Common and not so common

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If you've been following along you're now up to speed of how the upcoming PowerBase product came to be. Born out of the idea that isolating equipment from both mechanical as well as electrical problems really helped the system out, the PowerBase turned out to be a floating heavy platform to set equipment on that plugged into the wall AC.

Imagine that, an isolation base that plugs into the wall. It's never been done before and now that we've invented the concept I wanted to share with you the process we went through of inventing it. If you managed to stay with the series you would have discovered that the steps we took were ones of discovery, experimentation and obvious conclusions based on the results. There was no magic, no miracles, just a chain of events that led to an unlikely conclusion in the form of a powered isolation base that would improve any product you set on it. Pretty cool.

I promised yesterday we'd cover the two types of noise and distortion the internal one-way gate of the PowerBase reduces: common mode and differential mode noise.

In a broad overview, common mode noise is what we typically get coming into the gear and is picked up like an antenna on a radio and differential mode noise is what we generally get out of the equipment as self generated noise. Of course this is only a broad explanation and obviously if you have equipment generating differential noise it too is on the power line and being fed into the other equipment connected to the same power source.

Common mode noise is easiest to understand because it is noise that is all around us in radiated form: cell phones, radio stations, TV stations, WIFI, computers, even the equipment in our hi fi systems radiates noise into the air. In fact, if you could actually see the radiated noise around you you'd probably freak out due to the amount of pollution in modern society. There are those among us that believe getting away from all this radiated energy has many health benefits but they forget aboutsatellites spewing their energy down from the heavens. There's little escape from these electrical issues.

The wiring in your home sits open and exposed to all these radiated energies. Most home wiring has three conductors inside: a hot, neutral and a ground. At a minimum there are two: hot and neutral. The hot wire has the voltage on it and the neutral does not - so just imagine two wires running together side by side and then at their end they are just sitting in open space. The hot wire has the potential of delivering its power to something - but it has no where to go so it just sits waiting. When you plug in your equipment, the equipment itself becomes the path for the power and now the energy sitting on the hot wire has somewhere to go and you've completed what we call a circuit.

Now, go back and imagine the two parallel conductors in our house wiring sitting in exposed space. They are just two heavy copper wires sitting open like an antenna does and all this radiated energy I spoke of earlier gets received by the two wires and its energy added to both wires (hence the term common). When you complete the circuit by plugging in your equipment, both the electrical energy as well as this received radiated energy head straight into your equipment - the radiated energy common to both wires as well.

That's common mode noise. Tomorrow, differential mode noise.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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