#1
lol kind of a stupid question but I'm taking apart a head, and was wondering if anyone has ever died from touch a tube amps guts without discharging caps..I always see the warnings and couldn't find any stories or anything via google
#2
I never heard of it happening either, but it is possible.
What?! There's a clean channel on my amp?!

Quote by GoodOl'trashbag
omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
#4
While I don't know that you could blame his tube amplifier, Keith Relf of the Yardbirds was fatally electrocuted while playing at his home on 14 May 1976. The cause of death was blamed on an improper ground. Ace Frehley of KISS was nearly killed at a show in a similar fashion.

You would be more likely to have run across a technician who was killed (presumably when a capacitor improperly discharged, I suppose) than a guitarist. The problem is, dead techs don't rate as much column space as do dead guitarists. The important thing to remember is that yes, you can be fatally electrocuted if you don't know what you're doing, so leave the tube amp tinkering to the experts.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Mar 23, 2012,
#5
I fell unconscious after accidentally discharging a flyback transformer. While the voltages between a flyback transformer and high voltage capacitors are different it's not the voltage that kills you.

So I'd put it well within the realm of possibility if you're having a bad day.
#6
I know it can kill you I've just never heard of someone actually dying from it.
I've hear of the Yardbirds thing before, wonder what really happened as far as details go.


pro tip, keep one hand behind your back, the current won't pass through your heart and stop it...just shock the mother**** out of you
#7
The main thing, is to keep one hand in your pants pocket at all times. As long as it doesn't go from arm to arm, across the heart, your going to be fine.

I recommend putting your face in there for homebrew electrotherapy treatment. Gets you high as hell.
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#8
Quote by guitar/bass76
it's not the voltage that kills you.

So I'd put it well within the realm of possibility if you're having a bad day.


That is precisely what they used to tell condemned prisoners about the electric chair: it ain't the volts that kills you; it's the amps.

Words to live (and die) by.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#10
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
The main thing, is to keep one hand in your pants pocket at all times. As long as it doesn't go from arm to arm, across the heart, your going to be fine.

I recommend putting your face in there for homebrew electrotherapy treatment. Gets you high as hell.



beat ya!

more on the putting your face in thing??? lol waht gets you high?
#11
Quote by stykerwolf
Didnt a bunch of folk die from those modded marshall majors? 270 watts, i dont think the circuit was designed to handle that power.
/waits for cathbard


Having nearly bought a Marshall Major in 1979, I would be more worried about dying because it fell on top of me. That thing weighs more than a bank vault.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#13
Quote by cGoEcYk
I electrocuted my rectum with one... long story.

Dual or Triple Rectumfrier?
Various Strats
Polytone Mini Brute
Koch Studiotone XL
Swart STR Tweed
Quilter 101 Reverb and Mini
1958 National lap steel
Eastman El Rey 1
#14
Quote by Vulcan
Dual or Triple Rectumfrier?

2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#15
OK heres the thing. I have personally been zapped heaps of times by all sorts of things including non-discharged caps and some seriously high vlotages capable of pretty big currents and I'm still here - but it's just luck.
The real danger doesn't come for hard shocks even though they are dangerous. If you get a shock that passes through your heart it can do a few of things.
The most extreme is that it does physical damage to the muscle and kills you that way.
Often the big shocks that are just short of frying your heart will stop the heart beating but once the current is removed the heart will often restart with or without intervention.
Then we get the scary one - a current through the heart that isn't big enough or long enough to actually stop it. This is the sort of shock you'd get off a charged capacitor - a short sharp shock. Enough of a current for the heart to mistake it for a natural pacemaker pulse. The heart will try to beat out of time and go into fibulation. Fibulaton is a hard one to fix without a medical professional nearby with the correct equipment.
The last one has caused plenty of deaths, I have never heard of a charged cap actually do it but it is capable of producing exactly this situation. A short pulse that looks like a pacemaker pulse. It has to happen at the wrong time to kill you but are you willing to take the risk?
As a tech I work on live circuits all the time. So I'm not just dealing with residual charge but a fully powered up circuit. I have been zapped more times than I could count (damn that pinky finger). I don't know anybody personally that has killed themselves doing this sort of thing. I've met a guy that lost a finger when his wedding ring shorted two contacts but never a death. If anybody had met a tech killed it would be me, right? Does that mean that people don't get killed working on live circuits? Of course not.
Whenever I open an amp I discharge the caps - and it's not even the fear of death that motivates me - it hurts. You touch a cap with a couple of hundred volts on it, it hurts. More often than not the real pain comes when you bash your hand into something as you pull it away. A cap discharge doesn't last long enough to lock your hand in place, it's just a pulse. It hurts, you react and there's often blood involved from the aftermath.
That short pulse is very real and if you are unlucky it will happen off beat with your heart and you're ****ed. I have heard of people killed by that sort of pulse even if it wasn't from an actual amplifier.
So discharge your caps. I mean seriously, it isn't hard to do. Why risk it?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Mar 23, 2012,
#17
I did quite a bit of searching before I dove into crate v18. Finally found a video on how to drain the caps. I assume I did it correctly, I never died the few times I've done it. It wasn't hard, and you really should do it for your safety.
Agile AL3000
Douglas WRL90
SX SR1 STD Plus
J&D Strat
Squier Tele
Sammick TR2
Douglas Draco
Peavey JSX
Bugera V5
TWANGED VJ
#18
The proper way to do it is to use a resistor, like about 1K. I used to have a probe I made with a resistor in it but I lost it. Now I just use a probe with an alligator clip on one end. It causes sparks but it is somehow satisfying to see that spark because you know the job is done. With a resistor it will take a second or two but a full short is instantaneous - I like that. I just clip the alligator clip to earth and then touch the probe end to the live side of the caps.
And people, I can't stress this enough, USE ONE HAND. Keep the other one in your pocket. A shock through your hand from one finger to another (always the pinky finger) hurts but it won't kill you. A shock from one hand to the other goes through your heart - that's the scary scenario.
And don't wear shorts and wear shoes. A shock from hand to foot or (hand to knee in the shorts case) can also go through your heart. I've had 240V go from hand to knee once and man did that hurt.
So, use one hand only, wear shoes, wear long trousers - and watch what you are doing. I don't care if a naked supermodel walks into the room, ignore her until your hand is clear of the device.

