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Author Topic: Protect equipment from excess voltage  (Read 9456 times)

Mike Sokol

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2015, 08:35:54 pm »

Looks like a well made piece of gear. I'll try and install it tonight and test it on shore power. Just moved into a new warehouse so we'll have to install a 50A breaker and outlet first.

Very good. What kind of connectors do you use for your distro?
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Mike Sokol
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Don Davis

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2015, 04:15:09 pm »

Very good. What kind of connectors do you use for your distro?

Input is Cal50. We installed the unit between the Cal 50 and the breaker panel that is in the distro. Powered it up and checked the display. It showed L1 & L2 Volts, 0 Amps, HZ and a code that says that everything it checks is wired correctly. I think this is going to be a winner for us. The next test will need to be in the field under real conditions.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2015, 05:32:42 pm »

Input is Cal50. We installed the unit between the Cal 50 and the breaker panel that is in the distro. Powered it up and checked the display. It showed L1 & L2 Volts, 0 Amps, HZ and a code that says that everything it checks is wired correctly. I think this is going to be a winner for us. The next test will need to be in the field under real conditions.

Don, any reports back from the field? I may just install one myself if you like it...
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Mike Sokol
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Don Davis

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2015, 04:54:09 pm »

Don, any reports back from the field? I may just install one myself if you like it...

Hi Mike,
No, all of my gigs since have been smaller and on wall outlets.
I have a couple coming up in June and July, that will be my test.
I'm still pulling damaged amps out of the rack for repair, total is 4 down so far.
Money well spent if the device helps protect against this in the future.
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Kevin Bayersdorfer

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2015, 01:59:20 am »

I just wanted to chime in on this and my one experience. I am small potatoes and don't use distro's yet. This one gig was one that I was actually playing in the band also. It was at a local VA hospital. They were providing us with a simple 120v genny since it was down by the Hudson River and now house power around. The two VA electricians show up with a 5kw emergency genny, they start it up and from my experience in working on small engines I notice it's overspeeding. I immediately pull out my meter and sure enough 168v out of the edisons...I grab the event coordinator and tell him I am not plugging my gear into that. They all hemmed and hawed then came to me, you have any ideas? Yeah let me adjust the idle, ok they say, but we have been using this generator for years like this. Haha well I guess that's why all your power tools worked so fast. They both looked at each other like oh crap yeah.... Just goes to show meter everything.
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Allen Smith

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2015, 10:14:30 pm »

I've never seen anyone do this for pro-sound, but it's a common problem with the RV industry. Progressive Industries makes a EMS (Electrical Management System) with relays that will monitor voltage and ground, and disconnect you from power if something goes out of spec (over 140 volts, I think). They make one rated up to a 50-amps at 120-240 volts with a 50-amp "stove" connector. I might consider something like this for my own sound rig if I was doing a bunch of shows powered from military generators. Even if the neutral opens up in the middle of a show, the EMS Surge Guard will open up the relay contacts to protect your gear.

http://www.progressiveindustries.net/

As a side note, none of these EMS products will detect or disconnect you from a RPBG (Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground) outlet. But that's nearly impossible to create on a 120-240 split phase feed.

Mike,

Its not clear to me from your post, have your or do you actively use one of these Progressive products for live audio?  I am very interested in some sort of protection for a 20k audio system and led lighting rig.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2015, 09:20:35 am »

Mike,

Its not clear to me from your post, have your or do you actively use one of these Progressive products for live audio?  I am very interested in some sort of protection for a 20k audio system and led lighting rig.

Take a good look at your LED lights.  I'd bet they are "universal" power:  100-250v. 50/60 cycle.

Mike was responding to Don Davis, who had a over-voltage situation that took out some gear.  The product they're discussing is made for the RV/camping industry and that's also one of Mike's safety passions so it was a good fit for discussion and investigation.

Now I'm an RV guy (small, can't afford a Class A on a sound guy income) as well as a sound guy.  My observation is that almost all venue power, shitty as some of it is, tends to be better than campground power pedestal service.  In 30+ years of providing portable audio services I recall only 1 instance of over voltage at a venue (outside line problem); and 2 times when generator power was bad (neutral bonding).  Two other over-voltage incidents happened because some moron (me, the first time) didn't adequately/correctly meter the genset output.  Only one of these resulted in equipment damage.  That's 5 incidents out of literally 2,000 gigs and only 1 that killed any gear (and mostly fuse replacements, although a couple items were toasted).

