Circuit Breaker vs Fuses

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself, but I'm kind of excited for the next week. I am making a duel trip to the east coast. See family, and a visit to Fremer's place.

Michael sent me an email after Munich and had a Hifi Tuning Gold fuse and fuse block in hand. I have heard all sorts of people say a fuse sounds better than a CB. I have wondered myself.
I said to Michael, get 3 more. Have a total of 4 on hand. I will fly out, lay some dinrail in your panel and land the fuse blocks in such a way we can quickly move his 4 audio circuits from the CB to the fuse and vice versa.
My plan is to put a double lug on the input to the panel and peal a #4 jumper off that. The #4 will have 4 drops of #10 that are grain oriented just like his current wiring, that will go to the top of each fuse block.
I really feel we will have one of the best comparison of a fuse vs CB where the variables are very minimal. We are using an audio grade fuse that is affordable in price.

I had though of split bolting the incoming #4 to the new #4 jumper with #10 drops. I decided against that as it would give an advantage to the fuse by way of no aluminum in the path of the incoming power. The lug at the top of his panel is currently aluminum. That is going to change to copper in the future, but for now, lets just keep things as they are and how Michael is use to hearing it.

If anyone is wondering, can I get a fuse panel if fuses are all that better. Yes. It may take some work. Supply chain has limited what manufacturer are producing. I don't think I can get a SqD fused panelboard. I do believe I can get an Eaton Fused panelboard. Consider a fuse panel is going to cost around $9,000. But hey, how many people have a quarter to half million stereo system and feed it with an off the shelf loadcenter that is full of aluminum. I know 2 such people who are probably reading this whose infrastructure I still need to to evaluate. We need to set dates.

If you have a nice stereo, you should be using something better than a Siemens, Eaton, SqD loadcenter. You should be using something that is all copper. That is how I configure all my panels now. I use bare copper connections on the phase bus, neutral and ground. I don't like plating. I avoid plating wherever possible. I don't advise it in your panelboards and inwall wiring. If you want plating to influence the sound, do it with your power cord and receptacle. Devices that are easily changed out. Copper is king. It is a foundational element in electrical distribution and devices. It can oxidize over time. But it still has better electrical characteristics with minor oxidation than aluminum or tin. And I do treat all my bare copper with Caig Deoxit Gold. That is the only anti oxidation product I use at this time.

I did ask my custom manufacturer if he could make me a fuse panel. He said he did not have the UL certification as the demand is non existent. Not for 20A fuses. Fuses are popular on high ampacity distribution equipment. Especially when you get into 5000A switchboards. A bolted pressure switch with a 5000A fuse is much less expensive than an intelligent circuit breaker. Fuses also work well for Arc Fault Mitigation. Not the same arc fault as the annoying AFCI breakers used in your home loadcenter. This is Arc Fault for massive inrush current that will blow apart an industrial switch board and vaporize anything in the electrical vault. Fuses are cost effective and reliable.

Michael is going to do a video and make a write up for publication. I'm not fully sure where it will land. I don't know if he is either. He has a couple options. Keep your eyes open. I will let people know once we have completed the comparison and where and when he is planning on publishing. I won't be letting the cat out of the bag here. I will wait on Michael to make a formal release before I chime in with my opinions. But I will advise where and when you can see it.
Be well.
Rex
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
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Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself, but I'm kind of excited for the next week. I am making a duel trip to the east coast. See family, and a visit to Fremer's place.

Michael sent me an email after Munich and had a Hifi Tuning Gold fuse and fuse block in hand. I have heard all sorts of people say a fuse sounds better than a CB. I have wondered myself.
I said to Michael, get 3 more. Have a total of 4 on hand. I will fly out, lay some dinrail in your panel and land the fuse blocks in such a way we can quickly move his 4 audio circuits from the CB to the fuse and vice versa.
My plan is to put a double lug on the input to the panel and peal a #4 jumper off that. The #4 will have 4 drops of #10 that are grain oriented just like his current wiring, that will go to the top of each fuse block.
I really feel we will have one of the best comparison of a fuse vs CB where the variables are very minimal. We are using an audio grade fuse that is affordable in price.

I had though of split bolting the incoming #4 to the new #4 jumper with #10 drops. I decided against that as it would give an advantage to the fuse by way of no aluminum in the path of the incoming power. The lug at the top of his panel is currently aluminum. That is going to change to copper in the future, but for now, lets just keep things as they are and how Michael is use to hearing it.

