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Old 20th December 2006, 03:06 AM   #1
mroek
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PS Audio Noise Harvester

Here's one of the most ingenious HiFi-related gimmicks I've ever seen:

http://psaudio.com/products/noiseharvester.asp

We all know that audio-buffs are always looking for tweaks to improve the sound from their expensive equipment (apparently there is ALWAYS room for improvement), and we also know that there is a plethora of products to help accomplish this mission.

PS Audio claims that this product "harvests" power line noise by storing it temporarily, and subsequently dumping it in a LED, giving a visual indication that it actually works. Adding more of them in parallell will of course be even better (more income for the seller being the primary improvement, I suspect). They could of course have used a plain resistor to dump the (purported) noise energy, but then the user would have no way of knowing that it works. Clever!

Please look at the demo video:

http://www.psaudio.com/downloads/harvester.wmv

The most interesting part comes at 04:15 minutes into the video. They connect a loudspeaker device to the power line to demonstrate (audibly) how much noise the light dimmer creates. Then they remove the loudspeaker device and plugs in the Noise Harvester, and proceed to show that the LED flashes when the dimmer is turned up. One can only guess why the audible indicator is removed....

I am an electronics engineer, and I would have to say that although I will not say with 100% certainty that this has no merit, I fail to see how this can actually do much (if anything), except generate income for PS Audio and their distributors.
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Old 20th December 2006, 05:29 PM   #2
luchog
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Originally Posted by mroek View Post
I am an electronics engineer, and I would have to say that although I will not say with 100% certainty that this has no merit, I fail to see how this can actually do much (if anything), except generate income for PS Audio and their distributors.
I will say with 100% certainty that it has no merit. Power line noise doesn't affect a modern, digital amplifier. And you can't "harvest" noise, you can only filter it out. Even in a crude analog tube amp, where power line noise might cause a problem, you'll have a small filter on the line (a simple choke coil) that will eliminated.

This is 100% pure unadulterated moose cakes, and will affect your audio every bit as much.
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Old 20th December 2006, 10:14 PM   #3
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Why don't just go to live concerts and be done trying replicate them.
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Old 21st December 2006, 10:39 PM   #4
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99 bucks? For that?!!!

I do have to admit that I'd love to have one- to crack it open and find out just what 50-cent do-nothing box variant they're flogging to the ignorant.

I don't have 99 dollars worth of curiosity, though.
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Old 21st December 2006, 11:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
I will say with 100% certainty that it has no merit. Power line noise doesn't affect a modern, digital amplifier. And you can't "harvest" noise, you can only filter it out. Even in a crude analog tube amp, where power line noise might cause a problem, you'll have a small filter on the line (a simple choke coil) that will eliminated.

This is 100% pure unadulterated moose cakes, and will affect your audio every bit as much.
I disagree with your interpretation of noise having no effect. There are no 100% digital amplifiers, since the signals sent to the speakers are analog.

The input to such an amplifier could be effected by noise and in theory, if enough was on the mains power, there is the possibility that inductance could lead to noise on the ground loop or even being passed through the power supply and picked up.


However...even if the power were really really dirty...like....you live next to a factory and have a subway line running off of your home current, through a crappy mercury-arc rectifier...

I still doubt this would help. A simple power conditioner....or even a UPS will do the trick just fine. And you don't need a big expensive power center either.
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Old 22nd December 2006, 12:44 AM   #6
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There is no doubt that power line noise sometimes can reach the loudspeakers, even in high end equipment. Light dimmers (simple DIAC/TRIAC-devices) are famous for creating a lot of noise, and this may be audible on the stereo.

I remain skeptical about this device, however. As a marketing trick, it is very clever. As a noise remover, well...
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Old 22nd December 2006, 03:10 AM   #7
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Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong.

The oscilloscope they are using is set to 5Volts per centimeter, so that spike is about 12 Volts. If you were to dump enough noise onto a household power line to cause a 12 volt spike, then you are probably talking about something on the order of several hundred watts of noise. Granted this is a very short peak (~20microseconds) but if it were to repeat 60 times per second, it would in fairly short order burn out the harvesters, which are claimed can remove "8 to 10 watts each."

Furthermore, the LED must be just an added "blinky." An LED that can dissipate 8 watts would probably be so bright you couldn't stand it. Think bright blue strobe light. Probably very distracting when you're trying to listen to classical music.

I find LED light bulbs rated for 3 watts continuous that can be used as replacements for the bulbs used in low voltage halogen track lights. Imagine how much brighter 8 watts would be.
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Old 22nd December 2006, 10:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MortFurd View Post
Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong.

The oscilloscope they are using is set to 5Volts per centimeter, so that spike is about 12 Volts. If you were to dump enough noise onto a household power line to cause a 12 volt spike, then you are probably talking about something on the order of several hundred watts of noise. Granted this is a very short peak (~20microseconds) but if it were to repeat 60 times per second, it would in fairly short order burn out the harvesters, which are claimed can remove "8 to 10 watts each."

