Entertainment Electronics Frying

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  #1  
Old 04-25-11, 08:56 PM
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Entertainment Electronics Frying

I'm about to get my 50" Plasma repaired for the second time and my Yahama receiver repaired for the 2nd time and a Toshiba LED TV once. Here's the deal: I redid my den and put 2 new lines in, one above the fireplace to a 20 amp breaker and then 2 lines, one on either side of the fireplace to a separate 20 amp breaker. All 3 times I've lost electronics was during a storm - only the first time was anything turned on. Do you think the 20 amp as opposed to a 15 is the problem? I really can't figure out what's going on, but my warranty ran out on the receiver and the TV runs out in October (just in time for one more storm season). I'm using outlets that have built in surge supressors and surge suppressing power strips. I just bought a new tv to replace the plasma (still plan on getting it fixed and redeploying to another room) and don't want it to fry too.
 
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Old 04-25-11, 11:53 PM
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Your wiring and breaker size have nothing to do with it. You are getting bad power from the power company is basically what it comes down to. Whether it is direct lightning strikes to the lines or they are having voltage regulation problems or a failing transformer, it is coming from outside.

Best I can tell you is add to your defenses. Add a full panel suppressor, and buy a high end UPS for the entertainment center (and your computers too for that matter) that has line voltage conditioning from APC or TrippLite. Both of those companies (aside from making the best surge protection devices on the market) have a Connected Equipment Guarantee that covers you against any surge and lightning damage to equipment properly connected to them. They will also replace any of their surge protection devices that "takes a bullet" and fails during the first two years free of charge.

Oh, and there's no such thing as "Off" anymore. It's "On" and "Standby". With the advent of the remote control and the ATX power supply came the end of mechanical switches that actually cut all power to the device. So it really makes no difference whether the TV/stereo were on or not. The only way to truly protect electronics during a storm is to unplug them
 
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Old 04-26-11, 04:43 AM
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Adding to the above: Check the TV cable or antenna for proper grounding. No amount of power conditioning will help if the cause is a bad ground or voltage on the TV cable.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Wagneja View Post
Do you think the 20 amp as opposed to a 15 is the problem?
No. Are there other customers served by the same transformer? If so, you should find out from them if they have had similar problems.

Has the utility verified that the ground and neutral are intact and performing properly? Have they checked the transformer output voltage?

Have you measured the line voltage H-N, H-H, H-G, G-N in your home?

These faults are relatively rare but you should eliminate them as possible causes.
 

Last edited by ArgMeMatey; 04-26-11 at 08:52 AM. Reason: typo and g-n
  #5  
Old 04-26-11, 08:53 AM
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Be sure you have a surge unit that has the F fitting in it for coax for your sets. Frankly, you need to cover yourself on PHONE, COAX, and POWER entering your home.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Johnston View Post
Adding to the above: Check the TV cable or antenna for proper grounding. No amount of power conditioning will help if the cause is a bad ground or voltage on the TV cable.
Good catch, I knew I forgot something. A lightning strike will travel on all available paths, including power, cable, and telephone lines. They do make UPS units specifically for entertainment centers, and these will have coaxial protection as well. But note, if you get TV from a satellite dish or fiber optic service such as Verizon Fios, the systems are electrically isolated from the poles. Electricity can't travel on fiber optic plastic, and the "fiber converter" (ONT) power supply has surge suppression and a UPS built in. Also, you can not use a surge protector on the coaxial line between the satellite dish and the receiver without it causing problems on the newer systems, but then again your dish would need to take a direct strike in order to introduce a surge into the system.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 03:52 PM
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Also ensure the coax is connected to the intersystem bonding strip and not the meter can or plumbing. I have yet to see a tv tech actually connect to one.[the bonding strip]
 
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Old 04-26-11, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
Also ensure the coax is connected to the intersystem bonding strip and not the meter can or plumbing. I have yet to see a tv tech actually connect to one.[the bonding strip]
JS; please explain. The best bonding systems typically connect all utility conductors together with a heavy conductor. Phone, cable TV, AC line, copper water plumbing, tower, lightning protection system. THe idea being that if any system goes up in voltage due to an unexpected event, ALL the utilities go up, using the bonding conductor as the path. Surge protection of the AC power to sensitive equipment is the start of the mitigation, but unless you are using indoor rabbit ears (unlikely), it's not all you need to do.

check this out: House ground layouts

THis guy has several >200' radio towers at his residence, gets direct strikes a few times a year, doesn't disconnect equipment when not used, and doesn't sustain damage.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 06:09 PM
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JS; please explain. The best bonding systems typically connect all utility conductors together with a heavy conductor. Phone, cable TV, AC line, copper water plumbing, tower, lightning protection system. THe idea being that if any system goes up in voltage due to an unexpected event, ALL the utilities go up, using the bonding conductor as the path. Surge protection of the AC power to sensitive equipment is the start of the mitigation, but unless you are using indoor rabbit ears (unlikely), it's not all you need to do.
You know that bonding buss outside that the telco and cable co are supposed to connect to and it is connected to the gec. I just forgot the name.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
Also ensure the coax is connected to the intersystem bonding strip and not the meter can or plumbing. I have yet to see a tv tech actually connect to one.[the bonding strip]
I agree with Justin, I've yet to see a well-grounded/bonded CATV setup. It seems that Telco techs learned how to do it correctly while the CATV techs were taught by drunk monkeys...

I've seen CATV "bonded" using a hose clamp around a SE clamp to the meter pan. another one "bonded" with a clamp to the painted packing nut of an outdoor spigot.

So yeah... step one is to ensure that the incoming CATV is bonded well to your cold water piping (which is in turn is bonded to the electrical system) or directly to the electrical panel.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 06:56 PM
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Old 04-26-11, 09:55 PM
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Audio and video systems should be grounded at one and only one point. The goal is to have zero-volt potential when measured between any connected device's ground and building ground. This includes the shield (ground) connections in the signal path and every device chassis that is connected to the system. (A potential of as little as 100 millivolts will cause audible noise in a sound system, for example.)

Other components such as Satellite and OTA antennas, cable, and phone (DSL) are typically connected to the A/V system, and their installation requirements dictate that they are properly grounded.

The problem is, they are all grounded at different locations. A zero-volt potential is impossible to achieve because of the different resistances in the physical paths to ground.

The A/V system is connected to the nearest receptacle. The cable line is grounded to a water pipe. Does the A/V system ground through the receptacle? Or does it ground through the TV's cable? The result is called a "ground loop" and it will cause audio noise, anomalies in the picture, and data errors in the streams.

One of the best treatments of the issues surrounding A/V systems is this white paper.
 

Last edited by Rick Johnston; 04-27-11 at 07:14 AM. Reason: Corrected link
  #13  
Old 04-27-11, 07:49 AM
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that's a decent paper. He does a good job describing the limitations of the bonding cable vs freq. etc. He doesn't go into the use of wide ribbon/strips, however, and they are shown to be better than the equiv. in round conductors when dealing with lightning. Unfortunately, most electricians don't have a good selection of hardware needed to work with 1.5" to 3" wide copper strips. There are copper clamps made now that are designed to work with copper strips.
 
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