If anyone is wondering, can I get a fuse panel if fuses are all that better. Yes. It may take some work. Supply chain has limited what manufacturer are producing. I don't think I can get a SqD fused panelboard. I do believe I can get an Eaton Fused panelboard. Consider a fuse panel is going to cost around $9,000. But hey, how many people have a quarter to half million stereo system and feed it with an off the shelf loadcenter that is full of aluminum. I know 2 such people who are probably reading this whose infrastructure I still need to to evaluate. We need to set dates.

If you have a nice stereo, you should be using something better than a Siemens, Eaton, SqD loadcenter. You should be using something that is all copper. That is how I configure all my panels now. I use bare copper connections on the phase bus, neutral and ground. I don't like plating. I avoid plating wherever possible. I don't advise it in your panelboards and inwall wiring. If you want plating to influence the sound, do it with your power cord and receptacle. Devices that are easily changed out. Copper is king. It is a foundational element in electrical distribution and devices. It can oxidize over time. But it still has better electrical characteristics with minor oxidation than aluminum or tin. And I do treat all my bare copper with Caig Deoxit Gold. That is the only anti oxidation product I use at this time.

I did ask my custom manufacturer if he could make me a fuse panel. He said he did not have the UL certification as the demand is non existent. Not for 20A fuses. Fuses are popular on high ampacity distribution equipment. Especially when you get into 5000A switchboards. A bolted pressure switch with a 5000A fuse is much less expensive than an intelligent circuit breaker. Fuses also work well for Arc Fault Mitigation. Not the same arc fault as the annoying AFCI breakers used in your home loadcenter. This is Arc Fault for massive inrush current that will blow apart an industrial switch board and vaporize anything in the electrical vault. Fuses are cost effective and reliable.

Michael is going to do a video and make a write up for publication. I'm not fully sure where it will land. I don't know if he is either. He has a couple options. Keep your eyes open. I will let people know once we have completed the comparison and where and when he is planning on publishing. I won't be letting the cat out of the bag here. I will wait on Michael to make a formal release before I chime in with my opinions. But I will advise where and when you can see it.
Be well.
Rex
About the plating, or not plating copper. Depending on your environment, it can be pretty annoying, e.g. at the seaside, where it's humid and salty. But cleaning and polishing your copper connectors once a year in a more temperate climate should do just fine. That might be my laziness, but I would go with plated...
I'm curious to hear what Mr Fremer thinks of the comparison, please leave a link when he posts :)
 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
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I look forward to the outcome of this test as I have been using a HFT mains fuse / holder for @15 years and have recently been pondering whether this can be improved upon.
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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About the plating, or not plating copper. Depending on your environment, it can be pretty annoying, e.g. at the seaside, where it's humid and salty. But cleaning and polishing your copper connectors once a year in a more temperate climate should do just fine. That might be my laziness, but I would go with plated...
I'm curious to hear what Mr Fremer thinks of the comparison, please leave a link when he posts :)
I have heard from a few people that the 100% solution does a very good job of retarding oxidation for many years. They also make a standard/original version that has a strong solvent to remove oxidation. I put some one 2 year old bars that were becoming black and was very happy with how quickly it turns back to shiny copper. I then wipe it off and apply a thin film of the 100% solution. I am now watching to see how it oxidizes over time to gauge a cleaning cycle.
 
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Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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I look forward to the outcome of this test as I have been using a HFT mains fuse / holder for @15 years and have recently been pondering whether this can be improved upon.
How are you using them. Are you in Europe where your mains panels/consumer unit is din rail mounted and can fit a fuse or circuitbreaker?
 

AMR / iFi audio

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I have heard from a few people that the 100% solution does a very good job of retarding oxidation for many years. They also make a standard/original version that has a strong solvent to remove oxidation. I put some one 2 year old bars that were becoming black and was very happy with how quickly it turns back to shiny copper. I then wipe it off and apply a thin film of the 100% solution. I am now watching to see how it oxidizes over time to gauge a cleaning cycle.
I see the Deoxit makes a protective film on the copper without the need for plating it. Very smart!
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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If you get the 100% solution in the Gold formulations, it will penetrate the metal and make a good barrier that has been tested in some very saline environments by ham radio guys on islands. They are using it on their antenna connections that are exposed to the environment. And I know some cable makers that also use it. Silver oxidizes just as fast as copper.

