ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
2,155 IQ
#1
I've been having problems with our houses power (old and always fluctuating), I have high reason to believe it has caused the death of two of my Tube Amp's PTs so I'm looking for something safer.

First, are SS as susceptible to power flux as Tube amps and second are hybrids (ex. Tube Pre's like Micro Terror) as safe as SS amps with power fluxes?

I don't want to keep having to buy PT's until I move out.
dementiacaptain
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Join date: Feb 2010
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#2
I imagine that a flux in power, if large enough, will hurt pretty much anything where there are delicate components ready to be fried.
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ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
2,155 IQ
#4
Quote by Roc8995
If your power is really that bad, you need a power conditioner.

Is there a way to tell if it is "really that bad", all I really know is that we have lights dim frequently, a hairdryer can shut off power on a floor, and two amps have ruined PTs after moving to this house (one I have not fully tested the PT yet).

Most other appliances perform okay though but you can tell things take longer to charge at our house.
lemurflames
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#5
That sounds quite bad to me.
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KG6_Steven
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#6
Fact: Electronic items require a stable and clean source of power. As the power begins to sag or buck, power supplies are worked harder and components are stressed. Depending on what's causing the power issues in your place, you could also have large spikes in the AC. Good surge protectors can help to limit the spikes, but most of them use MOVs, or Metal Oxide Varistors. MOVs are cheap and effective at limiting spikes, but they're only good for so many cycles and their failure mode usually isn't pretty. A surge protector will do nothing to limit sags or minor over voltage events. Unfortunately, this condition can cause other problems, too. You don't say what's causing the power issues, but if the wiring in the home is inadequate, you risk fire.

A decent UPS could help, although you need to make sure whatever you plug into it will be happy with the square wave AC it produces. Most UPS do not produce true sine wave AC. Some items do not like to operate on square wave AC. As I mentioned in your other post, and as has been suggested here, you ultimately need a power conditioner, such as the one I use here in my rack. Unfortunately, both may be outside of your budget.

Failure to address the root cause will only result in subsequent amps being damaged.
Eppicurt
Don't even like pedals.
Join date: Aug 2008
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#7
Quote by ToneMasterDelux
Is there a way to tell if it is "really that bad", all I really know is that we have lights dim frequently, a hairdryer can shut off power on a floor, and two amps have ruined PTs after moving to this house (one I have not fully tested the PT yet).

Most other appliances perform okay though but you can tell things take longer to charge at our house.

If you're not an electrician, I wouldn't go troubleshooting mains voltage.

Hire an electrician.
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ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
2,155 IQ
#8
Quote by Eppicurt
If you're not an electrician, I wouldn't go troubleshooting mains voltage.

Hire an electrician.


I see... So there is no device or anything to plug in to at least test if its bad? I want to know before hiring an electrician or buy a UPC and spending big cash (for me heh).

P.S. Are you in some way related to LemurFlames?
gumbilicious
beginner
Join date: Oct 2007
1,236 IQ
#9
Quote by ToneMasterDelux
I see... So there is no device or anything to plug in to at least test if its bad? I want to know before hiring an electrician or buy a UPC and spending big cash (for me heh).


i am not sure you necessarily need a quantitative analysis of how bad your power is, all the stuff you mentioned earlier is proof enough.

they do sell units that can quantitatively analyze your power, they seem to start around 1000 bucks. maybe normal multi meter can help analyze your home power, you can get them for ~50 bucks. i am sure you could get an electrician out there to give you an estimate for free, he should be able to test things and tell you wassup

Quote by ToneMasterDelux
P.S. Are you in some way related to LemurFlames?

eppi's from aussie land, LF is from oklahoma. so i kinda doubt they are related. they seem to like the same cartoons though.
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TremontiAddict
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2011
644 IQ
#10
If it's any consolation, I'm in school studying electrical engineering, and I'd have an electrician look at my mains before I'd mess with it myself lol.
ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#11
Quote by gumbilicious
i am not sure you necessarily need a quantitative analysis of how bad your power is, all the stuff you mentioned earlier is proof enough.

they do sell units that can quantitatively analyze your power, they seem to start around 1000 bucks. maybe normal multi meter can help analyze your home power, you can get them for ~50 bucks. i am sure you could get an electrician out there to give you an estimate for free, he should be able to test things and tell you wassup

That probably sounds like the best idea, before I sign off though does anyone know if it is significant that a cheap outlet tester said the outlet was 'open ground'?
ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#12
Quote by TremontiAddict
If it's any consolation, I'm in school studying electrical engineering, and I'd have an electrician look at my mains before I'd mess with it myself lol.

