Be Careful!


With static electricity in this cold dry winter.  I fried the right channel of my Classe Amp last night with the touch of a finger.  I usually have anti-static sheets in hand before touching anything but this time did not.

Good excuse to recap an old amp.
pops
Definitely worth noting. Static can kill gear. I ran a length of lamp cord to the ground connection on a power regulator. I try to remember to touch the end of it before touching any equipment. The spark only hurts a little.

How did that happen? RCA Jack or the body did you touched? 
I bought a 3 inch square anti-static mat that connects to the ground on the wall outlet.  It is amazing how much static you can build up just getting off the couch.  Best 15.00I ever spent.
I touched the faceplate on my preamp which shocked the Schitt digital out of me, sent a bang out of the right speaker and put the amp in protective shutdown.

Something we as audiophiles deal with every winter.  This is a first for me.  I usually defuse myself on my record clamp and rub anti static sheets on my hands.  I did neither.  Sobered me up for sure!
I never get any static even though the air is really dry in Winter. I think it is because I am barefoot 99.9% of the time in the apartment.
I leave my shoes at the door.. and I do not wear socks. The floor is carpeted...
Sorry to hear that Jerry!
You need  to run a humidifier!

Who repairs Classe gear these days?

Cheers,
John
John,

There is good repair shop near me I have used in the past.  They are certified for Mcintosh, professional equipment and other hifi brands.  I know you used to own a Classe CA series - there are about 30 capacitors in there!

I had 2 different whole house humidifiers in the past that worked wonders for the air but could never get them to stop leaking.
Elizabeth, you are lucky.  I have always had a problem in my stereo room.  Some carpet and some hardwood floor.

I guess I do need a portable humifier.
Simply drag a large chunk of meat around attached to you by a brass cable. Problem solved.
Another solution is to have something metal that is not part of your audio system on your audio rack, maybe the rack itself if it's metal,  and rap it with your knuckle before touching your gear.  Your knuckle is much less sensitive than your fingertip and the rap spares you that unpleasant little shock to the fingertip.
One blessing of living in Florida I guess, no such thing as a dry winter....or any winter really come to think of it......
Sorry to hear of your bad luck though.
@wolf_garcia will fish work?
@uberwaltz thanks!  Fortunately I have back up amps so I am back in business!

@tomcy6 I normally do just that but for some reason I got lazy. And paid!
I've been digging around inside of electronics for 25 years and of all the modes of failure I've come across I can't say static has ever been one. I've delivered some bone-jarring static charges to my gear and never so much as a tick from the speakers. I'd suggest having the grounding scheme examined. The circuits shouldn't be the path of least resistance between the chassis and the ground. 
Static can and does impart damage. Mosfet transistors and ICs are particularly susceptible. Some people destroy electronics with static unknowingly. It doesn't always happen with an obvious shock. 
I work with industrial electronics for the last 38 years and by FAR the biggest enemy of our equipment is static(after the "human" factor of course!) as unfortunately the process we are manufacturing generates static at every turn!
I have personally seen 400hp drives killed by static discharge before we got a lil smarter in our wiring and approach.
And dont even mention the blackened fingernails some techs have suffered......lol.
It is a genuine, under-estimated problem for sure.
I leave my stuff on and use a remote... computer audio 90% of the time so nothing to touch on the system.  
So which components inside the amplifier/preamplifier get most affected by the static discharge? What about tube vs. SS gear?  I'd guess active components like transistors inside SS electronic devices are the first ones to get fried, not capacitors, resistors, etc.
@wolf_garcia will fish work?

@pops , only during lent. ;^)
ATI must have some kind of safeguard, as twice lately I have been bitten by static as I touched the amp and it instantly shut off, and then immediately fired all five channels back up ... Entire sequence last maybe 15 seconds
Pops, good point!
Thanks for the reminder.
Pops it happened to me , it was the kind of pants and my sweater,iam wearing.google why static happen...I got really educated from it, when I use lotion it removes the dryness as well on my hands...
I have had this problem also, never caused harm to equipment however. Had a integrated amplifier that would go into protection mode. Even happened when using the remote (metal one).

