Power Conditioners- Much Debated

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by RickRO, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    I know that this topic has been debated around here and other places but I still think that even if there are not any "noise" problems in the AC line I'm still worried about the spike/surge problem.

    Here is what I'm currently looking at check it out here.

    I haven't really looked at the whole house option that has been suggested here before, I don't know if that is a viable option for me right now.

    I can get a good price on the above piece of equipment and I want better than just your standard surge protector.

    Am I heading in the right direction or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

    What do you all think?
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    ”Line conditioning” and “spike/surge protection” are not the same thing (although this product appears to do both).

    Furman certainly makes a good product. However, your home theater equipment has adequate filtering built into their power supplies, so a line conditioner is functionally redundant.

    Regarding surge protection, is there a reason to believe you have problems with your local electrical service? A good friend of mine, the place where he used to live, every year or two a piece of his system would die a peculiar and mysterious death – good reason to suspect a power problem. He hasn’t had those kinds of problems since he moved to a new place across town.

    If you live in a place prone to violent lightning storms, or your electrical service comes in on overhead lines, it might be a worthwhile purchase.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Wayne,



    Well I'd have to answer this


    with a yes and no.

    I have come home several times the past two years to find my clocks blinking and last summer my power supply on my PC died for some mysterious reason. It was on a surge protector but at that time it was el cheepo and who knows how often if ever it had been hit.

    So I do have some concern about power fluctuations. Two years ago I moved just one mile away but was forced to join a power cooperative due to my location.

    I am also in a location where we do get pretty intense Lightning often during the year. In fact there was a thundershower this morning!
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Then why aren't you looking towards a whole house approach? Even if you don't plan on living there long, you can use that as a selling point. The lights blinking simply suggests that you had a power interruption. As far as your PC power supply dying, that could be just because it was its time, or it was inexpensive (read cheap), etc. If all you're going to do is get some kind of plug-in device, then make sure that everything in your system, and that includes the TV cable, will go through it. Then just look for the one with the highest joules rating commensurate with your price point. What that'll do is to ensure that it 'lives' longer. Understand though, that lightning, which has travelled miles of non-conductive air, gone through soil, is not going to be deterred by any plug-in device.
     
  5. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you are heading in the right direction. I'd still look at surge at the breaker box. Protect everything in the house a lot better and for not a lot of money.
     
  6. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian,

    Thanks for the input and also Chu Gai (figured that I would hear from him on this one seems to apply his knowledge in the right direction for us newbees when it comes to this type of thing :b )

    I am planning on running 3-4 dedicated circuits to the basement to handle lighting, general electrical, and HT equipment. Possibly in doing that I could go with your suggestions for the whole house or maybe for those dedicated circuits for the HT area

    Thanks for the link Brain where did you get this from the website or a homestore? And what is the approximate cost?



    I figured if I was on the receiving end of one of Mother Natures "electrical surges" all bets were off.

    On a side note one of the houses in our neighborhood was struck by lightening this past summer and it started an attic fire. The house was saved but what a mess!!![​IMG]

    Thanks aging guys for your input!
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You've got some seriously bitchy weather there in Indiana. Wasn't it in Evansville that you had a tornado? You 'could' install a lightning rod system on your house and you'll find several places on the web for enterprising DIY people who don't mind doing some climbing on their roofs.
    If your planning on having an electrician come in to do the wiring, then there's no better time to also have the whole house aspect addressed. Heck, he's there so might as well use his time. Understand though, that whole house means whole house. It means that you don't simply do the electrical but you also address the incoming phone lines as well as cable. Now, I'm no electrician but my gut feeling for where you live would be to source something like a 2000 joule unit. That'll give you some longevity. You can ask the electrician what he recommends (these products are a lot like white bread...brands don't necessarily mean all that much) in the way of 2000 joule units to handle your incoming AC. If you want, I'll list what I purchased not so much to pat myself on the back and urge you to get the same thing. No reason for that. But just so you can look at some pictures. Remember though that whatever whole house you stick in, it's only going to be as good as your earth ground. So if your soil is moist, you're likely OK with your existing ground rod. If it's sandy and drains rapidly, then maybe you need to sink a new rod much deeper. Fun and manly work!
     
  8. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu Gai,



    Yes you are right! There is no rhyme or reason for the weather around here. If fact it is common here in Indiana to say "Don't like the weather? Stick around for a couple of hours and it will change!" and the other famous saying "Its not the heat but the humidity."

