Originally Posted by ~Ohdee~
Hey Bob, could you chime in on this? mikefl52 has me seriously considering getting a power conditioner. I'd love to get your take on this. I know it's one of these hot spots around AVS. Some say it's useless others swear by it. What’s your opinion?
There are 3 separate things lumped in here:
1) Power conditioners: Attempt to present a "clean", constant voltage, noise-free power source. This is where max current draw could be a concern.
2) Surge protectors: Attempt to react rapidly to sudden spikes in voltage and divert that voltage so that it can not reach your equipment.
3) Battery backups: Provide voltage for a period of time so that you can ride out short term power failures. Max current draw is also an issue here as is the total draw you are putting on the battery which will determine how long a power glitch it can handle (typically a few minutes at most). Again, the idea is not to be able to watch TV during a power outage, but rather to let you glide over a brief power glitch (of less than a second) without having to wait for equipment to start up again and without having to worry about whether the hard drives might not react fast enough to protect themselves. If you have a real power outage, the battery backup duration of a few minutes gives you time to power off devices manually. (Of course if the power outage happens while you are not around, then you won't be there to do that and things like always-on DVRs will just have to fend for themselves when the battery runs out.)
Personally I don't buy into power conditioners. You can pay a lot for no real gain in audio/video quality. I expect the power supply in each device to handle the wall power presented to it. If it can't do that, I'll replace it with a better engineered device. I use surge protection for my display (modest, but only partial, insurance against a costly replacement) and I use battery backup for things that have an internal disk drive or that take a long time to power up. These would include the PS3, DVRs, and the Anthem itself. As it turns out my APC battery backup also provides surge protection, so that's an added advantage, but I've got it in there primarily for the battery backup.
Due to current draw issues, I don't have my power amps on anything. They just plug straight into the wall. If I lived in an area with more lightning storms I would look into surge protection for them. But keep in mind that a direct lightning strike will produce enough energy to blow power plugs out of the wall and knock over equipment, so don't expect a surge protector to do miracles.
ETA: And while we're at it, paying money for exotic power cords or wall sockets is just silly. Ask yourself, why should the last 3 feet of power wiring make a difference when the builders put only standard power wires in your house walls, the squirrels are chewing on the power lines and transformers between you and the power station, and the power station is 50 years old and not typically run by home theater enthusiasts? It is cheaper, and probably just as effective, to draw a chalk pentagram around each piece of equipment.