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Outdoor gig horror story

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by JSK5String, Sep 19, 2010.

  1. JSK5String


    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    My band plays a fund raising Fall Festival at our lead player's kids' school every year, this was our 8th time doing it. It's an outdoor carnival type thing with all of the power coming from generators, which usually don't give us enough juice. This year we told them our power needs and they assured us we'd have enough juice.

    Well, we did have a massive generator all to ourseolves. The only problem was, we found out AFTER we turned our gear on to do a sound check, that the thing was putting out 165 volts. The lead player's Marshall popped it's fuse, everything else tripped their auto-protect circuits. After we found out the problem and had it corrected, we fired up everything again. Everything worked fine except for our two powered sub-woofers. They were dead. We tried everything we could think of. We even took the backs off to see if there was a reset switch inside. All that happened there was that I got shocked when I put my hand inside and felt around for the switch, even though they weren't plugged in to anything. The electrician told us that capacitors can hold onto a charge for about 15 minutes even when unplugged.

    The short version is that they never came back to life, so we played the gig without them. Everything else ended up going off fine, but I'm afraid we fried the subs. I'm going to call Carvin to see what they say before I take them in for a look at a place here in town.

    Not looking for replies or sympathy, I just needed to vent. Ugh!!!!! :atoz:
  2. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    Ouch. That doesn't sound too fun.

    Hopefully the subs aren't down for the count. Maybe its just a difficult to find fuse.
  3. JSK5String


    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    Hope so, as that was my goal when I got shocked w/o being plugged in. Tell you, what, I wasn't expecttingt that and it scared the $%*# out of me.
  4. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    This sounds like an insurance issue. Maybe not the school's but whomever rented out that faulty generator needs to pay up...
  5. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    A great reminder of why not to mess with circuits if you don't know how to drain a capacitor. THEY CAN KILL YOU!

    Glad you're ok, op. The great thing about these types of injuries is that you never hurt yourself the same way twice!
  6. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    If it was a "massive" genny, it probably was set up wrong. As I recall, some of the larger ones can be set for different voltages depending on needs. I'll have to check next time I work that gig to make sure.
  7. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    Thats' a bad wrap, it could have been a lot worse, do you know who was responsible for setting the Gen up? Whomever it was can't afford to be shoddy with that end of things.... a singer/ guitarist I work with occasionally got circuit looped at a local small venue, just after the last song of the night 'Thankyou for coming and goodni,....touches the mike with mouth...flash/bang, guitar strings melted, he was belted out, while he was on the deck, a bassist in the audience got up and switched the wall socket off, (News...bassist and guitarist in 'care' mix up :)) He involuntarily threw the guitar right over the bar, taken to hospital with a heartbeat like a 'jack in the box' and still has the six strings etched into his hand, lucky boy. Whomever set the volts on that Gen needs to be reminded for future reference, definitely. Glad it was just 'consumables', take it easy man, nice and easy ;)
  8. I played an outdoor gig this past weekend with power coming from an old ugly looking generator. And they had these beat up relatively thin gage extension cords running from it. Fortunately I had several heavy duty ones with me and we used those instead. I was a bit nervous about it at first, but it worked fine.
    That stinks that your subs got fried.
  9. Buy a voltmeter and test a generator or any other circuit that has to be put in especially for a gig before you plug anything in to it. I do lighting for a living and use generators alot. I've seen lights that were not even turned on "ghost" and have had 2000 dollar moving head fixtures get burned up because the generator was not working properly.

    Like you said good thing it was just consumables and not someone getting hurt.

  10. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Nothing says "dirty power" like an outdoor generator. I agree about buying a multimeter AND a polarity tester plug. The polarity tester will tell you if you are grounded. Otherwise wet grass and bare feet make a great ground path. :D

    I like the Carvin and Furman power strip I have that tells me the voltage of the source.
  11. Heh... Reminds me of high school... I had a series of crappy amps with electrical problems. Since I was too broke to get 'em fixed properly or buy a new one, I'd pull out the electronics and try to fix 'em my self. I can't tell you how many times I got jolted after they were pulled out of the socket.

    Those outdoor gigs thrown by non-professionals or people not normally in the entertainment business can be a real pain. I've never once shown up to one and had too much power provided.

    I learned very quickly that if you have the option, put any lighting systems or lights on a different circuit and generator. The lights draw way more power and pop breakers far faster then amps. I always would rather the lights go out with us still playing then for our or parts of our sound go out and not the lights.
  12. Not if it's from Carvin! I gotta say that I've always been pleased with how functional Carvin's products are, how stunningly durable they are, and how good they are with customer service when something does go wrong.
  13. +1000 on the testers!! And also to keeping lighting and your gear on separate circuits, if only to keep hum at bay. (Another thing to beat hum is to not run lighting and audio cables side-by-side. Keep them away from each other. If you have to cross them, do it at right angles.)

    My testers go everywhere in my possibles bag. Even to house parties - you never know.... Glad you're OK!
  14. They can actually hold a charge forever.

    I took apart a 10-year old throwaway to get the film out. Bought it ten years ago, lost it, figured I could get it developed just for kicks.

    The flash capacitor gave me a shock strong enough to make me yell and actually see flashes in my eyes.

    I am glad you are fine. You could have lost your fingers. Which I know you'd like to keep.
  15. DaLoCo


    Jun 16, 2010
    South Africa
    Hmmm...on this note, never hold on to a lawnmower's plug wire and turn the starter rope pulley......I came to my senses lying against a wall about five feet away...arm became useable again after about six hours....
  16. I can't help it... Hahahahahahaha..... been there, done that.
    Except i got zapped by a Joe Hunt Magneto... bout a 6 inch arc.

    now back to your regularly scheduled thread
  17. WayneS


    Apr 9, 2007
    My jerk uncle (a great guy) asked me to hold the terminal that connects to the spark plug on his mower. Said he needed to check something. Then the bastard pulled the cord! This was years ago... I was but a wee lad! Good times!
  18. I'm told that back in the day at the old British Aircraft Corporation plant in Weybridge they'd "bait" the new guys - not by sending them to the stores for a "long weight" (wait) or for a can of "tartan paint" - but by holding onto a live power cable and saying "pass me that screwdriver please!".

    BTW the UK mains is 240V, not 110v as it is in the US - OUCH!!
  19. Thanks for the out loud laugh at your expense.
  20. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Although I've never had to, I think you can drain a capacitor by putting the metal of a screwdriver across both ends of the capaictor and making sure you're hanging onto the rubber handle.
  21. Primary

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