Brick Wall

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January sale for both Falcon Electric products and Brick Wall surge protectors for home theater!

For the month of January, we are pleased to offer two outstanding discounts to ring in the new year. 

First we are offering $50 off when buying any Falcon Electric product. Falcon Electric manufactures some of the best OnLine UPS's and voltage regulators on the market. The discount is good on both Tower & Rackmount style UPS's as well as the SVR line of voltage regulators. Just use promo code "HAPPYNEWYEAR" during checkout

For home theater buffs who may have added some new equipment during the recent holiday. we are offering 5% off our home theater collection. The PW8R15AUD is quite a popular model for the home theater set and covers most complete systems. Just use promo code "HOMETHEATER" during checkout

Being prepared for blackouts....

Because of our line of work in power quality, we confront the problems associated with blackouts often. And while we offer some equipment to alleviate certain problems associated with blackouts, I thought I would share few tips and advice culled from our own experiences as well as those with customers. 

1) Always have half a tank of gas in the car. 

This would odd thing to led off the list but it leads precisely because it is often overlooked. In the event of a blackout, your car may prove to be a quite valuable resource. A brief anecdote to illustrate this. 

In 2010, the entire county of San Diego went dark from a massive equipment failure. As more and more businesses & offices closed for the rest of the day, many commuters were faced with traffic jams because traffic lights were not functioning normally if they were functioning at all. Some ran out of gas on the way home, others futilely pulled into gas stations with non functioning pumps becoming stranded till power was restored. 

Within a couple of hours, the cell phone networks for most of the carriers went down so information suddenly was reduced to radio announcements. Some were lucky enough to have battery powered radios but the majority of us relied upon our car radios. 

All that said, once you are home you should remain so unless told to evacuate. The roads should be left open for emergency personnel. 

2) Make a blackout kit

Put aside the following items in a place that can easily be found and accessed (even in the dark) with the following items; batteries, candles, matches/lighter, flashlight and/or battery powered lamp. While FEMA has a list of items for an emergency or disaster, this kit is scaled down to simply finding your way around. 

3) Do not open the refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary. 

Food in the fridge will stay cool for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A half full freezer will keep food cold for 24 hours if it is unopened. The USDA has a quick fact sheet dealing with keeping food safe in a blackout

4) Turn the power off on everything you can especially your air conditioner

When the power comes back on some devices have such an high start up current, they may stress the system and cause another failure. This happens more in areas where air conditioning is a must. The start up current for an air conditioner is much higher than when it is up and running. Given its normal power draw, that is quite a bit of juice the A/C is consuming when started up. Now multiply that as everyone's A/C unit goes on at the same time and you can envision the problem. 

5) Keep Calm & Make the Best of Your Time

Remaining calm in a stressful situation benefits yourself as well as the people enduring the situation with you. You also may find this time strangely liberating. Without the tethers of our technological society, you may find yourself seeking out your neighbors for entertainment. You may have actual conversations with your family. Stranger things have happened! 


Promotional Discount for Falcon Electric UPS's!

We are proud to represent Falcon Electric's OnLIne UPS products and are happy to offer a special promotion on them. Until October 31st, you can receive a $50 discount by entering the promo code "FALCON". Make sure you get in on this great discount! 

We are proud to represent Falcon Electric's State of the Art OnLine UPS's & Voltage Regulators

Starting earlier this year and heating up during the summer, Price Wheeler began looking for new power quality products to offer alongside our top notch surge protectors. The UPS (or uninterruptible power supply) seemed like a logical choice early on but what kind best fit into our plans? And we're not just speaking about manufacturer in that question. 

That is because UPS's breakdown into 3 basic types; Offline, Line Interactive & Online

And OffLine UPS provides some basic surge protection and line filtering (usually similar to those found in power strips) as well as a simple battery backup for power outages (some for brownout conditions). While offline UPS's have the advantage of being less expensive, most also do not produce a pure sinewave for the output. While many electronic will run normally square waves and quasi-sinewaves, they can be damaging over time. 

A Line Interactive UPS is the next step up as a power quality solution. While they offer the same surge protection and battery backup as an offline UPS, in addition they provide rudimentary voltage regulation through use of a transformer. 

The top grade of UPS is known as an Online UPS. And Online UPS is sometimes referred to as a double conversion UPS. That is because they make use of a converter that turns AC power into DC and then back again. During this process in conjunction with capacitors surges, powerline noise & harmonic distortion are eliminated. This creates a clean, stable output power with a pure sine wave. 

So after speaking to quite a few manufacturers and some of our larger customers, we decided that the OnLine UPS was the best fit for us. While it would have been nice from a marketing standpoint (and potentially more profitable) to pair our top of the line surge protection with an offline or interactive UPS, we ultimately decided that a single solution was preferable. 

Next was finding a manufacturer to work with. We had some excellent conversations with some of the largest manufacturers of UPS's. The staff proved knowledgeable and helpful but we had the nagging feeling that we were one of a thousand suitors. So we decided to look for a smaller manufacturer that enjoyed a stellar reputation. And that is when we found the good people at Falcon Electric. 

Falcon Electric has built its rep as one of the best makers of mission critical UPS's for some of harshest environments. They have done quite well with defense applications and industrial applications for petroleum & natural gas. They were kind enough to take the time to educate us further about UPS's, their myriad of applications and the potential relationship between our two companies. 

