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Power Conditioners vs. UPS

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Old 10-08-2005, 05:13 PM   #1  
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Default Power Conditioners vs. UPS

Here is an article I put on my blog and I thought it might be helpful posted here also.

If you live in an area where the electrical power suffers surges frequently, then you may be helped by the use of a power conditioner. What you want to find out about the conditioner is if it is just a series of high priced inductors, filters and surge protectors or if it is of a design that actually does double conversion with completely regulated and shaped output.

Most of the high priced power conditioners are marketing marvels, but do little to actually provide clean power as they claim. If you get down to the exact claims, you will find they cover a pretty narrow spectrum of the power issues one might expect to encounter. One thing that they are intended to suppress is harmonics that are superimposed on the power line that may “leak” into the audio or video. Truth is some brands will do a good job with the upper (higher frequency) harmonics and a poor job with the lower harmonics. The problem is while it looks good on a graph, in practice the lower frequencies will have a greater effect on equipment than the high frequencies as most power supplies in equipment will not pass the high frequencies through their transformers, but will pass the lower frequencies.

There are some power conditioners that use what is called double conversion in where the AC line is converted to regulated DC and then the output is another conversion back to AC. What you end up with is a completely regulated and shaped sine wave output that is isolated from the line power. This type of power conditioner is recommended over the surge protectors. For a discussion comparing these two types of power conditioners see:
http://www.psaudio.com/articles/power_conditioners.asp

Taking this double conversion one step father adding a battery in the DC power stage will allow for momentary power outages to prevent satellite receiver reboot or the shock to high powered lamps in DLP, LCD and LCOS type displays. Here we are talking about a Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS.

Now bear in mind there are three types of UPS units and depending on the use and the degree of protection you desire, will determine the type you will want to consider. The three type are Offline, Online and Line Interactive.

From http://www.opti-ups.com/whatsups.phtml:
Quote:
Standby UPS (Offline)
The AC line is the primary power source. The battery/inverter circuitry supplies the load in case of a power failure for fluctuation. Any drop in the voltage or current is detected by the UPS, which automatically switches the battery into the circuit, cutting of the main power line-thus allowing the battery to supply the required power. The transfer time should not take more than 4 milliseconds, as this is the tolerance limit of a typical computer power unit.

On-line UPS
This UPS operates with the inverter as the primary power source supplying the load and therefore there is no transfer time in case of power failure. This type of ‘on-line’ power eliminates any interruptions in the flow of electricity. And since it uses more electronic wizardry than offline UPS, it is priced higher. Besides the high price, on-line UPS also have the disadvantage of high running costs and temperature. Since the battery acts as the primary power source to the system, an on-line UPS battery charger has to be powerful enough to generate enough power to compensate for the battery’s power drain. This conversion from AC mains to DC for the battery and back to AC through the inverter results in a 25-to 30-percent power loss. The heat generated as a consequence of the power loss shortens the life of electrical components and reduces battery life.

Line-Interactive UPS
This is the topology used by the OPTI-UPS ES & PS series. The AC line power is the primary source and is being constantly filtered. In case of a brownout condition the automatic voltage regulation circuitry is activated to correct the problem. The battery and inverter circuitry supplies the backup power in case of a blackout.

Now in my mind the Online will give you the ultimate in power protection and conditioning for your system and if you live in an area where you have particularly dirty power, this would be a good solution. It is also the most expensive. A good second choice is the Line-Interactive UPS where the inverter output tracks the line voltage and is ready to provide a seamless switch to UPS power when trouble arises. The main advantage of this type UPS is the reduced current required by the inverter circuitry, thus increasing its life expectancy. It has been my experience that this is the best overall UPS for home theater use. The Offline UPS because of the switching time will cause a very short power outage of typically 4ms which is normally not going to cause the connected devices any problems, but in my mind it would be better to spend a bit more money and eliminate the power loss altogether.

A couple of other benefits of using a UPS is the ability to power down high powered lamps with the cool down fan still running. This assumes you are watching the TV when the power is lost and you turn the TV off manually. Additionally satellite receivers can be connected to the UPS to avoid lengthy reboot times. Finally I connect my VCR (yes I still have one of those) to keep the time settings during short power outages.

Last edited by rbinck; 10-08-2005 at 05:17 PM..
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Old 10-08-2005, 11:50 PM   #2  
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Line Interactive (Continuous Duty) is the way to go... price differences are little in the mass market PC business...
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Old 10-09-2005, 09:24 AM   #3  
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Both Online and Line-Interactive types are continous duty as far as that goes. Cost-benifit is best accomplished by the Line-Interactive, but they do allow any harmonics that may be present in the power line through the same as any power conditioner, so to completely isolate the output from the input line the Online would be the better choice.

I agree that for most urban power enviroments the Line-Interactive would be the best choice price-peformance, but in rural and dirty power areas, like near heavy industrial, the Online may be what is needed.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:07 PM   #4  
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Well, if he lives next to an ALCOA foundry, he'll want a BIG online for his whole house!
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:18 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSawdey
Well, if he lives next to an ALCOA foundry, he'll want a BIG online for his whole house!
around here Alcoa made a bundle selling their power contracts back to the gov for zillions and shutting down the smelters. - way to go bu$h
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Old 11-01-2005, 08:09 AM   #6  
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If you have a generator, you definitely want a true double conversion line conditioner. Generators are notorious for putting out crappy waves. In fact, my old UPS wouldn't accept the generator output as normal.
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:39 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbinck
Both Online and Line-Interactive types are continous duty as far as that goes. Cost-benifit is best accomplished by the Line-Interactive, but they do allow any harmonics that may be present in the power line through the same as any power conditioner, so to completely isolate the output from the input line the Online would be the better choice.

