Power - conditioners/surge protector/joules

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DougP, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. DougP

    DougP Agent

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    I did search around before writing this, I'm sure there's been discussions but the HTF "search" utility seems to be down all the time! (too busy?)
    Anyway, I did read one or two posts but I'm no better educated. I bought a Panny CT36HX41 yesterday and the guy of course gave me the "hard sell" for a $150 Monster cable power conditioner (forget the model). Anyway, knowning the nature of sales people and Monster cable I refused knowing that it's something that I need to look into.
    How do I know how many joules I need? How do I know if I need a line conditioner versus a surge protector? I see prices anywhere between $10 and $500 for power supply related stuff. I do want to protect my $4000? worth of equipment that will be plugged in when all is said and done (not a hell of a lot by HTF standards I suppose) but I don't know what I NEED and what would be "smart". Seems that for $50 I can get a decent surge protector. I'd prefer to "support" radio shack than Monster.
    Where to look? HTF of course! Can you guys help me out?
    I'm not looking to build an outrageous HT (yet), I just want very nice visuals and decent sound for my 36" TV. Panny CT36HX41, Toshiba SD2300 (non-progressive) DVD, Cheapo VCR, Harman Kardon 180W amp - not setup for surround sound yet but will be, CD player, tape deck (should I throw it out? :)
    Thanks in advance.
    -Doug
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Doug,
    I think there is a very important question people forget to ask when they consider surge protectors: “Have I ever had a piece of electronics destroyed or damaged by power surges?”
    If the answer is “No,” then why buy one? Of course there are a lot of people who have problems with unstable local power, and a surge protector would do them a lot of good. If that is not an issue where you live, then save your money. And don’t even ask about lightning. No surge protector will protect against a lightning strike.
    Again, line conditioners are nice, but what most salesmen don’t want you to know is that all components have power conditioners built-into their power supplies. All components have transformers that convert the incoming AC into clean low-voltage DC.
    Of course, there are those who claim that certain line conditioners made an improvement in their system. However, the majority of these, I expect, have systems that cost solidly in the 5-digit range.
    The best benefit of a conditioner, in my opinion, is their power management functions. That’s why I bought my Adcom ACE-515s. With some 18 components, I needed a place to plug them all in, and turn them on without having to push a button on multiple components. The delayed turn-on and turn-off for the amps was one of the best features. Can’t say I heard any improvement in my system, though.
    Panamax and others make nice conditioners with power-management features. If you need something like this for you system, Doug, then go for it. If not, be thankful you saved your money.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
    ------------------
    My Equipment List
     
  3. DougP

    DougP Agent

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    Thanks for your feedback! Well, lightning isn't as common here in CA as in TX but due to our power crisis (I won't go into that TXCA thing :)))) we are supposed to have our voltage dropped down to something like 118 volts instead of 120. I can't imagine a line conditioner/surge protector able to do anything about that but I do wonder if our "clean power" (I've NEVER had anything fail due to power problems) might be threatened as a result of lower voltage (closer to low-voltage thresholds?)
    I am very tempted to get a sub-$100 spike-protector partially for managing all the plugs. But those marketing people are all talking about how many joules you need and I don't have a clue. Seems like watts are more easily measured (and probably why they don't talk about them at Monster!).
    Thanks!
     
  4. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Doug,
    118 volts is nothing to worry about. If it gets much below 110, some things could be affected, like some amplifiers. However, like I said, the components convert the power to low-voltage DC, so I’m sure they can get buy with even less than 110 (if there’s an EE or a repair tech in the room, please verify this!).
    David,
    You raise some very interesting points! Personally about the only things I’ve had die premature deaths are VCRS, but it’s always a transport problem. VCRs have a low life expectancy anyway.
    But I can imagine that this would be an issue for some people. The question is, however, won’t spikes be an issue only when the equipment is turned on?
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  6. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    For good protection at a reasonable
    price check out www.tripplite.com
    under products section tripplite
    ISOBAR 6 DBS. This usually runs
    around $50-60 on-line.
    ------------------
    Jerry
     
