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Surge protector for amp?


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#1 of 30 OFFLINE   Joe

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Posted May 08 2003 - 01:04 PM

I need a surge protector that will allow 10 amps to flow through unrestricted. I don't know much about this area but appearently providing unrestricted high current can be an issue.

Can you explain and/or recommend anything?

#2 of 30 OFFLINE   Cliff Olson

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Posted May 08 2003 - 03:24 PM

I was running my power amp, and everything else for that matter, through my surge protecter. Everything seemed fine, but I decided to buy one of those aftermarket power cords for my power amp. I exchanged the stock one with this new garden hose sized one. It sounded a *little* better. Then I read that you're supposed to plug the cord DIRECTLY into the wall, and bypass any/all protection! Once I did that ~~ WOW! It made a HUGE difference on the sound (IMO). Not only cleaner sound, but I could tell a lot more current was flowing freely to my amp (I have to keep the volume lower than I used to). Even my wife noticed a difference, and that tells you something.

Moral of the story; I will take the risk and leave my higher powered electronics unprotected in trade for much better sound Posted Image I'm not suggesting that you don't check into a surge protecter, but in my case, it sounds much better without it.

#3 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 09 2003 - 12:06 AM

Do you own your own home Joe?

#4 of 30 OFFLINE   Joe

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Posted May 09 2003 - 12:23 AM

"Do you own your own home Joe? " Yes. I actually ran a 20amp circuit for my HT as well.

#5 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 09 2003 - 12:57 AM

Then strongly consider adding a whole house surge protetion device to your home. They're installed either at the meter or at the breaker. If you're in a non-lighting prone area, likely a 1000 joule unit will do fine. More problematical area such as Florida, certain parts of the midwest, tx, etc. a 2000 joule unit is adequate. These units protect EVERYTHING in your home from surges. The type of unit you're looking for would act as the interface for any incoming wires...AC, cable, satellite, phone...whatever it is that you've got. Your local HD or decently equipped electrical supply store can provide reasonable units. Cost intalled will of course vary but can be under a couple of hundred. Figure an electrician is going to soak you for 1 hour minimum.
If you're not going to protect your amp, why bother protecting anything else. After all, a surge could come in via your amp and then choose multiple ways to ground itself...maybe your microwave, garage door opener, your TV, you get the picture.
Then you can always provide redundant protection for the other components focussing more on units that deal with glitches, noise, etc.

#6 of 30 OFFLINE   Dennis LM

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Posted May 09 2003 - 02:37 AM

Wouldn't "whole house" protection only protect you from what's coming in from the street/pole? What about power surges caused by devices within your home (e.g., microwaves, TVs, dryers, water pumps, unidentified faulty devices, etc.)?
Dennis LM.

#7 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 09 2003 - 03:18 AM

Dennis, those by definition aren't surges. Call them glitches, little spikes, perturbations, whatever, but surges they're not and they most certain wouldn't damage your equipment any more than they'd damage your phones, X10 boxes, home alarm system, clocks, etc. However, a separate line, possibly off a separate breaker box mitigates against that. Besides, after you've guarded against the outside, you can choose point of use units based on something like Silicon Avalanche Diode technology, hybrid units, units that work on the basis of sinewave tracking to clamp down tightly against the glitches.

#8 of 30 OFFLINE   Frances_H

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Posted May 09 2003 - 04:05 AM

Cliff,
what kind of surge protector are you using? I use Panamax 5500 ACRegenerator, and all gears are routed through it, including my power amp (B&K 125.7), and use the after market power cord to Panamax. I have dedicated 20 amp outlets for my system, one for the sub, and one for the gears. Receptacle by PS Audio. I haven't try to connect the amp directly to the wall, simply because I want to have a complete protection. The Max has 2 dedicated high-current outlet that is only limited by a 15 A breaker. Supposedly, no current limiting circuitry for these outlet. But, would be open to recommendation that plugging it directly to the wall outlet will produce *improvement*
Anybody else has thoughts and datapoints on Panamax 5500?

