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post #11 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 02:42 AM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

I know we are in two completely different parts of the country but what was involved with the upgrade to 400amps? New lines from the pole to the house, seperate panels, etc. The reason i ask is that when i do my room i am going to fall short on circuits and power for all of my equipment due to the fact that i feel i must have dedicated outlets to run my outboards (7 total plus all the other equipment). Thanks.
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 09:41 AM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

Hello,
Line Current is another excellent idea as it is a major issue for some. Especially those who live in large Metro Areas.
JJ

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Speakers: Martin Logan Vantage (Mains), Martin Logan Stage (Center), Martin Logan Vista (Surrounds), Martin Logan Montages (Surrounds) Hsu Research VTF-15h MK2, Martin Logan Descent i (Subwoofer)
Amplification: Aragon 8008bb, Parasound HCA-3500, Parasound HCA-2205 AT, Parasound HCA-1000a
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 03:39 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

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I know we are in two completely different parts of the country but what was involved with the upgrade to 400amps? New lines from the pole to the house, seperate panels, etc. The reason i ask is that when i do my room i am going to fall short on circuits and power for all of my equipment due to the fact that i feel i must have dedicated outlets to run my outboards (7 total plus all the other equipment). Thanks.
Upgrading from the 200 Amp to 400 Amp main panel requires that you buy a 400 Amp panel which is dimensionally larger than a 200 Amp panel in width and lenght usually. Along with the new 400 Amp main panel you will have to buy a new riser pipe 3" to 3-1/2" in diameter, a new weather head, and some 650 MCM copper riser wire to feed your main breaker. The drop wire from the pole to the house will also have to be changed out to a larger guage for a 400 Amp panel as well. You will have to contact your electric utility company and have them audit the local power load of your neighborhood and they may detetmine that a new transformer will have to be installed to carry the 400 amp load to your house. The drop wire is usually free but a transformer usually comes with a cost to you from the utility company.

Your electric utility company should have a section on their web site detailing the specifications and regulations for the type of equipment, material and method of installation of your main panel they want to see and what your resposiblity and their responsibility would be along with any costs to you from them for work they would have to perform on their end. This usually takes some time on their end once you get the ball rolling.

In my case I got lucky. My brother is an electrical contractor and I used to be an electrician myself before I got into telephone contracting business. SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) determined that I only needed to have the drop from the pole to the house changed out to accomodate the higher amperage main panel I upgraded to and the existing transformer was fine for that. The drop replacement from them was free. My brother and I pulled a permit and scheduled SMUD to cut the drop to the house in the early AM. We wrecked out the 200 amp panel and installed the new 400 amp panel before mid day and had the existing wireing to the house cut over shortly after that. The County building inspector signed off the permit and SMUD came back in the late afternoon and hooked the new drop up and I went from there over several days placing the sub panel and wireing dedicated outlets for the A/V equiupment. I wired to this sub panel and all the theater room power in a commeercial method. This means I used EMT conduit, metal boxes, and associated wireing and gronding methods that would not usually be used in residential. Not necessary but thats how I did it.

The sub panel I got was one my brother had left over form a hospitol job he had done. This sub panel was also a line conditioner which is used in the hospitol operating rooms to provide clean frequency stable power to the electronic equipment used these rooms. I also run isolated grounds to all the power outlets in this room through an insulated grounding bus bar installed into this sub panel. I drove a 8' long 5/8" copper rod into the earth outside the house with a heavy electric roto hammer and wired #2 copper wire from there to the insulated grounding bus bar in the sub panel. I then extended this insulated ground with a #4 copper wire from the grounding rod to a buss bar behind the equipment racks, that I have my gear in, and grounded all the equipment chassis to this. This eliminated the faint hum my Parasound amps were making when the rest of the system was off and made more than a noticable difference to the plus how the rest of my equipment worked.

The main panel I bought cost me around $1800.00 through my brothers wholsale house which only included the 400 amp main breaker. The sub panel, I gave my brother $500.00 for it, but it actually cost considerably more. I had around another $1000.00 or so in materials needed to build this out and the labor was free as my brother and I did it ourselves and we had alot of the material already.

If my brother was to bid to do this job as a contractor he would charge around $9000.00 which would include pulling the permit and working with and coordinating with the utility company. This would not include whatever costs the utility company wants to do their end of the job if needed.

Last edited by mrm14; 03-19-11 at 03:52 PM.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 03:59 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

Thanks for the reply MRM. Sounds like i best find a better way to pull power from my main 200amp panel, if we were planning on staying at this house awhile longer (like forever) or if the house was worth it then i could see going that route. Thanks again for the response.
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 04:36 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

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Thanks for the reply MRM. Sounds like i best find a better way to pull power from my main 200amp panel, if we were planning on staying at this house awhile longer (like forever) or if the house was worth it then i could see going that route. Thanks again for the response.
Well if you were to try to get more power from your 200 map panel to your theater you might consider auditing the entire existing load of your house and seeing what you have left over that you can use. If your theater room load fits in this left over range it can be done. What I have found with these theater systems it that the sound amplifiers are the real stinkers for drawing current especially when you have your system "cranked up". Not enough line current to alot of amplifiers make them to run excessively hot and trip the thermal breaker within them. Now amplifiers like the Parasounds tend to naturally run hot compaired to others. Even the little 100 watt Parasound Zamp Zone ampifier that I run with my psb bookshelf speakers out of the PC in my office runs somewhat hot.

If it were me with the limitations of the 200 amp panel you have I would only try to shoot for whatever extra dedicated circuts that would be needed to run your sound amplifier/s. Most of the rest of the theater equipment doesn't really draw that much of a load from the line. Installing a grounding system to ground the chassis of your equipment only is of a real help also especially for ground feedback noise through high power amplifiers.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 05:55 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

The problem with my existing panel is i don't have any openings left in it do to my entire home being run off eletricity alone. I do believe that i could snag 1or2 extra circuits by using the half size breakers but as far as getting 6 or 7 extras that may be tough. Got any ideas as to how one may pull this off as the extra circuits are allmost all needed. Thanks
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 07:39 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

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The problem with my existing panel is i don't have any openings left in it do to my entire home being run off eletricity alone. I do believe that i could snag 1or2 extra circuits by using the half size breakers but as far as getting 6 or 7 extras that may be tough. Got any ideas as to how one may pull this off as the extra circuits are allmost all needed. Thanks
You can get slimline breakers to gain more slot space for 110v and you can get quad breakers for 220 v which you'll gain (2) single 110 v slimline breakers. You could also add a sub panel to the main for more breaker space.

That being said, you have to be careful not to exceede the 200 amp main breaker with load. Actually, when I used to do load caulcs. for sizing a main panel for a residential or commercial application I would figure the entire load from outlets and devices and multiply by 1.25 to figure the size of main panel needed. So the main panel was 125% of what line current was needed for the entire building.
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-19-11, 09:22 PM
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Re: amplifier recomendations for my AV setup

Thanks again, i'll have to look at my panel to see where i can gain some space.
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