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Outdoor Gig, Generators = Toasted Gear?

Posted: Tue 03/13/07 12:42 am
by E-rex
We were offered a gig and the event organizer made mention of setting up generators. I haven't accepted the gig yet and would like to learn what kinds of questions to ask and what to watch out for.

It is a daytime without considering lights I can safely run everything we need on a single 30 amp circuit or 2-20 amp circuits.

What sayeth thee? :?

Thanks much :D

Posted: Tue 03/13/07 3:59 am
by Francis_Vaughan
Make sure whoever sets it up understands what they are doing - and most important of all that there is a proper safety ground stake and a ground fault isolator. It isn't likely to be a problem with fried gear - fried performer is much more the issue to watch out for.

If the person who sets it up doesn't know what a safety ground for a generator setup is - just walk away.

Posted: Tue 03/13/07 8:10 pm
by E-rex
Thats exactly the kind of information I need...thanks!


Posted: Tue 03/13/07 11:13 pm
by dartanion
That's also going to be some noisy power. You may want to run a power conditioner/regulator. I remember EVH bitching about this for the live album.


PS Parts will be shipped soon. I'll throw in a treat for your build for being so late. :oops:

Posted: Wed 03/14/07 8:41 pm
by h2OH

I couldn't agree with Francis more.

I ran sound at an outdoor show about 2 years ago where the power was supplied by a generator. I took one look at the generator set up and aside from two broken electrical outlets that were dangling from the panel, there wasn't a ground stake. First thing I said was "Where's the ground stake?", then "Where's the licensed electrician?", and then "No licensed electrician, no show. I ain't risking my friends lives." One guy steps up and says he works with an electrician but when I asked if he was licensed, he said no. Sorry son, working with an electrician don't count. They finally found a licensed electrician and he supervised the connection of the ground stake. (Oh, they tried to do it themselves the first time but connected the cable to the painted part of the generator. Sorry, it has to be connected to bare metal, try again.) Then they found out that their feeder cable would need to run across a drive that was being used for wagon rides so they had to move the generator and ground stake to the side of the road that the stage was on.

A good ground stake and a common AC ground for the back line and sound equipment isn't just nice to have, as far as I'm concerned, it's mandatory.

I also carry a AC line tester to check the receptacles at every show to make sure the ground is good and the hot and neutral are good.

Something like these: ... D=GT-10GFI ... 0&MID=9876

Look up Leslie Harvey of Stone the Crows, bad ground + wet feet = dead.

Sorry for the rambling but I gotta passion for safety.


Posted: Thu 03/15/07 1:02 am
by E-rex
EXCELLENT....Thats just what I need.

This guy has a hard time getting the day or time of the gig right...I'm quite leary of his electrical skills 8O 8O 8O

Thanks much!

Posted: Sat 03/17/07 10:55 am
by E-rex
Anyone else have any experience using generators to power a gig?

I'm getting scared 8O

Posted: Sat 03/17/07 12:31 pm
by bamboo
In addition to the safety stuff and receptacle checks already mentioned, be sure to measure the voltages at the outlets before you plug your stuff in.

We played a 4th of July event at a park on the Indian River, and FPL (Florida Power and Light) supplied the generators. The were set up well (one of our guys is an electrical contractor and he usually checks out the power for us)...but when we measured the voltages they were running about 180vac.

Don't know what that was about, but when we showed that to the FPL rep they got it fixed in about 10 minutes.

Good luck and have fun!

Posted: Sat 03/17/07 1:33 pm
by lagerdog
I would second the above responses... Check for ground... that'll cream you... check for voltages... THAT'S what will cream your gear... need to check both, and have a regulator of some sort... what happens when they run it out of gas listening to you play??? Then just fill er up and pull the cord? :D

Posted: Sat 03/17/07 2:04 pm
by drhulsey
We played for a wedding reception in a rural area. When we arrived, they had a generator for us and lights connected to the power grid! A little GENTLE persuasion* made them switch about. The correct power generators hooked up correctly can be fine, but you can't trust the father of the bride ot the "event planner" to know that. The booking agent has to ask the right questions.

*I said we would hookup to generator power if they would lay a check on the stage for $50,000 to cover the equipment in case it got fried! :twisted:

Meters too

Posted: Sat 03/17/07 2:18 pm
by str82hvn
Hi all,

Sometimes power at clubs can be horrible too. It's best to check the power before you play anywhere. (This is even more important if you are playing somewhere the first time.)

I have some friends that have to severly limit there volume at a certain local club called the "Comstock" because the bass player can hog all the power if he's not carefull.

Consider buying a rackmounted Furman power distrobution with a huge LED voltage meter right on the front where all can see. This also helps to point out problems to the club owners.



Re: Outdoor Gig, Generators = Toasted Gear?

Posted: Sun 11/03/19 11:29 am
by prateekgupta
The correct power generators hooked up correctly can be fine, but you can't trust the father of the bride ot the "event planner" to know that.