The original red solutions that are 5% have an agent in them that will vigorously break down existing oxidation and leave a clean surface. You then wipe the suface well and apply the 100% solution, rub it in and wipe it off. You don't want puddles of the stuff on your terminations.

If I'm really getting into a termination I want to last, I put liquid tape over the splice when I am done. Or I use plumbers teflon tape and wrap it down tight, then put electrical tape over the top. I have done this type of termination in my boat which is used in salt water exclusively. 4 years later my splices are clean and solid. No white powder or any sign of corrosion at all. Same for my battery terminals.
 

AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
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ifi-audio.com
If you get the 100% solution in the Gold formulations, it will penetrate the metal and make a good barrier that has been tested in some very saline environments by ham radio guys on islands. They are using it on their antenna connections that are exposed to the environment. And I know some cable makers that also use it. Silver oxidizes just as fast as copper.

The original red solutions that are 5% have an agent in them that will vigorously break down existing oxidation and leave a clean surface. You then wipe the suface well and apply the 100% solution, rub it in and wipe it off. You don't want puddles of the stuff on your terminations.

If I'm really getting into a termination I want to last, I put liquid tape over the splice when I am done. Or I use plumbers teflon tape and wrap it down tight, then put electrical tape over the top. I have done this type of termination in my boat which is used in salt water exclusively. 4 years later my splices are clean and solid. No white powder or any sign of corrosion at all. Same for my battery terminals.
Thanks for the tip! I use Teflon tape all the time, it's great for about anything.
 

Kingrex

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Our testing has been postponed. I feel pretty normal after 2 days a maaa. If I test clean on Monday, we should be able to proceed on Wedneaday.
 

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DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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I hope you're feeling better!

On fuses, some years ago I designed and built a lighting control system that used 20A fuses after 60A contactors, I can't remember exactly why I used fuses but if you use a UL enclosure along with UL fuse holders it should pass inspection as a subpanel. Not sure on the main panel/service entrance. At a certain point the inspectors consider it an assembly and require the entire contraption to pass UL, but they allowed my design, which was just contactors to fuses, with the contactors being controlled via a PLC control system which was programmed using a laptop. So there's a possibility of assembling a subpanel using fuses that can be to code if everything used is UL approved.

Anyways, I look forward to hearing your results! :)
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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Well, it looks like this is going to be delayed some amount of time. I have to get home. I have a very busy week with personal events and the PNWAS next week. I hope to see people at the show. I will have a table with some electrical panels and wire on it.
 
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Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself, but I'm kind of excited for the next week. I am making a duel trip to the east coast. See family, and a visit to Fremer's place.

Michael sent me an email after Munich and had a Hifi Tuning Gold fuse and fuse block in hand. I have heard all sorts of people say a fuse sounds better than a CB. I have wondered myself.
I said to Michael, get 3 more. Have a total of 4 on hand. I will fly out, lay some dinrail in your panel and land the fuse blocks in such a way we can quickly move his 4 audio circuits from the CB to the fuse and vice versa.
My plan is to put a double lug on the input to the panel and peal a #4 jumper off that. The #4 will have 4 drops of #10 that are grain oriented just like his current wiring, that will go to the top of each fuse block.
I really feel we will have one of the best comparison of a fuse vs CB where the variables are very minimal. We are using an audio grade fuse that is affordable in price.

I had though of split bolting the incoming #4 to the new #4 jumper with #10 drops. I decided against that as it would give an advantage to the fuse by way of no aluminum in the path of the incoming power. The lug at the top of his panel is currently aluminum. That is going to change to copper in the future, but for now, lets just keep things as they are and how Michael is use to hearing it.

If anyone is wondering, can I get a fuse panel if fuses are all that better. Yes. It may take some work. Supply chain has limited what manufacturer are producing. I don't think I can get a SqD fused panelboard. I do believe I can get an Eaton Fused panelboard. Consider a fuse panel is going to cost around $9,000. But hey, how many people have a quarter to half million stereo system and feed it with an off the shelf loadcenter that is full of aluminum. I know 2 such people who are probably reading this whose infrastructure I still need to to evaluate. We need to set dates.

