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Old 02-22-2009, 08:21 AM   #1
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Surge protectors


Hi all, anyone with experience with surge protectors working or failing? Any details, especially concerning brands, and cause of surge (lightning, neutral lost, etc) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Gene

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Old 02-22-2009, 08:40 AM   #2
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Surge protectors are available at all levels and costs. I like to use a good whole house protector by Panasonic. It protects spikes, surges and low current. Lightning I handle with a grid protection at the high points at the roof tied to a ground loop. Expensive equipment (media center) is protector by a power unit for this equipment ($200) Computer are protected by APS battery powered backup units. Cheap power surge protectors are useless and I do not use them at all.

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Old 02-22-2009, 08:43 AM   #3
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Surge protectors


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Hi all, anyone with experience with surge protectors working or failing? Any details, especially concerning brands, and cause of surge (lightning, neutral lost, etc) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Gene
I use power bars with surge protectors on most of the senstive electronics in the home, e.g. home entertainment center.

Each computer (4 total) has it's own UPS (uninterruptable power supply with surge protection and battery backup) manufactured by APC or Belkin with auto shutdown software installed.

About 4 years ago this summer, I think our home was struck by lightning.
I lost a couple of motherboards and network cards on two computers, besides other components such as video cards that died soon afterward.
One ethernet cable actually got fried as well.

That leads me to believe the surge came in through the Internet/TV cable line, which was not on any surge protection (my bad...LOL, now taken care of).

Although the loss was minimal, relatively speaking, I'm guessing it would have been much worse without any protection at all.

Most protectors are rated in joules and many come with lifetime coverage of "X" amount of dollars should your equipment get taken out by a surge.
Read the fine print, and keep the receipt in a safe place where it won't fade...
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Old 02-22-2009, 08:44 AM   #4
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To be honest with you I haven't had one that worked yet. I have a breaker type installed in my panel which the supply house stated would protect the entire panel plus had those surge strips installed on my computers. one time they were doing work up the block on the utility lines when the neutral became energized. burnt up the surge strips plus my sons X-Box power supply and all the power packs on the computers. and one mother board. all the gfi's where tripped in the house.and half the breakers in the panel where tripped.
another time a truck hit the pole tripped the breakers again and blew two light bulbs right out of there Mogul base and broke the glass globe that it was inside. So an answer to your question is I don't have any faith in them. unless there is something That I'm not up on!.
I'll have to read some replies to find out. BOB
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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I lost equipment three times but after installing the various units I posted above all has been safe. Only needed to turn on the power trip switches to restore power to effected systems.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:01 AM   #6
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To be honest with you I haven't had one that worked yet. I have a breaker type installed in my panel which the supply house stated would protect the entire panel plus had those surge strips installed on my computers. one time they were doing work up the block on the utility lines when the neutral became energized. burnt up the surge strips plus my sons X-Box power supply and all the power packs on the computers. and one mother board. all the gfi's where tripped in the house.and half the breakers in the panel where tripped.
another time a truck hit the pole tripped the breakers again and blew two light bulbs right out of there Mogul base and broke the glass globe that it was inside. So an answer to your question is I don't have any faith in them. unless there is something That I'm not up on!.
I'll have to read some replies to find out. BOB
Remember that they are generally rated for spikes/surges that last milliseconds or longer.
Any spikes in the nanosecond duration range will probably not be shunted to ground by the varactors, varistors, inductors or whatever it is components that are installed.
An X-Box is a prime candidate for a UPS, in my opinion, since it kind of falls into the "Computer" family of components.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:52 AM   #7
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Most protectors are rated in joules and many come with lifetime coverage of "X" amount of dollars should your equipment get taken out by a surge.
This is the closest I've seen to a manuf. saying "this protector will work for 50% (or 75% or 95%) of the surges that are likely to come your way."

You have a link to one of these guaranteed units?

