Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DIY Power Distributor

No money for fancy power distributors ? Why not make your own ?

I saw a very nice solid aluminum power distributor casing in one of our local electronics surplus stores. It certainly could not be considered as refined, but was made from solid 5 mm thick sheets and had nice cut out holes for US sockets and an IEC inlet.

Choose your favourite sockets and your internal cabling of choice, and you are ready to go.

In my case, I used the following :-

1 x Oyaide SWO-XXX AC outlet

1 x Hubbell 8300 Hospital Grade AC outlet

1 x Hubbell 5362i AC outlet

1 x IEGO gold plated IEC inlet

Neotech 12 AWG PC-OCC teflon insulated solid core copper wire

Raw materials before assembly. 

Fit and finish is a bit rough

Close-up of the Iego IEC gold plated inlet. Silver plated o-ring terminals are provided.

You can also put in your choice of damping material, e.g. Fo.q, bitumen sheets. Feel free to put in other stuff like AC line filters (X-rated capacitors only please and make sure that your leads are well insulated !). For the new age guys, put in your crystals of choice.

There you have it – a nice and high quality distributor for not too much money.

Ground wires all terminate on the earth screw of the first AC receptacle

The bent Neotech cables. A good work out ! Getting the right length is absolute critical.

Dry fit

Finished product !

Any practical tips ? If I had another go at this, I would use either multi-stranded copper wire or multiple runs of a smaller gauge wire. The 12 AWG is stiff as hell. Needless to say, please check your wiring for continuity and shorts using a multimeter before connecting it to the mains.

Based on my daisy chain wiring, the first set of receptacles would sound the best. Wiring the receptacles in parallel would have been difficult and probably require me to change to thinner cables to terminate properly at the IEC inlet.

Also, the screws provided on this casing are absolutely useless and deform at the slightest pressure. All screws and hex nuts were changed to stainless steel type.

The outlets of the Hubbell are connected together via a thin metal bridge (to facilitate snap off in case of split voltage wiring needs). I suppose breaking off the metal bridge and using a copper wire would improve the sound a bit.

Total cost if you used Hubbell outlets  and Neotech copper wire would be about USD 160. If you were feeling rich, you could use the Oyaide R-1 (which I use in an Oyaide MTB-6 used in my main system) and solid silver wiring.

Where should you spend your money ?

I compared this to my Oyaide MTS-6, which is a basic model distributor, with unplated Oyaide AC receptacles, and copper wiring, as well as my Oyaide MTB-6 which is made from thicker metal and has solid silver wiring. Both my MTS-6 and MTB-6 have identical receptacles, the R-1 and SWO-XXX.

The MTS-6 was noticeable inferior to my DIY distributor, while the MTB-6 has no difficulty surpassing it.

Given a budget, I would spend most of the money on a quality and heavy chassis, followed by the choice of receptacles, and lastly the internal wiring. Despite the high performance of the R1, it was simply unable to perform in the MTS-6.

Happy DIYing ! An important disclaimer, if you have no idea what you are doing, please buy a commercial product. We are dealing with lethal voltages here.


horchai said...

very good! what abt star grounding?
if budget allows, use pure silver wires from the IEC Live and Neutral to the first and i assume best ac receptacle. faster and "cleaner" sound.

horchai said...

sorry one more to add. Some contact enhancers might be good. I happened to have furutech nano fluid so i dabbed a little bit to the end of the bare wires. I suppose Silclear works as well.

Eric said...

Before using contact enhancers, check that they are suitable for mains voltages ! It is also good practice to clean all ends of the wires with isopropyl alcohol before terminating / screwing them into the outlet posts.

horchai said...

"Ground wires all terminate on the earth screw of the first AC receptacle" excellent idea! why didnt i think of that when i DIY'ed my own distributor? hmmm

how abt a small SIO 0.22uf across L&N? bring on the mundorf magic.

Eric said...

Although Mundorf Supreme Silver-in-oil capacitors are AC rated in excess of typical mains voltage, they are not safe for continuous use across mains terminals. Although they may sound good in such applications, they cannot be endorsed or recommended for safety reasons.