DIY Balanced AC Power - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Balanced AC Power

I could not help but notice a lack of discussion about power conditioning projects on HTS. Over the years I have tried various audiophile power conditioning devices with varying degrees of success, until coming across balanced AC power. Since 2004, when I tried my first DIY balanced AC power project, I have gone through several incarnations, each time tweaking and improving on the previous effort.

I went the DIY way because I was not satisfied with some of the parts and design choices I was seeing in manufactured units. I decided to build my own, using the best parts and wiring I could obtain, regardless of cost, and doing careful listening along the way. I use premium outlets and power inlet, hydraulic/magnetic time delay breaker, OCC silver and copper wirinng, pure copper terminals, and non-ferrous hardware. All transformer mounting bolts, nuts and washers are bronze.

Chassis are supplied by Par-Metal Corp., a manufacturer of rack-mount chassis in New Jersey that is know to some DIYers. In the beginning I bought the raw enclosures and cut my own holes using a Dremel tool. I later found out that Par-Metal also did hole-punching for a modest fee once you provided a detailed drawing. I had them supply subsequent chassis with holes pre-punched, which made for a much neater, more professional looking end result.

My current unit has three duplex outlet banks, each fed by its own balanced isolation transformer. I use Littelfuse iTMOVs for surge suppression. The iTMOvs have a third lead that can be used for a power cutout or indicator circuit in case of surge protection failure. I employ a simple indicator circuit using a front panel LED that does double duty as a power on indicator. When the LED is lit, that tells me power is on and surge potection is present. If the LED goes out, that telle me the MOV has gone south, and the circuit breaker may also have tripped.

Of all the technologies I have tried, balanced power has brought the most benefits. YMMV.

Some of my builds, from first to current:

Unit at home in my equipment rack:

Last edited by Glen B; 06-20-13 at 10:13 PM.
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post #2 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 03:08 PM
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

Nice looking build, you look to have a fair knowledge of electical. What king of benefits are talking about & how did you measure them?

Looks like it woud make an interesting build thread.
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post #3 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

Sonic benefits in my system are reduction of an already very low system noise floor to the vanishing point, noted increase in bass heft and definition, and improvements in detail and transparency. Technical improvements of balanced power have already been proven. Equi=Tech Corp. the pioneers of balanced power (a.k.a. symmetrical power) has several articles and papers published on the subject.
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post #4 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 05:11 PM
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

How expensive was it to make one?


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post #5 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

I've done several builds and spent between $1,900 and $2,600 on parts.

Last edited by Glen B; 06-20-13 at 07:02 PM.
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post #6 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 09:12 PM
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Wow. And wow again. That looks great,how long to build it?
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post #7 of 53 Old 06-19-13, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

B- one wrote: View Post
Wow. And wow again. That looks great,how long to build it?
How long to build THEM, since you're looking at three different builds. The average build time is about 18 hours.
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post #8 of 53 Old 06-20-13, 01:02 PM
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

can you provide a breakdown of part costs (for your build) and also, what the function of each part is (to help with potentially substituting less expensive parts to achieve the same function)? Thanks!
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post #9 of 53 Old 06-20-13, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

Your build can range from something as basic as a single balanced isolation transformer in an enclosure, with circuit breaker and GFCI outlet, to something more involved, with multiple transformers and the best audio grade parts and wiring. Your final cost will vary accordingly. I've done two rebuilds within the past 9 years, with major parts changes and tweaks in-between. Parts costs have varied from approximately $1,900 to $2,600. Following are the items in my current build. I've used various brand EMI/RFI block filters and GFCIs in the past, which I don't use now for sonic reasons, after careful listening comparisons.

Equi=Tech 2BQ balanced isolation transformer - $650.00
Toroid Corporation of Maryland 250VA balanced isolation transformers, potted (2) - $400.00
Par-Metal rack mount chassis, including hole-punching charge - $85.00
Oyaide R-1 duplex outlets, cryoed and cooked (3) - $540.00
Furutech FI-33 gold 20A IEC power inlet - $109.00
Carlingswitch 20A hydraulic/magnetic time delay breaker - $35.00
Acoustic Zen and VH Audio OCC silver and copper internal wiring - $600.00
Auricaps, 0.47F/600V and 1F/600V - $90.00 (used as differential noise filters)
Other small parts + sound dampening material + non-ferrous hardware + parts shipping costs - estimated $150.00, 20%

Last edited by Glen B; 06-21-13 at 10:25 AM.
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post #10 of 53 Old 06-27-13, 07:06 PM
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Re: DIY Balanced AC Power

this is pretty cool but I would get electrocuted making something like this ....
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ac , balanced , diy , power

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