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Do I need isolated receptacles?

OP
Pancreas

Pancreas

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Fractal products are used on stages all over the world. Most touring racks have an inexpensive Furman or similar surge protector. And, venues have notoriously bad power. Something to keep in mind. (I was in and out of the industry for 30 years, so I have seen pretty much everything the pros actually use and have built custom amplifiers for many of them.)

Also, I see you have created at least 4 threads on this topic. The answer you seek is all you need is surge protection unless you have a specific problem. If that comes up, solve that specific problem using the correct tool. The rest is nothing more than good feelz. Power conditioning is not an actual thing.

I run my iRacing 'gaming' computer on a $120 Furman 'power conditioner' and have for many years. No problems ever.

Musicians use Furman with their touring racks because is what is popular and known in the guitar world, but where is the main cable going to? Chances are the venue itself is using something like Surge X which is used in stadiums, venues, concerts, etc

I would bet that most musicians have never heard of Surge X or Zerosurge

Furman is very popular brand among guitar players, even Metallica and other big bands have it

The real question is where is the main cable from their rack going to? Chances are is going to a surge X provided by the venue

So Surge X may be overkill for home use? Who knows, it all depends if the peace of mind and idea of having a top quality product is important to you

Chances are a Furman or Triplitte will do the job and never have any issues, but who knows

I for one, dont need or want a rack surge protector, so that rules out pretty much ALL furman for my setup

I want a standalone brick
 

ErVikingo

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FL USA
Down here in FL also. I have a whole house surge right by the outdoor panels and meter.
 

digitalfrost

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Palatinate, Germany
I will relate a funny story on that. I was employed overseas by the State Department to bring computers into some local government processes almost 30 years ago. The country had terrible power. I talked to an IT person who had run all the computers for a mine before the rebels overtook it. They described the country as the "graveyard of UPSs." Some would immediately fail when plugged in. The best would last for about a year - the TrippLites.
Somehow reminded me of this:

Code:
From [email protected] Fri Nov 29 18:00:49 2002
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 21:03:02 -0500 (EST)
From: Trey Harris <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Subject: The case of the 500-mile email (was RE: [SAGE] Favorite impossible
    task?)

Here's a problem that *sounded* impossible...  I almost regret posting the
story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a
conference. :-)  The story is slightly altered in order to protect the
guilty, elide over irrelevant and boring details, and generally make the
whole thing more entertaining.

I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when
I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.

"We're having a problem sending email out of the department."

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"We can't send mail more than 500 miles," the chairman explained.

I choked on my latte.  "Come again?"

"We can't send mail farther than 500 miles from here," he repeated.  "A
little bit more, actually.  Call it 520 miles.  But no farther."

"Um... Email really doesn't work that way, generally," I said, trying to
keep panic out of my voice.  One doesn't display panic when speaking to a
department chairman, even of a relatively impoverished department like
statistics.  "What makes you think you can't send mail more than 500
miles?"

"It's not what I *think*," the chairman replied testily.  "You see, when
we first noticed this happening, a few days ago--"

"You waited a few DAYS?" I interrupted, a tremor tinging my voice.  "And
you couldn't send email this whole time?"

"We could send email.  Just not more than--"

"--500 miles, yes," I finished for him, "I got that.  But why didn't you
call earlier?"

"Well, we hadn't collected enough data to be sure of what was going on
until just now."  Right.  This is the chairman of *statistics*. "Anyway, I
asked one of the geostatisticians to look into it--"

"Geostatisticians..."

"--yes, and she's produced a map showing the radius within which we can
send email to be slightly more than 500 miles.  There are a number of
destinations within that radius that we can't reach, either, or reach
sporadically, but we can never email farther than this radius."

"I see," I said, and put my head in my hands.  "When did this start?  A
few days ago, you said, but did anything change in your systems at that
time?"

"Well, the consultant came in and patched our server and rebooted it.
But I called him, and he said he didn't touch the mail system."

"Okay, let me take a look, and I'll call you back," I said, scarcely
believing that I was playing along.  It wasn't April Fool's Day.  I tried
to remember if someone owed me a practical joke.

I logged into their department's server, and sent a few test mails.  This
was in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, and a test mail to my own
account was delivered without a hitch.  Ditto for one sent to Richmond,
and Atlanta, and Washington.  Another to Princeton (400 miles) worked.

