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"Medical Grade" Australian power wall sockets


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Some audiophiles on OS audio sites advocate the installation of "medical grade" power wall sockets, citing better materials and enhanced connection (grip?) compared to domestic wall sockets. 

 

I was curious what was available in Australia. 

 

The Clipsal "Medilec" series brochure indicates that that range is based on the Clipsal 2000 Series format - which is the Clipsal domestic GPO range.  The Medilec sockets appear to differ in that they incorporate "power on" lights and RCDs, etc.  but there does not appear to be anything different about the actual socket section compared to the domestic GPO. 

 

Is there any "hospital grade" Australian-approved GPO's which could potentially be a superior mains GPO socket, and therefore beneficial in a domestic audio context?

 

NoteThis topic has the potential for some to argue that fancy GPO's, like fancy IEC power cables, do nothing to improve audio sound.  I'm not advocating the position that medical-grade GPO's enhance audio quality (I don't know if they do or don't); the topic was initiated by mere curiosity. I request that any discussion avoids discussing the merits of using/not using these interfaces (I don't want emotive responses to trigger mod's to close the thread!).  Please keep the discussion respectful and on the topic of the hardware options. Thanks. 

 

 

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Have worked in a few hospitals. Usually either use the same as a domestic household or they have a different faceplate ie stainless or specified colour, lights etc. Not sure if the busbars in the different faceplate ones are thicker or not. 

 

Only Aus GPOs I know of that are 'higher' spec are 15 or 20 amp outlets. 

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2 hours ago, audiofeline said:

Some audiophiles on OS audio sites advocate the installation of "medical grade" power wall sockets, citing better materials and enhanced connection (grip?) compared to domestic wall sockets. 

 

I was curious what was available in Australia. 

 

The Clipsal "Medilec" series brochure indicates that that range is based on the Clipsal 2000 Series format - which is the Clipsal domestic GPO range.  The Medilec sockets appear to differ in that they incorporate "power on" lights and RCDs, etc.  but there does not appear to be anything different about the actual socket section compared to the domestic GPO. 

 

Is there any "hospital grade" Australian-approved GPO's which could potentially be a superior mains GPO socket, and therefore beneficial in a domestic audio context?

 

NoteThis topic has the potential for some to argue that fancy GPO's, like fancy IEC power cables, do nothing to improve audio sound.  I'm not advocating the position that medical-grade GPO's enhance audio quality (I don't know if they do or don't); the topic was initiated by mere curiosity. I request that any discussion avoids discussing the merits of using/not using these interfaces (I don't want emotive responses to trigger mod's to close the thread!).  Please keep the discussion respectful and on the topic of the hardware options. Thanks. 

 

 

I might be wrong but I remember talking to you about this. As far as I know, some more expensive GPO's had higher spring tension and more contact of the pins when they were inserted. This was backed up by installation techs back in the 90's who I worked with. This is why I mentioned it before. I bought these "better" GPO's back in the 90' and used them then. Having this info, I bought some more Clipsals that were more expensive back in 2017 and used them in a 40 amp circuit for my power amps.

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For safety reasons down here we're a bit fastidious about removal strength, so all this stuff about 'gripping' a contact more makes no sense.

 

Metal to metal bonds are molecular in nature as are any other - once the contact area is established and the bond is made (this can involve time) then pressure does not increase the bond in any meaningful way unless here's something to compress by way of irregular surface quality e.g. you're looking at the wrong thing if you're hoping to find something that 'squashes the blades more' or 'grips harder' - we're just looking for a set made to best tolerances.

 

If we're talking pure contact area then any reputable 20A plug/socket combination will offer more, though you'll need to provision a dedicated circuit to make code. 

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So called medical grade plugs and sockets are just transparent in AUS/NZ - there are no differences in mechanical construction or quality of electrical contacts. US medical device standard is a bit different though. 

 

https://www.medicaldesignbriefs.com/component/content/article/mdb/features/articles/21330

Edited by Decky
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If your AUS GPO is approved to AUS Electrical standards (as it should be by law, but some imports aren't) , you don't need a better GPO.

