Quality of outlet not directly powering equipment important?


My new room that I have dedicated to music Has 5 outlets. They are all daisy chained around the perimeter of the room. They share nothing else on the circuit.  From left to right of the room, the power goes from 1-5.   The system is powered by outlet 4, which is an SR black.  The house was built with very poor outlets, the kind that literaly bite down on the wire using a hole for insertion and a quick release tab, not even screw down terminals.  

Upon seeing these POS outlets, which are in my "chain", I replaced outlets 1-3 with my collection of audiophile grade outlets. 1, with a wattgate 381 silver cryo, 2, with a teslaplex SE, And  3 with a furutech gtx-d (r).  I did this to at least have high quality links for the Romex to feed the SR BLACK (4).   I would assume that even with this "mix" of outlets in the chain, they must certainly be better than the absolute garbage outlets that were links in my electrical circuit.  I would imagine less voltage drop at the very least.
 
Now, outlet 5 remains a contractor POS outlet. Its technically past the system, but being that this AC, and not DC, wouldn't it technically also be part of the AC chain feeding the stereo? Would it behoove me to change that one out even though it's past the stereo and not before the stereo?
audiolover718
Disconnect the last one and see if you can hear a difference?
Now, outlet 5 remains a contractor POS outlet. Its technically past the system, but being that this AC, and not DC, wouldn’t it technically also be part of the AC chain feeding the stereo?
No, it wouldn’t. Assuming that nothing is plugged into outlet 5 no current will be present in the wires between outlets 4 and 5. I suppose it’s a remote possibility that the wiring between outlets 4 and 5, or outlet 5 itself, could pick up RFI (radio frequency interference) that might find its way into the system via outlet 4, conceivably with audible consequences. But that seems highly doubtful, and even if it were occurring it would seem probable that it is mainly the wiring that is picking up the RFI, meaning that upgrading outlet 5 probably wouldn’t help.

It could also be argued that the capacitance of the wiring between outlets 4 and 5, and the capacitance of outlet 5 itself, would have a slight loading effect (and therefore a slight filtering effect) on RF noise that may be present on the incoming AC, that is drawn by the system via outlet 4. That too seems very unlikely, but the point is that even if the presence of outlet 5 and the wiring to it from outlet 4 makes a difference, it’s possible that the difference could be for the better rather than for the worse.

Regards,
-- Al


Al's reply is well written with clarity and knowledge that has become par for the course and is admired on this forum.


billbartuska,

 excellent brevity with its implied wisdom and logic.

Charles

@audiolover718:

Did you notice any difference after replacing outlets 1-3, or did you do any before/after comparisons?  Not trolling...I'm genuinely interested as I have a similar wiring configuration.  Using a Furu GTX-D(R) for the outlet powering the system, but haven't gotten around to doing anything with the other outlets on the circuit. Thanks!
All circuits, audio and non audio, are connected. This is why it’s important to clean all outlet contacts everywhere in the house. You know, since noise is additive and cumulative, whatever. Dirty contacts and/or loose contacts produce micro arcing, and micro arcing produces noise. Wall outlet covers I sell are intended for all audio and non-audio outlets in the room - even UNUSED outlets - but for an entirely different reason, obviously.

If you remove receptacle 1, are the rest of the outlets still powered? If so, then the receptacles are pig tailed and the first three are not in the chain to the equipment outlet or to each other. They are bypassed by wire nut connections. So if you remove, replace or leave alone #5 it would have no effect on the circuit..
Gs5556,

If I unplug outlet one and just have the wires not connected to anything, yet live, the other outlets do not power up. 

 Bcowen, 

I did not do a before and after comparison.  I automatically just did it once I saw the garbage in the wall, and unplugged outlet 1 to see if power to the other outlets would be cut.  Sure enough, they were.  
Based on my R&D with outlets and power cord connectors, I am going to theorize that outlets #1 and #2 are going to have very little (if any at all) influence on the sound. You have a GTX-D Rhodium for outlet #3, which will really clean up the voltage a lot before it gets to #4 SR BLACK. I would make sure that outlets #1 and #2 are definitely high-current capable (at least something like 20 Amp Hubbell hospital grade outlets). Having your Wattgate and Tesaplex as outlets #1 and #2 are not going to hurt anything for sure. But if you have somewhere else you need them, I would say they can be replaced by Hubbell hospital grade.
audiolover718,


I assume by daisy chained you mean the duplex receptacle device is used as a junction point to wire from one outlet to the next and so on. If that is the case I would advise you to hire an electrician to change out all the cheap residential grade duplex outlets in your home to a descent side wire spec grade TR duplex receptacle. The prime cause of electrical fires is from arcing. Those cheap stab in the back worn out outlets can cause electrical fires if they are connected to any descent size load. Worse yet if the duplex outlets are daisy chained.

