APC AV H15 1.5kVA H Type Power Conditioner Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
The American Power Conversion (APC) has long been associated with UPS and power solutions. The H15 performs its every job superbly - of that there is no doubt. Personally, the H15 embodies the perfect marriage of form and function. It looks as good as it performs. The H15 provides top of the line protection and regulation along with the piece of mind that there isn't a problem that can come along that it can't handle.


Discuss "APC AV H15 1.5kVA H Type Power Conditioner Review" here. Read the article.
 
Kolia

Kolia

Full Audioholic
Interesting review.

I just got the H10 from the Audioholic Store (hurray!). These are components that, for those of us without an oscilloscope or other measuring instrument, is pretty much impossible to evaluate. :rolleyes:

As for the surge protection, you never really know if it just saved your whole system. For my part, 4 days after connecting the unit, we had some freak power failures, with lights dimming, turning OFF and ON a couple times in a few seconds. The unit sure clicked and pooped during that time.

The delayed power ON seemed like a very good thing during the light show. No power ever got to the bigger equipment.

The only draw back is it add a component to my rack and made a messy jumble of wires back there. Something I'll have to address (again)...
 
M

MDS

Audioholic Spartan
I have the H10 which is about the same but doesn't have the LCD display. I have only one little trivial criticism and that is the Dimmer doesn't dim low enough.

At night the Line Boost LED is almost always on (I left the range at Normal).
 
R

rollinrocker

Audioholic
nice review


i've used the rotel rlc-1040 (made for rotel by apc) for about a year now. i believe they are the same unit with rotel cosmetics. has worked great up to this point, with no hickups, and my power goes out 3-4 times a year. living as i do in southwest ohio, snow, WIND, t-storms, ice, and did i mention WIND, are common.
 
Kolia

Kolia

Full Audioholic
It does look like it's always Xmass! lol

That plus the cable modem and wi-fi router, I have plenty of led!

You can dim the display completely OFF tho. I haven't checker to see if an error code would still show up?
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
i've used the rotel rlc-1040 (made for rotel by apc) for about a year now. i believe they are the same unit with rotel cosmetics. has worked great up to this point, with no hickups, and my power goes out 3-4 times a year. living as i do in southwest ohio, snow, WIND, t-storms, ice, and did i mention WIND, are common.

The Rotel is a clone of the S15 with Battery backup, not the H15. I love the S15s and recently upgraded to S20s with the only drawback being the latter don't have any 12v triggers.
 
jcPanny

jcPanny

Audioholic Ninja
APC Review

Tom,
Nice review. You mentioned the sub problem, but do you have an amp in your system? If so do you have it connected to the APC high current outlets or directly to the wall?

I have had good results with the lower end APC H10 and currently have all my electronics connected through it including the amp and sub. The power usage rarely gets above 20% under normal usage. I have also seen the line boost LED come on several times, it sounds like that is pretty common.
 
Tom Andry

Tom Andry

Speaker of the House
Tom,
Nice review. You mentioned the sub problem, but do you have an amp in your system? If so do you have it connected to the APC high current outlets or directly to the wall?
I have an amp (RPA-1) but because of location (it's in a separate rack) it is plugged into a separate surge protector. This sounds like a problem inherent to some sub amps. I actually had the sub plugged into the H15 for a couple of months without a problem and then it blew the fuses twice in a day. Weird.
 

trikoid

Audiophyte
H15 causes buzzing on my Rotel RB990BX

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!

I got an H15 about 1 year ago or so, and plugged into my Yamaha receiver and put the Rotel 2x200Wpc amp on the delay on circuit.

Two problems:
1. Two units broke because the rotel's surge-on current fused the relays closed
2. I could hear a buzzing noise on my speakers (especially noticeable at close range at the tweeter). I could hear the buzzing from my couch. How annoying!

I returned both units and got a Monster HTS 3500 MKII, which does the same thing but no buzzing.

I was so happy to get the H15 because it was supposed to smooth out the power and make it cleaner! It did the opposite!

Folks who have the H15: please try this yourself! Put your ear next to the tweeter and see if you can hear the buzzing and try to get an idea of the noise floor. Then plug in your amp into the wall directly and see if it gets better. It probably depends on your amp, though, so it might not be a universal problem.

Also, if I recall, I think having a dimmer circuit on anywhere in the house may be what makes it buzz (but of course, it was touted as able to clean up the power! not make it worse!)
 
Kolia

Kolia

Full Audioholic
Did grounding the amp back to the H15's ground connector help?
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
I could hear a buzzing noise on my speakers (especially noticeable at close range at the tweeter).
That's just as likely the Rotel. My Rotel amp buzzed my system via my cable (RF) input. When I got a filter for my cable line it went away and all was good.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
The Buzz is caused by a ground loop. If you tie all the grounds of components connected to the H15 back to the chassis pin on the backpanel it will go away.

