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Thread: What to do when playing in countries with no ground installation?

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    Exclamation What to do when playing in countries with no ground installation?

    Hello all, despite appearances to the contrary, this is not a joke. I am currently staying in Bolivia, where all but the most recently built buildings have no earth/ground installation. Not only that, but it seems that the majority of household appliances only have a two prong plug and obviously the same goes for the sockets. I am a guitarist, and the opportunity came up to play in a few clubs. The problem is two-fold - first of all as nothing is grounded, there is an obvious hazard to all but those using devices with no metal parts (a few keyboards, for example), but an equally untenable problem for me is the noise distortion produced in my equipment. I have some pretty professional effects units, but I cannot even really hear what they should sound like, as unless I am actually resting my right hand on the strings, with the volume way down, the hum is so intense that everything just sounds horrible, and even with my hand touching the bridge constantly everything sounds unclear and distorted and without sustain, unless I plug direct into the amp itself. Only the very latest built buildings seem to have any earth apart from the shower units. Most of these do not even have the ground wire connected to anything. I have received shocks several times when taking a shower in a hotel - so this is a really serious problem for me.
    Aside from this, whilst on tour in Antigua several years ago (an island just south of Miami), I found myself in a very similar situation, except that we were playing outside, when it started to rain. I received a nasty shock from the guitar strings, and I now know that I probably had a narrow escape from being fried, as I was playing through a potent all valve amplifier.
    Someone suggested sticking a metal pole in the ground, then connecting it via a wire to the extension cables to which the appliances were connected, but is there any other means of insulating myself aside from that? Unless I end up purchasing my own property, I cannot make any permanent changes to the wiring where I am staying, and wherever I go there seems to be the same problem. That said, I actually live in Spain, and experience pretty much the same problem there, so it is by no means limited to so-called 'third world' countries.
    I much appreciate any helpful feedback to this post. Thank you in advance.

    David

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    Suggestions:

    1) Hire a stunt double
    2) Run a wire to a grounding stake or you can often connect to metal plumbing
    3) In some countries where there is a hot and neutral you can test with a meter and use the neutral as a ground. DO NOT trust that the outlet is wired properly!
    4) In countries with two hots, 3) would be a really bad idea.

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    Supporting Member gbono's Avatar
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    GFI power strip Amazon.com: Designers Edge L-818 GFCI Power Strip with 6-Foot Cord Model: Home Improvement

    That's assuming your are in a country with 120V mains voltage. Worst case it will keep you from being shocked though this will not solve your ground issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m-fine View Post
    Suggestions:

    1) Hire a stunt double
    2) Run a wire to a grounding stake or you can often connect to metal plumbing
    3) In some countries where there is a hot and neutral you can test with a meter and use the neutral as a ground. DO NOT trust that the outlet is wired properly!
    4) In countries with two hots, 3) would be a really bad idea.
    Thank you m-fine, I think I will await further confirmations from other posters before I take any action. I find it difficult to accept that any government anywhere would permit electrical installations which endanger the lives of both their own citizens and other foreign visitors, but at least this experience has served as an eye-opener for me. But there must exist some means of creating an effective ground connection in such a situation - I cannot believe that everyone simply accepts the status quo and hopes for the best....my Bolivian wife says that everyone takes a shower wearing rubber soled flipflops....as if that is going to help!
    How can I find out whether 4) is the case in South American countries?
    The amp I am using is made by Washburn, and only has a two prong plug - even if the building were wired with a ground at the outlets, the amp would still not be earthed - is this normal? I have read that typically, pre-war amplifiers were protected by a capacitor, would that also be the case with this amplifier? How can I know which is the correct way to plug the plug into the outlet - there is no way to distinguish +/- either at the plug or outlet, as all the outlets are the same, simply having two prongs like an electric shaver outlet? Will this affect the amount of noise (hum) produced?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbono View Post
    GFI power strip Amazon.com: Designers Edge L-818 GFCI Power Strip with 6-Foot Cord Model: Home Improvement

