DIY 7 x Hypex UcD400HG 2U Class D Amp - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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DIY 7 x Hypex UcD400HG 2U Class D Amp

I don't post here much so I guess that makes me a "lurker". I do alot of reading/following/learning through this forum, so I wanted to give a special thanks to the following guys who have supplied the DIY community with a magnitude of information and helped guide me personally: LTD02, lilmike, tuxedocivic, notnyt, BassThatHz, Erich H, diy speaker guy, Mfusick and of course many more. You guys make this hobby alot of fun and accessible without asking for anything in return. Thanks

Well, about a year ago, I started looking into purchasing new amps for my home theater speakers. I've been using an Onkyo TX-NR818. Great receiver, but not quite enough power to get 7 speakers to references levels cleanly. In the past year, I've rotated in and out the following speakers: Curt's Sealed AviaTrix, Dayton Audio RS722, Clearwave Dynamic 4T SE and DIYSG Fusion Pure 10's. All great speakers, but the Pure 10's were real eye openers, especially for getting to movie reference levels with little to no distortion. So the current plan is to run 3 x DIYSG 1899(will be purchasing the kits once they're available) up front for LCR, and 4 x Pure 10's for surrounds.

At first I was settled on running iNuke6000DSP's for the mains and surrounds, but turns out they aren't so great for full range. Then I was going to buy Sanway LG clones, but they might not produce the best noise floor, especially on CD's/Waveguides. I eventually landed on Hypex amps. The new ncore amps would have been nice to try, but they were out of my price range. I started looking into the UcD amps and consistently found great reviews. Class D, efficient, clean, low noise floor and plenty of power on tap for 99dB sensitive speakers. Soooo I decided to put an amp together using 7 x Hypex's UcD400HG amps and 2 x SMPS1200 power supplies. This is my first attempt at building an amp, but with the Hypex boards, it should be pretty straight forward and "plug n play". Lucky for me, dad is an EE, so I'll have him look things over before I fire this thing up.

If anyone has any experience with these amps/power supplies or helpful tips in general, I'd be grateful to hear them. Through the build, hopefully this thread can put some good info out there on the interwebs too.

EDIT 8-11-15: Amp is complete. Final pics posted in post 2.
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Last edited by Patzig; 08-11-2015 at 07:47 AM.
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post #2 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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BOM and final pics
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Last edited by Patzig; 08-11-2015 at 07:43 AM.
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post #3 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Got some of the back panel done today. I considered getting a CNC shop to drill my holes, but it would have added to the total cost, and I enjoy doing it by hand anyway. I printed out some simple grid lines and used a punch to mark my holes. I used a 15/16" paddle bit (definitely not the right bit for drilling aluminum, but it got the job done) for the XLR connectors. The paddle bit traveled a little bit, but there's enough slack that I can still get the XLR connectors pretty square and straight. The 1/4" drilling for the binding posts all tracked really well.
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post #4 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 10:29 PM
 
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I don't have enough knowledge about what you're doing to be able to add anything useful, but good luck and I'm interested to see how it turns out.
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post #5 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 10:51 PM
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Forum member hypez604 has built some of the hypex amps. Maybe he could help if you get stuck. You're gonna have an awesome set up. I am looking forward to impressions of the 1899s.
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post #6 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 11:10 PM
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From what I read, Hypex modules run quite hot. You sure you'll be okay without larger fans in such a small case?

Anyway, we need more builds like these on AVS. I look forward to your build!

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post #7 of 98 Old 06-13-2015, 11:11 PM
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cool project...and props for documenting it.

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #8 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 03:33 AM
 
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Patzig, is there any chance that you would be willing to send this amp to @notnyt to get it tested and benchmarked after you are done building it? Also, you will know exactly how much power you are getting out of it, and detailed distortion information.