Rotel amps have some of the largest inrush currents in the industry b/c of the multiple capacitor bank in the power supply and little to no inrush limiting capability during power up.
 

trikoid

Audiophyte
I tried a bunch of things back when I had the unit, because it was supposed to be such a great unit and able to lower the noise floor, etc... I tried for many hours, many things. This is what I recall (I also reviewed my actual emails to APC from Jan 2006):

1. I unplugged everything, I mean everything, except for the (1) H15, (2) the Rotel, and (2) the two speakers attached to the Rotel. No inputs to the Rotel (I even tried grounding the inputs to itself with no difference), and nothing plugged into the H15 except for the Rotel. Simply NO CHANCE FOR A GROUND LOOP. Buzzing was still there. And it wasn't a hum like as in a ground loop, but it was a buzz, the type that solid state electronics make.

2. I figured out that the dimmers in my house weren't the cause of buzzing, since the noise was still there with them all off. Of course, even still, the H15 was supposed to be able to do at least SOME filtering, so it should handle this, but of course my real problem was that it made the noise floor HIGHER than direct wall connection. What threw me off was that the buzzing noise is same noise that my dimmers made (I know it's quiet, but if you put your ear on a dimmer, it buzzes a little tiny bit, and that is kind of what the sound was like)

3. I put my ear onto the H15 unit itself, and I could hear a buzzing. The buzzing was of the EXACT same character as the buzzing I heard at the tweeters. I became crystal clear to me that it was the H15 unit.

But hey, maybe they are better now. It's been two years.

Here's an easy was to find out: if you have an H15, put your ear right on the actual unit. If you can hear ANY buzzing or noise, no matter how faint, then I conjecture that it still has the problem. My Monster MKII is silent, like I would expect most modern electronic items to be.
 
R

rollinrocker

Audioholic
The Rotel is a clone of the S15 with Battery backup, not the H15. I love the S15s and recently upgraded to S20s with the only drawback being the latter don't have any 12v triggers.

gene,

the rlc-1080 has the battery backup, not the rlc-1040. i have both in system and they work great. love the cosmetics also.
 
M

MountainMan

Audiophyte
Significance of pure sine wave output

I was looking at the less expensive J15 product that would seem to meet my needs but did not see it advertised as generating sine wave output. An electrical engineer friend cautioned me about using UPS intended for PCs because they frequently do not generate sine wave output and he felt they could damage my sub/amplifiers...

I was really trusting APC's brand reputation that even their less expensive units would not cause a problem when used as intended (they have similar power connections branded for sub/amp on the back panel as the S15/S20).

Anyone know the difference between the "pure sine wave" advertisement for the S15/S20 and what output comes from the J10/J15 series... and, importantly, the significance for home theater applications.

I will have a projection TV, DVR, amp, sub, DVD recorder, PS3 and a PC connected.
 
M

MDS

Audioholic Spartan
UPSes and power conditioners that do not output a pure sine wave output what is called a 'stepped approximation' of a sine wave. If you were to look at a graph of it it would look kind of squarish instead of a smooth sinusoid.

Your computer doesn't care about that one bit because it's going to convert the AC to DC anyway. It's debatable as to whether it really matters to HT equipment. If the purpose is simply to provide some time so you can safely shutdown the equipment in the event of a power loss it matters not. If you intend to use it so you can keep watching a movie during a power outage and you are picky about audio and video quality, a pure sine wave output would be better.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
...If you intend to use it so you can keep watching a movie during a power outage and you are picky about audio and video quality, a pure sine wave output would be better.
Do any of these have enough power reserve to do this though? If not, then a shut down is needed, projector to cool, primary concern, and no need to worry.
 
M

MountainMan

Audiophyte
I'm not concerned about subtle changes in AV quality... really only interested in knowing that my equipment will not be damaged by the stepped waveform. If everything is in standby but the DVR is recording, then it might run quite a while I'm away/sleeping before the battery exhausts. I suspect if I'm there and watching TV and listening through the receiver then I probably have only a few minutes to shut down the power hogs anyway...

I think I can buy an APC SmartUPS with similar VA ratings and sine wave output for about the same price as the APC J15 but it doesn't sound like it will make much difference (other than aesthetics and the cool blue light which will likely annoy me after the first week!).
 
WndrBr3d

WndrBr3d

Full Audioholic
I've owned the H15 for the better part of a year now. I couldn't be happier with this product.

One thing I'm confused about is why would anyone not want to keep their power setting on narrow?? Wouldn't keeping the voltage closest to 120v be better??

The only reason I can think people would want to set it to normal or wide would be if their system is drawing too much current (> 10 amps) and having the unit step up the voltage would trip a 15A breaker.

Any thoughts on this?? :confused:

Thanks! Great Review! :D
 

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