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  • F*** GFI Outlets

    What is the point of these things if you can't run anything off of them without tripping the circuits?   EVERYTIME we play a gig where these are what the venue uses, we have issues.

    One of our soundguys has suggested that there might be something in our wiring---could be something as simple as a mic cable that isn't grounded properly---that is causing some of the problems, but that there would be no way to effectively trace it at a gig.  I don't know enough about that sort of stuff to know if that makes sense or not.

    But we played a gig last weekend---beautiful venue---and nothing but GFIs.   We were supplied with a spider box for power with nothing but GFIs.   4 circuits and we're constantly tripping one of them that half the PA was plugged into.   Soundguy resolved the problem by the 2nd set by finally just turning down the low-end, but sacrificing our sound is NOT the solution, IMO.

    Another soundguy suggested we insist on "no GFIs" in our contracts, but obviously that isn't going to happen for the type of gigs we do and the venues we play.  

    I hate these things.  Anyone have trouble with them?  Or suggestions on how to figure out if it IS something in our setup causing an issue?

     

    _________________________________________________
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  • #2
    Can you bring your own 220 board?
    NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

    Comment


    • RoadRanger
      RoadRanger commented
      Editing a comment

      Craig's not gonna like that title 


    • tlbonehead
      tlbonehead commented
      Editing a comment

      exactly my thought too. Pretty rare around here to play a venue that doesn't have a 220 tap to jump into.I surely wouldn't want to have to use GFI outlets.


  • #3
    Yeah no s*****

    NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

    Comment


    • #4

      guido61 wrote:

      What is the point of these things if you can't run anything off of them without tripping the circuits?


      The point is that they are telling you that something in your setup is dangerously leaking current and you ought to fix it . Start by making sure you have no "surge suppressor" outlet strips or rackmount "power comditioners" in use - IME those are usually the culprit, especially if they say "Monster" on them . They can often be "neutered" if needed. Also any older guitar amps that originally had two wire cords on them need to be checked to make sure the "killer cap" was removed .


      "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

      Comment


      • Easy Listener
        Easy Listener commented
        Editing a comment

        I have the same problem with GFI's at home. They will sometimes trip for no reason. Use a hair dryer twenty times and on the 21st time it trips when you turn it on. Then it's good for another twenty or forty. We're building a new house. It will have no GFI's. We'll use the standard circuit board that trips when there is a problem, not because it's hyper sensitive.

        If an outlet can't handle a "power conditioning and protection" strip, it is the outlet that is the problem.


      • SpaceNorman
        SpaceNorman commented
        Editing a comment

        RoadRanger wrote:

        The point is that they are telling you that something in your setup is dangerously leaking current and you ought to fix it .


        If that one could conclude with confidence that is consistently the case - I'd be behind the use of GFI plugs 100%.  Unfortunately, my exerience has been that is often not the case.  I'll point to the 4 outlets in my kitchen that have GFI plugs in them.  Three of the plugs are rock solid.   Blenders, crock pots, etc. all work just fine in 3 of them.   The 4th plug however, has a "hair trigger" ... whack a blender full of ice on that outlet (the same blender with the UL tag on it's cord that works without incident on the other 3 outlets) and the GFI trips consistently. 

        GFI plugs are fine when used for little stuff ... but anytime you're planning on loading up circuit anywhere near capacity, or when the devices using the circuit have the potential to cause a drop upon startup (think motors, amps, etc.) - GFI plugs can be a source of headache.  ...and not necessarily because there's something wrong with the equipment being plugged into it.


    • #5

      I'm a career electrician/contractor and also a casual reader of your helpful forum and saw an opportunity to help out a bit here. So i penciled out a few comments.

      Safety devices in the electrician world are like brakes, emergency brakes, speed governors and the like on your car. Your engine makes you go fast. Your brakes make you stop fast, hopefully! 

      Things to note about GFCI's:

      -They are for personal protection, i.e. you! Circuit breakers are designed to protect the wiring and not you.

      -They can be over vigilant in protecting you, due to how they

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        DrummerMonkey wrote:

        Also, mixing different circuits creates an incredibly easy way to trip GFCIs. For example if your key rig and the monitor rig are on different circuits, any cable you plug between the two rigs will add a new place for current to leak. This happens most often between guitar/bass players and their mics. The front of house is often on a different circuit than the plugs on the backline. Any leakage will flow (which is called electrocution) once the player touches the mic with their lips. If there was a GFCI, the circuit would most certainly trip, of course shutting everything down. 

         



        Thanks for all the helpful info. 

        And yes, we of course have all sorts of "mixed" circuits.  So are you saying there IS something to this "faulty mic cable" theory?   My keyboard rig and the monitor rig it connects to are almost always on different circuits, for example.

        Hey, that makes me think of another question to ask.   I usually run my guitar wireless.  But on the occasions I need to use a cable, I ALWAYS get a pretty good shock if I touch my mouth to my vocal mic.   Since I rarely use a cable I kind of forget about this issue until the next time it happens, but obviously something is wrong in my setup.

        Is this a similar type of issue, since the mixer the mic plugs into and the rack the guitar plugs into are usually on separate circuits?   Could it be the same problem that's tripping the GFICs?


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        DrummerMonkey wrote:

         

        @guido61, sometime a bit of Sherlock Holmes can go a long ways. If everyone starts paying attention to what they did right before it trips you might get an answer. Is it a certain sequence of things that cause them to trip? If it's later in the gig, is it the heat causing the connections to weaken or the gear to work harder? The fact you have this issue happening over and over again at different places does point directly to the bands equipment. 



        When it happens it's usually right away.  In the case of this gig, it happened as soon as we started to soundcheck.  Then the soundguy changed something and the rest of the (very short) soundcheck went fine.   Then when we started playing, it popped again almost right away.   He switched something again and one circuit stayed on while the other one kept tripping until he finally found a least-sensitive outlet he could find and turned down the low-end some.   Then it was fine for the rest of the show (another 2 hrs).


      • Easy Listener
        Easy Listener commented
        Editing a comment

        DrummerMonkey wrote:

        I'm a career electrician/contractor and also a casual reader of your helpful forum and saw an opportunity to help out a bit here. So i penciled out a few comments...

         


        Great post. Thanks for the clarification. I'll throw one thing out: You mentioned the types of risks of electrocution one faces when on stage. It's why I use a wireless system on my guitar.


    • #6
      220 or 120?
      <div class="signaturecontainer">--<br><br>Hammond: BC, M3, Split L111, L122 / Leslie: 51, 760 / Yamaha: DGX-620, PF-85<br><br>Follow my new band, <a href="http://DrBombay.ca/connect.html" target="_blank">Dr. Bombay</a>! We're going to be organasmic!</div>

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      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        wesg wrote:
        220 or 120?

        The spider box?  It was one of these guys:

        http://www.toolup.com/images/Product/large/cepc-6506GU.jpg

         

        Plugged into the wall with one of these cables, I do believe:

        1

         

        I always thought that was all 220 and then splitting it off into some 110 circuits.   If it works in some other fashion, then that's news to me.   But I'm not an electrical guy.   It's all I can do to keep from killing myself at this point, apparently  )

        Attached Files

    • #7
      You can't assume you were the only draw on the circuit. Only way to be sure (if no circuit diagram is available) is to have an electrician pull the panel. Again not knowing all the details, 220 powers many different things in some homes. Water pumps, electric range, baseboard heaters, water heaters. Unfortunately you will probably never find out what happened unless you could return to the venue and reproduce everything you did. I hate electrical issues, they can be tricky to resolve.

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