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How important is a surge protector?

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March 24, 2010 4:21:42 PM

What is the consensus (if any) on the need for a surge protector? Is it legit or is it just something manufacturers use to get us to buy more stuff?

If it is a good idea, what brands and models do you guys recommend? Is it possible to get one that will work for 20-30 bucks?

Thanks...BTW I'm not sure if this is the right forum but I'm close to ordering my system and wanted to know if I should include this in the order.

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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 4:36:31 PM

Legit. If you don't want to lose your PC to lightening or a power outage/surge, you should definitely get one. I've had a least two PCs saved because of a $30 protector (not to mention a couple of TVs, routers, phones, a Xbox and some other stuff). As far as what to get, get anything that's cheap. You can easily find ones for under $30 at Best Buy, Walmart, or really anywhere...
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March 24, 2010 4:48:12 PM

Thanks I think I'll add one to my order. They all say something about joules and volts, does that matter? Is higher better or what? Thanks again.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 4:54:09 PM

Higher would be better, but I don't think it makes too much difference.
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March 24, 2010 4:59:56 PM

Awesome! Thanks man. You all are so helpful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:39:56 PM

Mad is the Man :) 

I would go for the highest you could afford, but they're all pretty solid.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 24, 2010 5:49:37 PM

Agreed, Mad is the man. From personal experience though, I can vouch for the APC brand. I paid about $60 for mine. I can't recall the actual model number, but I got on that doubles as a UPS (uninteruptible power supply). I got this model so that I could safely shut down my computer in the event of a power outage.
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March 24, 2010 11:26:45 PM

Hunter_ said:
What is the consensus (if any) on the need for a surge protector? Is it legit or is it just something manufacturers use to get us to buy more stuff?

If surges exist as popular myths claim, then you are replacing daily GFCI, dimmer switches, and clock radios. Things that are less robust. Typically destructive surges occur maybe once every seven years. That noise that others hype as a surge is made completely irrelevant by protection already inside every appliance including GFCIs, dimmer switches, and clock radios.

Your concern is the surge that overwhelms that protection. No plug-in protector will discuss it. No plug-in protector even claims protection in its numeric specs. But most that make recommendations routinely ignore numbers. Only recommend what urban myths promotes.

$30 per appliance for protection is grossly overpriced. For over 100 years, protection where damage must never happen costs about $1 per protected appliance. And it mostly unknown to the majority who do not even know how electricity works. View spec sheets from APC, Belkin, Tripplite, or Monster Cable. Where is the numeric spec that claims protection? Does not exist. Take a $3 power strip. Add some ten cent protector parts. Sell l it to the naive for $30 or $150. Why make protection claims? Sell a magic box for obscene profits and majority will recommend it.

Now, no protector is protection. Nada. The only effective protector connects to protection. Protection is always about where energy dissipated. Always. Either the effective protector connects short (ie 'less that 10 feet') to protection. Or it somehow must make energy magically disappear. That is what others have recommended. A magic box that makes energy disappear.

Again, view its spec numbers. How many joules will it absorb? Hundreds? The typically destructive surge - the one that can overwhelm protection inside appliances (computer) is hundred of thousands of joules. How does that ineffective protector absorb that energy? It does not.

What it does do is fail. A surge too tiny to harm the computer, GFCI, dimmer switch or clock radio easily destroys the grossly undersized protection. That gets the naive to recommend that protector. The term 'junk science' is appropriate. They observed damage. Assumed without any electrical knowledge. Then said, "My protector sacrificed itself to save my computer." And so the myth lives on.

Reality - protection inside the computer, TV, GFCI, dimmer switch, etc protected each appliance. If the protector did anything, they you have a long list of appliances all damaged - including dishwasher, furnace, stove, or air conditioner.

This post is about the popular myth. A $3 power strip with some ten cent protector parts that sells in the grocery store for $7. Or same protector circuit sells with hyped brand names (and no specs that even claim protection) for $25 or $120. Your choice. Buy the scam. Or read the next post to learn what is routinely done even 100 years ago to have no damage. Forget to read manufacturer specs that do not even claim surge protection. A majority only learn from advertising - fail to learn how protection is really done.
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March 24, 2010 11:36:58 PM

Hunter_ said:
If it is a good idea, what brands and models do you guys recommend? Is it possible to get one that will work for 20-30 bucks?

Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Always. Either a surge harmlessly dissipates outside the building. Or it hunts for earth ground destructive via appliances. Plug-in protectors can even give that surge more destructive paths through nearby appliances. Devices destroyed by even less transient include the a grossly undersized plug-in protector. That promotes myths and more APC sales.

Surges that can overwhelm protection inside appliances are hundreds of thousands of joules. For example, a lightning strike down the street is a direct strike into household appliances; if that energy is not diverted harmlessly into earth. And that is what one 'whole house' protector does. Divert and remain completely functions. Effective surge protection means nobody even knew the surge existed. But that does not get the naive to promote it.

The numbers. A typical lightning strike is 20,000 amps. One minimally sized 'whole house' protector is 50,000 amps. Why? Because the effective protector must also remain functional after every surge. A typical 'whole house' protector costs about $1 per protected appliance. Is how protection was done 100 years ago. And is completely unknown to a majority only trained by retail advertising.

Your telco, connected to overhead wires all over town, provides no phone service for four days after a major thunderstorm while they replace their computer? Of course not. Well proven protection from direct lightning strikes has been that routine for longer than any here existed. The typical CO suffers about 100 surges with each thunderstorm and no damage. Every wire in every cable connects to a 'whole house' protector before it enter the building. Effective protection because the protector is at earth ground AND up to 50 meters distant from electronics. See that separation? Also contributes to protection.

You do same. First, confirm or upgrade a single point earth ground - earthing that both meets and exceeds post 1990 National Electrical code. Then every incoming AC hot wire connects directly to that earth ground. Not by wire. Otherwise electric power would fail. Connected to earth via a 'whole house' protector.

Only more responsible companies sell these well proven devices. General Electric, Square D, Intermatic, Keison, Siemens, and Leviton are but a few. The Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot for less than $50. How much were you going to waste on a plug-n protector that does not even claim protection? That does not make the always required short connection to earth? That will not even discuss earthing? That claims to make energy just magically disappear at $30 per appliance?

An effective 'whole house' protector is protection for everything for less than $1 per appliance. What appliance most requires protection during a surge? Smoke detectors or fire alarm system. Only a 'whole house' protector also protects them.

This is knowledge routine even 100 years ago. Only the few who actually know electricity would know about the well proven and superior solution that also costs tens or 100 times less money.

As stated in the very beginning - protection is always about where energy dissipates. Always. No protector is protection. The 'whole house' protector is so effective because it is distant from appliances AND makes that always required short connection to earth. How do you make that protector better? Upgrade earthing. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. A damning requirement that all scam plug-in protectors must not discuss to protect those massive profit margins.

Where does energy harmlessly dissipate? Provided are sources, from responsible companies, that are selling effective solutions - well proven even 100 years ago - for tens or 100 times less money. What do munitions dumps use to have direct lightning strikes and no explosion? Better earthing and 'whole house' protectors.

Go down to the store and touch it. For most, nothing here will make any sense until you touch it. Ignore those plug-in myths - a $3 power strip with some ten cent protector parts selling for how much? Effective protection means the rare surge does not overwhelm protection already inside every appliance. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 12:14:19 AM

Surge protectors are not designed to counter lightning strikes.

Look how much resistance it went through to get here :) 

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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 12:24:50 AM

Of course they would not stop lightning. They may not even stop lesser surges.


For me, it's UPS'es (sp.) for the conditioning of electricity to sensitive parts like the computer. (even though quality power supplies do much the same thing, but still)
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 2:42:09 AM

UPS's also condition power, the same as a surge protector. They just go a step further by giving you some time to turn the machine off, as well as undervolts.
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March 25, 2010 10:45:27 PM

jack_attack said:
UPS's also condition power, the same as a surge protector.

