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Help!!, 134 volts coming into my studio.
Old 8th February 2009
  #1
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Help!!, 134 volts coming into my studio.

I recently had a power surge in my studio ( I believe it has to do with a large building that is under construction close to my home, or just the grid the house is on, although a blackout is not an uncommon thing in my area. )

I have all of my studio gear on 6 monster pro 2500 power strips, I was in the studio Thurs night when my entire room shut down, my power strips all read 134 volts in the led windows, at that voltage i cant turn on the gear even if I wanted to because the strips break at anything above 134 volts, the average reading now is 132 to 134, I have contacted my service provider to come check the grid and the service coming into my house etc, all of the outlets in my house are reading the same or similar high voltage.

my question is : is it safe to run my gear at that voltage (not that I am going to) I just want to get the opinion of others who are familiar, or can suggest a long term voltage regulator that would be good for the studio.

Thanks
Old 8th February 2009
  #2
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Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
Do you have neighbors on the same electrical transformer but with different service lines? If so, take a measurement at their outlets. If they are not experiencing the same high voltage you may have a compromised "neutral" into your house. This needs to be sorted out ASAP. If the neighbor has the same high voltage coming down from separate lines then the provider needs to address the problem ( actually the provider needs to address this in either scenario).
This may or may not be the issue but it sure was for me about a year ago and it took 3 service calls from PG&E before they found a loose neutral from the pole to my service box. My lights were flickering brighter than normal.....under most situations when lights flicker they go under normal brightness momentarily rather than over. My studio's heavy AC grounding scheme was keeping the AC drop from going completely ballistic but it was just a matter of time until 240 volts would have surged through the lines without a solid neutral.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton ➑️
Do you have neighbors on the same electrical transformer but with different service lines? If so, take a measurement at their outlets. If they are not experiencing the same high voltage you may have a compromised "neutral" into your house. This needs to be sorted out ASAP. If the neighbor has the same high voltage coming down from separate lines then the provider needs to address the problem ( actually the provider needs to address this in either scenario).
This may or may not be the issue but it sure was for me about a year ago and it took 3 service calls from PG&E before they found a loose neutral from the pole to my service box. My lights were flickering brighter than normal.....under most situations when lights flicker they go under normal brightness momentarily rather than over. My studio's heavy AC grounding scheme was keeping the AC drop from going completely ballistic but it was just a matter of time until 240 volts would have surged through the lines without a solid neutral.
Thanks Rick, I've been waiting for P.S.E.G since yesterday, they claim they made a service call to the Pole but have not submitted a report to the office yet,
I'm waiting for my neighbor to come home now so I can check his service.
This happened to me about two years ago after a blackout when they restored power, but the voltage slowly decreased over the course of a couple of days to normal, which for me is about 121 to 124.
Old 8th February 2009
  #4
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
I recently had a power surge in my studio ( I believe it has to do with a large building that is under construction close to my home, or just the grid the house is on, although a blackout is not an uncommon thing in my area. )

my question is : is it safe to run my gear at that voltage (not that I am going to) I just want to get the opinion of others who are familiar, or can suggest a long term voltage regulator that would be good for the studio.

Thanks
I would not do it. Anything over 120 volts is a real concern for most gear. At the least your voltage regulators inside the gear may run too hot and fail prematurely. 130 volts is an invitation to a burnout.

BK
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
Verified Member
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
A couple of years ago we had the exact opposite problem. In the summer our voltage dropped to 90 volts. It turned out to be a very overloaded transformer that had seen better days. Our local electric utility is publicly owned and are very good at trouble shooting. They found the problem in less than an hour, had the transformer torn down and a new larger one installed in one afternoon and we have no had any problems since. We also had a problem with the lights flickering anytime there was any wind and that turned out to be a crimping problem at the pole and that too was also fixed in one afternoon.

Surge voltages and over voltage problems are very damaging to equipment and should be fixed ASAP. It sounds like you are on the right path. I would not use any of your equipment until the problem is solved. If they cannot fix the problem in a short period of time you can purchase TOPAZ or other isolation transformers with a variable secondary so you can at least get the voltage to a safer level.

