Soft-start power "conditioner"

Discussion in 'DIY Discussion' started by SteveC, May 24, 2006.

  1. SteveC

    SteveC PrimaLuna is not cheese

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    Hi -

    Can anyone tell me whether there is such as thing as a soft-start conditioner or buffer for the main power supply to several components?

    I run several power amps (active system) and if I turn them all on at once (with a master switch on the power circuit) it's enough to trip the 16A circuit-breakers in the house fuse-box. Plus that a recently acquired sub (Velodyne DD-15) is enough to trip the breaker on its own. The sub has a 1250 W class-D amp and the amps (17 channels in total) are Linn switched-mode, if that makes any difference. Is there such a thing as a kind of buffer or bank of capacitors, or something, that could supply the whole lot to allow a soft start, lower inrush, without otherwise restricting the supply to the amps and sub?

    The fuse box is fairly new and I don't believe there is any kind of fault. The local electrician says he can fit another kind of breaker that is not so prone to trip, but I suspect this will not be enough. I want to do this to cut down on the large number of things in the house that are mostly on standby and to make it easier to boot up the whole system at once. There is hardly anything else on the same circuit except a couple of lights. Thanks for any ideas.
     
    SteveC, May 24, 2006
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  2. SteveC

    I-S Good Evening.... Infidel

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    The issue is that of inrush current, required to start-up switchmode psus. This can easily be several Amps per psu, so if you switch them all on at the same time, the current demand can be extremely high.

    The "fault" is that your circuit breaker is essentially too good at its job and is tripping very quickly. A fuse would not have blown in the time that the inrush current lasts.

    What you need is to sequence the power-up, switching the largest amps on first, followed by the smaller items (pre, cd player, whatever).

    Also, 16A sounds rather low. I guess that is a mains spur? A dedicated 32A ringmain might be a better bet?

    Otherwise, try a sequential-start unit from olson: http://www.olson.co.uk/sequential.htm
     
    I-S, May 24, 2006
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  3. SteveC

    SteveC PrimaLuna is not cheese

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    Thanks, Isaac, I hadn't thought of something like that. Actually, there are two 16A breakers in the box so I assume they share the duty. Plus I don't think mains is wired in a ring where I live, but I could be wrong. Anyway, that seems like a good idea and I will see if I can find a Euro version. The sub maker says 16A is sufficient, so if I get one with max 16A per outlet that should do I suppose.
     
    SteveC, May 24, 2006
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  4. SteveC

    felix part-time Horta

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    In the UK, at least, the breakers come in different flavours of delay to overcurrent trip within each current rating. This is specifically to allow the connection of inductive and other 'odd' loads to start up without nuisance tripping. Might be worth investigating as an easy fix.
     
    felix, May 24, 2006
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  5. SteveC

    sktn77a

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    Yes a capacitor will do what you want. But the capacitance would have to be so high that it could cost an arm and a leg. Also, some people swear that power conditioning of any kind will ruin the sound. Perhaps a better fix would be 2 or 3 dedicated spurs with their own breakers or a higher capacity ring main as suggested above (I would probably go for the former).

    Keith
     
    sktn77a, May 27, 2006
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  6. SteveC

    SteveC PrimaLuna is not cheese

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    Thanks for the comments. The electrician has fitted an extra circuit breaker of type "C" (slower trip) and has split off the few lights on the same circuit onto the old one. That means one course is virtually dedicated to the hi-fi, and turning on the whole rig with a master switch doesn't trip the breaker any longer.

    I think they do things differently here. I don't think they have rings, for one. It is a 16A double breaker, one for each side of the supply. The whole house has 16 courses in total with individual breakers. The new one has its own earth fail breaker and test button, a newer trend apparently. When I get the Velo sub back from the menders I'll see if the new breaker can handle that on the same circuit :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2006
    SteveC, Jun 2, 2006
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  7. SteveC

    felix part-time Horta

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    Betterer and betterer, glad it was an easy fix.

    Sounds like the circuits are all radials - a good thing - and I'm not surprised; the UK 'ring main' system has its origins in post-war economy of a limited supply of copper.
     
    felix, Jun 4, 2006
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  8. SteveC

    SteveC PrimaLuna is not cheese

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    It seems that's what They are, yes. I've also hung my projectors on the ceiling, nailed up the wires and polished the speakers; everything sounds really good now :)
     
    SteveC, Jun 5, 2006
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