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post #1 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone recommend some good reading material on wiring and HVAC for your home theater?

I will need to be creative with mine due to a lock of headroom.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 07:06 AM
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Are you asking what the wiring package should be for a typical theater and what the goals/considerations are for theater HVAC?
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post #3 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Are you asking what the wiring package should be for a typical theater and what the goals/considerations are for theater HVAC?

sure that would be a good start.

HVAC - I've read a lot about how much volume of air you should exchange and what it takes to make that happen noiselessly but all of it has been back and forth conversation in forums here and I feel like I'm missing more general principles.

Electricity - I know how to wire an outlet if the box is already there but everything beyond that I just have no clue.
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post #4 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 09:32 AM
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Want to post up some pics or diagrams so we can see what you are talking about?
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post #5 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Basement Layout is first, joists run up and down so I can't run the HVAC through the ceiling

the bottom pic is a top down concept of a finished plan (without any HVAC or elec (or a projector for that matter))

this project will take places in phases but obviously you have to nail the elec and HVAC first - it would be unnecessarily difficult to come back and do that later.

I would like to have electric outlets in and around both rows of seats and the snack bar. Furthermore I will probably want a VGA and/or HDMI cable at the snack bar for custom one-off stuff.





not sure what's going on with these images...try this instead

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1467218/shermer-theater-looking-for-hvac-electric-soffit-advice/150#post_23281921
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post #6 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 11:02 AM
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post #7 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 11:08 AM
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For basic electricity / installation - Home Depot has a whole series of DIY books on the various trades - their Electrical book is very good with lots of useful pictures and diagrams...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-2-3-Books-Wiring-1-2-3-Book-2nd-Edition-0696222469/100491809#.UYvlr7VwpC0

(objoke: the cover photo says "Canadian version" - does that mean they added "eh?" to the end of every paragraph? biggrin.gif)

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post #8 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

For basic electricity / installation - Home Depot has a whole series of DIY books on the various trades - their Electrical book is very good with lots of useful pictures and diagrams...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-2-3-Books-Wiring-1-2-3-Book-2nd-Edition-0696222469/100491809#.UYvlr7VwpC0

(objoke: the cover photo says "Canadian version" - does that mean they added "eh?" to the end of every paragraph? biggrin.gif)

Thanks. Very helpful
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post #9 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 05:48 PM
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Take a look at my power guide and the specific one on home theater power .

For me the key things are:
1) whole house surge protector
2) all copper lines into the theater protected
3) everything AV on one dedicated circuit fed directly from the main panel. Lighting, HVAC, anything non AV etc should be on separate circuits.
4) use a point of use power conditioner with all AV loads except perhaps bulb based projectors (see below) running off that unit
4) if you have a bulb based projector then use a UPS

Master of Minions, Acoustic Frontiers. We specialize in the design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.
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post #10 of 36 Old 05-09-2013, 07:21 PM
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Warren Peterson's Home Theater Book has a lot of information on these topics. http://TheHomeTheaterBook.com
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post #11 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 02:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:

anxious to hear more here.
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post #12 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LeBon View Post

Warren Peterson's Home Theater Book has a lot of information on these topics. http://TheHomeTheaterBook.com

fairly pricey at $97 even though the content package is a pretty extreme value proposition. I'll have to consider it when the budget loosens up a bit. We're getting slammed right now as we are prepping our house hopefully to be sold this year.

Thanks for the recommendation.
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post #13 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

For me the key things are:
1) whole house surge protector
2) all copper lines into the theater protected
3) everything AV on one dedicated circuit fed directly from the main panel. Lighting, HVAC, anything non AV etc should be on separate circuits.

I had a couple of questions on #2 and #3..... What do you mean by all copper lines protected? If you have a whole-house surge suppressor and circuit breakers for each dedicated high voltage line running to the theater, is there something else additional that you are recommending before power reaches rack-mounted surge-protection and power conditioning equipment?

