New electrical system planning

It’s worth stating where you are in the world as power distribution systems and local regulations vary. What may be acceptable and legal in one country may not be in others.

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If your solar pv power is stored in batteries, is this an off-grid installation, or is it in addition to a mains supply?


Thank you, I wasn’t aware of this thread

I wouldn’t go off-grid, even though the idea is quite interesting. So my sistem is an addition basically. However I intend to use the solar energy most of the time.

I pointed out that I will be installing such a system because, maybe, there could be specific precautions for the Hi-Fi system, even though I wouldn’t think so. What’s your idea?

I also wonder if anybody has installed a current stabilizer in the electrical system.

I do have Solar panels, but haven’t done anything different for the HiFi. I think the inverter does all the clever stuff, and will trip if it goes outside tolerances. When using fully Solar, I hear no difference in quality. Running a dedicated mains feed may be what you are looking for to get a SQ boost. You can then consider trying a Balanced Power Supply. But that assumes your mains quality already has issues like DC Offset, over voltage, etc.
I hope that helps.

In terms of a balanced view, the following thread suggest solar panel generation can cause noise. Not in my experience, but wouldn’t want to miss lead you without hearing both sides. My Inverter is just 2 years old, and they do need to be replaced after 10-15 years, so perhaps I’ve got this to come.

In the UK it’s certainly unusual to use battery storage unless you are off grid when you can link the PV system to the grid instrad. Perhaps battery technology has improved to the point where this is now a viable alternative, but it’s not something I have investigated recently.
Also how do you switch between mains and battery use?

I think most battery PV battery backup systems only work if the mains is switched on, and therefore in a power cut for example they dont work. I think Tesla now allows power-on in the event of a power cut, but you are not going to want to power off the main meter switch each time you want to hear music. Also it’s a lot of money to invest in for possibly little gain - unless someone on this community has tried it of course :grinning:

Your experience is a relief, reading about noisy inverters got me shocked for a moment, I won’t deny. I hope to be as lucky as you, However a dedicated mains feed would easily be my choice with an electrical stabilizer as well (I suppose a power purifier is mandatory at this point). Do you know any interesting balanced power supply to evaluate?
I happened to have over voltage and other unwanted problems, luckily I never had any damage, these events are occasional (yet very annoying).

Do you think an electrical stabilizer and a proper earthing could mitigate the possibility of a noisy inverter? By the way I mostly listen to music at night and I would certainly get energy from the grid despite having a battery.

As far as I understood, in the event of a powercut you can use your own battery only if you have a hybrid inverter/system (but don’t ask me about all the differences, I’m no expert). The Tesla powerwall should be a sort of hybrid system if I’m right.

@ChrisSU the battery should help to be off the grid as much as possibile. It’s the inverter’s job to switch automatically according to the system circumstances and needs.

Airlink Transformers always get a good review with Naim users. Mike seems to be the person to talk to. Unfortunately I have no experience of using these, but believe you can give them back if not needed, although I’d still try it out without first, as some people say you dont want too much conditioning.

If you are getting values of over voltage at >253Volts, log a call with your supplier, as they will come out to get it below that value, as they did in my case. In fact for me they came out within 3 hours.

Good earthing seems to get mentioned a lot. Sticking with 10mm for the live/neutral and earth seems to be recommended

Good to know. “Less is more” is often true, however as you said things have to be evaluated properly and they can change a lot among different Hi-Fi systems. I would consider such transformers if there’s a drop in sound quality that I will hopefully won’t experience (fingers crossed!). I guess in the Hi-Fi world the best answer is always “it depends”.

I’ll surely call my supplier if I experience more problems, but they’ve never been that quick in my case.

Do I have to take into account other things regarding the quality of cable? Only the diameter?

Also, who’s the Mike you talked about?

Hi, quite a few questions and I suspect these could create many more!

The topics of dedicated circuits, high grade outlets and conditioners are all well documented here and really should apply equally in your scenario. The new item is of course the PV and storage battery.