Furthermore, the LED must be just an added "blinky." An LED that can dissipate 8 watts would probably be so bright you couldn't stand it. Think bright blue strobe light. Probably very distracting when you're trying to listen to classical music.

I find LED light bulbs rated for 3 watts continuous that can be used as replacements for the bulbs used in low voltage halogen track lights. Imagine how much brighter 8 watts would be.

Um...I think you've missed the important thing. They obviously know what they are talking about because you can see their engineer creating some sort of diagram which I cannot really understand (or make out).

I see a couple resistors... a capacitor and...either another resistor or an inductor...or maybe it's just a scribble...can't tell.

Anyways... This dude obviously knows a lot more than us!
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Old 22nd December 2006, 12:31 PM   #9
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Errrmmm, this is pretty straightforward; from an audio point of view, the 60Hz (or 50Hz) sine wave on the power line is pure noise. There are, in addition to this, various devices (particularly appliances and dimmers) that can add various other noise to the lines, inside and outside your house; a well-designed power supply will take care of this problem. It already must do so, and even the most basic linear power supply (transformer, rectifier, input caps, 3-terminal regulator, output caps) is capable of handling surges and sags from the millisecond to the tens or perhaps hundreds of nanosecond regimes; they are designed to do so. I am constantly surprised that even industrial designers fail to put proper regulation and proper decoupling into power supplies and then expect that they will perform adequately for high-end audio; it is, IMHO, a scam. This even despite the fact that the Lin topology uses a differential amplifier at the front end to eliminate common-mode noise from the incoming signal; this is not sufficient to protect the output current driver transistors from power hum from the rails. I have encountered audiophiles who claimed that this was untrue, and that simple capacitive filtering was sufficient; I have proven conclusively that it is not, and also that proper regulation reduces the size of the needed capacitors by more than the cost of the regulator. (I will admit that the design I eventually used was not easy; 10A of 40V clean power is quite challenging, particularly in limited space, but I did eventually git 'er done, though not without a fan.)

There are power conditioners (generally isolation transformers, perhaps along with thyristors, or even just the thyristors themselves) that will eliminate millisecond- or microsecond-long surges and sags from the incoming sine wave; in general, the capacitors already necessary in the output of a power supply that will provide sufficient DC amperage to run a modern medium- to high-power three-stage Lin topology amplifier (and there are very few amps out there that don't use this topology, switchers and so forth, and they are very, very expensive and prone to odd behavior in the presence of challengine audio material- switchers remain much more an art than a science) already fix the sags, so really, unless you're putting a UPS in because you are experiencing regular second- to tenth-second sags, it's mostly a matter of having the thyristors to protect against surges.

I'd spend my $99 on an Isobar, personally- and in fact I have done so, in multiple cases. I do not use audio equipment that is not protected by one, and if the little light ever says the thyristors have gone out, I'll replace them- and consider it cheap insurance at the price, having seen quite a bit of other peoples' audio equipment that has been destroyed or seriously damaged by power hits. I am convinced that this type of damage occurs much more often than people think. I believe that it is very, very often the cause of mysterious unexplained equipment failures. The other demon is heat; and $50 worth of fans and ten minutes' work with a hole saw and a soldering iron can fix your entertainment system's heat problems permanently.

And I'll be frank: I tested ten amplifiers before I bought my Onkyo, AFTER I had tested eight different sets of speakers and settled on Polk Audio towers; and when I walked out of the store, I was (and remain) absolutely certain that I obtained the best equipment they had, at about a quarter the price of the "top of the line" products. You can hear the squeaking of the bats flying around the cave they recorded in, in between the tracks on Counterparts; you can pretty damn nearly tell what Jimmy and John are saying in the studio on Led Zeppelin III at the beginning of "Celebration Day;" the bass doesn't rob power from the guitar on "Etude;" and when the depth charges in Das Boot go off, the windows rattle. For under a grand. And I've had it ten years and have yet to hear a system that sounded better for under four. 'Nuff said.
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Old 22nd December 2006, 01:24 PM   #10
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Schneibster what kind of room do you have the polk towers in?
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Old 22nd December 2006, 02:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pipelineaudio View Post
Schneibster what kind of room do you have the polk towers in?
They are the right and left speakers for my entertainment system, which includes a 60" Hitachi Ultravision projection HDTV, the Onkyo, and many program sources (TiVOs both broadcast and DirecTV, including my latest acquisition, an HDTV DirecTV TiVO, a VCR, two DVDs (one for HD and one for SD), and a four-channel modulator). The system is in a two-tower oak entertainment center with the TV in the middle, on the long wall of my family room; the family room is about 18'x15', and opens on the short side into the kitchen and dining room, which are together about the same size as the family room and divided by an island. The walls are sheet rock, and the ceiling is 11'. I have all blinds and no curtains. The center speaker is the middle-of-the-line Polk, and is on top of the entertainment center; the surrounds are relatively cheap FM 900GHz on the back wall to either outside of my wife's and my chairs, and I run an Infinity subwoofer in the base of the right entertainment center tower.

