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BPT Question

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April 24, 2004 7:43:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

A friend was using his new BPT 3.5 and the wall outlet caught fire
behind his amps. Just wondering if anyone knows if they are safe to
use. What if it has UL listing (BPT doesn't), are they safe? Are there
any that do have UL?

More about : bpt question

Anonymous
April 24, 2004 9:13:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On Sat, 24 Apr 2004 03:43:14 +0000, Dominic wrote:

> A friend was using his new BPT 3.5 and the wall outlet caught fire
> behind his amps. Just wondering if anyone knows if they are safe to
> use. What if it has UL listing (BPT doesn't), are they safe? Are there
> any that do have UL?

A wall outlet fire says =nothing= about the piece of equipment plugged in
at the time. It could have been a TV, toaster or circular saw.

What such an event =does= indicate is a wiring defect in that house
circuit. Does you friend have aluminum wiring in his house? (This was a
common contractor practice in the 1970's when the price of copper went
up.) Aluminum wiring requires the use of special connectors to avoid fires
and shorts. Many homeowners insurance companies will not knowingly write
insurance on a house with aluminum wiring unless it has been retrofitted.

There are other wiring defects that could also cause a problem. I would
suggest your friend call a competent electrician in to inspect the wiring
in his house. He may have just received a warning that the next fire could
burn the whole place down with him in it!

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Anonymous
April 24, 2004 9:13:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 4/23/04 11:43 PM, in article mnlic.23141$GR.3100064@attbi_s01, "Dominic"
<Dominic-L@mad.scientist.com> wrote:

> A friend was using his new BPT 3.5 and the wall outlet caught fire
> behind his amps. Just wondering if anyone knows if they are safe to
> use. What if it has UL listing (BPT doesn't), are they safe? Are there
> any that do have UL?
>

Not knowing about that Amp, I can't say what is going on - except a lot of
people who buy large amps don't upgrade their wiring - and sometimes put in
a breaker of a larger size.

Also, some houses built in the 70's in the US used aluminum wiring
improperly, and they are at a risk of fire due to it - that could be an
issue.

I would advise your friend to examine his wiring to make sure it is safe -
and then buy a power monitor for the amp - so you can find out the amount of
power drawn by it.
Related resources
April 26, 2004 6:04:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Thank you for the comments. Thay made sense. My friend does have older
wiring so we checked it out and it's not aluminum. It was some sort of
tinned copper wire with some type of cloth insulation used in the early
50s when the building was built. Some of the house wiring is original
and some of it is new. The outlets in the living room where the fire
almost happened were the older type but everything is grounded as far as
we can tell.

I think what happened was the outlet got overloaded and it was somewhat
the worse for wear so it got hot and smoked. I could be wrong. Just to
investigate a little on our own, we plugged in 2 1500 Watt electric
heaters on the same circuit and the old circuit breaker (never been
changed) seemed to ignore the high current and wouldn't trip even with
nearly 30 Amps going through it as close as we could tell. An
electrician is coming to the home this week to replace all the breakers
and inspect the outlets. He also mentioned something about arc-fault
protection which I haven't a clue about.

Aside from the obvious danger to his family, my friend's big worry was
what if an insurance adjuster came by after a (God forbid) fire damaged
the building, would he be SOL because he plugged in something that
wasn't UL safety approved? I'm not sure how that works exactly in
insurance matters but I know UL means something to the insurance
companies. Well maybe he would have been covered maybe not. I'm not
really sure how that works. Maybe people are just over reacting but it
definitely freaked everyone out. What if it happened during the night
when people were sleeping or if the baby-sitter nodded out when they
were out for the evening? Or what if the owner of the building got some
kind of fire inspection after the damage was done that mentioned non-UL
listed electrical gear plugged in where the fire started and used it
against him?

