or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Home Entertainment & Theater Builder › General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms › Help needed - UPS? - just lost my second projector to an electrical storm!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Help needed - UPS? - just lost my second projector to an electrical storm!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi. I used to post about front projectors, but I haven't been active for a while. The A/V gear in my primary home (JVC 65" LCOS rear and RS-15 front projector) has never had an issue, but we own another home in the Virgin Islands (St. John), where the AC mains power quality is sketchy, and quite prone to outages and fluctuations. Down there I have a 42" Sony LCD TV and an Epson 8350 front projector as display devices, with a Sony Blu-ray player and a cable box / DVR as sources. I have a pair of Monoprice splitters, wired such that either source can feed either display, using their HDMI 1 and 2 inputs. The projector cables are 25' long. Normally everything works fine, but during an electrical storm the other night the pool light blew out, the cable DVR fried, both splitters failed, and the projector now claims that both HDMI inputs are "unsupported". The last time that this error message appeared, Epson said that the HDMI input board had failed, and that I needed to return the projector. I'm pretty sure that this is what I am facing again, although I am 1500 miles away, and debugging things remotely.

I've concluded that I need to protect my devices from the AC variations and electrical storms. I was already using surge protectors for everything, but that hasn't worked. I bought a Tripp Lite line conditioner last year, but it had a very audible hum, plus I chaffed at the continuous wattage drain that it would impose. Misplaced economy, in retrospect, but the electricity rate down there is $0.45 per kW-hr. Mostly the hum seemed unacceptable.

Between bad AC mains control, and line transients due to electrical storms, what should I do to isolate the A/V gear? It would also be nice to minimize the continuous power drain of any solution. The audio gear is modest (AMP-100 and a music player), so this isn't a system with crazy amounts of power requirements. The projector draws the most at 275 watts, but perhaps it is only necessary to protect the sources and splitters that feed it, since its HDMI inputs appear to be its weak link.

Oh, and we leave our home, "Coconuts", in short-term vacation rental when we aren't there, so do consider it for a future vacation. It's a very nice place, on a very nice island; its web site is www.coconutsvilla.com.

Thanks in advance for your advice,

Kevin
post #2 of 10
A UPS is not going to save the equipment. What you have is a grounding issue, due to under the sand, there is coral or volcanic rock, which makes for a poor ground. What some do in these instances, is use a Ufer ground, or have an attachment to a bonding point on the rebar in the structure, so that the rebar used in the floor and walls acts like a Ufer.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Greg: This is a useful perspective, and one which I wouldn't have considered. I just read up on Ufer grounds, which I had not heard of before. Our local terrain isn't sandy or coral, since St. John is mountainous, and we are up on the top of Gifft Hill, at 700 feet. We have a reinforced concrete foundation / "basement", although in our case the basement is used as a cistern, sealed and filled with 20,000 gallons of rainwater collected from the roofs. The foundation is set in gravelly soil, and we have a lawn with pretty lush tropical vegetation growing. I could probably chip into the foundation to connect to rebar, but if there are other very effective ultra-grounding schemes, I could consider them. Would a thick copper rod connecting the projector AC ground to the source AC grounds, and in turn connected to a serious earth or re-bar ground be a good idea? I wouldn't want to add enough to taste, but a little salt added to the cistern would potentially create a very large area conductive coupling to the foundation.

Kevin
post #4 of 10
I would think that as long as it goes 20' or more into the concrete, you should be good to go. If there are any retired Electrical Engineer's or Radio Engineer's that did this stuff for a living, that are on the island, I would bring it up with them, and see what their thoughts on the current situation, and going with the Ufer, if there is not already one in the structure, which I am surprised that there isn't. Then again most island homes and elsewhere, are built by workers that do not have a idea about proper codes, and sometimes getting through the language barrier and stating it how it should be done, or how you want it done is hard.

Also, Salt water and Salt air is rough on electrical systems, and their associated grounding systems. If it was me, I would be doing it the best way I could, to get a proper ground bonding, so that it can be dispersed.