But then I tried to send an email to Memphis (600 miles).  It failed.
Boston, failed.  Detroit, failed.  I got out my address book and started
trying to narrow this down.  New York (420 miles) worked, but Providence
(580 miles) failed.

I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my sanity.  I tried emailing a
friend who lived in North Carolina, but whose ISP was in Seattle.
Thankfully, it failed.  If the problem had had to do with the geography of
the human recipient and not his mail server, I think I would have broken
down in tears.

Having established that--unbelievably--the problem as reported was true,
and repeatable, I took a look at the sendmail.cf file.  It looked fairly
normal.  In fact, it looked familiar.

I diffed it against the sendmail.cf in my home directory.  It hadn't been
altered--it was a sendmail.cf I had written.  And I was fairly certain I
hadn't enabled the "FAIL_MAIL_OVER_500_MILES" option.  At a loss, I
telnetted into the SMTP port.  The server happily responded with a SunOS
sendmail banner.

Wait a minute... a SunOS sendmail banner?  At the time, Sun was still
shipping Sendmail 5 with its operating system, even though Sendmail 8 was
fairly mature.  Being a good system administrator, I had standardized on
Sendmail 8.  And also being a good system administrator, I had written a
sendmail.cf that used the nice long self-documenting option and variable
names available in Sendmail 8 rather than the cryptic punctuation-mark
codes that had been used in Sendmail 5.

The pieces fell into place, all at once, and I again choked on the dregs
of my now-cold latte.  When the consultant had "patched the server," he
had apparently upgraded the version of SunOS, and in so doing
*downgraded* Sendmail.  The upgrade helpfully left the sendmail.cf
alone, even though it was now the wrong version.

It so happens that Sendmail 5--at least, the version that Sun shipped,
which had some tweaks--could deal with the Sendmail 8 sendmail.cf, as most
of the rules had at that point remained unaltered.  But the new long
configuration options--those it saw as junk, and skipped.  And the
sendmail binary had no defaults compiled in for most of these, so, finding
no suitable settings in the sendmail.cf file, they were set to zero.

One of the settings that was set to zero was the timeout to connect to the
remote SMTP server.  Some experimentation established that on this
particular machine with its typical load, a zero timeout would abort a
connect call in slightly over three milliseconds.

An odd feature of our campus network at the time was that it was 100%
switched.  An outgoing packet wouldn't incur a router delay until hitting
the POP and reaching a router on the far side.  So time to connect to a
lightly-loaded remote host on a nearby network would actually largely be
governed by the speed of light distance to the destination rather than by
incidental router delays.

Feeling slightly giddy, I typed into my shell:

$ units
1311 units, 63 prefixes

You have: 3 millilightseconds
You want: miles
        * 558.84719
        / 0.0017893979

"500 miles, or a little bit more."

Trey Harris
 

Steve Dallas

Major Contributor
Joined
May 28, 2020
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A Whole Other Country
Musicians use Furman with their touring racks because is what is popular and known in the guitar world, but where is the main cable going to? Chances are the venue itself is using something like Surge X which is used in stadiums, venues, concerts, etc

I would bet that most musicians have never heard of Surge X or Zerosurge

Furman is very popular brand among guitar players, even Metallica and other big bands have it

The real question is where is the main cable from their rack going to? Chances are is going to a surge X provided by the venue

So Surge X may be overkill for home use? Who knows, it all depends if the peace of mind and idea of having a top quality product is important to you

Chances are a Furman or Triplitte will do the job and never have any issues, but who knows

I for one, dont need or want a rack surge protector, so that rules out pretty much ALL furman for my setup

I want a standalone brick

Most power products, beyond surge protection, do nothing useful. Even the top quality brands. Maybe especially the top quality brands. Anything above cheap China junk is all you need. A Belkin power strip is perfect for your application.

Chances are venues have breakout boxes with no surge protection nor anything else. I have been on hundreds of stages and have rarely seen anything but basic outlets in breakout boxes coming from the breaker boxes. They build the venue to the electrical code of the time and leave it that way. Everything else is up to the renter. Many venues have terribly dirty power by way of their locations and ages. Yet, stage stuff somehow works without fancy power conditioning. And, brilliant recordings are made on that dirty power with nothing special employed to 'condition' the power.

You obviously want one of these products, so buy whichever one makes you feel good and feel good about it. I'll keep successfully using my inexpensive, basic surge protection and continue to be content.

Who knows? The EEs on this forum know...