X came to what percent of the value of the protected equipment?
I guess the value of protected equipment could go from one kilobuck to five or so.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:03 PM   #8
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This is the closest I've seen to a manuf. saying "this protector will work for 50% (or 75% or 95%) of the surges that are likely to come your way."

You have a link to one of these guaranteed units?

X came to what percent of the value of the protected equipment?
I guess the value of protected equipment could go from one kilobuck to five or so.
I dont have any links, but perhaps if you visited Belkin or APC home pages, they might have some warranty info there.
The warranty is usually printed on the product packaging, so it may be advisable, albeit inconvenient, to save the package as well.
I'm talking $50 and up power bars, not the $10 ones you get at the Discount Stores.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:10 PM   #9
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The warranty is usually printed on the product packaging, so it may be advisable, albeit inconvenient, to save the package as well.
For sure; they are counting on you to throw out the box. I've seen that too.

I e-mailed Belkin; we'll see what they say.

Huge surges would require costly protectors, but huge surges are unlikely unless you live in Florida, which has a lot of lightning strikes.

If someone publishes data on power quality for each state then the protection could be tailored to the risk. Maybe surge protectors sold in FL are heftier than for the rest of the US.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 02-22-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:37 PM   #10
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Remember that they are generally rated for spikes/surges that last milliseconds or longer.
Any spikes in the nanosecond duration range will probably not be shunted to ground by the varactors, varistors, inductors or whatever it is components that are installed.
An X-Box is a prime candidate for a UPS, in my opinion, since it kind of falls into the "Computer" family of components.
Thanks for the info. I guess we were all typing at the same time to this poster judging by the time posted. Thanks again. BOB.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:51 PM   #11
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Remember that they are generally rated for spikes/surges that last milliseconds or longer.
This is for the energy absorption spec.
The response time of these shunt devices seems to be available at deeper levels of the Internet. If you have a part number you can pull up a datasheet.
I know a spark gap responds in nS and semiconductor junction devices are probably in the same range. Bulk effect semiconductors are probably slower.
If the incoming transient has a slow risetime you don't need much speed. If it lasts long at high voltage you need to absorb or deflect a lot of energy.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:35 PM   #12
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Surge protectors


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
This is for the energy absorption spec.
The response time of these shunt devices seems to be available at deeper levels of the Internet. If you have a part number you can pull up a datasheet.
I know a spark gap responds in nS and semiconductor junction devices are probably in the same range. Bulk effect semiconductors are probably slower.
If the incoming transient has a slow risetime you don't need much speed. If it lasts long at high voltage you need to absorb or deflect a lot of energy.
Indeed, excellent information.
Thanks Yoyizit.
I was referring in general to the $50-$100 power bars geared to home entertainment and such devices.
When a lightning strike occurs, one typically cannot anticipate the impulse peak or duration of the strike, well at least I can't...LOL.
The old adage still applies: "you get what you pay for".
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:36 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info. I guess we were all typing at the same time to this poster judging by the time posted. Thanks again. BOB.
Right back at you all!
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #14
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I had a severe lightning strike this last summer. I had a Belkin surge protector. They covered the cost of what was damaged because there are usually warranties involved. They even sent a new surge protector. I talked with the rep and he said that surge protectors are never 100%. They work often but are not guaranteed, even if you get one for tons of joules because the lightning is so powerful. I had a 60" tv and surround sound. The tv survived, possibly due to the surge protector, but the surround sound was fried. I could smell burning insulation throughout the house. It was scary.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:33 AM   #15
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Hi all, thanks for the quick replies. Some specific questions:

BobM- What specific brands/units do you have now? Any idea how seriously they have been challenged?

dynamo- Any idea which (APC or Belkin) units did better?

Buletbob- do you recall which brands failed?

jaros- what was invloved with warranty claim? Had you registered the unit? Did they need receipt/old unit/etc?

Thanks again to all! God bless. Gene

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