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Author Topic: Old church panels  (Read 2583 times)

Mike Sokol

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Old church panels
« on: June 23, 2014, 08:13:07 am »

Just saw this yesterday at a little church that asked me to look at their PA system. The sound from the worship service was no longer feeding to the overhead speaker in the nursery. Here's a picture of the 70-volt routing panel I found in the bottom of the rack. While most of the sound gear was of pretty recent vintage (maybe 10 years old), this panel looks like it was built in the 60's. All I had to do was flip the proper switch "on" and then the nursery speaker worked. The old guy running the sound said they never touched those switches so he didn't know how it got turned off.  :o

I took a quick look in the basement at the fused service panels and almost fainted. But I had my Fluke VoltAlert in my pocket and ran a quick check looking for any hot chassis on the sound gear, and everything appeared to be grounded. Thank heavens for small favors.

Maybe some day I'll look at the entire electrical system and suggest an upgrade, but this church was built in the late 1800's so I'm sure there's going to be K&T wiring in the plaster walls everywhere.
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Mike Sokol
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 10:56:41 am »

Switches and settings that "no one ever touches" can be a real troubleshooting nightmare-especially when buried on some obscure software page-you were lucky this a toggle switch-doubly so that it was a marked toggle!

At least around here, old commercial buildings are more likely to have rigid conduit than K & T.  If your luck holds, that is somewhat easier to upgrade.  Though grounding is still typically rather haphazard by todays standards.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 11:06:55 am »

Switches and settings that "no one ever touches" can be a real troubleshooting nightmare-especially when buried on some obscure software page-you were lucky this a toggle switch-doubly so that it was a marked toggle!

At least around here, old commercial buildings are more likely to have rigid conduit than K & T.  If your luck holds, that is somewhat easier to upgrade.  Though grounding is still typically rather haphazard by today's standards.

I like the little monitor speakers behind the grid/grill with a rheostat volume control. Stereo, do you suppose? Hah!  :)

What worries me is the plaster walls. Drywall is easy enough to deal with, but plastering can get pretty expensive to do it right. But you're correct, if it does have rigid conduit in the walls, then it should be possible to pull in new wire and get everything properly grounded. There's a hum in the system they're hinting that I should help them solve, so I'll need to take a really close look at whatever grounds exist in the building and go from there. But considering the state of some of the receptacles that appear to be 50 year old brown bakelite, I have a feeling this will not be simple or cheap to bring up to modern standards. I'll get one of my local electrician buddies to stop by with me and see if he wants to quote on the job since I don't normally handle the wire/conduit runs. Guess I'm getting soft in my old age... 8)
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2014, 11:10:41 am »

I like the little monitor speakers behind the grid/grill with a rheostat volume control. Stereo, do you suppose? Hah!  :)

What worries me is the plaster walls. Drywall is easy enough to deal with, but plastering can get pretty expensive to do it right. But you're correct, if it does have rigid conduit in the walls, then it should be possible to pull in new wire and get everything properly grounded. There's a hum in the system they're hinting that I should help them solve, so I'll need to take a really close look at whatever grounds exist in the building and go from there. But considering the state of some of the receptacles that appear to be 50 year old brown bakelite, I have a feeling this will not be simple or cheap to bring up to modern standards. I'll get one of my local electrician buddies to stop by with me and see if he wants to quote on the job since I don't normally handle the wire/conduit runs. Guess I'm getting soft in my old age... 8)

The hidden costs of deferred maintenance.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Jerome Malsack

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 12:26:37 pm »

Looks like the home brew of the commercial Equal. 

http://www.vintagealtecinfo.com/Altec%20Amplifier%20Accessory%201.html
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 12:37:41 pm »

The hidden costs of deferred maintenance.

Are you talking about the electrical system or my knees?  ;D
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2014, 01:06:38 pm »

Are you talking about the electrical system or my knees?  ;D

Yes, yes I am. ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Frank DeWitt

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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 02:27:32 pm »

Assuming the Knob and tube stuff is running at or below rated current and has not been added to in bad ways, why replace it?

I am not saying you shouldn't, just asking.  I realize there is no safety ground.

Frank
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Re: Old church panels
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2014, 02:27:32 pm »


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