Question about Amps and Surge Protectors

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Bell, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Jason Bell

    Jason Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    I've heard and read on the net that Amps should be plugged directly into the wall and not into any type of surge protector because it limits their performance. I've also read on that same site that amps should be left on 24/7 so that the Capacitors, JFETS, and Mosfets stay completely charged up. Some of the posters even pointed to Manufacturers websites like OdysseyAudio and SimAudio where they state that it could take hours and sometimes days before and amp could sound its best. So it should just be left on. I just wondered what everyones opinion was on these two subjects. Sorry if these issues have already been beaten to death.
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I leave mine on 24/7 so there are no thermal cycling/inrush current stresses on the components. I have mine plugged directly to the wall. The amp techs (@ Madrigal and B&K) recommended plugging the amps directly to the wall for best performance.
     
  3. Bill Blank

    Bill Blank Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got my Rotel RMB-1075 plugged directly into the wall which is on a dedicated line. Reason being is that I would easily exceed most power strips' wattage rating. The amp sucks up 800W of current. If I added 11 other components it would severly stress the outlet.

    As for leaving it on, I leave mine in standby mode which allows it to get some juice constantly but it's also nicer to my electric bill. I usually give it an hour to warm up before I watch a movie or listen to some tunes.

    And I ALWAYS unplug EVERYTHING if storms are rolling through.
     
  4. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I have mine hooked up to a surge protector and turn it off when not in use. I haven't notice any loss in performance, but really haven't checked. Out here in California, it would be costly to leave the thing plugged in all of the time.

    I won't go against those that leave their amps on full charge all the time though. I'm no electrical engineer so I have no clue as to how long it takes to charge up the capacitors, etc.
     
  5. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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  6. Jason Bell

    Jason Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Yogi,

    I also have a B&K amp the ST2140. Does this amp have any kind of standby mode? If I leave it on all the time I'm also sending current to my speakers 24/7. Does this matter? Are you leaving your B&K amp on because of convenience or performance?

    Bill,

    I know what you mean about storms I live in Florida and during the summer if I'm not gonna be home in the afternoon I go around and unplug everything just to be safe.
     
  7. RussKon

    RussKon Stunt Coordinator

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    plugging your amp directly into a wall outlet is like playing russian roulette with your amp!!...today's surge protectors (at least the good ones) are totally invisible to your amplifier.
    by definition, a surge protector only responds to a surge....if there is no surge there is no affect to the power line.
    for those of you "unplugging" when there is a storm....good luck...you are also gambling that your weatherman can predict very accurately....
    get a good name brand surge protector to protect your equipment....surge-x and brickwall are two companies that provide the best protection...do a search on this and other forums under "surge protection" and you will come up with alot of interesting points....
    russ
    www.surge-x.com
     
  8. Jason Bell

    Jason Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Russ,
    I can set my watch by when the storms hit where I live, they occur almost every afternoon between 4 and 6 EDT.[​IMG]
     
  9. RussKon

    RussKon Stunt Coordinator

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    that's great if storms were the only thing that could fry your amplifier and other components!!! line surges from other sources than storms can also cause damage...
    a sub-station resetting...a power loss due to over-use and then suddenly power comes back on....there are many documented cases of surges caused by other sources than storms....
    its your choice...roll the dice..take your chances..or get a decent surge protector and forget about the worry....
    personally, my audio-video system and computer system is safe no matter what happens...whether i'm home or not...
    i've got a surge-x unit protecting my equipment...no failures in ten years for that company and no worries for me...brickwall is also another company using the same full-proof series mode protection against surges....
    russ
    www.surgex.com
     
  10. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    I don't even have grounded outlets in my house, so surge protector be damned, right? [​IMG] Need to find a house with wiring that isn't circa 1940.
     
  11. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Jason, I leave my amps on mainly for convenience and secondly to avoid thermal stresses and inrush current surges through the devices. My Proceed amp has line conditioning built in. Most modern amps have extensive protection built in (soft start elements, fuses etc) so they wont get damaged from surges. In the event of an actual lightning strike nothing can protect the device anyways. So plug your amps directly to the wall and rest easy.
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    the empire state building gets struck by lightning routinely and somehow all the transmitters and people in the offices manage to keep working. it all depends on the steps you want to take to protect your home. that said, its a matter of how lucky you think you're going to be with no interface. As far as Odysseys's site goes, ever wonder how they manage to show off their amps at various trade shows if it takes close to a month to break in?
     
  13. Jason Bell

    Jason Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Chui,
    I'm not sure what you mean they probably just take the same amps around to all the shows. So they are already broken in. What I was asking about is whether or not people believed in warm up time. Which Odyssey says can take hours. So I'm guessing you dont believe in warm-up or break in of Solid State components. Warming up does seem to make a difference to me in the short period I've had my amp and experimented. Dont know about days though.[​IMG].
    My Dad had a nice stereo 1970s equipment and he said no one used surge protectors back when he was an enthusiast. Now that I think about it no one I know really started paying any attention to surge protectors until computers became really mainstream.
     
  14. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    My power can go on & off during storms on occasion frequently enough to create its own light show.

