P20 - Trips circuit breaker when initializing > Looking for reason and solution

Dear P20 experts,

I’ve been running my P20 for 3 years now with no problem whatsoever. I power it down via remote control and wake it up with it. I have time delays for the various zones to start gear sequentially.

Yesterday I powered it up and it initialized the first zone successfully, when it came to the second zone, this zone came up briefly and then the entire P20 shut itself off immediately. It had tripped the circuit breaker of the house although my connected gear does not draw much current. After I reactivated the circuit breaker, I wanted to start the P20 again but after flicking the back switch I immediately heard a nasty loud hum from inside the P20 and a second later it tripped it’s own 10A circuit breaker (not the one of my house). I let it sit for a an hour and tried again with same results. Always a nasty hum and seconds later it trips the circuit breaker. I disconnected all the gear cables but same result all the time. I have not done any changes to my installation and there was never any issue like that. I also measured the power cable going into the P20 with no problems. I’ve completely disconnected the P20 and now listen just to a power strip with no issues. What could have caused this problem overnight? Is there any way to resolve this on my own? I’m living in Germany so shipping the P20 to Boulder would be a nightmare. Hence I’m looking for some things to try if they are somehow safe. Thanks for some help on this. Best regards Christian

Does this happen when powering zone 2, or just the first time?

Dear jvvita,
It happens right after flicking the main switch at the rear. The initial problem occurred when powering zone 2 but after that it now always happens just seconds after flicking the main switch, even without any gear cables plugged into it…

Since it repeatable it sounds like the P20 has a problem. Try contacting a local repair shop. A failure of this nature should be in the wheelhouse of a competent technician even without schematics. I would reach out to PSA service get their thoughts. They may share schematics with you to pass on to your local shop.

I agree with @gthiel . Just give psaudio support a call tomorrow.

One thing that is puzzling me is why the fuse did not blow up.

Thanks Gentlemen,
I will contact PS Audio directly tomorrow. I guess the fuse didn’t blow because it has a 10A rating, similar to the built in resettable breaker. I guess this one is just quicker. Interestingly when it happended the first time, both the resettable breaker and the internal fuse was just fine. At this moment the 16A circuit breaker of the house tripped.

Thanks so much for providing advice on how to handle this properly!


Your solution is here.

Check all plugs in the back of the P20. That help me on one occasion.

Dear Vmax,

I’m a big fan of your expertise and have applied many of your tweaks on my Directstream Dac, so a big thank you here from me for that!

I’ve read about your problem and your path towards a solution about your P20 no longer initializing.

I feel that our two problems are different. My interpretation of your problem is that your P20 got stuck in the initializiation routine and you could listen for solenoid clicks to press the front button at the right time after 15 seconds.

My problem is that after flicking the main switch at the back I only have 2 seconds with nasty intense buzzing before the internal circuit breaker of the P20 shuts it down. There is no more controlled initialization process which can be modified with pressing a button. The P20 is violently drawing current (my assumption) for whatever reason (even with no gear attached to it). I guess it’s a case for a technician.

Thanks so much for jumping in here with a solution proposal!!!


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Dear 1cdfoley,
Thanks a lot for your solution proposal!

I’ve tried powering the P20 up with no hifi gear attached to it at all and the reaction of the device is the exactly the same. Hence, the problem can’t be invoked by a faulty device provoking the P20.

However, your advice sparks an idea with me. I use very hefty and stiff power cords from Synergistic Research which put some mechancial strain on the P20 power outlet sockets. Could it be that one of them (which was plugged into zone2) could have deformed conductive metal in the P20 power outlet socket such that it produced a short when I woke the zone 2 up via remote two days ago? Could it be that the deformed metal in the outlet socket now produces a constant short that happens every time I power the P20 up? Would such a short manifest audibly with a nasty hum followed by a tripped internal breaker of the P20?

I know that these are lots of assumptions, but are they realistic? Otherwise I don’t understand the behaviour of the P20.

Thanks and cheers

Maybe you could try plugging a high load device (toaster or hair dryer) into the same wall socket to see if the in wall breaker may be failing. Not saying this is the problem but that test should eliminate the in wall breaker.


Dear Baldy,
Thank you for your idea! I’ve checked the wall outlet and it works just fine. I’ve taken the P20 out of the system and run the gear now through the same outlet via normal power strip.


It was worth a try!

The only reason I mentioned it is breakers that are loaded near the tripping point seem to “wear out” and become more and more sensitive. I have had to change a few out in my shop over the years that started to trip with smaller and smaller loads.

I guess the next thing is to contact PSA or have the local dealer take a look.

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Thanks again! Yes this is the way forward…Best Christian

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