Is a UPS Good Enough for Localized Home Theater Voltage Regulation? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 05-27-2020, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Is a UPS Good Enough for Localized Home Theater Voltage Regulation?

Is a UPS good enough for simple Home Theater Voltage correction if I'm not looking for any "conditioning"?

I rent the upper half of a VERY old house. The electrical system is quirky (some 3 prong outlets aren't actually grounded and there are even still a few 2 prong outlets.) I've been checking voltage fluctuations with a cheap voltmeter while switching high draw devices off and on. It's generally within spec sitting around 119 with some circuits as low as 117V and varying up or down a few volts. Worst was 122V with a gradual drop down to 114V, still only about 7%.

But, we do get brown outs, odd light flickers, and we seem to have had some unusual power supply related failures on some devices/appliances, although this could be coincidental.

We're getting a new 4k TV though (as the power supply grows increasingly unreliable on a the old LCD), and I thought it would be a good idea to start using some basic voltage management. Is a good UPS adequate for that purpose? I'm currently looking at the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD (can't post links yet) which runs around $209.

The extra surge protection is nice, but I don't have anything particularly sensitive so I don't even really care about the offline power backup, which means I'm also open to suggestions that offer management without battery backup. UPS just seems like the most cost effective way to do it - short of regulating at the main, which sadly isn't an option.

Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-27-2020, 04:07 PM
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a Whole Home surge protection unit at the main breaker panel is the best protection.
almost all modern A/V units have a SMPS (power supply). The SMPS doesn't much care what the line voltage is or how much the line voltage changes.
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post #3 of 18 Old 05-27-2020, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
a Whole Home surge protection unit at the main breaker panel is the best protection.
almost all modern A/V units have a SMPS (power supply). The SMPS doesn't much care what the line voltage is or how much the line voltage changes.
I rent, so like I said, doing anything at the main is unfortunately not an option, unless I want to absorb the cost myself. The landlord hasn't been particularly reponsive to anything other than imminently hazardous repair requests (or something that could cost THEM more down the line), and since I get the impression they have some tenants that currently aren't paying rent, I think they'd be even less responsive.


On the other point though, do you really think that modern power supplies aren't bothered by fluctuations at all, other than large Overages? How far back did SMPS become basically a standard? Are there companies that might not use them on lower tier models to cut cost? I just seem to have had a run of bad luck with power supplies in this house, which again, could just be a coincidence.



I would totally buy that the narrative of "inconsistent", "dirty" power potentially damaging our devices is pushed just to convince us to buy expensive voltage regulating power conditioners, but there seems to be a lot of opinion around to the contrary.
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-27-2020, 08:01 PM
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I have everything on UPs I want to continue to run if there is a short power outage.. one in the basement for the ONT, 2 in the offfice (computers and monitors other for security NVR) 2 in the living room, one for all the equipment and one for the projector. They are all Backups 1000 APC units and work fine as a UPS (very quiet once you shut off the alarm) and they do compensate for voltage issues with adjustable high and low thresholds. About $150 each but we have had a few outages lately with no downtime. Nothing worse than waiting for the DVR to boot in the middle of a show.. And yes you get the surge and filtering of power so I obviously believe in them.. but not for the same reason you are looking at them for.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-27-2020, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Maybe I'm searching for a remedy to a problem that doesn't exist. But, between the apparent drunken handyman half-assed upgrades, and the previous tenant haphazardly wiring the attic for a Grow-Op, this is the most eccentric electrical system I've ever lived with, and it just happens to coincide with one of the worst runs of appliance failures in a relatively short period I've had.



I suppose even if there's a solution, UPS or otherwise, that has ancillary benefits but is only a placebo for my suspected voltage issue, I'll take it. Maybe I'm chasing a ghost. I just want the new Sony 4k to last more than 2 years.
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sag_Amore View Post
Maybe I'm searching for a remedy to a problem that doesn't exist. But, between the apparent drunken handyman half-assed upgrades, and the previous tenant haphazardly wiring the attic for a Grow-Op, this is the most eccentric electrical system I've ever lived with, and it just happens to coincide with one of the worst runs of appliance failures in a relatively short period I've had.