Hehe, trust me, I'm not about to risk spending anymore money just wondering if a power conditioner is a sound investment for me. I think it probably is just to be safe.
Cathbard
Grumpy Old Tech
Join date: Oct 2009
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#14
Your house ground has gone open and you are worried about what sort of amp will take shitty power best? Are you out of your mind? Get the house wiring fixed before you kill yourself. You got bigger issues than guitar.
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ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#16
Quote by Cathbard
Your house ground has gone open and you are worried about what sort of amp will take shitty power best? Are you out of your mind? Get the house wiring fixed before you kill yourself. You got bigger issues than guitar.

Hey man, no need to be harsh. I don't know anything about electricity, we rent a house from the 1800's or something and only some of the outlets are grounded, I don't even know what open ground means. Could you please explain what is so bad about open ground (instead of patronizing)? I'm not trying to work on it at all just trying to see whats wrong.

PS we are calling an electrician anyways.
Cathbard
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Join date: Oct 2009
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#17
Earth is there in case a device shorts out to the chassis. It stops you from dying. If it's gone open that means you become the path to the ground. If that's gone there could be anything else wrong. That's a pretty big thing to lose, who knows what else is all ****ed up?
There was need to be harsh. I had to get your attention. You were going to die.
Be very careful until the sparky gets there. I wouldn't use anything plugged into the wall until he does. I mean it, get an electrician out asap. Am I getting the severity of the issue across clearly?
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ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#18
Quote by Cathbard
Earth is there in case a device shorts out to the chassis. It stops you from dying. If it's gone open that means you become the path to the ground. If that's gone there could be anything else wrong. That's a pretty big thing to lose, who knows what else is all ****ed up?
There was need to be harsh. I had to get your attention. You were going to die.
Be very careful until the sparky gets there. I wouldn't use anything plugged into the wall until he does. I mean it, get an electrician out asap. Am I getting the severity of the issue across clearly?

Okay Okay, thank you. I don't know if this altered the test but I found out the outlet is a GFCI. The house was re-wired and checked within the last 10 years but I have no idea if it was a bad electrician or what...
Cathbard
Grumpy Old Tech
Join date: Oct 2009
2,565 IQ
#19
GFCI does make a difference. It works in a different way so the tester probably gave the wrong result. Still, you shouldn't be blowing power transformers. That's some pretty serious shit. It needs to be checked out. There could be quite a few extremely dangerous things causing that.
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MrFlibble
Puts a bangin' donk on it
Join date: Apr 2008
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#20
To be on the safe side, grab a mains adapter with surge protection. It won't stop the power from being inconsistent, but it should at least stop anything from being badly damaged. A surge is worse than failure, with valves (and by extension, hybrids). Obviously, you'll want to get your wiring looked at ASAP, but try that in the meantime.
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KG6_Steven
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Join date: Nov 2006
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#21
Even with a GFCI installed on a circuit, your ground should not be reading as open. The ground still goes back to the electrical panel. All the GFCI is doing is looking for leakage current and interrupting the circuit if it detects it. The open ground isn't your problem, although it is a problem. Having an electrician come out is a step in the right direction to solving your power issues.

For the record, voltage sags are just as bad as surges. Both stress power supplies and other components.
ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#22
So what I took from this is to hire a damn electrician and to keep power clean. Is there any good budget power conditioners (or something that would prevent damage from power dips)?

I read you can use computer protectors for cheaper. Suggestions?
gumbilicious
beginner
Join date: Oct 2007
1,236 IQ
#23
Quote by ToneMasterDelux
So what I took from this is to hire a damn electrician and to keep power clean. Is there any good budget power conditioners (or something that would prevent damage from power dips)?

