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The "Death Cap" Thread...

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by cklingo, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I cannot believe it's 2011 and the US still hasn't woken up to the fact every bit of equipment needs grounding for safety.... and power circuits need an earth circuit...

    we've always had 3 prong in OZ.. my dad was a Valve tech and was always building /repairing electrical gear in his home workshop... the FIRST thing I learned about circuits and chassis and AC wiring is is HAS to be grounded.. the green wire solders/bolts to the chassis, FIRST, before you even think about firing it up/testing.....
    . with the 3 prong green earth wire system all through the house for power circuits.. and grounded near the meter box with the green wire attached to a 4 foot+ 1/2" copper spike driven into the ground.... the earth.. or to the metal waterpipe from the street where it comes above ground to your connections..
    having been zapped by our 240V a few times... I'm very cautious about earth wire connections being in good nick/rock solid...

    mandatory in Oz....
     
  2. InyoTim

    InyoTim Tele-Meister

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    I've had the pee waddlin' snot knocked out of me a few times myself. The worst was when my father-in-law asked me to check the juke box in his bar to see if I could figure out what was wrong with it. I didn't know jack about electronics, but like a fool I pulled the covers off and reached in wiggling wires. I got hold of what I now know was the B+ voltage. That made sparks shoot out of my ears.
     
  3. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks SoK66, I will try it then...
     
  4. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Went to Ace to buy a 3 wire cord for my BFDR today. The guy at the store tells me not to do it because the amp chassie is suppose to have 120 volts on it. I try to tell him it should be grounded otherwise you can have 120 volts on your guitar.(checked this with the amp switched off ! flip the plug and you don't) We go round and round for awhile.
    Anyways after he tells me he's been working on Fender amps for over 40 years (he's maybe 50). I buy the damm cord and leave.
    Two things I hate.
    1- Know it alls. That can't explain what thay know. Thay just know it.
    2-Getting shocked. That I can fix.

    Could be he wired his house as& backword ?
     
  5. donh

    donh Tele-Afflicted

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    He apparently wants you to die!

    /I have no use for this sort
    //evar
    ///stand back and watch them light up!
     
  6. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    donh
    You maybe right he may want me to die ! He aint the first.
    No I talked to him long enuf to figure out he's just that stupid.
     
  7. InyoTim

    InyoTim Tele-Meister

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    He sounds like a few gun shop commandos that I've had offer their "expert" advice.
     
  8. fly135

    fly135 Tele-Holic

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    That's why he works at Ace instead of fixing amps. I had a friend who worked at Ace. He didn't know jack s**t.
     
  9. Tellebelly

    Tellebelly TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, the red paint on one side of the plug is old school, but still you never knew if the club owner had his bozo brother -in -law do the wiring!
    They didn't have them around when I was starting out, but polarity checkers have saved a lot of nasty zaps, for sure. However, unless you're running three wire you can still get a pretty bad poke! IMHO, never combine a 2- prong amp, a cement floor, and damp shoes (like just coming in from outside). Also, 2-prong can be wicked dangerous on an outdoor stage. Especially with a sizeable P.A. system. Simply put, Don't Get Hurt. Switch it over, keep the old parts!
     
  10. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

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    The only amps that should retain 2 prongers and death caps should be on display in a museum, not plugged in and being used.
     
  11. bob barcus

    bob barcus Tele-Meister

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    Who will fix my Death Cap for $25.

    I live in So Cal are there any good honest techs any one knows...I have had some bad dealings:confused:
     
  12. CoolBlueGlow

    CoolBlueGlow Tele-Afflicted

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    Trev 333,

    Well, if we want to be really precise about it - actually there are lots of pieces of audio equipment that have 2 prong plugs and are perfectly safe. I'm talking about those modeling amps and modules powered with wall warts. If you look close, you'll see that those wal-warts almost universally have two prong plugs... POLARIZED two prong plugs. :)

    Of course, they're perfectly safe because the entire chassis of the device is isolated from hot by the transformer's windings. In combination with the polarized two prong plug, the danger of AC incursion is so minimal that the manufacturer and Underwriters Labs both think the risk is negligible.