Best of Luck!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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da goose's Avatar
 
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9 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
We have 230v in the Netherlands, and i think in the rest of europe as well nowadays and i never heard of any problems here with over or under voltages, it's tight at 230v all the time.
Is it some kind of USA thing then? maybe because of the bigger distances?
Might be nice to know that some years ago (maybe even 10) we had 220v but the powercompanys turned it up really slowly (over a period of 3 or 4 years that is) to the 230v we have right now.
Reason: transporting a higher voltage is easier and cheaper because you need less thicker cables to have the same amount of power (P = U x I > Watt = Voltage x Amperage).
That is also the reason why they use these high voltages (380KV) to transport it over long distance > a LOT less thick cables = cheaper.

So maybe they are slowly raising voltages as well in the states without telling people and they turned it up just a 'bit' to fast?
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Did you check it with a good VOM?
134V is not real high, about 10% over 120V, secondary on a transformer will have a 10% increase as well.
Depends on the gear....
Would NOT want to see it any higher, 117V to 125V is a good margin..
Gear like Focusrite, ISA, Amek, Oram, runs hot on 120V, 134V would put it over the top...
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by da goose ➑️

So maybe they are slowly raising voltages as well in the states without telling people and they turned it up just a 'bit' to fast?
This is quite true. Up to 130 volts in some regions is becoming more common, but they've gone much too far! The original official standard was 110, then 117 then drifted up to 120.

BK
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
A couple of years ago we had the exact opposite problem. In the summer our voltage dropped to 90 volts. It turned out to be a very overloaded transformer that had seen better days. Our local electric utility is publicly owned and are very good at trouble shooting. They found the problem in less than an hour, had the transformer torn down and a new larger one installed in one afternoon and we have no had any problems since. We also had a problem with the lights flickering anytime there was any wind and that turned out to be a crimping problem at the pole and that too was also fixed in one afternoon.

Surge voltages and over voltage problems are very damaging to equipment and should be fixed ASAP. It sounds like you are on the right path. I would not use any of your equipment until the problem is solved. If they cannot fix the problem in a short period of time you can purchase TOPAZ or other isolation transformers with a variable secondary so you can at least get the voltage to a safer level.

Best of Luck!
Thanks, I have spoken to PSEG and they claim to have come out to check the pole, today the units are reading at 126-129. The last time this happened it took about 4 days before the reading was normal.

Thanks for your suggestion about the Topaz, I am going to look into it since that was going to be my next post,

What are the high end users doing to control the ac feeding the studio?

I have complete access to my main panel, since I am renovating the basement now, everything is wide open and the studio is on the first floor, also on the plus side, I had the main service to the house replaced in 2004.

I know the monster strips are not the best solution, but I am glad I have em and they did do what I would have wanted by shutting down.
I'm going to look into the Topaz now and other high end units.

Thanks
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by da goose ➑️
We have 230v in the Netherlands, and i think in the rest of europe as well nowadays and i never heard of any problems here with over or under voltages, it's tight at 230v all the time.
Is it some kind of USA thing then? maybe because of the bigger distances?
Might be nice to know that some years ago (maybe even 10) we had 220v but the powercompanys turned it up really slowly (over a period of 3 or 4 years that is) to the 230v we have right now.
Reason: transporting a higher voltage is easier and cheaper because you need less thicker cables to have the same amount of power (P = U x I > Watt = Voltage x Amperage).
That is also the reason why they use these high voltages (380KV) to transport it over long distance > a LOT less thick cables = cheaper.

So maybe they are slowly raising voltages as well in the states without telling people and they turned it up just a 'bit' to fast?

That may be the case, since converting to a high end room about 3 1/2 years ago, I have noticed voltage ranging anywhere from 121 to 124 on average, 126 would have been high. My gut tells me PSEG know whats going on, my only concern is to protect my investment at this point.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➑️
Did you check it with a good VOM?
134V is not real high, about 10% over 120V, secondary on a transformer will have a 10% increase as well.
Depends on the gear....
Would NOT want to see it any higher, 117V to 125V is a good margin..
Gear like Focusrite, ISA, Amek, Oram, runs hot on 120V, 134V would put it over the top...
Just checked it with the monster strips, I have 6 in use in the studio and a spare that I used to check all of the other outlets in the house. I am going to buy a dedicated multimeter today to monitor from this point.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I looked at an old MCI manual, JH-110C made in the early 80's, its specs are; 115V +-10%...
So from 103.5V to 126.5V... The machine will work just fine under those levels...
For gear in the USA I have seen 117V specs MANY times...