Here is the amp testing thread, If you haven't read it already:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-di...mplifiers.html
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post #9 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 06:42 AM
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It looks like a lot of work but from the specs I've read it should be worth it, if for no other reason than the lack of fan noise. It makes good sense to use high efficiency speakers so these modules have all the power you will ever need, except for subs.

The secret to success on any project but especially one with complex wiring is to wire it right the first time - because mistakes can be expensive and debugging a wiring mistake can be difficult. There is a reason the first power on of an electronic prototype is called a smoke test.

Back in the day when I was a young EE wiring up boards with tens of digital ICs, I would draw a schematic diagram and then highlight each wire on the schematic as I put it in place. (Does anyone else remember wire wrapping?)

The schematic is a symbolic picture of what your are building. Ideally you would also have a mechanical drawing that shows the physical connections. Then, when wiring, highlight each connection on both schematic and mechanical drawing as you put it in place. Watch polarity and be sure you count pin numbers on the connectors correctly.

Here, I would build and test as I went. Wire up a power supply and verify that it works. Wire up an amp and verify that it works. Wire up the rest of the amp modules the same way.

I don't need to tell you this. You've got an EE father for that. (ask him about single point grounding)

Yeah, aluminum is a paint to work with. Steel is worse. Your panel looks great and that may be the hardest part so I'm sure it will come out well.
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post #10 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 07:09 AM
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Cool project! I have a 4 channel uCd180hg amp I buiit which I modded to lower the gain and I love it. My only concern is keeping the modules cool. I'm not seeing any vents on your chasssis, but it looks like you have heatsinks? Do you have a drawing of how you're going to lay everything out? The chassis I used is well vented top and bottom, and I mounted the modules on end to 1/4" think pieces of aluminum for a heatsink. It's been in use for over a year now with zero problems. I had a few issues when I was putting it together but fortunately I didn't damage anything.

Maybe AVS needs a DIY Electronics section?
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post #11 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 07:16 AM
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Oh yeah, make sure you check out the white paper on proper grounding on the Hypex website.
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post #12 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More is Better View Post
I don't have enough knowledge about what you're doing to be able to add anything useful, but good luck and I'm interested to see how it turns out.
Thanks More. I've been following your sub build for a while, cool stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpmbc View Post
Forum member hypez604 has built some of the hypex amps. Maybe he could help if you get stuck. You're gonna have an awesome set up. I am looking forward to impressions of the 1899s.
Cool thanks. Yeah, I might do a build thread for the 1899 too. I've been bugging Erich for a while on when I can get my hands on the kits lol. I'm pretty excited to build those.

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Originally Posted by yelnatsch517 View Post
From what I read, Hypex modules run quite hot. You sure you'll be okay without larger fans in such a small case?
Man, this is why I posted. From what I read, the UcD boards run pretty cool unless you really push them. Now you've got me worried lol. I can't imagine that the boards will ever see more than 200 watts each, even on peaks. So I hoped I wouldn't have too much trouble with heat. I've also seen several builds where most guys run passive cooling, heatsinks only. The 2U case is definitely going to be a squeeze, but I'll be able to run plenty of air through there if I need to.

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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
cool project...and props for documenting it.
Thanks LTD. Yeah, documenting is the toughest part for sure. But there's nothing more cool than opening up pictures and notes a few years down the road and reminiscing a fun build.

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Originally Posted by More is Better View Post
Patzig, is there any chance that you would be willing to send this amp to @notnyt to get it tested and benchmarked after you are done building it? Also, you will know exactly how much power you are getting out of it, and detailed distortion information.
I did consider this, but I didn't know if the general community would care too much about seeing results on these DIY amp boards and power supplies. It would be cool to put them to the test though, I'd be down to send the amp to notnyt.

