Line Conditioners, Please help me pick one.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jerome Grate, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Well, here's the story, the line conditioner is not for HT believe it or not, this is what I need to do.

    My son is on dialysis every night. I purchased a generator in case of power lost (which already happened 3 times). Since this is electronic I figure that I would treat this as if if this ia piece of HT equipment. It's my understanding that Line conditioners clean up and maintain a steady stream of current to the equipment. Running a generator can have surge watts and I want to know if:

    1. will a line conditioner protect against surge wattage?
    2. is this the way I should go?

    That's my dilemna, the machine uses 600 watts off and on as oppose to continuously, and will a Line Conditioner rated at 600 watts do the job. I know this is not HT related but, I know the answer I search for is here. I tried calling the company that puts out the machine (Baxter) but they can't recommend a line conditioner only a blanket recommendation
    of yes you need to get one.
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jerome,
    You certainly have a "mission critical" application, and thanks for your trust in turning to this forum. Our first hurdle is confusion in definition of terms. Line Conditioner/Power Conditioner/Surge Protector/Voltage Regulator sometimes get comingled, but they are not all the same and serve different purposes.
    There are non-audiophile units that may be useful to you, but we need more specific information. I am uncertain about the dialysis machine and the portable generator. Which are which in your question(s)
    You say you have a home dialysis machine. What are its electrical characteristics or requirements beyond plugging into a 120V/15A wall power outlet?
    Are you saying this machine operates optimally when using standard wallpower, but you worry about plugging it into the generator?
    What type generator? Once it is up and running, isnt its power output voltage regulated so that plugging in at that point is after the fact in terms of start=up current surge?
    More importantly, what is your present wiring scheme in connecting the Baxter to power? Is the generator in the chain to auto turn-on, or in case of power loss, do you then go and replug the Baxter into the generator.
    A voltage regulator may be acceptable here.
    Help us help you...it's mind-blowing that Baxter isnt more forthcoming.
    bill
     
  3. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Thanks Bill, my answers are in red.

    You say you have a home dialysis machine. What are its electrical characteristics or requirements beyond plugging into a 120V/15A wall power outlet? The machine has a heater to heat up the solution bags, and a small cycler, the wattage of the machine is 600 watts, and as the rep said yesterday, that is cycled and not on all the time.


    Are you saying this machine operates optimally when using standard wallpower, but you worry about plugging it into the generator? I don't know if it operates optimally when plugged into a wall socket. Plugging it into the Generator doesn't really concerm me especially with a regulator or surge protector at the dialysis machine's end.

    What type generator? Generac 4000EXL 4000 watts continuos with 6600 surge watts. Once it is up and running, isnt its power output voltage regulated so that plugging in at that point is after the fact in terms of start=up current surge? The only thing the manual states about that is that the 120volt 15amp receptical has a breaker switch.

    More importantly, what is your present wiring scheme in connecting the Baxter to power? Is the generator in the
    chain to auto turn-on, or in case of power loss, do you then go and replug the Baxter into the generator. The dialysis machine will remain plugged into the wall and the generator will be hooked in to the house via a connection provided by the power company. They will install the connector it between the Meter and the inside breaker box which will cut the power from outside and rely on the power from the generator. I will turn off the breakers I do not wish power to go and leave the ones I need, that would be the dialysis machine, Refrigerator, Oil burner, Well pump and some upstairs lights.