The Polks are the top speaker they made at the time that didn't have an included subwoofer; IIRC, RT800s. The bass was relatively impressive, and certainly not muddy, but the subwoofer made a difference more for movie audio than music that was worthwhile.
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Old 20th February 2007, 10:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ktesibios View Post
99 bucks? For that?!!!

I do have to admit that I'd love to have one- to crack it open and find out just what 50-cent do-nothing box variant they're flogging to the ignorant.

I don't have 99 dollars worth of curiosity, though.

Well I bought one just to test and bust the myth with. It did nothing. I had 2 Electricians take it and test it on a scope and also repeat the tests just as PSA did and it helped nothing. Then we busted it apart. There are some film caps in it and resistors. All in all there are about 10 bucks worth of parts. We looked up the part numbers in a mouser catalog and the film caps could be bought for 15 cents.Here are pics.
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Old 21st February 2007, 01:35 AM   #13
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You're a better man than I am. $99 you say.
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Old 21st February 2007, 02:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DRBUZZ0 View Post
Um...I think you've missed the important thing. They obviously know what they are talking about because you can see their engineer creating some sort of diagram which I cannot really understand (or make out).

I see a couple resistors... a capacitor and...either another resistor or an inductor...or maybe it's just a scribble...can't tell.

Anyways... This dude obviously knows a lot more than us!
He has drawn a differential amplifier (which is irrelevant to the subject)....

It is a scam. Sure, it might actually pick up noise from the power line and use it to make the LED blink, but that doesn't mean the noise level is reduced in any way, elswhere on the line. That is the thing about line noise: It is very load resistant.

All this noise talk is funny. Audiophiles seem to think that their music sounds better if noise is reduced. Of course, it is nicer to listen to music if there is no noise, but tit doesn't change the sound of the music as such. It is just a distraction.

And it is very, very easy to find out if your equipment has noise: Just listen for it. Remove the input signal (like take out the disc from the player) and and turn the volume to max. Listen to the speakers. A good system should be silent as a tomb. If it is, you don't need to worry about noise. If it hums, hisses, snaps, crackles, or pops, you might want to do something about it.

Hans
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Old 21st February 2007, 06:57 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
He has drawn a differential amplifier (which is irrelevant to the subject)....

It is a scam. Sure, it might actually pick up noise from the power line and use it to make the LED blink, but that doesn't mean the noise level is reduced in any way, elswhere on the line. That is the thing about line noise: It is very load resistant.

All this noise talk is funny. Audiophiles seem to think that their music sounds better if noise is reduced. Of course, it is nicer to listen to music if there is no noise, but tit doesn't change the sound of the music as such. It is just a distraction.

And it is very, very easy to find out if your equipment has noise: Just listen for it. Remove the input signal (like take out the disc from the player) and and turn the volume to max. Listen to the speakers. A good system should be silent as a tomb. If it is, you don't need to worry about noise. If it hums, hisses, snaps, crackles, or pops, you might want to do something about it.

Hans
Wow, I don't know where to start.
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Old 21st February 2007, 09:04 AM   #16
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Never mind.
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Old 21st February 2007, 09:53 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
Well I bought one just to test and bust the myth with. It did nothing. I had 2 Electricians take it and test it on a scope and also repeat the tests just as PSA did and it helped nothing. Then we busted it apart. There are some film caps in it and resistors. All in all there are about 10 bucks worth of parts. We looked up the part numbers in a mouser catalog and the film caps could be bought for 15 cents.Here are pics.
Ask for a refund and see how far you get.

Better yet, see if the FTC will prosecute for fraud.

Seriously, is there any way you can draw a schematic of that and provide a parts list? I'm just curious, and you've already blown the 99 smackeroos.
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Old 21st February 2007, 10:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sherman Bay View Post
Ask for a refund and see how far you get.

Better yet, see if the FTC will prosecute for fraud.

Seriously, is there any way you can draw a schematic of that and provide a parts list? I'm just curious, and you've already blown the 99 smackeroos.
I could have had a refund they had a 30 day policy. I knew full well what I was doing when I bought it. I did not buy it because I thought it worked I bought it to take it apart test etc..

I would love to see the FTC go after clowns like these guys.I wouldnt know how to start it though.

