Newbie Question about power


Jan 17, 2007
Real Name
This is my very first post here so, please be easy on me.

I had a home theater built in the 3rd floor (attic) of my home. Actually I had the walls and structure dome, components go in Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. My questions is about power. I have read a lot about this subject from a lot of sources. I can't really figure out to do. All the home theater installers will tell you that you need to buy one of those Monster Power things (HTS 5100, HTS 3600). But people have told me that these things are useless. My main problem is that I've spent close to $15K in components and I would like some kind of protection. So if I have to spend a couple hundred for piece of mind, so be it. I would like something that protects me from surges, voltage irregularities, and maybe some battery backup (to give me time to power down components) If my components matter here they are:

7.2 Home Theater Setup
Source: Cablevision cable box
Receiver: Pioneer Elite VSX-84TXSi
DVD Player: Pioneer Elite DV79AVi
CD Player: Pioneer Elite PD-F17
Gaming: Playstation 3
Front Speakers: Paradigm Studio 100
Center: Paradigm Studio CC-570
Surrounds: Paradigm Studio ADP-470
Rears: Paradigm Studio ADP-470
Subwoofers: Paradigm Seismic 10

Forgot to add Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000BL


Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Hi Frank. Welcome to HTF!

I suspect installers make a tidy bit of profit from power conditioners. They dont really protect any more than a surge-supressor and dont offer ANY battery backup. (If you want battery backup - check out the un-interuptable power supplies from AVP. They make some models just for Home Theater).

Does power conditioning really help?

Some reviewers have found that systems in the suburbs show little to no difference with a power conditioner. But conditioners can help if your system is in a inner-city apartment or near light-industrial areas.

It really depends on how much is sharing your part of the power grid, and what is going on at the time you are watching your system.

My advice: dont buy a 'conditioner' to start. Wait until you get your system, then buy one from a local store with a good return policy. Bring it home and do your own A/B comparison with your television to see if it makes a difference. These are not hard to hook up.

If you want protection - you might consider a whole-house surge protection. You might be suprised that you can have this installed at your fuse-panel for less that one of the retail 'power conditioners'. Check your local yellow pages for electrical contractors.

Hope this helps.

Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Nov 1, 1998
(copied from another thread)

Whether you buy one big uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or several small ones is up to you. I would want a UPS for the projector so that there will be time to shut it down with the fan still going in case of power failure. There is an advantage to having something, such as the audio, not on a UPS so that there will be obvious advance warning of a power failure before the projector's UPS runs out of battery power.

You might want to have the projector ceiling outlet and maybe a few others outlets on a circuit that does not go down to the breaker panel but instead terminates in an outlet box with a male receptacle on the wall in the theater or in the next room. You would plug an extension cord onto the male receptacle to lead to one UPS and plug that UPS into another outlet.

All surge protectors contain at least one expendable element such as a diode that shorts most of the surge to neutral or ground while leaking (costing) little or no electicity under normal conditions. The amount of surge protection depends on the size (and probably cost) of that element. Unfortunately in most cases you won't know if and when a surge has occurred that has expended (blown) that element resulting in no further surge protection and also possible equipment damage at that moment. Some of the more expensive surge protectors may have an indicator light that tells you.

Video hints:


Dec 13, 2006
Real Name
If you are worried about lightning strikes you can look into a whole house surge protector. Most high quality equipment have good voltage regulators that convert 120 ac to 24 dc that is used in parts of the equipment. If you want piece of mind you may want to invest in a power protector. I would also look at APC for home theater.

Leo Kerr

May 10, 1999
I'd only put UPSs on the Playstation (hard drive) and the projector. As someone else pointed out, if everything's backed up, and you're crankin' loud, you may not hear the UPSs complaining until they cut off, at which point, well, what was the point, anyway?

I'd guess there are two kinds of surge protectors out there - the kind for people who can hear the difference between aluminium feed wires from copper, and those who want to protect themselves against 7kV surges for when the falling power line accidentally drags against the local distro loop.

For the first kind, there are lots of people with lots of snake-oil. For the second kind, the whole-house protector may work out, however, I'm using the example of the local feeder-line falling 'cause that happened in my neighborhood a couple of years ago. On its way down, it dragged against the local power feed, as well as the local cable feed. Apparently, a number of cable-boxes were smoked via the coax connection, so you may want to look into something that'll provide surge protection there. Not sure if there's anything good on that side or not; I don't have cable, myself.


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