    Hope I answered the questions enough to get the help I need
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    The Generac 4000EXL is a fuel-powered, portable generator commonly used by RV folks. I tried to Google the Owners Manual, but cud not get a link. However, 4000 watts is a good-sized load.
    In this regard, I presume you have looked at the POWER CONSUMPTION motor plates on each piece of equipment to assure you will not exceed the Generac’s capacity. This does not appear likely on the load you describe during emergency power outage. You probably could use a 19-inch or 27-inch TV (mine is 165watts) as well, minus any AVR and sound system connections.
    1. Refrigerator: New energy-efficient units are 7.2 amps or approx. 860watts. Older than two years, models will draw as much as 40percent more, a/c to my appliance dealer.
    2. Baxter: 600 watts
    3. Oil Burner/fan recirculator motor(s): ???
    4. Well Pump motor: ???
    5. Household lights: Say 600 watts for ten 60-watt bulbs
    In any case, to restate your concern, it appears that you are looking for a “line conditioner” to plug the Baxter dialysis machine into for peace-of-mind in protecting the Baxter electronics from any electrical-line borne anomalies (overvoltages) [a surge protector will do this] and to assure a steady supply of current [a voltage regulator will do this.]
    During normal household power, all the Baxter may need is a surge protector. It also would be well – like HT components – to use a household circuit absent the refrigerator motor and other appliance motors or microwave, to isolate the Baxter from these potential internal wiring current-rush surges or cycle-on current draws. One can easily determine what’s on the circuit by throwing the circuit breaker switch and seeing what goes out. Quite likely, the Baxter is plugged into a 15-amp upstairs lighting circuit. And since the Baxter is a critical medical device, it may also provide its own GFI switch, since it’s dealing with electricity and the presence of a liquid.
    But you also want to account for the power outage/generator scenario.
    One line conditioner with surge suppression that could suffice during normal power, and generator power, is a FurmanSound (long a pro audio vendor) AR-1215 15-amp voltage regulator with 8 outlets which claims to be well-suited to generators, putting out steady 120V and resistant to smaller voltage swings HERE.
    It sells for $499 HERE
    A similar, less expensive unit, is a Tripp Lite LC 1200 (watts) HERE. It sells for $99 HERE
    You say you’ve “lost power” three times in the past year. Was this storm-related, road accidents to utility poles and such? I am just trying to look at the big picture for your overall power supply reliability. Since your power company will be installing the connection before the Main Service breaker panel, perhaps this will be the time to ask them to also install a whole house surge suppressor. There is nothing wrong in such a first line of defense (works on ALL household devices, including HT components) and using point-of-use line conditioner/surge protectors (recommended).
    Thanks for considering this brainstorming, and by all means, seek second opinions.
    bill
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    power backups such as the tripplite or others might be an interesting alternative especially if you consider oversizing it a bit. the idea here is the unit will provide volatage regulation, surge protection, and also provide a tertiary means of backup if there were issues with the generator.
     
  6. Shion_ca

    Shion_ca Stunt Coordinator

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    To answer your questions directly
    1) Not all line conditioners are designed to protect against surges in power (the audio prism 3 by PSAudio is a conditioner which does not have built in serge protection)

    2) I am really not qualified to answer this and would rather not give you advise other than to say that you should definately look into a surge protecting mechanism of some sort.

    and maintain a steady stream of current to the equipment. Running a generator can have surge watts and I want to know if:

    1. will a line conditioner protect against surge wattage?
    2. is this the way I should go?

    That's my dilemna, the machine uses 600 watts off and on as oppose to continuously, and will a Line Conditioner rated at 600
    watts do the job. I know this is not HT related but, I know the answer I search for is here. I tried calling the company that puts out
    the machine (Baxter) but they can't recommend a line conditioner only a blanket recommendation
    of yes you need to get one.
     
  7. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    Go to the APC website.
    http://www.apcc.com/products/categor..._displayed=all
    Look at the "SMART UPS". They have large batteries and supply many hours of battery backup in case of power failure. They also condition the line to a sine wave output and protect against power surges. They are widely used in businesses and schools for computer backup power supplies. While a big SMART UPS is very expensive, refurbished ones are quite reasonable on the net. Here is one of several sites:
    https://www.refurbups.com/default.asp
     
  8. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jerome is getting much to digest here, but I applaud the idea of a Smart UPS as an alternative. Such a unit would require a minimum of 1000VA (or 675watts) to accommodate the 600-watt with recycling mode Baxter dialysis machine.

    I see the gentleman trying to meet a worst-case scenario: keeping the dialysis machine running no matter what. We do not know if his son needs the machine one hour per night, or only several times a week. Regardless of frequency, failure to operate is not an option.

    As Chu Gai and Bill P note re power backup, if household power goes down, the generator must be cranked into operation. In the event THIS source went sour, a Smart UPS will kick in for a finite number of minutes. This may be sufficient to conclude a dialysis session, but this is a medical matter beyond my knowing.

    The original question concerns protecting the Baxter machine's electronics, as we do with HT components.

    Jerome has yet to respond on the character of his power supply. Does it fluctuate frequently, storm or no storm? This might point to voltage regulator that includes surge suppression. Does he want to trust the generator or back this up with a APC Smart UPS (and not the APC BackUp model version) plugged into the wall outlet and into which the dialysis machine is plugged 24/7?

    These are serious choices/decisions.
     
