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Old November 25, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Default Line Conditioners for voltage regulation

I posted on the NCIX forums asking about this, but I haven't been able to get much of a solid reply with respect to the line conditioners in question. I'm hoping I can summon someone who has used these products to give some insight into what these products can do.
reference and more details can be found in the (can't post links yet on this forum... need a post count of.... 1 - will post below)

basically, I'm curious to know if Tripp Lite Power Conditioners are really worth it...
- I have a selection of Consumer UPSes (aka cheap/midrange) and I find their voltage regulation to be pretty rough. A single step up or step down on over/under voltages by 10V to me seems worse to me on electronics, especially if it happens frequently (aka, every time I use one of my laser printers, or when the AC kicks in)

Do these units keep the voltage better in line? Take for example this LS604WM (link provided in later post, due to 0 post count on this forum) unit. It doesn't say how it does it, it just says it holds a nominal voltage. Does this mean it will actually hold the voltage at 120 on a variable scale? Or does this mean it does the step up/down (+10V or -10V) at 115 and 125 or other set thresholds like all my upses do.

Feel free to reply directly in the NCIX thread if you can, I'm more likely to check in on that thread.
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Old November 25, 2009, 12:49 PM
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Default links (post count of 1... woo)

NCIX Forum Thread with original discussion and question:
NCIX Forums Thread

Reference Tripp Lite Product:
LS604WM
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Old November 25, 2009, 01:12 PM
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The purpose of a line conditioner is to take a variable voltage input and output a constant voltage. Generally they are most useful in situations where there are frequent power sags or surges. When dealing with computers specifically, most PSUs function better and are more efficient at higher and more stable voltages, so a line conditioner can help with that. Frequent power fluctuations can also decrease the lifetime of a PSU, so using a line conditioner will make your hardware last longer under poor power conditions.
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Old November 25, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Hey Zero,
I'm more curious to know just how well Line Conditioners work, especially in comparison to many Consumer UPSes (opti-ups, Belkin, APC...). Since I'm running all my computers on UPSes right now, I want to know if Line Conditioners will actually improve the overall stability of the voltage going into my electronics or if they won't do anything more than a typical UPS does.

For example - use the following table and fill in the ??'s
If Input Voltage is 119V
Line Conditioner output = ? 119 or 120?
typical UPS Output = 119V

If Input = 118V
typical UPS output = 118V
LC = ?? 118V or 120V?

If Input = 114V
typical UPS Output = 124V
LC = ?? 114V? or 120V or 124V?

Remember, most UPSes claim constant voltage with "AVR" features, but they infact don't hold the voltage even close to constant as it can fluctuate anywhere between 115V and 125V. That's assuming the voltage never goes below 105V or above 135V, although I'm hoping it would switch to battery at that point.
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Old November 25, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Line conditioners aren't perfect, but the voltage output should be at or near 120V at all times. And whether or not it will be any better than a UPS depends on whether or not the UPS has AVR and how good the AVR is. A good line conditioner should output more stable voltages than a mid-range UPS with AVR. Whether or not the difference between the two makes a significant difference to the operation of the electronics you have connected is a different story (generally if the voltage is within 10V or so of 120V, it doesn't make much difference to most consumer electronics).
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Old November 25, 2009, 02:42 PM
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I went and read your NCIX post.

From what you describe there , it sounds like you have a highly inductive load issue , rather than bad power.

Do you know what Power factor is ?

You should have the local electric company come and test your house PF.

They don't like inductive loads ( they lose money) and will often correct the issue for free.

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Old November 25, 2009, 03:00 PM
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Hey Braineater,
Some of that explanation on Power Factor goes a bit over my head. But I'm also not sure what BC Hydro can do if my devices pull power in at a low power factor.
I know it's the difference between Watts and Volt Amps (I learned those basics when I first got UPSes a couple years ago) but I don't know how the difference gets in there. My Electrical Engineering buddy tried explaining it to me, but I got lost in the details of how complex electronics inevitably create a lower power factor than typical non-complex electronics. I know all my top end machines have Silverstone PSUs with APFC, but again I don't really know the details or how much it helps.
My amazing little killawatt (i know, it's a piece of junk, but it's better than nothing) can show me the pf of my devices, and I've never really seen them that low. If I recall, the numbers for my computers are typically around .6 or .7.
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Old November 26, 2009, 04:16 AM
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I used those power conditioners years ago when I lived in the country.
At that time our voltage tended to vary quite a bit they had installed a portable transformer set up for a year or two even. till the lines were revamped.
After that things were much improved.
As for nowadays I have found no need for them, power conditoners though trip lite is/was I wouldn't know now a good brand.
Most voltages and line power in general is much better than in the past unless you have a weird issue or actual defect.
I just have a large ups currently for battery backup.
After a few years all the batteries fail in the ups backups anyway.YMMV.
They suffer from little actual real world use but lots of cooking time.
I purposely run on my ups peiodically since new to give the batteries a good use draining and full recharge.
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Last edited by tyreman; November 26, 2009 at 04:34 AM.
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Old November 26, 2009, 07:02 AM
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0.6 or 0.7 power factor? That sounds pretty poor to me. Do you have a bunch of electric motors running or something? Giant electromagnets in operation? Running a mini iron-smelting operation?

Regardless, I wouldn't expect power fluctuations to kill UPS batteries - just not the way the things work. Time, heat, and poor UPS or battery design are far bigger factors there. The voltage levels aren't critical - a good PSU will feed stable power to a computer even if the voltage drops to as low as 90-100VAC (although efficiency will drop), it's the spikes and ripple that are harder to filter out. So if it's just the former, I wouldn't worry about a conditioner, but if it's the latter, it might be worth considering.
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Old November 26, 2009, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MpG View Post
0.6 or 0.7 power factor? That sounds pretty poor to me.
0.6-0.7PF is typical for PSUs with no or passive PFC.
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