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Monster PowerCenter HT 800G Tear-Down

Today's Guinea Pig

Many of you may have recently experienced the joys of Boxing Day/Week, and I am no exception. When I saw Monster's HT800G going for $30 instead of its typical $45 street price (or $90 MSRP), I decided it'd be a fine unit to look at.

Knocking At The Front Door

This premium power product comes packaged in one of those dreaded blister packs; not exactly the most return-, storage- or finger/user-friendly stuff.

Features listed on the front include its “GreenPower” outlets to stop devices from drawing standby current when the “Master” device is either off or in standby itself, fire-proof MOVs with 2160 joules of surge suppression, cable and phone surge protection, nondescript other filtering and protections, a $500,000 connected equipment warranty (I thought APC's $200,000 warranty was silly high already) and patented cable labels.

Knocking At The Rear Door

For all my dislike of blister packs, at least Monster's packaging is pre-cut around most of the back so there are only small plastic bridges left to break.

The back gives a summary description of key features listed on the front. The “Dual Mode Plus” protection simply means the switched outlets get turned off to prevent (further) damage to loads and sound an alarm on surges large enough to trigger it. “Clean Power” filtering isn't really explained clearly, but the “precision engineering” claim compels us to expect something more than a simple X-rated capacitor for EMI filtering.

The fine print near the bottom reads: “Designed in the USA and manufactured to its quality specifications. Made in China.”  We'll see what Chinese quality translates to soon. With a $90 MSRP, though, Monster should have been able to afford having the HT800G manufactured elsewhere.

Patents Inside

I was puzzled that no patents were listed on the packaging. A second look, this time inside, reveals Monster's list of trademark claims, patents and disclaimers printed in white on light green. They're easily missed unless you are looking for them.

Packaging Contents

Aside from the surge protector itself, packaging includes:

  • a trilingual instruction manual with warranty information
  • a disposal notice for European customers (not shown)
  • Monster's patented labels
  • a one-meter Monster-branded coax cable
  • a telephone cord

The Manual

The manual is probably the most frequently overlooked part of most obvious-purpose products, but if you buy one of these “green” PowerCenters, you should definitely read the part about how to use the GreenPower or equivalent feature correctly to reduce the risk of data loss or bricking devices.

Patented Labels

What is so special about these labels? Not much, apart from their glossy paper being punched all the way through the waxed paper backing. If you were expecting to peel them off by bending a corner (as you would with most labels), that's not going to work well; the paper backing will most likely come with it.

Looking up design patent d443 250 reveals it to be nothing more than a patent on color-coded labels that match colored labels on the power center itself.

Phone Cord

If this was from any other manufacturer, I would not bother with a closer look at the phone cord. But it's Monster we are talking about, makers of usually expensive cables.

This isn't a fancy phone cord that promises to make your phone calls sound crisper. Monster didn't even bother to have Dong Long put the house's brand on it.

Monster Coax

Here, we have a 1.2m (4') piece of Monster SV1-RG6 cable with gold-plated termination shells. It feels thick, sturdy and pliable, but I am not too impressed with the off-center terminations and the gouged dielectric on the right. Also, look at the bend radius on that cable; it looks a whole lot sharper than the “five times the cable diameter” thumb rule for shielded cables. Although the cable does not feel like it got structurally compromised, why tempt fate when this potential issue can be easily avoided by folding or coiling the cable more loosely?

Frontal Assault

The Monster HT800G gives you three master-controlled outlets, four always-on outlets, coax and phone surge suppression, power, protection and ground indicators, a 2.4-meter (8') power cord and an illuminated breaker switch to turn incoming mains power on or off.

The exterior design is simple and to the point, just how I like it. I wish the company had simply put five outlets on the always-on side and four controlled outlets, though. Simplify the layout and give people the most flexibility.

Rear View

There's not much to see on the back, where most of the space is occupied by the molded information label. As appears to be customary for power strips, French-speaking people only need to worry about keeping the unit dry, while English speakers need to beware of aquariums, wet locations and piggy-backing strips onto each other. As typical for better-quality MOV-based surge suppressors rated under UL 1449v3, this unit is rated at 400V across any two mains wire pairs.