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Originally Posted by JackNC View Post
Here, I would build and test as I went. Wire up a power supply and verify that it works. Wire up an amp and verify that it works. Wire up the rest of the amp modules the same way.
Good advice. I do plan giving each amp a mini test, to make sure they're all good to go and that I've got my wiring correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Hansen View Post
Cool project! I have a 4 channel uCd180hg amp I buiit which I modded to lower the gain and I love it. My only concern is keeping the modules cool. I'm not seeing any vents on your chasssis, but it looks like you have heatsinks? Do you have a drawing of how you're going to lay everything out?
Thanks Nate. I don't remember where, but I read a few of your posts a while back. I almost PM'ed you about modding the boards to lower the gain. It'll be a long time before I have all of the DIYSG speakers built, but I likely will want to play with the gain on the boards eventually, in order to get the noise floor as low as possible.

Yeah so, there are currently no vents in the chassis. I will have to drill my own holes for the 80mm fans. The current plan was to mount as many as 4 fans on the front panel (the only other item that will be placed on the front panel is the power switch), and then possibly drill several 1/4" holes, creating "arrays", in the back panel. I'll be able to push or pull air from front to back or vice versa. The coolest thing about this case is all the panels and sides separate very easily. I can get new front/back panels from Mouser for only $13, if I screw anything up, or if the air flow doesn't work out like I thought it would. Pretty easy to swap stuff out.

I didn't do a drawing, but I've laid all the components out within the case. It'll all fit pretty easily, but I know it'll get crowded once I get all of the wiring in there. The amp boards will be on 1/2" standoffs, so I can even run cabling underneath them if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Hansen View Post
Oh yeah, make sure you check out the white paper on proper grounding on the Hypex website.
Thanks, I'm going to read through that document tomorrow. I may be wrong here, but if I understand correctly, I do NOT want to bring ground in from the wall, AC hot and cold only. As for the amp boards, I was planning on just following the wiring diagrams as depicted in the included Hypex documentation. I hadn't considered needing to ground anything to the chassis.
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post #13 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 09:13 AM
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These are my favorite types of threads!!! Detailed build thread with lots of solid text describing the build, the process, reasons behind each decision. Big props for documenting and sharing with the community. I know...it takes time and it's a PITA to remember to snap a pic after every step.

You are going to have one heck of a 7-channel awesome amp when this is done. Good luck!
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The way I wired mine (and I believe this is correct) is AC ground to chassis, the smps has it's own chassis ground, and pin 1 of the XLR goes to the chassis. In my case I took pin 1 right from the xlr to one of the screws that fasten the connector to the chassis for each xlr. No issues.

The one mistake I made, and it was painfully obvious once I saw it, was that I wired the signal sense wire to each output. This had the effect of tying output pairs together. It's a wonder it didn't go up in smoke!

The gain mod is simple on paper, but pretty nerve racking in practice. I googled how to remove SMD and went to work with a magnifying glass that I mounted on a set up helping hands I use when I'm building cables.
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post #15 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 11:30 AM
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heres a amp i built A long time ago as for the wiring this is absolutely not what u want it to look like

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7775/img9063pl.jpg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookieattk View Post
heres a amp i built A long time ago as for the wiring this is absolutely not what u want it to look like

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7775/img9063pl.jpg
Man that looks like it took awhile.
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post #17 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patzig View Post
Thanks More. I've been following your sub build for a while, cool stuff.

Man, this is why I posted. From what I read, the UcD boards run pretty cool unless you really push them. Now you've got me worried lol. I can't imagine that the boards will ever see more than 200 watts each, even on peaks. So I hoped I wouldn't have too much trouble with heat. I've also seen several builds where most guys run passive cooling, heatsinks only. The 2U case is definitely going to be a squeeze, but I'll be able to run plenty of air through there if I need to.
Thanks, glad I could give you some interesting/entertaining reading.

Just a couple general thoughts:

As you can tell from the spleen thread, I like bulletproof overkill. I would design the cooling to be able to handle running continuous 400W sine waves on all 7 channels without overheating so you never have a worry about something running hot . In reality you will end up running way cooler than specs all the time. You ARE putting this together yourself, you can build it however you want. Spend a little extra $ on aluminum plate, heatsinks, noctua fans...Whatever the right solution to meet your goals is.