We were sold and we are proud to announce that we will be selling several of Falcon's most popular units. Check them out here

Oh and as a bonus Falcon is allowing us to sell their excellent voltage regulators as well. See them here

Promotional Discount on Home Theater Products

We are happy to offer a special promotion on our Home Theater products. Until October 31st, you can receive a 5% discount by entering the promo code "HDTV". So take advantage while the savings last! 

Birth of a surge protector for the audio/video customer

Price Wheeler first began to see calls and emails from audiophiles in the late 90's. These hardcore hobbyists had picked up bits and pieces of our existence from friends and message boards. They had questions regarding our line of surge protectors and how BrickWalls could help with their audio/video equipment. Our personal experience with home recording studios and box store audio/video products helped....a little. Feeling very much like foreigners in a strange land, we answered questions to the best of our ability. 

But we were unprepared for the deluge of information headed our way and requested of us. So we began to educate ourselves on competing theories for cleaning powerline noise, competitor claims and what customers were looking for when considering a surge protector/line filter. Some of us logged hours and hours on various audio message boards trying to get a sense of who these customers were and what they wanted. We would read the various industry magazines cover to cover. But personally, I found my most useful audio education came from our customers themselves. This was a key to understanding our new customer base. While some sought us out in a utilitarian fashion seeking to just protect their equipment, others wanted the best product on the market and found that we were it. That was actually an interesting facet of the audio industry where expense was correlated with quality far more than any other industry we had experienced. People wanted to know why Brick Walls were so cheap which was musing to us coming from an industry where Brick Wall were among the most expensive products. 

Through these conversations that I also learned about the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors based on firsthand customer experience. It would soon become apparent that our niche in the audio industry was a mix of cutting edge technology, mysticism and some plain old snake oil. The time we entered the power quality market for audio/video equipment was the beginning of a transition from bizarre tweaks that were dubious in their effectiveness to state of the art technology and top of the line components. That our product was a no nonsense solution to a widely shared problem was appealing to an educated consumer who had grown weary of grandiose claims and suspicious promises. Even the Brick Wall's utilitarian look had some cache. 

But these customers also wanted some features and changes made. So during a redesign, one major change was adopted and the most requested feature was included.  

The major change came about because the original older design of series mode technology relied upon an inductor coil filled with pre-rusted iron nails. This design could produce a slight operational noise especially when under full load. Now in our previous markets selling to industrial markets and to IT departments for their servers, this was a non-issue since you could barely hear the Brick Wall over a computer fan. But in the audio world, silence is golden. So the design was reconfigured to an air core inductor which has since transitioned to an epoxy core inductor to eliminate vibration (the source of the operational noise). This design proved so effective that it became the standard for all of our product lines, not just those for audio. 

The most requested feature was outlets for digital components that isolated them from analog components. This was to prevent the crosstalk produced by digital components from being spread around what is basically a power distribution unit. Analog components would pick up this noise though most of the media involved (VHS, cassettes) were so poor to begin with it would be hard to notice. This was unfortunately not the case for those audiophiles who still enjoyed or had recently gotten into vinyl. 

While records were certainly not new, the technology involved in turntables was advancing rapidly. As electronic equipment gets more sophisticated, it also becomes more susceptible to power anomalies such as surges & noise. In the case of the turntable, the digital crosstalk would become white noise in the background of the record being played. This was a highly undesired effect of having digital components in a system that included a turntable. And having such digital components was becoming the norm in the late 90's.  So we needed to provide isolation as some of our competitors did. But instead of offering 2 or 4 outlets that were isolated, the newer design isolated each duplex providing 4 isolated banks of outlets. The isolation was performed by ferrite beads. 

And with that the PW8R15AUD came into being. This Brick Wall would be an 8 outlet unit in which those outlets were isolated from one another. It would be able to handle up to a 15 amp load (1800 watts). While it would keep a utilitarian feel, its brick shape would be sleeker and dare I say sexier than the previous square design. It quickly became one of our biggest sellers and remains one of our most popular units to this day.  

A quick recap of our company's history....

Welcome everyone to the launch of our new company blog. We’re going to use this space to share tips and stories related to power quality issues & solutions. First let's share a little background on the company.

It was formed in 1994 specifically to represent and sell a series mode surge suppressor that had been developed for mission critical applications. This product line was christened with the name Brick Wall, because nothing gets through a brick wall.

These products were a leap ahead in technology when it came to taking care of transient voltage surges. Instead of burning up after 3 or 4 big surges like many MOV based surge protectors, the Brick Walls took a pounding in some of the worst surge environments in the country. 

For the first few years the demo target was the industrial market looking to utilize these surge protector/line filters in manufacturing environments to protect sensitive electronics. This market pursuit led to the Brick Wall being used in unbelievably harsh conditions such as protecting data acquisition systems on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, being used electronic signs for highways or being used on data centers for banks in the lightning belt of Florida. Brick Walls sold fairly well in this market aiding in productivity of our clients by reducing their down time.

And then in the last 90’s, as a push was made to connect with the IT/Server market, Brick Wall products were discovered by audiophiles. This happened just as the home theater market was about to explode. Quite rapidly, these audio & home theater customers came to dominate our customer demographics though mission critical applications are becoming more and more common. 

Today you can find Brick Walls protecting just about anything and everything electronic in the home, office & factory floor. While the basic technological premise has remained constant, we have worked on little things to improve the Brick Wall over the years. It continues to be the finest surge protector in the world. 

Call us toll-free at (800) 528-0313

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