1683241986824.png
 

robwpdx

Active Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
Messages
268
Likes
372
Somehow reminded me of this:

Code:
From [email protected] Fri Nov 29 18:00:49 2002
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 21:03:02 -0500 (EST)
From: Trey Harris <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Subject: The case of the 500-mile email (was RE: [SAGE] Favorite impossible
    task?)

Here's a problem that *sounded* impossible...  I almost regret posting the
story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a
conference. :-)  The story is slightly altered in order to protect the
guilty, elide over irrelevant and boring details, and generally make the
whole thing more entertaining.

I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when
I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.

"We're having a problem sending email out of the department."

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"We can't send mail more than 500 miles," the chairman explained.

I choked on my latte.  "Come again?"

"We can't send mail farther than 500 miles from here," he repeated.  "A
little bit more, actually.  Call it 520 miles.  But no farther."

"Um... Email really doesn't work that way, generally," I said, trying to
keep panic out of my voice.  One doesn't display panic when speaking to a
department chairman, even of a relatively impoverished department like
statistics.  "What makes you think you can't send mail more than 500
miles?"

"It's not what I *think*," the chairman replied testily.  "You see, when
we first noticed this happening, a few days ago--"

"You waited a few DAYS?" I interrupted, a tremor tinging my voice.  "And
you couldn't send email this whole time?"

"We could send email.  Just not more than--"

"--500 miles, yes," I finished for him, "I got that.  But why didn't you
call earlier?"

"Well, we hadn't collected enough data to be sure of what was going on
until just now."  Right.  This is the chairman of *statistics*. "Anyway, I
asked one of the geostatisticians to look into it--"

"Geostatisticians..."

"--yes, and she's produced a map showing the radius within which we can
send email to be slightly more than 500 miles.  There are a number of
destinations within that radius that we can't reach, either, or reach
sporadically, but we can never email farther than this radius."

"I see," I said, and put my head in my hands.  "When did this start?  A
few days ago, you said, but did anything change in your systems at that
time?"

"Well, the consultant came in and patched our server and rebooted it.
But I called him, and he said he didn't touch the mail system."

"Okay, let me take a look, and I'll call you back," I said, scarcely
believing that I was playing along.  It wasn't April Fool's Day.  I tried
to remember if someone owed me a practical joke.

I logged into their department's server, and sent a few test mails.  This
was in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, and a test mail to my own
account was delivered without a hitch.  Ditto for one sent to Richmond,
and Atlanta, and Washington.  Another to Princeton (400 miles) worked.

But then I tried to send an email to Memphis (600 miles).  It failed.
Boston, failed.  Detroit, failed.  I got out my address book and started
trying to narrow this down.  New York (420 miles) worked, but Providence
(580 miles) failed.

I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my sanity.  I tried emailing a
friend who lived in North Carolina, but whose ISP was in Seattle.
Thankfully, it failed.  If the problem had had to do with the geography of
the human recipient and not his mail server, I think I would have broken
down in tears.

Having established that--unbelievably--the problem as reported was true,
and repeatable, I took a look at the sendmail.cf file.  It looked fairly
normal.  In fact, it looked familiar.

I diffed it against the sendmail.cf in my home directory.  It hadn't been
altered--it was a sendmail.cf I had written.  And I was fairly certain I
hadn't enabled the "FAIL_MAIL_OVER_500_MILES" option.  At a loss, I
telnetted into the SMTP port.  The server happily responded with a SunOS
sendmail banner.

Wait a minute... a SunOS sendmail banner?  At the time, Sun was still
shipping Sendmail 5 with its operating system, even though Sendmail 8 was
fairly mature.  Being a good system administrator, I had standardized on
Sendmail 8.  And also being a good system administrator, I had written a
sendmail.cf that used the nice long self-documenting option and variable
names available in Sendmail 8 rather than the cryptic punctuation-mark
codes that had been used in Sendmail 5.

The pieces fell into place, all at once, and I again choked on the dregs
of my now-cold latte.  When the consultant had "patched the server," he
had apparently upgraded the version of SunOS, and in so doing
*downgraded* Sendmail.  The upgrade helpfully left the sendmail.cf
alone, even though it was now the wrong version.

It so happens that Sendmail 5--at least, the version that Sun shipped,
which had some tweaks--could deal with the Sendmail 8 sendmail.cf, as most
of the rules had at that point remained unaltered.  But the new long
configuration options--those it saw as junk, and skipped.  And the
sendmail binary had no defaults compiled in for most of these, so, finding
no suitable settings in the sendmail.cf file, they were set to zero.