For #3 I agree that HVAC, lighting, motorized seating, theater receptacles, etc. should all be on dedicated circuits completely separate from the AV equipment. However, I would challenge the thought that all AV equipment can easily be put on one circuit, even if it is 20 amps. For simple systems, yes, one circuit will do. But if you look at the current draws from powered subs, a projector and a decent 5-channel amp alone, I could see situations where there are insufficient wattages to handle peak scenes at reference levels. Until the Richard Gray Powerhouse and PS Audio P10 came along, many manufacturers recommended that the big amplifiers, including subwoofer amplifiers, be offloaded to dedicated circuits of their own. To generate my own electrical specification I will dedicate one circuit for each major amplifier and powered subwoofer. The projector and all other source equipment, preamp, router, etc. get put on another dedicated circuit and plugged into a combo surge / conditioner / UPS that is IP addressable and running off that dedicated circuit. Protection and power filtration for each amplifier would come from a dedicated surge suppressor. Not to derail the thread, but your thoughts?


EDIT: I realize one 20a circuit for all AV equipment is probably sufficient for normal use. However, I am talking about peak current draws at reference levels without power sag or insufficient voltages being drawn by the equipment despite capacitors built into voltage stabilization devices and the amps themselves.
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post #14 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

Take a look at my power guide and the specific one on home theater power .

For me the key things are:
1) whole house surge protector
2) all copper lines into the theater protected
3) everything AV on one dedicated circuit fed directly from the main panel. Lighting, HVAC, anything non AV etc should be on separate circuits.
4) use a point of use power conditioner with all AV loads except perhaps bulb based projectors (see below) running off that unit
4) if you have a bulb based projector then use a UPS

This website seems to jump straight to the "best in class" solutions for each use case. I tend to favor best value performance.

Thanks for the info. Still reading...
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post #15 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I had a couple of questions on #2 and #3..... What do you mean by all copper lines protected? If you have a whole-house surge suppressor and circuit breakers for each dedicated high voltage line running to the theater, is there something else additional that you are recommending before power reaches rack-mounted surge-protection and power conditioning equipment?

For #3 I agree that HVAC, lighting, motorized seating, theater receptacles, etc. should all be on dedicated circuits completely separate from the AV equipment. However, I would challenge the thought that all AV equipment can easily be put on one circuit, even if it is 20 amps. For simple systems, yes, one circuit will do. But if you look at the current draws from powered subs, a projector and a decent 5-channel amp alone, I could see situations where there are insufficient wattages to handle peak scenes at reference levels. Until the Richard Gray Powerhouse and PS Audio P10 came along, many manufacturers recommended that the big amplifiers, including subwoofer amplifiers, be offloaded to dedicated circuits of their own. To generate my own electrical specification I will dedicate one circuit for each major amplifier and powered subwoofer. The projector and all other source equipment, preamp, router, etc. get put on another dedicated circuit and plugged into a combo surge / conditioner / UPS that is IP addressable and running off that dedicated circuit. Protection and power filtration for each amplifier would come from a dedicated surge suppressor. Not to derail the thread, but your thoughts?


EDIT: I realize one 20a circuit for all AV equipment is probably sufficient for normal use. However, I am talking about peak current draws at reference levels without power sag or insufficient voltages being drawn by the equipment despite capacitors built into voltage stabilization devices and the amps themselves.

#2 Only to ensure things like satellite and cable are protected. Normally this is done at the house boundary, but if not then do it at the theater.

#3 If the load is >20A then you just run a bigger circuit, like a 30A, 45A or 60A. A key part of my approach is use of an isolation transformer and all AV loads running off that one transformer. All the AV loads then share the same ground reference point that is isolated from the rest of the house.

The issue with running multiple dedicated lines with separate surge protectors on each one is that each surge protector can clamp at a different voltage. If they are shunt mode types that direct the surge to ground then it is quite possible, depending on wiring, for the surge to flow over signal cables to interconnected equipment and fry the IO stages. Plus you have the added expense of multiple surge protectors.

The only conceptual situation that makes sense for multiple dedicated lines is what I've called a 'whole room approach' which is what I actually do in reality most times and that is to run de-energized circuits for amps, projectors, etc back to an isolation transformer rather than to an energized sub panel.

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post #16 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post

This website seems to jump straight to the "best in class" solutions for each use case. I tend to favor best value performance.

Thanks for the info. Still reading...

Best in class is what we're about so in terms of the specific products you'll find recommended I don't disagree. However the first page will give you the conceptual basis for choosing power conditioners whatever budget you have.

