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Old 10-26-2012, 03:38 AM   #1
Blktiger0
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This is quite odd, and I don't know if I should be concerned...

I went to take a picture of my amp a few minutes ago, and I noticed that when I touched my cable on the metal part where it was plugged in to my amp, it shocked me. Now, not realizing if it was just that it was cold and my hand was unprepared, I touched it again. Definitely shocked me. Then, after touching various parts of my rig including the Power/Standby Switches on my amp, my ISP Decimator's casing (it's in my effects loop), or really any metal part of it, each and every one of them would shock me. It wasn't like a static electricity type of shock, but more of a "lick a 9v battery to see if it has juice" kind of shock.


Any Idea why this is happening? My amp was plugged in to a power strip, but the strip was switched off. When I unplugged it, it would cease to shock me. With the strip switched on, still shocked me. With the Strip on AND my amp on, it was sill happening. I had no guitar plugged in, so my rig was:

Cable>Vengeance>ISP Decimator>MXR 10 Band

The Decimator and 10 Band are in the loop, and the head was plugged in to my JCA24S

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to electronics, so any help you can give me would be great. I'm concerned this could be bad for my gear or myself.

Also, in hindsight, continuously subjecting myself to being electrocuted by something seems pretty dumb, but I was trying to find out WHY it was doing this, and since it was barely enough to even hurt, I didn't figure it would be lethal. Especially with everything turned off.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:45 AM   #2
lemurflames
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Plug the amp into the wall and check it again. Completely remove the power strip.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:48 AM   #3
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9 times out of 10 that I see this... bad earthing on the mains wall voltage.

Try at at a mate's house, if the problem goes away then you should invest in a power conditioner (I think people should invest in them anyway, keeps any noise from the mains out of your tone, you would be shocked at the number of live music venues who have rubbish wall supplies) or at the very least, a surge protected power strip.

If it's just a tingle though it's probably not going to do your amp any harm, but it will make your amp more noisy than it needs to be.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:23 AM   #4
Blktiger0
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I'll check again with the wall tomorrow, but the power strip is a fairly nice one that offers surge protection. I can't remember the numbers quoted on the packaging, but I bought it specifically to use with my amp so that it had more protection.

In fact, the power strip has indicator lights from "Protected" and "Grounded" and the "Grounded" light sometimes flickers on/off while using it here at this house. I'm actually at the singer of my bands house right now, because this is where we practice (we have some gigs this weekend, so I've been here for a week), The house is somewhat old, and there are no outlets in the basement, so we have a heavy duty indoor/outdoor extension cord running from the first floor to the basement, with my power strip plugged into that, and only my amp, my 18v adapter for my 10-band, my 9v adapter for my Decimator, and our bassist's 1spot (powering 3 9v pedals) plugged in to it, then a second power strip daisy chained from that one with only the bassist's amp and rhythm guitarist's amp plugged into it. We would plug them into my strip, but with the shape of some of the adapters, they won't fit, even though I have enough plugs for them.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:08 AM   #5
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Try plugging your rig in at a different house the same way you had it set up when you got bit.The house you are playing at most likely has electrical issues.Something is not grounded properly.
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:14 AM   #6
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You aren't playing standing on concrete barefoot by any chance?
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:02 AM   #7
MetalRock4ever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktiger0
I went to take a picture of my amp a few minutes ago, and I noticed that when I touched my cable on the metal part where it was plugged in to my amp, it shocked me. Now, not realizing if it was just that it was cold and my hand was unprepared, I touched it again.


When I first read that part, I was inclined to say 'Go on... touch it again... You never know, it may not shock you' Oh, the power of my imagination...
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:08 AM   #8
Blktiger0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyvanh
Try plugging your rig in at a different house the same way you had it set up when you got bit.The house you are playing at most likely has electrical issues.Something is not grounded properly.


I've never had this issue before right now, so it's either the tubes I just put in, or something isolated to this house/incident

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyvanh
You aren't playing standing on concrete barefoot by any chance?