And a specific one:
Check out arctic silver paste to put under any heatsinks you use. I have used it for computer heatsinks for over a decade. It works great and holds up for years, probably decades. You want the thinnest solid layer that you can get. I use a razor blade to spread it nearly paper thin with no air bubbles, you only want enough to fill in the surface imperfections. Sanding the bottom of the heatsink surface to a nearly mirror finish helps with heat transfer too. I do this for special projects, max overclocked builds and my personal computers, and go up to 2000 grit sandpaper using a piece of glass to lay the paper on and swirl the heatsink on it. As much pressure between the heatsink and the heat generating part as possible helps a lot with heat transfer too. Not sure if any of this will apply to your build, but I'm sure someone will find it useful.

Are you wanting to run a passive cooling system?
Does fan noise matter in your install?
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post #18 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More is Better View Post
Thanks, glad I could give you some interesting/entertaining reading.

Just a couple general thoughts:

As you can tell from the spleen thread, I like bulletproof overkill. I would design the cooling to be able to handle running continuous 400W sine waves on all 7 channels without overheating so you never have a worry about something running hot . In reality you will end up running way cooler than specs all the time. You ARE putting this together yourself, you can build it however you want. Spend a little extra $ on aluminum plate, heatsinks, noctua fans...Whatever the right solution to meet your goals is.

And a specific one:
Check out arctic silver paste to put under any heatsinks you use. I have used it for computer heatsinks for over a decade. It works great and holds up for years, probably decades. You want the thinnest solid layer that you can get. I use a razor blade to spread it nearly paper thin with no air bubbles, you only want enough to fill in the surface imperfections. Sanding the bottom of the heatsink surface to a nearly mirror finish helps with heat transfer too. I do this for special projects, max overclocked builds and my personal computers, and go up to 2000 grit sandpaper using a piece of glass to lay the paper on and swirl the heatsink on it. As much pressure between the heatsink and the heat generating part as possible helps a lot with heat transfer too. Not sure if any of this will apply to your build, but I'm sure someone will find it useful.

Are you wanting to run a passive cooling system?
Does fan noise matter in your install?

u should use anything conductive in a amp.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookieattk View Post
u should use anything conductive in a amp.
I thought you shouldn't use conductive stuff near exposed high voltage electric leads.

Since I just wrote the last post from memory, sometimes you find something that works so good you don't need to remember the specifics:

Made With 99.9% Pure Silver:
Arctic Silver 5 uses three unique shapes and sizes of pure silver particles to maximize particle-to-particle contact area and thermal transfer.

High-Density:
Arctic Silver 5 contains over 88% thermally conductive filler by weight. In addition to micronized silver, Arctic Silver 5 also contains sub-micron zinc oxide, aluminum oxide and boron nitride particles. These thermally-enhanced ceramic particles improve the compound's performance and long-term stability

Controlled Triple-Phase Viscosity:
Arctic Silver 5 does not contain any silicone. The suspension fluid is a proprietary mixture of advanced polysynthetic oils that work together to provide three distinctive functional phases. As it comes from the syringe, Arctic Silver 5's consistency is engineered for easy application. During the CPU's initial use, the compound thins out to enhance the filling of the microscopic valleys and ensure the best physical contact between the heatsink and the CPU core. Then the compound thickens slightly over the next 50 to 200 hours of use to its final consistency designed for long-term stability. (This should not be confused with conventional phase change pads that are pre-attached to many heatsinks. Those pads melt each time they get hot then re-solidify when they cool. The viscosity changes that Arctic Silver 5 goes through are much more subtle and ultimately much more effective.)

Not Electrically Conductive:
Arctic Silver 5 was formulated to conduct heat, not electricity.
(While much safer than electrically conductive silver and copper greases, Arctic Silver 5 should be kept away from electrical traces, pins, and leads. While it is not electrically conductive, the compound is very slightly capacitive and could potentially cause problems if it bridges two close-proximity electrical paths.)

