How important is a power conditioner for CONNECT and CONNECT AMPS?

How important is a power conditioner for CONNECT and CONNECT AMPS?

Best answer by Kumar 26 April 2018, 12:12

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Aside from performing the same functions as a $10 surge protector, power conditioners are snake oil nonsense.
Far better and more useful is a UPS of the online double conversion kind that supplies clean, constant voltage constant frequency power 24/7 and also uses a battery to do just the same whenever the main power goes down. It won't do anything audible for sound quality, but it will protect all connected load from voltage fluctuations from the mains side 24/7 as well as from on/off cycling of the kit in case of frequent power failures - and also assure continuous music play through these of course. And unless the power outages last for more than 15-20 minutes, the battery can be small enough to be contained in the same box as the UPS.

Not usually needed in first world countries.

More information here:
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My ZP100 has been on nothing but surge suppressors since I got it in 2009. No issues.
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I have every Sonos device I own plugged into a high quality surge suppressor (one of the two below) except my Play 3s that are piggybacked off a nearby UPS that had a couple spare sockets. We see some nasty thunderstorms here in Arizona as well as some really dirty power from nearby industrial users, even the neighbor's huge air compressor that dims our lights. All leading me to caution.

If you read through the forums you'll see a number of folks asking about repairing blown power supplies in their Sonos devices, a good surge suppressor is cheap insurance and can save you having to replace a Sonos device.

A Tripp Lite 1 is a decent little suppressor, 660 Joule rating and $5000 failure coverage.

The Tripp Lite Isobar 2 outlet is a step up but a bit bulkier, 1410 Joule rating and $10,000 failure coverage. Direct plug-in or extension cord designs available.
the neighbor's huge air compressor that dims our lights.
If that is a frequent event, will just a suppressor be enough protection?
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Kumar, That compressor pulls the voltage down over 10 volts when it is started against a partially filled storage tank, less against an empty tank. He doesn't care, he got it surplus and cheap. The voltage drop isn't important to the Sonos as far as I can tell, it doesn't even bother most of my other audio, TV or computer gear aside from the UPS boxes that beep and blink.

We have two workstations provided with UPS power, more to deal with brief outages and to allow our always-on stuff to properly shut-down if the outage goes on too long. Got tired of stuff not rebooting properly due to dirty file systems after power returns.

What I worry far more about than short-term voltage fluctuations are any power spikes that it or the other users in our area are adding to the lines. They are too short to be visible without test gear but far more damaging than a few lost volts. The surge suppressors take care of a lot of the spike energy, that otherwise would have to be dealt with by the internal Sonos circuitry. A lot of my Sonos gear is long out of factory warranty, I do not want to have to pony up for replacement gear even with Sonos' usually generous replacement policies.

Unless someone is seeing their Sonos gear rebooting from power issues a good surge suppressor is going to be plenty for them too.
If it is a 10 volts drop it probably does not matter; the published spec for the play 1 as an example is : Auto-switching 100-240 V, 50-60 Hz AC universal input.

We have 230 volts mains supply and frequent outages that are covered by a back up DG set; but the 30 or so seconds it takes to spool up means rebooting of Sonos in addition to the 30 seconds gap, and the power cycling that happens for all the kit - not just Sonos - every time, every couple of days. Installing the online UPS for the entire home was a no brainer in my case; the battery does not need to be larger than what fits in the same box, so it is a small footprint thing too. But the benefit of clean 24/7 power that never varies from 230 volts is immense and I don't need any surge suppressors anywhere either. Hopefully, insulating all kit including 5 Sonos zones from all fluctuations and power cycling will offset the investment in some way as well. Both music and movie play remain uninterrupted, as do all the lights, which is something one gets used to in a hurry!

So if anyone is thinking about power conditioners, this is the route I recommend. And if such a solution is not needed, neither is a power conditioner.
Digressing, a question on surge suppressors - many types are available, but do they really work? Does anyone have experience of one that sacrificed itself or shut off power during a lightning strike or similar and left the equipment/load completely undamaged?
I have used a few but the visible use was that of connecting multiple loads to one power socket.
Not one of my Sonos pieces are plugged into anything but the wall, aside from my two second gen Play:5s. No issues going all the way back to 2009.
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In Germany I had a very nice IsoBar TripLite that got pretty much burned to a crisp by an application of a huge spike when it was accidentially left plugged into an autoformer that was being plugged into the wall. The first two banks had every component crisped and the runs blasted off the circuitboard, bank 3 was badly toasted but the runs survived, bank 4 still had recognizable MOVs even though they were burnt and cracked. The stuff on the first two banks suffered badly, bank 3 and 4 protected the gear plugged into them. A couple photos to TripLite and I had a new bar and a check for the damaged items in a few weeks.

