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Would it not be ok / safe to take a surge protector style power strip, cut the mains cable in the middle (or maybe slice it open and just fish out the load and neutral wires so that the ground wire is intact), splice in a 600 VA isolation transformer and then use that Iso Power Strip (tm) for up to 5 amps of audio gear like rack equipment, maybe small active speakers like studio monitors and the like?

Are there any failure modes to look out for?

Would it not provide superior protection from surges and the like?

Would it not reduce ground noise?

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That will, in principle, work fine.

The biggest thing to watch out for is physical connection, especially stress relief. You've got your isolation transformer hanging off the end of your mains connection, and it's very easy to overstress the connection. Also make sure that your electrical connections are properly insulated. Electrician's tape is NOT a long-term insulator. The connections themselves must be entirely free of mechanical stress.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points. The more I think about it, this is probably not a good idea. It needs to be in a proper enclosure. This is the sort of thing that should just be purchased as a completed unit with an enclosure, circuit breaker, all the proper contacts and wire. Unfortunately it seems manufacturers of things like pro-audio "power conditioners" overcharge for this sort of thing. A metal box with a 600VA toroid and some filtering circuitry should probably not cost $1000 USD. \$\endgroup\$ – squarewav Feb 6 '15 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ But I would still like to know if it would actually do anything good. If every piece of gear has either a transformer or modern switching supply then the grounds of each should be floating in which case I would like to know if isolation would do anything. Why are isolation transformers used in pro-audio "power conditioners"? \$\endgroup\$ – squarewav Feb 6 '15 at 4:31
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I assume that your isolation transformer doesn't already have an input line cord and outlet?

Yes - cutting the cord of an already existing corded power bar is perfectly fine. Be sure to connect the ground wire to the frame of the isolation transformer. It needs to be grounded as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ this should register in your inbox. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Feb 6 '15 at 14:18

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