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Surge Protector vs UPS

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

I'd appreciate any advice relating to the proper level of power
protection for a Dimension 8400.

I've read that a typical UPS provides some surge protection, but not
as much as a good dedicated surge protector. I've also read that a
UPS should not be connected to a surge protector. If both statements
are true, which option provides the best overall level of protection?

If I go with a surge protector, how much protection is really needed?
I've seen prices from $15 to $60, and more.

If I go with a UPS, are there any disadvantages? Do they "hum" or
make other noise? Will they cause a hum or distortion on the computer
speakers if the computer and speakers are both plugged into the UPS?
How often must the batteries be replaced?

Thanks,
Scot
13 answers Last reply
More about surge protector
  1. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    All consumer UPSes include a surge suppressor, so there's no need for a
    separate surge suppressor. The surge suppressor included with a UPS is no
    better or worse than a standalone surge suppressor with equivalent ratings.

    No computer should be without a UPS. It's a no-brainer, particularly since
    UPSes can be quite inexpensive.

    The best way to get answers to your questions and to learn about UPSes is to
    visit the web sites of the major UPS manufacturers. In particular, the
    American Power Conversion Corporation's web site (www.apcc.com) contains
    lots of information on how to buy a UPS. You've probably seen APC UPSes in
    stores. Another popular line of UPSes is made by Tripp Lite
    (www.tripplite.com).
    --
    Ted Zieglar
    formerly "Rocket J. Squirrel"


    "Scot" <please@nospam.com> wrote in message
    news:h7rhh0l7du9vt6mhp9510c3t6qfirrp0eq@4ax.com...
    > I'd appreciate any advice relating to the proper level of power
    > protection for a Dimension 8400.
    >
    > I've read that a typical UPS provides some surge protection, but not
    > as much as a good dedicated surge protector. I've also read that a
    > UPS should not be connected to a surge protector. If both statements
    > are true, which option provides the best overall level of protection?
    >
    > If I go with a surge protector, how much protection is really needed?
    > I've seen prices from $15 to $60, and more.
    >
    > If I go with a UPS, are there any disadvantages? Do they "hum" or
    > make other noise? Will they cause a hum or distortion on the computer
    > speakers if the computer and speakers are both plugged into the UPS?
    > How often must the batteries be replaced?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Scot
  2. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Any protector that works at the far end of the power cord is
    already installed at inside the computer. Some actually feel
    that $0.10 parts installed inside a power strip selling for
    $30 will do something magical. If those $0.10 parts inside
    the power strip were so effective, then they are already
    inside the Dell.

    Intel specs are rather blunt about how much voltage a
    computer power supply must withstand. In excess of 1000 volts
    which makes computers typically more resilient than most other
    electronic appliances.

    However, one must first appreciate why appliances are
    damaged. Ben Franklin demonstrated the concept in 1752.
    Lightning seeks earth ground. Ben gave lightning an
    electrically shorter path to earth so that lightning did not
    take a path through the church steeple. That is also what a
    shunt mode protector does. Earth the transient before it
    enters the building.

    Lightning is a path from cloud to earth. One good path is
    from cloud to wires down the street, into your building via AC
    electric, incoming through computer, outgoing via phone line,
    and to earth ground via the telco installed 'whole house'
    protector. Defines is a complete and destructive circuit
    through computer because human failed to earth lightning where
    AC electric enters the building. Telephone line already has a
    'whole house' protector installed free by the telco. Why did
    the human not do same for AC electric?

    Minimally acceptable 'whole house' protector for AC electric
    costs about $1 per protected appliance. Compare that to maybe
    $15 or $50 for the ineffective plug-in protector. Even worse,
    the plug-in protector only claims to protect from a type of
    surge that does not typically exist. It hopes others will
    assume it therefore must protect from ALL type of surges. If
    it does, then where is the numerical spec that defines
    protection for the many type of transients?

    To sell their ineffective protector and to have myth promote
    their product, the ineffective plug-in protector (power strip
    or UPS) must forget to provide those detailed specifications.
    How to identify an ineffective protector: 1) no dedicated
    connection to single point earth ground AND 2) manufacturer
    avoids all discussion about earthing.