I suppose even if there's a solution, UPS or otherwise, that has ancillary benefits but is only a placebo for my suspected voltage issue, I'll take it. Maybe I'm chasing a ghost. I just want the new Sony 4k to last more than 2 years.
It may be a good idea to call the township building code enforcer. There are laws that are in place for rental units for your protection, as the landlord is responsible for maintaining a safe living space. I would be more concerned with a fire, as it sounds like that could be a very distinct possibility. BTW I am not saying that poor wiring is not causing your failure issues as it very well could be, just that a good UPS is a solution to voltage spikes/drops as well out brown outs. In the end, fixing the issue is the landlords job and enforcing that is done correctly is the local code enforcers job. You may also have some traction with your renters insurance company to pressure the owner to fix any safety hazards if the township won't. Make a call and get that building inspected before something really bad happens that can not just be replaced with a new appliance.
Good luck and let us know what happens!
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post #7 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 12:35 PM
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We live in an area that has pretty stable power and I would likely be fine with a cheap surge protector, but with a projector I have always felt good about a full on battery backup UPS. Recently my batteries went bad and I replaced it with a high quality surge unit for now figuring I didn’t need to spend the money. Now ever time I look at it I think about getting a new UPS.

Bottom line it doesn’t hurt to be overly careful.

If I lived where you do I would have one for sure.
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post #8 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sag_Amore View Post
Is a UPS good enough for simple Home Theater Voltage correction if I'm not looking for any "conditioning"?

I rent the upper half of a VERY old house. The electrical system is quirky (some 3 prong outlets aren't actually grounded and there are even still a few 2 prong outlets.) I've been checking voltage fluctuations with a cheap voltmeter while switching high draw devices off and on. It's generally within spec sitting around 119 with some circuits as low as 117V and varying up or down a few volts. Worst was 122V with a gradual drop down to 114V, still only about 7%.

But, we do get brown outs, odd light flickers, and we seem to have had some unusual power supply related failures on some devices/appliances, although this could be coincidental.

We're getting a new 4k TV though (as the power supply grows increasingly unreliable on a the old LCD), and I thought it would be a good idea to start using some basic voltage management. Is a good UPS adequate for that purpose? I'm currently looking at the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD (can't post links yet) which runs around $209.

The extra surge protection is nice, but I don't have anything particularly sensitive so I don't even really care about the offline power backup, which means I'm also open to suggestions that offer management without battery backup. UPS just seems like the most cost effective way to do it - short of regulating at the main, which sadly isn't an option.

Thanks for any input!
Nominal house hold voltage in the US is 120v with +/- in tolerance fluctuations of −5% to +5% so 114V to 126V is considered in specification or normal by the utility.

Most of the lower cost UPS units sold are Offline-Standby units were you are connected to the mains supply and switch to battery if the mains power is interrupted. The mains are a pass through so this type of UPS really only give you standby power via an inverter with a power outage..

If you want a UPS that provides regulated voltage you need to buy a unit that is designed as a Line-interactive or Online/double-conversion unit.
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post #9 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post
Nominal house hold voltage in the US is 120v with +/- in tolerance fluctuations of −5% to +5% so 114V to 126V is considered in specification or normal by the utility.

Most of the lower cost UPS units sold are Offline-Standby units were you are connected to the mains supply and switch to battery if the mains power is interrupted. The mains are a pass through so this type of UPS really only give you standby power via an inverter with a power outage..

If you want a UPS that provides regulated voltage you need to buy a unit that is designed as a Line-interactive or Online/double-conversion unit.
They have gone up in price but I did not look around.. last one I bought was between $150 and $170 https://www.amazon.com/APC-Back-UPS-.../dp/B0038ZTZ3W
Actually the last one I bought was the 1100 pro which is a few bucks less than the older 1000'
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Last edited by airscapes; 05-28-2020 at 08:10 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post
Nominal house hold voltage in the US is 120v with +/- in tolerance fluctuations of −5% to +5% so 114V to 126V is considered in specification or normal by the utility.

Most of the lower cost UPS units sold are Offline-Standby units were you are connected to the mains supply and switch to battery if the mains power is interrupted. The mains are a pass through so this type of UPS really only give you standby power via an inverter with a power outage..

If you want a UPS that provides regulated voltage you need to buy a unit that is designed as a Line-interactive or Online/double-conversion unit.

I went ahead and purchased the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD. It is listed as Line Interactive and claims to have an input range of 88-144 VAC. I don't know how close to 120 it can manages on those extremes however, or how quickly it compensates.