The more duplex outlets connected in the daisy chain the greater the load on the feed through connections on the outlets upstream of the downstream connected loads, the greater chance of series arcing. It only takes a small load plugged in here and a small load plugged in there, repeated along the entire length of the branch circuit wiring to add up to a fair amount of load on the feed through contacts of the duplex outlets closest to the start of the branch circuit feed.

To make matters worse the 120V 15 amp daisy chained convenience outlet branch circuit/s may also be powering ceiling lighting loads as well.

It also should be mentioned, as in your case where only 5 duplex outlets are daisy chained along the length of the branch circuit run, there is no limit to the number of receptacles that can be connected to the branch circuit in a residential dwelling unit, per NEC Code. You may have other branch circuits in your home that have, 8, 10, or ??, connected to the a branch circuit. And again maybe ceiling lighting loads as well.

I did a quick search on the net and found this link with pictures showing a daisy chain branch circuit wiring and a pigtail method of branch circuit wiring. It also has pictures showing the cheap internal spring clip used in the quick stab in the back residential grade duplex receptacle. **(Link is supplied for picture purposes only.)

https://www.handymanhowto.com/how-to-replace-a-worn-out-electrical-outlet-part-1/

https://www.handymanhowto.com/electrical-outlets-side-wire-versus-back-wire/

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I would also recommend you have the electrician pigtail out the hot, neutral and equipment ground wires to connect to the new duplex receptacle outlets. Though the equipment ground bare wires should already be pig tailed per NEC code, have him make 100% sure the method used is a 100% solid connection. Just twisting the bare ground wires together and sliding a cheapo crimp barrel over the twisted wires is a poor pressure connection if the equipment ground of the branch circuit is called upon to carry ground fault current back to the source, in the event of a ground fault event.

As for the type of wire connectors used to make up the joints and pigtails in the outlet box I would recommend a spring type connector. Example is 3M Scotchlok brand or equal. Ideal and Buchanan wire conductors are also very good. These are the type of wire connectors that are found is the wiring specs of commercial buildings and industrial facilities. The steel spring inside the connector is designed to expand and contract with the wires keeping the connection of the wires tight at all times.

Varying connected loads to the branch circuit wiring can cause the conductors to expand, high loads, and contract, little or no load. Good example of adding a big temporary load to a 120V 15 amp branch is plugging in a portable vacuum cleaner that has a motor that draws 12 amps. (Imagine what a 12 amp connected load does to the connections in the cheapo stab in the back residential grade duplex receptacle.)

The Buchanan yellow B1 twist on connector works great for connecting 3 or 4, #14awg solid wires together. (Also for up to 3 #12awg wires)

Example:

https://www.grainger.com/product/BUCHANAN-Twist-On-Wire-Connector-6VG18?opr=APPD&pbi=6VG26&a...

Stay away from using the hard plastic twist on wire connectors. These are fine for connecting the leads of a light fixture and such to a branch circuit.

Avoid the quick connect crap that is being used today by some residential electrical contractors. IMO, they are no better than what you have now. They may work fine when new but how will they be 15 years from now?
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bcowen 61 posts                                                         03-05-2017 :09am


@audiolover718:

Did you notice any difference after replacing outlets 1-3, or did you do any before/after comparisons? Not trolling...I’m genuinely interested as I have a similar wiring configuration. Using a Furu GTX-D(R) for the outlet powering the system, but haven’t gotten around to doing anything with the other outlets on the circuit. Thanks!


bcowen,

In regards to the OP’s situation he stated the duplex receptacle outlets he removed were the really cheap residential grade receptacles that didn’t even provide side wire screw terminal connections. At the time his house was built the electrical contractor probably bought the duplex outlets in bulk for around 20 cents each.

Here is the problem with the cheap outlets. With the passage of time the spring clips that holds the hot and neutral current carrying wires lose their memory spring tension due to heating that takes place in the connection caused from various connected loads. In my previous post I used the example of a vacuum cleaner with a 12 amp motor. As time passes the more usage generated heat causes the spring clips to lose even more spring tension. The result at first is a slight series arcing between the branch circuit wire/s and the spring contact/s. The series arcing generates more heat. More arcing more generated heat. Basically the same principle that causes the receptacle holding tension that holds the plug blades tight in the receptacle. The arcing can also create a VD, voltage drop, across the wire to spring contact connection.

When the cheap outlets are daisy chained together with one another the feed though provision of the device is placed in series with the hot and neutral wires respectively of the incoming and outgoing lines entering and exiting the receptacle outlet junction box.

