Can a power surge damage your amp?

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Tony1

Can a power surge damage your amp?
« on: 20 Apr 2007, 03:18 am »
I have a Bryston 9bsst which sounds better if I plug it straight into the wall versus my surge protector.  I'm wondering if a power surge can damage my amp if I leave it plugged in to the wall? If I turn off the power switch behind the amp after each use will it protect the amp versus leaving the switch on?

Tony

gooberdude

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #1 on: 20 Apr 2007, 03:31 am »
This is a very good question.   I do not use any surge filtration, but keep most of my components unplugged when not in use.

I've been told that amps are less susceptible to damage from surges than digital components, cdp's & computers.

dunno though...

denjo

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #2 on: 20 Apr 2007, 04:02 am »
Coincidentally, my friend's expensive plasma TV and computer system (both fed through a decent surge protector) were damaged by a lightning strike! The surge came through the antennae cable (which had little or no protection) and not via the power supply (which was adequately protected)! Coming back to your specific reference to amplifiers, I am not sure if that can potentially be damaged in the above scenario, assuming the TV audio OUTs are fed into the amplifier (or preamp).

gooberdude

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #3 on: 20 Apr 2007, 02:38 pm »
I've heard of a lot of similar stories.   My uncle is a nature photographer who works out of his cabin.  a few months back they got rocked by a bolt.  ALL his expensive surge protectors were OK afterwards, but he lost $100K in equipment that his insurance company wouldn't help with 'cuz this surge protectors weren't damaged...   www.cloudland.net    there's a huge Klipsch home theatre in the bsmt of his mtn top log cabin.


pierre sprey from mapleshade has told me some analog gear, especially amps, might be less sensitive.  computers, tv's, cd players...digital gear is really suscepticble, even to small spikes...   His place has been struck a few times & he's never had to replace an amp, lots of other gear though.

its all pretty scary.

James Tanner

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #4 on: 20 Apr 2007, 03:35 pm »
Time for a TORUS

http://toruspower.com/

james


ctviggen

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #5 on: 20 Apr 2007, 03:58 pm »
Yikes!  3 grand for a 20 amp version. 

Bob Reynolds

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #6 on: 20 Apr 2007, 04:40 pm »
Yes, without question it could happen.

It's always amused me that folks will spend many $$$ for "power conditioners" that basically have zero surge protection or use sacrifical components that degrade over time.

As James has already noted, the Torus products are an option. Their price rightly reflects the high-tech isolation transformer.

The same surge protection can be bought directly from Zero Surge or with a little filtering from SurgeX.

http://www.zerosurge.com/

http://www.surgex.com/

I use a pair of SurgeX SA1810 http://www.surgex.com/products/sa1810.html to handle my entire system.

Note that theoretically my system is still vunerable since the TV is connected to cable and the audio system via component video cables.

BTW, if I had the room I'd buy a 15A Torus in a heartbeat. I will get a 5A unit for the source and video components.

ctviggen

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #7 on: 20 Apr 2007, 04:53 pm »
You can substantially decrease your susceptibility to the cable by grounding the cable to the house ground.  You can also get one of these:

http://www.lightningrodparts.com/surge.html

(see cable)
 
Or these:

http://www.air802.com/home.php?cat=387&gclid=CK-fzr3i0YsCFQaFIwodlxNx_g

They also make whole house protectors that offer cable and phone surge protection.

James Tanner

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #8 on: 20 Apr 2007, 05:08 pm »
Yikes!  3 grand for a 20 amp version. 

Surge protection - no I meant to say PROPER surge protection - is one of the benefits of a Torus. There is also 1. NOISE FILTERING, 2. ISOLATION 3. High Current LOW IMPEDANCE source for your power amps.

james

ctviggen

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #9 on: 20 Apr 2007, 05:18 pm »
I don't doubt it's a great idea.  If I win the lottery, it's on my list of things to buy.

James Tanner

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #10 on: 20 Apr 2007, 05:34 pm »
I don't doubt it's a great idea.  If I win the lottery, it's on my list of things to buy.

I know it seems expensive but when you consider how much money most people have in there audio/video systems it is cheap.
Also in any quality audio/video system the performance increase is well worth the cost of the Torus long term.

james

Tony1

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #11 on: 20 Apr 2007, 05:48 pm »
James

It's usually recommended to have the amps on a seperate circuit from all the other components(i.e. CD player, DVD player, Preamp)  Wondering with the Torus can you plug the amp with the other components in one Torus unit or is it better to have 2 Torus units, one for the amp the other for the components?

James Tanner

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #12 on: 20 Apr 2007, 06:24 pm »
James

It's usually recommended to have the amps on a seperate circuit from all the other components(i.e. CD player, DVD player, Preamp)  Wondering with the Torus can you plug the amp with the other components in one Torus unit or is it better to have 2 Torus units, one for the amp the other for the components?

Hi Tony,

You can put all the components into 1 Torus unit as the power outlets are in Parallel.

I have to say though that we are seeing a trend towards a small 5 amp or 10 amp Torus on the video and source component side and the larger Torus on the power amps.

Also some customers have their power amps between the speakers so 2 Torus units work better given that arrangement.

james


Tony1

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #13 on: 22 Apr 2007, 05:44 pm »
James

Curious if it makes a difference if I have the power switch off to better protect from power surges versus leaving it on

Tony

James Tanner

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #14 on: 23 Apr 2007, 03:13 am »
Hi Tony,

I know turning the amp off but leaving it plug in will still leave it susceptible to a lightning strike but I will check with engineering on the day to day power surge -I assume if it is turned off there would not be an issue.

james

avahifi

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Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #15 on: 23 Apr 2007, 09:34 pm »
One of the main functions of the power transformer of an audio component is to change the nominal 120V line voltage to the appropriate AC voltage for the circuit application, further refined into the appropriate DC voltage for the design requirement by the rectifier circuits.

The output voltage of the power transformer is a ratio of the input voltage.  So, for example, a sudden doubling the input AC line voltage (from 120V to 240V for an instant) will also double the output voltage from the transformer.

A well designed circuit will have a significant overvoltage margin designed in to keep the unit alive when a line surge occurs, but there are limits to the overkill protection that is reasonable to provide.  Thus it is possible for a significant line voltage surge to produce an output voltage that can overvoltage and kill rectifier parts, and even generate an excessive DC level downstream before the rectifier dies, killing circuit parts too.

Good design will provide internal fusing and other transient protection to provide as much protection as possible. But even good design has limits.

Lightning strikes of course produce much higher voltage spikes, which hopefully will simply take out suppression capacitors on the incoming line side to ground before doing any other damage.

Note that vacuum tube components, that are running at higher internal voltages in any event, may have to tolerate really huge overvoltages from line surges. Fortunately, the tubes themselves are very rugged in this respect, but big power supply capacitors may not be as lucky.

I suppose that a really expensive line regulator might be a great idea to keep audio equipment alive under all possible circumstances.  But not if it is a lot more expensive than the equipment it is supposed to protect.

Regards,

Frank Van Alstine

gooberdude

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #16 on: 23 Apr 2007, 10:11 pm »
thanks Frank!

Tony1

Re: Can a power surge damage your amp?
« Reply #17 on: 27 Apr 2007, 01:31 am »
Hi Tony,

I know turning the amp off but leaving it plug in will still leave it susceptible to a lightning strike but I will check with engineering on the day to day power surge -I assume if it is turned off there would not be an issue.

james


James,

Wondering if you spoke with your engineer yet

thanks

Tony