    That's assuming your are in a country with 120V mains voltage. Worst case it will keep you from being shocked though this will not solve your ground issue.
    Thank you gbono, unfortunately the voltage here is 220v, but I expect that a similar device exists for 220/240v countries, so I will start googling for that.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truthseeker57 View Post
    I find it difficult to accept that any government anywhere would permit electrical installations which endanger the lives of both their own citizens and other foreign visitors
    Welcome to Europe! Oh wait, Bolivia isn't in the EU, but Spain is. We have a guy here based in Argentina who will probably have some views on the matter. But probably too foul to print

    The textbook solution would be to get a large isolating transformer capable of running all your gear. Run your whole setup through the transformer. The hot and neutral are now completely floating, connected to nothing else. This might mitigate the hum problem to start with.

    If not, you can ground your stuff to a pole hammered into the ground, a water pipe or whatever. The isolating transformer allows you to have your own separate ground. But you then lose the safety aspect of isolation, so you better not touch the PA or any of the other musicians! (I know of a bassist who got electrocuted this way, and that's in the UK, which has three-pin plugs throughout.)

    A wireless guitar system might help too.

    In 230V countries, the power is usually distributed as a four-wire, three-phase supply. That's three phases and a neutral: there is 400V between any two of the three phase wires, and 230V between any phase wire and neutral. (Please don't ask why the voltages don't add up.) So, normally one pin of any two-pin outlet is a neutral, with only a small voltage on it relative to the actual earth. Hence, the old "death cap" trick might actually work!

    But bear in mind that many European countries (and probably Bolivia) have plugs that fit either way round, hence no guarantee that neutral is always neutral. The old American amps had a "death switch" too for this very reason: you flipped it to see which way gave least hum.

    Also bear in mind that if the system is wired wrongly, any pin could be at any voltage relative to anything else. Sometimes it just sucks to be an electric guitarist.

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    Last edited by Steve Conner; 01-08-2011 at 05:37 PM.
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

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    Senior Member ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Buy some good insulative shoes.

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    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truthseeker57 View Post
    ... I find it difficult to accept that any government anywhere would permit electrical installations which endanger the lives of both their own citizens and other foreign visitors...my Bolivian wife says that everyone takes a shower wearing rubber soled flipflops....as if that is going to help!...
    I was once in a shower in Costa Rica that used an electric water heater device installed in the shower head pipe line. The switch to turn it on was mounted on the shower stall wall above the shower head. It was an old style exposed contact knife switch.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
    Welcome to Europe! Oh wait, Bolivia isn't in the EU, but Spain is. We have a guy here based in Argentina who will probably have some views on the matter. But probably too foul to print

    The textbook solution would be to get a large isolating transformer capable of running all your gear. Run your whole setup through the transformer. The hot and neutral are now completely floating, connected to nothing else. This might mitigate the hum problem to start with.

    If not, you can ground your stuff to a pole hammered into the ground, a water pipe or whatever. The isolating transformer allows you to have your own separate ground. But you then lose the safety aspect of isolation, so you better not touch the PA or any of the other musicians! (I know of a bassist who got electrocuted this way, and that's in the UK, which has three-pin plugs throughout.)

    A wireless guitar system might help too.

    In 230V countries, the power is usually distributed as a four-wire, three-phase supply. That's three phases and a neutral: there is 400V between any two of the three phase wires, and 230V between any phase wire and neutral. (Please don't ask why the voltages don't add up.) So, normally one pin of any two-pin outlet is a neutral, with only a small voltage on it relative to the actual earth. Hence, the old "death cap" trick might actually work!

    But bear in mind that many European countries (and probably Bolivia) have plugs that fit either way round, hence no guarantee that neutral is always neutral. The old American amps had a "death switch" too for this very reason: you flipped it to see which way gave least hum.