I will dig it up and try to fully tear into it.
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Old 21st February 2007, 11:05 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
I could have had a refund they had a 30 day policy. I knew full well what I was doing when I bought it. I did not buy it because I thought it worked I bought it to take it apart test etc..
Who's having the placebo? The one who buys it with the intention of not hearing a difference or the one who buys it to test whether he does or not?
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Old 21st February 2007, 11:11 AM   #20
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I have opened up mine as well, it's broken now. I wish I didn't because it does make a difference, it gives heavier bass among other things. I wanted to make myself believe it didn't make a difference so it would justify my broken Harvester, but I can't deny the truth. I had to pay for it.




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Old 21st February 2007, 11:49 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ExtremeSkeptic View Post
Who's having the placebo? The one who buys it with the intention of not hearing a difference or the one who buys it to test whether he does or not?

This is ValhaalPC he posts at the AVSforum about his PSAudio findings and what it does. He is a kook. I cant post the link to his thread, but its at the AVS forum under the 20000 plus post section and its one of the top threads about the PSA premier power plant. Just take a look at his pictures.
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
This is ValhaalPC he posts at the AVSforum about his PSAudio findings and what it does. He is a kook. I cant post the link to his thread, but its at the AVS forum under the 20000 plus post section and its one of the top threads about the PSA premier power plant. Just take a look at his pictures.
Looks like the toroid xfrmr may be wired to reject common mode noise. A poorly designed system can easily be sensitive to hf common mode spikes and in some systems there may be a noise reduction. The bulk of claims is technobabble.
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:16 PM   #23
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I will get the link up soon I need 15 posts it seems.
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:18 PM   #24
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one more
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:19 PM   #25
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Ok here is the link. He has some big pictures of his paper happy self.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3&page=1&pp=30
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:23 PM   #26
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Oops. It appears that the thing goes across only the hot and return lines and this does nothing for common mode noise - which could actually work. Trying to cut differential noise by paralleling the line in is an especially poor way to do it. Line filters are usually serial and these work can far better on any noise type. I can't imagine a topology that would work here. It would be good if one of you with the device sketch out the circuit.
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Old 21st February 2007, 12:38 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
Ok here is the link. He has some big pictures of his paper happy self.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3&page=1&pp=30
The company that makes the stuff claims this:
Quote:
The edges of ERS does have exposed conductive fibers and should be handled and installed with care. The electrical resistance of ers is .026 ohms per square yard.
This is an odd way to spec a conductive sheet. The resistance edge to edge is a constant independent of units. That is, the resistance is the same whether measured across edges of a square yard, square food, or square mile. The usual is to spec it simply as ohms per square.

Why not just use a laminated copper screen?
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Old 21st February 2007, 01:47 PM   #28
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A reply from PS Audio

Sorry guys, I don't normally read this forum but it seems a great one. Forgive me if I post this answer to one of the replies and then not answer any follow ups as I am not normally monitoring this forum. I have two others that take up most of my available time, but feel free to email me directly with any questions about engineering or products.

By way of introduction, I am Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio and the co-inventor of the Noise Harvester along with our Director of Research, Laszlo Juhasz. While I understand the Harvester has a lot of folks in a tizzy, it reall does work to remove noise. At the end of my reply, I describe the basic circuit and how it works. This is not magic, just engineering.

Anyway, here goes:

Let's look at what poster MortFurd has to say:

"Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong. "

OK, let's start with that. If the scope showed the 60Hz waveform, then you couldn't see the very high frequency noise caused by a dimmer. The scope photo shows the dimmer noise only, in fact, it is triggering on the noise and cannot show the 60Hz - one is at a very high frequency and low amplitude and the other is very low frequency and high amplitude.

If it were to show the 60Hz, which is 120 volts, then the high frequency noise would appear like a little zit riding on the 60Hz. And, since the noise amplitude is about 1.2 volts, that zit would be a mere 1% of the 60Hz and thus you wouldn't really see it.

Scopes have the ability to look at a small event in the absence of the larger event that it may be a part of. What you are looking at here is the magnified smaller event without the larger event being visible. I hope that makes sense - as I tried to explain above, you cannot see both - if for no other reason than one event is 99 times larger than the other.

I really object to MortFurd proclaiming this as a "flat out lie". It's amazing to me the arrogance coupled with ignorance that causes someone to proclaim this type of rude mis-statement. MortFurd's conclusion is based soley on his own ignorance and had he asked, instead of jumped to a conclusion, this wouldn't happen.

<EM>

As for the "DC" comment, the scope is set to trigger on the noise caused by the dimmer - so it doesn't move in the way one would expect to see with AC, - so it starts out as a flat line which looks like DC to the untrained eye - so MortFurd assumes it's DC. It's the way the scope handles triggered AC. We do this so we can look at one event and see the change.

