Power Conditioners in 2021

WndrBr3d

WndrBr3d

Full Audioholic
Hey Folks --

Looking for a round up for currently in production Home Theater Power Conditioners/Voltage Regulators.

The Brands I currently have in use around the house (APC, Monster) do not appear to be in production anymore. I've seen teardown of Furman Power Conditioners with them having very basic and minimal "filtering" -- but I don't see really any brands currently in production.

Curious thoughts/recommendations now in 2021 for Home Theater Power Distribution, Conditioning and Regulation?

Thanks in advance!!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Hey Folks --

Looking for a round up for currently in production Home Theater Power Conditioners/Voltage Regulators.

The Brands I currently have in use around the house (APC, Monster) do not appear to be in production anymore. I've seen teardown of Furman Power Conditioners with them having very basic and minimal "filtering" -- but I don't see really any brands currently in production.

Curious thoughts/recommendations now in 2021 for Home Theater Power Distribution, Conditioning and Regulation?

Thanks in advance!!
APC are still a going concern, and make excellent gear. I have five of their units currently in use. To do a decent job really requires batteries in the unit. A unit without batteries is of little use. What you need is a UPS of the correct power. I can thoroughly recommend APC uninterruptible power supply.

The fist step before putting those units into service, is robust whole house surge protection right at you main electric panel or main power switch.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
I also use APC and have no complaints. Top quality that lasts. Some of my units are easily 15 years old.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
+1 for UPS in general.
APC is fine, but Eaton is just as good, cheaper, and will have longer battery life (between replacements). HP used to sell re-branded Eaton UPS.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
+1 for UPS in general.
APC is fine, but Eaton is just as good, cheaper, and will have longer battery life (between replacements). HP used to sell re-branded Eaton UPS.
Good point. A good UPS can come from any brand...within reason. I've got a Tripp Lite I got off ebay for almost nothing. Didn't come with batteries and they aren't user replicable (they are) and it's been great.

Only reason I mention APC is because they have(had) a AV line that worked better for people using cabinets as opposed to a true rack. I've got one in the living room and it's very nice, but it doesn't look out of place.

Would I pay more for one that's less "rack ready"? Nope, but this one was as steal since they're discontinued.
 
F

fmw

Audioholic Samurai
Why does one want to "condition" electrical service? I doesn't carry any musical waveforms. It just powers the things that do. What do power supplies fail to "condition" as they convert AC to DC current?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Why does one want to "condition" electrical service? I doesn't carry any musical waveforms. It just powers the things that do. What do power supplies fail to "condition" as they convert AC to DC current?
Most of the time the AC is in spec. However there are times when it is not, voltage may sag or be excessive. Good units will stop this in an msec. There may be longer periods. In my last residence, the power company had a failure of a voltage regulator in the vicinity and the voltage got to 153 volts! My UPS units shaved it and saved my equipment. It alerted me so I could prevent a neighborhood disaster.

Finally in times of unstable power, or a power cut, my units will switch to their batteries and do a smooth shut down after 20 minutes, or as in my case, keep power until my generator starts.

Lastly, you need whole house surge protection at the panel. I would actually bet more equipment is wrecked by power anomalies then you realize. This is all about protecting your investment, and not improving sound.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
+1 for UPS in general.
APC is fine, but Eaton is just as good, cheaper, and will have longer battery life (between replacements). HP used to sell re-branded Eaton UPS.
What is different about their batteries that makes them last longer?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Most of the time the AC is in spec. However there are times when it is not, voltage may sag or be excessive. Good units will stop this in an msec. There may be longer periods. In my last residence, the power company had a failure of a voltage regulator in the vicinity and the voltage got to 153 volts! My UPS units shaved it and saved my equipment. It alerted me so I could prevent a neighborhood disaster.

Finally in times of unstable power, or a power cut, my units will switch to their batteries and do a smooth shut down after 20 minutes, or as in my case, keep power until my generator starts.

Lastly, you need whole house surge protection at the panel. I would actually bet more equipment is wrecked by power anomalies then you realize. This is all about protecting your investment, and not improving sound.
You might want to check the specs- I use a Panamax M4000 and its specs show that it reacts in <1nS and I would think the models you use are at least as capable. I wouldn't be able to verify this, but I'm pretty sure they would be challenged if it didn't do that. I bought it partially because it shuts down <95VAC ±2V and >140VAC ±2V.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
That would do it but if the batteries are true deep cycle, they can usually handle 'brute force' charging for longer than other types. I usually see about three years battery life in the UPS that I install and they beep when the battery needs replacing.

I installed one in a home office for a customer who was skeptical about the need and when I was there after a bad storm, the wife told me that they were in the office with him creating some kind of document on the iMac when the power went out. Rather than lose the document or have it corrupted, the computer stayed on. He said "Well, that just paid for itself".
 
F

fmw

Audioholic Samurai
Most of the time the AC is in spec. However there are times when it is not, voltage may sag or be excessive. Good units will stop this in an msec. There may be longer periods. In my last residence, the power company had a failure of a voltage regulator in the vicinity and the voltage got to 153 volts! My UPS units shaved it and saved my equipment. It alerted me so I could prevent a neighborhood disaster.