Good. Then list each component inside a UPS that conditions power. You don't. Then list any component also inside a surge protector that conditions power. You don't. Then list UPS spec numbers that defined conditioned power because responsible posters also post numbers to demonstrate how everyone can learn. No numbers is only hearsay. You don’t and you don't.

A majority were told Saddam had WMDs and that a UPS conditions power. Neither was true. Same logic. A majority routinely believe what they were told to believe. If that UPS conditions power, then the manufacturer’s spec numbers – digit by digit – are posted. Because responsible claims also come with supporting facts and numbers - the always requried reasons why.

Facts: a typical UPS connects an appliance directly to AC mains when not in battery backup mode. Where is the conditioner? Does that relay magically conditioner power? Of course not. Cleanest power output by a UPS is when the appliance connects directly to AC mains.

What is a typical 120 volt UPS output when in battery backup mode? Two 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts between those square waves. Ideal power to electronics because electronics are so robust. Electricity that can be harmful to small electric motors and power strip protectors. UPS manufacturers quietly recommend no power strip or motorized appliance on their output – but forget to say why. Where is this 'conditioned' power? All that conditioning is performed inside appliances – ie computers - to make 200 volt square waves and the spike irrelevant.

Where is the numeric spec that claims surge protection? Not a rhetorical question. Typical answer from those who ‘know without first learning is only a URL or “you can read it yourself”. Nonsense. If honest, then he can identify each spec number – digit by digit – from the manufacturer. He cannot. No such spec exists.

A typical UPS does only one thing – provide temporary power during a blackout. No conditioning exists in power strip protectors. But conditioning is already inside every electronic appliance. Necessary to make that 'dirty' UPS power irrelevant.

Neither that UPS nor surge protector does power conditiong. Obvious. Manufacturer makes no such claims in the numeric specifications. Reality is a bitch.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 11:06:10 PM

If you'd like to tell me that a UPS doesn't keep electrical current nice and steady, I'll entertain it, knowing that's it's an incorrect statement.

Interactive UPS's do condition power. If you don't believe a UPS handles line sag, maybe you should be the one googling.

Let's not make our posts so trolly though mate, it's a forum, a place based for intelligent dialogue.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 11:19:12 PM

Sounds like someone should read the UPS forum. Or be promptly ignored. Or both. Yeah, both.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2010 11:53:09 PM

+1.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 12:50:07 AM

westom said:
... because responsible posters also post numbers to demonstrate how everyone can learn. No numbers is only hearsay. You don’t and you don't.



westom said:
A majority were told Saddam had WMDs and that a UPS conditions power. Neither was true. Same logic. A majority routinely believe what they were told to believe. If that UPS conditions power, then the manufacturer’s spec numbers – digit by digit – are posted. Because responsible claims also come with supporting facts and numbers - the always requried reasons why.
Numbers?

westom said:
Facts: a typical UPS connects an appliance directly to AC mains when not in battery backup mode. Where is the conditioner? Does that relay magically conditioner power? Of course not. Cleanest power output by a UPS is when the appliance connects directly to AC mains.
Numbers?

westom said:
What is a typical 120 volt UPS output when in battery backup mode? Two 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts between those square waves. Ideal power to electronics because electronics are so robust. Electricity that can be harmful to small electric motors and power strip protectors. UPS manufacturers quietly recommend no power strip or motorized appliance on their output – but forget to say why. Where is this 'conditioned' power? All that conditioning is performed inside appliances – ie computers - to make 200 volt square waves and the spike irrelevant.
Numbers?

westom said:
Where is the numeric spec that claims surge protection? Not a rhetorical question. Typical answer from those who ‘know without first learning is only a URL or “you can read it yourself”. Nonsense. If honest, then he can identify each spec number – digit by digit – from the manufacturer. He cannot. No such spec exists.
Numbers?

westom said:
A typical UPS does only one thing – provide temporary power during a blackout. No conditioning exists in power strip protectors. But conditioning is already inside every electronic appliance. Necessary to make that 'dirty' UPS power irrelevant.
Numbers?