How many times do you think people have high or low voltage and DON"T even know it, better to know, just making a point...
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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alloysound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For your entire facility, consider a Sola Hevi Duty MCR - a lot of $$ but does the job. Otherwise, enough Furman Voltage Regulators (AR-15 II etc.) to cover all of your circuits. I have survived several electrical events thanks to these (brownouts and lightning strikes). One lightning strike took out the only two things in my studio that did not have a Furman in line. However, 134 V is getting close to the 137 V maximum input of the Furman.
Old 8th February 2009
  #14
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fader8's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
To the OP,
First, it would really help to know what country you are in.

Depending on what type of overvoltage protection your power strips use, eg carbon block, gas tube, etc, if you experienced an overvoltage that shut everything down, then that protection could easily have been destroyed/compromised in the event. So I wouldn't trust them to protect your gear again until you've had them tested.

As to what can or can't survive is a crap shoot at best. Smaller devices with switching power supplies could care less about input voltage, while conventional supplies are more at risk. I once worked a show where the idiot electrician had reconnected stage power (after some wack audience members had yanked it out in some bizarre tug of war) so all the 120 lines were hot with 220. All the PA's Crown amps cruised along fine, but their BGW's all popped and went south.

You may want to look into some of the excellent UPS's that are available that output a sine wave. These are honestly your very best bet as to conditioning and regulating the power. You don't have to put everything on them, just the really critical stuff.

Good luck!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Sunbreak Music's Avatar
 
Verified Member
8 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
When I bought my first "real" piece of gear, I also bought a Furman AR-1215. Everything runs @ +/- 3 volts at 120 VAC in my space.

I sleep better at night.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Wide Goalposts

I had flickering lights when I first moved here. Turned out there was a steel smelting plant. Irish Steel in the Harbour, flickering the whole city!
EU mains seems to be settling at 230V. Mine was 235-240. I contacted the supplier. Their contract which I never read, stipulates 190-250V as good!
I would take US voltage to be nominally 117, so 134 doesn't seem outrageous to me.
DD
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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dcollins's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
That may be the case, since converting to a high end room about 3 1/2 years ago, I have noticed voltage ranging anywhere from 121 to 124 on average, 126 would have been high. My gut tells me PSEG know whats going on, my only concern is to protect my investment at this point.
Istr something on the Ampex mailing list about this in the bay area. A few Volts more from the power company increases everyone's power bill, incandescent lights burn out faster -- it's a positive boon to the economy!


DC
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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dwpthe3rd's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz ➑️
I would not do it. Anything over 120 volts is a real concern for most gear. At the least your voltage regulators inside the gear may run too hot and fail prematurely. 130 volts is an invitation to a burnout.

BK
Now you made me check house line voltage.... 125.7 volts, coming from good 'ol PG&E in northern California. hmmmmm. I thought it's been slowly creeping up. Does this mean shorter lifespan on equipment? With the sometimes all too brief MTBF rate on some China made equipment I thought it was just the "made in china" syndrom. Is there more than meets the eye (or voltage meter) going on here?

Dave P.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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Don S's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Please forgive me if this sounds silly, but an entry level regulator only costs about $400. Sometimes mine (furman AR1215) causes problems with some gear, I still feel a little better having it in the chain.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
Verified Member
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
You can get a very large autoformer/variac for very little money and set your own output level. It is not automatic but they do make some and every once in a while you see them up for sale.

Check this place out. HGR Industrial Surplus - We sell everything

and

HGR Industrial Surplus - We sell everything
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwpthe3rd ➑️
Now you made me check house line voltage.... 125.7 volts, coming from good 'ol PG&E in northern California. hmmmmm. I thought it's been slowly creeping up. Does this mean shorter lifespan on equipment? With the sometimes all too brief MTBF rate on some China made equipment I thought it was just the "made in china" syndrom. Is there more than meets the eye (or voltage meter) going on here?

