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Awesome system, crappy electricity... what to do?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I just ordered (hopefully) the last piece of my ultimate setup, the turntable. Once everything arrives, I'll be running a modded Opus 21 for digital and a VPI Scout for analog. They'll be going through a Ray Samuels B-52 into a set of balanced HD650s. I think this officially qualifies as a dream setup

Here's the (maybe) problem... I rent from people who won't pay five cents to fix something unless you threaten to sue them. My electrical supply shorts out if I run the A/C and a hair dryer at the same time. Will a surge protector do the trick, or do I need one of those fancy-schmany electrical supplies you see in million dollar setups?

Please give me some evidence for your views. I know there will be a lot of people who say that electricity is electricity and those who swear you get better sound with nice cables.
post #2 of 22
Correct me if I am wrong, but it is not the fact that it is shorting out. Does it trip the breaker? It must just be drawing more current than it can handle. Besides changing the breakers and such, there are no options that I can think of.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mminutel View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, but it is not the fact that it is shorting out. Does it trip the breaker? It must just be drawing more current than it can handle. Besides changing the breakers and such, there are no options that I can think of.
Ok, you can tell I'm no electrical engineer

Yeah, it's tripping the breaker. I'm not so worried about that, it actually doesn't usually trip the mains, just the living room/bathroom area, and my setup is in my bedroom. I just gave that example to show how crappy my apartment's electricity is.
post #4 of 22
So if it's not tripping the circuit your setup's on, then what are you asking exactly?
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxr3m View Post
So if it's not tripping the circuit your setup's on, then what are you asking exactly?
Whether or not one of those pricey power supply things is a necessity.
post #6 of 22
OK, see if I can fill in a couple of the gaps here -

Circuit breakers trip when you draw more current than they are rated to allow through. When you break that limit, the assumption is that there is a short somewhere and the breaker trips for fire/personal safety.

Usually there are many circuit breakers, and in some rooms (like the kitchen, where there are a lot of high-power appliances) there may be multiple breakers.

Breakers are rated in terms of amperage. Your appliances (hair dryer, A/C) probably have a wattage rating; dividing this wattage number by 120 (assuming you are in the US; elsewhere in the world you may be dividing by 220 or 240 - this number is your wall voltage) gives you the current (in Amps) that appliance draws.

Hair dryers draw a lot of wattage, and A/C units are even worse. For reference, my window A/C unit will draw (and sometimes trip off!) its 15 amp circuit breaker by itself. If I tried to use a hair dryer on the same circuit, they would trip the breaker instantly. This is what is happening to you.

That's the bad news. However, there is good news (and it isn't switching car insurance). You could probably solve the problem by using the hairdryer in a different room, hence on another breaker. Furthermore, since the breaker in question doesn't affect where your setup will be, you can safely not worry about it. If it trips off, your rig will be unaffected. The only problem would be if the rig itself trips the breaker in your bedroom, and this I highly doubt. I use quite a bit of high-end speaker/amp equipment, all plugged into the same 20 Amp fuse, and have yet to trip it - your rig shouldn't draw nearly as much wattage as my amps do.

So, to conclude: your apartment's electricity is working correctly. Circuit breakers are supposed to do this to protect you. Your rig should be fine, and if you used the hairdryer in a different room you could probably solve the problem outright. You do not need a pricey power supply (though surge protection might not be a bad idea to protect your investment).
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks!!! I have a much better understanding of this now.

You're pretty much on the mark there... the A/C-hair dryer combo never affects my bedroom.
post #8 of 22
I have known audiophiles to have a separate AC line for only their audio gear.

This line would help solve your problem. It also helps prevent noise for light dimmers and other devices from getting into the audio gear.
post #9 of 22
Comes down to protecting your gear and/or providing "clean" power. I'm not even going to get into the debate of clean power, you can find lots of forums that discuss it.

If you want to protect your gear, any type of inexpensive surge protector should work, they basically provide a circuit breaker that shuts power off when it spikes too high

If you think you have a problem with the power itself or need clean power, short of installing a separate line for your equipment (serious money and not recommended in a rental) you can buy a power regenerator (still expensive) like the Monster AVS 2000, or one or more of the PS Audio units. These units take whatever power comes in and regenerate a clean 110V power to your equipment.

I live in a rural area of California that has a lot of power outages and when the power comes back on it isn't always "clean" and I still only use a fancy filter/surge protector and not a power generator, but some people swear by power regenerators.
post #10 of 22
I solved my problem by getting a PS Audio P500. It takes your wall voltage, knocks it down to a oscillating DC wave and regenerates it's own perfect AC.
The new one is called the Premier and is worth it's weight in gold.
It only draws the current of one component and you can have 6 or 7 components connected to it, as long as they don't exceed the particular models' wattage output. CD players, TT's, pre-amps...basically everything except for high powered tube amplifiers.
post #11 of 22
Um, just a guess but anyone who can afford a B-52 should be able to afford to MOVE into something like a HOUSE lol.

Damn dude that will be a groovy setup. PS Audio P500 FTW my vote too.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspliff View Post
Um, just a guess but anyone who can afford a B-52 should be able to afford to MOVE into something like a HOUSE lol.
Hmm, got the feeling you don't live in Los Angeles .

Technically, I could afford to get a house, but with the ridiculous prices out here it would knock down my standard of living. One of the reasons I can afford to get this kind of equipment is that I "live poor" when it comes to stuff like cars (beat up Ford Focus) and living space (seriously, half of the people in my complex are Section 8's). It's just an issue of priorities for me... a car is a place to get from point A to point B, a house is just where you keep your stuff and take a shower.

I have considered moving to Indiana (where I'm originally from) where I could afford a NICE house, but there's the whole switching jobs thing plus my daughter's mother also lives out here and doesn't feel like moving, so I'm not going to take my daughter away from her (even though that would keep her away from some of her mom's bad influences).
post #13 of 22
Something you might well be interested in, if you don't want to spring for the excellent PS Audio piece, is a simple voltage regulator. It won't clean up your power per se, but it will prevent brown outs and hot voltages from damaging your equipment. Monster makes some really overpriced ones, but voltageconverters.com has some excellent units in varying voltages that work exactly as well. Check it out.
post #14 of 22
I didn't know about voltageconverters.com, but the link Sherwood put up looks like it would fit the bill for a reasonably priced, decently high wattage regulator. The only thing that worries me about that one is that it seems to provide a grand total of one 110V outlet (DO NOT use the 230!) which probably is less than sufficient.

It should be noted that these are in no way necessary for your setup. I would firmly place them in the optional realm; that having been said I do own one of the Monster Power pieces and like it - but I got it for $130 after a fire sale on Amazon + $50 mail-in rebate and wouldn't have paid full price.

I could get flamed for this, but here goes: I have yet to hear a quantifiable difference with it as my power source, except when a vacuum is on (less static). I bought it mainly because having so much $$ connected directly to the wall A/C was making me nervous, and I liked Monster's connected equipment warranty.

My recommendation at this point would be to get some kind of surge protector and forget about the regulation unless you have frequent brownouts. This leaves a less expensive path open when the upgrade-itis starts itching again, too
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTrumpet999 View Post
I could get flamed for this, but here goes:
Consider yourself flamed

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