Electrical Safety Question

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
srmccann94
KVRer
7 posts since 8 May, 2019

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:10 pm

So I'm getting ready to purchase some recording gear, pedals, and analog synths. As of now I just have a midi keyboard and my desktop as far as music gear goes.

I'm living in a very old apartment (built in 1969) and the electrical situation here is questionable. The only outlet in my room is practically hanging out of the wall and generally seems to be very old. I have a surge protector hooked up, but I'm wondering if all my gear will be safe. Especially once I have an audio interface, pedals, synths, and my computer all hooked up to this one outlet.

Are there any concerns I should have regarding the electricity potentially damaging my gear? Or is any outlet in any home pretty much the same as long as I have a surge protector? Forgive my ignorance on the matter. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
24001 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:19 pm

If its hanging off the wall, why not fix it? That way you'll be safe(er).

FYI I run my whole studio from one socket, via several plugboards. Never had any issues with it in 20 odd years.
Last edited by thecontrolcentre on Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

resynthesis
KVRist
409 posts since 17 Sep, 2007 from Planet Thanet

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:20 pm

Get an electrician to look at it if you're that concerned and definitely if it's hanging off the wall.

Mains testers are also a useful tool for not much money; something along the lines of this:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winner-Mains-P ... GEMQQVTA20

BBFG#
KVRAF
5653 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:00 pm

Many years ago, I was a QC/A electrician.
So...
Where are you? Codes here have been pretty much standardized since the sixties and so then the other consideration would be what else is on the circuit? (Turn off the breaker and see what else has stopped working.) As long as it is property grounded and still fits tight, a simple surge protector or battery back up should be good. But other things on the same circuit if they aren't grounded can produce feedback hum. Definitely replace the plug if it's in question, they're usually only a buck or two. And if the box itself is the problem, they make a few options to extend it and give it a firmer backing.

JCJR
KVRAF
2627 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:17 pm

Electrical codes vary by geography as do landlord laws and such.

Wouldn't hurt to have it inspected by electrician. Depending on local law, if it doesn't meet code then regulations may require the landlord to pay for a fix.

Codes in some locations are grandfathered so a building only has to meet the codes as were written the year of construction or the last time it was rewired if it's been substantially rewired later than the construction date. So possible you could have a case where you wish it was wired better but it still meets 1969 codes or whatever. Super-dependent on where you live.

I can understand the grandfathering thang-- It would be a mess if city hall could update the codes and require every homeowner to spend thousands on rewiring just because some bureaucrat wrote new codes. OTOH codes generally make sense and code compliant will generally be safer than some random slipshod work conforming to no code.

So long as your circuit is at least 15 or 20 amps (assuming usa 120V circuit) and you don't have a bunch of floor heaters, microwave ovens, hair dryers etc on the same circuit then it is plenty for a pretty big collection of synths and a computer and monitor system.

It would be REAL DESIRABLE to have the socket proper wired with a proper third wire ground. UPS and surge suppressors will not work as advertised if the circuit doesn't have a solid ground with the hot and neutral wires on the correct outlet terminals.

If you can't get the outlet at least that good, then possibly it could risk the money spent on the electronics if you get a surge or nearby lightning strike or whatever. Sometimes even surge suppressors are not good enough to prevent damage, but if the outlet isn't proper wired even the surge suppressors won't work right.

BBFG#
KVRAF
5653 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:31 pm

State and local codes can exceed but not be less than national codes. Check wire size, breaker size and current load. Heaters should already be on their own separate circuit. But that won't cover additional space heaters, microwaves and such. But receptacles do wear out and can easily be replaced.

Forgotten
KVRist
161 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:17 pm

Where are you? Knowing your location will make a lot of difference, both in terms of landlord laws and electrical installation code.

A surge protector is generally protection against peak voltage surges that come from variation in the generation of AC voltage, but isn't likely to protect you from the dangers of a socket hanging out of the wall. Your personal safety is the biggest issue here, and you should ask the landlord to fix the outlet on safety grounds - there are probably relevant landlord/tenant laws that he/she is in violation of if broken electrical outlets aren't fixed.

srmccann94
KVRer
7 posts since 8 May, 2019

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:34 pm

Forgotten wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:17 pm
BBFG# wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:00 pm
I'm located in Boone, North Carolina. Thanks everyone for the input.

Forgotten
KVRist
161 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:32 am

srmccann94 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:34 pm
Forgotten wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:17 pm
BBFG# wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:00 pm
I'm located in Boone, North Carolina. Thanks everyone for the input.
You're only a couple of hours drive from me then (but different state)! You should have recourse to get your landlord to fix that then:
North Carolina General Statute 42-42(a)
(1) Comply with the current applicable building and housing codes;
(2) Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
(3) Keep all common areas of the premise in safe condition;
(4) Maintain in good and safe working order and promptly repair all electrical,
plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord provided that notification of needed repairs is made to the landlord in writing by the tenant except in emergency situations.
I'm pretty sure that in all US states (I was told that Arkansas is an exception) that landlords are responsible to ensure that all premises are up to code, so if the socket is hanging from the wall, then they should be doing something about that.

Mushy Mushy
KVRAF
11426 posts since 7 Sep, 2008

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:08 am

I wouldn’t be getting electrical/medical/etc advice off the internet. Just saying :shrug:
"I was wondering if you'd like to try Magic Mushrooms"
"Oooh I dont know. Sounds a bit scary"
"It's not scary. You just lose a sense of who you are and all that sh!t"

Forgotten
KVRist
161 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:14 am

Mushy Mushy wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:08 am
I wouldn’t be getting electrical/medical/etc advice off the internet. Just saying :shrug:
No?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7DOQWJe2Vs

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
45319 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:22 am

dont use your tongue to test stuff. rule 1.

Forgotten
KVRist
161 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:25 am

vurt wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:22 am
dont use your tongue to test stuff. rule 1.
This rule applies to so many things in life...

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
45319 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:26 am

Forgotten wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:25 am
vurt wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:22 am
dont use your tongue to test stuff. rule 1.
This rule applies to so many things in life...
that's why its number one!
before no killing n shit.

User avatar
BertKoor
KVRAF
11076 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: Electrical Safety Question

Post Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:51 am

One socket should be safe to provide 10A. On 110V that's rougly 1000 Watt. The average studio device needs maybe 5 or 30 Watt. So you can have lots and lots of them.
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