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post #1 of 31 Old 02-20-2007, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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In case it looks like we've been here before, I'm not asking the same questions that I've seen here so many times before, and least not near as I can tell. I already have several surge protectors, not because I buy into the science, but rather because I buy the deals. Already have PS Audio, Shunyata, Panamax, Monster, Brickwall and Powerware.

Anyway, a tech at PS Audio suggested that for my amps, I might be happier not having them powered by AC regenerators. Possibly restricts dynamics. I pointed out that the my PS Audio and Powerware AC regenerator displays indicated that I have plenty of headroom, even with the amps plugged in. He countered that an amp draw upon a transient can be so fast that the front panel readout might not be fast enough to show that I very briefly exceeded capacity. And maybe these regenerators don't have their own capacitance to deal with it. Whatever the case, I was thinking about trying a more simplistic approach, but only for the amps. Besides, isn't it generally better anyway not to mix digital components on the same duplexes as analog?

So many of these surge protectors make claims about how their special line conditioning will help the digital and video components, etc. I don't care since this is just for the amps.

I already have two 40 amp dedicated lines, with a surge protector in the main fusebox. My electrician sank an additional ground rod recently to be safe, although he said I was technically already up to code. I have 3 outboard amps, each in the $3,000 range. All powering 4 ohm speakers, so there is a current draw. Plus I have 4 Velodyne HGS subs, and even though they are digital switching amps, I figure I should still treat them as amps. Because the amps are on different sides of the room, I will need at least 2 surge protectors. My Mirage OM5 rears speakers have BASH amps for their integrated subwoofer sections, but I don't care much about those. I'm just focusing on the 3 outboard amps and 4 Vels.

According to my PS Audio Premier, I'm getting between 121-126 volts, so I don't think I need any voltage regulation. Just simple quality surge protection. Maybe well isolated duplexes are a purchase point. Can one amp affect another?

I was looking for cheap. Maybe a Furman or Tripplite unit. There are great deals on the Monster 3500II, but I know that people don't think highly of Monster, and also that is yet another unit which seems more designed for digital, analog and video, rather than just for amps.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-20-2007, 04:25 PM
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Anyway, a tech at PS Audio suggested that for my amps, I might be happier not having them powered by AC regenerators. Possibly restricts dynamics. I pointed out that the my PS Audio and Powerware AC regenerator displays indicated that I have plenty of headroom, even with the amps plugged in. He countered that an amp draw upon a transient can be so fast that the front panel readout might not be fast enough to show that I very briefly exceeded capacity.

Well, that's why you've got reservoir capacitors inside your amp to provide that momentary need for current. Maybe theirs don't?

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Besides, isn't it generally better anyway not to mix digital components on the same duplexes as analog?

Hard to say with any degree of certainty. It'd depend if one of the digital devices was dumping significant amounts of RFI back down the powerline and that your analog device, whatever it is, was susceptible to it. However, it doesn't hurt to do what you suggested.

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I already have two 40 amp dedicated lines, with a surge protector in the main fusebox. My electrician sank an additional ground rod recently to be safe, although he said I was technically already up to code.

Well NEC code is fairly relaxed. Doing what you did, lowered the ground potential and greatly increased the effectiveness of your whole house system. It was a good move. I assume you didn't have a post hole digger and child slave labor

With a whole house approach, you've got several options. You could replace the outlets with ones that have built in surge protection. Those are a wee bit pricey but it makes for an elegant approach since there's no box. OTOH, if you subscribe to the thought (it's a personal paranoia thing...no biggie) that one device can contaminate another via the AC lines, then look into one-box solutions with multiple outlets where adjacent pairs are 'isolated' from each other. Belkin among others have products that meet this criteria. Those are likely to cost in the 200-300 range discouned.

BTW, did your whole house approach address the incoming cable/satellite or phones?

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post #3 of 31 Old 02-20-2007, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

I assume you didn't have a post hole digger...

Not since I left Las Vegas.


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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

You could replace the outlets with ones that have built in surge protection. Those are a wee bit pricey but it makes for an elegant approach since there's no box. OTOH, if you subscribe to the thought (it's a personal paranoia thing...no biggie) that one device can contaminate another via the AC lines, then look into one-box solutions with multiple outlets where adjacent pairs are 'isolated' from each other. Belkin among others have products that meet this criteria. Those are likely to cost in the 200-300 range discouned.