I agree that for most urban power enviroments the Line-Interactive would be the best choice price-peformance, but in rural and dirty power areas, like near heavy industrial, the Online may be what is needed.
Could you recommend a brand and model #, please? Thanks
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Old 05-07-2006, 02:38 AM   #8  
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Default plasma vs lcd

which consumption is higher? Lcd or Plasma
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:18 AM   #9  
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Default Start with a dedicated line to your gear.

Have an electrician run a dedicated line with hospital grade plug-in's (PS Audio Power Ports for example) and then see what improvements you notice. You may not even need power conditioners and or noise filters. Until you have clean juice from your AC junction box, trying to clean up the noise is expensive and difficult.
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:12 AM   #10  
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SO...

I have iffy power at my house. Somewhat rural, above ground wires, etc. Bad wiring from the previous owners remodel.

I'll be having some rewiring done soon to smooth things out but here's my question:

I just purchased a plasma, gets delivered Wednesday. I passed on by any sort of power conditioning for the time being. Are the Monster and similar boxes for $200-300 worth it? I appreciate the difference between conditioning versus simple protection but...

I won't be buying a true power plant ala PS, too much cash.

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Old 11-22-2006, 10:32 AM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemad
which consumption is higher? Lcd or Plasma
Plasma uses more energy, but is more efficient in comparison to the back light of an LCD which is always on....as a result they consume
equal power.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:36 AM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
SO...

I have iffy power at my house. Somewhat rural, above ground wires, etc. Bad wiring from the previous owners remodel.

I'll be having some rewiring done soon to smooth things out but here's my question:

I just purchased a plasma, gets delivered Wednesday. I passed on by any sort of power conditioning for the time being. Are the Monster and similar boxes for $200-300 worth it? I appreciate the difference between conditioning versus simple protection but...

I won't be buying a true power plant ala PS, too much cash.

Go back to the store and buy a power conditioner ..... yes they are worth it. Too bad your salesperson couldn't convince you. I had a huge improvement in my system. I bought the Monster 7000 series power conditioner.....its like I have different equipment. You spent good money on the TV, don't cheap out on the hook ups !
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Old 08-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #13  
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Default Consider a UPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
SO...

I have iffy power at my house. Somewhat rural, above ground wires, etc. Bad wiring from the previous owners remodel.

I'll be having some rewiring done soon to smooth things out but here's my question:

I just purchased a plasma, gets delivered Wednesday. I passed on by any sort of power conditioning for the time being. Are the Monster and similar boxes for $200-300 worth it? I appreciate the difference between conditioning versus simple protection but...

I won't be buying a true power plant ala PS, too much cash.

The people on this forum mostly disdain UPS (uninterruptable power supplies), but you may want to consider one under your circumstances. When we lived in the Mohave Desert the power would go off and on rapidly when there was a storm. I can not think of anything more harmful to electronic equipment, except possibly going swimming with it.

A UPS will cut in fast enough to keep your equipment powered up for awhile. They can also do a basic job "smoothing" out both the power power spikes. They are not power conditioners and will not show you a perfect waveform, but at this they are no really worse than what your power company probably gives you anyway!

A UPS can also allow you to keep recording a show on your DVD recorder when the power drops out for a short period of time, very valuable in our household.

Anyway, consider both alternatives. If you get a UPS make sure it can handle the current drain from your equipment. Add up the watts from your tv, cable or satellite box, and DVD player/recorder and increase the total by at least 50%. Meaning if your equipment draws a total of 600 watts, then make sure your UPS can provide 900 watts. Usually the UPS have deceptively high sounding ratings, so look in the manual for the real capacity.

Mine was on sale for under 3 bills and can actually do 1200 watts for 20 minutes, not bad!

Ed, a desert dweller moved north to Sacramento!
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:55 AM   #14  
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My lamp in my Sony LCD RPTV is pushing 12,000 hours & it is as bright as when i bought it brand new from the factory. I believe the $200 Monster Power Conditioner has alot to do with it. The lamp was rated 6000-8000 hours, & some people on here believe my eyes have just adjusted to it & that's not true as i have seen others & mine is very bright & i have a replacement lamp so it's not like I am trying to save a buck. If i thought for a second the pic was losing it's beauty the new lamp would be in. So I am very glad i got them to throw in the Monster PC. I could be wrong, but what else could explain this lamp going this far???
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:41 AM   #15  
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Just about all home UPS systems run off a 12V battery. A 12 Volt battery is a 12 volt battery -- if it fits in the palm of you hand or weighs 80 pounds and has the power to start a DT466 diesel engine on a cold winter morning, it still just puts out 12 Volts (nominal). A lot of people with aquariums run a UPS connected to a car battery to keep heaters, lights, pumps, etc running when the power fails. You can basically use any 12V UPS; remove the small battery and run leads to the large battery. You could run a STB, sound system, and a large plasma for quite some time with the proper set up . . .
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