And the basic approach should remain the same regardless of budget. Cheapest to get a decent power infrastructure that I could live with and would not hinder performance would be something like:

1) whole house protector (you can get cheaper ones at home depot, under $200 plus an hours of an electrician's time to fit it)
2) surge protectors on copper lines (cable, satellite, etc) entering / exiting the house ($20-100)
3) single dedicated circuit run straight back to a main panel (maybe $500 for an electrician depending on where you live)
4) point of use power conditioner. I would not use anything less than a SurgeX, or other device incorporating series mode surge protection. You can get a 10 outlet, 15A capacity unit for $449.
5) UPS for bulb based projector - use a computer grade UPS, like an APC, $75

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post #17 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post


#3 If the load is >20A then you just run a bigger circuit, like a 30A, 45A or 60A. A key part of my approach is use of an isolation transformer and all AV loads running off that one transformer. All the AV loads then share the same ground reference point that is isolated from the rest of the house.

The issue with running multiple dedicated lines with separate surge protectors on each one is that each surge protector can clamp at a different voltage. If they are shunt mode types that direct the surge to ground then it is quite possible, depending on wiring, for the surge to flow over signal cables to interconnected equipment and fry the IO stages. Plus you have the added expense of multiple surge protectors.

The only conceptual situation that makes sense for multiple dedicated lines is what I've called a 'whole room approach' which is what I actually do in reality most times and that is to run de-energized circuits for amps, projectors, etc back to an isolation transformer rather than to an energized sub panel.

But the ground on an isolation transformer must not be truly isolated. It must not only be bonded back to the primary side ground, the neutral on the secondary must be re-bonded to the ground. This is critical for safety as that's the whole reason for the third wire ground in the worlds electrical systems. Without that neutral bond a ground fault will not trip the breaker or blow a fuse. But an isolation transformer is still a great power conditioner even with the minor safety compromise.

I know it doesn't make sense from a strict audio system point of view, but "ground islands" are not allowed and not at all safe. You need to look at the entire system including the electrical system as a whole and it becomes much more clear.

Another popular audiophile myth is to install an independent Earth ground rod for your AV equipment. Not only is this a very dangerous lightning hazard due to the resistance of the soil, it does absolutely nothing for noise abatement. Think about it, commercial jets, space craft both have very sophisticated electronics systems aboard, right? So where's the Earth ground rod?

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post #18 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 10:42 AM
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But the ground on an isolation transformer must not be truly isolated. It must not only be bonded back to the primary side ground, the neutral on the secondary must be re-bonded to the ground. This is critical for safety as that's the whole reason for the third wire ground in the worlds electrical systems. Without that neutral bond a ground fault will not trip the breaker or blow a fuse. But an isolation transformer is still a great power conditioner even with the minor safety compromise.

I know it doesn't make sense from a strict audio system point of view, but "ground islands" are not allowed and not at all safe. You need to look at the entire system including the electrical system as a whole and it becomes much more clear.

Another popular audiophile myth is to install an independent Earth ground rod for your AV equipment. Not only is this a very dangerous lightning hazard due to the resistance of the soil, it does absolutely nothing for noise abatement. Think about it, commercial jets, space craft both have very sophisticated electronics systems aboard, right? So where's the Earth ground rod?

Sorry I have caused some confusion. I did not mean that the ground is isolated and independent from the rest of the house. I agree with everything you say.

The sentence should have read:

All the AV loads then share the same ground reference point and are isolated from the rest of the house. By isolated I mean the hot and neutral are isolated via the transformer windings. The ground is still a direct electrical connection.

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post #19 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 10:52 AM
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Sorry I have caused some confusion. I did not mean that the ground is isolated and independent from the rest of the house. I agree with everything you say.

The sentence should have read:

....neutral are isolated via the transformer windings.....

But not really, if the transformer is "wired in" the secondary neutral must be bonded to the ground at the transformer, which is in turn grounded to the service ground. "Plug in" versions such as bench top isolation transformers are exempt as that would be a hazard on a test bench - like repairing in switching power supplies.

Now there may be an exception if GFCIs are used on the secondary such as is with legal balanced (60-0-60)power installations. But those exceptions are generally not allowed in residential installations.

Just making sure nobody get's hurt here.

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post #20 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

#2 Only to ensure things like satellite and cable are protected. Normally this is done at the house boundary, but if not then do it at the theater.

#3 If the load is >20A then you just run a bigger circuit, like a 30A, 45A or 60A. A key part of my approach is use of an isolation transformer and all AV loads running off that one transformer. All the AV loads then share the same ground reference point that is isolated from the rest of the house.