BTW, did your whole house approach address the incoming cable/satellite or phones?

Can't replace the outlets. Need too many receptacles for that to help. Just in disc players alone, I probably have 6. But the one box solution with multiple outlets only works if I get 2 or 3 of them. My equipment is too far apart. And too many receptacles for 1 unit anyway. Just in amplifiers, I need 9 receptacles.

And I love that word "isolated". Even if there is little science to it, it sure makes me feel better.

And I've come to accept and almost embrace the personal paranoia thing about myself. I still like what some people here call it - the belt and suspenders crowd.

I need to address the coax risk better. I still haven't addressed the phone issue. I know I know, but it wasn't even an issue until I recently added Tivo.

Anyway, back to the issue, here is one of the magazine reviews which makes me consider using a simpler approach for amps.

http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=1594

He thought the amp sounded better plugged straight into the wall, as compared to a Monster 3500II and APC H15 conditioner. Unfortunately, the Monster unit that he referenced is the one I'm considering because of the price.

I notice that when Kal Rubinson reviewed 4 different units a few years ago, he kept taking his Bryston amp off the conditioners, until he got to the Panamax. And I think he liked the PS Audio too, though I wasn't totally clear on that. I get the impression you're not that fond of the PS Audio stuff.

http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/505mitr/
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-20-2007, 05:55 PM
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The phone and coax (whole house) can be addressed effectively and inexpensively by yourself without need to deal with an electrician. I'll dig up some sources. The key to their effectiveness, of course, is their proximity to earth ground.

The 'isolated' approach basically has circuitry between adjacent pairs of outlets that filters (attenuates) RFI/EMI. Companies tend to play some games here and don't provide graphs of the amount of attenuation vs. frequency, although I'm not sure how useful it'd be to the average consumer. However, many use dB as a value instead of percent. If they used the latter, you might wonder what the big deal is between 99.9% vs 99.97%.

In the box-type units, and by that I mean those that sit on a shelf, as you go up the price scale, you get all the goodies whether they mean anything or not. You'll get the isolated outlets, outlets to plug your digital equipment into, outlets to plug your analog equipment into, and outlets for your amps (for those concerned about current limiting...like that reviewer you mentioned - they tend to say that whether it does or not...it's the 'politically correct' thing to say you know!). There's also other creature comforts like switched/unswitched outlets, triggers that'll turn on a device or two or more, programmable sequenced turn-ons, dimmable displays, outlets in the front, places to stick your cable/satellite and phones into, and probably a few other things. Virtually all have surge protection and some offer overvoltage protection if that's a concern in your area.

You can start your search by looking at the APC, Tripplite, and Belkin models as well as the Panamax and Monster. Most of the company websites have downloadable manuals which might further answer any questions you've got. The first three are fairly well discounted, the latter aren't. I certainly wouldn't buy used stuff as I could never be sure what might be wrong.

Please understand that the reviewers are highly susceptible to suggestion with respect to things like the 'whatever' limited dynamics. Companies like Shunyata, PS Audio, and god knows who else are explicitly aware of this and make sure to say theirs has special circuitry that doesn't limit dynamics or current. IMO, if you're really worried about the current thing, just put your display on its own circuit.

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post #5 of 31 Old 02-20-2007, 05:57 PM
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I'm not fond of PS Audio's reluctance to provide information regarding some of their products, their self-serving redefinition of what surges are, and the fact the products aren't tested to industry standards. PS Audio is not alone in that boat.

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post #6 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 02:19 PM
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Don't most good amps have huge toroids to absorb inrushes of current? That's job, is it not--to pull current when needed? Isn't that why people say not to use certain surge devices since they bottleneck said current to protect?

Large amps are the first thing I would plug directly into a wall if push came to shove.

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post #7 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah Chu, I remember you saying something like that about Shunyata I think. I get the impression that some people here aren't fond of Paul McGowan, but his equipment does seem to get better than average reviews. Hard to reconcile it all.

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Don't most good amps have huge toroids to absorb inrushes of current? That's job, is it not--to pull current when needed? Isn't that why people say not to use certain surge devices since they bottleneck said current to protect?

