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Protect your investments!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Protect your investments!
hippo1
(This isn't specifically modular; but secondary to cost, this came as a priority to me.)

During a windstorm, a branch cut through the neutral line to my house; as a result, power fluctuated wildly, causing anything that was plugged in directly, and on at the time, to short out. Lightbulbs, the heater, microwave (and some simple powerstrips) all burnt out. Thankfully, no fire; I killed the house panel once things started getting wonky. Recently I'd upgraded my 'music room' powerstrips to beefier ones (all the stuff is primarily low-power, excepting the speakers); and they all held out. [BIG sigh of relief.]

I'm one of those that HATES to buy sound-reinforcement gear: Whether it's cord/snakes, patchbays, powerstrips (in particular) or other stuff like that. But in this caes, I can't say enough about beefier, better power conditioners, UPS, and surge protectors. Protect your investment; you'll be happier down the road!
Pelsea
I had one of those. It wasn't weather though-- my ditzy neighbor had his power cut off (non payment) and was trying to bypass the switch with jumper cables. Brought down the whole block. I got off lucky, only had to repair a Dynaco preamp.

So yes, surge protection is a must, even if your local power (and weather) is perfect.
MindMachine
I had a power brown out kill an ARP 2600 one afternoon. Power protection is a must and insurance is too at a certain point.
Funch
I'm not connected to the electric grid and 5Kw of solar panels provides homepower. However, even with an extensive grounding system, electric system surge potecters and music gear surge protecters, I still unplug that gear (two plugs to the power strips) when not in use.
EATyourGUITAR
There is more variation in the types of equipment and the methods of installation with solar. It is in my opinion more risky to power expensive and sensitive equipment from a solar powered house or even worse if the house has a working mains from the grid and some complicated power distribution system integrating the solar. It is a case by case basis with solar but even Dave Jones (not Jones video different guy) of eevblog had a burnout. He is an electrical engineer BTW. It happens to the best of us. APC will cover you for up to 1,000,000 USD if your equipment is damaged by a power surge that went through a failed APC product. Buy APC surge protectors for this reason. Or buy comprehensive insurance on your gear. Most music studios are covered by fire. Insurance fraud is also common in the music business so you are pretty much paying for sugar Hill studios and blah blah blah long list of famous people.
lohacker
I'd like to add an UPS in my studio, but don't know how to estimate the power consumption, something like 1200-1500VA should be fine for the racks in my signature?
Funch
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
There is more variation in the types of equipment and the methods of installation with solar. It is in my opinion more risky to power expensive and sensitive equipment from a solar powered house or even worse if the house has a working mains from the grid and some complicated power distribution system integrating the solar. It is a case by case basis with solar...
correct

the engineering for my solar system was based upon design drawings and specs that appeared in "Home Power" magazine. I also did the install.

Modules and other sensitive audio gear require the use of pure sine wave inverters as opposed to modified sine wave inverters which are less expensive. If I remember correctly the modified sine wave inverters use closely stepped square waves and should not be used for sensitive electronic or audio gear. That would include modern refrigerators with their digital control boards.

The pure sine wave inverters don't produce harmonic distortion which is helpful for eliminating line noise buzz in audio gear. With the pure sine wave inverters, which I used, the power is cleaner than what I would get from the electric grid.

However, there are other components in the system that can produce electromagnetic interference and potentially cause noise problems.
Aaronautical001
I have just rearranged my office/studio and now will need to use surge protectors with a long (6 meter) lead. However, there don’t seem to be many surge protectors with a lead that long. Are long leads a safety issue in some way ( apart from trip)?

I have concerns about overloading the socket powering 4 doepfer cases, so would run 2 surge protectors (each from a separate wall socket) once I find them. Not a lot of discussion on this point either.
Funch
Aaronautical001 wrote:
I have just rearranged my office/studio and now will need to use surge protectors with a long (6 meter) lead. However, there don’t seem to be many surge protectors with a lead that long. Are long leads a safety issue in some way ( apart from trip)?

I have concerns about overloading the socket powering 4 doepfer cases, so would run 2 surge protectors (each from a separate wall socket) once I find them. Not a lot of discussion on this point either.
are the two wall sockets on separate circuits or do they share a common circuit breaker at the main panel?