The issue with running multiple dedicated lines with separate surge protectors on each one is that each surge protector can clamp at a different voltage. If they are shunt mode types that direct the surge to ground then it is quite possible, depending on wiring, for the surge to flow over signal cables to interconnected equipment and fry the IO stages. Plus you have the added expense of multiple surge protectors.

The only conceptual situation that makes sense for multiple dedicated lines is what I've called a 'whole room approach' which is what I actually do in reality most times and that is to run de-energized circuits for amps, projectors, etc back to an isolation transformer rather than to an energized sub panel.

I totally agree that an isolation transformer is the ideal way to provide clean, filtered and virtually limitless power to an AV system....but at a substantially high price for the product and for professional installation. I was personally looking at a similar product from Equitech (http://www.equitech.com/index.html) until I found that even the smallest of these systems was in the $9000 range for the product itself, not to mention shipping a 450+ pound pallet to my house for installation by a licensed electrician.

There is nothing worse than differences in ground potential manifest themselves as audible and visible effects in a system's performance. Plus consolidating all of the circuits makes pulling multiple loads into a system simple and easy and allows a common ground reference as you noted.

However.....I can't (i.e. don't want to spend) $10k+ on getting one of these in my system. So, I have to ask....what are the best alternatives, in your opinion, for >20a system where multiple circuits are needed? Most of us are in the price vs. performance "value" realm, so how is this accomplished without spending $5k minimum on power protection, conditioning and filtration?

I used to have (7 years ago) a Monster Power Signature AVS-2000 voltage stabilizer and a matching Signature HTPS-7000 power protection / filtration device to run my entire system. Projector, powered subs, etc. were all powerbridged back to the rack and EVERYTHING was on one 20a circuit. But even at low volumes the HTPS-7000 couldn't handle it and blew fuses. I then moved the heavy loads directly to the AVS 2000, including the single load of the HTPS-7000 which had the bulk of equipment connected to it. That worked better, but it still tripped occasionally. Only when I offloaded the most demanding components onto separate dedicated circuits did things start work without tripping. The Richard Gray Powerhouse rivals what Turos and Equitech are doing, but in a component-level device. The PS Audio does the same but to an even lesser extent.

Interested to hear your thoughts....
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post #21 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 01:26 PM
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But not really, if the transformer is "wired in" the secondary neutral must be bonded to the ground at the transformer, which is in turn grounded to the service ground. "Plug in" versions such as bench top isolation transformers are exempt as that would be a hazard on a test bench - like repairing in switching power supplies.

Now there may be an exception if GFCIs are used on the secondary such as is with legal balanced (60-0-60)power installations. But those exceptions are generally not allowed in residential installations.

Just making sure nobody get's hurt here.

You are quite right..as usual smile.gif

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post #22 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 01:49 PM
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I totally agree that an isolation transformer is the ideal way to provide clean, filtered and virtually limitless power to an AV system....but at a substantially high price for the product and for professional installation. I was personally looking at a similar product from Equitech (http://www.equitech.com/index.html) until I found that even the smallest of these systems was in the $9000 range for the product itself, not to mention shipping a 450+ pound pallet to my house for installation by a licensed electrician.

There is nothing worse than differences in ground potential manifest themselves as audible and visible effects in a system's performance. Plus consolidating all of the circuits makes pulling multiple loads into a system simple and easy and allows a common ground reference as you noted.

However.....I can't (i.e. don't want to spend) $10k+ on getting one of these in my system. So, I have to ask....what are the best alternatives, in your opinion, for >20a system where multiple circuits are needed? Most of us are in the price vs. performance "value" realm, so how is this accomplished without spending $5k minimum on power protection, conditioning and filtration?

I used to have (7 years ago) a Monster Power Signature AVS-2000 voltage stabilizer and a matching Signature HTPS-7000 power protection / filtration device to run my entire system. Projector, powered subs, etc. were all powerbridged back to the rack and EVERYTHING was on one 20a circuit. But even at low volumes the HTPS-7000 couldn't handle it and blew fuses. I then moved the heavy loads directly to the AVS 2000, including the single load of the HTPS-7000 which had the bulk of equipment connected to it. That worked better, but it still tripped occasionally. Only when I offloaded the most demanding components onto separate dedicated circuits did things start work without tripping. The Richard Gray Powerhouse rivals what Turos and Equitech are doing, but in a component-level device. The PS Audio does the same but to an even lesser extent.

Interested to hear your thoughts....

