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Power conditioner recommendations?


AtariLeaf
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Based on some advice I got from Save2600 in this thread I'm in the market for a good power conditioner that will hopefully help eliminate any "dirty power" issues I may have and perhaps clean up my 2600's jailbar issue (if that's what is causing it). Regardless it seems like a worthwhile investment in keeping my gaming collection in as good a shape as possible. I take it these are different from a UPS because I've looked at those too.

 

So I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations, experiences, warnings, etc when it comes to what to look for with these "power conditioners"

 

PS - I'd like to keep it under $100 if possible.

Edited by AtariLeaf
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Never used a power conditioner but I doubt you really need one, 10% over or under voltage should not make a difference and if you are getting more than that I would complain to your energy supplier, I don't know what the rules are in Canada but I would be surprised if more that a 10% variations was allowed.

 

I would think you could get socket strips with surge and spike protection built in for around $20, they are quite common and around 15-20 pounds here in the UK, the only thing some power conditioners may provide over that is noise filtering and some socket strips, like this one even incorporate that.

If you combine that with some clip on ferrites that camp around the output power cable of your VCS's power supply and its RF cable will help reduce RF interference (may need to wrap the power supply cable round a couple of time due to cable thickness if you cannot find a ferrite with the correct diameter).

 

Running it away from sources/turning of sources RF interference (PC's mobile phones, WiFi) may also help as may putting a small capacitor say 10nF or 100pF across the big 2200uF smoothing capacitor inside the 2600 as smaller value capacitors decouple higher frequencies and such sources of RF interference and frequencies of that interference were not conceived of when the units were designed and so they were not designed to guard against them.

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Okay, this unit here is what I would consider the bare minimum. The conditioning it provides is just noise filtering. It doesn't regulate voltage (other than to suppress surges). Automatic voltage regulation you aren't probably going to find sub $100. The good news is it is affordable, is a quality unit from a long time company with a sterling reputation. I myself use another one of their products in my home theater rack and it is excellent. Plus I personally know musicians who have been using their products in their amp/effects racks since the 80s. Good company. Any claims they make about their products are the truth, and not fake news.

 

Okay, here is basically the same thing as the SS6B I first mentioned above, but it costs more (still under $100), has two more outlets, and is rack mountable if that's useful to you (now or later).

Edited by fujidude
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$50 isn't too bad. I'll attach a picture of what I'm currently using. It says it has "stage 1 filtering" but filtering what exactly? Dirty power? The one in your link says it has "

EMI/RFI noise attenuation" which is probably different than power filtering? I just don' want to buy the same thing I already have because it's not doing the trick as far as eliminating any dirty power issues that MAY be causing this jailbar issue.

BTW on another, but similar note, I got a package in the mail from mojoatomic on Friday which is the capacitor kit he graciously sent me. Before I pull the trigger on one of these power strips I'm going to see if replacing the caps and voltage regulator will make a difference in the jailbars. Hopefully I'll have a change by next weekend. I don't do it myself, I'll have a local gameshop owner who's repaired consoles for me in the past do it. If its not a cap, voltage regulator, dirty power or a chip, then it's just a 40 year old game system I guess and that's the way it is. I don't know.

post-2493-0-02758200-1488720932_thumb.jpg

Edited by AtariLeaf
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$50 isn't too bad. I'll attach a picture of what I'm currently using. It says it has "stage 1 filtering" but filtering what exactly? Dirty power? The one in your link says it has "

EMI/RFI noise attenuation" which is probably different than power filtering? I just don' want to buy the same thing I already have because it's not doing the trick as far as eliminating any dirty power issues that MAY be causing this jailbar issue.

BTW on another, but similar note, I got a package in the mail from mojoatomic on Friday which is the capacitor kit he graciously sent me. Before I pull the trigger on one of these power strips I'm going to see if replacing the caps and voltage regulator will make a difference in the jailbars. Hopefully I'll have a change by next weekend. I don't do it myself, I'll have a local gameshop owner who's repaired consoles for me in the past do it. If its not a cap, voltage regulator, dirty power or a chip, then it's just a 40 year old game system I guess and that's the way it is. I don't know.

 

You ask a good question. Let me answer it this way... I have no idea what the one you already have is doing for you or not. On the face of it, it seems to be saying it includes similar technology as the one I suggested. On the other hand, how well it performs that function (or if it really even is at all) is unknown to me. What I do know, or at least have immense confidence in, is that the Furman one will do what it claims. Which in this case is to filter out much of the line noise caused by EMI/RFI (electro-magnetic interference & radio frequency interference). "Noise" on a power circuit does indeed manifest as variations in voltage, how ever they are relatively small ones compared to the kind of variations in voltage that are caused by poor power company distribution, heavy (usually inductive) loads on your the circuit going on, off (refrigerators or electric motors for example). Those are the kind that need an AVR (automatic voltage regulation) capability to effectively deal with. You will not get AVR in the price range you are looking for, but you probably don't need it either, since the issue you have is more or less constant and not so transient.