The approval requirements are incredibly stringent, incl pull strength, materials, etc.

 

As an aside all HPM 10A, 15A & 20A AUS GPOs have a 20A internals/rear. It's only the plastic cover that differs.

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19 hours ago, Wimbo said:

I might be wrong but I remember talking to you about this. As far as I know, some more expensive GPO's had higher spring tension and more contact of the pins when they were inserted. This was backed up by installation techs back in the 90's who I worked with. This is why I mentioned it before. I bought these "better" GPO's back in the 90' and used them then. Having this info, I bought some more Clipsals that were more expensive back in 2017 and used them in a 40 amp circuit for my power amps.

Thanks Wimbo.  I don't think we've met in person (I'm in Melb), but it is possible that I may have forgotten a previous discussion on SNA.  Interesting that the Clipsal range has variation in construction as well as aesthetics. 

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13 hours ago, Mickstuh said:

My understanding is that these medical cordsets only differ in the colours - orange cord and transparent connectors.  I recall seeing one that may have used thicker 15A or 20A cord for the 10A cordset.  But no additional shielding that audiophiles like.  I agree that they would be easy to differentiate from the mass of black cords in audio racks (I take an alternate approach and label the cords). 

011_180_4014.jpg

 

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3 hours ago, audiofeline said:

My understanding is that these medical cordsets only differ in the colours - orange cord and transparent connectors.  I recall seeing one that may have used thicker 15A or 20A cord for the 10A cordset.  But no additional shielding that audiophiles like.  I agree that they would be easy to differentiate from the mass of black cords in audio racks (I take an alternate approach and label the cords). 

011_180_4014.jpg

 

Correct. That is the only difference. But isn’t this thread about wall sockets not power cords 

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On 11/02/2020 at 6:50 PM, rmpfyf said:

Metal to metal bonds are molecular in nature as are any other - once the contact area is established and the bond is made (this can involve time) then pressure does not increase the bond in any meaningful way unless here's something to compress by way of irregular surface quality e.g. you're looking at the wrong thing if you're hoping to find something that 'squashes the blades more' or 'grips harder' - we're just looking for a set made to best tolerances.

Don't agree.

I heard WBT demos back in the 80's and the difference re pressure was there. Also, cheap interconnects for example can be severely pitted and oxidize over time. One of the main reasons expensive cables are expensive is because of the connectors.

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29 minutes ago, Wimbo said:

Don't agree.

I heard WBT demos back in the 80's and the difference re pressure was there. Also, cheap interconnects for example can be severely pitted and oxidize over time. One of the main reasons expensive cables are expensive is because of the connectors.

 

If you have contact area and relatively good surface quality then pressure doesn't matter. Go hug someone, you're not in greater contact with someone hugging you both unless you're averse or otherwise incorrectly engaged with the first person. 

 

If the cable remains in contact at the interface then there is nothing to oxidise at the interface. How would oxygen get in? I don't unplug my stuff that often.

 

You'll do far more for net conductivity with more conductive materials than you will with more pressure on the same material. A bass connector set will not conduct like pure copper over the same interfacing area if squeezed tighter together. 

 

Basic science here. Things get expensive because people believe otherwise.

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18 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

Basic science here. Things get expensive because people believe otherwise.

Thats where the problem is. Basic science. No experience.

But then again, you take the high road and I'll take the low road.

Edited by Wimbo
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As a Sparky that worked on most of the Melbourne Hospital and shopping centre builds in the 90's, the electrical systems were chalk and cheese, but the the GPOs in both were all just HPM or Clipsal, Clipsal more in the hospitals. 

 

A good company to maybe email is Esco 

https://www.escomedicon.com.au/ 

I am not sure about the last 20 years but in the 90's they supplied all the electrical and gas panels in all wards and theatres but all the electrical parts were clipsal. 

 

As you said, all Clipsal hospital branded stuff is just based on their 2000 range, been around 30years..