We did some more investigating. Someone told me that Class A amplifiers
use constant current. My friend has 2 200 Watt (into 8 ohm speakers)
Class A monoblocks and one 200 Watt self powered sub-woofer in his
living room. All of them were running at the time and so was the
projection TV and satellite receiver together with the amps plugged into
the BPT. (It's a power conditioner.) That seems like quite a bit of AC
current for a common house circuit but he's had it running for years
that way. Only the BPT was added a few months ago. It could be just a
coincidence or maybe it's not. (One 60 watt light was also plugged into
the same outlet and it still works fine.)

I don't know how the BPTs are made but I assume that it has some sort of
built in protection against drawing too much current or whatever else
may be a concern. Nevertheless what worries my friend now is the
problem with the UL label not being there thanks to another friend of
ours who pointed that out. Maybe everyone is just over reacting like I
said but everything else did have a UL label on it. Even the projection
TV and satellite receiver have UL on them. With 2 preschool age
children in the home you can understand how a parent might feel putting
his kids at risk after something like that happens in his home.

I mentioned that another friend brought up the UL issue. He owns a
Furman reference balanced power unit similar to the BPT and he told us
that Furman's products are UL listed. I did some research and found out
that Monster Cable and also Equitech make balanced power that has a UL
rating. It was by sheer luck that this happened when people were at
home and awake. Nobody realized that there was a crusty nonfunctional
breaker in the panel until we found out just today when we tested it
with the heaters. Who goes around testing their circuit breakers
anyway? (I know one person that does now.)

The whole thing sounds pretty messy. With a non UL electrical piece of
gear (a power conditioner no less) and a bad circuit breaker in the
building and a possible (???) worn out plug socket, I think if there had
been only fire damage at the worst, nobody would have been able to prove
they were not partly at fault and everyone would be screwed except the
insurance company.

So anyway, I would like to know what an arc-fault protector is and for
that matter, what is an arc fault? I would also like to know what an
insurance expert has to say about non-UL gear. I plan on calling
Furman, Monster Cable and Equitech this week to see what they can tell
me about power conditioners, arc faults and UL that never seemed
important before all of this. I can't help but wonder if there was some
sort of problem or safety issue with my friend's power conditioner. And
once again, just what is an arc fault anyway?

I'll report back when I have something to say about that but in the
meantime any other opinions or answers are appreciated.




Bromo wrote:
> On 4/23/04 11:43 PM, in article mnlic.23141$GR.3100064@attbi_s01, "Dominic"
> <Dominic-L@mad.scientist.com> wrote:
>
>
>>A friend was using his new BPT 3.5 and the wall outlet caught fire
>>behind his amps. Just wondering if anyone knows if they are safe to
>>use. What if it has UL listing (BPT doesn't), are they safe? Are there
>>any that do have UL?
>>
>
>
> Not knowing about that Amp, I can't say what is going on - except a lot of
> people who buy large amps don't upgrade their wiring - and sometimes put in
> a breaker of a larger size.
>
> Also, some houses built in the 70's in the US used aluminum wiring
> improperly, and they are at a risk of fire due to it - that could be an
> issue.
>
> I would advise your friend to examine his wiring to make sure it is safe -
> and then buy a power monitor for the amp - so you can find out the amount of
> power drawn by it.
>
Anonymous
April 26, 2004 9:32:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

In my own house, I have had a circuit breaker fail. It would not interrupt
power even when manually turned off. My electrician buddies tell me I should
test each breaker every 3 months to be sure it interrupts the current when
manually turned off. I plan to replace the whole panel shortly.
Joe
Anonymous
April 27, 2004 4:26:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

prahler@aol.com (Prahler) wrote:



>In my own house, I have had a circuit breaker fail. It would not interrupt
>power even when manually turned off. My electrician buddies tell me I should
>test each breaker every 3 months to be sure it interrupts the current when
>manually turned off. I plan to replace the whole panel shortly.
>Joe

I have another problem. On one circuit in my house (not one with any audio
system installed on it) the breaker will occasionally "break" for no apparent
reason. Sometimes it will immediately reset and then function perfectly for
weeks or months. Sometimes it will only reset if left off for several hours.

