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Is Your Home Theater's AC Power Protected?

In this week's episode of the Home Theater Geeks podcast, SurgeX engineer Martin Dornfeld talks about AC power protection in home theaters, thankfully without the voodoo and hype I've heard from others in that field. Our conversation lead me to wonder how many of our readers have taken steps beyond cheap surge-suppressor power strips to protect their precious home-theater gear from power spikes, lightning strikes, voltage sags, and power failures.

How about you? Have you installed a voltage regulator, surge suppressor (other than a cheap power strip), lightning rod, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or other power protection? What have you done in this regard and why—or why not?

Note: This poll question is not about power optimization—I'll ask about that next week.

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Is Your Home Theater's AC Power Protected?

mblackm2's picture

I use a Panamax 4300-PM. I've had it for a few months and really like it



Jarod's picture

For the last few years ive gotten by using Monster Cables MP HTS 700 surge protectors. Use two in my home theater. They have done me well but id like to get something more substantial someday in a rack mount like the M5400-Pm from Panamax.

stevem's picture

We use an APC sine wave UPS.

MatthewWeflen's picture

I'm using a Smart Strip power strip with surge protector. I'm using it mainly for the power savings benefits, not for surge protection.

But I'm not losing sleep at night. I have an indoor HD antenna, and our building is relatively low compared to the surrounding structures. I'm pretty sure whatever minimal surge protection the strip can handle will be adequate. I have had zero problems in the past 7 years at our location.

Mike_Mc's picture

I have two Monster Home Theater HTS-3500 Mark IIs, one for my theater and also for my Stereo.

dnoonie's picture

My home theater is either plugged into a Power Conditioner(Furman PL-8)or a high quality UPS (Tripp Lite middle of the pack professional model). Even so there are few power protection systems that protect both ground sides of the circuit. My roof antenna, which is no longer used, is grounded by a separate ground rod acting as a lighting rod. There are few lighting storms in this area and there are many taller objects around me than my house. I think I'm pretty well protected although if my Power Conditioner or UPS doesn't have ground protection...

Could a lighting strike on a power poll or transfer station conceivably cause problems?

LordoftheRings's picture

I live up North, in Canada; we don't need crap like that here.

epic av's picture

I can't speak highly enough about these 2 companies. For me, its not just about surge protection, but power regeneration. I have seen the surgeX demo with the lightening generator and will NEVER buy another surge device other than surgeX ever again. PS Audio provides (and so does SurgeX but i already had my powerplant) the powerplants that REGENERATE the power from the wall and it makes all the difference in the world. It is measurable, scientifically, audibly, and visually the difference it makes. Save, invest, and enjoy.

TerryW's picture

I have always been interested in power protection and conditioning. I did quite a bit of research over the years, and when I pulled the trigger on a home theater last year I went in head first.

I installed a PS Audio soloist power conditioner in place of the 4-gang wall outlet that feeds the whole system. I have a PS Audio P5 PerfectWave Powerplant plugged into that. The P5 is a power regenerator, so the AC coming out of it is clean and consistent. The AVR, TV, and blu-ray plug into the P5. I then plugged in a Panamax MB1500 UPS/surge protector into the P5. My DVR, VCR, and networking equipment are plugged into that. This way even if the TV is out, my programs can still record and my wireless internet is still active.

This is likely overkill, but I am of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with overkill when it comes to home theater. The system has been running flawlessly for 10 months now. It just saved me during a storm generated power blip this weekend, in fact.

You can get decent power protection at a lower cost than this setup, but I definitely recommend having a UPS device plugged into whatever surge suppressor or voltage regulator that you use. A UPS is great for all of the internet recording devices we all use these days (and yes, even the humble VCR).

jos jones's picture

I use Monster Power HD Protector!

thx2468's picture

I just have a Monster bar but I never experienced any electric problems in my neighbourhood in DC.

true audio's picture

I use the (Furman Elite series PFI-20). I could go on all day about this unit. For those not familier with furman, go to (Furman SMP Demo 2009) Youtube.

123sam's picture

Here in north texas there are plenty of electrical storms. Serveral years ago while I was away from home, a big electrical storm came in and all the lights went out. When I got back home all the hi fi equipment was off and some didn't come back on. Good for me there was a stereo repair shop near that could help me out. Laser disc, cd, vcr, and a pre amp had burnt circuit boards. The repair tech was able to get replacement parts from the manufactures. Repair cost was high but much lower then buying all new stuff. When I went to pick up everything, he asked if I had any good surge protection because if I had this may not would have happen. That day I went out to buy a Monster Power Bar 2100 and 1100 for all equipment to be plugged into. Since that day I've not loss a single piece of equipment to electrical storms or brownouts. Another side note, the picture on my hdtv monitor became more smooth and all the picture snow left. Do you need good surge protection or not. Go figure?