Well it is rare to need over 20A continuous current capability. My whole demo theater with 7 channels of high bias class AB power amp (albeit fairly efficient speakers), four subs, a HTPC, two DACs and a DLP projector is running quite happily off one Torus Power 20A isolation transformer (an RM20BAL). In terms of sizing continuous current draw much depends on how much of that 'theoretical maximum current' you are going to be drawing during normal use. Theoretically with my system and the amps, subs maxed out you would be looking at 60A or so under test bench conditions (i.e. sine wave at clipping point). In reality, for a system like this, you can take the max load and divide by 3 and you will be fine.

Torus make not just wall mounts but also component style in all sizes from 5A to 100A. If you have over 20A continuous the next step up in the Torus Line from a 20A is a 45A which gives you three independent 15A circuits on the secondary side. They are not inexpensive ($6k - 2/3rds of that Equitech) but you can install it yourself. The 60A versions are a couple more hundred bucks.

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post #23 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 02:01 PM
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I am planning an ATI 3007 (300wpc x7), and ATI 3005 (300wpc x5) for the main speakers, Two Behringer, Lab Gruppen (or clone) amplifiers in the 8000+ watt range (one for each of my dual 18" subs), two Behringer EP4000 to run each set of four Buttkicker LFEs, plus the projector and all the other equipment. Since I have a fully integrated whole-home automation system, that's saying quite a bit, actually. So I will have four receivers driving four separate theater zones, several 60" plasma displays with power homerun back to the rack and then four Niles SI-1260 twelve channel distributed power amplifiers for my whole-home audio system. So you can see the amount of high-powered equipment really adds up and the loads are substantial, even with only the (future) theater running. In fact I am spec'd to max out two full 44u MRK racks.

To re-ask my question now that you know a bit more about my system (current/planned), what alternatives to additional dedicated circuits are you suggesting that are in the value range?
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post #24 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 02:07 PM
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Keep in mind too that if you install a 240v circuit for a Torus unit, you have TWICE the power available*of a 120v circuit. So a basic 240v 20a circuit actually has a capacity of 4800 watts versus the 2400 of a 120v circuit. And the 240v circuit should only result in a $20 or so increase in the installation. You just need a double circuit breaker and a 240v receptacle - both common items. The in wall wire is the same - just #12 Romex or MC.

You could also specify #10 wire. Not only does that improve voltage drop on a 20 amp circuit, you could upgrade that to 30a in the future with a dryer outlet. You would have to swap out the breaker for 30a, but that's not expensive at all.

*Keep in mind that does not change the transformer capacity. If you only purchase a 20a / 2400 watt unit, it's still only 20amps or 2400 watts OUTPUT CAPACITY no matter how much source power it can have. But with a 240v 20a circuit you could upgrade to a 40a unit.

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post #25 of 36 Old 05-10-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I am planning an ATI 3007 (300wpc x7), and ATI 3005 (300wpc x5) for the main speakers, Two Behringer, Lab Gruppen (or clone) amplifiers in the 8000+ watt range (one for each of my dual 18" subs), two Behringer EP4000 to run each set of four Buttkicker LFEs, plus the projector and all the other equipment. Since I have a fully integrated whole-home automation system, that's saying quite a bit, actually. So I will have four receivers driving four separate theater zones, several 60" plasma displays with power homerun back to the rack and then four Niles SI-1260 twelve channel distributed power amplifiers for my whole-home audio system. So you can see the amount of high-powered equipment really adds up and the loads are substantial, even with only the (future) theater running. In fact I am spec'd to max out two full 44u MRK racks.

To re-ask my question now that you know a bit more about my system (current/planned), what alternatives to additional dedicated circuits are you suggesting that are in the value range?

I would not call that set of equipment 'value' and would therefore budget adequately for a proper isolation transformer! In my opinion and experience it makes a very worthwhile difference. And like I said the paper maximum continuous current draw is likely a lot more than the actual draw under real world conditions, even when playing at reference level. Have you worked out power consumption figures for your speakers and subs? What they are actually likely to draw when they reach max power handling rather than the wattage capacity of your amps?

However, you can segregate out the loads. Performance vs. non-performance. My recommended way of doing things only applies to performance systems i.e. the home theater and a two channel audio system if you have one. Everything else - plasma, whole house audio, control, etc is non-performance.

Performance loads get their own isolation transformer and single dedicated line.