Dave P.
I would not consider 125V to be high, that is well with in the tolerance of +-10%...
Also where exactly did you get that reading? At the panel? At an outlet?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by da goose ➑️
Might be nice to know that some years ago (maybe even 10) we had 220v but the powercompanys turned it up really slowly (over a period of 3 or 4 years that is) to the 230v we have right now.
Reason: transporting a higher voltage is easier and cheaper because you need less thicker cables to have the same amount of power (P = U x I > Watt = Voltage x Amperage).
The real reason was to standardize EU voltage, it was 240v in Great Britain and 220v elsewhere. So they made a compromize of 230 volts, which both 220V and 240V systems can cope with easily. Now everybody in Europe is running 230V.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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taturana's Avatar
 
Verified Member
12 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
At this point, my studio is getting 125v from the outlet... and that has been an average for the past 10 years... i would risk to say that up to 127v it is still normal, i have seen voltage peaks of over 130v, especially at the end of the afternoon when close by factories shut off their machinery.. ... Everything i have in the studio passes through a fairly big UPS and receives 117v, though (except the power amps and AC)
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwpthe3rd ➑️
Now you made me check house line voltage.... 125.7 volts, coming from good 'ol PG&E in northern California. hmmmmm. I thought it's been slowly creeping up. Does this mean shorter lifespan on equipment? With the sometimes all too brief MTBF rate on some China made equipment I thought it was just the "made in china" syndrom. Is there more than meets the eye (or voltage meter) going on here?

Dave P.
It really does concern me. Now you're making me do a check of our house voltage, too.
Anything over 120 gives me pause regarding the long term life of our gear. A lot of audio gear is just linear supplies.

BK
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz ➑️
It really does concern me. Now you're making me do a check of our house voltage, too.
Anything over 120 gives me pause regarding the long term life of our gear. A lot of audio gear is just linear supplies.

BK
A good linear supply still has a tolerence Bob, I prefer 120V...
5% over that is 126V, that would be just fine...
Like I mentioned above MCI's specs were +-10%, for a linear supply...
ANY supply that can not handle 126V is a piece of crap in my book...
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➑️
A good linear supply still has a tolerence Bob, I prefer 120V...
5% over that is 126V, that would be just fine...
Like I mentioned above MCI's specs were +-10%, for a linear supply...
ANY supply that can not handle 126V is a piece of crap in my book...
Definition of "handle", please :-)

Anyway, you're probably right, Mike. But how comfortable do you feel in terms of rating the MTBF (mean time between failures) of a linear supply being fed 126 volts all day, every day, over time, versus 120? If the supply is rugged and well made, perhaps they are equivalent. But heat does take its toll, and I wager the internal temperatures will be measurably higher at 126 than 120.

BK
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz ➑️
Definition of "handle", please :-)

Anyway, you're probably right, Mike. But how comfortable do you feel in terms of rating the MTBF (mean time between failures) of a linear supply being fed 126 volts all day, every day, over time, versus 120? If the supply is rugged and well made, perhaps they are equivalent. But heat does take its toll, and I wager the internal temperatures will be measurably higher at 126 than 120.

BK
I know, I design my own supplies, IM very aware of the more voltage OVER the regulators the MORE the heat sinks/regulators have to dissipate in heat...Ohms law..
But the fact is AC power will never be the same (voltage) everywhere all the time...
Have had to modify many under designed supplies that ran VERY hot from 120V...NOT 126 or more...
It may sound like IM saying over voltage is NOTHING to worry about, it should not be MOST of the time...

Will add that if I was involved in a studio that had around 126V most of the time and had ANY peaks that went much over that I would look into it...
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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dcollins's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosebleedaudio ➑️
I know, I design my own supplies, IM very aware of the more voltage OVER the regulators the MORE the heat sinks/regulators have to dissipate in heat...Ohms law..
But the fact is AC power will never be the same (voltage) everywhere all the time...
Have had to modify many under designed supplies that ran VERY hot from 120V...NOT 126 or more...
It may sound like IM saying over voltage is NOTHING to worry about, it should not be MOST of the time...
I think the standard is -10/+6%.

It's a bit tricky, as running 5% high does not make the supply 5% less reliable!

DC
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Addict
 
rashadrm@hotmai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
back down to 122-124

Today the average is backdown to 122-124,
Back to work for me!
Thanks Guys
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