Outlets and grounds

I was reading on the wiki page about plugging all recording equipment into the same power strip, then plugging just the computer into a different strip. On a regular two plug outlet, would separation be adequate with two 6 way’s plugged into each plugs on the same outlet? Or should one of the strips be in a totally different wall?

What we’re trying to avoid is the situation that several church recordists have. Their computer is plugged into an outlet at one end of the church and the mixer and microphone system–and possibly the speaker amplifier is plugged into the other end – in completely different power.

Now assume the church was built during the reign of Henry IV and electrified just after Victoria left the throne.

Chances are, the wiring is completely unable to handle the services (pun intended) and nobody would be shocked (pun intended) to find out that the earth/ground system has three or four volts of power on it and it’s different depending on where you plug in and how many church lights are on. In extreme cases, you can get a tingle as you plug the sound connections in.

The complaint is always that the recorded shows have buzz and hum on them. Imagine my surprise.

I get that, too.

I don’t live in a fifteenth century church, but I do live in a house built in 1947 when they didn’t pay too much attention to power polarity, and grounds are a suggestion rather than solid copper wire. It pays me handsomely to plug everything in at the same outlet or outlet service.

When I move into a house I pull each fuse or breaker and figure out what each one does. Then I go around with a simple power checker…


There are conditions where these simple testers fail, but they tend to fail “safe.” They indicate problems when you’re probably OK. I always find at least one outlet wired backwards.

So the idea is to plug all your stuff into one electrical circuit, not always the same outlet (assuming your house isn’t 400 feet long on one circuit.

You know when you have problems because hum and buzz appear in the show and changes with different stuff plugged in.