    Also bear in mind that if the system is wired wrongly, any pin could be at any voltage relative to anything else. Sometimes it just sucks to be an electric guitarist.
    Thanks Steve for your constructive comments, I too hail from Old Blighty, and I know that even with our seemingly failsafe system things can and do still go wrong....
    Your suggestion of a transformer sounds expensive - even here ....To the best of my knowledge, however unbelievable, the wiring here is bi-phase, and the only earth in older properties like the majority of houses and public facilities only has an earth for appliances such as showers, which are installed in such a way as to make it pretty much impossible to avoid water entering the electrical fittings, and in more than one instance I have actually had to shower in hotels and houses in which the actual connection from the electric shower unit and the installation itself was connected by a small non-insulated box type connector with the screws exposed at a distance of no more than a couple of inches from the shower unit itself....and in one case the phase was reversed, resulting in the tap itself being live. And before we start talking about third world countries, let me say that I actually now live in Spain, where I had to totally rewire my house, because the wiring was actually starting to overheat to such a degree that I narrowly escaped a fire. And despite having an earth connection to the main junction box, there was no earth connection anywhere within the house itself, and this is known to be pretty common for any but the most recently built houses. Forgive my rant, but my short stay in Bolivia has opened my eyes to a few home truths, and in many ways it is far more developed than Spain, just too impoverished to make the necessary changes, rather than too lackadaisical as is the case in Spain.
    You are right...it does suck to be an electric guitarist, or even an acoustic guitarist, as the same applies to both in such conditions....but it is worse for the singers who have to use old fashioned mikes, they are the ones who have the highest mortality rate - even worse when combined with an electric guitar of course!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Phillips View Post
    I was once in a shower in Costa Rica that used an electric water heater device installed in the shower head pipe line. The switch to turn it on was mounted on the shower stall wall above the shower head. It was an old style exposed contact knife switch.
    See my previous post - all the shower units in Bolivia use this system - now imagine making the connections with the connector I describe at a distance of a couple of inches from the shower unit - I can send photos if you like.....here the installation switches are mounted on the wall beside the shower head which contains the actual appliance. There is a hose connected which can easily come off, and if it does you have a live shower! I know because it happened to me the first night we spent in a hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

    Doesn't really help resolve my present predicament though - let's keep this focused please.

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    Just one word of caution. I live in Sweden and the law says that there only has to be a grounded plug in the kitchen and in the bathroom. However two prong are very rare. You almost never see them. Oh except from old houses, shelters, etc, were you're likely to find rehearsal studios. To wire a electrical device to ground to get it grounded is strictly prohibited in Sweden and my guesses are that it's throughout the world. Just saying...

    To clarify what Steve Conner said. Tap in 400 / cos (30) and you shall be enlightened.

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    In this forum everyone is entitled to my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by überfuzz View Post
    Just one word of caution. I live in Sweden and the law says that there only has to be a grounded plug in the kitchen and in the bathroom. However two prong are very rare. You almost never see them. Oh except from old houses, shelters, etc, were you're likely to find rehearsal studios. To wire a electrical device to ground to get it grounded is strictly prohibited in Sweden and my guesses are that it's throughout the world. Just saying...

    To clarify what Steve Conner said. Tap in 400 / cos (30) and you shall be enlightened.
    Thank you - somehow I don't think that is likely to pose a problem here in Bolivia The problem is turning up to a wedding gig and having to arrive in time to make a makeshift earth connection in order to avoid myself and the bass player getting fried......aside from that, if you have ever tried playing in a country with a sub-tropical climate, with sweaty hands and no earth/ground connection, you will understand why I dislike the sensation so much - frankly, where my life is at stake, I really don't give a monkeys what the law says when loopholes in International Law allow such a situation to arise. Where the law serves to protect and preserve life and freedom I respect it, otherwise.....I must do what seems right to me.

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    Well, I've never heard of anyone being framed for grounding in a larcenous way... I'll always keep a wire with two alligator clips close by.