    But I digress....I would appreciate knowing/seeing what you have done. I like to explore my options anyway....and since my wife says that we are NEVER moving again (yeah right!) I guess that this is the time to "do it right" I just cant break the bank doing it. On the other hand if you have several THOUSAND dollars tied up in a home theater then one should have invested some additional money into protecting said investment.

    Thanks again guys!
     
  9. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick,
    the breaker i used was about $75 had plenty of protection and because it is in the box and covers both poles does the whole house. It also has status indicator and will turn off the power if the surge protection ever goes bad. You can override and turn the power back on.
    I also use power conditioner with built in surge for a little extra protection. Remember that the closer to the power input for the house, the more effective that surge protector will become.
    For unmatched protection you can do VOIP for phone (disconnect phone from outside of house) and wireless network. Then you just have to worry about your incoming cable signal. Wireless is wonderfull...
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    For the incoming AC and phone, I picked up the Delta Residential Package and installed it myself. That took care of my primary concerns about the AC and phones.

    http://www.deltasurgeprotectors.com...tid=1&phaseid=1

    For the coax, I obtained an Altelicon Model AL-FFFF-9.

    http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/ds...e_protector.php

    Costs, IMO, were quite reasonable. I could equally as well have obtained any number of products from any number of companies, some known, some, as these probably are, unknown. Additional protection, where felt to be desireable was obtained by $1 Intermatic plug-in units that I got at Home Depot from a wheelbarrow full of stuff they were discounting to get rid of. I simply filled a bag with them and stuck them on things like the dishwasher, washing machine, garage door openers, microwave, etc. For the HT, I picked up a unit from Transtector for a little under $100 that was based on Silicon Avalanche Diodes. I'd estimate that my total cost for doing the entire house was a bit under $250.

    I was looking for for something that did around 2000 joules per leg. It's overkill but where my house is located, there's a bit of a microclimate around here. Nothing though that approaches the conditions of Florida or certain other parts of the midwest or Texas. When it thunders and lightnings during the summer months, depending upon what side of the valley you're on, you'll see a fair number of cloud to ground strikes. One, a number of years ago, actually split a tree about 20 feet high that was next to my shed just like in the movie, The Natural. The only damage that was caused in my house was an old Vector Research receiver died. Opening the cover, one could see that the capacitors literally blew up, spewing their contents all over the place.
    My local utility could've been contacted and they would have installed a whole house (actually it just would've protected the incoming AC) for $10/month. However, the joule rating was a tad under 1000. I'd still have to buy, and install something for the phones and incoming cable. A simple cost benefit analysis on my part indicated I could get something beefier and cheaper if I did it myself. The one additional component I picked up was that little capacitor thing that treats the outgoing AC which didn't add signficantly to the cost of everything. It cost less than a lap dance. Well, a good lap dance!

    Had I continued to look and browse, there were any number of items I could've bought and felt equally pleased with. It'd be nice to have a device that had a surge counter or one with an audible alarm but then I'd be running my fat ass down to the basement to look at the counter! It'd be nice to have one based on an Isolation Tranformer principle that minimizes resulting ring waves from lightning. But all this cost more money than I could justify. In the end, you've got to make a decision. Shit and get off the pot, right?
     
  11. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Guys thanks for all the input.

    I was under the impression that the "whole house" option would have been a lot more expensive than the products that both of you have mentioned.

    As far as the coax issue I'm a Dish guy so no problems there......Unless the dish gets struck[​IMG]

    I'll definitely go "whole hog er ah house option now" and give not only the HT stuff protection but the other mundane appliances protection as well.



    As for DIY on this project I don't know if my wife will let me tackle this one or not. I'm a pretty adventurous DIYer for the most part but the last time I did any electrical modification I fried our furnace (on the coldest day of the year no less) My wife still won't let me live that one down. [​IMG]

    I have a couple of contacts in several disciplines remodeling electrical general contracting that I trust wholeheartedly so I'll have them do the electrical stuff. I have called them to "bail me out" when I get too deep into the DIY waters[​IMG]
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    For the dish, you'll need to choose a product that will pass the frequencies you're dealing with. They ought to have that info.
     
  13. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian and Chu appriciate all the info deffinately going to go whole house and Chu if I blow up the furnace again I PM ya for moral support....[​IMG]
     

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