Non-performance loads get as many circuits as are required to supply the current draw requirements. You can still segregate them partially from the rest of your house by running all the circuits to a dedicated sub panel. Given the amount of equipment I'd be tempted to forego 'component' style devices and mount a simple surge protector in that sub panel.

That's just how I would do things and split out the budget.

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post #26 of 36 Old 05-11-2013, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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post #27 of 36 Old 05-11-2013, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Keep in mind too that if you install a 240v circuit for a Torus unit, you have TWICE the power available*of a 120v circuit. So a basic 240v 20a circuit actually has a capacity of 4800 watts versus the 2400 of a 120v circuit. And the 240v circuit should only result in a $20 or so increase in the installation. You just need a double circuit breaker and a 240v receptacle - both common items. The in wall wire is the same - just #12 Romex or MC.

You could also specify #10 wire. Not only does that improve voltage drop on a 20 amp circuit, you could upgrade that to 30a in the future with a dryer outlet. You would have to swap out the breaker for 30a, but that's not expensive at all.

*Keep in mind that does not change the transformer capacity. If you only purchase a 20a / 2400 watt unit, it's still only 20amps or 2400 watts OUTPUT CAPACITY no matter how much source power it can have. But with a 240v 20a circuit you could upgrade to a 40a unit.

Yes, I am aware of the different electrical capacities / considerations as I have done complete rewires on my last two homes. I was looking to avoid a $5000+ purchase on a single component unit or even more on an isolation transformer. What other options are there one a surge protector is installed in the panel? Running an entire rack of heavy-duty equipment on one 20a breaker definitely won't do it, even with the average static loads of all systems running, so I will definitely need another dedicated line or two. Technically speaking, ATI specifies use of a 20a dedicated circuit for each of their amps. Running two Behringer EP4000s on a single circuit is also not recommended as per the manufacturer. Add in the rest of the equipment and you begin to see why I am considering six 20a lines to my rack.

I've already installed a dedicated 100a subpanel in the basement to handle all of my new basement circuits plus the ones needed for all my AV gear. My intent is to run a dedicated 240v line into the rack area if / when I would ever update any power protection / suppression components to the larger, industrial versions that can handle significantly more wattage such as the Richard Gray Powerhouse, one of these Toros devices, PS Audio P10 or similar....but there doesn't seem to be any recommendations forthcoming between spending $500 and spending $6000...
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post #28 of 36 Old 05-11-2013, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

I would not call that set of equipment 'value' and would therefore budget adequately for a proper isolation transformer! In my opinion and experience it makes a very worthwhile difference. And like I said the paper maximum continuous current draw is likely a lot more than the actual draw under real world conditions, even when playing at reference level. Have you worked out power consumption figures for your speakers and subs? What they are actually likely to draw when they reach max power handling rather than the wattage capacity of your amps?

However, you can segregate out the loads. Performance vs. non-performance. My recommended way of doing things only applies to performance systems i.e. the home theater and a two channel audio system if you have one. Everything else - plasma, whole house audio, control, etc is non-performance.

Performance loads get their own isolation transformer and single dedicated line.

Non-performance loads get as many circuits as are required to supply the current draw requirements. You can still segregate them partially from the rest of your house by running all the circuits to a dedicated sub panel. Given the amount of equipment I'd be tempted to forego 'component' style devices and mount a simple surge protector in that sub panel.

That's just how I would do things and split out the budget.

I'm just not there with $6000 to $10000 on power filtration alone. That recommendation goes straight to the Ferrari and skips over the Fords and Mercedes along the way. ATI, Behringer and the Lab Gruppen clone amps are most certainly value amps when you compare them up against Levinson, Theta, BAT, QSC and authentic Lab Gruppen gear. All totaled in the used market these amps are right around $6500, which is a good value for that much "stuff". You would have to spend double or triple the cost of the ATIs to get 300wpc in the truly high-end gear, so that's why I say it is a real value despite its price.

As above, I am not wanting to go straight to the Ferrari of power solutions for the ultimate in performance right off the bat. Something of more modest performance. Protecting the equipment from surges/spikes/overvoltages/undervoltages would be my initial concern, following by filtration and other technologies used to lower the noise floor from 2% to 0%, for example. The reason I am asking this is because it will take every spare $$ just to get the system complete at this point, without blowing the budget on the ultimate in power protection, filtration and isolation.

