July 23, 2014

Bad Business Practice: Electrocuting your Clients

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wooden electric execution chair
A jolt can destroy your business

Many DJs dismiss electrocution as a possibility because we don’t hear of these things happening very often. That’s true. We are much more likely to get into a car accident.

However, that is no excuse for putting other people in danger. We work in the proximity of liquids. A guest can easily spill a drink on your system. If you are outdoors, it can start raining or a sprinkler could turn on unexpectedly.

All of these things have happened to me in the past and I’m sure they happened to many of you as well. I have been lucky. Nothing ever got wet enough to cause electrical problems. If they had, at least I knew my gear was properly grounded. Do you know that your gear is?

One frequent source of noise problems is the external AC power supply for your laptop computer. These can cause several problems including RF interference and ground loops. The problem you have will depend on the particular PC you use, the sound card you are using and your mixer. Therefore, finding the correct solution will require a little experimentation.

Several people have reported on the chat forums that purchasing an aftermarket power supply has solved the problem for them. Other remedies include placing transformer types of ground-loop isolators (such as Radio Shack part # 270-054, about $17) in the audio path between the PC (or sound card) and the mixer. Placing a ferrite choke (Radio Shack part # 273-105, about $5) on the power cable can help with RF interference

These are relatively inexpensive remedies that leave the safety mechanisms of your gear in place.

Read Johnathan Novick’s full article in the next issue of DJ Times….

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