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Can lack of grounding be of harm to speakers?
Old 17th October 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Can lack of grounding be of harm to speakers?

Hey Gslutz,

We are buying a new set of PA speakers to our band practice space and I since we've faced a somewhat significant amount of issues with our previous gear, I decided to ask this simple, maybe a bit noobish question, if you will.

Does or can lack of grounding damage your speaker system or any equipment in that matter? As far as I know, the space we practice in as of now, is not grounded. I live in Finland so the voltage is 230V, if that's of relevance.

If the answer is yes, I'd add a question of how to prevent or kind of bypass the issue? Would something like a surge protector work well in that type of situation? Should I buy a surge protector in any case to prevent damage to my equipment?

Thanks,
-Joel
Old 18th October 2013
  #2
Gear Addict
 
JustMastering's Avatar
Hi Joel,

It may not be an easy/ideal answer, but I suggest finding a new practice space. It just isn't safe. The lack of grounding could potentially cause issues with equipment, but I would be much more concerned with your health.

Here's an interesting article with some more detail. It talks about the associated risks of using PA equipment hasn't been grounded (be it using just a microphone or connecting an electric guitar etc.).

Best of luck!
Rob
Old 18th October 2013
  #3
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boggy's Avatar
I agree, without grounding, life safety are more important, who cares about equipment....


Old 18th October 2013
  #4
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

+ a whole bunch to the responses above.......... grounding is a critical part of life safety - if it wasn't we would not bother doing it...

Rod
Old 18th October 2013
  #5
Gear Head
 

Alright, thanks for the answers. I think we're gonna get our power from downstairs, where we actually do have grounding... Is there any reason to use multiple different outlets to provide power or do I rather want it from the same outlet? Also my latter question wasn't answered, is there a reason to get a surge protector in my situation?
Old 18th October 2013
  #6
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Jolida's Avatar
 

Is it unsafe to skip the ground (earth) connection even if u use an isolation transformer???

Sent from my GT-N7100
Old 18th October 2013
  #7
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

How is the isolation transformer going to be grounded?

Rod
Old 18th October 2013
  #8
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Jolida's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Gervais View Post
How is the isolation transformer going to be grounded?

Rod
I have no technical know-how, & I wanted to know that myself
Im using a 2 phase isolation transformer which takes 400v from the mains & outputs 230v. On the input side, there are 3 terminals :
1. Phase
2. Phase
3. Earth

The output side has 3 terminals as well:
1. & 2. are labelled output 230v
Terminal 3 is Earth

The guy who manufactures this had told me that its optional to connect the Earth. Dont know what he meant by that. But I have connected the Earth though, to have a longer life (just in case) !

Sent from my GT-N7100
Old 18th October 2013
  #9
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Then the answer is "yes" and "yes"

Yes the isolated transformer needs to be grounded (good you are doing that) and any gear that is plugged into it that requires the ground needs to be grounded..... and as long as you don't use a ground lift your gear will be grounded...

Any equipment that has a ground prong on the plug requires that the ground be used for safety's sake - they do not just stick them there for grins and giggles..... there are no exceptions to this......... there is never a case where defeating the ground is safe.

Rod
Old 18th October 2013
  #11
Gear Guru
Danger

Joel, 230V is indeed significant, the peaks are 380. There is a very different level of danger here compared to the US and other 115V countries.
Surge protection is not appropriate. You should be able to buy a portable Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker. Get an electrician to test your earth and if necessary install a new or better one.

DD
Old 18th October 2013
  #12
Gear Head
 

So if the use of ground lift bypasses ground, doesn't that result in a safety hazard? Why is there such an option on some equipment then?
Old 18th October 2013
  #13
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boggy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurkkuviipale View Post
So if the use of ground lift bypasses ground, doesn't that result in a safety hazard?
Correct.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurkkuviipale View Post
Why is there such an option on some equipment then?
It's about some old ways to "prevent" ground loops... This problem is solved by standard recently, even if balanced audio interconnection technology has very long history.

Pin 1 Problem

Excerpt from link above:
Quote:
The purpose of this site is to share information about what is known or more accurately, unknown as a PIN 1 PROBLEM in the audio industry. The term "Pin 1 Problems" was first coined by Mr. Neil Muncy in his June 1995 paper titled "Noise Susceptability in Analog and Digital Signal Processing Systems"
You might be surprised to find out that all that humming, buzzing & noise coming out of your PA & monitor system is being caused by poorly designed gear! In many cases, there isn't anything you can do besides replace the offending gear with well designed gear.
Old 18th October 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 

So taken they have built ground lifts in equipment for decades, does that mean that there is slim to none chance of non grounded equipment getting damaged by, well, not being grounded?

I mean, I totally understand the dangers behind this stuff, but my original question still stands (the one in the thread title). I'm kind of still wanting to know if the few instances we've encountered (broken tweeter in PA, unwanted distortion in a pedal) have been just bad luck, bad grounding or just normal stuff that happens in the long run every now and then? Is it likely that all or some of this stuff is caused by non-grounded enviroment?
Old 18th October 2013
  #15
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

I don't see a lack of ground causing issues with blown speakers, distortion in pedals, etc.......

A badly designed ground path can (generally will) cause issues related to noise - I have not ever (however) encountered situations where the lack of a ground itself caused noise......

What companies are manufacturing grounded amps that have ground lifts built in?

I am familiar with companies that make amps without a ground plug in the cable - but none with ground lifts........

Rod
Old 18th October 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 

I honestly have no idea, we've used digital processors into PA for as long as I remember, I've only seen ground lifts occasionally, mostly in pedals.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the help so far!
Old 18th October 2013
  #17
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Rod Gervais's Avatar
 

Pedals may well be a different story altogether - I would have to see exactly how any particular pedal was wired before commenting - anytime something is wired with a ground lift the manufacturer has already worked out a design that deals with the legal requirements for grounds....... that is not the same as simply lifting a ground on a piece of gear not designed with that feature...............

Rod
Old 18th October 2013
  #18
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boggy's Avatar
+1, even this below...


here:
Peter Gabriel 4 "Security"
you can find this picture and caption below:


Quote:
Tony Levin overdubbing parts in the control room. Notice the tape on Tony's toe which is connecting Tony to a ground wire so that his bass and pedalboard won't buzz at 50 Hz. Ashcombe always had some power weirdness compared to big city studios.


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