If you have a nice stereo, you should be using something better than a Siemens, Eaton, SqD loadcenter. You should be using something that is all copper. That is how I configure all my panels now. I use bare copper connections on the phase bus, neutral and ground. I don't like plating. I avoid plating wherever possible. I don't advise it in your panelboards and inwall wiring. If you want plating to influence the sound, do it with your power cord and receptacle. Devices that are easily changed out. Copper is king. It is a foundational element in electrical distribution and devices. It can oxidize over time. But it still has better electrical characteristics with minor oxidation than aluminum or tin. And I do treat all my bare copper with Caig Deoxit Gold. That is the only anti oxidation product I use at this time.

I did ask my custom manufacturer if he could make me a fuse panel. He said he did not have the UL certification as the demand is non existent. Not for 20A fuses. Fuses are popular on high ampacity distribution equipment. Especially when you get into 5000A switchboards. A bolted pressure switch with a 5000A fuse is much less expensive than an intelligent circuit breaker. Fuses also work well for Arc Fault Mitigation. Not the same arc fault as the annoying AFCI breakers used in your home loadcenter. This is Arc Fault for massive inrush current that will blow apart an industrial switch board and vaporize anything in the electrical vault. Fuses are cost effective and reliable.

Michael is going to do a video and make a write up for publication. I'm not fully sure where it will land. I don't know if he is either. He has a couple options. Keep your eyes open. I will let people know once we have completed the comparison and where and when he is planning on publishing. I won't be letting the cat out of the bag here. I will wait on Michael to make a formal release before I chime in with my opinions. But I will advise where and when you can see it.
Be well.
Rex
Hi Kingrex,

Just a quick note to say that my 2 dedicated lines used to use AHP Klangmodule 3 with gold fuses and 4mm2 Acrolink P4030II 7N cable fed via a standard RCCB differential switch

I replaced the AHP Klangmodules with Gigawatt 16A MCBs along with Doepke RCCB in place of the standard differential switch. The upgrade provided a substantial benefit in terms of SQ.

 

Kingrex

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I have heard Gigawatt is nice but last I looked it was a thermal element only. It was not magnetic. Basically it did not have an instantaneous trip and is not legal in the US. Im not sure about Europe.

I have not looked into Doepke as a brand for Differential Switch. Is the differential switch suppose to be a GFCI? Did you stay with the code requires circuitry. Is the Doepke a GFCI, or just a switch?

I ask as I have listened to a standard thermal magnetic breaker vs an AFCI in the US. The thermal mag is better. The AFCI has a veil to it. Kind of like the sound of aluminum grounds and neutrals in your power supply.

I try to stay as code compliant as possible. I stretched it here and there. If I think its something that may get your insurance canceled, I won't do it. Replacing like in kind aluminum parts with copper, that are UL, but not necessarily so as an assembly, I will do. They are made by the manufacture, better quality, just designed for a higher end product. I am not removing a safety feature that stopes fires. When I damp a panel I don't coat the bus. I allow airflow to move inside to keep the temperature stable.

I love good cable behind a wall. I compared Oyaide to my grain oriented THHN and I don't think you can tell the difference in a positive or negative way.
 

Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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I have heard Gigawatt is nice but last I looked it was a thermal element only. It was not magnetic. Basically it did not have an instantaneous trip and is not legal in the US. Im not sure about Europe.

I have not looked into Doepke as a brand for Differential Switch. Is the differential switch suppose to be a GFCI? Did you stay with the code requires circuitry. Is the Doepke a GFCI, or just a switch?

I ask as I have listened to a standard thermal magnetic breaker vs an AFCI in the US. The thermal mag is better. The AFCI has a veil to it. Kind of like the sound of aluminum grounds and neutrals in your power supply.

I try to stay as code compliant as possible. I stretched it here and there. If I think its something that may get your insurance canceled, I won't do it. Replacing like in kind aluminum parts with copper, that are UL, but not necessarily so as an assembly, I will do. They are made by the manufacture, better quality, just designed for a higher end product. I am not removing a safety feature that stopes fires. When I damp a panel I don't coat the bus. I allow airflow to move inside to keep the temperature stable.