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Hi truthseeker.
    Steve PM'd me to take a look to this thread.
    I live in Argentina, also sell amps in Bolivia and other neighbouring countries and am well aware of the situation there.
    1) I confirm that the power grid is "officially" star 3 phase 380V + neutral, getting 220V from each phase to ground, this should make one 220V power pin "ground" and allow a "death cap" (.0'22x1600V) a viable solution, *but* some parts of the country were wired "similar to US" with two 110V distribution transformers in series, center tap grounded; both ends (which are out of phase) being connected to corresponding power plug pins.
    In that case neither of them is grounded, both are live, although with "less dangerous" 110V to ground.
    Both ends are HOT. A death cap *increases* the problem and buzzes/hums like crazy, plus being dangerous.
    Worst case is that you never know what kind of installation you'll find.
    You do not need go to Puno or some faraway place to get the bad one; often some of the best "barrios" in La Paz or Santa Cruz have that because they got electrical power before others, maybe in the 20's.
    I myself lived 8 years in a posh Recoleta (Buenos Aires) house, with 2x110V lines. *Everything* hummed there, it was an excellent "school" to design low hum amps.
    2) Now to the practical side:
    a) *Always* carry a neon screwdriver with you. Make that two, so if you lose one you have the other. Cheap insurance.
    Always check both sides of an outlet, even if you are not playing there.
    Fridges, toasters, microwave ovens, *anything* can tickle you or worse; being alert never hurt anyone.
    b) add a groundable contact to your equipment, at least to every head or combo chassis.
    You may mount in the back panel one of those multi way connectors, which can take a banana plug, bare wire through a hole in the "screw" part or bare wire wound around it. They are very common and you will find them in Bolivia, and/or add a 1/4" x 1" screw/bolt with two nuts by it, leaving most of the screw protruding from the chassis.
    Get a 20 meter (or more if needed) piece of 1mm or 1,5 mm wire, preferably green/yellow or at least green; one end will be connected to your chassis ground connector or tied around the bolt.
    Mount a car battery type clamp (like those used in battery chargers or jump starters) on the other end and clamp it to a cold water tap (best) or cold water pipe (very probably a lead one).
    Leave a "NO TOCAR - PELIGRO !!" sign by it, so no idiot takes it away to wash his hands and then forgets to replace it.
    This way you'll be safely grounded. Due to Murphy's law, check that with your neon screwdriver anyway.
    Run the grounding wire under rugs or overhead, so some drunk/idiot/clumsy guy does not trip on it and disconnect your ground in the middle of a solo, which may then become "electrifying", that's why I insisted on tying wire, strong clamps, etc..
    You can run smaller wires onstage, with alligator clips from head to head or any electrical stuff you have there, it's a relatively "controlled" space.
    Open your amp head and check that it does not have a death cap; if so, pull it off.
    3) Safest bet is to have a 220/220 V isolation transformer ; 1000VA won't be that heavy/expensive and probably power anything onstage.
    I hope you are not running an SVT+2 Twins+1Hammond with a Tubed Leslie !!!
    For professional work/family parties and such, SS rules.
    Good luck.
    PS: I forgot, build a power extension for your stage, with *both* lines fused.
    That way, if any side touches chassis, the corresponding fuse blows.
    PS2: about Spain: they chose an alternate route to safety: they kept the old European 2 round pin power plug, (the same used throughout Latin America) *but* the power company puts a differential protector for every house at the junction box (they charge you for it) , so *everybody* has one.
    They do not trust you to put one on your own.
    Interesting bit of applied psychology.
    PS3: now that I think about it (I'm still sleepy), independent from anything else you should put a differential protector in that stage power strip.
    It won't help you with hum/buzz, but it will keep you alive.
    Good luck 2 , hope by now you are already used to hot "ajicitos" he he.
    Hi überfuzz: Scandinavian countries have the toughest electrical safety rules in the world (SEMKO) which consider that actual grounding does not work on large extensions of the Country because of Permafrost (frozen ground which does not fully melt even in Summer), maybe that's why they frown on grounding as you mention and trust double insulation, minimum creepage distance, very high voltage testing (3000V), etc.

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    Last edited by J M Fahey; 01-10-2011 at 05:01 PM. Reason: SEMKO

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    It's required to have GFCI outlets within three feet of water here in the US (kitchen sink, bathroom etc) but I've been watching Mike Holmes and he installs a master GFCI unit in the supply panel. I think it's a great idea and probably something i'm going to do when it's warm enough to work in the garage.

