Does the PS 10 offer protection for power spikes?


#1

Good evening

A question to Paul at PS Audio and anyone else who might be able to shed light on my recent dilemma.

I came back after three weeks holiday and turned my amps on and there was some thumping coming from both my Quad 2905 speakers.

Prior to leaving for break, there was no issues with my system. I received a call from my audio man repairing the speakers and he has advised that nearly all panels are fried. He says that a surge or spike of power has resulted the panels being beyond repair.

I was under the impression that the P10 was not only a power re generator, but also capable of limiting power surges or spikes from damaging the equipment plugged into it?

All items from tv, cd, pre and amplifiers including speakers, was plugged into the P10 and only the speakers were damaged.

It is very disappointing to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of hardware and have this happen.

Is there anything I can log into to find out what occurred with the P10 and can someone from PS Audio respond to my email providing some insight as to why the unit let through the hi charge to the speakers?

Thanks for your time.

Libbyandjan


#2

The P10 has voltage clamps that indeed protect from surges. Was the amp feeding the Quads left on? Was the system shut off and only the electrostatic charge to the panels left powered?

Also, if you send us your serial number and are connected to the internet with the P10, we can run a diagnostic on it and see if everything’s working as it should.


#3
Paul McGowan said The P10 has voltage clamps that indeed protect from surges. Was the amp feeding the Quads left on? Was the system shut off and only the electrostatic charge to the panels left powered?

Also, if you send us your serial number and are connected to the internet with the P10, we can run a diagnostic on it and see if everything’s working as it should.


Hi Paul

Thanks for the reply. The amps feeding the Quads were not left on. The Quads were left on and only the amps, cd and pre were off.

I will connect to the internet tonight and post the serial number and if you can run a diagnostic check, that would be great.

Thanks Paul


#4
Paul McGowan said The P10 has voltage clamps that indeed protect from surges. Was the amp feeding the Quads left on? Was the system shut off and only the electrostatic charge to the panels left powered?

Also, if you send us your serial number and are connected to the internet with the P10, we can run a diagnostic on it and see if everything’s working as it should.

Hi Paul

The unit number is 072129 and it is currently connected to the internet.

Can you please let me know if there is anything that might identify what happened? I spoke to the repair technician today and they said the panels both of them, are definitely cactus due to a power spike.

Thanks


#5

We were able to access your P10 online. Thank you. The unit has old firmware (you should upgrade to the latest) but otherwise is in perfect working order, the MOV clamps for high voltage undamaged and functioning perfectly. This does not answer the question of what happened.

I am not sure what to speculate. The clamping system is simple. There are lightning fast MOV clamps across the line that will not allow spikes or surges higher than 270 volts for overseas units, half that for domestic. They are not “smart” devices, they are simple crowbar clamps that either work or don’t. If they don’t, it means they died, and yours are in perfect shape and doing their job. A spike greater than 135/270 VAC (depending on your country) could not pass through them - it is technically impossible.

If a surge, rather than a spike, came through the P10 would have shut off - or at least should have. When you returned home was the P10 on or off?


#6
Paul McGowan said We were able to access your P10 online. Thank you. The unit has old firmware (you should upgrade to the latest) but otherwise is in perfect working order, the MOV clamps for high voltage undamaged and functioning perfectly. This does not answer the question of what happened.

I am not sure what to speculate. The clamping system is simple. There are lightning fast MOV clamps across the line that will not allow spikes or surges higher than 270 volts for overseas units, half that for domestic. They are not “smart” devices, they are simple crowbar clamps that either work or don’t. If they don’t, it means they died, and yours are in perfect shape and doing their job. A spike greater than 135/270 VAC (depending on your country) could not pass through them - it is technically impossible.

If a surge, rather than a spike, came through the P10 would have shut off - or at least should have. When you returned home was the P10 on or off?


Hi Paul

Thank you again for the reply. I can provide a little more information on what happened. I received a call from my mother in law advising me that she had inadvertently touched the orange icons on the P10 fascia (that activate the components you want to turn on) and then heard thumping noises from both speakers.

She then turned the unit off at the power point. when I cam home, the system was off and disconnected at the mains power point.

I do not believe the mother in law accidentally turning the amps on had anything to do with the failure. You might correct me on this. But, I believe the speakers were already damaged prior to this happening and when the amps were on, the buzzing and thumping noise could be heard.

So, unless there was an internal failure with the Quads which is unusual for both speakers going at the same time, something had to come through the P10 to fry both speakers panels.

Your help is appreciated Paul.

Thanks


#7

Thanks for the extra information. Here’s the thing. The bias voltage of an electrostat can go quite high without any damage. In fact, I’ll bet you could double the bias voltage to an electrostat without any damage. The same is not true for a power amp. I can’t tell you the number of times, years ago, I fried Quads with too much amp power or a quick and sudden blast of an amplifier. They are very fragile to being over powered by amps, very insensitive to changes in bias voltage.