westom said:
Neither that UPS nor surge protector does power conditiong. Obvious. Manufacturer makes no such claims in the numeric specifications. Reality is a bitch
Numbers?



westom,

Thank you for your dissertation, you drive an interesting point, but you're very hipocritical. You say, responsible posters use numbers to back up their statements, yet you've still to provide said numbers for your points. Just FYI.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 2:00:41 AM

Lol, nice.
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March 26, 2010 2:26:55 AM

jack_attack said:
If you'd like to tell me that a UPS doesn't keep electrical current nice and steady, I'll entertain it, knowing that's it's an incorrect statement.
Interactive UPS's do condition power. If you don't believe a UPS handles line sag, maybe you should be the one googling.

Line sags are made irrelevant by circuits already inside the power supply.

For example, incandescent bulbs can dim to 50% intensity. Every electronic appliance must continue to work normally. Obvious even from numbers printed on every appliance. Sags made irrelevant by the interactive UPS are already made irrelevant by an equivalent circuit found inside power supplies. How often do your light bulbs dim to less than 50% intensity?

Meanwhile a typical UPS is not $500 or $1000. A typically UPS is $100. It does virtually nothing for those voltage variations. It only switches to batteries when voltage is too low. In battery backup mode, that electricity is typically 'dirty' (see numbers posted previously). Circuits required to exist inside electronics make that 'dirtiest' power irrelevant.

The typical UPS provides temporary power during blackouts (and extreme brownouts / sags). That is the only line conditioner it does.

Other anomalies: surges. View its specs. Near zero surge protection. If you disagree, then post that number. Near zero for typically non-destructive surges. Nothing to protect from a typically destructive surge.

So the question: what does it condition? Does it eliminate harmonics? No. Surges? No. Frequency variation? No. Power factor adjustment? No. It simply provides temporary ( ie a 200 volt square wave with a spike of up to 270 volts) power during blackouts.

UPS to do line conditioning from so many anomalies costs many thousands of dollars and located at the service entrance. Typically a building wide solution. Only 'conditioning' provided by a typical UPS is temporary power during a blackout. 'Conditioning' required to already exist (by international design standards: Information Technology Industry Council, IEC, Intel ATX standards, etc) is inside a supply. Conditioning so good as to make 'dirtiest' power from a UPS irrelevant. Conditioning that makes what an interactive UPS might do irrelevant.

So which of the so many anomalies do you want to 'condition'? Define which anomaly to discuss that 'conditioning' number.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 2:36:05 AM

Personally, I'd rather my UPS take care of the sags than my components. However, you continually ask for numbers, and yet still fail to provide numbers that actually prove your point as T_T showed. If you like your critical components taking the hit, that's your choice. I don't.

/mindless, opinionated, conspiracy theory troll thread responses
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March 26, 2010 3:17:39 AM

jack_attack said:
Personally, I'd rather my UPS take care of the sags than my components. However, you continually ask for numbers, and yet still fail to provide numbers that actually prove your point

Two 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts - output by a 120 volt UPS. Even that 'dirtiest' power created by a UPS (not by AC mains) is normal power to electronics. Power so 'dirty' as to be harmful to power strip protectors and small electric motors. Dirt made irrelevant by electronic designs even long before the PC existed.

How much sag is perfectly acceptable power to any electronics? Incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. Every electronic appliance considers that sag as normal power. So what did that UPS do?

A typical UPS has one function: provide temporary power during the blackout. Its specs make no other 'conditioning' claims - as your numbers demonstrate. Where is that number for power factor adjustment? Frequency compensation? Protection from typically destructive surges? Harmonic filtering? EMI/RFI/EMC? THD? Where are those numbers if it does all this conditioning?

Only number show 'dirtiest' power created by the UPS in battery backup mode. How can that be if you *know* a UPS 'cleans' electricity? How do you know? Where is your numbers? Do not exist. Typical UPS cleaning electricity is an urban myth from those who know without any numbers.

Anything a UPS might do to 'condition' electricity is already inside the appliance.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 26, 2010 5:22:55 AM

Ok, to wrap it up...

