No Ground in Apartment. Anything to fix noise?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by BlackwaterPark4, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    Just so you know, a GFCI won't protect you from getting shocked to death by your amp.
    There's enough energy stored in the amp when it's off to kill you, so if it doesn't have a path to ground it just stays stored in the amp.
    The GFCI is there to stop current leakage, but the amp can rip current through your body before the GFCI trips.

    Think of all the capacitors in the amp as a big-ol bunch of batteries.
    BTW, DC volts hurt worse (are more deadly) than equivalent AC volts, and capacitors store DC voltage.
     
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  2. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    Yup
    When I lived in an apt without grounded plugs I ran a line to the water pipe, soldered it on, and made a ground lead to a power conditioner plugged into one outlet that I ran all the electronics through.
     
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  3. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    Everything stated in this post is accurate.
     
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  4. BlackwaterPark4

    BlackwaterPark4 Member

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    Well that's why I got a wireless system as well so I'd be protected from that. I definitely didn't want to be plugged in directly to the amp with no ground.
     
  5. Otto Tune

    Otto Tune Member

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    Yes and no. I also have an old house and about half the outlets don't have a ground. Where my computer lives I installed a UPS and it showed a "ground fault". So I ran a ground wire through the wall to a 6' copper ground rod pounded all the way into ground water.
    I made a quad box with the A/C outlets and the new ground wire. Guess what? The UPS still indicates "Ground fault." Unless the ground is at the same potential as the neutral, it's not a real ground. As far as shock protection, I think it is.
     
  6. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Member

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    OP,

    I am in the same exact situation.

    I live in an apartment in San Francisco. None of my outlets are grounded. They have GFCI outlets, but no actual ground in the wall. I told my landlord about it and told him (I lied) that I got shocked by my amp and another appliance on two separate occasions. He told me not use that appliance anymore and to stop playing guitar. He is not required by law to fix the wiring. It sucks.

    I get lots of hum and buzz. If I go downstairs to my neighbor's unit that has new wiring, no noise. I sublet. So the master tenant in my unit has been there for decades. That means no remodel. The neighbors just moved in a year or so ago. So their unit was remodeled and a few of their outlets have real grounds (the ones the major appliances are run from—fridge, washer/dryer, etc.).

    You'd think that with all the over-reaching, and over-regulation that goes in CA, as well as SF, that something like this wouldn't exist.

    Unfortunately, nothing will fix the noise. You need an actual ground in the wall. Or run a wire from your outlet to some type of ground like a water pipe or something. I would do that, but I can't have a long cord running on the ground in my apartment. And the pipes are plastic.
     
  7. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

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    Finding a clean neutral is a whole nother story!
     
  8. fenderjapan

    fenderjapan World Heavyweight Champion Silver Supporting Member

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    Get an electrician in there. Seriously. Not an okay situation. I know thats not what you want to hear.
     
  9. fernieite

    fernieite Member

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    I'm in the same situation - old 1930s apartment building. Luckely however, when I was testing all the outlets for ground in the apartment, the stove 3 prong 110v auxiliary outlet was properly grounded!
    I use an extention cord and power my amps and effects with this. Not the prettiest or most convenient solution, but it's safe. ;)
     
  10. IM4Tone

    IM4Tone Member

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    As long as you fully understand the risks for electrical shock and accept them, I would try one of two things:
    1) Get one of those plug adapters that allow a three prong cord to be inserted, but has only 2 prongs to go into the plug. Plug it in 'upside-down' to reverse the polarity. I don't like this situation, but I once played a gig in a very old tavern and eliminated the noise in this way.
    2) As others have suggested, run a 'gnd' wire to a water pipe.

    Certainly is a safety issue, but OTO once upon a time tube amps had 2 prongs and a switch for polarity reversal, and disaster was not eminent!
     
  11. SpiritShooter

    SpiritShooter Supporting Member

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    I don't trust electricians. Some are good some will wire and do things the easiest and not always the best/correct way. If you have a friend who is an electrical engineer or architect, ask them to come over and take a look. The solution of getting a good ground to your electric panel/apartment may not be all that bad from a cost standpoint. Perhaps the Landlord will even split the cost as it benefits him as well.

    If installed, grounding really needs to be a central system within the structure. It's not safe or code to have multiple grounding systems.

    Another option, if the building is steel frame, there is a good probability that the steel frame is grounded, you may be able attach to that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  12. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    Would there be an available ground related to HVAC system?
     
  13. PurpleJesus

    PurpleJesus Internet Moderator/Super Hero Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Current code. Yes. Violation.

    Building built in early 1900s. Grandfathered in across the country in almost every municipality if just making repairs and no required update to building electrical unless "life safety" is involved. "Life safety", and how it's interpreted legally, is another debate. I'm just trying to give some context to the building owner's responsibility as I deal w this stuff all the time.

    The best solution is to ask them to ground ONE outlet. That most likely will not require a permit. The scope is so small they could just claim a "repair" instead of a "change/alteration". Cost would be $150ish. If they won't do that then the OP could pay to have it done himself and just not tell them. They won't notice. It'll just look like an outlet. $150 to get rid of hum would be the same thing as a lot of the other solutions....maybe cheaper.

    Or, you can try these at Wal-Mart or Lowe's. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/16644747?...75035&wl11=online&wl12=16644747&wl13=&veh=sem
     
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  14. northfortyrecords

    northfortyrecords Supporting Member

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    Yes check this. Is your amp sitting right next to an old CRT computer monitor by chance? Non flat screen TV? The hum and the buzz are two different sounds. That said, I have certain outlets in my house that cause the buzz (no fun kind of buzz unfortunately) when I'm not touching the strings
     
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  15. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    So many things make electric guitars buzz. Build a Faraday cage. Good conversation piece too!
     
  16. gtrplr71

    gtrplr71 Supporting Member

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    You Sue his ass one time he will care ALOT.
     
  17. cristo

    cristo Member

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    Most of my 1920's built house has 2 prong outlets, and one room even has the neutral/hot reversed
    compared to the rest of the house (ask me how that was discovered!).
    The kitchen and upstairs bathroom have 3-prong grounded and GFCI outlets,
    as they were remodeled 15 years ago. Parts of the basement and the outlet to my desktop have
    3-prong grounded outlets. It would be a nightmare to retrofit a ground to everything else.
     
  18. Ramblin Hymns

    Ramblin Hymns Member

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    Go to Electrician Talk web site and you can find what you can and can't do in English so you can understand and they will give the NEC references so you won't have to find them.
     
  19. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

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    When you get shocked and die and your family sues him for everything he owns, he will care.
     
  20. BlackwaterPark4

    BlackwaterPark4 Member

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    I am right next to a computer, yes, but an LED monitor and not a CRT monitor. I know it still causes buzzing but in my last apartment I didn't have this issue and was just as close to the computer. It was just a slight buzz and something I could live with in my other apartment. In this current place, the buzz is so loud that even my rackmount ISP decimator can't decimate the noise fully. Yes, it's that bad.

    For everyone saying I will get shocked - please read the OP where I said I got a wireless guitar system for this situation so I am not directly connected to the amp in any way in case of bad things happening.
     
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