    No earth ground means no effective protection. That defines
    the plug-in UPS. Plug-in manufacturers instead avoid the
    entire earthing topic to not harm sales. Real world
    protectors (which are not the myth promoted stuff found in
    Staples, Sears, Kmart, Office Max, or Walmart) discuss earth
    ground. Effective protectors shunt a 'less than 10 foot'
    connection to single point earth ground. One minimally
    acceptable 'whole house' protector is sold even in Home Depot
    as Intermatic IG1240RC. Effective protection for less than $1
    per protected appliance. But again, a protector is only as
    effective as its earth ground. To appreciate the concept,
    read previous discussions such as "Thunder and Lightning" in
    alt.support.sleep-disorder on, before and after 24 June 2001
    at
    http://tinyurl.com/3boef or
    "Opinions on Surge Protectors?" on 7 Jul 2003 in the
    newsgroup alt.certification.a-plus at
    http://tinyurl.com/l3m9 or
    sci.electronics.repair entitled "Repairing Lightning Damaged
    Tv's" on 14 Jun 2004 at
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?Q10F219F8

    To summarize the concept: No earth ground means no
    effective protection. Earthing (and not a surge protector) is
    the one essential component required in every surge protection
    'system'. A surge protector is only as effective as its earth
    ground.

    Scot wrote:
    > I'd appreciate any advice relating to the proper level of power
    > protection for a Dimension 8400.
    >
    > I've read that a typical UPS provides some surge protection, but not
    > as much as a good dedicated surge protector. I've also read that a
    > UPS should not be connected to a surge protector. If both statements
    > are true, which option provides the best overall level of protection?
    >
    > If I go with a surge protector, how much protection is really needed?
    > I've seen prices from $15 to $60, and more.
    >
    > If I go with a UPS, are there any disadvantages? Do they "hum" or
    > make other noise? Will they cause a hum or distortion on the computer
    > speakers if the computer and speakers are both plugged into the UPS?
    > How often must the batteries be replaced?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Scot
  3. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    "w_tom" wrote:
    >
    > To summarize the concept: No earth ground means no
    > effective protection. Earthing (and not a surge protector) is
    > the one essential component required in every surge protection
    > 'system'. A surge protector is only as effective as its earth
    > ground.


    What would you recommend for the owner of a unit in
    a condo building where the unit is physically close to soil?

    *TimDaniels*
  4. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 16:05:36 GMT, Scot <please@nospam.com> wrote:

    >I'd appreciate any advice relating to the proper level of power
    >protection for a Dimension 8400.
    >
    >I've read that a typical UPS provides some surge protection, but not
    >as much as a good dedicated surge protector. I've also read that a
    >UPS should not be connected to a surge protector. If both statements
    >are true, which option provides the best overall level of protection?
    >
    >If I go with a surge protector, how much protection is really needed?
    >I've seen prices from $15 to $60, and more.
    >
    >If I go with a UPS, are there any disadvantages? Do they "hum" or
    >make other noise? Will they cause a hum or distortion on the computer
    >speakers if the computer and speakers are both plugged into the UPS?
    >How often must the batteries be replaced?
    >
    >Thanks,
    >Scot

    Rocky already answered the first part. No, they don't hum. The only
    noise is when they kick in and the alarm sounds. I haven't noticed
    any distortion on the computer speakers. My APC UPS has a 2 year
    warranty, but I suspect the battery will last longer.

    Dave
  5. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Thank you, Dave, for filling in the information I neglected to provide.

    APCC technical support once told me that the batteries in their consumer
    UPSes typically last for 6 years.

    Ted Zieglar
    formerly "Rocket J. Squirrel"

    "Dave" <dmjohn29@REMOVE.hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:ncsih0dcfbj90c80b13qcan7ear3iailpl@4ax.com...
    > On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 16:05:36 GMT, Scot <please@nospam.com> wrote:
    >
    > >I'd appreciate any advice relating to the proper level of power
    > >protection for a Dimension 8400.
    > >
    > >I've read that a typical UPS provides some surge protection, but not
    > >as much as a good dedicated surge protector. I've also read that a
    > >UPS should not be connected to a surge protector. If both statements
    > >are true, which option provides the best overall level of protection?
    > >
    > >If I go with a surge protector, how much protection is really needed?
    > >I've seen prices from $15 to $60, and more.
    > >
    > >If I go with a UPS, are there any disadvantages? Do they "hum" or
    > >make other noise? Will they cause a hum or distortion on the computer
    > >speakers if the computer and speakers are both plugged into the UPS?
    > >How often must the batteries be replaced?
    > >
    > >Thanks,
    > >Scot
    >
    > Rocky already answered the first part. No, they don't hum. The only
    > noise is when they kick in and the alarm sounds. I haven't noticed
    > any distortion on the computer speakers. My APC UPS has a 2 year
    > warranty, but I suspect the battery will last longer.
    >
    > Dave
  6. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Condo and apartment dwellers have a problem because they are
    not in control of their premises AND because we still build
    even new homes as if the transistor did not exist. Protection
    is a building wide solution whereby all incoming utilities
    must enter the building at a common service entrance OR be
    earthed short to the same building wide single point ground.
    This is only recently made necessary by the NEC. Obviously,
    many condo owners and virtually all apartment dwellers have no
    option to fix a defective building installation.