Yes dimmers work on AC. They use a device called a triac. The triac chops the AC waveform by remaining off, starting at the zero crossing, then turn on sometime after zero crossing depending on how much light you want. The reason dimmers are so noisy is what I just described. When the triac turns on and starts delivering current, there is a sharp rise in the voltage/current which causes harmonics to be generated (both on the line and in the air). These harmonics are typically in the 8kHz to 12kHz region, where the Harvester is most sensitive. The scope is triggering on this repeating waveform and so it appears not to move.
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Old 21st February 2007, 02:09 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by psaudio View Post
Sorry guys, I don't normally read this forum but it seems a great one. Forgive me if I post this answer to one of the replies and then not answer any follow ups as I am not normally monitoring this forum. I have two others that take up most of my available time, but feel free to email me directly with any questions about engineering or products.

By way of introduction, I am Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio and the co-inventor of the Noise Harvester along with our Director of Research, Laszlo Juhasz. While I understand the Harvester has a lot of folks in a tizzy, it reall does work to remove noise. At the end of my reply, I describe the basic circuit and how it works. This is not magic, just engineering.

Anyway, here goes:

Let's look at what poster MortFurd has to say:

"Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong. "

OK, let's start with that. If the scope showed the 60Hz waveform, then you couldn't see the very high frequency noise caused by a dimmer. The scope photo shows the dimmer noise only, in fact, it is triggering on the noise and cannot show the 60Hz - one is at a very high frequency and low amplitude and the other is very low frequency and high amplitude.

If it were to show the 60Hz, which is 120 volts, then the high frequency noise would appear like a little zit riding on the 60Hz. And, since the noise amplitude is about 1.2 volts, that zit would be a mere 1% of the 60Hz and thus you wouldn't really see it.

Scopes have the ability to look at a small event in the absence of the larger event that it may be a part of. What you are looking at here is the magnified smaller event without the larger event being visible. I hope that makes sense - as I tried to explain above, you cannot see both - if for no other reason than one event is 99 times larger than the other.

I really object to MortFurd proclaiming this as a "flat out lie". It's amazing to me the arrogance coupled with ignorance that causes someone to proclaim this type of rude mis-statement. MortFurd's conclusion is based soley on his own ignorance and had he asked, instead of jumped to a conclusion, this wouldn't happen.

<EM>

As for the "DC" comment, the scope is set to trigger on the noise caused by the dimmer - so it doesn't move in the way one would expect to see with AC, - so it starts out as a flat line which looks like DC to the untrained eye - so MortFurd assumes it's DC. It's the way the scope handles triggered AC. We do this so we can look at one event and see the change.

Yes dimmers work on AC. They use a device called a triac. The triac chops the AC waveform by remaining off, starting at the zero crossing, then turn on sometime after zero crossing depending on how much light you want. The reason dimmers are so noisy is what I just described. When the triac turns on and starts delivering current, there is a sharp rise in the voltage/current which causes harmonics to be generated (both on the line and in the air). These harmonics are typically in the 8kHz to 12kHz region, where the Harvester is most sensitive. The scope is triggering on this repeating waveform and so it appears not to move.

Ah, so I'm guessing that you are running the caps in series with one toroid winding, essentially forming a high pass, then using the step up side into some sort of clamping circuit that shunts the higher frequences on the AC line. I'm suprised audio equipment picks this stuff up.
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Old 21st February 2007, 02:13 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by psaudio View Post
Sorry guys, I don't normally read this forum but it seems a great one. Forgive me if I post this answer to one of the replies and then not answer any follow ups as I am not normally monitoring this forum. I have two others that take up most of my available time, but feel free to email me directly with any questions about engineering or products.

By way of introduction, I am Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio and the co-inventor of the Noise Harvester along with our Director of Research, Laszlo Juhasz. While I understand the Harvester has a lot of folks in a tizzy, it reall does work to remove noise. At the end of my reply, I describe the basic circuit and how it works. This is not magic, just engineering.

Anyway, here goes:

Let's look at what poster MortFurd has to say:

"Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong. "

OK, let's start with that. If the scope showed the 60Hz waveform, then you couldn't see the very high frequency noise caused by a dimmer. The scope photo shows the dimmer noise only, in fact, it is triggering on the noise and cannot show the 60Hz - one is at a very high frequency and low amplitude and the other is very low frequency and high amplitude.

If it were to show the 60Hz, which is 120 volts, then the high frequency noise would appear like a little zit riding on the 60Hz. And, since the noise amplitude is about 1.2 volts, that zit would be a mere 1% of the 60Hz and thus you wouldn't really see it.

Scopes have the ability to look at a small event in the absence of the larger event that it may be a part of. What you are looking at here is the magnified smaller event without the larger event being visible. I hope that makes sense - as I tried to explain above, you cannot see both - if for no other reason than one event is 99 times larger than the other.