Absolute Stability:
Arctic Silver 5 will not separate, run, migrate, or bleed.

Compliancy: RoHS Compliant.


Specifications:

Average Particle Size:
<0.49 micron <0.000020 inch

Extended Temperature Limits:
Peak: –50°C to >180°C
Long-Term: –50°C to 130°C


Performance:
3 to 12 degrees centigrade lower CPU full load core temperatures than standard thermal compounds or thermal pads when measured with a calibrated thermal diode imbedded in the CPU core.

Coverage Area:
A 3.5 gram syringe contains enough compound to cover at least 15 to 25 small CPU cores, or 6 to 10 large CPU cores, or 2 to 5 heat plates. At a layer 0.003" thick, the 3.5 gram syringe will cover approximately 16 square inches.



Or this if you need an epoxy to glue heatsinks in place:
http://www.arcticsilver.com/ta.htm

Last edited by More is Better; 06-14-2015 at 05:44 PM.
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post #20 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 05:43 PM
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yeah i typed that in a rush ment to say should not use anything conductive and i wouldnt take anything apart in a hypex module will void warranty
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post #21 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 06:06 PM
 
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yeah i typed that in a rush ment to say should not use anything conductive and i wouldnt take anything apart in a hypex module will void warranty
The pedant in me just came leaping out. Everyone knows what you meant.

My rule of thumb for electronics is: "If it lasts for the 1st 10 minutes of being powered up it will last 10 years with good cooling"

Last edited by More is Better; 06-14-2015 at 06:18 PM.
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post #22 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
You are going to have one heck of a 7-channel awesome amp when this is done. Good luck!
lol hope so Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Hansen View Post
The way I wired mine (and I believe this is correct) is AC ground to chassis, the smps has it's own chassis ground, and pin 1 of the XLR goes to the chassis. In my case I took pin 1 right from the xlr to one of the screws that fasten the connector to the chassis for each xlr. No issues.
This makes sense. Maybe a dumb questions though...would this be considered the same ground as the output ground from the SMPS?

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Originally Posted by cookieattk View Post
heres a amp i built A long time ago as for the wiring this is absolutely not what u want it to look like
Are these the L20D boards? I considered those as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by More is Better View Post
I would design the cooling to be able to handle running continuous 400W sine waves on all 7 channels without overheating so you never have a worry about something running hot .

Check out arctic silver paste to put under any heatsinks you use.

Are you wanting to run a passive cooling system?
Does fan noise matter in your install?
Some good points. I think I'm going to have more than enough airflow running through the case, even with these "low flow" 25.64 CFM fans. If they aren't enough, I can always run some higher flow fans.

I actually had some thermal adhesive left over from an aquarium LED light project I did a while back. Worked crazy well for sticking LED PCB's down, I may use it here as well. I'm going to have to cut up these heatsinks into 3-4" sections for each amp board. I think that will ensure the best contact on each amp. I'll probably use the thermal adhesive and run screws through the heatsinks into the amp boards aluminum too. Should be pretty solid.

I'll run 3-4 fans up front, so the cooling will be active. My rack is outside of the room, so noise isn't an issue (even my crazy loud iNuke is ok). But if I stay with these APEVIA fans, it will be very near silent. I've had some of these APEVIA fans for 1-2 years, they're still going strong.

Last edited by Patzig; 06-14-2015 at 09:43 PM.
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post #23 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Got the back panel finished today. Came out pretty well I think. After 150 holes, there isn't much plate left lol. Not really though, these front/back and side plates are all 3.2mm thick, very robust.

BTW, I only went with the Neutrik PowerCON connectors because I couldn't find an IEC plug that would allow for a circular cutout (I wasn't about to attempt to cut a pretty square in 3.2mm thick aluminum). But now that it's mounted it does look pretty cool. It also locks, and is rated for 20a at 120v, pretty nice.
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LTD02, GizzeGutten and Boomassiv like this.

