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Can i cocndition ungrounded power?
Old 12th May 2006
Gear Nut

Can i cocndition ungrounded power?

i live in an old building and the outlets do not have the 3rd prong. i get a hum whenever i plug audio equipment in.

is there anything i can do to clean up the power for at least 4 outlets?
Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear

Buy a ground spike rod, ram it into moist earth, and connect this up to your studio wall socket as a dedicated earth. It will be silent (unlike your building electrical earth, which will be noisy as hell).

Many buildings are supplied with only two wires - phase and neutral. The electrical earth is connected to neutral, in addition to a ground spike or water pipe that may or may not work. If you think about it - that neutral line is like a big antenna, running parallel to the phase wires, and picking up crap for miles. Do you really want your audio shields to be connected to this?

In theory, your building ground spike or water pipe connection (if it even exists) is supposed to divert this crap to ground - but in practice it often doesn't. Ground spikes can get covered up and dry out, blah, blah.

Having a dedicated earth spike for your audio gear solves a lot of problems. If you get in a sparkie to wire this up, he will probably try to attach this to your electrical ground. What can happen here is that you might end up with the best ground in the neighbourhood, and suddenly a lot more crap is directed your way!

This absolutely was the case at my place - I had an EMI detector, and all hell broke lose when my sparkie put in the new groundspike - and connected to electrical earth. Guitars acted up really bad. But when the spike was used as a dedicated earth for just the studio, everything is quiet as can be.
Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear
jhg's Avatar

Buy a ground spike rod, ram it into moist earth, and connect this up to your studio wall socket as a dedicated earth
I'd love to be able to do this, but... I'd have to go a distance to find moist earth without using a jackhammer or big drill. Luckily the electricity is decent in my place, 2nd floor above a deli. Double walls between neighbors. When I'm tracking at quite loud volume and run down to get refreshments, etc, the deli guys say "BIG music" They also helped me bring board in.


Old 12th May 2006
Lives for gear

Well for your safety sake, make sure you are using a ground leakage interrupter, in case any of your gear wants to dump full voltage to earth. It would appear at the moment that you would be the best earth in the room, so you would wear it - with little chance of survival. I wouldn't want to strap on on electric guitar, for instance, until you have some safety system in place.

If you can't put in a ground spike, try to attach to a waterpipe or something.

Investigate the legal issues here - you might be able to get the landlord to install a ground spike if it's currently illegal.

Otherwise all your audio shielding is not working as a shield, and is basically a large antenna network.
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