I really object to MortFurd proclaiming this as a "flat out lie". It's amazing to me the arrogance coupled with ignorance that causes someone to proclaim this type of rude mis-statement. MortFurd's conclusion is based soley on his own ignorance and had he asked, instead of jumped to a conclusion, this wouldn't happen.
<EM>

As for the "DC" comment, the scope is set to trigger on the noise caused by the dimmer - so it doesn't move in the way one would expect to see with AC, - so it starts out as a flat line which looks like DC to the untrained eye - so MortFurd assumes it's DC. It's the way the scope handles triggered AC. We do this so we can look at one event and see the change.

Yes dimmers work on AC. They use a device called a triac. The triac chops the AC waveform by remaining off, starting at the zero crossing, then turn on sometime after zero crossing depending on how much light you want. The reason dimmers are so noisy is what I just described. When the triac turns on and starts delivering current, there is a sharp rise in the voltage/current which causes harmonics to be generated (both on the line and in the air). These harmonics are typically in the 8kHz to 12kHz region, where the Harvester is most sensitive. The scope is triggering on this repeating waveform and so it appears not to move.

Explain why the scope says its DC then?

Also why didnt you put the little device that made the buzzing sound at the dimmer back up when you plugged the NH back in? Why did you just say see it works?

Also interesting to note that 60HZ is the noise we are really worried about in audio from power lines. Wonder why Paul never presented any of this groundbreaking stuff to a peer review?

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Old 21st February 2007, 02:31 PM   #31
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Test

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Old 21st February 2007, 02:34 PM   #32
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Full response from Paul at his website forum he left this stuff out here for some reason.



Quote"<I>
The oscilloscope they are using is set to 5Volts per centimeter, so that spike is about 12 Volts. If you were to dump enough noise onto a household power line to cause a 12 volt spike, then you are probably talking about something on the order of several hundred watts of noise. Granted this is a very short peak (~20microseconds) but if it were to repeat 60 times per second, it would in fairly short order burn out the harvesters, which are claimed can remove "8 to 10 watts each."


Well, here he is absolutely correct based on the available information. However, what isn't being said is that we used a 10X scope probe so what you are seeing is 10 times less or 1.2 volts, not 12. Most scopes cannot take 120 volts in so we always use a 10X probe to reduce the voltage so as not to damage the scope. To us, this is obvious, to the untrained, it is not obvious. My apologies.

It wasn't so much the size or magnitude of the voltage we were trying to show, but the magnitude of the change that was important. What he means, BTW, is 5 volts per division, not CM.

What kills me though is that the assumptive close in all these messages is that the Harvester is a scam and here's proof of it. That's just so counter productive to learning. The Harvester does exactly what we suggest it does and it would make so much more sense to come at this from a learning perspective. Sigh.

<B>
Furthermore, the LED must be just an added "blinky." An LED that can dissipate 8 watts would probably be so bright you couldn't stand it. Think bright blue strobe light. Probably very distracting when you're trying to listen to classical music.

I find LED light bulbs rated for 3 watts continuous that can be used as replacements for the bulbs used in low voltage halogen track lights. Imagine how much brighter 8 watts would be."
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Old 21st February 2007, 02:36 PM   #33
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And the more of the Quote


The LED is not just an "added blinky" it is how the Harvester dissipates the stored noise energy. But, again, I can't fault MortFurd too hard on this because his assumption is based on wrong information which I admit, without further information he can only draw this conclusion (since he's not an engineer familiar with how one would read 120 volts).

However, it would further his understanding if he simply asked when this didn't make sense and we'd be happy to explian so he would.

The Harvester is real. Honestly, it's a very simple device! I tried to explain it before, let me try one more time.

There is a capacitor and the primary (input) of a transformer in series across the AC line. This forms a high pass filter that is tuned to about 8kHz.

The secondary of the transformer (the output)is send through a diode bridge to convert it to DC. Then, using some tricky electronics, we take that DC and charge a capacitor with the energy that's harvested from the line (where the unit got its name). When the capacitor is full, we dump the energy into the LED.

Thus, the only power used to blink the light is harvested from noise on the AC line that is above 8kHz. There are no batteries or tricks going on. It is a straightforward engineering design when the light blinks, it is powered by noise.

The laws of nature require us to understand that if we take energy from one source and expend it somewhere else, irregardless of how (heat, light, motion), then the energy is lower at the source because it has been moved to where it was directed, to make light, heat or motion.

Speco, you're not dumb. If you were, I wouldn't even bother with you. Relax for one moment. I am not making this up. It really works this way. Show the description above of how this device works to someone you may know that actually understands circuitry or physics. They will tell you that what I wrote is 100% true.

The only question that is legitimate is how much of an effect does it have on line noise and your system? Now that is a fair and reasonable question.
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Old 21st February 2007, 03:03 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
The Harvester is real. Honestly, it's a very simple device! I tried to explain it before, let me try one more time.