 

But anyway, back to if you need something different... maybe, maybe not. I think your plan to re-cap and see is a good one, however, rather than just suggest a product that meets certain criteria (in response to your request for such suggestions), how about I rewind a little and re-evaluate what you might or might not actually need in the 1st place. You might need caps, but it seems you have that covered. Caps are what filter out noise in the power, by "smoothing" the flow. But here's a question and potentially a suggestion if you are not already doing so; do you have your gaming rig and tv/monitor plugged into the same electrical circuit (and relatively close to each other)? The best way to make sure is to have all of that stuff plugged into the same outlet box/surge suppressor. Forgive me if this has already been covered. I'm thinking you are likely using the one surge suppressor for everything involved here but I just want to make sure. The reason is you can get a ground loop going which will would manifest as 60Hz noise on your video signal. Canada uses 60Hz power like the U.S. right? If not, it would be 50Hz noise. Perhaps that could explain the issue you have.

 

In summary....

  • Make sure the involved devices are plugged into the same strip/box. If they weren't, and doing so clears up your problem, then you're done.
  • Change those caps.
  • Still having problems? Get the Furman, or test with someone Else's Furman (or similar known working and quality unit) before buying your own.

 

Good luck. Keep us posted.

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You ask a good question. Let me answer it this way... I have no idea what the one you already have is doing for you or not. On the face of it, it seems to be saying it includes similar technology as the one I suggested. On the other hand, how well it performs that function (or if it really even is at all) is unknown to me. What I do know, or at least have immense confidence in, is that the Furman one will do what it claims. Which in this case is to filter out much of the line noise caused by EMI/RFI (electro-magnetic interference & radio frequency interference). "Noise" on a power circuit does indeed manifest as variations in voltage, how ever they are relatively small ones compared to the kind of variations in voltage that are caused by poor power company distribution, heavy (usually inductive) loads on your the circuit going on, off (refrigerators or electric motors for example). Those are the kind that need an AVR (automatic voltage regulation) capability to effectively deal with. You will not get AVR in the price range you are looking for, but you probably don't need it either, since the issue you have is more or less constant and not so transient.

 

But anyway, back to if you need something different... maybe, maybe not. I think your plan to re-cap and see is a good one, however, rather than just suggest a product that meets certain criteria (in response to your request for such suggestions), how about I rewind a little and re-evaluate what you might or might not actually need in the 1st place. You might need caps, but it seems you have that covered. Caps are what filter out noise in the power, by "smoothing" the flow. But here's a question and potentially a suggestion if you are not already doing so; do you have your gaming rig and tv/monitor plugged into the same electrical circuit (and relatively close to each other)? The best way to make sure is to have all of that stuff plugged into the same outlet box/surge suppressor. Forgive me if this has already been covered. I'm thinking you are likely using the one surge suppressor for everything involved here but I just want to make sure. The reason is you can get a ground loop going which will would manifest as 60Hz noise on your video signal. Canada uses 60Hz power like the U.S. right? If not, it would be 50Hz noise. Perhaps that could explain the issue you have.

 

In summary....

  • Make sure the involved devices are plugged into the same strip/box. If they weren't, and doing so clears up your problem, then you're done.
  • Change those caps.
  • Still having problems? Get the Furman, or test with someone Else's Furman (or similar known working and quality unit) before buying your own.

 

Good luck. Keep us posted.

 

Thanks for the nice and detailed response. To answer your question, yes everything is always plugged into that SS. In this case its a Commodore 1702 monitor, a simple Sony VCR and the Atari or other gaming device I'm using at that moment. I have tried other outlets, power supplies, and other tv's including a modern HDTV and the jailbars are still prominent. I had taken my Atari to a local game store and using both my power supply and one of theirs, the lines are still visible. Strangely we tried a Heavy sixer that they had just acquired that day and it too had jailbars.

 

Oh and I'm pretty sure the Canadian power is the same as the US but that's a guess. We're an NTSC country like the US if that matters.

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Thanks for the nice and detailed response. To answer your question, yes everything is always plugged into that SS. In this case its a Commodore 1702 monitor, a simple Sony VCR and the Atari or other gaming device I'm using at that moment. I have tried other outlets, power supplies, and other tv's including a modern HDTV and the jailbars are still prominent. I had taken my Atari to a local game store and using both my power supply and one of theirs, the lines are still visible. Strangely we tried a Heavy sixer that they had just acquired that day and it too had jailbars.

 

Oh and I'm pretty sure the Canadian power is the same as the US but that's a guess. We're an NTSC country like the US if that matters.

 

Okay, so the monitor is common to all situations which result in jail bars. Have you tried using a different monitor to see if it makes a difference? Perhaps video cable is common too?

 

PS: If you were are/were NTSC, then you are at 60Hz for power too. NTSC was designed for 60Hz power distribution.

Edited by fujidude
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Okay, so the monitor is common to all situations which result in jail bars. Have you tried using a different monitor to see if it makes a difference? Perhaps video cable is common too?

 

PS: If you were are/were NTSC, then you are at 60Hz for power too. NTSC was designed for 60Hz power distribution.

 

I have two 1702's, an RCA CRT TV and the HDTV and they all show jailbars. It's also not the VCR as I don't need it for either the CRT or the HDTV, just the 1702's so I've eliminated that as a cause as well.

 

I also don't think it's a particular video cable, because it's been shown to happen on 7 or 8 different systems with different video cables. I tried swapping the cable on one system with one with a ferrite core and it didn't make a difference either.

 

I'm also using RCA to Coax adapter, not an older switchbox if that makes a difference.

Edited by AtariLeaf
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