Well my point is not to restrict dynamics. And I think that Chu just pointed out (here or previously) that everyone claims not to bottleneck. GIven the needs of an amp, yeah I gree that it is the first think I would plug into the wall. But if I lose $20,000 in equipment from one large surge, I'll cry profusely. Amps are too expensive to risk it. I would much rather risk my other components.

And yes, I hear that the quality of the power supply is a big part of what separates quality components, but I don't know if a even a great toroid can replace a cheap MOV. Seems like they do different things. I don't much like the idea of a self-sacrificing component (and I've noticed that some surge protectors are not self-sacrificing). But given a choice, I would rather have a $200 MOV get sacrificed instead of a $3,000 amp. I am in Florida and it is a risk. Damn squirrels. They look so cute in the car insurance commercial. Or in Ice Age. But they're really the devil.

I'm beginning to think that I just need the cheapest surge protector, one without line conditioning. The MOV shouldn't restrict dynamics. It's the filters. I hate to have some cheapo tacky surge protector on high end amps, but if it saves money and makes sense...

I guess all that matters is the quality of the MOV. Unless they're all basically the same.
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post #8 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mhsens View Post

I'm beginning to think that I just need the cheapest surge protector, one without line conditioning. The MOV shouldn't restrict dynamics. It's the filters. I hate to have some cheapo tacky surge protector on high end amps, but if it saves money and makes sense...

I guess all that matters is the quality of the MOV. Unless they're all basically the same.


In the simplest form, surge suppressors can be just a number of parallel MOV's from L-L, L-N and L-G configuration. But many higher quality designs will use a network. This network, and components, determine the surge capacity, let through voltage, ring wave parameters and typical clamping voltage of the unit. The simplest designs generally will not test/operate as well as more elaborate designs.

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But many higher quality designs will use a network...The simplest designs generally will not test/operate as well as more elaborate designs.

"Test/operate"?? You mean they will restrict dynamics more.

I spent a good 15 minutes talking to TrippLite. Nothing which meets my needs, although the person seemed to have little understanding. She said she was passing it on to someone.

BUT I just noticed that Monster makes a 2 duplex cheapo unit, FOR AIR CONDITIONERS!!!! No kidding. Looks identical to their sub, coax and AV unit. The only thing better would be a 2 duplex for washer and dryer. An air conditioner has to draw some current. Probably more than an average amp. And I doubt an AC needs line conditioning. I'm just concerned that it's a rebadged unit, because I can't find any reference to it on Monster's website.
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 05:13 PM
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I'm not saying that surges don't cause problems for some, but this all just seems WAY overblown to me. Someone mentioned paranoia. What better way to sell a product?

"You NEED protection and WE have the product...".

It seems excessive, IMO, to spend more on protection than the deductable of your insurance to replace the gear - assuming something happens in the first place. Maybe I'm missing the point?

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 05:38 PM
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It's a personal judgement call whoaru99. Sometimes it's predicated where you live. Now, I am in favor of insurance but you've got to carefully look at the policy or rider that you have. Is it full replacement or not? Who makes the call that your electronic devices were damaged by a surge? Deductible? Given the cost of a whole house setup, it's not all that much money and even if money is tight, someone with a bit of searching can put together something that's inexpensive and effective.

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Don't most good amps have huge toroids to absorb inrushes of current? That's job, is it not--to pull current when needed? Isn't that why people say not to use certain surge devices since they bottleneck said current to protect?

Large amps are the first thing I would plug directly into a wall if push came to shove.

There's a big difference between an inrush of current from turning your amp on as it 'feeds' the capacitors and a surge which can be a several microsecond burst of 20,000 or more amps and a few thousand volts. A surge becomes deadly as it searches and finds ground. If that path is through other stuff that's connected to your amp then bye bye. The OP's approach largely ameliorates the worst.

If you're really concerned about current limiting mshens and aren't interested in the bells and whistles from APC, Belkin, Panamax, etc. offerings, then look for surge protectors that are designed to be used on copiers and laser printers. Whatever current demands you think your amps have, that's nothing to the current demands for these peripherals. If the devices restricted current, then you'd have some pretty unhappy people because their copy quality would suffer.

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Yeah Chu, I remember you saying something like that about Shunyata I think. I get the impression that some people here aren't fond of Paul McGowan, but his equipment does seem to get better than average reviews. Hard to reconcile it all.