    I winced every time I heard the electronics bells/beeps/thumps of everything from the coffeemaker to the AV setup coming back online. I can’t live without my coffee but I’ve never put a protector on it. The AV got the Panamax 5300, which has a high-current plug in for the amp.

    I don’t want the erratic power flux going on when everything jumps off /comes on with the Power Company shenanigans. The delays set give me peace of mind that hopefully the power will be somewhat stabilized for these actions.

    Most surge protectors are MOV based other than a few Series type offerings such as the ‘Brick Wall’ mentioned in a prior post. My panamax is a MOV based and I intend to daisy chain a Series type in when I get around to it.
    The theory against MOV’s is they are sacrificial and have potential to slowly degrade after repeated ‘hits’ with no way to track your degradation level till catastrophic failure. MOV manuf. argue that they have a reliable history of protection (barring a direct hit) and the largest degradation occurs at the first hits, maintaining a much slower curve of degradation decline after these.

    I had my Outlaw 770 before the Panamax and noticed no difference in performance after routing it through the surge protector. But I feel a whole lot better every time the house is powering ‘back up’. To hear the Panamax hold the AV for a few seconds before restart, with the benefit of stopping the AV system from a start up, fail, start up, fail, start scenario which is quite frequent here as the power company tries to initiate. …meanwhile I hear everything else in the house maniacally coming on/off.

    There is much in “tweaks” on the forum regarding this subject. Mine does not interfere with the performance of the amp which is on standby 24/7 and provides more peace of mind (for me) regarding the fluctuation of power restarting and how it affects my systems total life expectancy and quality. It’s a win/win for me…if warmup does effect I’m on all the time without pulling plugs constantly. Which I did for a month or two with the new gear before the Panamax. Very tedious and impractical (for me) and I could be out when a storm occurred. The one drawback is a direct hit could get me, but often here if the hit is ‘that direct’ the house burns anyway (plugged or unplugged) and those fire hoses are tough on electronics.
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You might want to rethink daisychaining a series mode protector such as a brickwall to your existing unit Mary. The effectiveness of any surge protector depends upon an effective ground. Even a brickwall unit requires that and quite honestly, the best place for something like a brickwall type unit would be if it were wired back at the panel as then you could ensure a short (single digit in feet) run to your ground. As far as protecting against a direct lighting hit, it is indeed quite possible and feasible. For those into DIY and not afraid of heights, it can be even relatively inexpensive.
    Yes I think amps break in but I don't put much stock in Odyssey's claims of an optimum break in that exceeds one's return period.
     
  16. Joe Cole

    Joe Cole Second Unit

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    I would recommend (highly) PS Audio ultimate outlets (20 amp) for big amps. I use them on my system with Aragon amps. They protect and clean up the power and do not effect the sound except in a positive way.
     
  17. Jason Bell

    Jason Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Joe,
    That is definitely no over the counter Surge Protector[​IMG]. The only problem is that at $300 USD. It cost almost as much as the amp I would be pluggin it into.
     
  18. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    The effectiveness of any surge protector depends upon an effective ground. Even a brickwall unit requires that and quite honestly, the best place for something like a brickwall type unit would be if it were wired back at the panel as then you could ensure a short (single digit in feet) run to your ground.
    I had thought of this (whole house protection) why not save the coffe-maker too. And over the years I have 'lost' a coffemaker, a thermostat, and a microwave to power failure surge on/off. But back when I was shopping for something 'quick' and picked up the panamax, I tried finding a total solution series protection device for the main panel and could not find any supply source for DIY'ers of any that appeared to be what was clearly needed. Any suggested links?
    For those into DIY and not afraid of heights, it can be even relatively inexpensive.
    I'll jump out of a plane when it looks like toy fantasy land down below but I tremble climbing down off the roof the first turn/step gets me every time. Those bushes below look very scary [​IMG] .... The husband will though.
    A lighting Rod???
     
  19. Paul Fa

    Paul Fa Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure if it's better or worse here in California - we don't have many naturally made electrical storms, but I'm sure you've all heard we certainly have had more than our share of man-made tan-outs, brown-outs and black-outs as well as the occasional quake related ones![​IMG] I have APC batterie back UPS systems on all my sensitive gear in the house and would want something similar for the new AV system I'm looking into - so I'll check out the links and previous discussions you all have mentioned. I've drooled at the MonsterCable MPHTPS7000 I've seen at 'The Good guys' and some other shops - any input/ideas on that one - other than it will cost as much as my new receiver???[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mary,

    Whole house surge protectors I'm told come in supplemental box modules (e.g. Square D SurgeBreaker Plus which also accommodates incoming cabletv/ext. ant and sat coax) and a behind the electric meter style.

    You may ask your power utility customer office what they suggest as well as consult with a licensed electrician who does business in your "power grid" location.

    Brickwall at least does not make a "whole house" unit, just individual circuit protectors.

    IIRC you ran out to get the Pan 5300 a year ago; any indications it has done its surge suppression job? Do you plug yr Outlaw power amp into it?

    bill
     

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