Turning amps on makes my lights dim!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Christopher_Ham, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. Christopher_Ham

    Christopher_Ham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a B&K ref 50, an ATI 1505, an ATI 1502, and a SVS pb2+, not to mention video equiptment. When I turn it all on my lights dim considerably. Will a Richard Grey Power company or Monster power supply help with this. I heard they store power so it is like having a direct power feed right in your home. What is a good power conditioner/source for under a grand.

    Chris
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is not an unusual situation, although I'm sure it's disconcerting to you, when you've got substantial amps. As you turn your amps on, the large capacitors inside need to charge and that requires a momentary surge of current. Usually, once they're charged, this light dimming goes away. I don't know if this applies to your situation. Some things I'd do before tossing money at products would be...

    Add up everything I've got on the circuit the HT system is on and that includes lights. You may be pushing matters with regards to the overall current draw.

    Try manually sequencing everything. First turn on your preamps, then the other amps, then the sub, then everything else. If the lights remain constant, then you just might want to look into a device that sequences the startup of your system.

    If you're still observing this and it's getting to you, it makes far more sense to run a dedicated line to your system. If you're handy with electricity or have a buddy who is, this is a pretty inexpensive project. If you're not, call a couple of electricians and get some prices. If you do, at the same time you should strongly consider getting a whole house surge protection device installed.

    The Gray unit is bogus with regards to storing power. It's got a large iron core inductor and while it has a little extra power, we're talking little. One uses a capacitor to store power not some big-ass inductor that if it saturates (iron core ones do you know) can dump a ton of AC hash onto the lines.

    You sure Arnold's not cutting your power back to balance the budget? [​IMG]
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chu is right on about the Richard Gray units.

    Two things. One is that more expensive amps have soft start circuits specifically to ramp up power rather than cause a large inrush all at once. Two, is that I always took this as: "cool, powerful amps!" Just look at it as a good thing that your amps are powerful enough to drop the load across your AC circuit when they power up. [​IMG]
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,171
    Likes Received:
    38
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    It is not an unusual situation. Under most circumstances, I would not recommend plugging amps into conditioners. I have a Bryston 14BSST on its own circuit and it still draws so much power when it gets powered up from standby that it dims lights I have way over my head on a different circuit.
     
  5. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had the same problem and I let some salesman talk me into a Richard Grey power unit. Now I'm $700 poorer and the lights still dim (maybe a VERY SLIGHT improvement).
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,171
    Likes Received:
    38
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    That is what sales people do. Not that I don't like the Richard Gray unit. I have 4 different power line conditioners (and have played around a lot). One for the projector in my main system (PS Audio ultimate outlet), A Vansevers reference in the main system for most things and a Richard Gray unit where it is plugged into a Richard Gray unit in the bedroom system on the other side of the wall amd for the most part just my pre/pro and DVD recorder is plugged into the main system Richard Gray unit. I think conditioners do a good job of cleaning up power and isolating things (if I had to do it over again from scratch I would likely just run a few circuits vs. some device that just creates a parallel circuit) and are best on non-current demanding stuff. I am doing the basement and almost finished and have 2 circuits for the system plus another one that will just have the TV and powered sub plugged into. In my opinion an improvement with conditioners but not the most cost effective thing one can do to improve things.
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    A lot of "conditioners" can do more harm than good:

    http://www.psaudio.com/articles/power_conditioners.asp

    I personally believe that the Power Plants by PS Audio are the best products out there. They convert your house AC back into clean DC, then "regenerate" a perfectly clean sinusoidal AC signal. But, they are expensive and consume almost twice as much power as they generate. (That, unfortunately, is the nature of the AC to DC to AC conversion that they do.)

    The next best alternative still doesn't use filters. It uses the same mechanism that balanced interconnects use: common mode noise rejection. A much more elegant way of cleaning the AC. All pro studios use balanced interconnects, and a lot of them use balanced power. Here are a lot of good reviews:

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/maste...ditioners.html

    Equitech, Furman, BPT (the most cost effective), etc, and now even Monster has a balanced power unit:

    http://www.monstercable.com/power/pr...r.asp?pin=1588

    As far as the lights dimming, whatever you get must have a large transformer to store the power that you're going to need when the power amp(s) are turned on. [​IMG]
     
  8. Peter_LM

    Peter_LM Auditioning

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    This is my first post here, so bear with me.

    I had the same problem when I added a Rotel RMB-1075 amp to my system, which I solved by running a dedicated circuit from my panel to my living room (my 3 yr old daughter is a great help running wire...[​IMG]). The only scary part was installing the breaker on my electrical panel after running out of patience for my electrician's excuses. If you do go the DIY route, there are plenty of renovation web sites that provide detailed instructions on how to add a breaker to an electrical panel. A word of caution though: be REALLY, REALLY, REALLY careful in the breaker box - even with the master power OFF, if you touch the wrong thing in there you could kill yourself and burn your home down - no exaggeration here. This from the guy who taught me how to do it. If this is too daunting, get an electrician to do the install - your life's more valuable than your sound system.

    As to power conditioners and such, I've been told that it's better to connect your amps directly to the wall, rather than passing them through another piece of equipment (conditioner, surge protector etc.).

    Hope this helps...
     
  9. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Monster Power contraption will at least delay powering up your main amps until about 7-10 seconds after everything else. For me, it plays another role. Since my preamp, a Yamaha RXV630 has a sleep timer, but has no 12v trigger, I can connect it through my Monster Power Centre so that when the receiver switches off, it signals the MPC to turn the switched and timed outlets off. Whether it makes an improvement or not, well, I guess that's still up in the air. I got it on discount though, so I'm not as councerned. Good investment for the money.
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    If the lights just flicker momentarily, I wouldn't do anything. Both my rptv and my receiver cause a momentary light dimming, and have done so for over 2 years with no ill effects.

    I live in CA where natural gas prices are sky high so I have an electric heater in the HT room for times when I don't want to fire up the central heating. It will cause a permanent slight light dimming when on it's 1500 watt setting but even that's never caused a problem--doesn't affect tv brightness or sound volume.
     

Share This Page