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Line conditioner protects against momentary brownouts?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by John Doe, Oct 9, 2010.

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  1. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    A line conditioner that includes a voltage regulator seems to have
    done wonders for my computer system (recently replaced my old
    model with a better model), especially when my house power was not
    very good. Still, when an air conditioner comes on, the voltage
    momentarily drops enough to cause the line conditioner to click on
    and off quickly. Mainly out of curiosity, how well does it
    regulate the voltage during that very brief voltage drop? I would
    think that there would be voltage spikes when the relay opens and
    closes, but maybe those spikes are extremely short?

    Just in case anyone has links to a chart showing the output action
    of a house voltage regulator during a momentary voltage drop, that
    would be cool. I realize that is not likely.

  2. PeterD

    PeterD Guest

    If you are worried about the transition, get a system that runs on
    inverter 100% of the time... These systems produce no transiet
    conditions or changeovers--they simply stop charging the battery when
    line voltage is bad. Keep in mind they are more expensive, big and

    (nice thing is that they can correct for a couple of things such as
    bad frequency regulation (usually from backup generators) but keep
    running since the charger can handle wrong frequencies. They simply
    continue to output a rock-sold 60 hz voltage.
  3. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    I disagree. An UPS which ac-dc dc-ac conversion is more prone to
    failures than an UPS which just sits still and only delivers power
    when it is really necessary. The PSU in equipment should be able to
    deal with skipping a few mains cycles anyway so there is plenty of
    time to switch to battery power.
  4. John Doe

    John Doe Guest


    I was talking about a 1200 watt line conditioner (that includes a
    voltage regulator), not an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
    There is no battery.

    I have no use for a UPS. And I believe most UPS users are wasting
    their money. If you have blackouts frequently enough to lose
    important data, you have too many blackouts. But seriously, the
    average user risk of Windows crashing, freezing or spontaneously
    rebooting, is probably much greater than a blackout. And when
    Windows crashes, a UPS does not help. Windows has taught me to
    never leave data unsaved for more than a few minutes.

    Of course I am not talking about a company with critical data
    and/or data that must be continuously accessed, or something else
    like that.
    Spontaneous rebooting of Windows went from annoying to zero here
    after starting to use a cheap voltage regulator, for years. Too
    bad I did not try one back in the Windows 95/98 days to see if
    maybe it would have helped. The horrible memory management was
    known to cause crashing, but maybe a voltage regulator would have

    Now brownouts are the only risk here, prolonged under or
    overvoltage is no longer a problem, so it operates only
    momentarily and I wonder whether that does good. I definitely like
    the visual indication that the house voltage is correct, but that
    could be done more easily.

    Anyway, as always, I enjoy the discussion.
  5. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    it operates only momentarily and I wonder whether that does
    Besides a good PC power supply or better wiring, what retail
    product best corrects momentary lags in voltage like those caused
    by starting an air conditioner? Is there something better than a
    device like these?

    I wonder about the products made for home theaters, since
    apparently they do not include anything for momentary low
  6. It was possible Best, and I think they finally dropped those things.

    they were very inefficient and really really likely to fail/shutdown if
    you tried to use them with a generator.
  7. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    I agree. I used to have an UPS (actually several) for years but it
    turned out the UPS was causing more problems than it solved.
  8. Nobody

    Nobody Guest

    Living out in the sticks, I tend to get blackouts lasting a couple of
    seconds every time there's a thunderstorm. Without a UPS, the PCs would
    effectively be unusable for half the night (there's no point using it if
    it's going to reboot at any moment).

    FWIW, I find WinXP to be quite stable, with most reboots being down to
    driver upgrades. But I do tend to avoid running anything which isn't
    necessary; it's likely to be worse if you have kids loading the system up
    with junk.
    For me, Win95/98/ME would crash several times a day due to memory issues.
    You would have to have truly awful mains to add significantly to that.
    OTOH, I was using it for software development, which probably affected the
    crash rate somewhat.
  9. John Doe

    John Doe Guest

    Right... If you live in the sticks, have frequent thunderstorms
    that cause blackouts, and do not disconnect stuff to help avoid
    your hardware being fried by lightning strikes, you can use a UPS.

    Or, if you are a company with critical data and/or data that must
    be continuously accessed, or something else like that.

    There are lots of possible exceptions, but the point is that many
    ordinary PC users who think that they need a UPS probably do not.
    You can see the ignorance in product reviews. Many UPS end users
    are probably just infatuated by the idea of running their PC on
    battery power for a while.
    Yep, lots of reasonable theory there, I just wish I had the

  10. that's a fairly large generator, and probably would not slow down enough
    when you throw a ferroresonant transformer on it to cause the transformer
    to act goofy or lose its field and then try the batteries, then notice
    the generator is upto speed- repeat until the batteries are dead.

    It's interesting that they'll tolerate any garbage waveform input, but the
    frequency must be nearly perfect or they just don't work.
  11. I was like that for a while, but mostly to try to rig up some extended run
    time on ~650VA UPS by attaching it to a larger set of external batteries
    to try to get a somewhat meaningful runtime out of it all.

    I forgot about one part- junior UPSes are not designed with proper cooling
    to run longer than their batteries will last which is usually minutes.

    So I was "testing" my UPS to see how long it could run all my junk and
    there was a giant bang and cloud of smoke as the UPS overheated and
    exploded all the power transistor or SCRs or whatever it was made with.
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