"Topaz Ultra Isolator" - power plug question - diyAudio
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Old 2nd September 2004, 08:35 PM   #1
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Default "Topaz Ultra Isolator" - power plug question

I've been reading up on "Topaz Ultra Isolator" isolation transformers, here and on other forums. People seem to generally have a good opinion of them - they're said to be quiet, and they have good rejection of common mode and some differential mode noise. Also, they can be had for pretty cheap on eBay and at surplus electronics stores.

My question is about the power plug I see on most photos of these units. Take this one for example:

Source: eBay link

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

The connectors for what gets plugged into the transformer look normal to me, but they might be special too. The connector that gets plugged into the wall is new to me. I've seen such connectors before, on high power / industrial equipment. And that's obviously what this is designed for. But the outlet on my wall won't accept this connector, obviously.

My question - is there any reason why I can't buy a unit like this, replace the plug with a "normal" (I don't know the names of the different connectors, it's the one that comes at the other end of an IEC cable) connector, and use it to power my stereo? My amps put together produce less than 50W of power, so I won't be drawing a lot of current from this unit. In fact I'd probably buy a ~ 1kVA unit, 2.4kVA means I'd be using it way below rated draw so I'm not sure what the regulation will be like.

Anyway, that's my question. Thanks in advance for any advice. Also, if you think that this isn't a good idea and there's some better way to remove noise from the AC coming into my system, I'd love to hear that. I've also read that these uints can be wired for balanced output with the kVA rating reduced to half, so that's something to explore as well if that's true.

Thanks,
Saurav
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Old 2nd September 2004, 09:33 PM   #2
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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from the picture, it looks to be a twist-lock connector. im not 100% sure, but i thought those are used primarily on 220v stuff, not normal 115/120v lines. IF ("IF"), it is in fact a 120v inlet (which it might say on the unit), you could just replace the plug and it would work.
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Old 2nd September 2004, 09:37 PM   #3
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The auction listing says 120V. If I bought this from an online surplus electronics store I'd make sure I got a 120V/60Hz unit, but then I probably won't have photos showing me what kind of connectors it has on it.

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IF ("IF"), it is in fact a 120v inlet (which it might say on the unit), you could just replace the plug and it would work.
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Old 2nd September 2004, 10:23 PM   #4
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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ah ok. if its a 120v/60hz unit, you will be fine changing the plug.

the name for it would simply be an AC connector. i guess technically you could call it a 120v/15A three prong ac connector.

the twist-lock plugs lock into place and cant be removed by tripping over them, tugging at them, etc... they stay in place unless you press in and twist. they are for safety issues, or for things you dont want to ever go off.

i had a topaz before. it worked well. it was heavy and ugly though
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Old 2nd September 2004, 10:29 PM   #5
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What was the kVA rating of your unit? And did it hum or buzz or make any other noise?
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Old 2nd September 2004, 10:42 PM   #6
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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i think mine was only a 600va or so. i used it for my cd player and tv i think.

it had a SLIGHT hum to it, just like a mechanical buzz from the xformer. it wasnt anything to be worried about really. with any music on, you couldnt hear it. only when it was the dead of night and completely silent could you just hear that "something" was on.
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Old 2nd September 2004, 11:15 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot.

I think I'll try an isolation transformer or something similar. I don't really want to DIY this, even though most of the rest of my system is DIY, because I'm a little paranoid about power (which IMO isn't a bad thing ). The commercial all-out balanced power solutions with full blown filtering and surge suppression are outside my budget, so I want to try this out piece by piece. And one reasonable approach seems to be to get a large isolation transformer, and then get power strips that have EMI/RFI filtering and/or surge suppression, like something from Tripp-Lite. For that matter, Tripp-Lite makes surge suppressors too.

So that's my thinking at this point. If you have any advice or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks,
Saurav
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Old 2nd September 2004, 11:37 PM   #8
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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a guy in another forum built a diy balanced power thingie. it had a 800va rating, balanced transformer, each outlet had its own filter, and hospital plugs. he lives near me, so i borrowed it. it did nothing on my system.

i have had the topaz and dual monster hts5100's on my system, and both made a pretty noticable improvement. i dont understand really how balanced power helps, but it didnt do it for me. it was a direct ripoff of a BPT unit.

i would try the topaz (as you mentioned, you can get them CHEAP, just watch out for shipping costs, yikes). if that doesnt do it, goto a local shop, see if you can loan out one of their "higher end" power units.
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Old 2nd September 2004, 11:53 PM   #9
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Thanks once again. I think I might have seen the forum thread you're talking about. For some reason though, this is one component that I'm hesitant to DIY
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Old 2nd September 2004, 11:57 PM   #10
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i can see why, its dangerous stuff.

however, not too much worse than a high-powered amp! i just got done building my filtered power cords (as seen on my site) and i was so worried before i plugged them in! i waited like two days and rechecked everything before i put them on anything.

its always a humbling moment when you go to plug in something you just built...
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