As many have aforementioned, a discharge prior to touching equipment is best protection. ALso, as Elizabeth stated, bare feet, or even taking shoes off helps reduce static buildup. 


Like others have suggested I have a brass plate that is grounded to earth that I touch first.  My preamp crackles through the speakers if I don’t in this weather 
The latest Audioquest anti static vinyl cleaning brush uses the user as a ground, which I think is a bold use of the consumer as a participant in an audio issue remedy…this might be illegal in some states, but I use one anyway but store the little charge in a battery that I later use to power my toothbrush.
Humidifiers, anti static spray like Nordost and my Sonic Tonic or even Tourmaline guns or air ionizers, and Mapleshade used to sell the Ionoclast ionizer, long out of production.
I have one pair of very comfortable shoes (Skechers) that makes me get zapped from all metal objects (very unpleasant).  At home I walk barefoot, but at work I get zapped all the time.  I ended up saving these shoes for the rainy seasons.
That's incredible I never heard of such a thing as this static ele blowing equipment.I remember twice not just once at work static ele discharged from the metal clothes locker door while I was changing right through my private part like it was a lightning rod.Scared and startled me.I asked anybody else if it happened to them they said I was nuts.
I put ELECTRICAL TAPE on selector switch and volume staples also has deststic spray I put on carpet which helps a lot 
uberwaltz,

One blessing living in midwest is to see beautiful white snow in the morning, walk out in underwear, jog, than dive and bathe in that clean and shiny powder and than return home after half-hour of such joy which clearly means a definition of Heaven.

Florida I guess is more similar to the burning Hell.

Polar Walrus aka czarivey.

@czarivey 

You and I have a very different view of Heaven....lol.

To tell truth I hate Florida and once daughter goes to college( this year) we are out of here to.....South Dakota.
My idea of heaven is 250 acres of wilderness with my home smack in the center, razor wire and auto gun turrets around the perimeter.
Yes I like my solitude.....
This is great:  "Pops" posts about static discharge.
In some corners of the internet this is referred to as "eponysterical"!
-
250 acres of wilderness and turrets around perimeter reminds me of ADMAX in Florence. It's very strong solitude there.
@czarivey 
lol
The main difference ,mine will be to keep the population OUT not in.
difference is always next to similarity as well as Hell to Heaven.
Uberwaltz, In Fl.  we seem to get the crazies from everywhere,,lol.
        But not much static,,,
Yep
Florida is not short on crazy for sure
Present company excepted of course!😇
How about washing your hands before you touch the equipment.
Well, unless you have a sink and towel next to your system you will probably build up a charge walking from your bathroom to your stereo.
I lived in Colorado for 9 years, recently having moved back to Michigan.  We had carpet in our basement and the static build up would make one hesitant to touch a light switch, let alone turn my gear on.  I used ACL Staticide spray.  Stuff worked like a champ.
proper equipment grounding also helps. ground->hot->neutral = voltage; neutral->ground = zero. micropore soles are static resistant, but finding such foot wear is challenge. sneaker soles will get ya couple of farads per each foot I guess and you can probably give it back to electric company LOL via powerful 10M resistor HAHA!



About a month ago with almost brand new speakers, and a new tube amp I turned up the volume on my line stage and was startled by a loud snap or pop. It was dark and I might have touched the chassis but I'm just not sure. I turned down the volume, stopped the disc and heard only from the right channel and also the amp a soft pulsating, rhythmic tone from both in harmony. I turned off the cd spinner and sat for about 5 minutes listening. I could not describe the sound at the time. It wasn't a ringing, or hum but some kind of blended soft sound coming and going. This occurred the same night as when I was getting some small static shocks. My guess at the time was that the right output tube was messing up and shut down for the night.