From what you’ve suggested, and given the fact your surge clamps are in perfect working order, I would suggest that when your mother in law turned the P10’s outlets on/off the power amp/pre amp combo sent a blast to the Quads and nailed them. That is a reasonable possibility, as sad as it is.

It just doesn’t make sense that a spike through the bias voltage would harm them even if it did occur - and given the nature of the P10’s voltage clamping mechanism - highly unlikely that anything could have come through.

I apologize. I wish I had a better answer for you.


#8
Paul McGowan said We were able to access your P10 online. Thank you. The unit has old firmware (you should upgrade to the latest) but otherwise is in perfect working order, the MOV clamps for high voltage undamaged and functioning perfectly.
I would appreciate if this can be done with my unit too, based on my unit no, since I got two outlets that are dead (Zone C).

Is there a procedure for such a work task (contact Support)?


#9

Sure Frode, send me an email with your serial number and I can have engineering check. Though, if there are two outlets out I don’t know the system can see that or not. You might need a new back module.


#10
Paul McGowan said Thanks for the extra information. Here's the thing. The bias voltage of an electrostat can go quite high without any damage. In fact, I'll bet you could double the bias voltage to an electrostat without any damage. The same is not true for a power amp. I can't tell you the number of times, years ago, I fried Quads with too much amp power or a quick and sudden blast of an amplifier. They are very fragile to being over powered by amps, very insensitive to changes in bias voltage.

From what you’ve suggested, and given the fact your surge clamps are in perfect working order, I would suggest that when your mother in law turned the P10’s outlets on/off the power amp/pre amp combo sent a blast to the Quads and nailed them. That is a reasonable possibility, as sad as it is.

It just doesn’t make sense that a spike through the bias voltage would harm them even if it did occur - and given the nature of the P10’s voltage clamping mechanism - highly unlikely that anything could have come through.

I apologize. I wish I had a better answer for you.


Hi Paul

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I will be repairing the Quads through replacing all panels. My normal process to turn things on is the speakers stay on all the time and then I turn the cd, pre and finally the amps on.

Is there anyway I can protect the Quads if I turn them on last?

I have had the same system for six years and it is strange that after this time, the amps would or could, contribute to the Quads failure.

If I have the speakers turned off (orange) on the P10 and turn on the amps, will this help? Or should I say, always turn the speakers on last?

Thanks again for your time Paul


#11

I am sorry you had to go through this. There’s nothing worse.

As you know, you can go into the P10 through a web browser and set the delay turn on for the power amps and I would do that for sure.

The speakers bias voltage on or off won’t matter if too big of a thump from the amp comes through. It is very important that the power amps are the last thing to come on and setting their delay is important. In my system, I leave everything but the amps powered on at all times. Only the preamp, which is now our new tube preamp, remains in standby mode and we use the DC triggers on the equipment to toggle the amps on. Not all preamps offer the DC trigger turn ons for amplifiers, but they sure do help if you have them.


#12

The amp should also be turned off first. In my case, my current preamp will otherwise send a loud thump when it is turned off. It hasn’t done any damage (yet) but I don’t have electrostatics.


#13
libbyandjan said

. . . the speakers stay on all the time


I’ve owned Quads for over 15 years and I’d strongly suggest turning them off when not in use, or at least when you’re not around to keep an eye on them. The reason is that many things can go wrong very quickly in a Quad resulting in catastrophic damage. The membrane on the panels does not last forever and when it cracks or splits, heavy arcing in the panel can result. Humidity and temperature changes contribute to this, but failure WILL eventually occur.

Unless the unit has actually caught on fire, it’s unlikely the panels are ‘beyond repair’ - they’re nothing more than a pair of heavy plastic frames with perforated metal sheets attached and a very thin Mylar sheet stretched between. With a bit of practice and patience, repairing the panels is fairly easy and inexpensive - the most expensive item you’ll need is a can of anti-static coating (about $40). You may find that disassembling the speakers to access the panels is harder than repairing the panels themselves and that’s where some soldering skills and extra patience come in handy.

Anyway, panel replacement or repair is part of owning Quads. Unless you want to drop a few thousand dollars on them every few years by having someone else fix them, learn how to do it yourself.

Good luck!


#14

[nested quotes deleted]

Thanks Peanut Butter

You are correct about switching the Quads off when not in use. I received an email today from Rob Flain at Quad UK advising to switch the Quads off after use.

He said that the longevity of the panels will extend further opposed to leaving them on all the time like I have been.

This is what I will do now. Thanks for the advice.


#15

I have 2905s as well and feel for your loss LibbyandJan. I always switch off the panels at the end of a listening session, unless I’m returning a couple of hours later. The speakers only take 30min or so to be fully operational. If I’m going away for more than a couple of days or the house is empty for a few days I’ll unplug them as well, same for all of my system. I have a lot of regulation on my power but if a lightening strike hits the house or nearby I wouldn’t chance the protection systems stopping all of the effects or that a component could malfunction and cause a fire.

At least your Quad’s will be singing beautifully soon again.