going through the cheapest furman model conditioner, which is plugged into a 3 to 2 prong adapter. my question is: does the little green tab that you screw through into the faceplate actually ground the outlet safely and effectively? thanks in advance for any help
The answer is, NO. "Cheaters" as they are called, will NOT - and I repeat - DO NOT ground.

I would advise you to invest in a wiring upgrade for your home. Not only for your studio gear, but to meet code for you and your family's safety.

I just redid my old pre-Civil War era home. Please note code standards have usually called for 14-3 wire...but now with all the electrical toys we now have, some areas are requiring 12-3 wire. Tho my area doesn't require 12-3 wire, I wired my entire house with it anyway - as 12-3 can be run with both 15 or 20 amp circuits (something I want when alot of my gear is plugged in and turned on!).

Just something to think about...

Good luck!
Old 11th August 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnYankee View Post
The answer is, NO. "Cheaters" as they are called, will NOT - and I repeat - DO NOT ground.

I would advise you to invest in a wiring upgrade for your home. Not only for your studio gear, but to meet code for you and your family's safety.

I just redid my old pre-Civil War era home. Please note code standards have usually called for 14-3 wire...but now with all the electrical toys we now have, some areas are requiring 12-3 wire. Tho my area doesn't require 12-3 wire, I wired my entire house with it anyway - as 12-3 can be run with both 15 or 20 amp circuits (something I want when alot of my gear is plugged in and turned on!).

Just something to think about...

Good luck!
I wish I could re-wire my place..I would go with 12/2 all around also...20 amp breakers all around!!
Old 11th August 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 

You can use that wire or clip on the "pig's foot" adapter to get to a cold water pipe if there's one available, but I'm not sure what the legalities are. There are ground clamps you can screw to the pipes with wire attachments if you do that. If I can remember what a local electrician told me here in Virginia a while back, they'll let a properly done water pipe ground pass in certain situations (really old houses maybe), but ideally they want new dedicated ground lines going back to the box. Reason I called the guy was that while replacing an outlet for my washing machine here, I discovered that some jackleg had tied the neutral to the ground on this "grounded 3-prong" outlet I was replacing. Reading up on it, it seemed to be a somewhat common way to get a fake ground happening (leaving you with the possibility of a charged chassis). FWIW, those 3-light outlet tester things showed that as "properly wired". They show the same thing for the water pipe grounds. I just checked the outlets in a friend's new house too- she's got all 3-prong outlets with NO ground connection and no convenient place to pull one from. I guess you never really know what's behind those things until you dig inside them to look.

*** Obviously, double check any of that sort of stuff with local authorities. It ain't worth losing an insurance claim if something horrible happened.
Old 11th August 2008
  #14
Gear Maniac
The reason many municipalities require a ground rod and no longer accept grounding to a water pipe is because so many pipes are now plastic. In the "old days" of metal water pipes, they were great, especially in homes with basements as the pipe was buried pretty deep and amounted to a 30+ ft ground rod.

These days many homes, especially in newer developments, are fed from the city with plastic pipe. So, even if your home is piped with metal, it doesn't go far enough into the ground to provide and adequate ground. I have even seen ground clamps around plastic pipes.

If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, get an electrician. Better still, get a tech/consultant that does commercial a/v installs to spec you a grounding system and make sure your electrician follows it to the letter.
Old 11th August 2008
  #15
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xmostynx's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearaddict View Post
.use the back of your hand to tap the mic first..cuz once you grab on..your muscles tence up and you cant let go...rarely happens..but if you really need to be ungrounded than you should always use caution!!..PS..make it a habbit..if you have to open your panel(breaker box)..always touch it with the back side of you hand first....you never know..
wow how come nobody ever told me this in 5 years of school?!

you know how many times i've been nailed and it could of been WAY quicker if i used the back of my hand...


sometimes you overlook simplicity. thanks for the great advice!
Old 11th August 2008
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plus6vu View Post
I have even seen ground clamps around plastic pipes.
Now that's a good one! heh

On a competent electrician side note: In my last studio, I hired "professionals" to come run a separate ground rod for my rooms. Turns out, that was also not legal or safe. I think I had to find out later from someone in rec.audio.pro or something. I think you can add additional rods to a system or take a clean separate feed to the box from one circuit, but they have to be tied to the box regardless.
Old 12th August 2008
  #17
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The dman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearaddict View Post
.use the back of your hand to tap the mic first..cuz once you grab on..your muscles tence up and you cant let go...rarely happens..but if you really need to be ungrounded than you should always use caution!!..PS..make it a habbit..if you have to open your panel(breaker box)..always touch it with the back side of you hand first....you never know..
I'll never forget years ago at a gig I touched my lip to the mic and what followed was the most intense shock of my life complete with blue spark. That's one experience I will never ever forget.
Old 13th August 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Geoff_T's Avatar
 

Hi

Besides the back of hand trick... it's also vital to keep your other hand out of harm's way and a good way of ensuring that is to keep one hand in your pocket.

The reason for this is because, if the back hand touched a live current and the other hand touched something connected to ground, then the current would flow across your chest and there's more than a sporting chance that you'd be killed...

....unless the property also had the life saving Residual Current Detector that shuts the current off if it detects a leakage current to ground.

A real life saver... common in Europe, not so common in the USA.

Old 13th August 2008
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Kyle S's Avatar
 

even a tiny shock across your heart can kill with all the right circumstances (age, health, etc)

oh yeah wear boots tooheh


best thing to have is a "wiggy." these little cat-daddies can save you some pain!
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