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    Mr Fahey, I just put together an anti-surge extension with both sides of the circuit going into a differential then just the + out through a 'termico' - would that be a thermal protection circuit? - then I also connected the ground from the extension to a 3 pin plug, so that where there actually is a ground connection with a ground pin there will hopefully be a ground connection for anything hooked up to this little rig.....then I made the cable for the external ground connection from slightly thicker cable than you recommended, connected one end to a chassis mount point on the amplifier, then the other end via a large alligator clip to the water tap in the kitchen of our flat. The result - no more hum (apart from what gets picked up from the refridgerator) !!!!!!!!! And my guitar strings no longer tickle my finger and palms, and the guitar's controls also do not cause popping when touched - sheer genius on your part Sir, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Aside from that, I will let you know how this rig fares on the actual gig this weekend. I plan to incorporate this into a pedal board I am designing - this would have made my life so much simpler had I had this setup whilst still in Spain

    Now the sad part - when I tried to explain the importance of this setup to our bandleader/keyboard player - our singer chimed in and started to bemoan the number of times he had got a belt from a microphone on stage, and the bandleader just ignored both of us....my intention is to plug everyone's gear into this rig, but when I go home I need it there, for the sake of 300 Bv - about $47US, he is willing to put his own and everyone else's life at risk because he says he has 'never heard of anyone dying in Bolivia from an electric shock on stage or in a club during a performance...' what a stupid and ignorant attitude! And we are talking about a worship leader with full responsability for anything that goes amiss...

    I wish I could provide him with some written statistical information that could show him how incredibly misinformed he and the other musicians who trust their lives to fate whenever they plug their instruments into the mains supply with no ground are. Any such information, especially in Spanish please send me the links or files or whatever - a Youtube link might be the best and most potent delivery of my point however....I don't have time to search right now.

    David

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Ok, glad it worked well for you.
    Part by part:
    1) The "Protector diferencial" is the heart of your system; the "térmica" is just a thermal fuse with the advantage that if tripped, can be reset by raising the little lever, nothing else.
    In fact it probably is redundant because a good "protector diferencial" should also have a built-in "térmica", but it doesn't hurt either, so leave it.
    I think the "diferencial" should cut both wires, just in case you play in one of the funky "double live" lines.
    Tell me the model and trademark, so I search for it.
    Being in Bolivia it must be either Argentine, Brazilian or Chinese made.
    If it states some site in the manual or body or box, post it to save time.
    If Argentine it must be registered and comply with our quite strict norms, which follow the DIN ones.
    If you used a thicker wire, better !! I had suggested the minimum ones.
    *** Remember to use the COLD water tap****, even better the lead tube that feeds it or any lead tube in the apartment/flat because they come underground from the street, besides any (certain) leak in its path provides excellent humid earth.; the hot water one may come from a cement or fiberglass tank over the roof, a "dry" and not so good earth connection.
    Check that water does not come through plastic tubes, very popular and cheap now.
    2) Some links:
    a) Lanzaron una campaña de seguridad para productos eléctricos y electrónicos - GENTE-BA states:
    "En Argentina, los accidentes de origen eléctrico son la segunda causa de muerteluego de los de tránsito y suman cerca de 1.500 casos por año." = "Official data: 1500 electrical deaths a year, only second cause of death after traffic accidents"
    b) CADIEEL states = "las estadísticas de la Superintendencia de Bomberos de la Policía Federal revelan que cuatro de cada diez siniestros tienen su origen en una falla de la instalación eléctrica" = "official data from Argentine Federal Police Firemen : 4 out of 10 fires come from electrical causes"
    c) I know of two dead artists, a Rock singer who became an Evangelical one, and a Tango/Folkloric singer.
    Also my client, Felipe Matthews, the bass player for Amelita Baltar, Piazzolla's tango singer, almost died when he muted his bass strings with his left hand, and grabbed her SM58 mike with the right one.
    He was playing a rental Peavey amp, with the death cap turned to one phase, and the PA system (also Peavey) was plugged with the other phase.
    Somebody saw his contortions/twitching on stage, and pulled the mike by the cord, breaking contact.
    d) If you have some Rock players there, tell them you are being coached by Fahey, who made the amplifiers for La Renga, Rata Blanca, Almafuerte, Charly García, León Giecco, and thousands more.
    Some might even have visited my shop in Buenos Aires.
    La Torre (Patricia Sosa) also played Bolivia for ages with my amplification, as well as professional musicians with Mercedes Sosa, Valeria Lynch, Tormenta, Sandro,
    Sergio Denis, Johnny Allon, etc.
    Well, that's about it.
    Good luck and don't drink too much Paceña.
    PS: How are you managing the altitude and lack of oxygen?

