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  • Electrified Stage!

    Had a situation the other night that I don't recall ever running across in all my years of gigging:

    we show up to play a gig in a small restaurant/bar. Old power. I ask them where the different circuits are and I'm told that as far as they know, there's only one. Hookay. There's really no room to set up the lights anyway, and we won't be pushing the amps very hard in this joint, so I just look for the most separated-by-distance outlets I can find and hope for the best.

    They have a stage setup against one wall that is three 4x8 platforms. After we set up I discover that the metal rim around the edge of the stage is 'hot'. When any touches it, it sends off what feels like a 120V shock. I accidentally rub a metal box across the edge and it sets off sparks. I start look around the stage to see if I can find anything that would be causing this and I can't see any bare wires or anything. Two of the platforms are up against a wall that has a socket...that's about all I can see. We try to pull the stage out a bit and stick a rubbered-bottom rug between the stage and the wall. Not sure if that helps or not. Nobody wants to touch the edge of the stage to find out! There was also some crackling in the monitors through several of the channels that we couldn't detect the source.

    Showtime is quickly approaching and we really have no other option except to take the stage and hope for the best. So we do. The crackling seems to have stopped and no one is electrocuted! I'm guessing shoving the rug between the stage and the wall worked?

    Anyone ever come across anything like this before and maybe know the most likely cause?
    _________________________________________________
    band websites:
    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

  • #2
    Happen to have the Fire Marshall's or Code Inspector's number close by? I think I would. That is a deathtrap and you might save someone's life. How will you feel when you the obit and think "man, I knew that would happen one day...."

    Comment


    • #3
      Showtime is quickly approaching and we really have no other option except to take the stage and hope for the best.
      You most definitely missed the only proper option - to pack up and walk.

      Comment


      • #4
        Calling the fire marshall probably isn't a bad idea. As far as packing up and walking? In the abstract that's always the best idea, I suppose. During the reality of the gig---not so much. Unfortunately, I was quite ill that night with the stomach flu and wasn't my usual "take charge" self. I was leaving the set up to the other guys as it was all I could do to just show up and play. Otherwise I would have been a bit more aggressive with trying to fix the situation. I did mention it to one of the people who worked there and their only response was "nobody has ever mentioned it before".

        As far as packing up and walking---well, the venue wasn't the client in this situation. It was a private event where both the venue and band were hired out. We had little contact or pull with the venue directly and pulling out of the gig would have meant possibly severing ties with a very good client, regardless of HOW valid our reason was for cancelling at the last second. I know, I know...we risked serious injury by continuing to perform and likely dodged a bullet or two. But I'm not really looking for criticisms on my decision to play, but just wondering if anyone has encountered this before?
        _________________________________________________
        band websites:
        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd have put a ground clamp on that and seen what caught fire . And yes, I actually DO carry such things - mostly for the occasional vintage amp with a two prong cord.

          Comment


          • #6
            You should carry a circut tester with you. My guess is that hot and nuetral were reversed BUT I'm no electrician and it could have been something else.

            OK, so pretend you did test teh circut. The next step you be to gaff the outlet, put a note as to what the problem is and then find a working outlet nearby. Then tell the manager.
            www.rock-bot.com
            Live-Band-Karaoke

            bassist and sound reinforcement

            Comment


            • #7
              Assuming it was the electrical source that was the problem. Generally reversed n & hot are not going to cause a shock hazard unless there is also a fault to ground and the ground pin or chassis boond to ground are missing. This could be a missing ground on the receptacle, but there still must be a ground fault to cause the leakage current.

              By chance was there an old 2 wire power cord on a guitar amp?
              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

              Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

              Comment


              • #8
                You most definitely missed the only proper option - to pack up and walk.

                Definitely. I understand the situation, but when there's a possibility of anybody being in danger, I pack up and walk. No questions.

                That's just me, though. I don't put myself, my band, or my crew on the line just to save a contact that's going to screw me later on anyways.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've found bad circuits in a casino that wasn't even 20 years old.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Assuming it was the electrical source that was the problem. Generally reversed n & hot are not going to cause a shock hazard unless there is also a fault to ground and the ground pin or chassis boond to ground are missing. This could be a missing ground on the receptacle, but there still must be a ground fault to cause the leakage current.

                    By chance was there an old 2 wire power cord on a guitar amp?


                    No. The only thing I can think of was that the metal rim of the platforms were pushed against an outlet. But then I would think that if the outlet was touching the metal, there would have been sparking then and there. Why the rim of the platforms were hot, I really have no idea. I've never seen anything like this before. The only 2-prong anything we had was a wall wart that was plugged directly in. Everything else runs to some sort of power strip or 3-prong extension chord.

                    I'll give the local fire marshall a call and leave that at that. Due to the nature of the gig, I doubt it's a venue we'll be performing in again anytime soon anyway.

                    The fact that no band has (apparently) mentioned it before is interesting. We WERE cramming an awful lot of gear in a space that usually accomodates small format trios and 4 pieces. But still---first time I've come across anything like this in 35 years.
                    _________________________________________________
                    band websites:
                    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's no way to tell if the rim of the stage was hot or something that you were touching that was hot and the rim solidly grounded. That's why thorough testing is essential in tracking down the real problem.
                      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

                      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There's no way to tell if the rim of the stage was hot or something that you were touching that was hot and the rim solidly grounded. That's why thorough testing is essential in tracking down the real problem.


                        I wasn't touching ANYTHING except to be standing on a wood floor in rubber-soled shoes. Very odd indeed.
                        _________________________________________________
                        band websites:
                        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If nothing is on the stage, and you touch the stage and receive a shock then you ask the client to come over and touch the stage. Once they feel the shock you tell them "Get someone to fix the problem, put us somewhere else, or do without live music". Music isn't worth dying for.
                          Phil Clark

                          FOH/Monitor Mixer - Sound On Site

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If nothing is on the stage, and you touch the stage and receive a shock then you ask the client to come over and touch the stage. Once they feel the shock you tell them "Get someone to fix the problem, put us somewhere else, or do without live music". Music isn't worth dying for.


                            I didn't say nothing was on the stage. We were completely set up and wired. I just wasn't touching anything else besides the stage. Our gear may very well have been part of the problem. Just saying it wasn't a "when I touch this and then ALSO touch that" type of deal.
                            _________________________________________________
                            band websites:
                            http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                            https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                            https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                            http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If nothing is on the stage, and you touch the stage and receive a shock then you ask the client to come over and touch the stage. Once they feel the shock you tell them "Get someone to fix the problem, put us somewhere else, or do without live music". Music isn't worth dying for.


                              And if the client says, can't you play anyway, then you can walk. This is one of the things they tell young workers (at worksafe courses) - you do have a right to refuse requests and activity you deem unsafe.

                              For instance I once refused to play outdoors in an approaching thunderstorm - it changed the nature of the event but ultimately everyone had a good time and nobody died.

                              Comment



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