Power issues when Playing outdoor gigs


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This is not just a keyboard question, it is more a band question.
One particular band that I work with gets indoor gigs as well as a fair amount of outdoor gigs.
When playing outdoor gigs, all the normal stuff goes on at the beginning. . setting up, sound checks, an ipod pumps a little music through the system , and everything is working nice.
But as soon as the band plays, the GFCI outlets start tripping. It gets embarrassing.
We are using all new extension cords and all new power strips. It only settles down after some amps get turned off, which means that I play keyboards barely hearing myself.
.
Not sure if anyone has experienced this . . and whether anyone understands why some electrical variation between not playing, and playing is enough to trip GFCI outlets.
Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
- Lenster.
 

happyrat1

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The thing is, when you are playing iPod music thru the sound system, it's a normalized audio signal crafted in a studio.

When you guys are playing band instruments at crescendo you are generating power surges with the hardest hit notes. Sort of like Spinal Tap and their amp that goes to 11.

The surges are tripping the breakers because they see the sudden rush of current as a short circuit condition and firing off right away.

Typically in equipment that experiences a lot of surge currents they install slow blow fuses that won't burn out instantaneously on transients.

Your GFI's are simply too sensitive for the equipment you are using.

Your solution is to either compensate by putting fewer amplifiers on the same GFI circuit or else replacing the GFI units with something that reacts less quickly to transient surges.

I'm not even certain such a product exists since GFI is designed to protect people from electrocuting themselves and have to respond with lightning speed.

Your best bet is to try and distribute the load better over multiple GFI circuits.

Here's some literature on the problem.

https://www.westernautomation.com/solution-centre/electrical-problems-solutions/nuisance-tripping/

https://www.ecmweb.com/power-quality/basics-using-circuit-breakers-surge-protectors

Gary ;)
 
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A GFI compares the current flowing in the live and neutral conductors and in the case of an imbalance the unit trips and will stay tripped until the cause is removed.

The imbalance current that causes the trip can be typically 30mA and this is certainly the rating that are installed in domestic premises in the UK where I reside. Ours tend to be at the main switchboard and not installed incorporated within outlets.

GFI are not slow blow, that is old tech related to individual fuse units and these slow blow fuses could have ratings of a few miliAmps to hundreds of Amps. All it will take to trip your GFIs is a slight leakage or two on any Amp, keyboard or mixer etc

Given that your State has Certification requirements for Electricians I would suggest making contact with one and seeking their help to test out your kit and to design a connection system. Electrical Regulations vary from State to State and Country to Country and with me being a UK Citizen and Degree qualified in Building Services I cannot offer Technical advice since I am not regarded as qualified in your State.

Good luck.
 
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Gary and Col are way cleverer at the technical side of this stuff than I am, however years of experience playing live tells me the following: Use multiple power sources. In a perfect world you'd have a separate one for each musician, but definitely try to have no more than two musos sharing the same outlet.

I'm guessing at your outdoor gigs you're trying to run everything off one power source - maybe including PA and lights? Big no-no.
 
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Low voltage can do terrible things to electronics. So even though you might not be tripping the ground fault the low voltage being received into instruments and amplifiers can prematurely ruin the equipment. I've been gigging with one of these for close to 30 years. I use it every gig; indoor or out.

https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/accessories/apd/a8110799?cid=302824&st=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIp-z3rfXs3QIVispkCh0k5wLnEAYYAiABEgLQCvD_BwE&lid=5758064&VEN1=sACbOkzsr,112781467989,901q5c14135,c,,A8110799&VEN2=,&dgc=st&dgseg=so&acd=12309152537501410&VEN3=111804604192725151

It will not prevent the Ground fault tripping but will attempt to keep the voltage being sent to your equipment in an acceptable range for electronics in the event the voltage is low (or high).
 
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Good timing by Delaware Dave as I was just about to post something similar

If you would like to gain a bit of knowledge on electrical systems then if you Google

1 electrical power conditioning

2 uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)

Then read up on the subjects.

Personally every single electronic device in my home has a surge protector/voltage conditioner in the electrical supply to the device.

If an electrical fault occurs then a high voltage can be induced in the electrical supply and this will fry the electronics.

If funds allow on gigs where electrical supplies are questionable then including a UPS in the supply will protect the equipment, a UPS also usually have surge protection and voltage conditioning in the circuitry of the unit.
 

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