Well, the first time I had socks on, and the second time I didn't, but basically barefoot on the concrete floor in the basement. I normally play in boots or shoes down there, though. Why does that matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalRock4ever
When I first read that part, I was inclined to say 'Go on... touch it again... You never know, it may not shock you' Oh, the power of my imagination...




Honestly, after typing it out, I'm sitting here thinking "man, I'm not the brightest...for all I know, those could have been lethal voltages or something, but nope, I just kept on touching!"

At least I had a reason for each time I touched it, trying to test a different variable each time.

Last edited by Blktiger0 : 10-26-2012 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:22 AM   #9
MetalRock4ever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktiger0
Honestly, after typing it out, I'm sitting here thinking "man, I'm not the brightest...for all I know, those could have been lethal voltages or something, but nope, I just kept on touching!"

At least I had a reason for each time I touched it, trying to test a different variable each time.


Lol, don't worry. I'm not that good at electrics as well (even though I did D.T. and physics for GCSE and AS levels...). If you really want to... try rubbing it. You may see a genie, or it could be because you're hallucinating and you are, currently, unconscious. You never know in the world we live in today
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:42 AM   #10
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Well the odd thing is it was happening with the power strip switched off... Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I always assumed there is no current passing through a power strip when it's switched off... Which means the only other current available would be that in the power supply capacitors... Which would be a bad thing I think.

I'm not an electronics guy though, so don't get too worried until someone comes in and tells me what I got wrong.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Doubtful its the caps. Probably poor electrical wiring in the house or power strip. Is the power strip rates for that much current? Do you have more gear
Plugged into it? I have seen guys overload them and kill the wiring inside the strip
Multiple times.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:21 AM   #12
tubetime86
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That's gotta be more likely. I don't know much about amps, but if the caps are draining to ground I would think you'd notice that in operation.

I guess I'll just stay out of here and let the big boys handle this one.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GABarrie
9 times out of 10 that I see this... bad earthing on the mains wall voltage.



Yep. Common grounding problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubetime86
Well the odd thing is it was happening with the power strip switched off... Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I always assumed there is no current passing through a power strip when it's switched off.


On a lot of power strips, the switch only isolates one side of the AC, which is generally fine as long as the grounding is working properly...
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Last edited by Arby911 : 10-26-2012 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blktiger0
Well, the first time I had socks on, and the second time I didn't, but basically barefoot on the concrete floor in the basement. I normally play in boots or shoes down there, though. Why does that matter?
It matters because home electricity is grounded to earth. You can touch a hot electrical line and not get shocked if you are isolated from earth. If you had shoes on then you may have felt nothing. With bare feet it could be serious.

It's apparent to me that the house has either the hot and neutral wires reversed in the socket. Or that the ground wire is ineffective and there is a charge that slowly builds up in the chassis of the amp. Even if you wear shoes and are isolated you can get shocked when you are touching the strings of your guitar and you come in contact with another piece of metal on your gear like a mic.

Your friend should have his house's electrical looked out by a electrician. If you continue to use your gear there make sure that you wear shoes and are careful not to touch anything else (like a mic stand) while holding your guitar.

I had a similar situation in my house where a lamp had a short of the hot wire to the frame. It was the second floor and I used the lamp all the time and never got shocked. One time I had my guitar in my lap sitting upside down (strings to my lap). When I went to turn on the lamp I got shocked, and that's how I found out about the short. If I had the lamp in a room with ceramic tile and touched it barefoot, I could have been severely shocked.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:34 AM   #15
tubetime86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arby911
On a lot of power strips, the switch only isolates one side of the AC, which is generally fine as long as the grounding is working properly...

OK, that makes sense. Good to know.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:02 PM   #16
Blktiger0
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Wow, tons of good info here, guys. Like I said, I've never had this problem before, and I'm gonna check in a short while here to see if shoes make all the difference. The house I'm at is one that our singer is leasing just until the end of next semester, so I doubt that we can do much about the wiring. I'll have him mention it to his landlord, but the landlord is pretty bad about stuff. Is there any way for me to test if the Hot/Neutral are reversed in his wall socket? Would that be fixed if we just used a different socket?
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