Studio Story Book

Faking a Breakdown

One evening, I was driving past a studio and decided to drop in and pay them a social call.  I walked into the control room and it was full of people standing around.  I said "hello" to everyone and noticed that the deck of the MCI JH-24 multitrack was open like the hood of a broken down car.  "What's..." Before I had a chance to complete my question, I received several sharp kicks to the shins and was quickly ushered out of the room.

Later, the studio manager explained to me that they were faking a breakdown to avoid doing a session because nobody wanted to work that night.  Being the technician of the house, I politely offered to close the machine up after the clients had left.  To close the deck on an MCI multitrack, you have to lift it slightly in order to release the support.  I began to lift when suddenly - BANG!  A loud explosion and all power to the studio including the lights was cut.  We all stood there for a moment in stunned silence and pitch black.  "What the...?"

It turned out that for some reason the main 50A fuse to the entire complex had blown.  This should not have happened - you would have thought that the local fuse for the individual multitrack circuit would have blown but some resourceful person had decided to fit it with a two inch nail.

The reason for the short was straightforward enough.  An additional cooling fan had been retrofitted to the machine but the power cable for the fan had been routed incorrectly, passing over a sharp piece of metal which is normally protected by a piece of plastic and which of cause was missing.  I walk in and lift the lid, just putting enough extra strain on the cable to cut through the insulation.  Naturally, 50A of mains flowing around the machine's chassis did not do it a lot of good and after I got it going, it had the jitters.  It turned out that several ground tracks had been burnt out at random in the machine - nothing a solid day of work couldn't sort out!

Are there any morals to this story?  I'll leave it to your imagination...