I've been periodically checking voltages with my Fluke, but mostly just watching a cheap plug in voltmeter (it only does whole units and seems to round up or down and reads about +.5V compared to the Fluke.) I've seen no higher than 122V and as low as 106V on different branches at different times. I listed the largest "instant" fluctuation I observed under load in my 1st post, 122V down to 114V over about 4 to 5 seconds. Apparently the UPS will display current input voltage and whether it's being corrected, but I'm hoping it will have some sort of tracking available.


I'm clearly not within Nominal range, but my understanding has been that since +/- 5% is nominal, +/- 7% is acceptable, so therfore manufacturers typically bake in a tolerance of +/- 10%. Perhaps that's a misunderstanding. Either way, I'm still not certain how much of the issue, assuming there is one, is my uncertain wiring (although I did discover yesterday that I'd been running an 8k BTU window AC on an ungrounded plug for the past 2 summers), and how much is local delivery. It's a moderately rural area, but close to a commuter rail line substation, so I've often been curious if the power demands there have any effect on us during the high draw warmer months.

Last edited by Sag_Amore; 05-28-2020 at 08:21 PM. Reason: typo
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post #11 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sag_Amore View Post
I went ahead and purchased the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD. It is listed as Line Interactive and claims to have an input range of 88-144 VAC. I don't know how close to 120 it can manages on those extremes however, or how quickly it compensates.


I've been periodically checking voltages with my Fluke, but mostly just watching a cheap plug in voltmeter (it only does whole units and seems to round up or down and reads about +.5V compared to the Fluke.) I've seen no higher than 122V and as low as 106V on different branches at different times. I listed the largest "instant" fluctuation I observed under load in my 1st post, 122V down to 114V over about 4 to 5 seconds. Apparently the UPS will display current input voltage and whether it's being corrected, but I'm hoping it will have some sort of tracking available.
So you have some brown-outs. The Line-interactive uses a switching coil/transformer to compensate for over/under voltage so it should help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sag_Amore View Post
I'm clearly not within Nominal range, but my understanding has been that since +/- 5% is nominal, +/- 7% is acceptable, so therfore manufacturers typically bake in a tolerance of +/- 10%. Perhaps that's a misunderstanding. Either way, I'm still not certain how much of the issue, assuming there is one, is my uncertain wiring (although I did discover yesterday that I'd been running an 8k BTU window AC on an ungrounded plug for the past 2 summers), and how much is local delivery. It's a moderately rural area, but close to a commuter rail line substation, so I've often been curious if the power demands there have any effect on us during the high draw warmer months.
I would contact the utility and register a complaint. You're paying for the service to be in tolerance.

Although not optimal by current code, the ground is shared on neutral and is fundamentally the same.
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post #12 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post

Although not optimal by current code, the ground is shared on neutral and is fundamentally the same.

That's good to know. Sentiment online makes it sound as if any high voltage appliance on an improperly or un-grounded outlet is just an atypical fault away from certain death. I started thinking I'd been rolling the dice for a few years without realizing it.

I hate to make this house seem like a mass of exposed wires, It's not (now that the arcing outlet in the attic was fixed last summer,) but the GFI in the bathroom WAS initially frozen in place from being painted over, and a few floor level outlets do still seem kind of sketchy.
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post #13 of 18 Old 05-28-2020, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post

I would contact the utility and register a complaint. You're paying for the service to be in tolerance.

I'm going to see if the UPS has a way to track the fluctuation and hopefully have some solid documentation as a basis first.

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post #14 of 18 Old 05-29-2020, 02:54 PM
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I once lived in a very old house, my power conditioner constantly and regularly showed dips in voltage. I moved in the same month I purchase an inuke3000 amp and it died 2 months later, I had a receiver with issues too in that house and a tv that died as well. I no longer live there and I have had no failures since. In fact that was the only house I can remember losing an amp and/or receiver.
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post #15 of 18 Old 05-29-2020, 03:59 PM
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Older house? Maybe make sure that the electrical system as a whole is properly grounded.
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post #16 of 18 Old 05-29-2020, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Older house? Maybe make sure that the electrical system as a whole is properly grounded.
I don't know about "properly", but most of the 3 prong plugs appear to be grounded.
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-29-2020, 10:31 PM
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I don't know about "properly", but most of the 3 prong plugs appear to be grounded.
I was thinking about the connection from the service panel to the actual ground.
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post #18 of 18 Old 05-31-2020, 01:50 PM
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Over the decades, US nominal line voltage has been drifting upwards. Form 110V to 115V then 117/8V and 120V. Now 125V is becoming common. Both NEC & UL often reference 125V. Some products are now listed at 130V.

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