I love good cable behind a wall. I compared Oyaide to my grain oriented THHN and I don't think you can tell the difference in a positive or negative way.
Hi Kingrex,
The Gigawatt is made by Carling in the US and operates on an innovative hydraulic-magnetic principle. Contacts are over-dimensioned silver.
Here are the detailed specs


I don‘t believe that the Doepke is US certified. I mentioned it because it was included in my Gigawatt upgrade and certainly contributed to the overall SQ improvement I heard. The problem with a fuse is that its filament reaches its absolute thermal limit at the defined current and therefore tends to throttle current flow. The Gigawatt circuit includes only over-dimensioned contacts designed to carry many times the actual protection current, so there is no current limiting up to the triggering current value.
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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Gigawatt is UL Listed... However, a DIN mounted breaker is only going to work in a custom subpanel in the USA, which might work out well if the audio system is far away from the service entrance and you want a subpanel to power your system. However this panel will be fed from another breaker in the main panel anyways, there's no way around that. Also, if you go for a subpanel you can choose something like Torus which gives you isolation as well, and it's possible the breakers used in Torus could be switched out with GW, idk.

Unfortunately, in the US we'd need a breaker that fits std mains panels for most applications and these are all manufacturer-specific, not DIN-rail. In my system my audio receptacle is about 6ft from the service entrance... it would be nice to get a quality "audio grade" breaker but it needs to be compatible with the panel.
 

Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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Gigawatt is UL Listed... However, a DIN mounted breaker is only going to work in a custom subpanel in the USA, which might work out well if the audio system is far away from the service entrance and you want a subpanel to power your system. However this panel will be fed from another breaker in the main panel anyways, there's no way around that. Also, if you go for a subpanel you can choose something like Torus which gives you isolation as well, and it's possible the breakers used in Torus could be switched out with GW, idk.

Unfortunately, in the US we'd need a breaker that fits std mains panels for most applications and these are all manufacturer-specific, not DIN-rail. In my system my audio receptacle is about 6ft from the service entrance... it would be nice to get a quality "audio grade" breaker but it needs to be compatible with the panel.
Perhaps you could have a look at Carling’s offerings for the US market.

In the UK, we are able to split the incoming line into two tails, one going to the household consumer panel and the other to the hi-fi panel. Each panel has its own RCCB 0.03A differential switch, followed by MCBs, one per mains circuit. From what you are saying I guess US code is different.
 
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DaveC

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Perhaps you could have a look at Carling’s offerings for the US market.

In the UK, we are able to split the incoming line into two tails, one going to the household consumer panel and the other to the hi-fi panel. Each panel has its own RCCB 0.03A differential switch, followed by MCBs, one per mains circuit. From what you are saying I guess US code is different.

We have 240V split phase so we need both combined to get 240V for high draw appliances and 120V for lower draw items. The 2 phases come into one common panel, the service entrance, and into one main breaker which uses buss bars to supply the sub breakers and the bars alternate phase from breaker spot to spot so when you install a 240V breaker you always get two phases.

Every panel mfg'er seems to have their own standards and the interchangeability of breakers in different panels is common, but not assured, so you have to look up every application and see. I'd guess Carling may make breakers that fit in typical home panel brands but they aren't the same as the Megawatt, which are a custom run, I have no idea exactly how similar they are to off-the-shelf units. But I am pretty sure DIN-mount breakers won't fit any common home panels.
 

Kingrex

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Hydraulic magnetic breakers (Gigawatt) are used as parts of an assembly. Probably in a motor starting assembly.
They do not provide overcurrent protection so do not meet NEC to use as protection of branch circuits. The first paragraph and overview of the Gigawatt site notes it as an additional protection device. You can not replace at thermal magnetic breaker with a Gigawatt. It might be UL, but its not NEC.
 
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Kingrex

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The Gigawatt circuit includes only over-dimensioned contacts designed to carry many times the actual protection current, so there is no current limiting up to the triggering current value.
How does this differ from a thermal magnetic breaker that might pass 250% overcurrent for 5 to 10 seconds. 100% overcurrent for a minute or so. 50% overcurrent for maybe 15 minutes. Etc. I am spouting off the cuff numbers, but there is a chart for every breaker out there. They don't just trip at their rated setting. A bolted fault on a 12 awg wire is something around 540 amps. The breaker will open within a cycle. A motor starting may be seen as 50 amps on a 20 A circuit for a second or so. Most breakers will allow this to happen hundreds, if not a thousand cycles. Eventually it may start tripping on startup.


Gigawatt is only rated for 16 amps. Every CB I know is rated for 20A for protection of a 12 AWG wire. You would think Gigawatt is throating down perfor.ance. So why is it a gigawatt "sounds" superior. Who knows. They very well may sound better. But I can not go there as a consultant. I work as best I can within the scope of NEC compliant so your homeowners insurance is fully intact if a power cord gets crushed and a fire starts.
 

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