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Clean Power on the Cheap

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Brewdork, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Hey! I'm creating a quick/easy rock space in my basement for me and 3 others to dabble in recording. I use a simple setup with DIs, Shure mics, a PV14 mixer, and a BOSS digital deck, and some PC post-production.

    My new space in the basement has been lined with poly and fabric, and since I'm close to the panel and have the ceiling exposed...I'd like to be assured clean sound by running a new circuit for only my audio gear. The questions:

    1. Should I also pound a new ground rod for only the new circuit...will this kill any possible ground loop, and keep my gear isolated from household ground noise?

    2. Should each receptacle/outlet be "home-run" to the new ground on the panel separately or can they be relayed as outlets are typically installed (quick, easy, less wire)?

    So far, I understand that all my recording gear and anything that will be run to it (amps, DIs, etc) should be on the same route to ground to minimize noise.

    I'm looking for the best thing I can do for as little cash as possible. We aren't ever going to make this pay, but I don't want to overlook an easy fix.

    Any help would help. Thanks!
  2. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    I don't think you need to pound a new ground, homerunning to the same ground should be enough.

    Its called a medical ground in my neck of the woods. Some call it a star ground, that is what you want to do.
  3. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Cool, Ok...to verify/clarify...I will install new receptacles around the room, and home run each outlet's ground back to the house's main ground rod separately?

    I was thinking that pounding the new ground for all my tech gear would eliminate the need to home run all the grounds back to the panel separately. I'm worried that tapping to the same ground as the rest of the house would leave my gear vulnerable to any/all residual juice fed to the ground by the crappy old house wiring.

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW

    I dont have time to do a complete wiring methods class here, so you'll have to take what I tell you as gospel. Trust me, I've been an electrician for longer than you have been alive by a lot.

    Use of terms like 'homerunning' and thinking of the use of another ground rod to what effect that you think its going to do what you think it does, tells me that your information is not what it should be and you'll more than likely burn something up with proper education.

    As for the circuit. Yes, a separately supplied dedicated circuit for your area where you are using your gear is a good idea. No, you do not need to runn each device back as a 'homerun' but you can simply daisy-chain them all together making certain to properly ground each plug in the circuit properly and to tie the grounds together as they enter and leave each outlet box. To assure yourself of a good connection, DO NOT use the 'quick-wire' terminals on the recepts but in fact spend the extra $2 per device and buy commercial or hospital grade devices and use the clamp-type terminals on your wires. Be sure they are tight....

    Do not crowd the wiring in the boxes nor leave not enogh wire to make a neat and proper bending to fold the excess back into the box. 6" exposed while installing the device is code. Use deep boxes. Crowding on a cicuit that is going to draw some amps for a period of time creates heat. Electricity hates heat. It will create more of its own heat when comfronted with heat. Then it gets funny.

    Be sure you terminate on the breaker properly. Ground to your ground bar in your panel and secure the neutral wire firmly. Loose neutrals cause more fires than anything else.

    Sloppy electrical installations is second.

    There is a main reason you do not add a ground rod for this. First, two paths to ground in any installation is a no-no and someone could wind up getting killed.

    Its like this.

    In a direct short situation the power seeks the shortest path to ground. If that path is through your newly installed ground rod, then everything tied to that is going to suffer.

    IF you do not have a ground rod on your service, I advise you to upgrade the house service and have one installed as well as bonding all of the metal water piping in the residence to this.

    And get an electrician for this.

    And finally. There should be ZERO juice being run to any grounds in your residence. It doesnt work like that. The grounding and bonding is for a potential fault. There should never be any voltage leaking onto a grounding rod, ground ring, etc etc of any kind at any time. If there is then you have a serious problem in your system and need professional help immediately.
  5. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Ok, then, thanks for the tip. I will look into using the right outlets, deep boxes, and making sure all the grounds are bound tightly together as I relay them in.

    I have read a LOT of studios use separate ground rods for all their tech gear. As far as the "juice" in the ground line, I was talking about ground loop noise...the whole reason I am isolating the tech gear. Any difference in potential will cause the noise if my gear is plugged into varying outlets...which it obviously will be. Is that not what causes ground loop noise? Will I completely avoid ground loop potential if I stay on the same ground rod as the rest of the house? If you say I will, I'll believe you and go for it...worst case, I'll check the potentials at each receptacle with a multimeter after I install the new circuit...if I find variation or get noise, I'll look into the separate rod.

    As for "my information"...not everyone obsessed to this detail can afford professionals...I'm doing what I can by researching.

  6. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    i also heard/read a junction box plan...wiring all outlets in the room to one central junction box, then one wire with a thicker gauge ground runs to the panel. the idea being that they will then share the exact same path to ground, eliminating any possible loop noise or interference. crazy? useless? i kinda like it.
  7. Brewdork

    Brewdork Active Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    So, i wired it similar to the common junction box I mentioned. All outlets junction together to one feed on the panel with one ground return and a new circuit. All lighting is on an existing separate circuit and I won't be using any dimmers. Connections are all rock solid and all appears well...we'll see what the gear has to say. It would appear that I've taken enough into account to be assure deafening silence.

    Let me know if this is overkill/retarded. Here's to hopin'!

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