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Surge Protectors: What do I actually need?

Last response: in Components
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September 29, 2009 12:59:53 AM

I think that I may need a new surge protector - discovered today that the one I'd been using (which is relatively new) has a burned-out socket, which is a really bad sign. I've got a brand new computer, and I don't want to risk it on a PoS power strip. So, somewhat against my better judgment, I decided that a quick trip to the Best Buy down the street would be a reasonable and expedient way to get what I need.

Now, Best Buy has a reputation for trying to sell you up, which may have just saved me. I was looking for the surge protectors, and the oh-so-helpful employee asked me what I needed to do with it. When I told him, he said that I should be checking the home entertainment surge protectors, as I would clearly need one of those $80 monstrosities to handle my system. I decided that I didn't know what to look for, and would come ask people who might.

So, what do I really need in a surge protector? My new rig is pretty sexy, but I'm hardly Nicola Tesla. I'm running a 750W power supply, I'm going to be getting a shiny new monitor soon, and I've got some decent 7.1 speakers. This power strip will also have the wireless router, a cell phone charger, and a couple other minor things on it, but I don't really see things like that as having a huge power draw. What should I be looking for? If you have specific recommendations, that'd be great, but all I really need is some idea of what my system will actually require.

More about : surge protectors

September 29, 2009 1:02:24 AM

I'd recommend a UPS, it protects against brownouts, blackouts, and sags also.. not just surges and spikes.

I live in an older house and everytime the washing machine kicks on (totally different circuit) my power to my computer drops to about 95 volts for 3-4 seconds.. etc.

something like

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or the apc or tripp-lite brand equivalent
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September 29, 2009 2:11:35 AM

Get something by APC or Tripplite, companies that make the bulk of their money from industrial surge protection, not Monster or Belkin. The main reason for buying protectors is the insurance coverage, which sometimes includes data recovery. If you're interested only in protection, have an electrician install a whole house protector, the type sold by Home Depot and electrical supply houses, not by the computer industry.
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a b ) Power supply
September 29, 2009 3:09:48 PM

bryanl said:
Get something by APC or Tripplite, companies that make the bulk of their money from industrial surge protection, not Monster or Belkin. The main reason for buying protectors is the insurance coverage, which sometimes includes data recovery.
Circuit in an APC or Tripplite is the same protector circuit in Belkin or Monster Cable. Same protector circuit also in a $7 grocery store protector. Take a $3 power strip. Add some ten cent parts. Sell it for $25 or $150 as a surge protector. Why? That post recommended something despite (by ignoring) manufacturer spec numbers.

What protection is provided by that UPS? View its spec numbers. Same ineffective protection - but even smaller.

No industrial facility that needs protection wastes money on that plug-in protector. 1) It does not even claim to provide protection. 2) It has no dedicated wire always provided on every effective protector.

Your telco's computer is connected to overhead wires all over town. Will suffer maybe 100 surges with each storm. And can never have damage. What do they use? None of those ineffective Belkin, APC, Tripplite or Monster Cable protectors. Instead, your telco spends tens or 100 times less money for the only protector that actually provides protection - a properly earthed 'whole house' protector. One protector does what 100 daisy chained APCs could never accomplish.

How often has your town been without phone service for four days to replace that computer? Reliability means no plug-in protectors - spending less money for a protector that actually is effective - a 'whole house' protector.

Where is that UPS manufacture's spec number for protection? If it exists, it would be posted here. Manufacturer does not claim that protection. A UPS contains near zero protection. The naive will recommend it because the naive ignore numbers.

Warranty is mythical - chock full of fine print exemption. Then the naive will hype that warranty - because the manufacturer makes no protection claims in numeric specs. The naive need something. A big buck warranty with fine print exemptions proves protection? General Motors is hyping a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty. GM products are more reliable than Hondas and Toyotas? The warranty proves it.
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October 4, 2009 11:09:41 PM

HMM lightning rods anyone??
Meanwhile ,,,go back to your Best Buy and look over their stock and, you will find that there are multi plugs that offer up to $50,000.00 insurance should they ever fail to protect your stuff ,most houses [with 3 wire] have an earth ground as part of their electrical wiring it's SOP...:) 
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a b ) Power supply
October 5, 2009 1:28:05 AM

dokk2 said:
HMM lightning rods anyone??
Meanwhile ,,,go back to your Best Buy and look over their stock and, you will find that there are multi plugs that offer up to $50,000.00 insurance

Amazing how some just beg to be taken. Since General Motors has a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty, then GM cars are clearly superior to Honda and Toyota. Dokk2 - that your claim.

How to sell inferior protectors to the naive at even higher prices? Hype a big buck warranty that is chock full of exemptions - that will not be honored. The most naive will even spend $150 for what is also sold at $7 in a grocery store.

Why may a retail salesman spend more time selling a Monster Cable protector than selling the TV? He knows where profits margins are highest. When it claims near zero protection and a big buck warranty, then profits are highest.

Dokk2 is invited to read the code before posting. That wall receptacle is a safety (equipment) ground - not earth ground.

Dokk2 is invited to read those warranties. Even warranties says receptacle ground is safety ground - not earth ground:
> Coverage is excluded where a suitable environment ... is not provided,
> including ... lack of a proper safety ground.

If Dokk2 cannot even get simple grounding correct, how can he recommend a protector? He does not even understand simple house wiring.

If the house earth ground is disconnected, a three light wall receptacle tester will report ground OK. Why? It is testing safety ground - not earth ground. Then the more technically knowledgeable add numbers. An earth ground connection must be even shorter - 'less than 10 feet'. Those only educated in Best Buy would not know any of this. Would confuses safety ground with earth ground. Believe a big buck warranty scam rather than read manufacturer specs.

Dokk2 - which Best Buy protector actually claims protection from each type of surge in its numeric specs? You are expected to reply even though the answer will be obvious - none.

A larger hyped warranty typically means a crappier product. But that gets the least informed to buy it. Welcome to how free markets work.

Why do informed homeowners only install one 'whole house' protector? A superior solution that costs tens or 100 times less money per appliance also does not have a big buck warranty.
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