Equipment Protection, Monitoring Electricity

Hi Folks,
I had an amplifier malfunction and the possibility that was proposed to me was that since a transformer blew about a week prior to the malfunction, that I could be experiencing an inconsistent flow of current. In other words and I hope I get this right, neutrality- 90 volts-neutrality 130 volts which would create undo stress on seals and cause a blown capacitor. Yes, weird things were happening with lights and such after the capacitor blew. I live in an apartment and the landlords in this price range are, without exaggerating, worthless. It was just suggested that I keep an eye on my current. Does anyone know what on earth I'm even talking about?
Your amp is on one 'leg' of the 120v/0v/120v American ? system
So one leg can swing down and you have a 'brownout' which is low voltage. hard on transformers..
The opposite is high voltage, and it can be 127volts and zero issues. When it get upwards of 130volts plus then you might start having some issues.

One solution if this is a regular issue is to have a voltage regulator.
I had a Monster AVS2000 years ago, but felt I really did not need it.
I currently use a Frumar REF 20i which solves undervoltage with a stiffening capacitor. And has an overvoltage shutdown.

I would say find a surge protector which shuts down under dangerous overvoltage or undervoltage conditions.
Computer ones often have such protection.
It would be advertised as having such protection.
I'm no electrician, and there are some very knowledgeable people on here who can really explain it, but let me understand the facts: a transformer of the utility company blew? And that is what you think fried your amp? Very possible. I think that's one reason why people have surge protectors, but I'm not sure a dinky little consumer appliance type surge protector could handle that. If I have the facts right, I would assume that the power company has now replaced the faulty equipment on their end. But, you don't have any idea what may be wrong in your apartment building. I would assume that the power company has responsbility up to the meter, and after that, if there is faulty equipment, or stuff that got fried when the transformer blew, it is the landlord's responsibility, which as you said, means nothing.
Perhaps you can: call the power company and ask them if a field person could come and inspect the line up to your building and take some measurements; maybe if the power company person is righteous they would help you out and check the power in your ap't- and big maybe, give you a clue whether your building is in violation of code or there is some obvious problem resulting from the transformer issue; find a local electician friend or pay one who would be willing to take a look at the current in your apt- it is pretty simple to measure with a meter, but you sound like you don't have a clue, and inconsistencies in power may be intermittent- usually worse during the day because of demand.... but in an apt, with everybody home at night, you may be having more issues then.
The other thing to explore by some searches here, and advice from people smarter than me, is whether any of the regeneration devices will work if the current going into them is really inconsistent. i don't know- the whole point is that they 'regenerate' the power so it's cleaner, but you'll probably have to pay a few thousand bucks for one and i'm not sure it will work.
Thanks for the advice. The first thing to do is to call the electric company.
Ok, the electric company said that they show good electricity reading to the meter. I need to find a meter and figure out how to take the reading. Elizabeth, Whart, anyone, any more suggestions, where to find a meter, etc...?
This comment may not be welcome. But i would also say your fears are too much.
Yeah you may have had a problem, and it might have been connected to something else which happened.
I do not think you should get worried about it though.
(naturally when something else happens, you can blame me)
Anyway, I would say stop worrying about it.
Stuff happens. Worrying about it does little good.
It may have been just a coincidence anyway.
Personally I would just go forward and figure all will be OK.
Natually if anything else goes soon enough, THEN yeah maybe something needs to be done.
But i bet it will all be OK.

In 47 years i have had two amps go out. One with smoke, and one just a loud POP! and a bad smell.
That is the way stuff happens.
So IMO: Why worry, be happy.
Yeah it is not what you want to hear, but it is my best suggestion.
Otherwise you could also buy an isolation transformer.
I am not contradicting Elizabeth's advice, which may be right, but if you were really concerned about it, you'd have to hire an electrican and i would think you'd want somebody with experience with commercial ap't buildings- depending on the size and age of the wiring in your building and whether you can even access it (is this a house or a building?), your electrician might be able to poke around a litlte, and take some measurements. Sometimes, intermittent problems don't exhibit themselves- if your voltage is good at the outlet when the guy/girl measures, it may not be at other times. And, perhaps, look into those power regeneration devices. There's a ton of discussion about them here- and they may make sense in an apartment context where you have little control over the AC set up inside. There are also discussions about the relative merits of 'conditioners' and isolation transformers. And remember, none of us have any control over the AC power being delivered to us. That's why all these products.
In ored to understand yourself and make us understand, you should probably mention make/model of amplifier and nature of the problem. Is it audible? Is the amp operational?
I had an amplifier malfunction and the possibility that was proposed to me was that since a transformer blew about a week prior to the malfunction,
Goofyfoot 06-27-12
If the utility power transformer blew up, yes that could have caused a severe over voltage condition. An excessive over voltage condition will indeed damage electronic equipment.

Check with other tenants in the apartment building and ask them if they experienced any problems from the power outage.

Ok, the electric company said that they show good electricity reading to the meter.
06-28-12: Goofyfoot
After replacing the bad transformer I would hope so!....

Question should have been, when the old transformer blew, what was the voltage the secondary of the transformer was putting out? Their honest answer? No idea....

File a claim with the power company.... They should pay for the repair of the amp.
I can't disagree with anything that anyone has said. Its ultimately up to me at this point.
I think that one of these power conditioners might go a long way in addressing your issues:



Belkin PureAV

Both units provide some of the best surge protection available. Each will provide separate, conditioned power outlets to each of your components and will display discrete real-time current and voltage data.

I think the APC may offer better voltage regulation features which seems important in your case.

I'm fortunate to have good quality power services, and own the Belkin. The emi/rfi filtering seems excellent, programmable power features are first-rate, and the Belkin warranty alone is worth at least the $300 price of the unit, for me. Example: My power service was hit by lightning several years ago, and three of my components were damaged (3 others were not, even though no protector can fully safeguard against lightning, IMO). Belkin was amazing. Within 3 days I received a new PureAV unit, and within three weeks, I received a check for damages.

Both the APC and the Belkin are selling at deep discounts to their $5-600 original prices - very inexpensive for the peace of mind provided.

Good luck, and please post on any solutions you find.
Look, to put yourself at ease with this, there is a simple solution that you can handle yourself more precisely and for much less money than involving an electrician. Go to Radio Shack, Home Depot, Hardware Store, or etc. and buy a decent, but good value multimeter. Nothing is more simple than checking home AC voltage with a meter. Doing it yourself allows you to check it at all different times through the day and night. Read the meter's instructions and take note of the safety precautions since you seem to be new at this. Don't get too worried if you don't understand absolutely everything. All you need to know is the AC volts test. It's as simple as this: Set the meter for "AC Volts" and stick the probes into the socket. Read the screen and note the voltage and time of day on paper to compare how it may fluctuate.
Apartment buildings and townhouses are notorious for having bad electricity... old and overloaded step-down transformers internally to the building, unbalanced load on the legs, noise from many digital devices ....

I've run across 208V, which is 2/3 phase. Lately, I've encountered voltage drops that affect the entire increasingly densely populated downtown area in the summer and disrupt boiler controls which monitor current and trip overloads for motors.