One of the settings that was set to zero was the timeout to connect to the
remote SMTP server.  Some experimentation established that on this
particular machine with its typical load, a zero timeout would abort a
connect call in slightly over three milliseconds.

An odd feature of our campus network at the time was that it was 100%
switched.  An outgoing packet wouldn't incur a router delay until hitting
the POP and reaching a router on the far side.  So time to connect to a
lightly-loaded remote host on a nearby network would actually largely be
governed by the speed of light distance to the destination rather than by
incidental router delays.

Feeling slightly giddy, I typed into my shell:

$ units
1311 units, 63 prefixes

You have: 3 millilightseconds
You want: miles
        * 558.84719
        / 0.0017893979

"500 miles, or a little bit more."

Trey Harris
Thanks! I was that deep in managing network engineers, email included, and capable of doing it with a network analyzer myself. Now we are now audio network engineers! Anyone interested in broad scale network engineering should connect with NANOG. I
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Every audio device has a power supply and every power supply has a transformer. A transformer isolates the lower-voltage electronics from the power line... There is no direct electrical connection to the power line, only an electro-magnetic connection.

If there is a power-line ground, that's not necessarily isolated. It's usually connected to the chassis (for safety in case power gets shorted to the chassis) but the chassis ground can be isolated from the "ground" in the audio circuitry.

...I remember "isolation transformers' (i.e. 120VAC in and 120 VAC out) being used for safety when working on old TVs, etc. The voltage is still potentially lethal but If there is no common ground between the primary and secondary you won't get killed by connecting your body between the secondary and earth ground because there is not a "complete circuit" to earth ground and no current can flow.

Not quite true. Actually in SMPSs there often is a direct electrical connection, via Y capacitors. If they fail, full mains potential can appear on the secondary cabling. Regardless, current flows due to capacitive reactance. Hence, depending on the design, SMPS '0V' can be 120V with respect to ground. All transformers have stray capacitance between primary and secondary and large transformers generally have more.
 

Rmar

Member
Joined
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Location
Danville, Kentucky
I would prioritize your chair over exotic power line filters. The Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair with Ottoman is a very good investment. You can order them with a choice of wood and upholstery from a Herman Miller dealer like Design Within Reach.

The second thing I would do is invest in a handmade silk Tabriz carpet with 2cm of jute carpet pad under it. Silk carpets have a shimmer.

Third, I would build a listening room like a Hidley room - http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/tom-hidley-studio-designer/1649

Fourth, I would invest in actual museum quality fine art originals. None of that realtor decorator art!

(Unfortunately my funds for those are limited!) (That is not my room below either, it does have an expensive beautiful hardwood fl

Ive been torn between surge X and zero surge

I want a standalone unit.

The zero surge has 8 outlet one with isolated receptacles for $325

Surge x has a 10 outlet one SA-1810 but not isolated

Do I really need isolated outlets?

Ill be using it to connect my computer, consoles, studio monitors, computer monitor, audio interface, guitar amp modeler unit, etc
To have a truely isolated ground serving our audio grear, would not the isolated ground in the receptacle ("hospital grade") need to also be connected to another isolated (and dedicated) ground line in the outlet box that runs all the way back to the serving panel (and also then isolated in the panel). Basically, isolated from end to end. Seems like that might have the potential to make a small impact, but again, as others have said...measurements are key.
 

fpitas

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To have a truely isolated ground serving our audio grear, would not the isolated ground in the receptacle ("hospital grade") need to also be connected to another isolated (and dedicated) ground line in the outlet box that runs all the way back to the serving panel (and also then isolated in the panel). Basically, isolated from end to end. Seems like that might have the potential to make a small impact, but again, as others have said...measurements are key.
Leading the ground wires all the way back to the breaker panel is the best you can do. I'm not sure I'd call that "isolated", but it minimizes the problems.
 

Speedskater

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a] Isolated Ground receptacles can only be used if wired thru conduit (metal or plastic) (ridge or flexible). They only matter in metal conduit. In a home they are seldom useful. They cannot be used in Romex®circuits.
b] When wiring a Isolated Ground circuit, the Hot, Neutral and Safety Ground wires should all be the same length.
c] Isolated Ground circuits are used to prevent ground, leakage, lost Neutral and noise currents from other circuits using your interconnects to get back to the main breaker panel.
d] In any audio system, it is best to keep it length of all AC cords from component as short as reasonable.
 
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