Dropped $850 bucks on a power conditioner and nothing improved.

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Athalwolf, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have lived here 9 years with no real power issues. I would get the odd subtle pop from the fridge but it was barely noticable.
    We had a new boiler with water on demand installed a few months back and right after that I started getting terrible pops and clicks through my speakers. The boiler is frequently turning on and off because of the water on demand feature. On advice from an AK'er I contacted the manufacturer and I was informed that there are no RF or EMI filters in the unit or available as an add on.

    There are 3 suites and 5 adults in the house. We all work days so first thing in the morning and around supper time the boiler can turn on 3 times in 5 minutes. It's nuts. I miss the old hot water tank.

    Presently when the fridge turns on or off I'm getting much louder pops than before and the worst ones are from turning on a fluorescent magnifying lamp I have or the fluorescent ceiling lights. KABOOMY! :yikes:

    Now when my neighbours fridge starts I am getting audible pops. That's a new development also. I just rent here and my landlady won't spend 2 cents she doesn't have to, so I'm on my own with this problem.

    I picked up a new Furman Elite-15 DM-i today and there is no improvement.
    20180307_203606.jpg

    The Furman rep said that the unit would take care of the issues but it has no effect whatsoever. Bad unit? Maybe the Furman isn't capable of resolving these issues.

    Perhaps there is an problem with my old Akai AA-1200 receiver? Occasionally there would be a hum but if I wiggled the left channel turntable RCA cable where it plugs into the receiver the hum would cease.

    I opened it up to repair it but things in there are very tight so I chickened out. Sending the Akai out for a service is on my to do list but since I bought a separate phono pre I have put it off.

    I have another old receiver but it has 8 ohm outputs and my speakers are 4 so I can't try that. I haven't played records in a couple of months now because I don't want to damage my system.

    It's not just the boiler affecting my system now. Could it be that something in the receiver needs attention or failed? As always I appreciate any thoughts or comments!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018

     

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  2. matteos

    matteos Stereotype Subscriber

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    I have a power conditioner I bought used for $150. Never noticed much of a difference with it.

    However.. I will be very pleased with it if I ever get a massive electrical surge.
     
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  3. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm no electrical tech. Are you able to try a different elecrical circuit? ( on another breaker ) See if you get any improvement.
     
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  4. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes I did. There are 3 electrical circuits that I can access and I tried every combination I could think of. The house is only 22 years old but it is cheaply built.

    I am hoping to move to some larger digs but the pickings are very slim here in Vancouver. My options are to move closer to the area I primarily work in and that would almost double my rent or move back out to the valley but that would result in a 2+ hour daily commute. The vacancy rate here is about 0.06 percent.
    For two years my computer homepage has been a filtered Craigslist rentals search result.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  5. restorer-john

    restorer-john Addicted Member

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    Some older gear was very sensitive to mains transients. I would try another amplifier/receiver.

    And send back the Furman.
     
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  6. Gazdatronik

    Gazdatronik Super Member

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    Sounds like some wiring work needs to be done near the water heater, not the stereo.

    Might be something as simple as installing start caps or suppressing an arc somewhere. The ground wire could be too long, or the main power wires too small, etc.

    If your water heater was installed by you, call an electrician.

    If your water heater was installed by an electrician, call a better electrician.

    Theres no reason for it to act up if its done right.
     

     

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  7. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

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    It's a water heater not a motor, no start caps needed. About the only thing the water heater should cause is a voltage sag when coming on line, that is unless it's gas. If gas it would be a benign load which would have no bearing on the issue.

    First question for the OP, why was the water heater replaced with a tankless, they're only meant for those without the room for a traditional water heater. These typically draw around 80 amps, often requiring a service upgrade to accomodate. Plumbers love selling these to unsuspecting customers with the thought some money can be saved in electrical usage, when a simple time clock on a standard water heater can typically reduce a water heaters $50/month cost to $20/month.

    Even with that, being a resistive load I wouldn't suspect the water heater to be the culprit unless the installation was faulty, IE; loose connections resulting in arcing causing noise on the lines.

    Inductive loads such as the fluorescent lighting mentioned, motors like pumps, AC compressors, etc are more likely to cause these kinds of issues. But even with that, most properly performing audio equipment won't be bothered from these transients either.

    I would try another reciever/amplifier in the same receptacle to either confirm or rule out the equipment.
     
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  8. cademan

    cademan Addicted Member

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    A lot of electronic equipment have those capacitors across the power switches to prevent RF and pops. Maybe your Akai has one on its power switch or chassis somewhere and its bad.

    It would either be mounted directly on the power switch itself or somewhere around the power supply coming in. It would look like a flat round brown or blue colored disc capacitor. Usually in the .1 @ 600 volt range.

    I would get your money back on your conditioner. :idea:
     
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  9. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    It seems the presumption was the noise is coming in through the AC mains but perhaps that is not the case at all. Perhaps it's coming in from EMI/RFI, more likely IMO, in which case the Furman will do nothing.

    Have you changed cables or components or anything that might have affected sensitivity to EMI/RFI?

    Does it occur with any particular source(s) but not others?

    Have you broken down the system to the most basic unit...just the receiver and speakers connected, nothing else, to see if it still occurs? If OK then, add back one component at a time to try to find the offender.

