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The "Death Cap" Thread...

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

  1. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Tele-Meister

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    No thread is safe from the obligatory "Americans are stupid" caustic remarks from people who should know better. Nearly everything since the late seventies is grounded, and as equipment is retired it's replaced with grounded product.
     
  2. Ike286

    Ike286 Tele-Holic

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    It's possible, regarding the supro bantam, that the transformer you see from the back is the power transformer and the output tranny is inside the chassis, I've seen amps with that before, and I assume you would have seen it, and I doubt it would have been done this way, but the output transformer could even be on the speaker, otherwise it probably needs a power transformer. :)
     
  3. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    An authorized Fender Service center may be the WORST place to take that amp !
    Might be great too but from what I've seen in my little part of the world I wouldn't bet my amp on it.

    Start a new thread and ask about techs in your area. There's just so many hacks out there that will ruin your amp.

    You might even be better off to send it to one of the techs on here.
     
  4. Telecasterless

    Telecasterless Friend of Leo's

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    Hypothetical here, but, does it really matter if you have a 3-prong cord if the outlet isn't grounded? :eek:

    Our house was built in '37. All the outlets are 3-prong type. When we bought the home, the inspector waved his wand over a bunch of outlets and said, "You need to fix this outlet because my wand is buzzing so it is not properly grounded...all the others in the house are fine though".

    Some time later I had an electrician over to do some work and asked him about it. He said if you don't have a ground wire in your wiring, and you don't create a ground at each outlet, then none of them are grounded, that simple.

    Perhaps the conversations in these threads assume everyone has updated wiring in their homes but seems to me a 3-prong plug, plugged into a 3 prong outlet that is not grounded to anything, isn't going to give you any special protection.

    Hmm, maybe it's time I looked into that wiring condition?:oops:
     
  5. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You're right, an ungrounded three prong outlet does little good. There's a minor (largely theoretical) advantage to the ungrounded three prong outlet as long as the hot and neutral conductors get connected to the right terminals, but it's a hard case to justify.

    If the amp was modified, at least the so-called Death Cap will have been removed. Bear in mind that there are a dozen or more components in the average amp that could still fail and cause a live chassis condition. This is when that solid ground becomes very important.
     
  6. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Outlet checkers are less than ten bucks at Home Depot or whatever. Just stick it in and look at the little lights.
     
  7. Timbertea

    Timbertea Tele-Holic

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    An outlet tester has saved me many a nasty potential shock. You would be amazed at what passes inspection for wiring in some of the older clubs in St Louis.
     
  8. brockw

    brockw TDPRI Member

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    Oh ****! I have a Harmony H415 that I was just going to put a grounded cord on. I had no idea about "the death cap" if I install a new cable, does the death cap need to be removed?
     
  9. Giufma

    Giufma TDPRI Member

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    I have a 60s amp that shock me through my guitar strings. It has doesn't have the third (ground) thing on the power cable and has the phase switch. Should I worry and stop playing it until I fix it or is there a chance that it doesn't have the death cap?
     
  10. RedRock

    RedRock Tele-Holic

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    Yes.
     
  11. RedRock

    RedRock Tele-Holic

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    If it shocks you, do not play it until you get a 3-conductor (grounded) ac cord
    installed.
    Have a repairman check it over, and if there is a "death cap"
    inside, have him remove it.
     
  12. Giufma

    Giufma TDPRI Member

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    Will do that. Thanks!
     
  13. LennartB

    LennartB Tele-Meister

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  14. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    That's the advantage of not inventing things. You get to follow the leader and avoid the problems the leader had.
     
  15. blackis

    blackis NEW MEMBER!

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    Is this the threaded deatch cap on my Royal Eleking 70:

    [​IMG]

    It is between the white/black cords. I have three prong lead ready to go, so should I just:

    a) solder the deatch cap out

    b) Solder out old lead and solder in new lead, and connect the ground wire to the mesh of wires connected to the transformers screw, marked green on the picture? And of course connecting the other two leads to original leads positions (fuse, 220<->240 V switch)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  16. Johnny Cache

    Johnny Cache Former Member

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    As a kid in garage bands playing on concrete floors bare foot. We used throw a piece of carpet on the ground to prevent getting shocked. But sometimes someone would forget step off the carpet and get zapped. I figured out how to check the polarity on our amps and PA so we wouldn't get shocked from the mic's or walking around bare foot. Didn't know about a "death cap" back then just knew how to prevent getting shocked. I'd say things have gotten better and safer since them.
     
  17. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  18. Johnny Cache

    Johnny Cache Former Member

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    For starters try reversing the plug. Lots of the old amps didn't have polarized plugs and lots of old houses didn't have polarized outlets.
     
  19. havis spann

    havis spann NEW MEMBER!

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    How much electrical music was created before the 3-prong? We were told to tap the mic before grabbing it.
     
  20. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

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    To this day I still gingerly tap the mic before performing, as I'm one of those people that tends to "eat" the mic while singing. It rarely happens anymore but back in the day if you got shocked you would flip the AC plug 180 degrees or flip the ground switch. I got a few NASTY shocks back in the day and once at a club I was so stunned we had to stop the song for a minute or two. Afterward, I realized I was lucky just to get an extremely painful shock instead of a trip to The Great Gig In the Sky.

    My current amp tech will not work on a vintage amp unless you agree to have a three-prong plug installed. Do I really care that my mint 1968 Ampeg Reverbojet isn't bone stock…when I know it won't shock the crap out of me or kill me?
     
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