    Beyond that, you're absolutely right. Gear with 120/240 AC cables should have an accessory safety ground and a polarized plug.

    Cheers,

    CBG
     
  13. StephaninMelb

    StephaninMelb Banned

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    The essay below is from the book "Pulphead," by John Jeremiah Sullivan. I read this yesterday and seeing this thread I'd like to share this with anyone that uses or works with guitar tube amplifiers. It is the story of John's brother, "Worth, (Ellisworth), a musician, who was electrocuted by his Gibson tube amp through a microphone. The 1st string and fret of his guitar were burned into palm of his hand and the microphone was pulled towards his chest where the surge of electricity stopped his heart. Worth went into a near death state and fortunately was revived by paramedics. He then was in a coma for days followed by a long period where his brain didn't function correctly. A small excerpt:

    Electrical safety around guitar tube amps is a serious matter and all players and anyone technically working on a live amp should take every precaution. No joke...

    It is an interesting story and it is great that Worth eventually had a full recovery.

    Feet In Smoke: A Story About Electrified Near-Death
    from Deadspin

    www.deadspin.com/5881337/feet-in-smoke-a-story-about-electrified-near+death
     

    Attached Files:

  14. '59Tele

    '59Tele TDPRI Member

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    The limits of my electrical knowledge and understanding will doubtless be made apparent by my question, but here goes anyway. I recently dug my '62 Princeton* out of deep storage, not having played it in nearly 15 years. It's all original and I'd like to keep that way as much as possible, but I also want to be able to play it without risking death. I've only just learned about the danger associated with the 2-prong plug and the ground switch cap. As an alternative to the death cap / 3-prong cord mod, would the introduction of a fuse between the cap and the transformer mounting screw afford the desired protection by preventing it from shorting to the chassis? If so, the amp can be used safely, and should the need or desire ever arise the less invasive surgery could easily be reversed to preserve the amp's vintage.

    * Pawn shop purchase, 1964 - $35 package deal for the amp and a Kent, single pickup solid body with a neck like an oak tree.
     
  15. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

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    what if you live in a country with just 2 prong (220v) plugs? worried.
     
  16. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    59 Tele that amp needs service any way the cap can and rest of the electrolytics are are shot. Yeah I know it works fine trust me it's not working fine. If your going to use it get all the E caps replaced have every thing checked out and have a three prong cord installed.

    As far as countrys with 220 I have no idea. There's guy on here that will though.
     
  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    You are overthinking this IMO. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. The mod you propose is just as invasive as the conventional approach. A fuse will allow the flow of power until it blows - in the meantime you are part of the circuit. Note also that your death cap fuse will not protect you against the simple polarity error (plug backwards in socket). Finally, you still ought to replace the filter, bias, and bypass caps based on their age. Check out Wally's post from the beginning of the thread:

     
  18. TheRumRunner

    TheRumRunner Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks fine to me...lol

    [​IMG]

    Goodness...

    [​IMG]

    Hmmm...

    [​IMG]

    Betterness...

    [​IMG]

    Good for another 50 years....
    [​IMG]

    DW
     
  19. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is exactly right. The three wire cord and the modifications to make the amp safe are cheap compared to the rest of the likely cost to get the amp going. There's no reason not to do it.
     
  20. '59Tele

    '59Tele TDPRI Member

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    Thanks all for the quick response, excellent advice, and mostly for the show of respect of not laughing me off this forum. You've convinced me based on safety and age related issues that the amp needs a complete tune up. Since I'm not up to doing the work myself is an authorized Fender service center the best way to go? I'm away from my home base / comfort zone and don't know anyone locally. Well, not anyone I trust in any case - I had a local shop install electrics in my 12 string and they somehow managed to remove all its angels...came back lifeless and sad.
     
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