#9 of 30 OFFLINE   james e m

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Posted May 10 2003 - 04:11 AM

I too am going to be looking for surge protection. Right now I have a Brickwall 2R15 which I love but, I am building my own house and was thinking about whole house surge protection. Is there anything I should look for, or ask my builder about?

If I do get whole house surge protection, does that mean I should just hook my new amp directly to the wall without an additional surge protector?

I was thinking giving one outlet just for my amps and another outlet for everything else (pre/pro, tv, subs, cd player etc.). Does this sound like a good plan?

Would two outlets be sufficient to power my whole home theater?

If it matters I have a 150 amp in our house. I know nothing about power. :b
Thanks,
James
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#10 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 10 2003 - 08:14 AM

Quote:
If I do get whole house surge protection, does that mean I should just hook my new amp directly to the wall without an additional surge protector?
you got it, although you may want to still pick up a point of use device that does a better job of dealing with glitches seeing as how the 'whole house' unit has taken over the hard work.

Quote:
I was thinking giving one outlet just for my amps and another outlet for everything else (pre/pro, tv, subs, cd player etc.). Does this sound like a good plan?

sounds reasonable and you may want to add additional ones around the room to allow for possible moving of things around. consider making the outlets industrial or hospital grade to better identify them for the future. Also, since your sub may well be located in another part of the room, have an outlet there.

No reason you still can't use the Brickwall for the amp and some nice Silicon Avalanche Diodes for everything else. Buy your builder some donuts, maybe he'll toss in an extra outlet on the house.

#11 of 30 OFFLINE   Cliff Olson

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Posted May 11 2003 - 05:19 AM

I have a Monster HTS2000, Frances. I haven't gone as far as you, I've only added the conditioner to the existing "stock" wall outlet. I would recommend at least trying to plug the amp directly into the wall to see if it makes a difference. If it does sound better without using the surge protecter, try what Chu is recommending to cover the whole house from incoming surges. I think it's at least worth a shot Posted Image

#12 of 30 OFFLINE   BrendanG

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Posted May 11 2003 - 08:52 AM

Does anyone know if having one of these whole house surge protectors limit the flow of electricity throughout the house? or is it unrestricted?

#13 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 11 2003 - 09:45 AM

they're generally not series mode devices so the answer is no. methinks you be agonizing too much and you'll be agonizing even more if your system goes down. surge devices such as the home based units are used in virtually all commercial buildings, facilities, research centers, manufacturing concerns, telco's, and the list goes on. while the type they use depends upon what they need to protect and other issues (isolation transformer based, silicon technology, hybrids, MOV's, etc.) they do not interfere with your equipment inside.
any amp company is not going to honor a warranty if a surge fried your unit and again, if you don't protect your amp, why bother protecting anything else in your HT since their all interconnected.

#14 of 30 OFFLINE   Kevin_Kr

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Posted May 12 2003 - 05:30 AM

Well I agree mostly with Chu, I disagree whole heartedly that spikes won't hurt your equipment. Over time they can become as detrimental as a surge. Every time you get a spike it puts a little more wear on your component. For anything of value I would have aditional protection as well.

#15 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 12 2003 - 06:52 AM

well a point of use device is going to be letting through 300V or so glitches and while it's very debateable whether a manufacturer has not built in protection for those, that's why I also said getting specific types of point of use devices based on Silicon Avalanche Diode or Sine Wave Tracking technology. Do your own google search and see what's being addressed here Posted Image

#16 of 30 OFFLINE   Dennis LM

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Posted May 12 2003 - 07:00 AM

I don't think it's an issue in my home, but some homes have low power issues, where the lights and even TV dim for several seconds. What can you do to protect against that? UPS for the HT? That could cost a bit.
Dennis LM.

