June 2, 2016

Why A Power Conditioner Is a Good Idea

For those of you who may not know, a power conditioner is a device that smooths out voltage to electrical devices plugged into A/C power outlets.  This is meant to protect sensitive electronic equipment from damage that may occur if voltage drops too low during a brownout type situation or goes too high during a surge or “overvoltage” scenario.  Both situations can cause damage, and they are not uncommon because power outlets do not necessarily deliver the exact amount of voltage that they are supposed to (usually 120 volts).

They work by turning the A/C power into D/C power inside the device, then it returns it to A/C power at the ideal output.

Why You Need One

For people with home theater equipment, there are actually a couple of reasons you need a good quality power conditioner.  The most important one is to protect against damage, but for people with speaker or home theater equipment a good power conditioner will ensure that it operates at the highest quality.

Protecting Against Damage

If you have Sonos equipment, other speakers and sound equipment, or a television you really should invest in a power conditioner.  Power conditioners are especially important to have for people with home theater systems because home theater equipment is very sensitive to incorrect voltage, especially surges in power.  Even a small surge can completely destroy hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of televisions and sound systems.

Creating Ideal Sound

Speaker systems can pick up on changes in power, known as “cross-talk” and it will create little sound blips.  If you have a consistent voltage, the speaker will sound smooth and there will not be any interference or other sounds incorrectly coming from the speaker.  To a lesser extent, it will also maintain top quality picture on a television in addition to protecting against damage.

Sonos equipment is not overly sensitive to cross talk because the devices are individually powered but they can still be affected by power blips.  Owners of Sonos speakers should have a power conditioner to maintain high quality sound, but more importantly to protect the speaker from being destroyed by a surge.

When Undervoltage or Overvoltage Situations Occur

You may get an undervoltage or brownout situation in a variety of circumstances.  Power lines can go down, power plants can have issues, and extreme power draws such as during a heatwave in the summer can all create brownout situations.  Surges can happen when tranformers break, or during a lighting strike to a house or power line.  When power comes back on after an outage, many houses will experience a surge.

Surges happen to most homes a number of times a year and cause millions of dollars of damage nationwide.  Modern houses protect against surges a little better than older homes but all homes can easily be affected.  If you live in an area with a lot of lighting strikes and thunderstorms your house will almost certainly experience the effects of a surge.

What To Look For in A Power Conditioner

The most important thing is that it works.  There are many low quality units out there manufactured to low standards.  You don’t always need a brand name, but it does help.  Here at Sonos Playbar we sell a Panamax MR4300 which is a high quality unit with 9 plug sockets, and it is a great value.  Here are the things you should look for:

  • A reputable brand name.
  • A “lockout” feature
  • Enough plug-in sockets to power each one of your devices.

The lockout feature is especially important.  If a power problem is detected, the power conditioner will cut all power to the devices plugged into it.  Oftentimes when a surge happens, power problems may continue to cycle on and off a number of times over the following seconds or minutes.  This is especially damaging.  If you have a lockout feature, the power is cut until you re-set the power conditioner.  This let’s you decide that conditions have returned to normal and it is safe to allow power to return to your valuable electronic gear.

If you are in the market for a power conditioner, you’ve come to the right place.  Feel free to shop here because we only sell what we absolutely believe in.

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