While living in eastern Arizona we took a lightning strike about 100 feet past from our ground mounted utility transformer. I was watching the storm from our front porch, another 75 feet from the transformer, it knocked me down and out for several minutes. If the phone hasn't fried the wife would likely have called 911 by the time I was up to my knees. It pretty much fried everything in the house that wasn't on a surge suppressor. TVs, fridge, stove, dish washer, several electronic controlled lamps, a couple tabletop radios, couple wire-line phones and our microwave. What survived was plugged into good surge suppressors, my stereo system, our computers and my test gear.


How bad you need one really depends on your situation, if you have good power and no little surprises then you are probably fine without. If you don't have such good power, talk to your utility about getting your power checked, maybe a bit of protection is needed. If you are in lightning country I'd sure get one. Just don't buy junk, make sure you are getting a decent unit that really works.
Aside from performing the same functions as a $10 surge protector
So given that some do work as they are supposed to, they are a very good idea - do these only work for sudden spikes as from lightning strikes or also as cut outs past a certain voltage? And, do the referred $10 kind do the job? How is one to know before it is too late what is one that will?
it knocked me down and out for several minutes. If the phone hasn't fried the wife would likely have called 911 by the time I was up to my knees.


That is intense indeed! What do you do to prevent a recurrence?
Not one of my Sonos pieces are plugged into anything but the wall, aside from my two second gen Play:5s. No issues going all the way back to 2009.
First world locations should work fine like this; as long as there aren't intense thunderstorms/lightning strikes.
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I ordered a bunch more TripLite Isobars, mostly the dual outlet plug in versions I mentioned above and stuck every expensive appliance on one. We lived there for several more years with no further lightning damage although neighbors reported a couple fried devices every monsoon season. For places I needed more than two outlets I ordered the extension-cord style TripLites in four or more outlet configurations. I used the cheapie single plug ones for less expensive equipment like tabletop radios and phones. I also dug out an antique Western Electric dial phone and plugged it into the phone connector out in the guest bedroom so we'd possibly have phone service if we lost the fancy phones again.

I don't recall the total loss and repair cost but the appliances ran several hundred dollars each, the big CRT TVs weren't cheap to replace either. A quick call to my insurance agent (a good personal friend) for advice suggested I'd be better off over 5 years paying my own repair costs instead of having a premium bump due to the claim.

As to getting knocked down, I took to heart the chewing out I got from the wife once she realized I was not dead or severely injured and stayed inside on the dry floor to do my storm watching out the windows from there on out. The wife wasn't the only influence there, the birds coming in to munch on dead rabbit in the area around the strike was also a strong motivator.

You may need one, you may not need one but you won't know you needed one until your gear is dead. Even my Play 1s cost enough that a $7 TripLite single is a small cost increase and my Play 5s make the $22 dual-outlet one with the increased protection attractive.
a $7 TripLite single is a small cost increase and my Play 5s make the $22 dual-outlet one with the increased protection attractive.
So one that actually works does not have to be expensive; the trick is to know which one will work if the brand you name is not available.
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I haven't looked at reviews recently but here are a few, I didn't read beyond the basics so you'd need to verify how they tested the units to make their choices..

I got to looking at the TrippLite line and now I'm thinking I might just upgrade my SpikeCubes to TravelCubes for about double the energy absorption for $11.50 versus $8.00 for what I have now.
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A post with some good surge suppressor links is pending, hung in the spam filters for now.
Got it; many thanks.
There is a very good summary about surge suppression in the Wired article at the end - new learnings for me are that these devices degrade over time and need to be replaced; if they are of the type that will still allow the load to work even after they have lost protection functionality, it isn't easy to know that this has happened. Some will not pass any voltage once they have so degraded and there it is easy to know that this has happened.

And that the best way to protect expensive kit during a storm is by unplugging it from the mains - no suppressor will protect against a direct hit.