What 'high end' stuff can't manage to snag good reviews. Hell, over at 6moons and other places stuff that doesn't work gets favorable reviews! I'm simply saying when it comes to dealing with surges, they don't test according to industry standards and they redefine terms to suit their own needs.

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post #13 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 06:22 PM
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"Test/operate"?? You mean they will restrict dynamics more.

I spent a good 15 minutes talking to TrippLite. Nothing which meets my needs, although the person seemed to have little understanding. She said she was passing it on to someone.

BUT I just noticed that Monster makes a 2 duplex cheapo unit, FOR AIR CONDITIONERS!!!! No kidding. Looks identical to their sub, coax and AV unit. The only thing better would be a 2 duplex for washer and dryer. An air conditioner has to draw some current. Probably more than an average amp. And I doubt an AC needs line conditioning. I'm just concerned that it's a rebadged unit, because I can't find any reference to it on Monster's website.


Lets be clear, some MOV units are installed in parallel with the circuit/equipment to be protected unless they are more elaborate units with filtering, balanced power etc. If the unit in question is only in parallel, no restriction of current will occur.

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post #14 of 31 Old 02-21-2007, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're really concerned about current limiting mshens and aren't interested in the bells and whistles from APC, Belkin, Panamax, etc. offerings, then look for surge protectors that are designed to be used on copiers and laser printers. Whatever current demands you think your amps have, that's nothing to the current demands for these peripherals.

I would think that an air conditioner would need more current.

I've never seen a surge protector which indicated that it was for copiers and printers.
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post #16 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

I'm not saying that surges don't cause problems for some, but this all just seems WAY overblown to me. Someone mentioned paranoia. What better way to sell a product?

"You NEED protection and WE have the product...".

It seems excessive, IMO, to spend more on protection than the deductable of your insurance to replace the gear

I am not being cynical when I say it is the insurance company's job NOT to pay a claim, so that there are greater dividends at year end, and so that premiums can be dropped. I live in a State when insurance costs are crazy, and it is not uncommon to be unable to get insurance. Since Hurricane Wilma it's been bad. My understanding is that the State is the only thing preventing most insurers from fleeing Florida.

I lost a relatively expensive (around $400 - $500) TrippLite in Wilma, and never got paid for it after a dozen or so letters to the insurer. We just figured that it all evened out in the end and dropped it.

I just don't want the hassle. I don't want to make insurance claims. I just want my $50 surge protector to sacrifice itself (or not) so that I never worry about my $3,000 amp.

Paranoia? Maybe. But I for one think that people should be more paranoid. And keep in mind that I'm not fixating on whether the line conditioning is necessary to fix a problems that doesn't exist. I specifically do NOT want line conditioning, and lightning (or the far more evil squirrels) do exist. Not that I haven't considered going straight into the wall, since I already have that fusebox surgeprotector. I still need the extra outlets so I'm gonna do this anyway.
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

I'm not saying that surges don't cause problems for some, but this all just seems WAY overblown to me. Someone mentioned paranoia. What better way to sell a product?

Surges don't happen? News to me.

Quote:


"You NEED protection and WE have the product...".

That's how all things are sold.

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It seems excessive, IMO, to spend more on protection than the deductable of your insurance to replace the gear - assuming something happens in the first place. Maybe I'm missing the point?

Well, the issue stems in this case from the fact that people carefully choose their gear, and a $3000 amp strikes me as a heavily-auditioned product. We shouldn't leave it up to some shmo at an insurance company to decide what's a "reasonable value" or "replacement". Why go there at all?

Now, if we're discussing appliances like washers and dryers, yeah, I see your point.

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post #18 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 07:46 AM
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I would think that an air conditioner would need more current.

I would like to see the difference between an appliance that cruises all day long without significant deviation and an amplifier that cruises most of the time, and in a split second, has to accommodate a dynamic passage with a quick inrush--seems to me like most suppressors might limit that dynamic passage.

Or maybe that's just the audio geek's paranoia coming through.

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Don't most good amps have huge toroids to absorb inrushes of current?

Uh no...They may use torroid power transformers, but they're transformers, not "inrush current absorbers".
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by schticker View Post

I would like to see the difference between an appliance that cruises all day long without significant deviation and an amplifier that cruises most of the time, and in a split second, has to accommodate a dynamic passage with a quick inrush--seems to me like most suppressors might limit that dynamic passage.

