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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => AC Power and Grounding => Topic started by: Mark McFarlane on March 15, 2015, 03:13:28 pm

Title: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 15, 2015, 03:13:28 pm
I'm doing a gig next week with a band out of France.  I'm providing synths/backline/drums/FOH and monitor consoles, splitter, speakers,..


They are bringing a box full of IEM systems, pedal boards,... with 'French plugs'.


France uses CEE 7/5 sockets and 7/6 plugs, where the grounding pin actually protrudes from the outlet.  The only outlets and adaptors I can find locally that are even close are the universal euro style outlet.  The building outlets are NEMA 6-20Rs. I have found extension cords that go NEMA to Universal Euro, and Universal Euro power strips. 


This means no ground for any French 7/6 plugs that show up, if any, but I suspect their misc gear will probably have 2 prong plugs anyway,... or not.


Any problems with IEMs and pedal boards not having the safety ground?  If there is, I am probably SOL, or will try to get an order off to the States and shipped here within a week which will be really expensive.


Oh ya, and advancing the gig has been a real struggle over the past 2 months, using an interpreter who doesn't understand anything tech.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 15, 2015, 03:18:34 pm
If the original equipment manufacturer built the product with a grounded plug, it needs to plugged into a grounded outlet. When (US) products do not use grounded plugs the primary wiring is double insulated.

If the product is built expecting an equipment safety ground, not using one could (?) expose the customer to danger from a primary system fault.

I do not know for a fact, but do not expect european standards to be less rigorous than US standards.

JR
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Andrew Broughton on March 15, 2015, 05:04:50 pm
I'm not an electrician, but check your power supplies for the square-inside-a-square symbol showing double-insulation. It's a fair bet that any power supply encased completely in plastic is likely to be double-insulated.
Presence of a grounding plug is not always proof of non double insulation.
My laptop power supply is double insulated but also has a grounding AC cord.

That being said, I would always use grounded cabling regardless. I held up many a soundcheck in China while creating a ground for the equipment.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on March 15, 2015, 05:18:50 pm
Lots of gear will work without  a ground, even if they were made with a ground pin  (just rewired a house where a guy had used a bunch of those duplex to 6 receptacle adapters-all with ground pins removed because duplexes were 2 wire-a far as I know it was like that for years and never killed anyone).  The problem -IMO- is that as soon as you start making the call as to whether or not you need a ground, the responsibility becomes yours instead of the manufacturer's.

So the question has different answers depending on whether technical is the driving question or legal liability.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on March 16, 2015, 12:17:00 pm
If the original equipment manufacturer built the product with a grounded plug, it needs to plugged into a grounded outlet. When (US) products do not use grounded plugs the primary wiring is double insulated.

Not necessarily true. If the OEM built a product WITHOUT a grounded plug, it may be old gear that SHOULD have been equipped with a grounded plug. Interestingly, portable lamps in North America typically have only a two-prong ungrounded plug, even if the lamp is made of metal, yet they don't necessarily meet the standard for "double insulated." Table lamps are required to have a polarized plug.

Double-insulated devices won't need a SAFETY ground, but they may require a TECHNICAL ground to abate noise issues and RF emissions. Double insulated devices may or may not have polarized cords.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 16, 2015, 12:27:07 pm
Sure the products with grounded plugs will work without that EGC connected to a safety ground but you are ignoring a level of protection that might be important when human performers are involved. Further if the grounded line cords are plugged into a grounded outlet strip, BUT that strip is not plugged into a grounded outlet, any primary fault in any one of those products will energize the chassis of all of the products plugged into that same outlet strip.

Caveat, I am mainly talking about modern audio equipment with mains line cords.

JR
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Steve M Smith on March 16, 2015, 12:28:31 pm
The building outlets are NEMA 6-20Rs.
Is this a 230v outlet?

I do not know for a fact, but do not expect european standards to be less rigorous than US standards.
Just as stringent I would think, although you are less likely to find someone enforcing it over here.  That's not a reason to break the rules though.

 
Steve.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: John Roberts {JR} on March 16, 2015, 12:41:08 pm
Is this a 230v outlet?
Just as stringent I would think, although you are less likely to find someone enforcing it over here.  That's not a reason to break the rules though.

 
Steve.

Back in the day I designed products for world markets and I recall at least one transformer test (insulation breakdown over time and temperature) that  was more stringent for european markets, than domestic.