Finally in times of unstable power, or a power cut, my units will switch to their batteries and do a smooth shut down after 20 minutes, or as in my case, keep power until my generator starts.

Lastly, you need whole house surge protection at the panel. I would actually bet more equipment is wrecked by power anomalies then you realize. This is all about protecting your investment, and not improving sound.
Thanks for the explanation. I live in the country and am served by what I refer to as the amateur electric company. I have never experienced what you have experienced.

What hurts elecronics is heat and heat results from current, not voltage. If your electric service were at 153 volts, less current would be required to fulfill the power requirement. Your equipment would likely run a little cooler to a point. That point would probably not be met by 153 volts. I could be wrong about that. Electronic circuits are generally tolerant of some increase in expected voltage but less tolerant of an increase in current.

A sag in the voltage of of your electric service would normally be more dangerous to your equipment and no conditioner is going to make up for the missing voltage unless it has a seriously strong transformer. Perhaps yours has one, I don't know. I would just suggest that worrying about current is more important than voltage and a voltage sag will motivate more heat producing current.

Also I hope your generator doesn't produce square waves like many do. I turn off all my electronic gear when my square wave generator is running. It won't hurt the refrigerator or the furnace motor but I wouldn't suggest it for driving delicate circuit boards.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks for the explanation. I live in the country and am served by what I refer to as the amateur electric company. I have never experienced what you have experienced.

What hurts elecronics is heat and heat results from current, not voltage. If your electric service were at 153 volts, less current would be required to fulfill the power requirement. Your equipment would likely run a little cooler to a point. That point would probably not be met by 153 volts. I could be wrong about that. Electronic circuits are generally tolerant of some increase in expected voltage but less tolerant of an increase in current.

A sag in the voltage of of your electric service would normally be more dangerous to your equipment and no conditioner is going to make up for the missing voltage unless it has a seriously strong transformer. Perhaps yours has one, I don't know. I would just suggest that worrying about current is more important than voltage and a voltage sag will motivate more heat producing current.

Also I hope your generator doesn't produce square waves like many do. I turn off all my electronic gear when my square wave generator is running. It won't hurt the refrigerator or the furnace motor but I wouldn't suggest it for driving delicate circuit boards.
Power companies are supposed to provide 120VAC ± 10% and equipment that's designed for 120VAC doesn't necessarily do well at such high voltage, depending on what the power supply does for the circuitry. If 153VAC hits my vintage guitar amp, it could very well damage some of the capacitors & tubes and since it's collectible, I really don't want that to happen.

Post some manuals for equipment that show it's OK to connect to supply voltage much higher than 120VAC- I would like to see that. Your comments are all theoretically correct WRT higher voltage and lower current but in reality, electronic equipment isn't made to operate with such a wide variance of supply voltage.

You might want to look at what he has in his systems- why would anyone who uses a Digital Audio Workstation use a square wave or modified sine wave generator?
 
F

fmw

Audioholic Samurai
Power companies are supposed to provide 120VAC ± 10% and equipment that's designed for 120VAC doesn't necessarily do well at such high voltage, depending on what the power supply does for the circuitry. If 153VAC hits my vintage guitar amp, it could very well damage some of the capacitors & tubes and since it's collectible, I really don't want that to happen.

Post some manuals for equipment that show it's OK to connect to supply voltage much higher than 120VAC- I would like to see that. Your comments are all theoretically correct WRT higher voltage and lower current but in reality, electronic equipment isn't made to operate with such a wide variance of supply voltage.

You might want to look at what he has in his systems- why would anyone who uses a Digital Audio Workstation use a square wave or modified sine wave generator?
Electronic circuits are more tolerant of excess voltage than they are of excess current. It is what it is. The main reason is that heat originates mostly from current, not voltage. It is a sag in voltage that is more likely to damage equipment. That is what I said. I'm not an electrical engineer but I don't think this is a questionable fact.

I also said that I don't think that 153 volts would be enough to destroy circuit boards but I didn't know for sure. I think 200 volts might do the trick. I simply don't know. Feel free to answer the question.

I also said that many generators generate square wave AC. Mine does. If his does he should consider turning off all delicate electronics while it is running. I stand by what I said in each case. Thanks for the response.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Electronic circuits are more tolerant of excess voltage than they are of excess current. It is what it is. The main reason is that heat originates mostly from current, not voltage. It is a sag in voltage that is more likely to damage equipment. That is what I said. I'm not an electrical engineer but I don't think this is a questionable fact.

I also said that I don't think that 153 volts would be enough to destroy circuit boards but I didn't know for sure. I think 200 volts might do the trick. I simply don't know. Feel free to answer the question.

I also said that many generators generate square wave AC. Mine does. If his does he should consider turning off all delicate electronics while it is running. I stand by what I said in each case. Thanks for the response.
Right- higher voltage makes things brighter, extreme current makes them smoke. :)

Many motors and lights don't care about the waveform but with the increasing complexity of motor and lighting controllers, I would make sure they're OK with square wave. What generator are you using?

