Should I redo the AC power in my house?


I was inspired by the Michael Fremmer YouTube about how he went to great lenghts to address the power in his home. Also was urged to do so by Mike Lavigne. Thanks Mike.

Fremmer and Lavigne are thrilled with the difference it makes in SQ. Perhaps comparable to getting the next level up on all components. Mike referred me to the consultant both he and Fremmer used-Rex Hungerford of King Rex Electric.

I would not go to the lenghts of those fellows but still would do a lot. The whole job should run about $4-5K. I started this current quest interested in grounding but Mike L and Rex both highly recommended I go the full boat.

 

 

mglik

Not sure what you mean by redoing the power. Do you mean running a direct run of 8 gauge from the board to your system? Adding a few good quality receptacles? If so, that should not cost that much. I've done it and it is a worthwhile improvement. I'd just hate to see you ripped off.

Is your house and electrical system over 100 years old?

 

A couple direct lines is what most people do. I have one for my power conditioner and a separate one for my amp. On opposing legs from my breaker box. 

If you want M Fremmer to go off the rails ask him why anyone should believe any of his reviews before he had his house redone if it made such a difference? 

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Probably blown a fuse just having to read "Fremmer" over and over again. The list of things I've done to my AC is long, and trust me, greater than anything you will get installed for $5k. The list of things I would spend $5k on before paying for anything more than one direct line is even longer. If that makes any sense. 

Unlike the other guys mentioned I actually have first hand experience with the relative value of not just AC wiring but a whole long list of other things like fuses, Pods, etc. It is not that AC wiring isn't worth doing. It is. Just don't kid yourself. What I said above. There's a whole long list of things with way more payoff, easier to do- and way easier to take with you if you ever move.

Some of us however have money to burn. Not me. Consider and evaluate accordingly.

The fact that MF said that his system hummed, sort of makes me wonder at how I would trust what is written.

It sounded like his house wiring was "all jacked up" to begin with.
and secondly he got that gear and work done largely for free I imagine.

So yeah, it made a huge difference (from a hosed up starting point)

if you have no problem, then applying a solution will not yield benefit.

What problems do you have? Or is it just searching for some bump up, without and evidence that it can be bumped up?

I do not trust the fellow at all after his glowing review of the state of this house for the decades he was writing.

Mr. Fremer’s wiring was fine until he had some recent generator work done. He went public on the problems he experienced, and rectified the issue. All good.

Fremer Installed a new electrical service replacing the old, in bad shape, outdated one. That in itself would make a big difference. Just look at the old meter socket in the video. The old aluminum wiring connections were corroded. More than likely the aluminum wire connections were not tight either. Poor corroded connections equals excessive harmonic distortion. Excessive harmonic distortion equals noise on the AC mains wiring.

Add to that all the old utility power wiring to new service wiring terminations at the overhead weatherhead were replaced. That can make a big difference...

I did take note of the earth grounding connections methods used in the video. That’s probably the first time I have ever seen Cadweld (Exothermic Welding) terminations used for the connections of the grounding electrode conductor to the earth driven grounding electrode, ground rod(s). That ain’t cheap!

FWIW the main purpose of the electrical service to earth connection is for lightning protection. It does nothing for the sound of an audio system.

 

 

 

 

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Fremer did the right thing for his situation.

 

You likely only need some dedicated 20amp lines added.

 

I have the dedicated lines and just bought a Balanced Isolation Transformer

to do some light cleaning. Then I hope to be done.

 

If your grounding sucks, as they all do in desert areas,

you can look into improving that. Keep us posted please.

Watching the Fremer video now. Perfect example of what I have been saying over and over again to people quoting code: Code is nothing to do with sound quality. Code is for safety. You can do it perfectly to code and still have crap. 

(Where by the way is the fuzzball who complains when Fremer videos are posted? Crickets. MDS much?)

Fremer’s new electrical service was wired to the current code for the AHJ, (Authority Having Jurisdiction), in his area. The wiring and wiring methods used can exceed the AHJ requirements/standards as long as the wiring used and wiring methods used meet the minimum AHJ standards.

 

AS I have said many times... Code is bare minimum...

With that said, bare minimum Still has to be met...

Example, NO ISOLATED DEDICATED GROUND ROD(s) All grounds rods shall connect to the main grounding system of the electrical service.

 

 

Quote:

National Electrical Code 90.1 Purpose:

(A) Practical Safeguarding. The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. This Code is not intended as a design specification or an instruction manual for untrained persons.