(Hot in wire inserted in Hot side contact clip > feed through > Hot wire out of other clip to next duplex receptacle. Repeat the same process for the neutral in and out wires that connect to each duplex receptacle.)

Scroll down the page pictures of the Link to a close up picture of the feed through contact. This is a Leviton outlet. As cheap as the Leviton looks imagine how cheap the contacts are in the OP’s stab in the back only 20 cent outlets.
https://www.handymanhowto.com/electrical-outlets-side-wire-versus-back-wire/

You asked if the OP could hear any difference after replacing, the old stab the wire in the back duplex receptacles, with duplex receptacles using side wire terminals. He should have. And not because of the audio grade receptacles he used. The main reason he should have heard a difference is because of the better feed through contact termination connections from duplex receptacle to duplex receptacles, 1, 2 , and 3. The OP eliminated a total of 12 possible wire to spring clip poor connections. If any arcing was occurring in any of the 12 connections, when he was listening to his audio system, The arcing, I would think, would introduce AC noise/RFI feeding the power supplies of his audio equipment.

Was there any VD across any of the 12 wire to spring connections of the old receptacles? Good chance there was. Especially when he was pushing the power amp. As the amp was trying to recharge the caps in the power supply it was drawing more current from the AC mains. More current the greater the possibility of more VD. I wouldn’t be surprised if the OP has found his audio system sounds cleaner with a tighter bass and he has noticed he can crank the volume up louder than before without any distortion.

If it were me though I would still rework the branch circuit wiring in all the outlet boxes of the branch circuit. I would joint together the hot and neutral wires, respectively, and pigtail out the hot and neutral wires to feed duplex outlets at each of the 4 receptacle outlet boxes.

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http://inspectapedia.com/electric/Electrical_Outlet_Backwire_Failures.php

http://inspectapedia.com/electric/Electrical_Outlet_Backwired.php
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Just bumped into this post. I hope you guys can help with some suggestions. I am remodeling my home right now so I will be able to have total control over the home theater room. The place is going down to the studs with all new plumbing and electrical too. I already need 2 seperate 15 amp circiuts just to keep my Anthem P5 5channel amp happy. I figured going high quality hospital grade stuff and isolating the electronics to the pole outside the house. With the walls completely open what should I use for wire for the current and is there any high quality multistrand speaker wire that can be run in wall or ceiling or floor? I am going to insulate the floors and ceilings with open cell foam and using Cetainteed SilentFX Gypsum board to help with the noise.

For the power, I'd suggest cryo'd 10awg romex.  You can get this from either Audio Sensibility or VH Audio.  It's pretty much $3/foot.  I would setup 20 amp circuits instead.  If you got the money, go for Furutech rhodium outlets (or equivalent).  Hubbell hospital grade outlets are good for high-current, but they do have their own sonic signature, which can be forward and solid-state/sterile.

For in-wall speaker, I don't know.  By code, it has to be CL rated, so you're pretty limited.  I dunno, Audioquest FLX?  You'll be able to get a better speaker cable if you just run it inside the room.

@jea48

Many thanks for the detailed explanation.  I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Lucky for me my neighbor works for Pass&Seymour, so it's time to hit him up for all the favors he'll undoubtedly owe me in the future.  A half-dozen free industrial grade engineering samples should work. :)
test it with a circuit analyzer, ideal industries 61-164

Thanks for the suggestions. I will start the researching. I have a few months time to gather the info as the first floor is being done first then I have to move down while the second floor is done and then back up. What about isolating all the electronics circuits?
If at all possible, install 30A dedicated lines for your audio system. It may seem like overkill, but I noticed a significant lack of congestion when I installed a 30A capable power conditioner on my 30A dedicated line. Previously, I was using a power conditioner rated at 20A from the same manufacturer. Some of the benefit is certainly from newer technology, but the music doesn't sag when it becomes demanding.
longplayer
If at all possible, install 30A dedicated lines for your audio system.
Installing 30A lines creates quite a nuisance because to do it and also be compliant with code means you'll need to install 30A receptacles. That means you'll need to either put new plugs on all of your components to fit the 30A receptacles, or you'll need to make 15A/20A to 30A adapters for each component, which is also a nuisance.

A much tidier solution - and equally effective - is to install dedicated 20A lines, but derate the wire to 10AWG or better. That will let you keep the 20A breakers and use 20A receptacles, and will also meet code.

Thanks everyone for your responses.  I definitely want to at some point, add a dedicated line, with quality 10 gauge.   For now, I'm stuck with the houses flimsy 14 gauge.  It appears to,be 14 gauge anyway.  System sounds great , albeit.