I found this blog http://myphilippinelife.com/our-philippine-house-project-philippine-electrical-wiring/ about a guy having to redo the electrical system in their home in the Philippine Islands.
post #5 of 10
The grounding electrode system may or may not be part of the problem. In any case, it is worth investigating to find out just what you have. If an upgrade is indicated, an Ufer ground would be a good choice and is easy to install. All it requires is digging a trench by the foundation and installing at 20' long electrode (heavy copper wire) encased in concrete.

The fact that your pool light failed indicates that there was likely a surge of 1200V or more between the hot and neutral conductors. The best way to deal with surges is to stop them before they get in. That is best done with a whole-house surge protective device installed at the service entrance. But that alone is not sufficient. Every conductive path to your gear must be protected. That includes, at a minimum, proper grounding of the shield of your cable TV drop where it enters the house, preferably close to the service entrace. Sounds like a surge protective device on the cable is indicated, too.

Using point-of-use MOV based surge protective devices can sometimes cause the kind of damage you are trying to prevent. So called 3-mode devices that include N-G and N-L protection can create a surge on the equipment grounding conductor. If you have devices with ground connections plugged into different receptacles, they can have very different ground references, resulting in damage to sensitive parts like HDMI ports. This can be avoided by using surge protective devices that protect all the ports of each device, not just the AC. Unfortunately, this isn't an option for HDMI ports. So, you are left with using single mode surge protective devices with just L-N protection, or a whole-house device.
Edited by Colm - 8/4/12 at 6:09pm
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

...sometimes getting through the language barrier and stating it how it should be done, or how you want it done is hard.
LOL I am sure it is a much bigger problem in California than in the VI.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Colm: Thanks for the suggestions. In addition to adding a Ufer ground, a whole house surge protector seems advised. Does anyone have a suggestion for specific models? I checked at Home Depot, but the reviews of those included cases where a lot of gear was lost after adding the protector, so advice on what will actually work would be appreciated. Also, does anyone have a good suggestion for cable input surge absorbers? Does anyone make HDMI transient absorbers?
post #8 of 10
Cable, go with L-Com. I have the Intermatic Panel Guard http://menards.com/main/electrical/electrical-cords/surge-protectors-and-power-strips/surge-supp-whole-house/p-1464337-c-6412.htm You just need either two 15 or 20 amp breakers to hook it up. I used the same two to feed the MTU for the Ted 5000 that I also have for my panel, so that I can keep an eye on what is going on electrical system wise.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin McCarthy View Post

Does anyone have a suggestion for specific models?
Any of the major brands will do. Something that can handle 20 kA surge current per leg will work, but considering the amount of lightning you have, I think you may want to go with something that can handle around 200 kA. It is a longevity concern, not a protection concern. FWIW I currently have Square D and have had Leviton. Intermatic is fine. So is Eaton.
Quote:
I checked at Home Depot, but the reviews of those included cases where a lot of gear was lost after adding the protector...
If the surge protective device did not die in the process, it wasn't the problem. Remember, all conductive paths to your gear have to be protected: cable, antenna lead, satellite lead, network, phone, etc. Most people don't do that because they don't know any better.
Quote:
Also, does anyone have a good suggestion for cable input surge absorbers?
I don't have a recommendation on this. You can do a search on "coaxial surge protector" or something similar.
Quote:
Does anyone make HDMI transient absorbers?
No. There are some products marketed as HDMI surge protective devices, but they just employ a static discharge chip that is not designed to handle the amount of energy in a surge. Because of the bit rates HDMI operates at, it is problematic designing a HDMI surge protective device that will not affect the signal and is still affordable.
Edited by Colm - 8/5/12 at 12:07pm
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Cable, go with L-Com. I have the Intermatic Panel Guard http://menards.com/main/electrical/electrical-cords/surge-protectors-and-power-strips/surge-supp-whole-house/p-1464337-c-6412.htm You just need either two 15 or 20 amp breakers to hook it up. I used the same two to feed the MTU for the Ted 5000 that I also have for my panel, so that I can keep an eye on what is going on electrical system wise.

I quit using those after my third one failed. As far as I know, none of them were taken out due to lighting/high voltage spikes. Mine were on the outside of the house, though (not sure why that would make a difference, since they're rated to be outside).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
AVS › AVS Forum › Home Entertainment & Theater Builder › General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms › Help needed - UPS? - just lost my second projector to an electrical storm!