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Pete Gardner

Power Issues Perth / Tube Amps

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Keen on some feedback from anyone that can shed light on the power issues in Perth when it comes to protecting a tube amp.

I have just purchased my first tube amp (Weston Acoustics Topaz) and have heard that the fluctuating Perth power can cause damage.

I am currently using 2x Thor smart filter 8s and want to know if this is sufficient protection or should I consider getting a Thor PS10 before the amp arrives.

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Hi Pete

There is another way of thinking about power delivery, that is with a licensed electricians help looking at how

your house is earthed.  

 

If you happen to take a drive on the Great Northern highway about 20km east of Fitzroy Crossing

you will see some of the work I implemented, to stop lightning damage.  This involved two deep grounding points

the first was 23 metres deep the second 20 metres . Following installation there was no subsequent damage to

transmission assets, it was by far the most effective solution.

 

Similarly residential properties can take measures to ensure adequate grounding. A discussion with your licensed 

electrician could prove very beneficial.    

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Pete,

 

You should be OK with using one of the Weston amps in Perth as the transformers have been wound for 240v operation and should be within safe over voltage maximum tolerances (or just so?). The problem is with Chinese built amps which have trafos designed to work into 220v or 230v. When Perth mains voltage supply takes upwards swings of 265v, the 220v Chinese amp is being asked to operate 20% beyond the voltage it is designed for, resulting in transformer failures and or cooked bias resistors and shortened valve life. A sure sign of such problems are hot running transformers on your amplifier, you need to monitor this.
 

Also, your Thor power conditioners won’t help you in this situation. For power amps and whole of system protection you need a big 2-4 kVA step down or constant voltage transformer power supply, one that puts out a steady 230-240v to your system.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

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32 minutes ago, Steve M said:

Pete,

 

You should be OK with using one of the Weston amps in Perth as the transformers have been wound for 240v operation and should be within safe over voltage maximum tolerances (or just so?). The problem is with Chinese built amps which have trafos designed to work into 220v or 230v. When Perth mains voltage supply takes upwards swings of 265v, the 220v Chinese amp is being asked to operate 20% beyond the voltage it is designed for, resulting in transformer failures and or cooked bias resistors and shortened valve life. A sure sign of such problems are hot running transformers on your amplifier, you need to monitor this.
 

Also, your Thor power conditioners won’t help you in this situation. For power amps and whole of system protection you need a big 2-4 kVA step down or constant voltage transformer power supply, one that puts out a steady 230-240v to your system.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve.

Yes maintaining a steady 230v-240V AC is indeed a good idea, noting that transformers larger than 500va need careful consideration, as they can cause a current at start up some 10-15 times larger than the rated transformer current to flow for several cycles. Any use of transformers over 500va should also include slow start and in rush current limiting, as well as careful choice of fusing,  this would need to factored in to the installation.   

Edited by stereo coffee

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Thank you gentlemen.

I will run with Steve's 'advice' that my amp, being 240v, will be relatively safe.

Unlikely to do any electrical upgrades to the apartment so will look at putting something at the front of the chain at some point to ensure a 'steady' 240.

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Try the amp connected to the Thor boards, and compare to with it connected to an unfiltered board or direct into the wall socket, I found that the filtering in the Thor boards killed the dynamics of my valve amp when connected to them.

 

As far as over voltages are concerned, any over voltage from the wall will be reflected on the secondary voltages in the amp, so tube heaters will be running higher than spec, this can shorten the tube life.

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Not all suburbs have higher voltages,

I'm in Tuart Hill and currently my power is around 252V while a friend in the next suburb over gets a steady 240V.

 

You can buy one of those cheap meters that plug into a power point and have a digital readout, you can see what your power is like. Bunnings has this one LINK

You may find you are also around the 240V and nothing to worry about.

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1 hour ago, muon* said:

As far as over voltages are concerned, any over voltage from the wall will be reflected on the secondary voltages in the amp, so tube heaters will be running higher than spec, this can shorten the tube life.

Unless they have a regulated power supply. I'm not sure what the Westons have.

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1 hour ago, muon* said:

Try the amp connected to the Thor boards, and compare to with it connected to an unfiltered board or direct into the wall socket, I found that the filtering in the Thor boards killed the dynamics of my valve amp when connected to them.

 

As far as over voltages are concerned, any over voltage from the wall will be reflected on the secondary voltages in the amp, so tube heaters will be running higher than spec, this can shorten the tube life.

Me too and it improved the bass very much at the expense of the quality of the high frequencies.

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You will not have a problem with over voltage in Perth with a tube amp designed for 240 volt mains.

Tube filaments can tolerate 10% +/- volt without causing any harm.

Plenty of Earls creations in WA running without any issues.

 

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