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 Post subject: subpanel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 6:11 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:46 am
Posts: 20
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
My basement is serviced by a subpanel off of the main panel on the ground floor. This panel powers all mechanical equipment for the house (HVAC, radiant, water, etc. as well as lights). Is there any sense running a second subpanel just for audio from the main panel? Specifically wondering if I should be concerned with ground contamination or related issues from sharing the run back to the main panel with that other equipment. Or is that silly since that would be present at the main panel anyways and I should just make sure I have nice runs to the existing subpanel and not worry about the second subpanel? Thanks everyone for your real world input :)


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 Post subject: Re: subpanel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:55 am
Posts: 5177
Location: Old Tappan, NJ USA
depending on the distribution of induction motors and other possible noise sources, you should be able to identify which phase would be "cleaner" and use that as a start for your new subpanel. another option to consider is an isolation transformer and/or noise reduction filters inline. yet another is a full size UPS capable of running your studio. the best ones are decoupled from the mains by using the mains side to charge the battery and then an inverter off the battery to provide clean electric to the outlets.
you'll definitely want to run proper ground from the subpanel to the main panel ground (assuming you have a good ground there, and if you don't fix that now). don't distribute your earth grounds as this can cause more problems.

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 Post subject: Re: subpanel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 10:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:46 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Thanks Gullfo. Yeah, I'm hoping I don't have to explore too many options, but I won't really know until I get in there with all the stuff installed and making noise. I think I might ask the electricians to at least do an extra run from the main panel down into the basement. This will give me some flexibility later in case I need to. Much easier now with the walls still open ;)

Unfortunately we've got split-phase delivery here, so that makes a lot of the usual decisions for me. But having the extra run will allow me to do have an easier time of installing an iso-transformer if that proves necessary. And yes, definitely no ground distribution and trying to keep everything nice, direct, loop free, and well grounded.


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 Post subject: Re: subpanel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 4:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:21 am
Posts: 171
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Most basement studios only need one 20 Amp circuit for audio equipment. And one circuit can often be run back to the main panel.

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 Post subject: Re: subpanel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:46 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Thanks Speedskater for another vote for a run to the main panel ;) I wish I had noticed my oversight earlier since that was always the way I had planned it. But since it happened, I thought I'd start a thread to see what peoples experiences were with how much of a difference can really be expected from a subpanel vs dedicated run to main panel. Just out of curiosity since there are obviously too many variables (or potential sources of "contamination") to really draw any conclusions from. Off to fix my oversight I go!


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 Post subject: Re: subpanel
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:55 am
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Location: Old Tappan, NJ USA
one benefit of the sub panel - you can use it to control lighting instead of switches, insert isolation/filtering on the clean power runs, and it can reduce the cost of the wiring since the box is "local" to the space (e.g. instead of 10 100ft runs, you could have 10 20'-25' runs plus 1 or two 100ft runs to the main panel)

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