Original Poster, you can take westom's un-"numbered" thesis, or you can take everyone else's un-"numbered", but safety-motivated opinions. Bottom line is it your choice. While I don't have any "numbers" to back up my post, I can personally tell you that the ~$60 I spent on my UPS is a worth cost that I would endure again.

Just my two cents...
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
December 30, 2010 7:33:03 AM

I took some electrical course in university.... and if i remember correctly...
ALL ELECTRONICS cleans up PERFECTLY the electricity coming in your home. ITS BEEN FOCKING DESIGNED by engineers to do so.
and it cost about 3$ to get all the pieces. shipping included!

SO you DONT NEED a cleaner, normalizer or whatever.

surge protection is useless because you already have 1 in the corner of your basement.

ups... CAN be usefull if you have a 386 with "word perfect" that doesnt do autosave or if your in a starcraft game

other than that.. dont waste your money.
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February 11, 2012 3:30:37 AM

westom said:
If surges exist as popular myths claim, then you are replacing daily GFCI, dimmer switches, and clock radios. Things that are less robust. Typically destructive surges occur maybe once every seven years. That noise that others hype as a surge is made completely irrelevant by protection already inside every appliance including GFCIs, dimmer switches, and clock radios.

Your concern is the surge that overwhelms that protection. No plug-in protector will discuss it. No plug-in protector even claims protection in its numeric specs. But most that make recommendations routinely ignore numbers. Only recommend what urban myths promotes.

$30 per appliance for protection is grossly overpriced. For over 100 years, protection where damage must never happen costs about $1 per protected appliance. And it mostly unknown to the majority who do not even know how electricity works. View spec sheets from APC, Belkin, Tripplite, or Monster Cable. Where is the numeric spec that claims protection? Does not exist. Take a $3 power strip. Add some ten cent protector parts. Sell l it to the naive for $30 or $150. Why make protection claims? Sell a magic box for obscene profits and majority will recommend it.

Now, no protector is protection. Nada. The only effective protector connects to protection. Protection is always about where energy dissipated. Always. Either the effective protector connects short (ie 'less that 10 feet') to protection. Or it somehow must make energy magically disappear. That is what others have recommended. A magic box that makes energy disappear.

Again, view its spec numbers. How many joules will it absorb? Hundreds? The typically destructive surge - the one that can overwhelm protection inside appliances (computer) is hundred of thousands of joules. How does that ineffective protector absorb that energy? It does not.

What it does do is fail. A surge too tiny to harm the computer, GFCI, dimmer switch or clock radio easily destroys the grossly undersized protection. That gets the naive to recommend that protector. The term 'junk science' is appropriate. They observed damage. Assumed without any electrical knowledge. Then said, "My protector sacrificed itself to save my computer." And so the myth lives on.

Reality - protection inside the computer, TV, GFCI, dimmer switch, etc protected each appliance. If the protector did anything, they you have a long list of appliances all damaged - including dishwasher, furnace, stove, or air conditioner.

This post is about the popular myth. A $3 power strip with some ten cent protector parts that sells in the grocery store for $7. Or same protector circuit sells with hyped brand names (and no specs that even claim protection) for $25 or $120. Your choice. Buy the scam. Or read the next post to learn what is routinely done even 100 years ago to have no damage. Forget to read manufacturer specs that do not even claim surge protection. A majority only learn from advertising - fail to learn how protection is really done.



What spec's are you requesting? As far as myths - I haven't found anything you've stated to be anything but mostly myth when discussing surge protection or how you perceive surge protectors to function in general. The 10 foot to "earth ground" rule? Make energy magically disappear? Joules? No one with any experience in the world of surge protection uses joules for anything. Joules haven't been used in the industry by serious surge manufactures as an indicator of anything for years. Quality devices use peak surge current per mode and total peak surge current. All appliances and such have enough surge protection built into their design - so you don't need surge protection? Please point this out to all of us where you have data, tests and results to prove this? You're making claims that are highly questionable.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 11, 2012 1:53:28 PM

This topic has been closed by Hunter315
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