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Author Topic: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard  (Read 2696 times)

Matt Tudor

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Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« on: July 22, 2014, 05:00:18 pm »

I'm looking for a solution to possibly generator related voltage spikes to protect sound, light, other related FOH stuff.

We've noticed that we have had intermittent problems with our light board (ETC Element) locking up mid show, not booting etc. It's also been back to ETC for repairs twice in the last 4 years. It's most recent trip for repairs, they said the DRam was burning up. I'm starting to wonder if there is a weird power thing going on. I'm not noticing any problems with anything else in the booth, but the rest of the gear is older analog audio stuff, which tends to be more tolerant of power inconsistencies. We do have a back up generator in the building and some of the times that we have experienced the problems seem to be around the times when they test/run the genny. While problem don't occur every time they cycle the generator, it's often enough to make me suspicious. Of course the electricians say the generator is operating in spec, no other problems reported in the building...

I'm looking for recommendations for 2 devices. The first being something that I can set up to monitor the power feeding the board over an extended time. Something that I can take back to the electricians to quantify any spikes, brownouts, or other irregularities so they can help solve the issue whether it's related to the generator or not. Or, something to prove to me that power is rock solid and I need to look elsewhere for a cause of the glitches/damages.

The other recommendation would be for something to make power safer for the board? Would a simple regulator like the Furman AR1215 work to also combat a spike from the genny (if indeed that's what we have)? Or should I be looking at something else. Would a simple surge protected power strip be enough? Every time I meter it power is between 111 and 117 volts and the only load on that circuit (that I know of) is the usual booth stuff; sound board with a rack of outboard, light board, 2 monitors, and an LED gig light.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 05:15:10 pm »

TrippLite inline UPS.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 08:49:15 pm »

TrippLite inline UPS.

This. With AVR.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 09:16:18 pm »

I don't know much about the inner workings of a computer, from an electrical standpoint, but the element/ion/gio/EOS series of consoles are essentially pcs running windows XP embedded.  What burns up dram?  My understanding is static and poor grounding.  I might start there when I investigate the power.  An AVR won't fix ground problems to the best of my knowledge. 

In building backup systems, typically generators can't come online fast enough to make up for power loss.  There has to be an intermediary battery backup. 

I suppose my point is - if there is a ground or static discharge problem an AVR might not fix it.  What did ETC say about the failure?  Was it power supply failure?  Motherboard?  One of those would have to fail in some matter to Damage the RAM in my opinion....


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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 11:55:49 pm »

I don't know much about the inner workings of a computer, from an electrical standpoint, but the element/ion/gio/EOS series of consoles are essentially pcs running windows XP embedded.  What burns up dram?  My understanding is static and poor grounding.  I might start there when I investigate the power.  An AVR won't fix ground problems to the best of my knowledge. 

In building backup systems, typically generators can't come online fast enough to make up for power loss.  There has to be an intermediary battery backup. 

I suppose my point is - if there is a ground or static discharge problem an AVR might not fix it.  What did ETC say about the failure?  Was it power supply failure?  Motherboard?  One of those would have to fail in some matter to Damage the RAM in my opinion....


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Agree that UPS/AVR won't prevent the exact form of failure that is being seen here, but UPS/AVR is a Really Good Thing« when there are questions about temporary AC failure or over/under voltage conditions.  Also agree that ETC should have a pretty good idea of likely failure modes.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 01:03:29 am »

What did ETC say about the failure?  Was it power supply failure?  Motherboard?  One of those would have to fail in some matter to Damage the RAM in my opinion....

It's possible for a power surge to come in on another signal line and damage components without damaging the power supply.

I once had to troubleshoot a network. I found that a network interface in a server, two ports of a network switch, two short-haul DSL modems, a hub, another network interface, and a power supply in a PC were all taken out by a lightning strike near the underground 50-pair phone line between two buildings. One pair of that phone line was used to bridge the networks of the two buildings. The only thing that saved a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar CNC burn table was the fact that the link between itself and the aforementioned PC was fiber.

That was probably 10 years ago. Unfortunately, that customer is STILL using the short-haul DSL link, but the "near" end is at least isolated from the server closet by a fiber link now. (It would be very expensive to replace that link with fiber due to the topography of the campus.)
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Re: Power problems possibly damaging lightboard
┬ź Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 01:03:29 am ┬╗


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