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Old 14th January 2013, 04:26 AM   #1
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Default how much electricity do you need to run an esl speaker?

Do Esl speakers require alot of power from the wall. What does the part of the esl electronics that plugs into the wall do? Also who do the torroid things do and how many volts are those?

Thanks for you time...
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Old 14th January 2013, 05:16 AM   #2
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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ELS are way differnt loads than typical dynamic speakers - dedicated direct drive Class A amplifier may need kW

most commercial esl are driven by conventional amps thru step up transformers - usually by conventional audio amps of few 100s of W rated power
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Old 14th January 2013, 06:10 AM   #3
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Only a few watts are needed to run the Bias supply as only a few microamps is required to charge the diaphragm.
The Bias voltages range from about 2Kv to 5Kv.

But, I have ran voltages as high as 10Kv to 14Kv on my DIY panels and 25KV peak to peak across the stators, this is very hard to accomplish at these levels of voltages.

Voltages half of that on a large panel of about 1'X4' can be/would be very loud and more than enough for most.

The Toroid things are common 240V/6V power transformers only hooked up in reverse as a step up transformer.

Typically you need at least a 1:80 or more transformation ratio so you would need to use two of them per panel, if using the common types being used on a few systems in these threads.

Using these particular types of transformers can only be used in a Hybrid type of system were a woofer handles everything below about 300Hz to 500Hz or so.

You need an amp that can handle a very low impedance as ESL's impedance can typically fall to below 1 or 2 ohms at times depending on the setup.

Their lowest impedance is always at the highest frequency it is producing as they are a purely capacitive device.


Last edited by geraldfryjr; 14th January 2013 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 14th January 2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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Default thanks

So how do the toroids get from 6 volts to kilovolts? Dont they go from 6 to 240 volts? And does the 6 volts come from the amp? Also what is the voltage on the diaphram? and is it possible to charge the diaphram from batteries? Is the part that plugs into the wall the part that charges the diaphram?

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Old 14th January 2013, 06:49 PM   #5
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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The important thing with a transformer is the turns ratio. 240 volts in and 6 volts out is 40 to 1. So in reverse 1 volt in and 40 volts out. Transformers work either way round, to step up or down. So 60 volts in and you get 2400 volts out. Feed the output of one transformer into the input of another and you can step up (or down) again. A major limiting factor is the insulation of the windings, each to the other and also to the core.

You can run a transformer from a battery by using an electronic circuit to deliver an AC waveform to the transformer.
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Old 14th January 2013, 07:37 PM   #6
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Default ac transformer

Ok im starting to get it now... I don't understand why you need the ac waveform though? Also what does does the transformer it goes to convert to?
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Old 14th January 2013, 08:03 PM   #7
tyu is offline tyu  United States
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Got this off the Jazzman site so you can....Seeeeee the esl setup..... Amp,s put out the stepup tranfourmer...just make your amps output BIGer to drive the ESL...good luck
Attached Images
File Type: gif ESL_animation[1].gif (43.7 KB, 285 views)
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Old 14th January 2013, 08:24 PM   #8
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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The mains is used to charge the stators and current draw is
tiny once they are charged, being simply the leakage current.

DC cannot be easily stepped up. A small transformer (plus
rectifiers) steps up the AC mains for the DC for the stators.
A much bigger one steps up the AC signal for the diaphragm.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 14th January 2013 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 15th January 2013, 03:51 AM   #9
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So for the charge on the dipahram is 125 ac and then its steped up and converted back to dc? What is the final charge on the diaphram?
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Old 15th January 2013, 04:18 AM   #10
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I usually see about 3 - 3.5 Kv on most Acoustat diaphragms some times a little more but not often. I like to add two more multiplier stages to bump the voltage as high as possible. This will depend upon the condition of the speakers.
The mains are used to charge the diaphragm not the stators (in most set ups). Your amplifier drives the stators via the two step up transformers (in an Acoustat). There are some ESL speakers which are set up the way Sreten describes but not many. Hope this helps. voltages will vary with different designs. Best regards Moray James.
moray james
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