  7. Gene Severn

    Gene Severn Stunt Coordinator

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    A joule is defined as a unit of energy that the surge supressor can absorb. The higher the joule rating the better. If there is a close lightning strike, more joules will need to be absorbed. Never say never...in the 18 years that we lived in our house in Connecticut, we had one strike. The HT and computer equipment were saved due to surge supressors, Monster on the HT and APC on the modem phone line and Radio Shack on the computer AC. However several dimmer switches, and an answering machine were toast. The tuner section of the TV was destroyed because the energy came down the shield of the coax in spite of the fact that it was properly grounded. If you live in Florida, it would be wise to invest in a whole house surge supressor. In other parts of the country, Monster, Tripplite, or Panamax will do just fine.
     
  8. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently purchased a Panamax 1000+ for my system. I chose the Panamax primarily because it had built-in delays for power application, using your receiver or preamp as the reference component. I wanted it to power up an amp on delay following the preamp power up.
    Then I began to realize this 'conditioner' does a lot more smart things than the likes of the Monsters, Tripp-Lites, APCs, etc.
    It really works to control the application of AC to your equipment. One way it does this is to remove all AC input to your equipment, when it's turned off. Of course, there are outlets to maintain power to devices that need to be in standby, or have clocks (VCR's) etc.
    It's hardly profound but makes a lot of sense to have sensitive equipment disconnected when not in use.
    It also does the same should the line voltage go below 85v or above 132v. Plus it monitors the actual line voltage with an LED meter, and you will wonder how you did without that for so many years ; )
    This approach is quite a bit more sophisticated than just wiring a bunch of MOVs and other circuitry on a circuit board, although has that too for transient and noise protection.
    The ad on their website includes a short film on comparing competitive devices with the Panamax, when subjecting a load to a line overvoltage (not a 'transient').
    The other devices allow overvoltage through to the light bulb load while the Panamax literally removes all the power, then proceeds to smoke as it self-destructs.
    (Makes one wonder if it might catch fire!)
    If nothing else, it's good for a couple minutes of scaled down entertainment. www.panamax.com
     
  9. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    On the 118V thing, remember not too many years ago 110 was the standard, and it varied quite a bit. Most of the equipment is made to run on 110 or 120 Volts, so that won't be a problem. I've been watching the voltage and recently it varies form 116 to 120 in the evenings (in CA). I've not noticed any problems caused by this or any additional noise, Etc. Even UPS's and power conditioners (the type that can take an 87V input and bump it up) do nothing when the voltage is in the 110 - 125 V range.
    ------------------
    - Wes
    My Home Theater
    The MMG were replaced with 1.6QR's and added Marantz MA-700's. SVS is here. Ok, allot more then that has changed, I'll update my page some day...
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Another versatile, all-around surge suppressor(s) are the Belkin models. Check at www.belkin.com -- see power protection and A/V for $56 online for SurgeMasterII. Basic surge insurance. Handles your cablevision RG6 cable, too, plus a second RG6 passthru.
    It's rated 1600 joules w/50db line noise filter, and like most has an LED to verify wall outlet house ground.
    Other issues:
    Lightning -- As noted, nothing stops a house strike, but living in No. Cal. as (we) do, most having underground residential utilities, - it's nothing to worry about like Colorado or Florida, and
    Power Conditioning -- PG&E seems dependable enough. For "dirty power" elsewhere in the U.S., one gets into the Richard Gray level at $300-$700 big time which seems pretty extreme for around here.
    Be aware that all these standard surge suppressors with MOVs handle just ONE major "protection" surge and then the whole unit must be replaced (you take the receipt+guarantee back to your retailer).
    I've had just one Calif-System ordered one-hour blackout -- this past winter -- and experienced no re-energize spike problems at the A/V and computer centers. (However, I have installed a small Belkin 450VA UPS battery backup/surge suppressor for the computer. A software program automatically shuts down the computer's Windows98 if it's running, which it isnt 90 % of the time with auto sleep mode, anyway. Again, insurance for
     

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