I have a segregation already in that my control system, digital phone system, DirecTV DVRs, projector bulb, Synology NAS and all other networking components will be on my APC S20 that has a battery back-up. A legacy piece of equipment I have - a Monster Power Signature HTPS 7000 would function as protection for all other source gear, the preamp, receivers for other zones, matrix switchers, all Niles amplifiers for the whole-house system, and the powerbridge from three 60-65" flat panels....what you call the "non-performance" stuff. The last piece of the puzzle is what to do with all the amps beyond giving them the additional dedicated lines specified by the manufacturer without going straight to a $6000-$10000 solution.
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post #29 of 36 Old 05-11-2013, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post

anxious to hear more here.

Alright JRock....sorry for inadvertently hijacking a bit of your thread!!!

I think you are covered on electricity, but FWIW....one dedicated line for the code-mandated receptacles in the room, one dedicated line for the lighting, one dedicated line for the subs (or powerbridged back to the equipment rack for electrification through a power protection unit), powerbridge the projector power back to the rack and connect to a UPS, and I like to put one circuit in the riser that is separate from the room's receptacles for motorized chairs and whatever else you have going on (assuming you have a riser, of course). That's it.

For wiring to the projector you would have a 14/2 Romex powerbridged back to the rack, of course. My personal preference is four cat-6 wires to the projector from the rack location - two shielded and two unshielded. The two shielded will allow you to run the latest HDMI signal over a high-quality baluns system. Don't fall into the trap of continuously upgrading high-quality HDMI cables for years on end. Two shielded Cat-6s cover the bandwidth with protection from interference and will remain the same for a long time to come. For the two unshielded Cat-6 wires, I use one for networking/IP control directly to the projector, and the last Cat6 for either triggers, RS-232 commands, etc. That's literally ALL you need, nothing more. If you have a motorized masking system for your screen or an anamorphic lens, the best way to handle these is through the projector's trigger outs for normal operation. If you are a total control nerd with the masking, then you'll have to run a trigger wire from the screen to your control system, independent of the projector's trigger for the lens. Separate power, control and ventilation ducts would need to be run to the projector location if you installed a hush box.

For HVAC, there are many, many ways to approach this area, but I always recommend hiring out an HVAC engineer to design the system. He will perform a total load calculation which takes into account BTUs from body heat, BTUs from electronic equipment, level of insulation, number of windows, etc. to determine how many CFM of conditioned air is needed for the room. Once this is determined, the question becomes how to get there.

By far the best method is a separate, dedicated system. That's followed by zoning an existing system (assuming you have the capacity) and then simply supplying / returning air through the HVAC system (no zoning) and finally with forced ventilation-only, as is the case with a dead vent with powered in-line fan. No matter which system you use, the thermal load calculation remains, as do the goals of a theater HVAC:
  • Target noise level of NC22 or less with the system fully operational - so decouple/isolate the HVAC system itself, use flex or lined rigid ducts, 90 degree elbows to kill sound waves, bar diffusers (less than 250 fpm), oversized return air duct to reduce air turbulence while preserving CFM, etc.)
  • 6 air changes per hour and 15 cfm of fresh air per person (target mentioned by this Forum's Illuminati)

Then there are the finer points, such as using a thermostat that can interact with a control system and getting a system with a variable speed blower, etc. So provided your HVAC engineer has the load calculations, the system design goals wrt noise levels, materials to use, etc., you should be able to have a comfortable room without the noise. More goes into it than my oversimplification above, but there is no hard and fast guideline since rooms, systems and designs are completely unique in every single house / theater.

I hope this information helps and others will chime in on this as well.
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post #30 of 36 Old 05-11-2013, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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At this point I just want to get a base plan that I can grow with. There's no way that I will be able to build all the bells and whistles in year one. My year one theater will probably offend quite a few people around here but the point isn't to go bankrupt trying to build it. The point is to have something we can use as soon as possible but not to do it in such a way that restricts the future.

Appreciate the guidance though. Not sure I followed all of it. Where exactly do FOUR Ethernet wires plug into? Confused on that. Those are all rj45?

Can you give me some math examples in the HVAC ? My theater will be 13 x 26 or so. The basic idea is front row at 11 feet, second row at 18 feet on 8 inch riser and 3 inch mini riser and then third row is the snack bar.

We looked at builders who do deep pour basements today. Examining that option thoroughly but it will be expensive and not just because of the deep pour.
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