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Old Electrical Systems and LCD TV?
Old 07-07-2011, 09:28 AM   #1
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Old Electrical Systems and LCD TV?

I am pondering getting a LCD or plasma TV to replace the current older type TV. One of the things I hear is that these new TVs are sensitive to AC power quality. Mine is pretty old. I do have surge strips which protect from spikes but I have a 'really' old house (1927) which still has knob & tube wiring and so the electrical current is not grounded and the supplier does have brown outs in summer months. Some day I may get the wiring updated but it has worked well all these years, running refrigerators, TVs and computers and everything else al these years. Should I give up on the new TVs, is there a line conditioner that will work with two prong outlets or just get on with it and expect nothing worse will happen with the new TVs than all the other electrical/electronic components that have run in the past?
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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Maybe you could install a single, new dedicated circuit to an outlet at the TV. I have a similar situation to yours and that's what I did for the TV and the computer areas. Had new outlets installed with separate, grounded feeds off the main panel. Of course, although we didn't rewire the entire house, we have an updated 200 amp main panel that had been installed previously.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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My house has pretty old wiring, and I never noticed a problem with my LCD or plasma TVs.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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I do not think that there should be any special AC quality requirements for the newer LCD sets as for the older CRT sets. If anything else, the newer sets should be able to tolerate AC disturbances because of advances in power supply designs and lessons learned from previous sets. I looked at the operating guide for my LCD set and there were no mention of any special requirement for the line quality.

However, the newer sets (mine anyway) require a 3 prong socket and older house wirings may not have this. The op guide mentioned that this safety feature should not be defeated.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
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I would think that if you have knob and tube wiring, you might have more pressing reasons than a new TV to replace that wiring.

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:09 PM   #6
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I lose power a lot. I use a battery backup on my sensitive electronic stuff.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:17 PM   #7
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You realize you are all making me feel lucky to have a 1972 vintage home with (shudder) aluminum wiring. Much of it has been replaced with copper wiring over the years, and I replaced the fuse box with a circuit breaker box about 7 years ago. No problems with TV or computer reception at all, and my A/C is working almost constantly this month as is usual for July in New Orleans.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:49 PM   #8
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DD lives in a remote area of northern Canada. Power fails daily and voltage is irregular enough that CFB's last fewer hours than incandescent bulbs. That being said her 3 year old flat-screen TV (not sure if it's LCD, LED or plasma) has, so far, kept on truckin'.
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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I lose power a lot. I use a battery backup on my sensitive electronic stuff.

DITTO.....

This is what I was going to suggest... I just noticed during some quick power outages a couple of days ago that I do not have one on the upstairs TV with the Xbox.... got to go get one....
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:01 PM   #10
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I lose power a lot. I use a battery backup on my sensitive electronic stuff.
So do I. I have 5 UPSs, for computers and hi-fi equipment, but not for my plasma TVs, because I don't think they are sensitive.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:12 PM   #11
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I lose power a lot. I use a battery backup on my sensitive electronic stuff.
Same here. I have some UPS strips that I've gotten at garage sales. The batteries are old enough that when the power goes out the equipment only stays on for a few minutes, but that's usually plenty, and I'll bet these give very good protection.

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Old 07-07-2011, 08:40 PM   #12
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Same here. I have some UPS strips that I've gotten at garage sales. The batteries are old enough that when the power goes out the equipment only stays on for a few minutes, but that's usually plenty, and I'll bet these give very good protection.

I'm not sure how much protection those provide (other than any surge protection built in). I think many of them do a 'switch over' in case of power failure. So as long as power is there, they are connecting the device right to the line, so any glitches are passed right through to the device.


You might want to look for something with real full time isolation.

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Old 07-07-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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I would think that if you have knob and tube wiring, you might have more pressing reasons than a new TV to replace that wiring.

Ha
Actually, there's nothing inherently wrong with K & T wiring.

Knob and tube wiring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
In short, K&T wiring which was installed correctly, and not damaged or incorrectly modified since then, is extremely safe when used within the original current-carrying limits.
The wires are on porcelain standoffs and spaced far apart, which actually adds a considerable safety factor.

But those installations rarely (if ever) had a separate ground, so that's an issue for many things today. And the odds of it not being damaged or incorrectly modified in all those years may be slim.

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Old 07-07-2011, 11:35 PM   #14
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But those installations rarely (if ever) had a separate ground, so that's an issue for many things today. And the odds of it not being damaged or incorrectly modified in all those years may be slim.

-ERD50
But isn't it a bit vulnerable to squirrels and mice?

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:16 AM   #15
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But isn't it a bit vulnerable to squirrels and mice?

Ha
Only if they are hanging on one line and their tail is on the other
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:59 AM   #16
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But isn't it a bit vulnerable to squirrels and mice?

Ha
I have little personal experience, I've only seen it a few times in older houses. I remember thinking 'that looks weird and unsafe', but later learned that it is considered safe. I think it went out of fashion when a third wire was required - at that point running 3 sets of wires was more work than pulling a combined cable that contained three wires.


Vulnerable compared to what? The Chicago area seems to be unique in that conduit is required in residential. Wires in a metal conduit are pretty resistant to varmints. But romex would have little protection, and a nibble on the insulation could cause a short. I would think (but don't know for sure), that the wide spacing and porcelain insulators might actually help against varmints. Even rats can't eat porcelain, and if they nibble the insulation, it's still a foot away from the other wire, and the porcelain standoff might still keep the wire from touching anything other than insulation.

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Old 07-08-2011, 03:43 PM   #17
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I'm surprised that a house built in 1927 would have knob and tube wiring. BX (the spiral-wound armored cable) was around then, saw houses from the early 20's have BX. Still no 3rd-wire ground though, with the original BX. It's been a long time since I've seen a 2-wire outlet!

Ripped out old BX years ago, would find some circuits/houses that had 16 gauge wire BX. I guess it was acceptable many years ago, when about the only loads were light bulbs!

Worked with a guy once who told of his Aunt's house, that was built in the days of gas lighting. A conversion done to bring it into the electrical age routed wire that looked like bell wire through the gas pipes, using them as a conduit! Don't know if she owned a toaster or not...

I used to be pretty good once bending 1/2", 3/4", and even some 1" "conduit" with neat S-bends and no waste or wrong alignment. Though NEC classified it as "EMT", as true conduit is thick-walled, and screws together just like pipe with the 5 degree thread taper. But just about everybody calls the bendable tubing "conduit" due to the concept of separate wires in an outer rigid sheath.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #18
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Newer TVs are not any more sensitive to power fluctuations than old ones. Regular NTSC signals are more sensitive to phase changes (60hz) to power as the TV uses that frequency to time the scanning of the guns. But if that changes from your power company you have bigger things to worry about than the TV.

Yes you can get UPS/surge suppression to condition the power but in your case its likely not required.

One thing to consider is if your going to Digital cable or satellite or just still old analog 4:3 aspect ratio signals. You may be very disappointed in the picture quality.

Also, how old is the CATV cabling? I worked in cableTV for many years and 95% of all service problems are between the pole or pedestal and the TV.

Just some things to ponder...
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:42 PM   #19
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It would make for an interesting tech support call.
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