(B) Adequacy. This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance result in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.

Informational Note: Hazards often occur because of overloading of wiring systems by methods or usage not in conformity with this Code. This occurs because initial wiring did not provide for increases in the use of electricity. An initial adequate installation and reasonable provisions for system changes provide for future increases in the use of electricity.

Harumpf, harumpf, goes the relfex.

The comments over code legal has nothing to do with sound quality are accurate.

The worst electrician to wire your audio system is an old salt commercial guy.  The best would be a hand who  troubleshoots radio and cell tower issues.  Just tell him your amplifying 2mV about 60 times. 

If you want to spend your money ,go ahead.But it's not necessary, what so ever....

Well how is he suppose to upgrade the service? Of course it's necessary.. To what degree is the question.. He's adding service for a reason.. With a famly FULL of electricians, it's less expensive for some vs others..:-)

 

Regards

 

The comments over code legal has nothing to do with sound quality are accurate.

The worst electrician to wire your audio system is an old salt commercial guy. The best would be a hand who troubleshoots radio and cell tower issues. Just tell him your amplifying 2mV about 60 times.

What a bunch BS...

 

The AC mains wiring has a lot to do with the sound we hear from an audio system.

 

FWIW, the know it all resident clown on this forum was the one that first brought up electrical code on this thread. My responses were to his ignorance. Harumpf, harumpf, goes the relfex.

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So after all that work, his stereo won't work if the power is out.

 

<< laughs endlessly>>

Jea48, I think you need to re-read what I wrote.

’’FWIW the main purpose of the electrical service to earth connection is for lightning protection.It does nothing for the sound of an audio system.’’

Agreed!

’’FWIW the main purpose of the electrical service to earth connection is for lightning protection.It does nothing for the sound of an audio system.’’

Agreed!

JUUP!

The ground that can have an effect on the sound of an audio system is EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor). Therein, Ground loop hum. AC noise.

The EGC, when used, is connected directly to the chassis of the audio equipment. Also connected to the chassis is the power supply B - and signal ground. (A well designed piece of equipment does not have the B - and signal ground connected directly to the chassis, when an EGC is used. Usually it is in series with a low ohm resistor or some other series component device.

A good read about the affect of the EGC on audio equipment.

Read pages 16 thru 36. Then go to page 196 and so on if interrested.

 

FWIW the main purpose of the electrical service to earth connection is for lightning protection.

 

Kind of. That’s why the ground rods, but the reason there’s a ground wire in equipment is for short circuit protection, not surge.

 

 

It does nothing for the sound of an audio system.

 

I dont’ think this is proven, or even well investigated. If you wanted to show this, you’d have testing done with say, an elevated ground and measurements of noise on the ground wire in a home, and then also do some testing to see how well this noise can or cannot couple to audio systems.

 

In my mind there certainly are simple engineering explanations for how poor grounds (i.e. high resistance to the earth) cause noise to be shared in the home, and then capacitively (spelling? ) coupled to an audio signal. What’s sad is that these test would be easy for a lab to do, but I havent’ really seen any done.

 

Perhaps in Fremer’s case, the real need was to improve the ground farm and have a dedicated ground wire from his sub panel to it. Of course, the rest of the house would be bonded there as well. That would have been far less expensive than moving the service breaker outside, where it is subject to accelerated corrosion, and pulling a new sub panel from there.

 

I remain open to the possibility that good overall house grounding reduces noise in audio signals. I also think that even if it is proven, people will charge far too much for the solutions. :-)

 

BTW, while the house ground may be there

 

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FWIW, the know it all resident clown on this forum..

 

@erik_squires

jea48 said:

It does nothing for the sound of an audio system.

@erik_squires response:

I dont’ think this is proven, or even well investigated. If you wanted to show this, you’d have testing done with say, an elevated ground and measurements of noise on the ground wire in a home, and then also do some testing to see how well this noise can or cannot couple to audio systems.

Fact!
Mother earth does not possess some magical mystical power that sucks nasties from an audio system. If anything it can introduce noise onto the AC mains.


Grounding Myths

"Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering" by Henry Ott

3.1.7 Grounding Myths

More myths exist relating to the field of grounding than any other area of electrical engineering. The more common of these are as follows:

1. The earth is a low-impedance path for ground current. False, the impedance of the earth is orders of magnitude greater than the impedance of a copper conductor.