While I think anything that keeps us, the performers and audience safer is a very good thing, I think spending $ on this is a lower priority than implementing proper electrical safety practices and having good test gear.  The likelihood of gensets "gone wild" is very small and proper testing will generally reveal bad neutrals.  With the advent of universal power supplies in much of our audio equipment over-voltage is becoming less of an issue, too.

If you've had repeated issues with over-voltage service I think it should be discussed with clients and you should consider adding language in your contract to make the client liable for renting crappy generators or employing shade tree electricians that hook up incorrectly.  But your power chops need to be thorough and complete to make this stick...

On the RV side, I'm considering this unit because I have no control over the testing and maintenance of the power distribution system (unlike in audio).

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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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

Mike Sokol

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2015, 11:28:33 pm »

Mike was responding to Don Davis, who had a over-voltage situation that took out some gear.  The product they're discussing is made for the RV/camping industry and that's also one of Mike's safety passions so it was a good fit for discussion and investigation.
And if you look at the OP question, he often does gigs on military bases and has had issues in the past with generators being hooked up incorrectly and at least one time creating an over-voltage condition that destroyed some gear. So if I was doing that gig on a regular basis I think something like a Progressive Industries EMS would be a worthwhile investment. Also note that the OP was interested in something that would warn you of an overvotage condition. But the real answer is you really can't be watching some kind of meter all the time. So if your gigs give you power that could be wired wrong or lose a neutral, then an automatic protection device is called for. But your meter (and knowing how to use it) is still your best friend before hooking up to AC power.

But yes, RV campground power is REALLY bad since there will be dozens or even hundreds of other "temporary" RV hookups in your vicinity, some of which were installed by DIY guys who don't even know what a volt meter does and who can't wire a light switch.
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Mike Sokol
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Don Davis

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2015, 11:32:48 pm »

Just wanted to give an update on how the EMS-HW50C has worked in the field.
We did an event last night powered by a 25KW genny, first time using my distro with the EMS installed. The system was 4 dbl 12 tops, 8 SRX718 subs, 8 iTech 4000s and 6 XTI wedge amps plus FOH and misc gear.

We properly inspected and tested the generator and its output before hooking up. There was about 200' of feeder passing through at least one spider box before it got to me. There was some site lighting and other things I had no control over on the same generator.

During set up we pushed the system really hard with a DJ providing the music. The EMS went into time out. At first I didn't realize what had happened then the system came back on line. We checked the meter and everything looked fine. We went to check the generator and it was still set properly. My best estimate to the cause was that I had too many sub amps on the same leg and it was reacting to the heavy bass. We balanced things out and didn't have any problems.

The EMS may be a bit too sensitive to use on hard driven gigs. But, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Did I mention that I hate generator gigs.

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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2015, 12:53:22 am »

Just wanted to give an update on how the EMS-HW50C has worked in the field.
We did an event last night powered by a 25KW genny, first time using my distro with the EMS installed. The system was 4 dbl 12 tops, 8 SRX718 subs, 8 iTech 4000s and 6 XTI wedge amps plus FOH and misc gear.

We properly inspected and tested the generator and its output before hooking up. There was about 200' of feeder passing through at least one spider box before it got to me. There was some site lighting and other things I had no control over on the same generator.

During set up we pushed the system really hard with a DJ providing the music. The EMS went into time out. At first I didn't realize what had happened then the system came back on line. We checked the meter and everything looked fine. We went to check the generator and it was still set properly. My best estimate to the cause was that I had too many sub amps on the same leg and it was reacting to the heavy bass. We balanced things out and didn't have any problems.

The EMS may be a bit too sensitive to use on hard driven gigs. But, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Did I mention that I hate generator gigs.

Don't power your I-Techs from the EMS device.  They are "universal" from 100-250v, 50 or 60 CPS.  Use your voltage-protected feed for the rest of your stuff.
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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

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Protect equipment from excess voltage
« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2015, 12:53:22 am »


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