    As a condo owner, you should be able to install a 'whole
    house' protector in the mains breaker box. If properly
    installed after 1990, then that 'whole house' protector would
    then make the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth ground;
    may protect all household appliances from direct strikes to AC
    electric. But first identify and verify the earth ground.

    If it is a seriously compromised installation, then this may
    be your only alternative. First, learn where the building's
    earth ground is located. All incoming utilities such as cable
    and phone must connect 'less than 10 feet' to this earthing
    point. Even a buried, bare copper, 4 AWG ground wire joining
    these grounds (if they are separate) would help.

    Now find the nearest 3 prong AC receptacle to breaker box
    and therefore to earth ground. Buy a protector with largest
    joules. Cut 6 foot power wire as short as possible and plug
    modified protector into that nearest AC receptacle. That
    'upgraded' plug-in protector will at least provide some
    earthed protection on half of the condo receptacles that share
    same AC electric phase.

    Of the three AC electric wires, one must make a direct
    connection to earth ground. That becomes your single point
    earth ground. Other two incoming AC electric wires must be
    earthed through a 'whole house' protector (or via the kludged
    protector).

    Of course, we were discussing secondary protection. Primary
    protection requires visual inspection and maybe a call to the
    local utilities. Examples of what to look for in a building's
    primary protection are:
    http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

    Timothy Daniels wrote:
    > "w_tom" wrote:
    >> To summarize the concept: No earth ground means no
    >> effective protection. Earthing (and not a surge protector) is
    >> the one essential component required in every surge protection
    >> 'system'. A surge protector is only as effective as its earth
    >> ground.
    >
    > What would you recommend for the owner of a unit in
    > a condo building where the unit is physically close to soil?
    >
    > *TimDaniels*
  7. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    "w_tom" replied:
    > As a condo owner, you should be able to install a 'whole
    > house' protector in the mains breaker box. If properly
    > installed after 1990, then that 'whole house' protector would
    > then make the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth ground;
    > may protect all household appliances from direct strikes to AC
    > electric. But first identify and verify the earth ground.

    By "mains breaker box" do you mean the main breaker
    box for the building or for an individual unit at the point of
    service entry (where the meter is) or the breaker box inside
    an individual condo unit?

    In our case, the building was built circa 1967 in California.
    Does that suggest the type of earthing that was used?


    > If it is a seriously compromised installation, then this may
    > be your only alternative. First, learn where the building's
    > earth ground is located. All incoming utilities such as cable
    > and phone must connect 'less than 10 feet' to this earthing
    > point. Even a buried, bare copper, 4 AWG ground wire
    > joining these grounds (if they are separate) would help.


    The entry point for the communication utilities is
    different from that for electrical power, and they are
    about 120 feet apart. What to do?


    > Now find the nearest 3 prong AC receptacle to breaker box
    > and therefore to earth ground. Buy a protector with largest
    > joules. Cut 6 foot power wire as short as possible and plug
    > modified protector into that nearest AC receptacle. That
    > 'upgraded' plug-in protector will at least provide some
    > earthed protection on half of the condo receptacles that share
    > same AC electric phase.

    Is there a surge protector that will fit inside a typical
    condo breaker box inside the unit? How about inside
    the main breaker box where the meter is?


    > Of the three AC electric wires, one must make a direct
    > connection to earth ground. That becomes your single point
    > earth ground. Other two incoming AC electric wires must be
    > earthed through a 'whole house' protector (or via the kludged
    > protector).

    As I interpret you, the ground wire in a branch circuit is
    to act as the "single point earth ground" for equipment in the
    condo unit. How is this different from the typical Home
    Depot surge protector setup?

    *TimDaniels*
  8. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    1967 means the building was probably safety grounded for
    earthing to cold water pipe. Earthing via water pipe is no
    longer acceptable. Today, a safety ground connects to water
    pipe only to remove electricity; not dump electricity into
    earth. Today, there must be an earth ground rod or equivalent
    connected right at mains circuit breaker box - the one with a
    mains disconnect breaker. IOW all receptacle safety grounds
    (green wire), the incoming utility neutral wire, all
    receptacle neutral wires (white), safety ground wire to cold
    water pipe (bare copper), and the earth ground wire (bare
    copper) meet inside this mains box at a safety ground bus.