You need to look at the components in the circuits, not the circuits. Whether the circuit will perform as designed outside of the preferred voltage range is immaterial if the parts explode. Capacitors have a Working Voltage rating but many other components will handle higher voltage, depending on what type of component it is and its intended purpose.

I mentioned my old guitar amp- with the solid state rectifier I had used, the power tube plate voltage was close to 525VDC, which is more than 20% higher than what the schematic shows. Since it has 600WVDC filter caps, none of them popped, but if they were rated at 400WVDC, it would have been a different story. When I saw 525DVC, I decided that I would go back to using a tube rectifier- I tried a couple of different ones (some 'drop'; the DC voltage and this can be used for design purposes) and found one that delivers the voltage seen on the schematic, which was made at a time when 117VAC was the typically stated line voltage in the US. The line voltage is multiplied in the power transformer and sent to the rectifier- the circuit needs to be in an acceptable range, but tubes operate at much higher voltage than most solid state AV circuits and even if something is operating at extremely high voltage, newer equipment has voltage regulators that should be OK with some surges but it's the extremely fast transients that can cause problems, especially for microprocessors.
 
SithZedi

SithZedi

Audioholic General
Very good information on generators et al, thanks.
Up until a few years ago, my neighbor used standard gas generators since we live in a bad area for outages. Over a two year period, he replaced his plasma screen, a really nice Rogue Audio amp, and other appliances. His electrician blamed him for trying to run them while on generator. Lesson learned, run essentials only.

He ended up installing a whole house Generac and has no issues since.
 
F

fmw

Audioholic Samurai
Most of the time the AC is in spec. However there are times when it is not, voltage may sag or be excessive. Good units will stop this in an msec. There may be longer periods. In my last residence, the power company had a failure of a voltage regulator in the vicinity and the voltage got to 153 volts! My UPS units shaved it and saved my equipment. It alerted me so I could prevent a neighborhood disaster.

Finally in times of unstable power, or a power cut, my units will switch to their batteries and do a smooth shut down after 20 minutes, or as in my case, keep power until my generator starts.

Lastly, you need whole house surge protection at the panel. I would actually bet more equipment is wrecked by power anomalies then you realize. This is all about protecting your investment, and not improving sound.
I have been involved in audio since before the term power conditioner was born. I understand the purpose of the UPS and have no problem with the concept. I have never owned any electronic equipment that couldn't handle a little sagging. I had a ham radio transceiver blow a fuse once when lightning struck the antenna. I had to replace a 60 foot span of coax and the blown fuse but life went on.

A little increase in voltage should be trivial. Sagging is worse because it causes the circuitry to draw more current. Nevertheless it would take sag like I have never encountered to damage audio equipment. Lightning, of course, is another matter.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Thanks for the explanation. I live in the country and am served by what I refer to as the amateur electric company. I have never experienced what you have experienced.

What hurts elecronics is heat and heat results from current, not voltage. If your electric service were at 153 volts, less current would be required to fulfill the power requirement. Your equipment would likely run a little cooler to a point. That point would probably not be met by 153 volts. I could be wrong about that. Electronic circuits are generally tolerant of some increase in expected voltage but less tolerant of an increase in current.

A sag in the voltage of of your electric service would normally be more dangerous to your equipment and no conditioner is going to make up for the missing voltage unless it has a seriously strong transformer. Perhaps yours has one, I don't know. I would just suggest that worrying about current is more important than voltage and a voltage sag will motivate more heat producing current.

Also I hope your generator doesn't produce square waves like many do. I turn off all my electronic gear when my square wave generator is running. It won't hurt the refrigerator or the furnace motor but I wouldn't suggest it for driving delicate circuit boards.
You have that backwards. Current is directed by voltage. If you decrease voltage current will decrease. If you increase voltage current will increase and cause a fry up.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
I have been involved in audio since before the term power conditioner was born. I understand the purpose of the UPS and have no problem with the concept. I have never owned any electronic equipment that couldn't handle a little sagging. I had a ham radio transceiver blow a fuse once when lightning struck the antenna. I had to replace a 60 foot span of coax and the blown fuse but life went on.

A little increase in voltage should be trivial. Sagging is worse because it causes the circuitry to draw more current. Nevertheless it would take sag like I have never encountered to damage audio equipment. Lightning, of course, is another matter.
With the current need for complex micro processors all bets are off. Modern electronic equipment is on the whole much more fragile that the gear of yesteryear.
Sophisticated modern electronics needs protection and I know pro installations are now protected to the max. I have a major amount of money invested and will take all reasonable measures to protect that investment, and that is my advice to others. This has nothing to do with SQ, but protecting your bank balance.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
You have that backwards. Current is directed by voltage. If you decrease voltage current will decrease. If you increase voltage current will increase and cause a fry up.
In a circuit with step transformer (ie: any power supply) that would incorrect Mark:
 
newsletter

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top