2. The earth is an equipotential. False, this is clearly not true by the result of (1 above).

3. The impedance of a conductor is determined by its resistance. False, what happened to the concept of inductive reactance?

4. To operate with low noise, a circuit or system must be connected to an earth ground. False, because airplanes, satellites, cars and battery powered laptop computers all operate fine without a ground connection. As a mater of fact, an earth ground is more likely to be the cause of noise problem. More electronic system noise problems are resolved by removing (or isolating) a circuit from earth ground than by connecting it to earth ground.

5. To reduce noise, an electronic system should be connected to a separate “quiet ground” by using a separate, isolated ground rod. False, in addition to being untrue, this approach is dangerous and violates the requirements of the NEC (electrical code/rules).

6. An earth ground is unidirectional, with current only flowing into the ground. False, because current must flow in loops, any current that flows into the ground must also flow out of the ground somewhere else.

7. An isolated AC power receptacle is not grounded. False, the term “isolated” refers only to the method by which a receptacle is grounded, not if it is grounded.

8. A system designer can name ground conductors by the type of the current that they should carry (i.e., signal, power, lightning, digital, analog, quiet, noisy, etc.), and the electrons will comply and only flow in the appropriately designated conductors. Obviously false."

Henry W. Ott

 

Who is Henry Ott?
http://www.hottconsultants.com/bio.html

 

The best way to introduce noise as well as a difference of potential, voltage, onto the chassis of audio equipment is by using an isolated dedicated driven earth ground rod.

(isolated dedicated driven earth ground rod? An Earthed grounding electrode that is not connected to the electrical service main grounding system. Therein Grounding Electrode System.)

When an isolated dedicated ground rod is not connected the electrical service Grounding Electrode System a difference of potential will exist between the two earth connected grounding electrodes. Always.

A year ago or so I got into a pissing contest with an EE on another forum. So for a test to prove I was right I drove a 5/8" x 8ft ground rod in the rock garden outdoors by my 2ch audio room. The rod is about 70ft to 80ft from the electrical service’s three 5/8" x 10ft driven ground rods. Also incoming water main piping is 1" copper buried in the earth probably at least 6ft that is part of the electrical service grounding electrode system.

I just did a quick measurement between the two isolated grounding electrodes and I measured 216 - 220 AC mV.

FWIW... The year or so ago test I connected the hot 120V AC conductor of a 20 amp circuit to the isolated dedicated ground rod to prove the 20A breaker would not trip open. And as I already knew the breaker did not trip.

 

Was there a problem that the OP had?
Or was it just upgrade for upgrade sake?

I have 4 separate 20 amp lines going into my listening room. Everything is segregated and silent.

Was cheap as my best friend did the work for free and I fixed his wife's car.

As far as Millercarbon's comment about where to spend your money. If you have shite electrical service coming into your house then you will have shite sound with $5k spent on fuses, cables and pods.

Get the core right and the rest will fall into place.

If there is trouble starting at the power transformer itself, that is where you begin. In my case, the house that I bought was built in 1930. That is reason enough to dig into what should be done for at least recent local code. I called the city electric provider and started there. They replaced the old cloth 3 wire line from the transformer that ran through the trees and more, not to just my house, but the 3 other homes coming from the new transformer. Damned near everything was replaced due to the old way that was likely overlooked back in the day. Grounding was one of my concerns and so the main ground is connected to the well pipe which is extended 25 feet below the surface of the earth. It went on and on like that, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, since if things were substandard to begin with due to age or other considerations, how the hell could you expect the cleanest/best performance to begin with? I was able to get as much right as I could before the rest could be accomplished. FWIW, the city had to buy new transformers for our substation this year. Fortunately, they went above and beyond what was needed, unlike the last time, when one of them caught fire.

@4krowme

 

You didn’t happen to have a good system operating during the steps of the upgrade and able to hear what change did what? That would be real;y interesting to know. I had one direct line installed when I bought my house, and then another 20 years later for my amp… the later was a tremendous sound improvement for only $1,500.

I did have a decent system to evaluate the difference. At most it was the anticipation for a better sound, but the fact is there was little change. I still wonder if it was due to the fact that I was using a PS Audio Premiere AC regenerator at the time. FWIW, previous to the 'rewire', the PS Audio unit had shut down once and had additional weird issues even after the rewire. So, was something damaged before? I wouldn't doubt it. Arcing in the branches of large evergreen was the likely culprit, but just try to get a power company to admit to that.

Thanks @4krowme. While not systematic sampling, still interesting.