I've replaced the breaker (never feels to touch as if its been overheated) and
tightened all the connections on the panel and at every outlet and light
fixture I can access. Yet the mystery 'problem' continues to repeat from time
to time.

?????
Anonymous
April 27, 2004 8:52:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

This could be dangerous, fire wise. You have a short which needs to be
tracked down. If it's in the wall
it's a fire hazard.

Nousaine wrote:

> prahler@aol.com (Prahler) wrote:
>
>
>
>
>>In my own house, I have had a circuit breaker fail. It would not interrupt
>>power even when manually turned off. My electrician buddies tell me I should
>>test each breaker every 3 months to be sure it interrupts the current when
>>manually turned off. I plan to replace the whole panel shortly.
>>Joe
>
>
> I have another problem. On one circuit in my house (not one with any audio
> system installed on it) the breaker will occasionally "break" for no apparent
> reason. Sometimes it will immediately reset and then function perfectly for
> weeks or months. Sometimes it will only reset if left off for several hours.
>
> I've replaced the breaker (never feels to touch as if its been overheated) and
> tightened all the connections on the panel and at every outlet and light
> fixture I can access. Yet the mystery 'problem' continues to repeat from time
> to time.
>
> ?????
Anonymous
April 28, 2004 3:33:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

In article <c6k9c702u2g@news2.newsguy.com>, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine)
wrote:

> prahler@aol.com (Prahler) wrote:
>
>
>
> >In my own house, I have had a circuit breaker fail. It would not interrupt
> >power even when manually turned off. My electrician buddies tell me I should
> >test each breaker every 3 months to be sure it interrupts the current when
> >manually turned off. I plan to replace the whole panel shortly.
> >Joe
>
> I have another problem. On one circuit in my house (not one with any audio
> system installed on it) the breaker will occasionally "break" for no apparent
> reason. Sometimes it will immediately reset and then function perfectly for
> weeks or months. Sometimes it will only reset if left off for several hours.
>
> I've replaced the breaker (never feels to touch as if its been overheated) and
> tightened all the connections on the panel and at every outlet and light
> fixture I can access. Yet the mystery 'problem' continues to repeat from time
> to time.
>
> ?????

I would suggest that you have an intermittent short somewhere on the
line, perhaps. Depending on how much you value your life, it could be
worth checking out. Other things to check, perhaps there are a bunch of
heavy users on the line and it only breaks when _all_ of them are
drawing max power. First step is to check exactly what is on that line.
Anonymous
April 28, 2004 7:57:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On Mon, 26 Apr 2004 02:04:07 +0000, Dominic wrote:

> Aside from the obvious danger to his family, my friend's big worry was
> what if an insurance adjuster came by after a (God forbid) fire damaged
> the building, would he be SOL because he plugged in something that
> wasn't UL safety approved? I'm not sure how that works exactly in
> insurance matters but I know UL means something to the insurance
> companies. Well maybe he would have been covered maybe not.... <snip>

As a commercial insurance broker with over 25 years experience, the use of
a non-UL approved device is not a basis in and of itself for denying
coverage after a fire. Many non-UL electrical devices are routinely used
everyday by people.

Remember that ignorance and carelessness (or even downright stupidity) are
not exclusions under any fire policy I've ever seen. (No state insurance
department would even approve for use a policy with such an exclusion.)

That said, no one wants to knowingly continue a dangerous situation that
could cause a fire. No insurance policy will ever respond adequately to
severe injury or loss of life to someone in your family. It is good your
friend is having an electrician check out the house wiring.

There are certainly issues than can cause a fire insurance carrier to deny
coverage, but for homeowners these usually involves issues of fraud, arson
or material misrepresentation. (The latter is when you intentionally lied
to get a policy that would otherwise have been declined.)

So, I'd quit worrying about the insurance and just have the place checked.



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