You’ve spent a lot of time setting up the perfect theater system for your home. The images are spectacular, the sound is crisp, and the equipment is top-notch. Then, you notice a burning smell coming from the AVR power supply.
An AVR power supply is likely to smell like burning plastic when the AVR unit itself is unable to support and handle the wattage required for your appliance.
But, is my AVR shot? Is my equipment safe? Well, the answer to both questions is “possibly”.
Having the smell of burnt plastic is normal for the first week or two of usage. However, it can also be a huge red flag. Whichever the case, to be on the safe side, you should stop using the AVR unit immediately and check your appliances to ensure they still work.
Stay tuned, we are about to explore possible scenarios on why your AVR power supply may be emitting a burnt plastic smell. If you are in the market for a new AVR unit, we will also explore tips on how to choose the correct unit for your needs.
Purchase a High-Quality AVR
With such top-notch and expensive home theater system setups, it is tempting to buy cheaper components that most consider secondary, or that most don’t fully understand. Unfortunately, the AVR (automatic voltage regulator) power supply falls in this category.
However, it is not the place to cut down on costs. Purchasing the correct AVR can help protect your home theater system, and save thousands of dollars in purchasing new components, or on repairs.
How Does an AVR Work?
The electricity flowing through your household and the power that comes out of the socket on your walls is susceptible to voltage surges. Spikes and any fluctuation in the electricity supply to your home theater system can cause your electrical components to short-circuit and be destroyed.
These fluctuations in electricity may occur for any number of reasons, including power surges, power outages, stormy weather, or a nearby lightning strike, yikes! If an electrician is working on a few repairs on electric posts in your neighborhood, yes, this will cover that as well.
An AVR unit outputs a constant level of voltage to your home theater appliances regardless of any fluctuations and spikes in electricity that may occur in your home. This is good news.
Below, we’ve detailed several ways an AVR will protect your home theater system against unpredictable power outages and power surges. If you have invested in an expensive home theater system, a high-quality AVR will be a good investment for you.
One of the dangers of a power surge is that it can damage several of your electrical components at once. This can prove costly, in the upwards of thousands even. One of the main advantages of an AVR is its voltage regulatory aspects.
If an AVR detects a voltage fluctuation, it will regulate accordingly and correct the current output to your electrical devices. With this feature, an AVR can detect a power surge or voltage anomaly and adjust and normalize the current before it even gets to your home theater appliances. AVRs are a good protection barrier against these occurrences. Pretty handy, huh?
If you live in an area consistent with stormy weather, consider investing in an AVR. If you live in an area with unstable electricity supply and perhaps faulty wiring, it is also a good idea to consider an AVR.
When a power outage occurs, when the power finally comes back on, a sudden surge of current rushes back into the electricity supply, leading to a power surge. This means that each time a power outage occurs, your home theater electrical components are in a constant line of danger. Not an ideal situation! With all of its advantages, an AVR is a worthwhile investment.
An AVR will go into reset mode once it detects a power surge. You can opt to delay the supply of electricity to your home theater components by approximately five to eight minutes. However, certain types of components cannot be turned off, even for a short amount of time. This is where the quick-start feature sets in. If this is the case with one of your components, you can switch the quick-start feature on. This will, in turn, override the reset time of five to eight minutes to instant power back up.
Additionally, AVRs come equipped with warning signs, alerting you of a power surge. This feature is called built-in circuit breakers.
Built-In Circuit Breakers
AVRs are equipped with a device meant to protect its fuses. Once the device detects excessive voltage levels, it will make a sound to alert you that a power surge is currently happening.
Once the fuse blows, it will simultaneously disconnect the supply of electricity to your home theater appliances. This protects your home theater components against any short-circuiting that will not only lead to destroyed electrical components but also avoids any potential fires as a result.
What Should I Plug Into My AVR?
Each of your home theater components needs to be connected to a specific wattage. It is highly recommended that you purchase an AVR unit that has a wattage rating that is at least three times higher than your appliance.
For example, the average power consumption for a plasma TV is 300 watts. For a traditional LCD TV, it is 110 watts and 100 watts for an LED TV. For your plasma TV, you will want to find an AVR with a minimum power rating of 900 watts. For your LCD TV, an AVR with a power rating of 330 watts will be suitable, while an AVR unit of 300 watts will be adequate for the LED TV.
Why The Burnt Plastic Smell?
Fortunately, if you have just purchased an AVR unit and followed the above-mentioned rule whereby the power supply is at least three times the amount required by your home theater appliance, the burning plastic smell could be normal.
If your AVR unit is within its first two weeks of usage, and your unit has gotten good reviews, and of a reputable brand, the smell of burning plastic can be harmless and nothing to worry about. The smell is from the varnish impregnation that is used in the coils when the unit is first energized.
For older AVR units, you may experience the same smell of burning plastic if it is loaded to a higher level of wattage than they have experienced in the past.
If you did not follow the recommendation of the unit’s power supply being at least three times greater than the required wattage of your home theater appliances, then an immediate trip of circuit protection occurs.
For example, if you are using an AVR with a power supply of 500 watts, it would be a bad idea to plug a vacuum that easily uses 600 watts. This is a big no-no!
It is a good idea to take note of the wattage levels of your home theater electrical components before heading out to make a purchase. Remember, purchasing an AVR unit with a power rating of at least three times higher than your home theater equipment will be ideal.
With so many types of AVR units on the market, ensure that you are purchasing one that has been certified by a third-party consulting company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory, that certifies electrical equipment for its efficiency. There are a lot of units that have not been tested and do not carry this stamp of approval and may not protect as they claim.
As we’ve seen, sudden and extreme changes in the electrical climate in your area will have a direct impact on your home theater electrical components. These types of abrupt changes in the electricity levels coursing through your home appliances should be heavily regulated, as short circuits, power outages, power surges can occur at any time.
Let’s Sit Back and Enjoy the Show
You’ve invested a lot of time doing research and have spent a lot of money for your top-notch home theater system. As a result, we know you have the best surround sound and flat-screen entertainment system on your block! With all of the sensitive equipment found inside of your precious home theater system, it is a worthwhile idea to invest in an AVR unit to help protect it.
Now that you’re all set up let’s grab the popcorn and let the Netflix binge begin!
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.