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What does it mean when I feel Electricity on touching a pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by cnltb, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Should I be feeling anything when touching an effect pedal that is plugged in?
    Should I connect the power supply to the wall only after all pedals are connected to it...or before...?
    Is there a right way and a wrong one?
  2. byrdzeye


    Mar 28, 2013
    Toronto, ON
    STOP using this setup immediately. It may just be an annoyance (we've all been there on cheap gear in our teens) or it could kill you. There is a grounding problem somewhere, and you need to figure that out before you hurt yourself. Do you get the feeling when just using your amp? Is the 110V outlet you are plugging into properly wired (use an inexpensive 3-prong tester to find out...I always have one with me). If you are using a powerbar, be sure to check it out...I've seen cheap ones miswired. If the house wiring is good and you get that from just your amp, take to a tech to have it's AC wire replaced and corrected. In all of these, it is not uncommon to find 2-wire AC cables and/or outlets wired in reverse (out of phase). If these are all good, it is somewhere in the effect pedal's wiring and the same thing applies (is it the correct power supply?): correct it first and/or just use batteries. Be safe and let us know how it goes.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    StarCrazy, Slater and BrentSimons like this.
  3. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    NO!!! There is a grounding issue somewhere.

    BrentSimons, blindrabbit and nshuman like this.
  4. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Are we talking about the lack of "feeling" in the metaphysical sense as in:

    "Guys, should I be feeling any emotion when I touch an effect pedal? Should I feel more complete?"

    Or in the electrical sense:

    "Guys, should I feel mild electrocution when I touch an effect pedal or any other music gear?"
  5. mdlewis


    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston Metro
    It means you've got good conduct, but you're still grounded.
    millahh likes this.
  6. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    It's the one in Bold and I do not always feel it when using pedals.
    So I will check what's up with grounding here.
    Using a one spot to run the pedals plugged into an extension lead.
    Will try going to the wall directly.

    Just now I noticed something else...
    Pedal plugged into the power, cable connected to the interface but NOT to the pedal.
    I touched the pedal and heard a change in the hum when hand is on as opposed to when it is off the pedal. Hum gone when pedal's connected to the interface...


    Btw; I'm not on 110( I think.) The one spot was bought here.

    Thanks all for your help!
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    To add to my previous post.
    I just noticed this when here at home.
    Like I said ;I'll first plug the onespot directly into the outlet in the wall without the extension lead(powerbar?).
  8. JonnyAngle

    JonnyAngle Dropping Acid Pedal Etching .com Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Maple Grove, MN
    Why don't you take a picture of your setup and post it? Sounds like you've got a ground loop going on.

    What kind of interface are you using? does it have phantom power?
    blindrabbit and nshuman like this.
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Don't put yer lips on it.
  10. Billy C.

    Billy C. Billy C.

    OK, I'll bet you are Playing IN YOUR BARE FEET!!! Though playing in your bare feet is something that I've noticed is now a very popular thing to do ( GOD only knows WHY???? ), You are risking your life doing so, put on some shoes and get your entire pedal board checked out ( preferably by someone who also is wearing shoes!!!!! ).
  11. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Please start videoing.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  12. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    Any chance you're using a "vintage" amp with a two-prong electrical plug? No, feeling a mild electric shock isn't normal, and can be very dangerous. Most like nothing to do with your pedals, pedalboard or power supply, it's most likely to be your amplifier that's the source of this "electricity".

    You are leaving out a lot of details that would be helpful....
    What amplifier are you using? Does it have a two or three pronged mains plug? Does it have a "polarity" switch?
    Where are you located? US? Europe? Somewhere else?
  13. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Set up:
    Onespot is now plugged into the outlet on the wall. Powering one pedal which is running to the interface, which in turn is running to a computer via usb..
    Passive bass plugged to pedal.

    When I just unplugged the pedal from the interface the difference in hum when touching the pedal was a lot less than what it was when I still used the extension lead but not completely gone.
    When touching the interface I also notices a slight change in hum. When the pedal is not connected to the interface again, hum is minimal and goes away completely when I touch the plug of the short cable that is connected to it or connect the bass, the hum goes away..
  14. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I only use two prong plugs when in Germany.
    No vintage amp-No amp at all, in fact...?
    Should I call my landlord and ask him to check the grounding of the mains?
    Even if it has nothing to do with the pedals...can it harm them?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  15. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Bump/ revive...

    Another , but related question; How are pedals grounded?

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