    Also code requires that incoming utilities (telephone and
    cable) make a less than 20 foot connection to the same earth
    ground that connects to breaker box. NEC requires this for
    human safety. The earth ground (and not the bus bar inside
    breaker box) is referred to in previous posts as the single
    point earth ground.

    For human safety, a 50 foot wire to the cold water pipe is
    sufficient. Resistance is low. But for transistor safety,
    that same wire is too long; impedance is too high. Wire is
    not a perfect conductor. Wire is an electronic component.
    For human safety, the electrical numbers are so small that we
    say water pipe and breaker box are, essentially, bonded
    together. But for radio frequency transients that destroy
    transistors, that 50' distant water pipe is just too far
    away - impedance numbers are too high.

    And so we need have all incoming utilities make a 'less
    than 10 foot' connection to earth. IOW all utilities must be
    earthed to same point for human safety AND be earthed short
    for transistor safety.

    If incoming utilities are not entering at the same point
    (the 'preferred' solution in figure), then this 'right'
    solution using a buried bare copper wire to interconnect the
    grounds may be necessary:
    http://www.cinergy.com/surge/ttip08.htm

    Underlying concept is demonstrated in this figure:
    http://www.xantrex.com/support/docserve.asp?id=337

    Same is demonstrated by an example of how the fax machine is
    protected in:
    http://www.epri-peac.com/tutorials/sol01tut.html

    Why is the typical plug-in protector ineffective? Distance
    between that protector and the earth ground rod is how far?
    For example, a trivial 100 amp surge to be earthed by
    protector on 50' of electric wire inside wall. Wire impedance
    is maybe 130 ohms. That 100 amps attempting to transverse 130
    ohms impedance would leave protector and adjacent computer at
    something less than 13,000 volts. IOW the surge will also
    find other (and destructive) paths to earth ground. Adjacent
    plug-in protectors is essentially not earthed; therefore not
    effective.

    Furthermore, that ground wire inside walls is bundled with
    other wires. A 100 amp transient attempting earth ground on
    that safety ground wire will induce transients on all other
    adjacent wires. What kind of protection is that?
    Ineffective. IOW we want earthing ground to be short, direct,
    and routed independent (separate) of all other wires.

    Plug-in protectors instead avoid discussing this to make
    their highly profitable sales. Notice that plug-in protectors
    never discuss earth ground.

    First off, inspect your building's earth grounds. To meet
    post 1990 National Electrical Code, then all incoming
    utilities must be bonded together either by connecting to the
    same earth ground OR having the separated earth grounds bonded
    by a buried conductor. Utility cold water pipe is no longer
    acceptable for earth grounding.

    Second, a surge protector connects each AC electric 'hot'
    wire so that a less than 10 foot connection to that earth
    ground exists. If earthing is in a box with the meter, then a
    'behind the meter' protector can be installed. Either you buy
    one or rent one (at a very expensive $5 per month) from the
    utility.

    Most mains breaker box protectors attach outside the box -
    ie Intermatic IG1240RC that is sold in Home Depot. Some snap
    into circuit breaker positions such as Siemens QSA2020.
    Minimally sized protectors start at about 1000 joules and
    50,000 amps. For example, one Square D product that snaps
    inside breaker box is undersized. However something is better
    than nothing.

    Of course, being in CA, CG lightning is often not a
    problem. Although I viewed massive damage to a Bay area radio
    station, their location was the exception to CA. Location and
    geology also determine protection requirements. Surges occur
    typically once every 8 years. How your location varies from
    the norm may determine how much work you want to do for
    transistor safety. But at minimum, all incoming utilities
    must share a common earth ground. Not just for human safety.
    Also for transistors safety.