Edit: Oh, and TAKE OFF ALL JEWELRY. I mean it. I really did meet a guy that lost a finger and his ring just shorted out a mere 50V. Burnt it clean off. I heard of another guy that lost his entire hand from a watch band. Take notice, very few techs will wear jewelry on their hands. It's just too damn dangerous.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Mar 23, 2012,
#19
I use Class III electrical gloves any time I work on a live circuit or to discharge caps.
Various Strats
Polytone Mini Brute
Koch Studiotone XL
Swart STR Tweed
Quilter 101 Reverb and Mini
1958 National lap steel
Eastman El Rey 1
#20
Quote by Vulcan
I use Class III electrical gloves any time I work on a live circuit or to discharge caps.

That's a good idea. We techs tend to get a bit nonchalant about it really but if I am working on something where it would be particularly difficult to be careful I will also put on a glove. If you aren't a tech used to working on live circuits wearing gloves at all times is a fine idea.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#21
Quote by Cathbard
I don't care if a naked supermodel walks into the room.


You wouldn't.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#23
Quote by JoePerry4life
I never died


Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#24
The jewelry thing is very important. Even if a shock isn't enough to kill you or hurt you seriously a piece of jewelry can change that. A minor shock can be turned into third degree burns buy some metal on your skin.

When we're taught to work on electronics in the Navy we can't wear any jewelry whatsoever, no watches, rings, or even dog tags.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#25
I do amp repairs for a local music store.
I've been zapped a few times.

I also used to repair dumb terminals. Wyse terminals mainly.

Occasionally, I would have to pull the cable from the CRT.
And sometimes I would lean over it.
I would get to close and the charge from the CRT would zap me. Usually right on the nipple. Hurts like a bitch.
#26
Quote by Cathbard
That's a good idea. We techs tend to get a bit nonchalant about it really but if I am working on something where it would be particularly difficult to be careful I will also put on a glove. If you aren't a tech used to working on live circuits wearing gloves at all times is a fine idea.



I get careless on hybrid cars. It's really easy to get complacent. I try to do the right thing around others so they don't pick my bad habit.

I try to test the capacitor charge before I work on my amps. Luckily mine have resistors to bleed the caps off so I have never measured anything across them, however I do check every time.

Another note- upper body contracts when shocked- that's why you can't let go. So if you want to do the old school method and test by flicking the circuit(I DO NOT RECOMMEND) use the back if your fingers. Once shocked it will pull away.

The lower half of your body extends, if your leg was bent it will straighten.
#28
Quote by Kevin Saale
The jewelry thing is very important. Even if a shock isn't enough to kill you or hurt you seriously a piece of jewelry can change that. A minor shock can be turned into third degree burns buy some metal on your skin.

When we're taught to work on electronics in the Navy we can't wear any jewelry whatsoever, no watches, rings, or even dog tags.

Gold and silver are such great conductors too. It's like fashion has specifically chosen things that will **** you up.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#29
I believe Leslie Harvey of the Stone Crows was electrocuted by grabbing a microphone stand that was not properly grounded. There's a lot of juice flowing on a live stage. Be careful.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#30
Quote by Cathbard
Gold and silver are such great conductors too. It's like fashion has specifically chosen things that will **** you up.


lots of amp techs go to paris or milan fashion week
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#31
I wear macrame
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."