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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Susilo, Aug 8, 2001.
Well, the title says it all.
please excuse my ignorance...
what's a cheater plug?
You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Second question answered first: a "cheater" plug is a small adaptor device which accepts a three prong electrical plug, but the adaptor itself has only two prongs to plug into an electrical outlet, so there is no ground. (Some do have a separate flexible wire that can be connected to a ground, but most do not.)
The three prong plug has one prong for the ground which provides a path for the electricity in case of a short, the other two normally carry the current. Without the ground, you could be exposed to electrical shock just by touching the outside of the appliance in the event of a short. Double insulated appliances have a two prong plug since they have special insulation to help prevent electrical current leakage to the appliance case or housing in the event of a short.
The "cheater" plugs are called that because they allow a three prong plug to be used in a two prong outlet, which was a common outlet design years ago before the electrical codes were updated to require proper grounding of all electrical appliances for safety.
You might have a hard time finding them in Canada. They are illegal up there. Here's what one rental chain operating in Canada says about it:
The use of 'cheater plugs' or three wire adapters is not permitted in Canada as most of you are aware. This puts the rental store on the horns of a dilemma. If a cheater plug is not sent out, then the customer will probably snip the third wire ground pin if the electrical tool is used in an older home, which has two wire outlets. Double insulated tools get around this problem but not all equipment is wired this way. I noticed in one store that all the tools and extension cords had a three wire adapter permanently attached near the plug. The customer could then slip on the adapter or leave it off depending on the circumstance. Strictly speaking this would not be permitted by the CSA code and ought to be done though it removes the temptation to snip the ground pin.
The author above is taking the "realistic" view that "people are going to circumvent the rules against cheater plugs anyway -- by damaging our equipment -- so we ought to just give them the plugs."
While discouraged in the US, and against code in most jurisdictions here, the cheater plugs themselves are readily available at hardware stores. I have a couple of them myself which I use VERY carefully for testing, but never as a long term solution. Why?
Electrically, this is the equivalent of a "cheater" plug, used by many people to eliminate ground loops. While convenient, such cheaters are in violation of the electrical code in the US and Canada, and can result in death from electrical shock in the event of insulation failure in the equipment. [/quote]
It is far safer in the long run to make sure that your equipment is properly grounded, and if a hum persists with a TV/antenna cable connected, to use a ground loop hum attenuator such as the Mondial Antenna Ground Isolation Circuit, or a DIY double transformer assembly made from inexpensive parts available at Radio Shack.
[Edited last by Burke Strickland on August 08, 2001 at 03:41 PM]
I have NO idea how the heck Burke knows so many details about the rules in Canada, but as far as I can tell, he's right. I know that cheater plugs are available in most hardware stores and at Radio Shack in the States, but up here you won't find them at any reputable store. I mean, heck, I went to a couple of those electronic surplus stores on Queen Street in downtown Toronto and they said they won't sell them. The one guy said that if he sold one, and it caused someone to get injured he'd get sued.
Well what I've done in past for plugging in my car etc was to buy a cheap extension cord and simply pull out the ground plug on the extension cord. I'd much rather break a $4 cord then the cord on my receiver for example.
I just bought one of those smaller multiplug adapters. The ones that turn one outlet into three outlets and cut the ground prong off of it. They run $3- $6 CDN.
I had a very hodge podge set up a while ago.
Nakamichi PA-5AII power amp, CA-5A pre amp, and then a Yamaha DSP-E1000 to add 3 more channels and DPL processing, among a whole bunch of other stuff. And, I had almost everything plugged into an Adcom ACE 515 line conditioner.
I used one of those metal racks with the different sized shelves, adjustable poles, etc., for my equipment.
Anyway, took me a while to figure this out, but *without* a cheater plug, everytime without fail, whenever I changed hook ups or a component, I got shocked. Full bore 110V AC. I really got to *not* looking forward to upgrading equipment!
Then I put in a cheater plug (can't remember which component), and voila, didn't get shocked anymore.
So you won't convince me that cheater plugs *create* a safety hazard!
(And then now I need to use one on one of my 2 power amps, same make and model, to get rid of a ground hum loop. Go figure.)
Hey and anyway, I thought you could buy *anything* at Canadian Tire!!
Kevin, you might have an even bigger problem than you think. Either SOMETHING in your house is severely short circuited and is propagating it's effect to all your grounded appliances, or the outlets in your house are severely miswired.
Buy a line tester (use your Canadian Tire Money ) and try it on your outlets. The status lights on the tester will indicate if your outlets are properly wired or not. You should also unplug all the three prong appliances in your home one at a time and see what effect it has on the tester.
Don't ignore this! In a properly wired home filled with appliances in good working condition, you shouldn't be receiving ANY kind of electric shocks.
Week of July 23: "Unbreakable"
I remembered some more:
The shock was always between a component and the eqp rack itself. I then swapped out the Yamaha DPL add-on for a Yamaha receiver (still using the Nak amp for the front 2 channels) and still had the problem.
Oh, that was an apartment I used to live in. All of the outlets were 2-prong.
As far as right now, here's ther part I can't figure out:
I have 2 Acurus 200x3 power amps. The circuit I'm on is a dedicated 20 amp, 3-prong, circuit (family room/kitchen addition to the rest of the house). If I don't put a cheater plug on 1 of the power amps, bam, ground loop hum.
I'm pretty sure that when we bought the house, that the house inspector checked all the outlets and said yeah, they are all wired correctly. I'm just wondering if I have a funky component somewhere.
At least I don't get shocked any more! That really wasn't much fun.