Attenuator has two basic components. These are the dummy load and a variable wattage-splitter control. A dummy load is a device used to simulate an P2001 power station. This kind of attenuator may be characterized as purely resistive, partly reactive, and mostly resistive. The attenuator may be packaged as amp-top or built in the head. Also, the attenuator usually contains components to dissipate heat. Such components may be a fan, heat sink or a vented case.
Some of the most common methods of power attenuation include the “power soaker” approach, the Variac-based method and the power dampening method. In the “power soaker” approach, the attenuator absorbs part of the power while the other remaining portion of the power is directed to the speaker. The Variac or power scaling circuit-based method reduces the B+ supply voltage that is available to the power tubes. This approach produces distortion in the power tube in a manner that an adjustable level of power is provided to the speaker. The last method, the power dampening method, utilizes a potentiometer and a phase inverter to control the level of output power.
The most original attenuator manufactured for guitar amplifier is the Altair Attenuator. The Altair Attenuator is primarily resistive. It employs a toaster coil with low inductance electric windings. Currently, the THD Hot Plate, Marshall Power Brake, Weber MASS and Scholz Power Soak are the most popular power attenuators sold in the market. THD Electronics Ltd. claims that its THD Hot Plate is the ultimate and the most popular power attenuator in the world. There are five different hot plate models and their colors are related to their impedance’s. THD Electronics recommends that the impedance should be the same as the amplifier to optimize tone and function. The THD Hot Plate features a treble and bass boost switches, a dedicated line out with level control, and variable attenuation.
The Marshall Power Brake digital attenuator adds some inductance or capacitance to the electric load. According to its manufacturer, Marshall Arts, the Marshall Power Brake device absorbs some of the amplifier’s energy without affecting its natural quantities of distortion, tone and feel. The product does not require external power supply because its reflected inductive load circuitry eagerly soaks up the amplifier’s power. The circuitry then dissipates the resulting heat through a reactive fan which automatically responds to temperature increases caused by greater level of attenuation. This attenuator also has a dummy load option. Meanwhile, the Weber attenuator is available in various models for different power handling requirements. Scholz Power Soak is a purely resistive power attenuator. It allows the production of great sound at low volumes.
Electricians in the US recommend installing a power quality analyzer in your home that will help to kill two birds with one stone. By using these devices, you can curb power wastage in your homes, which will in turn reduce the burden on your electrical supplier. You will thus be able to enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
How does a power quality analyzer help?
By using a quality analyzer, you can calculate the power cleanliness, demand, and actual consumption in your home. Power cleanliness refers to the harmonics that are observed in the electric supply due to fluctuating loads. The presence of these harmonics results in the improper functioning of the electrical equipment that can lead to overheating, wear and tear, tripping of circuit breakers, and other dangerous situations that can cause fire hazards.
According to electricians, electric demand refers to the energy that is needed for the proper functioning of electrical equipment. A power quality analyzer is able to accurately find out the average amount of power required by a device to work properly by taking into account the power needed during peak time, as well as low load phases.
There is a big difference between the power demand and the power that is actually consumed by the device. You can correctly measure the power consumed in terms of kilowatt hours or watt hours when you use an analyzer.
Once you have analyzed the electricity and the amount of consumption, you can come up with a power factor. Power factor = actual amounts of watts consumed/ apparent watts delivered. As any expert electrician would be quick to point out, the power factor should be less than 1. This is because the power that is used is less than the power delivered as some amount of electricity is lost due to frictional loss, heat dissipation, and work performed. The lower the power factor, the more the power wastage; this value will then assist you in taking corrective measures.