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    Supporting Member Gibsonman63's Avatar
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    Another low-tech trick for avoiding microphone shocks is to put one of those foam windscreens on it. It works well when you are playing guitar at the same time and getting shocked on the lips. If the singer is holding the microphone, he may have to wrap in in electrical tape and wear insulated shoes as well, like we used to do here with old refridgerator handles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Ok, glad it worked well for you.
    Part by part:
    1) The "Protector diferencial" is the heart of your system; the "térmica" is just a thermal fuse with the advantage that if tripped, can be reset by raising the little lever, nothing else.
    In fact it probably is redundant because a good "protector diferencial" should also have a built-in "térmica", but it doesn't hurt either, so leave it.
    I think the "diferencial" should cut both wires, just in case you play in one of the funky "double live" lines.
    Tell me the model and trademark, so I search for it.
    Being in Bolivia it must be either Argentine, Brazilian or Chinese made.
    If it states some site in the manual or body or box, post it to save time.
    If Argentine it must be registered and comply with our quite strict norms, which follow the DIN ones.
    If you used a thicker wire, better !! I had suggested the minimum ones.
    *** Remember to use the COLD water tap****, even better the lead tube that feeds it or any lead tube in the apartment/flat because they come underground from the street, besides any (certain) leak in its path provides excellent humid earth.; the hot water one may come from a cement or fiberglass tank over the roof, a "dry" and not so good earth connection.
    Check that water does not come through plastic tubes, very popular and cheap now.
    2) Some links:
    a) Lanzaron una campaña de seguridad para productos eléctricos y electrónicos - GENTE-BA states:
    "En Argentina, los accidentes de origen eléctrico son la segunda causa de muerteluego de los de tránsito y suman cerca de 1.500 casos por año." = "Official data: 1500 electrical deaths a year, only second cause of death after traffic accidents"
    b) CADIEEL states = "las estadísticas de la Superintendencia de Bomberos de la Policía Federal revelan que cuatro de cada diez siniestros tienen su origen en una falla de la instalación eléctrica" = "official data from Argentine Federal Police Firemen : 4 out of 10 fires come from electrical causes"
    c) I know of two dead artists, a Rock singer who became an Evangelical one, and a Tango/Folkloric singer.
    Also my client, Felipe Matthews, the bass player for Amelita Baltar, Piazzolla's tango singer, almost died when he muted his bass strings with his left hand, and grabbed her SM58 mike with the right one.
    He was playing a rental Peavey amp, with the death cap turned to one phase, and the PA system (also Peavey) was plugged with the other phase.
    Somebody saw his contortions/twitching on stage, and pulled the mike by the cord, breaking contact.
    d) If you have some Rock players there, tell them you are being coached by Fahey, who made the amplifiers for La Renga, Rata Blanca, Almafuerte, Charly García, León Giecco, and thousands more.
    Some might even have visited my shop in Buenos Aires.
    La Torre (Patricia Sosa) also played Bolivia for ages with my amplification, as well as professional musicians with Mercedes Sosa, Valeria Lynch, Tormenta, Sandro,
    Sergio Denis, Johnny Allon, etc.
    Well, that's about it.
    Good luck and don't drink too much Paceña.
    PS: How are you managing the altitude and lack of oxygen?
    Hi, thank you again for your sharing your skills and knowhow here - I will answer your questions and address the points you make one by one:

    1. the differential is indeed from Argentina, the make is SICA, and it is labeled 'Interruptor Diferencial de 2 Polos', the other label is: IEC 89008-2-1, but there was no box or packeting, as I purchased it from an iron-monger - Ferretería.

