There are a lot of these very collectable echo boxes hitting eBay every month, some are in need of a real piece of TLC whilst others have [supposedly] had this done to them and are being sold as ready to use.
I am typing this guide after having had a guy ring me up on another matter and in the discussion mentioning that he has just got his Copicat back from the repair shop (via an established Music Dealer) and commented on what a lovely new mains lead they had fitted. I was pleased to hear that a new lead had been fitted since ALL (Valve or Transistor) Copicats have an inherent safety issue. They were only ever fitted with a 2-core mains lead that meant they rely totally on the host amplifier for their Earthing!!
Of course, in today’s world this sort of “earthless” design is banned by the HSE. To top it all, any Copicat going for a PAT test would totally fail the “Earth Bonding” test.
To quote directly from one of Charlie Watkins Copicat brochure’s of the 60s/ 70s era:
The Copicat will become earthed when output lead (14) is plugged into you amplifier. But always make sure to earth your amplifier.
What is of concern is that if a serious failure point should occur within the Copicat, the user could potentially be subject to a live 240VAC mains connection or worst still (if using one of the valve/tube models) a 300+ VDC live connection – Both are potentially lethal.
I personally will not service / repair any Copicats unless the owner has agreed for a 3-core mains lead being fitted. I was very surprised to find reputable repair agents (as mentioned earlier) ignoring this very real issue. At around £20 - £25 this one modification could well save a life.
Watkins WEM Copicat Earthing Issue / Warning
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7 July 2010
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