No grounded outlets


#1

I live in an 80 year old house. My living room outlets are all ungrounded. I am looking at purchasing a pair of M700 mono block amplifiers for my Tannoy Revolution speakers, but I’m wondering how big a problem my ungrounded electrical system will be for the M700, or for any ampilfier and DAC combination.
Your opinions and advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you!


#2

This is not worth much; but if you get an electrician, make sure they check the details. My one experience was 60 years ago, on a then new house construction, was a loose connection to a ground rod near the service box on the outside of the house. Do ask about ground rod requirements.


#3

The other thing to consider with an 80 year old house is the quality of the wiring. I’m not sure when the building codes were changed in your area but its possible you may have “knob and tube” wiring to parts of the house. That may be why you have no grounds. Also, that form of wiring used number 14 wire which is good for at most 15 amps. I wouldn’t run anything that uses much power on that kind of wiring. Its one of the details the electrician, which 1cdfoley recommended, could check.


#4

I love both my house and my PS equipment equally. I don’t like to spend other people’s money, so I hesitate to offer advice. But in the case of safety, you have probably given thought to getting an electrician to give you a free consultation.
Then there are a number of excellent PSA forum threads on wiring, power cables, etc. There exists some of the best reading/learning time you can spend. Yes it adds up to expense and priority planning; but start with your house wiring. When you are comfortable with it, safety-wise, go for the stereo equipment (and flowers for your spouse). Also, if you have to do some rewiring, to manage costs, consider doing one part of the house at a time. But be sure to get good grounding back to the main service panel. I believe it will benefit Sound Quality.

An after thought, how is your sound quality now? I am guessing that any weakness in the electrical system, like grounding, will effect your system. If no, I am stuck for answer. One of Paul’s simple tests is to put an AM radio near your outlets and power cords running the stereo and see how much noise you get. Try several locations and power cords. An electrician should be able to help with identifying interference sources.

i ramble on, yet I believe others forum members will soon add to the conversation.


#5

Based on the house age, it would be prudent to have an electrician check things out carefully. Who knows what owner modifications have been made over the life of the home. Some of that old wiring insulation is pretty brittle.


#6

Do you still have screw in fuses? If not, and you have a breaker box, the electrics have had some updates. I would start by looking up your house info posted by the city. Depending on location, it may include permits. See if any were for electrical work.
You will want a full inspection. See if the city will send out someone. You have to be careful, some electricians might recommend a complete rewiring, whether you need it or not. You may just need outlets.
If you do have a breaker box, have some dedicated circuits installed for your system. Buy the outlets from PSA, or get hospital rated outlets at a minimum, and have the electrician install those. I would recommend at least one 15 amp circuit for front end gear, and at least one, preferably two 20 amp circuits for amps, etc. Even if you only need one now, it is a lot cheaper to do it all at one time. Later you may want to add powered subs, and/or a P20.
While the electrician is there have him replace all of the outlets. I would guess you are using adaptor plugs, all over the house? Those can just be good quality outlets.


#7

Even if the local electrical inspector would come out (doubtful as it’s not project related and so he’s not getting paid to do it) he could end up red tagging your house (condemning it) if he finds major code violations (especially if he’s a serious code enforcement kind of guy). So the local inspector would be the last guy I’d ask for an opinion.

Note that I used to be a building inspector and many of the local code officials I ran into had personality “quirks” (particular sections of the code they’d enforce really tough while ignoring others, would barely inspect one contractor while being a hard ass with another). You are functionally at their mercy while under their jurisdiction, and many take full advantage of that.

Better to ask around for a good electrician (the good ones are competent without acting like God’s answer to electricity, and charge a fair rate without taking forever to finish the job).


#8

Good call on the inspector, I hadn’t considered the chance of being sited.
Unless it’s a small town with a part time inspector, I am pretty sure that he is paid, no matter what he is doing.


#9

Whether salaried or not they all get paid, directly or indirectly from permit fees. In small localities, like my current one, they are also working electrical contractors, a definite conflict of interest. Many communities have a rule to only hire from within their community which severely limits the pool from which they can draw from. That rule may work for hiring clerical staff, but definitely puts the quality of inspections into question.

I ran into one, who actually had a degree as in trained code enforcement, that didn’t have a full set of current codes. One was a retired architect. One furnace inspector did a “splash and go” inspection, left his approval sticker on the furnace next to his 5 year old sticker from the previous building we were adding onto. The electrical inspector on my house insisted on residential smoke detectors even though we’d already roughed in vastly superior commercial detectors.

That’s probably why so many operate without impunity and so their personalities can run amok. Dangerous to complain as they can red tag or delay projects for months. They hold a tough line between being too friendly (not enforcing the code) or too much of a hard ass (enforcing their own version of the building code). Many of them are OK, but they certainly run the spectrum. I was a state-wide inspector and could tell lots of stories.


#10

Please more conversation on safety and less on scary inspectors. Although I noticed that “raduval” may live in Philadelphia area.
Anybody have an opinon on Ange’s list?