The next night after reversing the output tubes both channels appear fine and the amp is also quiet again.

Does anyone have a good guess what happened I'm guessing from this static electricity shock?

   LP
When you have a "Static", electrical problem of any type. You have an electrical charge imbalance. And that little spark you get when you touch the amp and hear the pop can be ridiculously powerfull, Which is why it can destroy the component. Why do you have a static? Too many reasons to list here. But it comes down to Ion's. Commonly you need negative ion's to balance out too many pos. ion's. I use Ionic filters which make negative ion's and also scrub the surrounding air.. You'll need to use whatever works for you. One thing to know is that the problem is an imbalance of either pos or neg charges. And for you to achieve a balance in the given area that you listen in will not only stop those nasty little shocks but "will", actually change the sound of your rig. At least to you. This is one reason sound is so subjective. Because we all use these charged Ion's which our ears then "transduce" from sound to brainwave. We all have biological chemical potentials in our ears.Your bodies "DAC" if you will. And we are all built just a little differently, "Thank God!".
     I am sure there is someone here that could expound on this better than I. I just know that I completely solved my own issue and now the room even smells nicer!
lpretiring,  electric charge on your body is "looking" for return to ground.  There will be multiple paths of return with current inversely proportional to return impedance.  I'm not sure if it can create effect, you describe, in tubes, but it is possible with semiconductors.  Perhaps your CD player was in some form of standby (necessary for remote to operate) and it contained semiconductors.  Most of integrated circuits, these days are not bipolar and often contain both NMOS and PMOS transistors.  That allows to create parasitic SCR (Thyristor) structures that can be triggered by excessive current flow.  This effect known as "Latch-up", very common about 30 years ago, was leading to equipment damage with static discharge.  It was often enough to provide more than 30mA per pin to trigger latch-up.  Circuit in latch-up was slowly heating up to the point of damage.  Since then, protection methods got implemented and circuits are safe from much higher currents, but I'm not sure if it is completely free from it.   Turning power off resets the circuit in latch-up.  My advise would be to turn power off if you experience it again.  Allowing circuit to stay in latch-up can lead to damage (overheating).  Perhaps tubes can go into similar state, but it would be better to ask tube experts like Atmasphere.
@kijanki 

I did ask Dennis Had who built my Inspire amp and he doesn't understand what happened. That made someone like me with sooo little tech knowledge even more paranoid.

I also talked to Andy from Vintage Tubes when I was ordering new tubes for it, and he mentioned maybe a cap or oscillating. I wasn't clear on what he meant about the oscillating reference and did not want to press the issue at that moment.

I guess my biggest concern since it's playing well is that some parts might have been compromised and could fail prematurely. 

If it ever happens again, I will take your advice and shut down immediately.

   LP


Ended my Pono with just one touch.. been dumping static into a ground wire off to the side of the rack ever since. 
I read a little trick that helps me, as static is a huge problem for me and my system. I touch the little screw that holds on the the light switch cover to my room. I am luck it is near by. Yes, I get a little shock but not as big as when I touch my amplifier. The screw is attached to the receptacle box that is grounded so it minimizes the shock. At least that was how it was explained to me. I don't know if it is right but at least it does the trick.

If all the chassis of your equipment has a secure connection to ground, this should never happen. Voltage
,(static or otherwise) will always seek a lower impedance,
path to ground from the chassis, rather than through any internal electronic  circuitry. I have seen where some equipment has had the chassis ground lifted, in order to eliminate hum. If I am wrong, I welcome comments to enlighten me please.

mg16

Voltage
,(static or otherwise) will always seek a lower impedance,
path to ground from the chassis, rather than through any internal electronic  circuitry.
It will still seek all possible paths to ground, only majority of the current will go thru grounding of the chassis.  Grounding is very important, but danger still exists.  Humidifiers, anti-static mats or sprays, discharging yourself on the different object etc. are all very good ideas.