NILES, IL, October 25, 2010 — Located in the northwest Pennsylvania city of Bradford, Turner Specialty Contractors has built a solid business designing AV systems for area churches over the past decade. “I have built my reputation by providing reliable equipment that sounds great,” says Company Founder and President Randall Turner. “Over the past year and a half, 100 percent of the wireless systems I’ve specified are Shure, and this incident really illustrates why.”
The system Turner designed for the Family Church of the Southern Tier in Jamestown, New York, included eight channels of Shure ULX-S wireless using two passive antenna splitters. “This was new construction, and it’s a pretty high tech church. They’ve got a big praise and worship band that’s pretty awesome,” says Turner. “When we went in to power up the system for the first time, we had a little incident that really showed how solidly designed these Shure systems are.”
The church required seven ULX-S wireless systems, including two Beta 87 handheld models and five bodypack systems for lavalier and headworn applications. RF and power were handled through two UA844-SWB wideband antenna distribution systems, supplemented by two Shure UA221 passive antenna splitters. In designing the system, Turner had requested that the electrical contractors include two isolation transformers in the building to protect the audio system from ground loops.
“On the day they were installed, I was there with my Shure Rep, Mike Love from McFadden Sales,” Turner recalls. “We got the thumbs-up from the electrician, but when he powered the amps backstage, the power conditioner shut down almost immediately.”
Anxious to find the problem, Turner and Love went to the front of house console where the wireless receivers were and powered up that system. Within seconds, they could smell smoke. “We pulled out a voltmeter and saw we had 180 volts shooting down our 120-volt line! We hollered down for him to kill it, but the damage had been done.”
That damage included the loss of both power conditioners. Further testing revealed that the transformer hosting all the audio equipment was producing 79 volts, even with no load on the system. “Obviously, there had been a wiring error,” Turner chuckles, “so we yelled down to the electrician to shut the system down. Then it was time for damage control.”
While the electrician rewired the transformer, Turner and Love confirmed that the power from the second transformer was running properly. Then, they ran an extension to the audio gear.
“We needed to test all the gear and see what had survived,” explains Turner. “You never want to smell smoke in a new installation, and I didn’t know what to expect, but when we powered it up again, every piece of Shure equipment…both the ULX-S receivers and the antenna distribution system…were as good as new. Needless to say, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And it really shows the quality of engineering that goes into Shure products.”