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poor power: from wall socket

Discussion in 'Recording' started by redrabbit, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. redrabbit

    redrabbit Active Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    I mean, it's real bad.
    Or should I say, it's all over the place...voltage-wise.

    This is a regular household 120v 15a socket in a home...powering my gear. How do I know it's fluctuating? The lights in the house dim and flicker like it's Christmas again. Durring the day is the worst.
    There are over head poles that supply all the houses' power on my street....and sure enough, I'm the last house getting power, end-of-the-line.
    I do have a Tripplite 1800 line conditioner/stabilizer before all my gear, but that thing is getting a workout. Clicks into action quite often, sometimes averaging once every 60 seconds.
    I measured a different unused wall socket with my multimeter and it showed a range of 113.5v to 118v.
    I measured a socket from the Tripplite and got 116v to 120v.
    My meter re-reads every second or so, and it's almost always a different number/voltage.

    My question is:

    Is all that fluctuation bad for the electronics, even with the Tripplite?

    I have not noticed any audio dropouts in my recording, but my rack LED meters will show signs of something happening when they are on, but not recieving a signal ( at least nothing I sent to them....ha).

  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    116 to 120 would not seem to be too bad? 75 to 150..? That would seem "bad" to me... If the Triplite is "doing it's thing" and all is well with your computer and gear..?

    That said, if you're not sure, have you talked to an electrician or your electric company, itself(They at least talk to you for free!)? My local company is very helpful with such things, from advice to sending someone who actually knows what they're talking about out for a look-see and maybe an analysis with their fancy monitoring gear? "End of the line" or not, your power company should provide you with reliable power, within "tolerence"(Which this may be?). What you really want to prevent, normally, is sudden, often indredibly fast, "surges"(Power spikes), which you may not even see on your multi-meter, but which your Triplite should react to. Again way over and under voltage is a rarity today, at least in the U.S. and should be "fixed", period.

    In any event your Triplite(Though I'm not familiar with it's capabilities) or even a - rather simple and inexpensive - UPS(Uninterruptible power supply), or maybe one of the gadgets from Furman(Or others) can help keep things straight. You're certainly right that the most minor of power problems can cause BIG headaches with our stuff.

    How well can this gear work? I have my computer on the same circuit as my window air conditioner(Not that that's a good thing! ALL computer/audio gear should be on a seperate, though maybe the same, properly-used circuit. No lights, TV's, washing machines, etc!). ANyway, the air conditioner "bumps" on and off alot, flickering lights, etc. But with my UPS running all my computer/audio gear, I have never had a glimmer of a power problem(I had lots of problems before the UPS.).

    Flickering lights, flickering anything, are most often the result of just having too many things plugged into a circuit, or not having properly wired circuits, period. Most modern homes, for instance, have at least a 200 amp service, with around 40 individual circuits possible(40 places for breakers), so power distribution around the home can be properly setup. Though even my 20 year-old small home, while it has the 200 amp service, only has 20 breaker "slots". Not enough(Or not properly setup) for what I do with it. It will be upgraded as I can afford and more wiring/circuits, added. On that subject, when I do the upgrade I will at least investigate "balanced power"(Do a web search)... Pricey, but said to be excellent by those who've added it.

    Bottom line: Talk to a professional. That's what they're there for...


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