Leaving amp on vs power strip

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,727
This sounds sensible to me. There are good reasons to turn it off when not in use as you point out, but not as compelling reasons for leaving it on so I have purchased a power strip that I will use from now on to turn it off when it's not in use. And I'll just feel better about it. I never thought about wearing out the switch on the amplifier itself, and that definitely would not be a part I could find as the amplifier is from the 1960s. Thank you and everyone else for your help.
Also, many power strips have surge protection built in. That helps protect equipment a little anyway.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
10,277
Also, many power strips have surge protection built in. That helps protect equipment a little anyway.
If I were being pedantic I would distinguish between spike protection (a transitory over-voltage situation) and surge protection (a more prolonged event). Power strips with "protection" have a metal oxide VDR which will clip the top off a brief spike but do nothing about an over-voltage event which is a few percent over the maximum, but enough to drive a mains transformer into saturation.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,727
If I were being pedantic I would distinguish between spike protection (a transitory over-voltage situation) and surge protection (a more prolonged event). Power strips with "protection" have a metal oxide VDR which will clip the top off a brief spike but do nothing about an over-voltage event which is a few percent over the maximum, but enough to drive a mains transformer into saturation.
Well, I could imagine that every little bit helps for whatever it does do.
Not being pedantic, I can also say that the 'surge' protection also can "wear out", meaning the parts give up for the sake of some protection and then either they need to be replaced or the whole power strip needs to be replaced. There are types now that will detect the failure of these parts and given an indication. That could be an indication that surge protection power strips are evolving to the point of being more and more effective and reliable. When you think about how long they have been around now, it's about friggin time :)
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
10,277
When you think about how long they have been around now, it's about friggin time :)
Maybe one day, they will make the socket contacts out of something that will actually take the rated current without melting the plastic. Or is that asking too much? Or is that just the British ones?
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,727
Maybe one day, they will make the socket contacts out of something that will actually take the rated current without melting the plastic. Or is that asking too much? Or is that just the British ones?
Oh yes interesting. I noticed that they make the spring strength of the two inside contacts differently in different power strips and other things like that. Some are very strong and really grip the prongs, and others are of medium strength, and some are quite weak. The weak ones will cause more heat and the strong ones are really good.
I bought one more expensive power strip, and it takes a lot of force to plug something into it. Some of the cheaper ones I barely have to push the plug in and it goes all the way in, and will come out much more easily too. So I attribute the heating problems mostly to the contact strength. It's probably thicker metal which would be more expensive. So not all power strips are equal even in the United States.
Sometimes it doesn't take much to get it to get warm with a cheap one, and that's why I test my sockets now and then by feeling them after something has been running for a while. If there is a sign of heating I will replace it. Actually I end up feeling the plug not the socket itself.
 

Thread Starter

river251

Joined Jan 2, 2023
7
I'd take the trouble to switch if off, to maximise the life of the electrolytic capacitors.
I somehow missed this reply. I've had a lot of amps and I know that in the older tube amps the electrolytics are likely to need replacing. That would seem to apply to solid state amps as well from the same era. So this seems like it would also be a major reason to keep it off when not being used. When I retire soon, the amp should be in use more than it's turned off if I'm practicing properly. Thanks again everybody.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,466
The really older ones with tubes instead of transistors provide even more reasons, although a rectifier tube will stand line spikes much better that silicon diodes. I learned that the hard way: A large spike jumped the mains line switch and shorted both rectifier diodes. And the thing was switched off at the time. So when I switched it on days later there was smoke as the two resistors I included as fuses burned up. (1/4 watt 110 ohm resistors were cheaper than theglass fuses in that era.)
 

Externet

Joined Nov 29, 2005
2,247
Remote controlled equipment is the one deserving to be always plugged to a energized outlet. Otherwise, shut off all others when not in use, by their power switch or strip, awkward or not reach.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,466
Adding an external power switch is the happy way around that problem. And it ocurrs to me that to get a hint about the DC output, an incandescent pilot light could be helpful. A voltmeter would work also, so how about a switch to use one meter for amps and volts? It will need a shunt resistor for current and a series resistor for volts. AND a double pole switch
 
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