What's the best way to test the power in your home?


#1

Is there a meter or some sort of device that people use to test how good or bad the power is coming out of the wall before any conditioning or regenerating?

Sorry if this has already been discussed and thanks in advance for the help.

David


#2

No worries. What would you like to test for?


#3

I’ll take a shot … As a basic measure you can use a voltmeter to check for line voltage. Nominal voltage in the US is around 120 volts AC, but can vary a few volts higher (125 VAC) and in some places quite a few volts lower (110 VAC) without causing much of problem. The other issues are frequency and noise on the line. Frequency should be very close to 60 Hz, variations of 0.1 Hz are OK, but I think frequency variation is a rare malady. The way to measure frequency is with an oscilloscope, not something most people have or even know how to use. Noise on the line is the real issue with Audiophiles, appliances in the home or in the neighborhood can put noise back into the line. Measuring noise can be done with a oscilloscope, but once again you need to know how to use it. There are other devices for measuring noise, the only ones that come to mind are the PS Audio P5 and P10 which will give you a percentage of Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) on the incoming line as well as the outgoing, regenerated line.

Edit: Paul said only the P10 displays THD.


#4
Paul McGowan said

No worries. What would you like to test for?


Paul - thanks for the quick response.

I have read other posts of people saying that the power out of their wall sockets was particularly bad - I thought I saw someone commenting on the voltage, etc. What I’m wondering is whether there is a way to test for how valuable a P10 could be. Presumably some people need a P10 more than others, right?


#5
pmotz said

I’ll take a shot … As a basic measure you can use a voltmeter to check for line voltage. Nominal voltage in the US is around 120 volts AC, but can vary a few volts higher (125 VAC) and in some places quite a few volts lower (110 VAC) without causing much of problem. The other issues are frequency and noise on the line. Frequency should be very close to 60 Hz, variations of 0.1 Hz are OK, but I think frequency variation is a rare malady. The way to measure frequency is with an oscilloscope, not something most people have or even know how to use. Noise on the line is the real issue with Audiophiles, appliances in the home or in the neighborhood can put noise back into the line. Measuring noise can be done with a oscilloscope, but once again you need to know how to use it. There are other devices for measuring noise, the only ones that come to mind are the PS Audio P5 and P10 which will give you a percentage of Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) on the incoming line as well as the outgoing, regenerated line.


Sounds then that the short answer to my questions is “no, there is no easy way to test this”.

Anyone disagree with that?


#6

Ahhh. Makes sense. Unfortunately, power quality is not easy to measure. You need specialized equipment. That’s one reason we built in a harmonic distortion analyzer into the P10 so users could measure exactly what quality their power is. Unfortunately, that requires a P10. Chicken and egg.

What I can tell you is clean, low distortion, regulated power from the home wall socket does not exist. I can guarantee your home wall socket needs help, help that only an AC regenerator can offer. I can be certain of this for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is simply the way it all works.

Your home is connected to a power transformer from the power company. The output of that transformer is likely shared by many of your neighbors, each adding their own pollution to the line you share. To mess things up more, you have hundreds of meters of unshielded wire connecting all this together. Those facts alone make a Power Plant regenerator a necessity.

You don’t need measuring equipment to know that.


#7

Dschamis: one approach could be to work with your PS Audio dealer to try a device with a 30 day return privilege. Then you can know if it matters for you and your system or not. But be careful on this - - that’s how I ended up buying a P10 a year ago…