    2. I have the ground connected to the cold water tap in the kitchen of my flat, and the results are remarkably good. I will probably be able to asess the quality of the earth at the gig from the noise and hum produced in the amplifier, plus obviously from the sensation from the guitar strings and popping produced from the controls etc. If all that is remedied, then I will have found a good ground point, hopefully.

    3. Thank you for the links, hope they will enable me to convince our band leader to take the matter considerably more seriously, not only on gigs, but in his school and in the church, where the risk is probably far greater for anyone who happens to touch something live and become ground for the current...

    4. I only know one rock player here, and you probably already know each other, his name is Carlos Valdivia Suarez, and is the owner of la Casa del Músico in Santa Cruz de la Sierra en Calle Beni. I believe he plays in a well known group, but I don't move in those circles, I'm more into jazz and fusion personally.

    5. I prefer wine, I'm really not much into beer these days....

    6. Altitude is no problem here in Santa Cruz, only the high humidity and heat plus the mosquitos - I just got a good dose of dengue, and needed two litres of serum before the doctors could bring my body hydration to anything near normal, it is really a terrible infection, but thank God the worst is over now.

    7. I sent you a message which it looks as though you did not receive - basically I am interested in hearing more about your amplification, and I was also asking whether you also work with pedal based effects. If you have a website to point me to I would really like to hear more please. Speak soon.....perhaps we could chat on Skype? My nick is truthseeker57

    Perhaps we could arrange to meet up at some point, I have to cross the border before the end of the month in order to extend my stay here for a further 90 days, and it is possible that I could come to Buenos Aires if I can find somewhere affordable for myself and my wife to stay. We have family in Salta, but I believe that is pretty far away from Buenos Aires, but it would be a start anyway.

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  20. #20
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Hi Truthseeker.
    I did answer your PM here, it took 3 small "pages" (same as yours) because apparently they are size-limited. Check them. If I can retrieve them I'll resend, although I seem to remember that outgoing ones are not saved automatically.
    1) I guess you got one of these.

    They are good. The IEC number is the international security norm they comply with.
    The technical manual is:
    http://www.sicaelec.com/pdf/Productos/Folletos/945.pdf
    I am surprised to see that they do not include a thermal interruptor; that's why they sold you an extra one.
    *Hope* it's all properly mounted in some kind of insulating or normalized box.
    2)
    I will probably be able to asess the quality of the earth at the gig from the noise and hum produced in the amplifier, plus obviously from the sensation from the guitar strings and popping produced from the controls etc.
    No you are not.
    Judging the safety of an electrical apparatus by licking its chassis while standing barefoot on a salt water pool is no longer "state of the art".
    Just use your trusty neon screwdriver.
    Kids !!, repeat with me!! : No - light - no - danger !!!
    7) If you backpack/travel light we have a lot of affordable and popular hostels, also similar priced downtown hotels, close to shopping/theater/nightlife/museum areas , etc.
    I'll check some links for you.
    Bus tickets are affordable too, or try your luck, often Salta/Buenos Aires flights cost less than bus tickets because of promotions.
    Check regularly "despegar.com.ar" , both Salta/Bs As and Santa Cruz/Bs As. You might be surprised.
    If you come, you're welcome, just write a week before .
    Good luck and enjoy Bolivia.
    PS: you can mail me at: juanmanuelfahey @ gmail . com (pull spaces)

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  21. #21
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    Many countries in Europe have 2 prong AC line. One is hot, the other is "zero", no dedicated ground and that is so from a long time and is a national standard as well. What they do is connect in all AC outlets the ground pin (middle) to the "zero". 3 phase AC outlets are entirely different story and are run separately from the main AC line.

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