12V Trigger-driven Power Strips? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-24-2010, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I need a way to power a couple of outlets/power strips using the 12V trigger from my AVR. I figured something like that would be readily available, but I have not found anything via searching here on Google. I thought of rigging something with a some relays, but prefer to just buy something if it's not a fortune. I expected something like this to be readily available, but the only things I have seen are ~$100 or more and often designed for home automation. Some companies (e.g. emotiva) make trigger repeaters to add trigger outputs, but they don't provide switched outlets. (My AVR doesn't have a switched output, and that isn't what I want anyway -- need more power capacity than that.) I have seen some power strips that provide little remote controls to turn them on and off, and some UPS units that have switched outlets, but neither is what I want.

My ideal circuit would be a little wall wart'ish thing or power strip that is controlled by the 12 V trigger from my AVR (e.g. a power strip with a 12 V trigger input to switch a couple of outlets).

Thanks - Don

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-24-2010, 01:06 PM
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http://www.panamax.com/products/floo...10-ht-pro.aspx

May be overkill, but it should do what you are looking for. It can be found for less than $100.

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post #3 of 16 Old 05-24-2010, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that is what I am looking for, though I was hoping for a $20 solution. At least it gives me some more keywords to Google and some things to look at, though I may still just roll my own (cogitating -- a few cheap parts plus box that add up to about $20, followed by an hour or two of messing around to build it and make it look nice -- probably cheaper to buy and be done with it!) It is cheaper than the couple of other similar strips I found.

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post #4 of 16 Old 05-24-2010, 02:38 PM
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Here's a previous thread that is similar. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...162&highlight=
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-24-2010, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that is indeed my back-up plan -- a relay and a little box for it. The problem with this forum is that there's too much info! Too many threads returned on a search...

I may use a solid-state relay; little more money, but no bouncing contacts or turn-on/off pops from arcing contacts. Also no worries about current draw from the trigger circuit (though most 12V relays are under the 100 mA spec). Power strips don't always turn on and off cleanly, either, and I want the trigger circuit's delayed on/fast off response. I keep thinking somebody must have made something like this for cheap, but maybe there's simply not enough demand (yet).

The other annoying thing is that I know I have a big honkin' relay and trigger circuit already to go in one of my old parts bins, someplace in our black hole of a shed...

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-25-2010, 08:54 AM
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What you could do is get one of these: http://www.thehomeautomationstore.com/psc01.html and hook it to the trigger of the receiver, and get one of these http://www.thehomeautomationstore.com/pam02.html for each power strip. Then you would even have the benefit of controlling remote devices.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-25-2010, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that's not a bad idea! Also a neat solution to spanning three outlets (one for the AVR, two the subs).

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-25-2010, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Pulled the trigger on the X10 solution; I'll post how it works. I remember when the idea first came out (long, long ago) and have always been intrigued (Hi, my name is Don, and I'm a geek. ) There are some other X10 things I want to try, but this will be a good intro/trial of the technology (it has come a long way).

I found the Panamax for $85 on Amazon, but just couldn't make myself get it (plus I would need two), and although my local Shack has the little blue relays I'd be spending $25 - $30 plus time to put together a simple relay solution, and if I had gone that route would probably have gotten much better relays (and thus more costly, plus the heavier duty ones need more coil current). And, relays can put an amazingly loud "crack" into the system if not bypassed, so I would've had to get a few more components. (Does Shack no longer carry 600 V caps? None in stock locally, and all I wanted was a couple to bypass the relay contacts and kill the arc).

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-26-2010, 01:01 AM
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Many AVR supplied 12v trigger outs are low current and the switching circuit is not designed to handle an inductive load such as a relay. If you opt for a mechanical relay, be sure to put a reverse diode across the coil contacts.
This prevents a "current backflow" surge damaging the xistor inside the AVR doing the switching when the relay is de-energized.

Remember when using the diode, use a 1N4001 or similar, and the anode (positive end with the band) is connected to the trigger + output and one side of the relay coil and the cathode goes to the negative (ground) along with the relay coil.

Check MPJA.com for great prices on SS relays up to 40 A.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-26-2010, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Good point. I typically use a Schottky diode or two (two to clamp both positive and negative excursions, Schottky to clamp before a Si-based junction can get biased on) plus a capacitor at times across the coil, and a small capacitor across the contacts.

The relay I first looked at drew 30 mA coil current; my AVR's trigger output is spec'd at 100 mA. Higher-power relays, that is higher current handling, generally perform better but have higher coil current to deal with their larger contacts. The nicer relays I was thinking about required 75 to 150 mA coil current so I would've needed a simple driver circuit (e.g. a small power MOSFET and handful of bias/suppression parts, including those for the relay -- at least it would have eliminated the d.c. draw issue).

Ultimately, I decided to try the X10 controller and subvert the problem. Hopefully!

Thanks for the link -- always adding to my parts places.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-27-2010, 01:55 PM
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-27-2010, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that would work, plus more! Niles also makes another trigger-controlled outlet box, but it's over $120 plus wall wart.

You guys are great, so much info in one place!

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-28-2010, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Got and installed the X10 controller and switches today; worked like a champ. There is a slight turn-off delay but since before the subs were on all the time no big deal.

Had I more time I would have gone for the solid-state relays Gizmo referenced, but the net cost might have been similar and I would have spent a few hours getting stuff and building it up pretty. Jez lazy in my old age...

Now back to room analysis and trying to figure out how to fix a big honkin' 50 Hz notch in my room. Sound treatment smoothed out everything else nicely, but made that worse.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-28-2010, 11:19 PM
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Acoustic nirvana putty?
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-29-2010, 05:37 AM
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I use a smart strip power unit.

jhgkak likes this.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-29-2010, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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@Gizmo: Yeah, plus a little sonic pixie dust for the HF ripples! Maybe I should just get some Tibetan Prayer Bowls...

@DenonLover: Yes, another way, thanks. They are also referenced in one of the links earlier in this thread. Because of the way I have my components hooked up, and spread across several outlets, that would not have worked well in my situation. The little X10 units work great for my subwoofers. The APC unit I use for the bulk of the components (TV, AVR, BD, etc.) has a similar feature I can use on them. Because my (rural) area has power issues I use a combination of power conditioning items to (try to) keep everything happy.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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