    With all the other components disconnected, you could even try disconnecting the speaker wires at the receiver and try headphones.

    About the other receiver, if you exhaust all the above, I would try it regardless of the 4/8 ohm thing. You're not having a crankfest party here, you're just trying to see if you get the same/similar noise problems so there won't be overheating nor abnormally high stress on the receiver just to check this. And, again, I'd start with just the receiver and speakers, nothing else connected.
    If that works then start adding back components one at a time to try to ID the offender.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  10. cademan

    cademan Addicted Member

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    Sure you can. Just don't crank it.
     
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  11. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It is a gas unit and was installed by a licensed boiler maker or power engineer of some sort. I'm wondering if it's just a coincidence that my troubles began when the new boiler was installed and it is the receiver.
     

     

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  12. Athalwolf

    Athalwolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I had that was a no no. I'll google it.
     
  13. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Contractor grade outlets and switches are only good for a couple of years of use. These can and will cause "pops" (Arcs), I don't think this is your issue but people do put $800 band-aids on $5 problems that can cause fires for some reason. I tend to agree with whoaru99.

    This probably is the wall switch. "the fluorescent ceiling lights. KABOOMY! :yikes:"

    Edit: After rereading you first post it seems all the units are on the same Pwr Panel? If so you would "see" the arc's from the other units switches and outlets.

    :beerchug:
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  14. Tim64

    Tim64 Super Member

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    A Isolation Transformer may be a solution for you rather than a conditioner. I have a Isobar and when the washing machine relays turn on and off I get a click sound out of my system so not good for that kind of interference.
     
  15. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    A variac? Makes me wonder if a massive variac is more stable than a conditioner.
     
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  16. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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    A Variac is not an isolation transformer; it is a variable autoformer and does not provide mains isolation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018

     

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  17. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    It makes me think you have two wire circuits in the house instead of three, or else if you do have a ground neutral and hot that your neutrals and grounds are compromised. You need to call an electrician who is familiar with providing dedicated and isolated circuits. Your issue maybe something simple like needing a new ground rod or connection tightened to having a major operation. It could also be oxidized wiring in a junction box, or heaven for bid you have aluminum wiring in the building connected with Copper. You maybe seeing the first signs of a potential fire hazard!

    We installed a communication system for a Kmart store and every time a drawer on a cash register opened there was a pop over the sound system. The store called three different electricians and said everything was fine. The Church we attended had two brothers on the vestry that were competing electricians, that my boss called. They found the issue in 30 minutes. The installing electrician had tied the electrical ground to a 6 inch water main for the ceiling sprinkler system. The city requires a piece of PVC to isolate the building from the fire departments water supply. The original installer didn't install an appropriate ground rod and clamped to the wrong water supply. So the entire building was floating with out a ground. The system was perfectly quiet after the fix.

    When we installed a new air conditioning compressor for the air conditioner at home every time the unit cycled on the lights would dim and there was a faint buzz with a small click on the sound system, Turned out there was a noise blocking module accessory they hadn't installed. It consisted of two very large capacitors, an IC, resistors, small caps, and very small isolation transformer. Well there are no more clicks or buzzes. And a Furman power conditioner didn't help either.

    The sharpest electricians I have ever run across are those who work with Telephone companies, and Radio Stations. Neither businesses can tolerate any noisy ac circuits caused by electro, mechanical systems. Federal Banks and the FBI are pretty picky, too:because of their wireless communication equipment and computer networks . With the installation of so many computers since I retired, I would think businesses that depend on computers would have contact with electricians with special knowledge, too. Remember a great electrician has a good technical foundation and must have a vast experience you can only learn with time on the job. Electricians familiar with bonding different metals might be of help, too.

    This is not a do it your self project. But one thing you might try. Install a 1/2 inch 8 ft copper ground rod in good damp mineral rich soil and run a 8 awg ground wire and connect to your sound system ground on your pre-amp or integrated amp. Then lift the ground on any units with 3 prong plugs and connect the that chassis to the new ground circuit, too. But make sure the entire sound system including TV's or other components that are connected are disconnected from your AC circuits. After everything is connected to the new ground, excluding the TVs reconnect the system. And then reconnect items that are using different AC circuits, such as sub woofers, computers, TV's and cable boxes. Sound to complicated, call an electrician.

    Learned a long time ago there should be no physical connection between the cable company, your computer to a sound system. I use isolation transformers for direct connections of computers, or else a Apple TV or Airport Express wireless connection. I gave upon cable and use Satellite to supply signal to the TV, other wise you again have to use isolation transformers. I don't know if it applies with HDMI connections, or digital connections but a noisy ground from a cable company is still noisy ground.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  18. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Don't forget guys like mine that deal with all the interference in control/pwr ckts on USN ships. They are great at tracking down problems!!
     
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  19. squirrelnest

    squirrelnest Addicted Member

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    At least that Furman looks cool!:rockon:
     
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  20. totem

    totem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sad to hear of your issues
    I also run an on demand domestic hot water system gas fed with a 120 volt power feed for the controls
    this one is a Navien and have never had issues with pops or transients.
    In fact I have 2 with one feeding a hot water radiator loop and again no bad affects.

    You need to try another amp first, is your new hot water source gas or electrical?
     
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