Which one? Surge Sup.? Line Cond.? Volt stab.?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Souders, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. Chris Souders

    Chris Souders Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I've recently moved into a house I'm renting. The electric wiring is, I'm sure, not up to par. Most of the outlets are only two prong. The room where I'm putting in my home theater is going to have to have an outlet placed by an electrician. My questions are this... given that my equipment consists of a 27 inch tv (soon to get bigger), DVD, CD, tape, VCR players, Tivo and the Outlaw 7 channel amp and 950 reciever when my name comes up. Speakers are paradigm 100 for fronts, center, and 20's for rears. The sub is pw2200 I think. I'd have to power all this from one receptacle. Questions..

    1) What should I tell the electrician to do specifically? Run a new line from the fuse box directly to this one outlet? What amperage? (I may be limited to whatever the fuse box has I Guess...)

    2) I'm getting confused reading about surge suppressors, line conditioners, and voltage stabilizers. I think I know what they all do, but how do I know which ones I need? And, more specifically, within each category, which products would you recommend given my future gear. Are there ways to test if I need a line conditioner or voltage stabilizer? I have a monster powercenter hts700 currently that is the only thing everything else is plugged into.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    Chris
     
  2. SanfordL

    SanfordL Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey, first thing you have to do is pull out all of your manuals, and see what your total load is going to be. Each electrical device has to have a total voltage required printed somewhere, but normally in the manual. Then, take your handy calculator and divide by 120. The resulting number is the total amperage that you might need if you run everything at full boar part, some, or all of the time. In my careful opinion, after having just sent a Panasonic 36" to a very early grave due to it starving for electricity, act like you are going to have everything on, and turned up all the time. I learned that expensive lesson, and would hate to see you do the same.

    Now, if you roll in somewhere between, like 17.5 amps, go to 20. If you are going to have the electrician do it (I did mine all myself, and amazingly, didn't start a fire, kill myself, or miswire anything) just tell them you want a dedicated circuit(s) strictly for the HT. If you are going to upgrade your set-up, you want to take this into account, because if you don't know how to do the wiring, you are going to beat yourself up over not having the amperage available to run the THX 125 watt x 7 amp or whatever in the future. Take a look at your circuit box too. If you have at a minimum 4-6 openings, then you don't need a sub-box wired in. If not, and if you have the gear (or are going to get the gear) to warrant it, you want a sub-circuit box. Basically, this is when you take a 60 amp circuit to feed a sub box which then would have your HT circuits in it.

    Also, another strong suggestion from my neighbor the electrician to me, was to get isolated ground outlets for your whole HT set-up. The outlets are orange, and have a ground wired through to your circuit box in addition to a ground hard wired to a cold water pipe. The second ground is additional insurance towards protecting your expensive equipment against anything ugly that might happen. It sounds like your house is fairly old, but hopefully, it has a 100 or 125 amp circuit box instead of the 60 amp fuse systems. If you have the fuses, get your wallet out, because you are going to pay some big coin for the upgrades.

    If you decide to do the wiring yourself, get a book and read up, find an electrician, and pick their brains. Remember, 15 amp circuits require 14 guage wire, 20 amp require 12 guage, and 30 amp requires 10 guage. If you do this yourself, and don't use the right wire, you will burn your house down because the wires will get to hot trying to force too much juice through them(i.e. don't do it.) Also, remember, you will need 3+1 wire (black +, white -, red ground, green house ground.) Good luck, and if you have more questions about my experiences, just let me know.
     
  3. Dennis B

    Dennis B Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris,
    Concerning your second question, you'd have to check with a multimeter what the usual voltage is at your place, and if it deviates significantly from 115V. If yes, you'd need a voltage regulator. If not, you might want to use a surge supressor. None of them, though, make up for a loaded AC, which is when that beautiful sine wave at 60 Hz shows up all distorted because everybody in your neighborhood is demanding a lot of energy. The only way to fix this is to regenerate the AC.
    Your current Monster power conditioner should protect you reasonably from any surges and filter out high frequency interference, but that's it.
    For some good information, check out
    http://www.psaudio.com/articles/power_conditioners.asp
    By all means run a decent ground as described above.
     
  4. Harvey S

    Harvey S Extra

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    The advice to make sure there is a good ground is fine but I don't think you want TWO separate lines running to ground because that creates ground loops which are a source of noise and also dangerous in a 120V line. Each outlet should have a hot side and a return (sometimes called a ground). The current flows through this path. The third wire should be a neutral that carries no current but is connected to earth, sometimes through a water pipe but in most modern designs back to the fuse box and from there to a copper rod driven into the earth. This third line is also sometimes called a ground but its function is different than the return line- it's there for safety in case a short delivers current to the case of your equipment. Maybe those are the two 'grounds' your neighbor was referring to. If you are having an electrician do the work he will understand all of this.

    You may not have much choice about the current capability of your new outlet, etc, If your breaker box only has 15 amp breakers that sets the limit and then only if there is an unused one, though you might be able to substitute a new breaker with somewhat higher capacity. If not then you may have to share a breaker that is already being used for other outlets or fixtures. If so try to choose one that is not being used for anything with a motor.
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Chris, I sent you email.
    Meantime, also check out this THREAD from Receivers Forum for more back and forth between 15A and 20A circuits where a case is made for 15A if that's all one has, and 20A for after-market installation. Have fun.
     

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