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Clarification needed: Surge Protection, Earth Grounds and ..

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Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:30:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

So, my personal rig has grown big enough that my paranoia has grown up
in equal proportion.

I've looked into protecting the system from electrical surges since my
rig is sometimes mobile and i'm bringing to places where i don't quite
trust what lies in the circuitry. But after some research it appears
that any sort of "protection" that you would plug into an AC outlet is
useless against violent surges and that the only way to truly
"surge-protect" is to install an earth ground before a surge even
reaches the house/business's circuit.

I've ready many times that:
"Any surge protector, especially that 'whole house' protector that is
necessary for no future damage, is only as effective as its earth
ground." and "It should cost $1 per unit to properly protect it with an
earth ground (about $50 bucks to set it up for the whole house)"

So what's the deal? Does having a properly installed earth ground negate
the need for a surgeprotection box?

Also, i've read (on manufacturers websites) what seems to be a myth that
Power Conditioners will provide surgeprotection as well.

So i guess to sum up:
1. Does a proper earth ground negate the need for an expensive surge
protector?
2. If i do need a surge protector, what are the specs that i should read
for on a product?
3. Do power conditioners do anything in terms of surge protection or is
that company hype?

Thanks,

Roach
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:30:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rocha wrote:
>
> "Any surge protector, especially that 'whole house' protector that is
> necessary for no future damage, is only as effective as its earth
> ground." and "It should cost $1 per unit to properly protect it with an
> earth ground (about $50 bucks to set it up for the whole house)"
>
> So what's the deal? Does having a properly installed earth ground negate
> the need for a surgeprotection box?

No, but most surge protection devices are completely dependent on the
ground to shunt the excess energy.




> Also, i've read (on manufacturers websites) what seems to be a myth that
> Power Conditioners will provide surgeprotection as well.

A big hunk of iron and copper (transformer, inductor, etc.) coupled with
an appropriate capacitor forms a nice filter network that will absorb
much of the trash (and acting like a flywheel of sorts.) This means
several pounds of iron and copper, not the dinky little series inductors
you find in so-called power conditioners that are really just tarted-up
outlet strips. Those usually cause more harm than they prevent.
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:38:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rocha <therealroach@rogers.com> wrote:
>I've ready many times that:
>"Any surge protector, especially that 'whole house' protector that is
>necessary for no future damage, is only as effective as its earth
>ground." and "It should cost $1 per unit to properly protect it with an
>earth ground (about $50 bucks to set it up for the whole house)"
>
>So what's the deal? Does having a properly installed earth ground negate
>the need for a surgeprotection box?

No, but if you don't have a good earth ground, a surge protector won't
do you any good so you'll be wasting your money installing it.

>Also, i've read (on manufacturers websites) what seems to be a myth that
>Power Conditioners will provide surgeprotection as well.

Some do. Surge protection is easier and cheaper to do than most of the
other power conditioning operations. Some don't. And a whole-house filter
is probably a good idea too.

>So i guess to sum up:
>1. Does a proper earth ground negate the need for an expensive surge
>protector?

No, but it makes it possible to have one.

>2. If i do need a surge protector, what are the specs that i should read
>for on a product?

Sadly, most of the specs they cite are meaningless. Get a whole house
protector, then get some of the medium-priced boxes that use MOVs and
gas tubes in parallel for each of the things you want to protect.

>3. Do power conditioners do anything in terms of surge protection or is
>that company hype?

Depends on what they are. It only costs a few bucks to add some MOVs
and gas tubes to an existing design. But no matter WHAT you add, you
still need the surge clamp at the service entry to the building.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Related resources
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mike Rocha" ...
> So, my personal rig has grown big enough that my paranoia has grown up in
> equal proportion.
>
> I've looked into protecting the system from electrical surges since my rig
> is sometimes mobile and i'm bringing to places where i don't quite trust
> what lies in the circuitry. But after some research it appears that any
> sort of "protection" that you would plug into an AC outlet is useless
> against violent surges and that the only way to truly "surge-protect" is
> to install an earth ground before a surge even reaches the
> house/business's circuit.



** Why do folk use the ambiguous word "surge" - when they really mean a
lightning strike ???

It confuses the hell out of the likes of Mike Rocha.






............. Phil
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Wed, 18 May 2005 10:15:11 +1000, Phil Allison wrote:

> ** Why do folk use the ambiguous word "surge" - when they really mean a
> lightning strike ???
>
> It confuses the hell out of the likes of Mike Rocha.

Why does Phil Allison bother to keep breathing?

It confuses the hell out of most of rec.audio.pro.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Chris Hornbeck wrote:
> This morning Sam Lucas, rep (a sadly undervalued job description)
> who I've known professionally for more than thirty years, demo'd
> the "Power Company" brand of black-box-Edison-conditioners.
>
> The with and without comparisons for audio systems were well
> under my threshold for the (IMOHO modest quality) monitoring.
>
> But, when this widget was connected in the Edison to a plasma video
> display its (component) *video* reproduction was significantly
better.
>
> Yeah, yeah, I know. I swapped everthing over several times; stepped
> through the same sequences several times ; maybe ten other observers;
> no reason in Hell it should matter.
>


Just curious, is this the "Richard Gray's Power Company" product you're
referring to?
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Agent 86 <maxwellsmart@control.gov> wrote:
>On Wed, 18 May 2005 10:15:11 +1000, Phil Allison wrote:
>
>> ** Why do folk use the ambiguous word "surge" - when they really mean a
>> lightning strike ???
>>
>> It confuses the hell out of the likes of Mike Rocha.
>
>Why does Phil Allison bother to keep breathing?