Last edited by Patzig; 06-16-2015 at 05:44 AM.
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post #24 of 98 Old 06-14-2015, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I did a dry fit, and tried to consider air flow. According to the Hypex documentation, even under full load, the SMPS's do not need forced cooling. I will throw heatsinks on them as well anyway though. The 3rd heatsink I've got is currently 18" long and wouldn't fit in the case at the moment, but it would sit to the left of the power supplies.

It's hard to see, but I've got 2 x 12" heatsinks on the far left and right, next to the amp boards. So if I ran this layout, the amps and their heatsinks would get the most airflow.

I like this layout, but I'd need to be careful about how I route all wiring, with the power supplies in the middle like that. Although I guess +/- power lines would "spider" out to all of the amps, and then the shielded signal cables and speaker connection wires could all run along the left/right sides. I've got those plastic cable clamps, so I think I'll be able to manipulate wire pathing easy enough, and get everything locked down.
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post #25 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
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This makes sense. Maybe a dumb questions though...would this be considered the same ground as the output ground from the SMPS?
All chassis ground, yes, just at different spots. They're not all tied together in one location.

Looking good so far.
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post #26 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patzig View Post
I did a dry fit, and tried to consider air flow. According to the Hypex documentation, even under full load, the SMPS's do not need forced cooling. I will throw heatsinks on them as well anyway though. The 3rd heatsink I've got is currently 18" long and wouldn't fit in the case at the moment, but it would sit to the left of the power supplies.

It's hard to see, but I've got 2 x 12" heatsinks on the far left and right, next to the amp boards. So if I ran this layout, the amps and their heatsinks would get the most airflow.

I like this layout, but I'd need to be careful about how I route all wiring, with the power supplies in the middle like that. Although I guess +/- power lines would "spider" out to all of the amps, and then the shielded signal cables and speaker connection wires could all run along the left/right sides. I've got those plastic cable clamps, so I think I'll be able to manipulate wire pathing easy enough, and get everything locked down.
That looks excellent! I am very excited about your build. I would seriously consider putting one of these together myself some time.
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post #27 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 06:59 AM
 
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Looking good.
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post #28 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Hansen View Post
All chassis ground, yes, just at different spots. They're not all tied together in one location.

Looking good so far.
Right right, cool. Thank you sir.

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That looks excellent! I am very excited about your build. I would seriously consider putting one of these together myself some time.
Thanks Dig. I've followed your 1099 builds for a while. One day I'd like to build some curved enclosure. Likely much more work than this amp lol.

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Looking good.
Thanks More.
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post #29 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 08:30 AM
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ok first off move the power supplys to the right wall u want to move these as far away from the amps as possible to keep mains power which is noisy far away if it were me i would mount the heatsinks on the power supplys to the side of the chassis i would also go buy some angle steel and run that parallel to the power supply's right down the middle of the case spiting the power from the amps and run the wires through holes in it , have u read up on star grounding if u havent diy audio someone posted a good guide on how to do it and why. you dont need to worry about heat with that size of heatsinks and those being class D
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post #30 of 98 Old 06-15-2015, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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The way I wired mine (and I believe this is correct) is AC ground to chassis, the smps has it's own chassis ground, and pin 1 of the XLR goes to the chassis. In my case I took pin 1 right from the xlr to one of the screws that fasten the connector to the chassis for each xlr. No issues.
After reading a bit and talking with my free EE consultant, I think I have a better understanding of grounding now. Spelled it out nice and simple here, I'll follow suit.

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ok first off move the power supplys to the right wall u want to move these as far away from the amps as possible to keep mains power which is noisy far away
Yeah I thought somebody would say this. I'm sure I'm going to have plenty of airflow throughout the whole case, so maybe I will put the power supplies far right.

Last edited by Patzig; 06-15-2015 at 11:30 AM.
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