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Audio Component Grounding and Interconnection
Audio Component Grounding and Interconnection
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Old 15th May 2018, 05:03 AM   #41
Bruce Berman is offline Bruce Berman  United States
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David, this was an incredibly well-written and informative post. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

With regard to the section on using a physically separate power supply; this was not completely clear to me. Perhaps as such, you can clarify this.

My understanding, which may very well be incorrect, assumes the following:

-All of the power supply commons (negative returns) return to a single star point within the power supply, and this star is not returned to chassis ground within the power supply. Or are the power supply commons, which are connected to a star within the power supply chassis, also connected directly to the power supply chassis? This would imply two star ground returns for the power supply common; one on the power supply chassis, and the other on the amplifier chassis. This would of course create two separate grounds, with a potential difference between the two chassis, and could generate a ground loop.

-The safety ground of course connects directly to the power supply chassis.

-Or the power supply common star is only connected to the star ground within the amplifier chassis. The star ground within the amplifier chassis is connected directly to the chassis within the amplifier.

-The safety ground, which is connected directly to the power supply chassis, is also connected to the amplifier chassis.

Your guidance and clarification would be very much appreciated!

Thanks & Regards,

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Old 26th May 2018, 02:45 AM   #42
david08 is offline david08  India
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Can a set of interconnect like this be custom made?

To be precise, I'm looking for interconnect with a (+) wire connected to both ends of the interconnect, a (-) ground wire connected to both ends of the interconnect, and a shield that is NOT connected to the (-) ground wire (as some interconnects out there) and where that shield is connected to only one end of the interconnect. Thanks.
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Old 26th May 2018, 10:46 AM   #43
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Yes, I presume you mean an unbalanced connection but using shielded twisted pair? Whether it is beneficial would depend on your set up.
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Old 28th June 2018, 06:38 PM   #44
pamiso is offline pamiso
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Excellent, Excellent Article. I love the idea of drawing out a ground diagram, we do it for signal why not for ground, great! I am going to print this off, and put it in my binder Labeled "Super Awesome Audio Design Refernece Guides"
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Old 30th September 2018, 03:31 AM   #45
David Davenport is offline David Davenport  United States
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I has been a while since I replied to this thread, so here goes:

In response to Bruce Berman:

Simplify. Consider the whole system to be contained in a single chassis and then partition the chassis as need be. As the chassis is partitioned, maintain continuity between the different parts of the chassis.

Another way to look at it is that all chassis are directly connected to the mains green-wire safety ground. Do not convolute safety ground(s) with power common(s) or signal common(s).

Then, at some point, it really doesn't matter where, the power common and signal common points are connected to the chassis/safety ground. This is for safety and should not be considered a path of regular current for the integrity of the signal. If designed correctly, everything should operate normally without the safety ground. The safety ground is there for protection when/if things go wrong.

Although I say "it doesn't matter where," in practice, i usually connect signal and power commons to the safety ground directly to the point where the green-wire ground enters the system.

In response to David08:

It is quite common in professional installations for cable shields to be connected on the source end only. I have not experienced a problem with shields connected on both ends for a home instillation.

It should be very easy to modify a cable to cut the shield connection on the destination end of a cable if need be.

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Old 12th October 2018, 10:00 AM   #46
zgtc is offline zgtc  Europe
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Simply AMAZING, you mustíve invested lots of hours into it, thank you!
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Old 3rd June 2020, 02:49 AM   #47
iamwhoiam is offline iamwhoiam  United Kingdom
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Absolutely amazing, thanks!
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Old 19th January 2021, 02:45 PM   #48
campbellr is offline campbellr
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Default How to deal with multiple PSUs within a single chassis

First to thank David for an incredibly useful article. Sorting out 0V systems in audio is not easy to do well and your article gives me confidence to tackle it!

My question for David or anyone else who can help please ...

I am designing a small rack housed analogue mixer in a 6U x 19" eurocard rack frame. There will be four modular eurocard PSUs, two for analogue audio, one for relay power and one for digital control.

Each of the PSUs has a pcb mounted IEC connector, so I will have 4 mains leads coming into the rack frame each cabling to a common mains distribution block.

I know I can create a single star point for all of the PSU commons, the audio signal reference bus and safety to chassis but I'm not sure what to do with the four earth lugs on the IEC connectors?

Should I leave all of these but one disconnected from supply ground to maintain the star configuration? Any safety concerns if I do this?

Thanks for your help with this.


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Old 22nd January 2021, 07:18 PM   #49
russc is offline russc  England
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Each IEC MUST have its earth connected.
Otherwise, should one or more not be plugged in fully for any reason, accidentally or otherwise, you would lose the safety ground.
It will cause no audible detriment.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 08:32 PM   #50
campbellr is offline campbellr
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Thanks for the advice.
Just to clarify.
For each of the IECs to act as a safety earth, it needs to be connected to the chassis.
So you donít think this will impact on the effectiveness of the star grounding system?
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