Line surges and spikes can be caused by all kinds of things, which includes
induced voltage from lightning, but also things like back-EMF from motors.

Direct lightning strikes are another thing altogether, and sadly surge
protectors will not help.
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 17 May 2005 21:42:14 -0400, kludge@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

>Line surges and spikes can be caused by all kinds of things, which includes
>induced voltage from lightning, but also things like back-EMF from motors.

Yeah, I got the impression that the OP was working random clubs
and just trying to do the best he could under the circumstances.
There's some bad circumstances out there. And not neccesarily
any inexpensive solutions. 's life.

In the realm of (potentially dangerous, not UL, you didn't read
it here) homemade solutions, a line isolating transformer can do a lot
of the grunt work, leaving the residuals to MOV's and gas arc's.

Commercial versions, like the "Power Company" brand are excellent
if you can sign the check.


>Direct lightning strikes are another thing altogether, and sadly surge
>protectors will not help.

Perzactly. Lightning varies from "Bang, you're dead." to trivial.
Within the middle ground, great stuff has already been posted.
Remember to keep ground loops to a minimum (it's not just for
hum anymore) and think "layering": big, rugged protection for
the global system; faster, but more fragile local protection.
Local grounds *aren't grounds*, etc.

Chris Hornbeck
"They're in *everybody's* eggs."
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> Agent 86 <maxwellsmart@control.gov> wrote:
> >On Wed, 18 May 2005 10:15:11 +1000, Phil Allison wrote:
> >
> >> ** Why do folk use the ambiguous word "surge" - when they really mean a
> >> lightning strike ???
> >>
> >> It confuses the hell out of the likes of Mike Rocha.
> >
> >Why does Phil Allison bother to keep breathing?
>
> Line surges and spikes can be caused by all kinds of things, which includes
> induced voltage from lightning, but also things like back-EMF from motors.
>
> Direct lightning strikes are another thing altogether, and sadly surge
> protectors will not help.

Not at all, they just add some more melted parts to the mess. But if
your phone is still working, the fire department can be called in to
extinguish the blaze and render first aid to the survivors.

--Dale
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Chris Hornbeck wrote:
>
> I got the impression that the OP was working random clubs
> and just trying to do the best he could under the circumstances.
> There's some bad circumstances out there. And not neccesarily
> any inexpensive solutions. 's life.
>
> In the realm of (potentially dangerous, not UL, you didn't read
> it here) homemade solutions, a line isolating transformer can do a lot
> of the grunt work, leaving the residuals to MOV's and gas arc's.


Which is why I mentioned "big hunks of iron and copper."




> Commercial versions, like the "Power Company" brand are excellent
> if you can sign the check.

Check eBay for Oneac line conditioners. Not isolating transformers, but
they do a heckuva job of cleaning up the grunge. Used units (nothing to
wear out in them, folks) are selling for pennies on the dollar.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:15:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On Tue, 17 May 2005 20:43:23 -0700, Kurt Albershardt <kurt@nv.net>
wrote:

>> Commercial versions, like the "Power Company" brand are excellent
>> if you can sign the check.
>
>Check eBay for Oneac line conditioners. Not isolating transformers, but
>they do a heckuva job of cleaning up the grunge. Used units (nothing to
>wear out in them, folks) are selling for pennies on the dollar.

Thanks for the heads-up. Actual isolation doesn't help for
lightning anywho, so this is especially important.

An aside: my new day job is putting out fires at a typical
"survivor" home audio/video emporium, upscale, but only in the
frame of reference of Little Rock, Arkansas.

This morning Sam Lucas, rep (a sadly undervalued job description)
who I've known professionally for more than thirty years, demo'd
the "Power Company" brand of black-box-Edison-conditioners.

The with and without comparisons for audio systems were well
under my threshold for the (IMOHO modest quality) monitoring.

But, when this widget was connected in the Edison to a plasma video
display its (component) *video* reproduction was significantly better.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I swapped everthing over several times; stepped
through the same sequences several times ; maybe ten other observers;
no reason in Hell it should matter.

But...

If anyone is still interested, the observable artifacts were in the
number and/or presence of predominately horizontal rectangles in the
up-conversion from 480 DVD. FWIW.

And were repeatable and obvious to civilians. Weird but true.
No clue what it means, personally. Just an aside,

Except that maybe some thresholds are pretty large,

Chris Hornbeck
"They're in *everybody's* eggs."
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:12:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rocha wrote:

> 1. Does a proper earth ground negate the need for an expensive surge
> protector?

NO.

But you'd be mad not to have a proper earth anyway.


> 2. If i do need a surge protector, what are the specs that i should read
> for on a product?