JR
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 16, 2015, 12:56:51 pm
Yes. 220 volt. (Actually ive measured up to 242volt).   I'll post all the gear tomorrow after I have time to go through the 80 or so emails I've had with the band and interpreter
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 17, 2015, 10:10:23 am
OK, here's what the band is bringing in the way of 220V gear (all my backbone and FOH stuff is 110V):
and I'm bringingI have some UK style IEC cords I can bring (that will properly ground) for the synths that take IEC, one synth uses a two-wire (little circular plug at the keyboard side) AC-AC brick. It looks like I will be OK, I can't imagine the pedal boards really needing to be grounded, pedal boards I have worked with use ungrounded power supplies,...
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Frank Koenig on March 17, 2015, 01:18:38 pm
Can you ask the band to pick up a few (grounding) outlet strips from their homeland so that you can snip off the plugs and attach (grounding) plugs that fit your facilities?

I'm aware there may be problems with this, like what if they forget or they're coming from some other country with its own power style, but it's just a thought. If it works it becomes part of your kit for next time.

--Frank
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 18, 2015, 10:18:59 am
Can you ask the band to pick up a few (grounding) outlet strips from their homeland so that you can snip off the plugs and attach (grounding) plugs that fit your facilities?

I'm aware there may be problems with this, like what if they forget or they're coming from some other country with its own power style, but it's just a thought. If it works it becomes part of your kit for next time.

--Frank
A good idea frank, for a month ago.  I'm fairly certain they are already mid-tour.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Steve M Smith on March 18, 2015, 10:40:28 am
Two thoughts:

1.  Is it possible that they have already thought about this and are bringing adaptors with them?

2.  Would a few of these work? http://internationalconfig.com/icc6.asp?item=30120


Steve.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 18, 2015, 05:55:25 pm
Two thoughts:

1.  Is it possible that they have already thought about this and are bringing adaptors with them?

2.  Would a few of these work? http://internationalconfig.com/icc6.asp?item=30120


Steve.

That link is a Schuko  to NEMA 6-15P. It's close, Schuko is German.  France's plugs have a hole for the ground, and the ground is actually a rod that sticks out the the receptacle. (think recessed male XLR with one pin). Its too close to the gig to order anything.

We'll see if the band brings something.It's an indoor gig, I can replace the cords on all the synths, so that just leaves the pedal boards and IEM's potentially ungrounded.  I've already informed the band that I can only provide the Universal style outlet strips, assuming the interpreter forwarded that info.

Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Stephen Swaffer on March 18, 2015, 11:16:44 pm
 Make sure you have wire nuts and electrical tape handy-they always work ;D.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Steve M Smith on March 19, 2015, 03:42:38 am
That link is a Schuko  to NEMA 6-15P. It's close, Schuko is German.  France's plugs have a hole for the ground, and the ground is actually a rod that sticks out the the receptacle.

That shows my ignorance then!  I assumed that most of Europe (except us) used the same outlet.

Make sure you have wire nuts and electrical tape handy-they always work
Twisting wires together and taping up - also known as a universal connector!



Steve.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 19, 2015, 05:38:24 am

That shows my ignorance then!  I assumed that most of Europe (except us) used the same outlet.

There appears to be at least a half-dozen Euro-country specific standards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Steve M Smith on March 19, 2015, 06:58:34 am
You might find that your French band has CEE 7/7 plugs which are compatible with both the French CEE system and the more widely used German Schuko.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets#/media/File:CEE_7-7.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets#/media/File:CEE_7-7.jpg)

Again, showing more ignorance, I thought this was the standard in most of Europe as all European plugs I have seen have been like this.  It gets its ground connection, either from the French protruding pin or the German side contacts.

I made up a British four way socket block to one of these a few years ago for my wife to take to France and it worked and a musician friend took it on a tour of European countries with no problems.


Steve.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 19, 2015, 07:12:36 am
I asked and sent them a picture of the CEE 7/6 plugs and thats what they said they used.  Of course, this is all through a promoter/interpreter. We'll see next Thursday what they actually show up with. :)

I'm still waiting (3 weeks) on the channel list so I can preprogram FOH and monitor land to drive 7 IEMS and 3 wedges.  We only have 2.5 hours to set up FOH and Backline and sound check before doors open, but I am working on getting storage so at least we can ship and unpack everything the day before.  I hired out a drum tech/roadie and an A2 for the gig, the band is bringing their own monitor and FOH engineer.

To be honest, this is my most complex gig (demanding artists) to date and even with a month of planning, getting the required info has been like pulling teeth.  I should have charged an extra $1,000 as a 'frustration' fee.

Hopefully the show quality will exceed the hassle.
Title: Re: What gear requires safety grounds ?
Post by: Mark McFarlane on March 28, 2015, 05:14:02 am
Thanks folks. The gig went well, no animals were harmed and no one was electrocuted. The IEM transmitter rack was the only thing that didn't get a proper safety ground, and I think the IEM transmitters were all 2-prong devices.