There is a capacitor and the primary (input) of a transformer in series across the AC line. This forms a high pass filter that is tuned to about 8kHz.

The secondary of the transformer (the output)is send through a diode bridge to convert it to DC. Then, using some tricky electronics, we take that DC and charge a capacitor with the energy that's harvested from the line (where the unit got its name). When the capacitor is full, we dump the energy into the LED.
My guess about the circuit was pretty close and it does in fact turn noise into light. No doubt there exists equipment that it would reduce the audio noise on due to poor design.
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Old 21st February 2007, 03:26 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by speco2007 View Post
Explain why the scope says its DC then?

Also why didnt you put the little device that made the buzzing sound at the dimmer back up when you plugged the NH back in? Why did you just say see it works?

Also interesting to note that 60HZ is the noise we are really worried about in audio from power lines. Wonder why Paul never presented any of this groundbreaking stuff to a peer review?

While the "harvester" is hyped, the demo and waveforms are consistent with what I now believe the design to be. Nothing wrong with the scope pics either. They are triggering, probably with hf reject, near the 60hz signal peak. Horizontal is 100us/div. Vertical scale offset would be used to center the signal. The alteration in waveform is about what I would expect for this design. Strong attenuation of high freq and conversion to a lower freq ringing.

Not that it should make any difference in well designed equipment.
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Old 22nd February 2007, 02:06 AM   #36
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About the scope:

I own such a scope, and it comes with 10x probes as default. It has provisions for changing probe attenuation in the menu, in order to show correct values. The default setting in the menu is 10x, so if the pictures from PS Audio shows the wrong values, they must deliberately have changed probe attenuation in the menu. Now, why would anyone do that?
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Old 22nd February 2007, 02:25 AM   #37
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Actually, in the video you can see that in the scope menu the probe attenuation is indeed set to 10x:



Originally Posted by PS Audio
Well, here he is absolutely correct based on the available information. However, what isn't being said is that we used a 10X scope probe so what you are seeing is 10 times less or 1.2 volts, not 12. Most scopes cannot take 120 volts in so we always use a 10X probe to reduce the voltage so as not to damage the scope. To us, this is obvious, to the untrained, it is not obvious. My apologies.
This means that WYSIWYG on the scope. What was that about the untrained, again?

Last edited by mroek; 22nd February 2007 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 22nd February 2007, 02:51 AM   #38
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And while I'm at it:

There is no way that he is measuring the power line directly, either. The scope coupling is DC, which means that the base line of this measurement is about 0V (no offset on the scope). At 100 us/div, 60 Hz AC will have a pretty steep slope when it passes through 0V.

So, the only explanation is that he is measuring something else. Simple as that. He may be measuring at some point inside the Harvester, but we're not told what is is, except that it is "line noise".
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Old 22nd February 2007, 02:55 AM   #39
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And Paul never answers the question of about 4:30 into the video why he doesnt put the "power Sleuth" back up after putting the NH in line. And it would be interesting to see it happen uncut keep the sleuth on and hear the noise and then plug the NH in without the cutchot he uses now.

And we never see Lazlo plug the NH in its all off camera. Shady.
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Old 22nd February 2007, 06:19 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by psaudio View Post
Sorry guys, I don't normally read this forum but it seems a great one. Forgive me if I post this answer to one of the replies and then not answer any follow ups as I am not normally monitoring this forum. I have two others that take up most of my available time, but feel free to email me directly with any questions about engineering or products.

By way of introduction, I am Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio and the co-inventor of the Noise Harvester along with our Director of Research, Laszlo Juhasz. While I understand the Harvester has a lot of folks in a tizzy, it reall does work to remove noise. At the end of my reply, I describe the basic circuit and how it works. This is not magic, just engineering.

Anyway, here goes:

Let's look at what poster MortFurd has to say:

"Complete, utter, and absolute BS.
Take a look at the pictures here. Whatever they were measuring, it wasn't a powerline. You get 60 Cycle AC out of an American power outlet. They've got a nasty spike on DC, and there's no AC to be seen. The accompanying text describes the pictures as showing the harvester removing the noise caused by a dimmer. This is a flat out lie. House hold light dimmers work on AC, so the either the description is false or the pictures are wrong. "

OK, let's start with that. If the scope showed the 60Hz waveform, then you couldn't see the very high frequency noise caused by a dimmer. The scope photo shows the dimmer noise only, in fact, it is triggering on the noise and cannot show the 60Hz - one is at a very high frequency and low amplitude and the other is very low frequency and high amplitude.

If it were to show the 60Hz, which is 120 volts, then the high frequency noise would appear like a little zit riding on the 60Hz. And, since the noise amplitude is about 1.2 volts, that zit would be a mere 1% of the 60Hz and thus you wouldn't really see it.