  • bit_user
    I long ago replaced my Monster Power A/V surge protection / power filtering product with a Panamax unit, which were peerless at the time. It would be nice to know how their quality rates, these days.

    Oh, and thanks for yet another excellent teardown.
    Reply
  • toddybody
    Not trying to be negative...but Tom's is really confusing me lately;

    Continued Power Strip Teardowns (admittedly boring, though technically interesting) juxtaposed against some goofy op eds (yes Im talking about you, Mr. Used Macbook)...with a considerable lag in reporting tech news behind it's peers (i.e., GTX 970 VRAM-Gate, recent AMD 3xx tweets).

    Tom's, you ARE an AWESOME site because of your attention to:

    PC Component Reviews (though a topical review of Apple Products wouldn't offend master race folks either)

    Manufacturer Q&A Articles

    System Builders and Benchmarks!

    ...anyhoo, please dont loose the spark that makes you a special site.

    PS: How about a refreshed customer water loop guide?



    Reply
  • bit_user
    15254691 said:
    Not trying to be negative...but Tom's is really confusing me lately;

    Continued Power Strip Teardowns (admittedly boring, though technically interesting) juxtaposed against some goofy op eds (yes Im talking about you, Mr. Used Macbook)...with a considerable lag in reporting tech news behind it's peers (i.e., GTX 970 VRAM-Gate, recent AMD 3xx tweets).
    Why not complain about this in the comments on those Op Eds and the late news articles, then?

    Or, better yet, perhaps the site feedback forum (might actually get some results):

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-9.html

    Reply
  • Steelwing
    Now show us a tear-down of a professional level surge protector that doesn't use MOVs (is a non-sacrificial protector) but cancels the surges in another manner.

    I want to see something from SurgeX, Zero Surge, or Brick Wall.
    Reply
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    15255097 said:
    Now show us a tear-down of a professional level surge protector that doesn't use MOVs (is a non-sacrificial protector) but cancels the surges in another manner.

    I want to see something from SurgeX, Zero Surge, or Brick Wall.
    Send an email to SurgeX and try convincing them to contact me and send me a review sample. At $200 and up, those fancy units are far too expensive to tear down at my own expense.

    If I did receive one, I would also feel compelled to try giving its protection some sort of work-out to prove a few points based on what I read in their patents during a long argument with other forum posters about SurgeX many months ago.

    (Hmm, looks like THG ate my signature and won't let me set it again.)
    Reply
  • babernet_1
    I really hate these new horizontal windows. They usually don't work for me. I have Google Chrome and a cable modem
    Reply
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    15254691 said:
    Not trying to be negative...but Tom's is really confusing me lately;

    Continued Power Strip Teardowns (admittedly boring, though technically interesting) juxtaposed against some goofy op eds
    Then you might be happy to read that my next tear-down won't be a power strip... and my next two stories after that might not be either, now that I have enough basic test equipment to start building my own and dig into more intricate stuff - THG has lent me an oscilloscope last month and the Eyeball + DFT power factor slides in this story were my first of likely many future uses of it in a story... a hint of on of the things I might end up using it for at least until I get a more convenient method of obtaining the same measurements.

    I started doing power strips because it was something simple sparked by an unexpected failure that got more interest than expected from readers. The wild manufacturing quality variability helped keep things entertaining so I will probably continue doing them whenever I get something potentially different enough to turn into a story - you never know where the next shocking revelation will come from until you look and it jumps into your face!

    Reply
  • tsumeone
    I personally love these teardowns. Goes to show you that money is not always quality, but sometimes it can be. I'd personally love to see a teardown of one of those highly regarded metal Tripp-Lite units, the ISOBAR Ultra ones. I wonder just how much quality is actually in those, but I don't want to bust mine open.
    Reply
  • 06yfz450ridr
    i have a few panamax pdus that we pulled from a job literally 20+ of them. I use one for my tv equipment and a panamax ups for my pc stuff.

    I could donate a pdu to disassemble if you would like here is the model #m4315-pro
    Reply
  • Daniel Sauvageau
    15258021 said:
    i have a few panamax pdus that we pulled from a job literally 20+ of them. I use one for my tv equipment and a panamax ups for my pc stuff.

    I could donate a pdu to disassemble if you would like here is the model #m4315-pro
    That would certainly be much appreciated.
    Reply