 

When I finally get around to wire in some dedicated circuits I plan to wire to some Neutrik sockets and then to a home made Neutrik power board. I haven't worked out the legalities of this yet but I believe they make a rather good connection 

 

https://www.neutrik.com/en/products/industrial/powercon

 

This is not DIY, it's definitely for the qualified 

 

Although the GPOs were the same in Hospitals and shopping centres, the earthing and backup power systems in hospitals were outstanding. 

Edited by Hytram
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26 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

If you have contact area and relatively good surface quality then pressure doesn't matter. Go hug someone, you're not in greater contact with someone hugging you both unless you're averse or otherwise incorrectly engaged with the first person.

This is nonsense. The contact force directly influences the size of the a-spot and therefore the contact resistance. Basic engineering.

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1 hour ago, Wimbo said:

Thats where the problem is. Basic science. No experience.

But then again, you take the high road and I'll take the low road.

 

Ha. Large assumption there, amusingly incorrect, unnecessarily made. Hopefully we reconcile that over a beer one day.

 

1 hour ago, Steffen said:

This is nonsense. The contact force directly influences the size of the a-spot and therefore the contact resistance. Basic engineering.

 

No sh*t. You're into contact mechanics. And you're welcome to find plug/socket assemblies that quote contact resistance - they do exist and are not quoted pressure variable.

 

Because (as per my first post in this thread) most (reputable) vendors engineer for removal requirements as a safety mechanism.  I could extend the hugging analogy quite amusingly here. You're welcome to call Schneider or whoever else and have that chat with them; the answer won't differ.

 

If you want to get properly electrochemical on things here a set with good mating tolerances and sufficient measures (stiffness, interlock etc) to minimise movement in the interface does a good bit. In English, get a mating Clipsal 56 series set, 20A, clean both sides free of impurities before mating, put it together then leave it alone. It'll improve over time. The additional area is likely to provide benefit beyond additional pressure. This advice/nonsense/whatever is not changed from my first post.

 

(If you want to up the contact strength significantly beyond this why bother with a disconnect at all.)

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And @audiofeline if your equipment allows you'll probably do more replacing the IEC with something better engineered. @Hytram mentioned Neutrik that does some excellent power transfer sets that smoke an IEC - @Zaphod Beeblebrox I believe has mentioned the parts in question (I could be wrong, it's many threads ago). 

 

(If your equipment allows!)

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10 hours ago, rmpfyf said:

Ha. Large assumption there, amusingly incorrect, unnecessarily made.

Pardon. No experience in listening tests. Stating basic science is leaving large parameters open. Yes, I love a good beer mate.

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1 hour ago, Wimbo said:

Pardon. No experience in listening tests. Stating basic science is leaving large parameters open. Yes, I love a good beer mate.

 

We have concluded we'll meet over a beer - this is a good outcome for a discussion involving listening tests :D 

 

I'll concede to having heard the difference between good plugs and crappy ones. Admittedly these were A/B tests on a fast plug/unplug as we were doing some electrical works and replacing things. 'Twas a little bit eye opening, though admittedly the stuff I was replacing wasn't just crap, it was vintage crap from the early 70's. 

 

The 'good clean mate and leave it there for a while' I can concede on my interconnects. Haven't had the chance to test with power outlets meaningfully. Next upgrade will run a better set for the listening room and give that a go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know what the situation is with Australian hospitals, but let me fill you in on US 'medical/hospital grade' outlets. In a hospital the main issue is cleaners splashing water on the walls when they clean the rooms constantly. So the outlet needs to be plated so it does not corrode, and also needs to last on many plugs/unplugs. Its got nothing to do with grip strength e.t.c

 

So what does't corrode when in contact with water? Gold plating, but it's expensive and will also wear faster, so instead the regulatory specification is for nickel plating.

That what 'hospital grade' means (in the US), its nothing to do with quality, it just means brass contacts that are nickel plated.

 

And if you think the use of metal makes a difference on power cables (ignore this sentence of you don't), well guess which is one of the worst sounding metal plating for power cables? Nickel plating.

Edited by agisthos
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