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Line conditioners revisited - junk science???

is a freebie which includes the online Review Magazine. Their December 2006 issue has a product of the year article by Bill Gaw. The product award is a line conditioner series by APC (American Power Conversion,) well known to the computer set.

The author was given an APC factory tour. Here's a gist of info:

The APC basic computer units put out a so-called pseudo-sine wave not conducive to music or video. They formed an A/V division. They say isolated filter banks eradicate EMI/RFI noise traveling along with the 60Hz wave. They demonstrated by actual oscilloscope live tracings where they fed super noisy AC to the unit & got out a pure sine wave.

The units also use autoformers to keep voltage as close to 120 as possible. Some units also have battery backup to control severe line voltage sags (brownouts.)

Seems to me that AC noise/line crud of some type is usually a fact of life. Remember listening at night to old radio? 1st, the improvement when the little stations signed off the air. Then the extra clarity around midnight. In Pennsylvania I listened to WBZ Boston, WLS Chicago, Randy's Record Mart from Nashville & when lucky, New Orleans.

I'm not trying to get the craw of our well grounded electric, electronic & broadcasting guys. Really. I'd be glad to have logical feedback as to the veracity of the APC type claims. Junk science?
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Well I haven't scoped line voltage in a long time.

In reply to: Line conditioners revisited - junk science???

But the last time I did it looked like sine wave!!But I guess it's time!!!
OK, I just powered up the scope in the shop(at the FM radio station where I work) and put the scope probe into the AC line socket. What did I see??? I saw a nice CLEAN 60hz sine wave, just as nice and clean as it can be. I'm in a downtown Chicago office building, electronic equipment all around me, above and below, it's everywhere, it's everywhere!!!! But when I scope the raw AC line voltage all I see is nice clean sine wave!!!
Just for fun I plugged a Black and Decker saber saw into the SAME outlet!!! Then I turn the saw on and scoped the AC line voltage!!! Oh woe is me, what have I done to my clean sine wave????? Well nothing it looked the same just as nice and clean as could be.
This power conditioning is becoming just so much FUD!!!!!!
Surge projection($20~35)YES! Battery backup if you have HDTV with a lamp($80~100). John

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Well, one time it pays off the next it doesn't.

In reply to: Line conditioners revisited - junk science???

Full disclosure. I'm an electronics designer so some of what they spout is true but what is also true is today's gear usually has what they call a Switched Mode Power Supply. Here's the wikipedia on that.

If you look at how these work they are quite immune to most noise on the AC input. But then again a poorly designed SMPS could benefit from a line filter or regulation.

I know this is not a firm answer one way or another but I hope you see why in the case of most gear from this century this device is optional.


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