Or maybe that's just the audio geek's paranoia coming through.

Yeah well you're scaring me too. Thanks. Maybe it's a question of headroom. If a surge protector is designed to handle a steady 20 amps (and more to my understanding) then when regular 10 amp draw suddenly jumps to 20 amps, there is no restriction. Maybe.

And I'm disappointed to find that even the copier surge protectors have EMI/RFI filtration. I don't get that.

http://www.tripplite.com/products/pr...m?productID=95

Back to the air conditioner surge protectors.
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post #21 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 11:58 AM
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If an amplifier has to accomodate a quick dynamic passage, it gets the current it needs from its capacitors. Where's the problem?

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post #22 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by schticker View Post

Surges don't happen? News to me.



That's how all things are sold.



Well, the issue stems in this case from the fact that people carefully choose their gear, and a $3000 amp strikes me as a heavily-auditioned product. We shouldn't leave it up to some shmo at an insurance company to decide what's a "reasonable value" or "replacement". Why go there at all?

Now, if we're discussing appliances like washers and dryers, yeah, I see your point.


I didn't say surges never happen. I quite clearly acknowledged they cause problems for some people.

The point was that surges happen all the time. The difference is how often surges actually cause failures. Those are two completely different things.

About the marketing, sure, I agree in general.

Hey, if adding surge protection gives you peace of mind, great go for it. I do believe there is a time and place, but I also think the "must have" mindset is overblown based on my own personal experience. I can't speak for anyone esle in that regard.

Who knows, perhaps tomorrow I'll come home to about $10K replacement value of dead boxes....

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post #23 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

If an amplifier has to accomodate a quick dynamic passage, it gets the current it needs from its capacitors. Where's the problem?

Not all amps do that.

The First Clarke Law states, 'If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.'
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 01:00 PM
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Get better amps then.

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post #25 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 01:38 PM
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Here's a device, http://www.smarthomepro.com/4542w.html (click on the spec's thing) that states it provides full current.



IMO, your concern over a device that limits current needs to be balanced by consideration of the other devices you'll be plugging into that circuit. A comparatively large current hog would be your display. If you put a clamp-on meter on the displays power cord, you'll see rather interesting current variation depending upon the brightness of the display. Now, I can't do much about your concerns, but it seems to me that if this really bothers you, a prudent approach would be to install the above device into one or more circuit and power your amps off it. The rest can then be powered elsewhere.

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post #26 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 02:07 PM
 
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Not all amps do that.

How do they produce DC then?
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post #27 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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In the future, yes. For now, it would be a hassle to have an electrician get back there. As long as its cheap, I'll settle for a simple MOV. But some variation of that is on my future purchase list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

IMO, your concern over a device that limits current needs to be balanced by consideration of the other devices you'll be plugging into that circuit. ...

Since I have two 40 amp circuits, I expect that I still have some room, even with all the other devices.

I spoke directly to Monster about that air condition AC200 surge protector. They can't find any info because it's discontinued. The tech admits that it is was probably just a rebadged AV200, so it still has Monster's analog stage 1 filtration. I'll pass. But years from now we will find that the trick to having an air condition run cold is to filter out EM/RFI.

I called Panamax, and was asked if I wanted to speak to Furman. Didn't know that Panamax made that purchase. Maybe there will be some trickle down. Or is it up? And for $35 Panamax has a small, direct plug in, 2 receptacle 20 amp unit which is designed specifically for amps and, and Chu said, for high-current copiers.

Done. Thanks.
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 03:51 PM
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I hope that it all, in some way, was helpful to you mhsens.

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post #29 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mhsens View Post

Since I have two 40 amp circuits, I expect that I still have some room, even with all the other devices.

Are you sure you are legal on this?

Some place along the line I thought I read somewhere that nothing higher than a 20A breaker can be used for typical residential lighting circuits.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
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post #30 of 31 Old 02-22-2007, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah it was helpful Chu. Especially the copier suggestion.

Since I use PS Audio regenerators (I know I know) for everything else, it's great to feel like my amps are now accommodated.

It was a licensed electrician who did the work after the last hurricane did electrical damage. At least the insurance company paid for that. Now that you mention it, I remember him commenting that he was surprised by my service. Larger capacity than normal. Well the house was originally built by a GC for himself.
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