#17 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 12 2003 - 08:35 AM

Well you could document it if you wanted to using a recording multimeter (~$50 at RS...a good thing to have around the house) and report what you've found to your local power utility. This may be an example of an abnormal situation that they'll take care of. They are under certain legal obligations to provide you with decent power after all. Hence, better to find out just what you're supposed to be provided and look to keep their feet to the fire instead of you spending your monies to fix their problems.
OTOH, that particular individual may have too many things on one circuit etc. Simple solution is to add another line or increase the capacity of the service panel. Some things are better fixed at the source instead of putting expensive audiophile bandages on them.

#18 of 30 OFFLINE   MikeRP

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Posted May 12 2003 - 02:13 PM

Chu Gai:

My electrician is recommending the CHSP series from Cutler Hammer. Its the one that protects cable, phone and electrical with a 40 kA rating. Its aboput $480 retail but much less with my electrician.

In addition, the meter socket will be fused and I have ALL the equipment connected to a Monster Power HTS 2000 strip.

What do you think about this setup?

Will it protect if say a lightning stike hits the chimney?

Mike

#19 of 30 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted May 12 2003 - 05:11 PM

sheesh...ya want protection if God puts a hit on your house??? if that happens you've got more than your HT to worry about, but it's also possible to guard against those. that'll require other approaches.

There's several things I advocate for.

1) whole house protection
2) point of use redundancy
3) a homeowner's policy with full equipment replacement
4) good earth grounds
5) separate lines for your HT.

Cuttler Hammer is one of the large players in this area. You can read more about the product you're considering selecting here. You might want to print it out, read it, and have your electrician show you just what he's proposing to install.

A surge is a high voltage transient. What a surge wants to do is find the shortest path to earth ground. The way a surge suppressor works is not by absorbing a surge, but by diverting the surge to ground. When all you've got is just a point of use device, that surge will not necessarily go down the ground wire. It'll find any way it can to ground itself even if it means jumping wires. You see, it's not a question of what the wires resistance is. A surge looks at a wire as an impedance source. And the lowest impedance is going to be at the meter or the breakers. That's because the ground wire (which should not have any kinks in it) is both thick and short. Mostly it's the shortness that you're looking at. I can't tell whether he's installing the whole LoadCenter or just the unit itself. I think it's the whole thing.

When you see a product like Monster, Panamax, whomever, they'll typically give you a joule rating. Let's say they've got a joule rating of 3000. Sounds big. Your unit is rated at 40 kA or 40,000 amps. That translates to something like 1000 joules. Now maybe you're saying...whoa...what's going on here? I'm paying several hundred dollars for less protection?! Well you're not. You take that 3000 joule rating from whomever and asking a few questions you realize that's the aggragate rating. In other words, it's for hot-neutral, hot-ground, neutral-ground. So divide that by 3. That gives us 1000 joules. We're not finished yet. Remember earlier I mentioned surges treat wire like impedance sources. Well the further away your point of use unit is located from EARTH GROUND, the worse the impedance is. So we need to derate those numbers by about 1/2. So our effective protection is maybe 500 joules. And we still haven't protected anything other than our HT system. Your whole house unit protects everything. So you take a look around and see what you've got that runs off of electricity...phones, microwaves, ovens, clocks, thermostats, boiler, air conditioners, garage door openers, X-10 boxes, games, oven, lights, fridge, freezer, etc. Spread out over everything, the cost amounts to a couple of dollars per protected appliance. That's money well spent I'd say. You want your wife to say "hey Einstein, your HT system is working after that storm but the garage door openers are fried..." Oops...write a check for a few hundred Posted Image

You can certainly call up a couple of other electricians to see what they recommend. There are other sources of whole house units such as Siemens, Intermatic, and a ton of others. In any event, see if he'll toss in a separate line and a couple of outlets for the HT.

#20 of 30 OFFLINE   Cagri

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Posted May 12 2003 - 08:30 PM

Can I just ask a quick question here instead of bringing an old thread of mine to the board. I live on the top floor of an apartment in an area which very rarely gets a lightning but there are often spikes ( I guess because I am very close to a local power box or whatever that thing is called). A surge protector rated 3000 joules probably will not protect my gear if the building is hit by lightning, as I'm on 14th floor. Is it still worth using one for those spikes ?
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