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Optoelectronics/Displays??

Power line conditioning for plasma and HD displays

Posted: 01 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:power line conditioning? plasma HD display? power HD display?

By Jeff Lubitsky
Richard Gray's Power Company

Many popular brands of plasma displays on the market today consume between 400-700W of power in an hour. When combined with even a moderate home theater set-up, the demands for power delivery can be far beyond what a home's AC line can deliver. To completely understand the issue, one must first look at where the power is coming from both inside and outside the home. On the street, power lines run 240V of balanced power, more than enough for a premium home theater if you could get it directly from the transformer. Unfortunately you can't, and power is transferred from a utility pole and shared amongst neighbors, often with low gauge wire where poor mechanical connections become fatigued and stressed from constant surges. Once in the house, most electrical services are in the 100V range (200V in newer homes); a far cry from the 600-volts cranked out in a dealer showroom where an HD display is demonstrated to look its best. This lack of on-demand power in the home is what prohibits sensitive audio and video gear from performing at its peak.

Power line conditioners
Power Line Conditioners (PLCs) have long been the component of choice used to address insufficient and "polluted" power. While most PLCs adequately do what they claim, (reduce line noise and protect from spikes and surges), it's the side effects and what they DON'T do that can be deleterious to an HD display. PLCs are generally wired in-series with active and passive components adding resistance and restricting current flow to electronics. Electricity also faces many "obstacles" when passing through a typical PLC such as small air core chokes, voltage regulators and sine wave regenerators. With limited current comes reduced dynamics and compromised performance of audio and video equipment in the home, making music and video seem less real and more mechanical.

In-series wiring vs. in-parallel wiring
The alternative to wiring in-series is to have power products that are wired in parallel to components which does not limit current and results in better black levels for more dimensionality, greater contrast and more realistic color intensity for lifelike HD TV images. Richard Gray's Power Company (RGPC) has the patent on parallel power delivery and is widely recognized as the leader in power management because of it.

Wiring in parallel means the electricity does not travel through power delivery models; rather the electricity goes straight to the components so there is no limitation of current. While low resistance delivery is essential to peak performance, it is also important to explore how and where all of this on-demand power is being stored. When a copper wire is wrapped around a huge iron core, it generates a magnetic field that stores energy which is then released back in any load amount when demand becomes greater than supply. This is called an iron core inductor or sometimes a "choke."

On-demand power
While storage of on-demand power within RGPC products is handled by the "choke," plasmas and HDTVs use an internal capacitor to store and supply energy as needed. When demand for power outstrips supply, current is drained from the capacitor. The resulting lag in current can destroy delicate nuances that make an HD display so dynamic. Because most PLCs limit current, they are unable to fill the capacitor quickly enough causing inconsistencies in picture quality when the capacitor is empty. RGPC's parallel technology is effective because it stores energy in a magnetic field which allows the power products to release the energy as the load demands it. The choke works with the AC line to refill the power in the capacitors so quickly that many of those 'lost' nuances in audio and video are regained.

Surge protection
Surge protection is another area where most PLCs over-promise and under-deliver. Most people think that a surge is only generated by an electrical storm or other atmospheric anomaly. In reality, surges happen on a much more frequent and smaller scale. Air conditioners cycling on and off and other household devices that have motors all affect the AC line and cause spikes that travel through the wires of a home and into components. A typical surge protector absorbs these daily spikes utilizing an inexpensive metal oxide varistor (MOV). Over time, these cheap MOV's break down and eventually fail altogether, rendering the device ineffectual and forcing the consumer to replace it. While it IS working, each MOV has a trigger voltage that tells it when to destruct to save the connected components. Another problem occurs when minor spikes and surges aren't high voltage enough to set off the trigger and electrical "pollution" passes unchecked through the MOV into the electronics.

RGPC uses a dual stage surge suppression system where the majority of spikes and surges are naturally suppressed by the massive Patented Iron Core inductor before they ever reach the MOV. Should the power surge have enough intensity and duration to somehow saturate the core of the choke, only then will the surge be passed along to the "virgin" MOV hidden safely behind the choke. Then, like typical PLCs, the MOV will self-destruct in order to save the components plugged into the RGPC unit. In the 9 years RGPC has been in business, they've never replaced a failed RGPC unit due to a power surge or spike.

Conclusion
While the Patented Parallel technology is what makes RGPC products effective, it is the job they do delivering realism in audio and video that has endeared them to customers and dealers. While brooms, mops, dusters and cleaning solutions are the traditional tools of spring cleaning, a power delivery system provides the tools you need to enjoy a clean, uncluttered HD experience all year long. No rubber gloves required.

About the author
Jeff Lubitsky
joined Richard Gray's Power Company (RGPC) as VP of sales and marketing in 2005. Jeff has over ten years of industry experience including positions in distribution, sales and marketing. He can be contacted at nbrown@castercomm.com.




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