If those two sockets are on the same circuit, you could just use one socket. If the circuit is rated at 20 Amps (12 guage, 20 amp breaker) wire I doubt that you would overload that circuit. You could draw up 1920 watts at 80% load.

A 15 amp circuit (14 gauge wire 15 amp breaker) would be 1440 Watts at 80% load rating which is the maximum that you should usefor that circuit.

You can get surge protectors that just plug into the wall socket. I do prefer the power strips because they have switches. And you could just get a 12 gauge 6 ft extension cord that are used for air conditioners.

And there are better surge protectors than just those inexpensive hardware store type. My power strips plug into a Furman rack mounted power conditioner. So I have surge protectors protecting the surge protectors with lightning surge protectors on the solar system itself.

Edit to add. Above calculations are at 120 volts
InsectInPixel
in a previous house, i had a "whole home surge suppressor" installed in my circuit box. This was in Pennsylvania so it didn't get put to the test. Now i live in the lightning capitol of the world (Florida) and i have big honking surge suppressor/battery backup, but i'm not super confident in it. I need to look into a better solution i think.
nangu
I use a big battery backup, but nothing is safer than being totally unplugged. I have a 6-foot super heavy duty extension cord between the outlet and the cord for my battery backup. That makes it so I can just unplug the battery backup from the extension cord without having to crawl under the desk to reach the outlet when unplugging the system.

If I’m not using the gear, then it’s not plugged in- that’s pretty much the only way things can survive a nearby lightning strike.
ignatius
InsectInPixel wrote:
in a previous house, i had a "whole home surge suppressor" installed in my circuit box. This was in Pennsylvania so it didn't get put to the test. Now i live in the lightning capitol of the world (Florida) and i have big honking surge suppressor/battery backup, but i'm not super confident in it. I need to look into a better solution i think.


from florida. miami. we had some stuff blow up when i was a kid. then i lived in orlando for a year or so. i used to unplug everything except the fridge when i left my apartment. just in case a storm happened when i wasn't home. it's pretty much routine to unplug things when the lightning is kicking up.

a year or so ago i had all kinds of surges start to happen at home (portland) and surges and dimming wildly. i turned off the panel.. called an electrician who came out same day. he went through every circuit trying to troubleshoot. the problem was not in the house. it was at the pole. so, i called power company and they came out that same day. turns out the crimps they used for a while to crimp the line to the house were made of aluminum. the guy said they used those for a few years.. and eventually they start to corrode and then the phases of the electric current get joined and shorted or whatever at the crimp.. so he cut them off and put a new one there that's "forever" metal they use.

fucking crazy day. thought my house was gonna blow up or something. fucking poltergeist x 100.

thankfully nothing got fried in the house.
EPTC
nangu wrote:
If I’m not using the gear, then it’s not plugged in


Yes - I agree with you!

Simple philosophy: I unplug everything whenever I'm done using it.

Isn't too difficult - By design, everything ends up at one main set of three cables which power a few Furman power conditioners. After powering things down, I unplug those three from the wall and the room is off the grid.

It's a nice way to conclude any time with the electronics. Then I listen to whatever I've recorded. So this process of "on means working, off means listen" feels like a nice way to structure things.

I do have an OCD double check that everything isn't plugged in whenever I head out of the home. But the plug-in (three times) to begin working always feels good and gives good pressure to do something with the equipment because they're plugged in and powered up.

I used to be interested in lightning defense systems (they're hilarious looking, basically cover your home in spikes on the roof) - until an electrical company friend mentioned those things only protect from fire.

If lightning hits your block and you're on a shared ground (or another term I might not be clear on), it can daisy chain along the homes and knock out your home even if not hit directly.

So I like to just be sure nothing is plugged in when not in use, and try not to work when it's storming.

Another rule: no alkaline batteries in ANYTHING. Those suckers are bombs waiting to burst. If a pedal or something requires a battery it's a lithium. I've been able to find ways to use AAA and AA lithiums for D and C cell battery requirements, too.

