Power Conditioners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bentem, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    I wasnt sure whre to put this thread but,

    How do Power conditioners work, and would they be worth getting?

    I currently only have one thing on my rack, whick is a peavy m-3000 power amp, but i will probably have more in the future.
  2. tim4003


    Apr 30, 2002
    Dawsonville , GA
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I always keep the following quote from Bob Lee of QSC (and a TB'er) in mind.

    If you don't know who he is, just ask.

    "FWIW, I don't use any power conditioning or regulation beyond the surge protection and EMI/RFI filtering in my outlet strip, and I don't see any immediate need to do so. My amp and pre have very good power supplies and can handle a fair amount of AC line voltage variation and line noise anyway. YMMV! "

    Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned.
  4. [​IMG]

    I use one of these. All the EMI, RF, and surge protection you'll ever need. 40 bucks.
  5. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I've got an older Furman....it's the 15 AMP model with volt LED's and pull out lights. It really doesn't do much more than lemme know if the voltage starts dropping but the pull out lights are an awesome thing.
  6. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I guess folks have lots of opinions about whether or not you need one in the rack...I have a NADY with a power level indicator/over-power light. It has paid for itself (IMO) several times and protected my other stuff from faulty building wiring. Not to mention it's nice to plug all the rack equipment into one place in the rack and then run one cord to the power source.
  7. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    YMMV, but for my money, $65 isn't a lot to spend for a little additional protection.

    I use a Furman Rackrider (I like the lights too), and I will say not only does it protect my gear, but it does in fact seem to clean a lot of crud out of my sound.
  8. I like having a rack mount unit with a switch on the front. I had one with the little pull out lights. It was OK but when it went down I just got the plain one without the lights. These things do go bad and leave you hanging, mine did.
  9. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    It's important to be clear about the differences between AC line protection, filtering, and conditioning. If your in an area where electrical storms are comon, then line protection such as a surg protector is cheap insurance for your gear. Some offer the added benifet of RF (radio frequency) filtering.

    AC line conditioning may be a devise that maintains voltage through a low voltage period (brown out). Or a devise that converts AC to DC back to AC in an effort to eliminate line noise. Another will balance the AC voltage. And there many others that won't even tell you what their product does. The one thing line conditioners have in common is a circut with many components that drive their price up, typicaly $500 on up.

    Even if the protector/conditioner says it has enough amperage to drive your amplifier, many will choke the AC enough for it to be audible. A line fuse instead of a breaker can be a sign of a lack of quality.

    Your first tool against poor AC is a simple $5 outlet tester which will tell you if an outlet is misswired or if the ground is missing. Make it a habbit of using it before you plug in EVERY time.
  10. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    To be more specific on my rig and use of this thing...the Furman's are, IMHO, used pretty much for the voltmeter and pull out lights. IMHO a 15 amp fuse is going to do nothing more than click off in a power surge (which is what it's designed for).
    For actual surge protection though, I use a PowerWerks multi-outlet distribution box. (Looks like an audio snake-sits on the floor). It's a lot heavier cable and it's got an actual circuit breaker on it. Every tech/luthier I have spoken with, who is familiar with this has recommended it. Basically the opinion I got was-same thing as the Furman but with an actual circuit breaker as opposed to a fuse, and much higher quality componants. I picked one up new for 60 bucks and figure I can't go wrong having 2 instead of one.
    When you start looking at the power REGULATORS then you're talking bout some serious dough.
    Just my .02
  11. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    Well, what i used to have was all my stuff plugged into one or two outlets, and then i finally got a regular surge protector, with a bunch of outlets, like you would use for a computer.

    Are they like those, but rackmountable?
  12. bentem


    Oct 18, 2002
    Rockville, MD
    By the way, If I do get one, What do I do with it?
  13. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Mine is by "ACM Audio"; I bought it for the pull-out lights for $40 on ebay. I looked inside and there is a breaker and a choke. I guess it might do something to clean up commercial power, but I'd settle for having the lights.
  14. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    The common "power conditioners" you see mounted in peoples racks are nothing more than glorified power strips.

    I recently bought an ART PS 4x4 (the one with lights, voltmeter, and ammeter). When I got it home, I discovered that it is nothing more than a surge protector with lights, extra outlets, and two meters of dubious quality on the front. Sure it looks cool, but it was a waste of money.

    When I plugged it in, the voltmeter registered well over 130V, so I got out my good multimeter, which registered 123V. So I opened up the case and found an adjustment screw, and adjusted the meter to display the voltage accurately. The next day, it again read over 130V. So I got out the multimeter again--once again the line measured about 123V. I opened up the case again to turn the adjustment screw. This time, the circuit board exploded, burning me with flying particles and blinding me with a big spark.

    Well, now I'm using a *real* power conditioner, an American Power Corporation (http://www.apcc.com/) Line-R 600VA power line conditioner. They also come in a 1250VA version, but my 600VA unit runs my SWR Power 750 amp, preamp, and compressor, VHT Valvulator and Boss TU-2 tuner just fine.

    APC makes the best uninterruptible power supplies available. The Line-R products are just like a UPS without the battery.
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    amper - I was interested by your comments. I take it that isn't getting used onstage??? -

  16. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    That's not AC line conditioning; maintaining the AC voltage within certain limits is line regulation.

    That's what a UPS does, if there's a battery in the DC part. If you're playing in a place that has really, really bad AC, it might not be a bad idea for each player plus the PA have his or her own UPS. I've never played in anyplace quite that bad. ;) Many UPS units have an audible alarm that sounds whenever it's operating from the battery. You could make that part of the music! ;)

    Good advice, Vic!
  17. amper


    Dec 4, 2002

    I just used it onstage for the first time Tuesday night. Being as I play in some pretty crappy venues, it doesn't hurt to do every thing I can to protect my very expensive equipment. I just dropped a bunch of money on new gear, so I thought I should probably go a step better than a surge protector.

    Unfortunately, unlike their UPS's APC doesn't make the Line-R in black, but it's small enough to be hidden behind my cabinets/amp racks, and if I really wanted to, I could spray paint it flat black. It's just a plastic case.
  18. amper


    Dec 4, 2002

    Not all UPS's act that way, there are several different types. APC's units are what is known as line-interactive. They monitor the condition of the power coming in, and if it steps beyond a certain threshold, they switch instantaneously to battery power until the power line comes back within bounds. The latency is so quick with APC's units that even very sensitive power supplies won't see any disruption.
  19. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Do any surge protectors also help with the 60hz hum problem. I have a hum in all my gear.