Any Way to Improve Power with Old Wiring?
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

erikzen

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I have an old house and at some point I'm going to rewire the whole thing so I have good clean power, cable, CAT5, telephone jacks throughout. However, that's a few years away as I'm going to try and do all the rennovations at once.

That being said I have my main headphone rig hooked up to an older, standard (two pronged) outlet. I'm wondering if there is a way to improve the power going into my rig and if it's even necessary. For example, is it worth it to upgrade to a better power cord for an amp if the power coming out of the wall isn't the cleanest? Is there some kind of power conditioner I can use out of the wall to improve the power going into my rig? Again, are these tweaks worth it?
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:48 PM Post #2 of 16

jbloudg20

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Quote:

Originally Posted by erikzen
I have an old house and at some point I'm going to rewire the whole thing so I have good clean power, cable, CAT5, telephone jacks throughout. However, that's a few years away as I'm going to try and do all the rennovations at once.

That being said I have my main headphone rig hooked up to an older, standard (two pronged) outlet. I'm wondering if there is a way to improve the power going into my rig and if it's even necessary. For example, is it worth it to upgrade to a better power cord for an amp if the power coming out of the wall isn't the cleanest? Is there some kind of power conditioner I can use out of the wall to improve the power going into my rig? Again, are these tweaks worth it?



Well, there is a good chance you can change your outlet to a three rpong, and its incredibly simple. This should at the very least, guve you a ground to work with.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:58 PM Post #3 of 16

sjt78

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jbloudg20
Well, there is a good chance you can change your outlet to a three rpong, and its incredibly simple. This should at the very least, guve you a ground to work with.


Not necessarily. I have been upgrading all the outlets in my house for the past few weeks from the 2 prong to 3 prong. I'm doing it mainly because I want to update the rooms and not have to use those cheater plugs, but there is no ground wire in the boxes and the boxes are not grounded...therefore no ground. I'll have to run ground wires to the outlets I feel need it.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:22 PM Post #4 of 16

jbloudg20

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sjt78
Not necessarily. I have been upgrading all the outlets in my house for the past few weeks from the 2 prong to 3 prong. I'm doing it mainly because I want to update the rooms and not have to use those cheater plugs, but there is no ground wire in the boxes and the boxes are not grounded...therefore no ground. I'll have to run ground wires to the outlets I feel need it.


Yeah guess ti depends on the house itself. All the nes I converted in my house were very easy.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:30 PM Post #5 of 16

jpelg

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I think the best way is to get a power regenerator, like the PS Audio Power Plant series. But they ain't cheap.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:38 PM Post #6 of 16

erikzen

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Yeah, I thought about changing the outlet itself but wondered if that mattered if it wasn't grounded to begin with. Ideally, I'd like to run a home run but not sure I want to start upgrading the electrical service piecemeal. I guess a good question would be is it worth it to invest in some kind of power conditioning if the source isn't that great to begin with? Of course I'm already running it into a surge protector but should I invest in something better?
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:58 PM Post #7 of 16

BubbleChamber

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Quote:

Originally Posted by erikzen
Yeah, I thought about changing the outlet itself but wondered if that mattered if it wasn't grounded to begin with. Ideally, I'd like to run a home run but not sure I want to start upgrading the electrical service piecemeal. I guess a good question would be is it worth it to invest in some kind of power conditioning if the source isn't that great to begin with? Of course I'm already running it into a surge protector but should I invest in something better?


Does your surge protector come with a noise filter? If not, perhaps you can try one of these to see if it improves anything:

http://www.shop.com/op/~PANAMAX_8_OU...-prod-14720674

If possible, run a ground wire to a water pipe. A power cord won't do any good if the source power is dirty to begin with.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 7:08 PM Post #8 of 16

erikzen

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Mar 30, 2006 at 7:39 PM Post #9 of 16

BubbleChamber

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Ok, your protector does have the EMI/RFI filter. You might not hear any noise, but interference degrades the sound quality. Next thing you might want to find out is if the circuit to your rig shares with any other heavy duty appliances and/or has a heavy load, such as sharing with all your interior lighting.

For comparison purpose, you might want to try hooking up your rig to an outlet closest to your breaker box, usually in the garage, or bring it to someone else's house whom you know has better wiring to see if you hear any difference.

I ran a separate dedicated circuit from my breaker box to my setup with 12 gauge shielded wire and a 20 amp breaker, which costs me about $50 doing it myself.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 7:41 PM Post #10 of 16

erikzen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpelg
I think the best way is to get a power regenerator, like the PS Audio Power Plant series. But they ain't cheap.


Yes, what is my friend, what is, except talk? Ah, you know me well. I'm a cheapskate!
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Mar 31, 2006 at 9:10 PM Post #11 of 16

Danamr

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Quote:

Originally Posted by erikzen
That being said I have my main headphone rig hooked up to an older, standard (two pronged) outlet. I'm wondering if there is a way to improve the power going into my rig and if it's even necessary. For example, is it worth it to upgrade to a better power cord for an amp if the power coming out of the wall isn't the cleanest? Is there some kind of power conditioner I can use out of the wall to improve the power going into my rig? Again, are these tweaks worth it?


How hard is it to get at the wiring? It's not a especially difficult, or expensive to run some Romex to the circuit breaker box, and put in a new breaker. Now that said, you do understand you should be using a licensed electrician, and you can burn the place down, or outright kill your self if you screw up.....
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 1:21 AM Post #12 of 16

erikzen

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I'm not licesensed electrictian but I play one on the Internet.

The headphone rig is on the third floor, the box is in the basement. It might be a bit difficult, but it will be investigated.
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Apr 1, 2006 at 4:28 AM Post #13 of 16

star882

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The cheapest way is to turn off power and clean/retighten all connections. Beware that if you find aluminum wiring, replace it right away for fire safety reasons.

As for the ground, use a piece of heavy wire between the ground bus and a water pipe. If you want to test the ground, connect a known load between the hot and your ground (a light bulb should be enough) and then measure voltage between your ground and a metal stick in the soil outside (put some water around the stick to get a better reference). The lower the voltage, the better. Try to stay well under 0.5 ohms or so of resistance.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 5:21 AM Post #14 of 16

Uncle Erik

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If you really want to go nuts, have an electrician convert an outlet to 220 service then downconvert it to 120 through a power conditioner. You won't ever run out of juice, then.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 7:40 AM Post #15 of 16

BubbleChamber

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik
If you really want to go nuts, have an electrician convert an outlet to 220 service then downconvert it to 120 through a power conditioner. You won't ever run out of juice, then.


A 220 is to combine two 110 into one circuit, not much saving there. I don't think you can possibly drain all the power of a 20 amp dedicated circuit unless maybe you are running a 7.1 HT setup with all Krell boat anchors. In that case, you need to reinforce the foundation of your house too. I did a 220 myself too. Well... I am still alive and the dryer is still running.
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