  9. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    A smart UPS 2200 (1600 watts) will provide backup power for almost 8 hrs at 50 watt output, which should be plenty for the machine in "standby" mode. While the machine is running, it provides 39 minutes of power at 600 watts. This is according to the website. If the generator kicks in fairly quickly, the APC unit will handle the power between the time the main power goes out and the generator kicks in. It will also filter any surges or brownouts that occur during normal usage or during the transition from permanent power to generator power. I have looked at them many times, but they are very expensive. Last week I found sites on refurbished units and these are very reasonable. The 1600 watt unit can be had for $400, while a 630 watt unit is $110 (but will give less runtime in case of power faliure). Ask the generator installer how quickly the generator kicks in during a power faliure. If it is less than the backup runtime on the 630 watt unit (SmartUPS 900), then that should be perfect for you. I hope everything works out for you.
     
  10. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    First, I want to thank everyone that replied, these are some extremely helpful advice in reference to what direction I need to go. Thanks again to Bill Poley, Bill Kane, Chu and Shion. Unfortunately my modem at home is out and I can't respond as quickly to everyone like I want to, but that will be solved to today when I bring my laptop home and use it's modem.

    Bill Kane, when I said I lost power three times already, I meant three times in this month of November all weather related. I live upstate New York and unfortunately power outtage is common in my area as oppose to some neighboring areas. The Tripp Lite LC 1200 looks very good, I'm having trouble going to the SmartUPS Refurb site as it freezes up and forces me to end the task due to non-response. Anyway a lot of information to Digest, but I knew I made the right decision to come here for the answers I needed. Thanks, keep em' coming.
     
  11. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jerome, I wondered where you were!

    Yes, you need backup and AND a voltage regulator for power delivery safety cushions.

    It's hard to second-guess your power utility company. When transmission lines are interrupted from storms, some utilities have route-around systems from substations. In any case, there can be surges as the power delivery struggles to resume from the flickering off-on scenario and stabilize. This is not good for connected equipment, thus the voltage regulator. More extended outages can result in winter, when a snow-laden tree bough crashes down on lines, thus your generator.

    An APC Smart UPS is called line-interactive, meaning it just passes on the wall power with its batteries in reserve until the wall feed goes down.

    I see the UPS (which Bill P found at $400 on the refurb site)plugged into the wall, a $99 Tripp Lite LC1200 plugged into the UPS and the Baxter plugged into the voltage regulator.

    I would like someone else to confirm this chain workability.

    In fact, I will email Tripp Lite to ask them and report any response.

    bill
     
  12. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    I have read that the SMART UPS units are also a line conditioner/regulator/filter, which eliminates the need for the tripplite. (SMART UPS only, not the BACKUPS units).

    After reading the SMART UPS manual, it has provisions for power outages, surges, brownouts, and unstable power supplies. I read a review which said that the units also output a pure sine wave and filter out RFI and EMI.

    Does the Tripplite do more? If so, maybe that is what I am really looking for as a conditioner for my home theater. I just thought that the APC sounded like an all-in-one solution.
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    just a brief thought, if you explain your situation to the local utility company they may also be able to provide something gratis that may assist you or perhaps flag your home as 'critical' in the event of outages.
    i extend my deepest wishes for the best of holidays.
     