Side fuss: I keep a few dust filters going regularly (I like the crisp feeling in the room) - Just avoid ionic ones, as they can damage equipment. But straight fans with an intake filter are good.

Only thing I don't have a plan for is tornadoes! Maybe will make some steel cases to keep everything from flying off at one point (partial sarcasm)

I'm a total helicopter parent to the equipment. I love the bunker.
monads
I power-off everything including surge protectors. I was actually scared of lithium battery leakage and pulled from a synth as I didn't know the rarity of this occurring as opposed to alkaline. I'll probably place those lithium battery's back in the synth now and not be as concerned!
Aaronautical001
Funch wrote:
Aaronautical001 wrote:
I have just rearranged my office/studio and now will need to use surge protectors with a long (6 meter) lead. However, there don’t seem to be many surge protectors with a lead that long. Are long leads a safety issue in some way ( apart from trip)?

I have concerns about overloading the socket powering 4 doepfer cases, so would run 2 surge protectors (each from a separate wall socket) once I find them. Not a lot of discussion on this point either.
are the two wall sockets on separate circuits or do they share a common circuit breaker at the main panel?

If those two sockets are on the same circuit, you could just use one socket. If the circuit is rated at 20 Amps (12 guage, 20 amp breaker) wire I doubt that you would overload that circuit. You could draw up 1920 watts at 80% load.

A 15 amp circuit (14 gauge wire 15 amp breaker) would be 1440 Watts at 80% load rating which is the maximum that you should usefor that circuit.

You can get surge protectors that just plug into the wall socket. I do prefer the power strips because they have switches. And you could just get a 12 gauge 6 ft extension cord that are used for air conditioners.

And there are better surge protectors than just those inexpensive hardware store type. My power strips plug into a Furman rack mounted power conditioner. So I have surge protectors protecting the surge protectors with lightning surge protectors on the solar system itself.

Edit to add. Above calculations are at 120 volts


Thanks very much for your thoughts on this. Currently trying to figure out the circuit rating, and have followed upon some UK specific sites based on what you wrote thumbs up
EATyourGUITAR
have a pure sine inverter with solar solves the day to day noise problems. what I am more concerned with is catastrophic failure of unique and untested systems used in solar. there are many parts of the system that can fail and there are many ways that it can fail. it could be an insect, water damage, bad parts used in a component, degradation of plating or semiconductors. there are so many things that can result in the rare fire, voltage spike or simply unexpected power outage. the pure sine inverter could send a spike out or a DC out. you just never know what will fail and how. that one piece of gear that has a metal oxide varistor could save every other piece of gear on that same 15A circuit just by luck. it is really complicated. sometimes you do everything to prevent problems and you still roll the dice anyway.
Funch
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
have a pure sine inverter with solar solves the day to day noise problems. what I am more concerned with is catastrophic failure of unique and untested systems used in solar. there are many parts of the system that can fail and there are many ways that it can fail. it could be an insect, water damage, bad parts used in a component, degradation of plating or semiconductors. there are so many things that can result in the rare fire, voltage spike or simply unexpected power outage. the pure sine inverter could send a spike out or a DC out. you just never know what will fail and how. that one piece of gear that has a metal oxide varistor could save every other piece of gear on that same 15A circuit just by luck. it is really complicated. sometimes you do everything to prevent problems and you still roll the dice anyway.
ok, I see what you're saying now. There are lots of maintenance routines that have to be performed on a system that was installed according to best practices.

Fortunately my system is not grid tied and requires little use of backup generater during the course of the year.

There are Lots of Preventive measures that can be taken such as avoiding power spikes from the generator by using non ethanol gas., Ethanol gas causes the generator to run over and under speed.

And I never use my music gear during high load use, or when running the generator to charge the battery bank.

But you are correct, sooner or later the inverter is going to fail and chance will determine the outcome. However, I'm liking my odds because of system awareness, which is why I did the install. It helps to learn and understand it.

Not liking the power utility alternative.

A neighbor lost a several of their high end home appliances due to a voltage spike when utility lines crossed during a windstorm.

Our area lost utility power for many weeks after a wild fire took out the main lines.
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