I read you can use computer protectors for cheaper. Suggestions?


dunno about cheap, i use a couple furman PL-8C's. i wanna say they have some cheaper strip style conditioners.
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KG6_Steven
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#24
As I mentioned earlier, the cheaper power conditioners really don't do anything more than provide some surge protection and, if you're lucky, maybe some EMI/RFI filtering. A conditioner like my AR-PRO is big dollar Charlie, but my power at the wall can drop down to 88 volts and I still get 120 volts at my Eventide Harmonizer and other gear. The AR-PRO also has surge protection and EMI/RFI filtering. The AR-PRO uses a multi-tap torroidal transformer to buck or boost the voltage to 122 volts. I also have a large UPS plugged into it. The UPS supplies power to my DAW PC and a couple of other items.

Not sure what your definition of cheap is, but these days, you can find used AR-PRO conditioners on eBay for around $500. That sure beats their new price, which was like buying a used car.
ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
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#25
Quote by KG6_Steven
As I mentioned earlier, the cheaper power conditioners really don't do anything more than provide some surge protection and, if you're lucky, maybe some EMI/RFI filtering. A conditioner like my AR-PRO is big dollar Charlie, but my power at the wall can drop down to 88 volts and I still get 120 volts at my Eventide Harmonizer and other gear. The AR-PRO also has surge protection and EMI/RFI filtering. The AR-PRO uses a multi-tap torroidal transformer to buck or boost the voltage to 122 volts. I also have a large UPS plugged into it. The UPS supplies power to my DAW PC and a couple of other items.

Not sure what your definition of cheap is, but these days, you can find used AR-PRO conditioners on eBay for around $500. That sure beats their new price, which was like buying a used car.

Shoot, that's not a terrible price and it would probably benefit in the long run. I just want to take every precaution now.

So I am guessing budget computer power sag protectors like the APC LE1200 don't really do much to protect at all... right?
KG6_Steven
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#26
That's a fairly cheap unit. My concern with that item is this - while it will regulate the voltage, it's using a battery to do so. Compare that with my Furman AR-PRO, which uses a large multi-tap transformer to step up/down the voltage. If your power is bad enough and the APC is constantly kicking in to stabilize the power, it won't take long before the battery is exhausted and incapable to supplying power to the converter section of the LE1200. When that happen, whatever is connected to it will either experience the sag/surge of the raw power, or power down.

As I mentioned earlier, the other problem is that the LE1200 will not provide pure sine wave AC. If you had access to an oscilloscope and could view the power at your wall outlet as a signal on a screen, you'd see that it's a sine wave. Most of the cheaper APC units produce square wave AC, or modified square wave AC. Don't know if you're familiar with sine and square waves, but there are some electronic items that do not work well with square wave AC. In fact, some items can be damaged by it, or run hotter than normal.

If you have the budget for it, I'd really recommend picking up a used Furman AR-PRO. It's going to be the best solution.
GeetarHeero
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#27
Dayum, this thread got morbid fast
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GeetarHeero
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#29
Not yet
Die troll

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GeetarHeero
Philosophizer of Time
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#31
Well now someone has, or soon will it seems.

TS, let us know what the issues were once you've got this whole thing sorted. I'm really curious to see what would be up with the power to be doing what you described. Also just out of curiosity, why didn't the landlord handle calling the electrician and all? Im jw
Die troll

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ToneMasterDelux
UG's Question Kid
Join date: May 2011
2,155 IQ
#32
Quote by GeetarHeero
Well now someone has, or soon will it seems.

TS, let us know what the issues were once you've got this whole thing sorted. I'm really curious to see what would be up with the power to be doing what you described. Also just out of curiosity, why didn't the landlord handle calling the electrician and all? Im jw

Will do, the landlord doesn't handle it because it is rented through work and part of benefits or something, I guess I'm not really sure why...
GeetarHeero
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#33
Ah, that blows. Hope it all works out, and with no one gettin zapped
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tas38
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#34
Quote by Cathbard
Your house ground has gone open and you are worried about what sort of amp will take shitty power best? Are you out of your mind? Get the house wiring fixed before you kill yourself. You got bigger issues than guitar.


This is a joke, right?
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