Storing PA gear in a garage

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Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

Hi,
I'm a newbie here who is just starting to get a collection of gear together after the band I was in parted ways. I inherited a Behringer 2442FX USB mixer from the band kitty. Since then I've been buying various cables, stands, and DI boxes, plus a pair of Yamaha DBR tops. This is all with a view to getting something going when work settles down. Anyway, with the weather starting to get colder, I've just moved the mixer and my guitar pedalboard into the house for the winter.
Conversely, my tops and a trolley case crammed full of XLRs, instrument cables, headphone amp cables and a couple of Mackie dynamic mics are still left in the garage. The garage is not detached but we know UK winters can be damp

How many of you leave your powered speakers in an unheated out-building, year round? I'm wondering whether to get a couple of the large vacuum bags that can be used to winterise clothes or bedding.as I gather that damp is.the main issue?
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by James Perrett »

At my old place I used to store gear in a garage attached to the house with no damp problems. There must have been enough heat coming through the wall from the house (and also from the boiler in a cupboard next to the garage) to keep things dry.

At my current place the garage is detached and I quickly found that I was getting damp problems in cold weather so, for now, I have a small heater in there with the thermostat set very low. Some people use a dehumidifier instead of a heater which might be more energy efficient.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by resistorman »

Putting gear in a sealed plastic bag could cause problems like mildew and mold.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Music Wolf »

In my experience the big risk is in the change of environment i.e. taking an electronic item from a cold environment into a warm room and powering it up straight away resulting in condensation. If I leave gear in my car overnight I always give it an hour in the house before powering up. It was a common problem at work with laptops, we’d lose a couple ever winter.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Moroccomoose »

My garage has a pitched roof and I use the roof space for storage. Its typically much drier and warmer in the roof space than the main garage space.
In my garage I would want to put electronic stuff up there, but wouldn't much fancy lugging a PA up and down!

Stu.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Mike Stranks »

Cables definitely won't be a problem... I kept my crates of 'em in various garages for many years...

I'd be more wary of 'electronics' - including mics of any description... I've never risked it. I guess if you had sealed plastic boxes and also put some silica-gel sachets inside you'd probably be OK with the smaller stuff. I keep what remains of my lighting rig - including the DMX controller in the garage in sealed boxes and it's come through five or six garage winters now with no issues.

BTW I did keep all my PA gear - including monitors - in the loft for some years... kept me supple! :lol:
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

resistorman wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:55 am Putting gear in a sealed plastic bag could cause problems like mildew and mold.

Agreed but I was thinking of the vacuum bags that you can attach the Hoover to, in order to draw out all of the air.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

Moroccomoose wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 8:50 am My garage has a pitched roof and I use the roof space for storage. Its typically much drier and warmer in the roof space than the main garage space.
In my garage I would want to put electronic stuff up there, but wouldn't much fancy lugging a PA up and down!

Stu.

Ooh, mine has one too. It needs a bit of a clear out up there - my wife has a bit of a tendency to keep things for sentimental reasons. Maybe I can persuade her.

At the moment the speakers are DBR10s and we have a drop down ladder so it wouldn't be too much of a feat to move them up there.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

Music Wolf wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:09 am In my experience the big risk is in the change of environment i.e. taking an electronic item from a cold environment into a warm room and powering it up straight away resulting in condensation. If I leave gear in my car overnight I always give it an hour in the house before powering up. It was a common problem at work with laptops, we’d lose a couple ever winter.

When I got the mixer out last night I noticed that the surfaces had a very thin layer of condensation when I took it out of its case. Hence I waited a bit before switching it on. I should probably have left it in the case for a bit.

They say the same about nitrocellulose lacquer finished guitars and leaving them in their cases to bring them to temperature gradually and avoid finish checking...
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Sam Spoons »

Most of my rig lives in my detached garage though mixers, mics etc come into the house. No problems I can attribute to storing them out there after many years.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Wonks »

SoundArfa wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:26 pm They say the same about nitrocellulose lacquer finished guitars and leaving them in their cases to bring them to temperature gradually and avoid finish checking...

This applies to any guitar regardless of finish, though nitro finished guitars do require more overall care with regards to temperature changes.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Drew Stephenson »

All my PA gear lives in the garage and I've not had any problems with damp or cold.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Mike Monte »

PA gear in an unheated garage or shed is no problem
however
I find it best to elevate the gear. (I use 2x4's to) create an air space beneath speakers and such. You don't want your gear to "wick-up" and moisture from the floor.
If the gear gets frozen (stored in below-freezing temps), open up the case and allow to defrost (for at least an hour) prior to powering up to avoid condensation issues with the electronics.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by AlecSp »

SoundArfa wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:16 pmAgreed but I was thinking of the vacuum bags that you can attach the Hoover to, in order to draw out all of the air.

You won't remove all the air...
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

AlecSp wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 10:42 pm
SoundArfa wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:16 pmAgreed but I was thinking of the vacuum bags that you can attach the Hoover to, in order to draw out all of the air.

You won't remove all the air...

We use vacuum bags to overwinter our touring caravan bedding. You should see what happens to a continental quilt when you remove all of the air with the Hoover....
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Sam Spoons »

SoundArfa wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:56 am We use vacuum bags to overwinter our touring caravan bedding. You should see what happens to a continental quilt when you remove all of the air with the Hoover....

So do we but bedding is compressible, your PA gear is not so you won't be able to remove as significant a proportion of the air from your PA gear. That said if you put them in the bags in a dry environment then they should reduce the risk of condensation when it gets cold.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by SoundArfa »

Sam Spoons wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:28 pm
SoundArfa wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:56 am We use vacuum bags to overwinter our touring caravan bedding. You should see what happens to a continental quilt when you remove all of the air with the Hoover....

So do we but bedding is compressible, your PA gear is not so you won't be able to remove as significant a proportion of the air from your PA gear. That said if you put them in the bags in a dry environment then they should reduce the risk of condensation when it gets cold.

My thinking was that the interior of the speaker isn't air tight so the air would still be removed as the vacuum crested in the bag draws it out. However, I guess there is a risk of removing it too quickly in case it damages the speaker. A low vacuum speed maybe? Too risky?
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Sam Spoons »

You won't remove anything like 'all the air' nor get anywhere near a vacuum so you will still have potentially moist air in the bags however there should be no risk to the speaker drivers as the cabs are ported not sealed.

Question for others more knowledgable than me, "would the reduced pressure present a risk to components like capacitors or other encapsulated devices?" My gut feeling says no, especially at the level of 'vacuum' a domestic vacuum cleaner could generate but just to be on the safe side, advicewise...
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by James Perrett »

Sam Spoons wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:55 pm Question for others more knowledgable than me, "would the reduced pressure present a risk to components like capacitors or other encapsulated devices?" My gut feeling says no, especially at the level of 'vacuum' a domestic vacuum cleaner could generate but just to be on the safe side, advicewise...

I've not been involved in designing any gear to go into a vacuum but for gear that is going to be used under high pressure you need to use devices with no voids and no liquid. So crystals and electrolytic capacitors are out. Electrolytics are replaced by tantalum capacitors or ceramic capacitors. Semiconductors and resistors are usually OK but you need to test thoroughly before approving a design for use at pressure.
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Re: Storing PA gear in a garage

Post by Sam Spoons »

:thumbup: That makes sense, given that a typical vacuum cleaner can achieve about 80% vacuum, equivalent to about 6000' above sea level (the summit of Ben Nevis is 4437' above sea level) then it ain't going to trouble normal gear :D
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