  14. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    After contacting Tripp Lite’s medical division, we’re getting closer to what is appropriate for a UPS unit to back up the generator and provide some minutes of time when (1.) power fails and the generator is cranked up when the dialysis machine happens to be operating, or (2.) if the generator fails and any dialysis session must be terminated or put into standby mode. Tripp Lite indicates its UPS is NOT intended to run the dialysis machine full time in battery mode.
    Tripp Lite has a single-unit Smart UPS that does not require an outboard voltage regulator. It carries some surge protection at a moderate MOV-based level.
    I will append the email I received from Beverly, the medical rep at Tripp Lite, who is quite knowledgeable about home health-care issues. I spoke with her on the phone. She can talk about hemo/ and renal/ dialysis and knows how to bring home-care professionals and dialysis machine reps into the discussion, as well as advising about parental awareness issues. She lists her phone number and will be available for consultation.
    Here is her response:
    (She advises that the sine wave output of the Tripp Lite models is best matched when fed pure sine wave from the generator. I researched this at Generac which advises that its generator outputs a "true" sine wave.)
    Quote: First, I need to tell you that Tripp Lite's UPS units or line conditioners should not be used with life support equipment. A home dialysis machine can be viewed as such equipment. Should you have a power outage, will you be putting the unit into transport mode or continuing the dialysis? This is something you should discuss with your primary medical advisor before such an occurrence. You should also verify if the Baxter dialysis machine needs pure sine wave or will it work when receiving modified sine wave or PWM.
    I will not comment on the APC UPS's unit. I will however; make a few comments on Tripp Lite products. The Tripp Lite LC1200 Line conditioner needs to be appropriate matched up with the volt/watts/amp of the piece of equipment you are connecting. This system will automatically adjust voltage according to prescribed guidelines set within the systems. Since the unit does not have a battery it will continuously work through low voltage and high voltage disturbances and distributes the same wave form it receives from the wall outlet. All outlets on the back of the unit are 5-15R.
    Tripp Lite's Smart2200RM and Smart2200RMXL are line interactive UPS units. The units can support 2200 VA or 1700 watts. Average full load back up time is 13 minutes with a PWM output wave form when in battery. Both units offer automatic voltage regulation to support connected equipment during brown outs and high voltage disturbances. The systems offer some value of surge protection and filtering of line noise. The Smart2200RM has a 5-15P input plug and 8 foot line cord. All outlets on the back of the UPS unit are NEMA 5-15R. The Smart2200RMXL has a 5-20P input plug and 8 foot line cord. Outlets are the back of this unit are two 5-20R and six 5-15R. Overloading the UPS unit will make the unit shut down.
    Smart2200RMXL2U supports 2200VA or 1600 Watts. Average full load is 8 minutes with a PWM output wave form when in battery. This unit offers automatic voltage regulation to support connected equipment during brown outs and high voltage disturbances. The system offers some value of surge protection and filtering of line noise. This unit has a 5-20P and 10 foot line cord. Outlets in the back of the unit are to 5-20R and six 5-15R. Overloading the UPS unit will make the unit shut down.
    Should it be better to have the UPS unit offer pure sine wave the SU2200RTXL2U would be the unit to have. This system can support 2200VA or 1600 watts. Average full load back up time is 6 minutes. This unit is working all the time. This means it is always giving 120 output voltage. It takes the power from the wall outlet sends it to the battery and then transfers the power from the battery to clean AC power to be used for the connected equipment. There is zero transfer time involved with using an on-line UPS unit. The unit has a NEMA5-20P and a 10 foot line cord. The back of the unit has two NEMA5-20R and four NEMA5-15R. Overloading the UPS unit will make the unit shut down.
    Any unit having an XL in its model number can have additional batteries hooked up to the unit. I suggest you check with the manufacturer of the generator to see what type of wave form it will provide. Some wave forms are difficult for UPS units to read and they will move to the shut down mode because the battery is depleted. The UPS unit was not able read the wave form the generator and did not understand it had kick in. For this reason many hospitals use on-line UPS units for mission critical equipment.
    If you wish to contact me please feel free to. My phone number is listed below.
    Beverley Conner
    Medical Sales
    Tripp Lite
    1111 W. 35th Street
    Chicago, IL 60609
    773-869-1247
    [email protected]
    www.tripplite.com
    P.S. I also found Tripp Lite has a slightly smaller unit than the 2200VA above that's 840watts and also includes an automatic voltage regulater, the Smart SU1500RTXL2U HEREBut the trade-off is shorter batt run time.
    Happy Thanksgiving
    bill
     
  15. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Wow, Bill your efforts are absolutely appreciated. When I wrote this post I didn't have a clue, now I know more than I thought would ever know. Thanks so much everybody, I will contact Baxter a second time and tell them what Tripplite tells me once I contact them today. Once again Bill, you out did yourself and everyone's efforts in my situation has been outstanding. [​IMG]
     
  16. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Jerome, I don't know what picked up but I thought I'd add something that I recently came across. These are products available from www.suttondesigns.com and you might find this particular comment from their website interesting.
     
  17. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Chu has found yet another provider for a Smart UPS to back up or work in conjunction with a portable generator.

    All of these UPS I think were primarily designed for computer/server application. So running a life-support machine, however briefly, needs to be directly addressed by the company.

    That's why I was so pleased to reach a livewire person at TrippLite whose job is medical applications. She told me she has worked in home health care, thus knowlegeable about medical provider/equipment provider/Home User issues.

    Jerome says his goal is to provide electrical supply stability to the dialysis machine, thus thinking about a line conditioner, plus the gas generator for prolonged outages. This led us to suggest a backup to the generator, too, and that has brought us to a Smart UPS of some make.

    Again, everyone in the medical provider-equipment maker-home user chain needs to sign off on anything arising from a general forum such as this.

    SuttonDesigns may be perfectly fine, and maybe even less expensive, still it's just another element if Jerome has time/energy to research as an option by talking with any reps at Sutton who know about life-support machines.

    bill
     

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