One vision for renewable energy is for households to both create and store energy locally so that when combined with managed smart meters the grid may pay you for and call on the stored power to supplement main generation at peak times or when the renewable generation is low / varied. This would help smooth the flow of power round the country as needs and generation fluctuate. Your PV to battery to inverter solution would in this scenario be connected to the main supply at all times, meaning phasing and earthing would have to be maintained with the grid. Some suppliers already offer these solutions as off the shelf bolt on systems that literally plug in and go. Whether you run on battery, grid or part of each is unlikely to be your choice, your smart meter would decide for you.

In the case of a switch over system where at times you totally disconnect from the grid and run on local power (Either by choice or if the grid failed) then the provision of suitable earthing would be down to you. Power quality would be dependant on the inverter quality and earthing would need to follow the specifics laid down by the vendor. Such solutions are commonly used with backup generators though for a battery storage to provide this level of power you would need a very big battery!

If you’re thinking of designing something bespoke yourself then there’s a fair bit of research to do first, just thinking about this for 20 mins I’ve asked myself more questions than we started with! Have a look at Online Double Conversion UPS technology, a UPS of this type is designed to deal with the varied power inputs you may end up with and provide a stabilised sine wave output. Dirty AC voltage is rectified to DC then inverted back to AC cleanly. The DC bus can be fed from your battery or your rectified PV or grid or all combined.

Hope that helps a little

If you are getting >253V I expect they will treat it urgently, as they would be responsible for any equipment failure. (tolerance is 230V +10% -6%)

I’m not aware of any cable quality options, the 10mm (that’s 10mm square per core) will be the most important.

Mike is from Airlink Transformers

Now, here’s a question - everyone seems to say that earthing is incredibly important, however unless I am missing something obvious, WHY! There shouldn’t be any current going down the earth wire, so what effect can it possibly have. If there were current >30mAmps , then wouldn’t the RCD trip?

@Pipdan More questions are always welcome!

Would you like to point out any particular thread about conditioners? However I feel more reassured if there’s a good evidence about these things. The only possibile doubts might be related to the fotovoltaic system management even though @GadgetMan didn’t experience any particular issue.

What kind of influence could phasing and earthing have regarding the sound quality? At the beginning I won’t have a very big battery, that’s for sure.

@GadgetMan once I happened to be completely cut off the grid because of a cable a problem. It took them 6-7 hours before coming to fix it.

I’ve only read a Nordost article (in the blog section) and they say that the purpose of a good ground is to provide a safe path for the dissipation of static charges, EMI and RFI signals and interference.

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Just to make a quick recap not to forget anything…
A good electrical system for my Hi-Fi would need:

  • Isolated 10mm diameter cable for power
  • Isolated 10mm diameter cable for dedicated grounding
  • Audio grade wall outlet

But also:

  • Avoid switching
  • A dedicated grounding rig would be better than a shared ring/spur
  • If 10mm diameter cables are an issue, 6mm would be fine all the same

Did I miss anything? Thanks to anybody who is willing to clarify me these points.

I have no knowledge about electrical systems, but I wonder how a 10mm diameter cable could work with a wall outlet designed for a 2.8mm or or 5.5 max.

What is your location? Most people here will be discussing what works, and what is safe and legal, in the UK. It may be very different if you’re in another country.


I live in Italy, legally speaking I have no idea about the differences.

Electrical installation vary widely in different countries. The UK is unusual in that wall sockets tend to be connected in a ring, where a cable runs from the main board to one socket, then to another, and another, and eventually back to the main board. So it’s shared between multiple outlets, often in several rooms. This requires a heavier cable and a higher rated circuit breaker.
A radial circuit usually runs to a single outlet, so may only need thinner cable and a lower rated breaker, but of course you need more of them to cover a whole house. This is standard practice in most countries, probably including Italy but I’m not certain of this.

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Hi, that’s actually not quite right. The point of a ring main is to safely allow the use of thinner cable (2.5mm2). Each socket has 2 paths back to the circuit board and breaker, so 2 safety earth paths and 2 pieces of wire to share the electrical loading. With a radial you will usually find a number of sockets run in a chain, so the first bit of wire carries load from all sockets, the next bit a bit less, the next less still. The upshot of a radial is the first bit of wire carries more load and actually needs to be thicker (generally 4mm2 or more). A radial on a 2.5mm2 cable would be limited to a 16amp breaker, not the more common 32amp. Phil