    Timothy Daniels wrote:
    > "w_tom" replied:
    >> As a condo owner, you should be able to install a 'whole
    >> house' protector in the mains breaker box. If properly
    >> installed after 1990, then that 'whole house' protector would
    >> then make the 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth ground;
    >> may protect all household appliances from direct strikes to AC
    >> electric. But first identify and verify the earth ground.
    >
    > By "mains breaker box" do you mean the main breaker
    > box for the building or for an individual unit at the point of
    > service entry (where the meter is) or the breaker box inside
    > an individual condo unit?
    >
    > In our case, the building was built circa 1967 in California.
    > Does that suggest the type of earthing that was used?
    >
    >> If it is a seriously compromised installation, then this may
    >> be your only alternative. First, learn where the building's
    >> earth ground is located. All incoming utilities such as cable
    >> and phone must connect 'less than 10 feet' to this earthing
    >> point. Even a buried, bare copper, 4 AWG ground wire
    >> joining these grounds (if they are separate) would help.
    >
    > The entry point for the communication utilities is
    > different from that for electrical power, and they are
    > about 120 feet apart. What to do?
    >
    >> Now find the nearest 3 prong AC receptacle to breaker box
    >> and therefore to earth ground. Buy a protector with largest
    >> joules. Cut 6 foot power wire as short as possible and plug
    >> modified protector into that nearest AC receptacle. That
    >> 'upgraded' plug-in protector will at least provide some
    >> earthed protection on half of the condo receptacles that share
    >> same AC electric phase.
    >
    > Is there a surge protector that will fit inside a typical
    > condo breaker box inside the unit? How about inside
    > the main breaker box where the meter is?
    >
    >> Of the three AC electric wires, one must make a direct
    >> connection to earth ground. That becomes your single point
    >> earth ground. Other two incoming AC electric wires must be
    >> earthed through a 'whole house' protector (or via the kludged
    >> protector).
    >
    > As I interpret you, the ground wire in a branch circuit is
    > to act as the "single point earth ground" for equipment in the
    > condo unit. How is this different from the typical Home
    > Depot surge protector setup?
    >
    > *TimDaniels*
  9. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    "w_tom" wrote:
    > ...Some snap into circuit breaker positions such as
    > Siemens QSA2020.


    This looks like something I could use for my condo
    unit. Thanks.

    *TimDaniels*
  10. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Again, that protector is only making / completing the 'short
    to earth ground' connection. Visually inspect that an earth
    ground connection even exists - both yours and the utility's.
    Do not assume that Siemens or equivalent will do anything
    without a good, short earth ground connected to each incoming
    utilities. Without that earth ground, the Siemens would
    provide nothing.

    Timothy Daniels wrote:
    > "w_tom" wrote:
    >> ...Some snap into circuit breaker positions such as
    >> Siemens QSA2020.
    >
    > This looks like something I could use for my condo
    > unit. Thanks.
    >
    > *TimDaniels*
  11. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    That's in a metal cabinet in a storeroom in common area - not
    equipment that's easily visible. But since the metal conduit carrying
    the main power feeds are buried all the way from the underground
    street power lines for more than 150 feet on the premises to the
    metal cabinet, I suspect that the metal conduit acts as the ground
    connection.

    *TimDaniels*

    "w_tom" wrote:
    > Again, that protector is only making / completing the 'short
    > to earth ground' connection. Visually inspect that an earth
    > ground connection even exists - both yours and the utility's.
    > Do not assume that Siemens or equivalent will do anything
    > without a good, short earth ground connected to each incoming
    > utilities. Without that earth ground, the Siemens would
    > provide nothing.
    >
    > Timothy Daniels wrote:
    > > "w_tom" wrote:
    > >> ...Some snap into circuit breaker positions such as
    > >> Siemens QSA2020.
    > >
    > > This looks like something I could use for my condo
    > > unit. Thanks.
  12. Quote:
    Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Again, that protector is only making / completing the 'short
    to earth ground' connection. Visually inspect that an earth
    ground connection even exists - both yours and the utility's.
    Do not assume that Siemens or equivalent will do anything
    without a good, short earth ground connected to each incoming
    utilities. Without that earth ground, the Siemens would
    provide nothing.

    Timothy Daniels wrote:
    > "w_tom" wrote:
    >> ...Some snap into circuit breaker positions such as
    >> Siemens QSA2020.
    >
    > This looks like something I could use for my condo
    > unit. Thanks.
    >
    > *TimDaniels*


    I've been following this post, as well as other posts here with Anonymous and a person named Weston. Their information regarding effectiveness (or lack-of effectiveness) of surge protector products beyond 10 ft of earth ground (service) is just not accurate. Ground is a safety measure. Good ground is important for safety. However, ground has less to do with effective surge protection than they are claiming. What these two are claiming is false. They may understand ground in general - but they don't seem to understand modern surge protection design and function. Period. Are there different designs in surge protection, some better than others? Absolutely. Is their ability to protect your equipment solely based on a good "earth" ground? Absolutely not - only if they are spark-gap units - which are very rare these days - and most certainly not found in any surge strips. So if these two are telling you plug-in surge protectors don't work (again, some better than others) because they are too far from the service entrance/"earth ground"- that's absolutely false. Modern surge protectors (again less spark-gap designs) don't "short" to ground. They may mean well, but they are uninformed at best when it comes to good surge protector units - whole home or plug-in models as ground is not nearly the factor they make it out to be. Again, good ground is good to have and should be promoted - but it's not required for a surge protector to protect the load.
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