Scopes have the ability to look at a small event in the absence of the larger event that it may be a part of. What you are looking at here is the magnified smaller event without the larger event being visible. I hope that makes sense - as I tried to explain above, you cannot see both - if for no other reason than one event is 99 times larger than the other.

I really object to MortFurd proclaiming this as a "flat out lie". It's amazing to me the arrogance coupled with ignorance that causes someone to proclaim this type of rude mis-statement. MortFurd's conclusion is based soley on his own ignorance and had he asked, instead of jumped to a conclusion, this wouldn't happen.

<EM>

As for the "DC" comment, the scope is set to trigger on the noise caused by the dimmer - so it doesn't move in the way one would expect to see with AC, - so it starts out as a flat line which looks like DC to the untrained eye - so MortFurd assumes it's DC. It's the way the scope handles triggered AC. We do this so we can look at one event and see the change.

Yes dimmers work on AC. They use a device called a triac. The triac chops the AC waveform by remaining off, starting at the zero crossing, then turn on sometime after zero crossing depending on how much light you want. The reason dimmers are so noisy is what I just described. When the triac turns on and starts delivering current, there is a sharp rise in the voltage/current which causes harmonics to be generated (both on the line and in the air). These harmonics are typically in the 8kHz to 12kHz region, where the Harvester is most sensitive. The scope is triggering on this repeating waveform and so it appears not to move.
Why don't you take some of the money you are raking in and actually attend some engineering courses? Specifically, one dealing with the usage of oscilloscopes. You really need help, there.

1. The scope is set to DC coupling on the channel you are measuring. You actually have a DC level of 20Volts with a spike on it.

2. The time base is set to 100microseconds per centimeter. Were there any 60Hz AC in the signal being measured, there would be a significant curve to the shown signal. The width of the screen is 10 centimeters, which is 1000 microseconds, commonly known as 1 millisecond. One cycle of 60Hz AC is 16.7 milliseconds. One half wave is therefore ~8.3 milliseconds. 1/8 of a semicircle would be quite noticeable on the scope picture. The peak of a half wave AC (in the US) would be ~77Volts - 1/8 of that would be about 2 cm on the scope. Even granting worst case (you hit the sine wave exactly at peak in the center of your scope picture) there would still be a downturn of the scope trace of ~1.5Volts at the right and left edges of the picture. That's 3 mm on the scope screen, enough to be seen easily. That's a hash mark and a half, since scopes usually have 2mm hash marks (which your does.)

3. Triggering on DC does not mean (as you imply) that AC is ignored. The scopes are not built to filter anything, with two exceptions a) Frequencies above the scope's design limits are lost and b) DC can be filtered out when measuring AC.

On some of your later comments:
1. If you are using 10X probes, your situation becomes really BAD. The power calculations I wnet through go up by that same factor of 10, and you will be trying to dump more power through a poor little LED - and from the photos that other have posted in this thread, you aren't even using an LED designed for high current. All I see is what looks like a 5mm LED. If you are using a 10X probe, that spike becomes 120Volts. Ouch for your LED.

2. Further clarification: A 10X probe DIVIDES the input signal by 10, so that you must multiply the shown voltage by 10 to get the correct value. Are you telling me you used a 1X probe on a scope set for 10X?

3. Untrained? I spent 10 years working with scopes daily. I've built audio frequency signal analysers. I think I bloody well understand how to read what is shown on the scope face.

4. Powering the LED on noise over 8kHz is no sweat. It won't do you much good, but you can make it blink. So what? I can make an LED blink using nothing but the miniscule amount of power that a crystal radio can receive. Blinking an LED proves bloody zip about power dissipation.

5. Again, if you were dissipating any amount of power capable of making a difference to a properly built amplifier (see Schneibter's info on noise rejection and power supply design) an LED capable of handling that amount of power would blink like a bleeding strobe light.

6. Your description of the operation of the gadget makes quite clear just what is going on. You are powering a blinky on the noise on the powerline. Do you know just how little energy it takes to make a blinky run? Properly designed, a blinky can run on a single AA cell for a year. Your "harverster" isn't neccessarily "harvesting" any significant amount of power at all.

7. Were your device actually effective, it would be more so if you just attached a high power (5watt or more) low resistance resistor to the output of your tranformer. The resistor could dissipate far more power than that poor little LED.

8. Since your scope pictures do NOT show AC, they are at best staged. I consider them to be out and out lies, however, as the staging could only be done to conceal the ineffectiveness of your device. Staging it would allow you to control the impedance of all the signals involved - including the impedance of the spike - which would let you show a higher reduction in the voltage of the spike. What's the current flow during the spike?

How much power does your "harverster" dissipate? Simple question, and you should have the answer to hand - if you have the slightest clue what you are doing.


Please remember that not everyone on this planet is ignorant of basic facts of electricty and the use of test equipment.
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