Arresting voltage and the number of joules of surge that it can absorb.
Typical 'toy' consumer units sold for PC and audio use will be useless if
you're subject to *big* surges though but what makes you think you *are* ?

> 3. Do power conditioners do anything in terms of surge protection or is
> that company hype?

A proper power conditioner ought to. But there's no definition of what a
power conditioner is - so it may simply be a cheap consumer surge protector.

Uninterruptiple power supplies are pretty effective power conditioners.

Graham
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 4:09:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Scott Dorsey"

>
> Line surges and spikes can be caused by all kinds of things, which
> includes
> induced voltage from lightning, but also things like back-EMF from motors.


** The latter sort of voltage spikes are dealt with nicely by varistor
units that plug in - contrary to what you posted earlier.


> Direct lightning strikes are another thing altogether, and sadly surge
> protectors will not help.


** Also directly contradicting what you posted earlier.

No surprise in that for a know nothing charlatan like Dorsey.



.............. Phil
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 4:39:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Either connect that incoming utility wire to earth ground,
or use a protector to make a temporary earthing connection
during the surge. Obviously you cannot have electric service
and also earth all AC electric wires. Install a 'whole house'
protector to earth those incoming wires only during the surge.

Which function do you want a power conditioner to perform?
To eliminate voltage ripple? That is completely different
from maintaining voltage during a blackout. Which is
completely different from correcting bad harmonics. Which is
completely different from eliminating RF interference. Which
is completely different from eliminating voltage transients.
The only power conditioner that will do all these is an
expensive system located in the basement connected to a large
pool of batteries and supported by a generator.

IOW decide which power variations are unacceptable and
address only those.

The most important parameter for a surge protector is joules
so that the protector remains functional after every
potentially destructive transient. The protector being only
one component of a protection 'system'. The most critical
parameter for a protection 'system' is the quality of and
short connections to the single point earth ground. Earthing
being the only component that every surge protection 'system'
must have.

There is no stopping, blocking, filtering, or absorbing
surges. They must be earthed. Earthing being the most
critical 'system' component. A protector being a connection
from each incoming utility wire to that earth ground.

Mike Rocha wrote:
> So, my personal rig has grown big enough that my paranoia has grown up
> in equal proportion.
>
> I've looked into protecting the system from electrical surges since my
> rig is sometimes mobile and i'm bringing to places where i don't quite
> trust what lies in the circuitry. But after some research it appears
> that any sort of "protection" that you would plug into an AC outlet is
> useless against violent surges and that the only way to truly
> "surge-protect" is to install an earth ground before a surge even
> reaches the house/business's circuit.
>
> I've ready many times that:
> "Any surge protector, especially that 'whole house' protector that is
> necessary for no future damage, is only as effective as its earth
> ground." and "It should cost $1 per unit to properly protect it with an
> earth ground (about $50 bucks to set it up for the whole house)"
>
> So what's the deal? Does having a properly installed earth ground negate
> the need for a surgeprotection box?
>
> Also, i've read (on manufacturers websites) what seems to be a myth that
> Power Conditioners will provide surgeprotection as well.
>
> So i guess to sum up:
> 1. Does a proper earth ground negate the need for an expensive surge
> protector?
> 2. If i do need a surge protector, what are the specs that i should read
> for on a product?
> 3. Do power conditioners do anything in terms of surge protection or is
> that company hype?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Roach
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 11:33:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <3evaa2F56j9eU1@individual.net>, kurt@nv.net says...
> > Also, i've read (on manufacturers websites) what seems to be a myth that
> > Power Conditioners will provide surgeprotection as well.
>
> A big hunk of iron and copper (transformer, inductor, etc.) coupled with
> an appropriate capacitor forms a nice filter network that will absorb
> much of the trash (and acting like a flywheel of sorts.) This means
> several pounds of iron and copper, not the dinky little series inductors
> you find in so-called power conditioners that are really just tarted-up
> outlet strips. Those usually cause more harm than they prevent.

Amen to that. I had SOME sort of surge last August during a lightning
storm; the power company wasn't aware of any other incidents. I have
dual Eaton whole-house protectors which did not trip, and I have a good
ground rod, but I lost all sorts of equipment, including a TiVo, garage
door opener, some light bulbs, a motherboard, a network switch, a
faxmodem, and - the best part - three thermostats, which must have got
zapped via the boiler or air handler.

Yet nothing in my studio was damaged, because it was all behind an
Equitech panel with a huge transformer that must weigh over 100 pounds.

Iron and copper, baby.

--
Jay Levitt |
Wellesley, MA | I feel calm. I feel ready. I can only
Faster: jay at jay dot fm | conclude that's because I don't have a
http://www.jay.fm | full grasp of the situation. - Mark Adler
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 2:59:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 18 May 2005 05:55:59 -0700, "Buster Mudd" <mr_furious@mail.com>
wrote:

>Just curious, is this the "Richard Gray's Power Company" product you're
>referring to?

Yes. It's nice stuff, but like all consumer products you'll
need to hold your nose through some of the advertizing.

Chris Hornbeck
"They're in *everybody's* eggs."
!