Surge protection

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1stressedguy

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Mar 24, 2006
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I'm not sure where this question should be directed. What kind of "surge protection" should I use??? At the present time I'm using a protector that I'd gotten at a discount store that cost less than $10. What type (brand/price range) would some of you recommend?
 

1stressedguy

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Mar 24, 2006
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131
I clicked on your link and was not able to view the page. It said the page could not be displayed. I'm no "computer guru" so I don't know what was wrong.
 
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Nov 11, 2006
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I usually just go to Radio Shack, If you read the protection on surge protecting power strips they have a $ limit they guarantee against. They usually have a cheapy (don't buy) then they have several more that guarantee protection to $25,000 , $50,000, $75,000. I usually just get the $50,000 and have had no troubles. And i live in tornado ally get some pretty good thunderstorms and they always have done the job.
 
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Dec 6, 2006
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Hi -
Yes. I'm a lawyer, but a nice one, if you can believe it. Be very careful about being fooled with cheaper surge protectors that offer huge amounts of money if your equipment fails. They make you jump through major hoops, including going through your homeowner's (renter's) insurance 1st (which you would do anyway). Check your deductible on that policy and especially check whether they consider lightening an "ACT of God" which isn't covered. Then maybe the surge protector guarantee MIGHT kick in or you may find out they had required the above insurance to be in place. You may have to prove what was plugged in at the time and they may come out to inspect it and draw their own conclusions. I learned a lot about this because lightening toasted my three DirecTv boxes, my TIVO and (almost, thank heaven) my three TVs. The $4000 TV escaped because it had a built in surge protector. All these other things were connected to cheaper surge protectors (my computer equipment which was on the same wall as one on the TVs had a $200 protector with battery back up and was fine.) I'm learning a lot about routing audio and visual equipment through coaxial plugs on the surge protectors rather than just plugging things in. It's a joy to spend my time learning that MOV protectors are relatively useless as opposed to something called a Series mode. It looks like something in the medium price range, with the proper set up, will be sufficient.
Just did this as a word of caution. This has exhausted my current knowledge on the subject. This just happened a few weeks ago and I'm trying to educate myself - so where is one of the most reliable place to go :) TECH GUYS!
Dawn
 
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Jul 15, 2004
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If you want to find out if a surge protector is adequate, all you have to do is look for a UL (Underwriter Labatories) certification mark on the product box or the product inself. If it does not say that it is certified by UL then do not buy it as it is junk otherwise.
 
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Dec 6, 2006
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Hi
I just wrote a complete letter on this and while doing a spell check lost the whole thing. So you get the condensed version of why a UL approval is only a very small part of choosing a surge protector. Besides UL I always check with the better business bureau. In this field there happen to be three major brands, which is always good to know. One big thing I discovered is an MOV (metal oxide varistor) is only good for one big surge. It is very popular and many probably don't know they are operating with a dead protector. What are the AMPS, VOLTS and Hz and how much do you need? (I had a lot more info before I lost the original letter - I shouldn't type at 2 am). VERY IMPORTANT -You need coax fittings to screw into your TV, satellite and antenna - too many people just plug them into outlets as they don't know any better (read me - fried my DirecTv box and TV).
A surge protector for TV equiptment can be a different animal than one for computer equiptment. Does it have phone line outlets? Do you want battery back up so you might be able to get to it before the surge ends and you can turn it off correctly to prevent damage?
There is more that I discovered in the last week while doing the research, but I ended up buying a $35 APC just for the TV and satellite. Don't get me started on what I've researched on those 6 figure guarantees offered and the hoops that many companies make you jump through to collect any of that money at all.
All of this, and more, is worth looking into before buying a protector. I would never walk into an appliance store and just buy the first refrigerator I saw which had a UL sticker. These protectors run from $6.99 through 5 figures. It depends a great deal on your specific needs. I found out an awful lot of important stuff; in the past I'd buy something colorful and just plug everything into an outlet. It is MUCH more complicated.
Dawn
 
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Apr 16, 2007
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Surge protectors! Oh me, this could easily become a small booklet, rather than a forum post. But this lawyer fellow, "Dawndd" is on the right track, in my humble estimation, and considering he's a lawyer, it's most generous of him to offer his comments, as I know how busy lawyers are, and how little time they available. I also agree with the lawyer man who scoffs at the notion of looking for the "UL" symbol on anything, as suggested by poster "cfhpantera". This idea is even more worthless than turning to the Better Business Bureau for an honest assessment of a local business firm.

Here's my offering on this subject. I've held a valid ham radio license for 44+ years, back to 1963. Electronic toys are electronic toys and it makes absolutely no difference if we're talking about ham radio toys, computer toys, stereo-sound system toys, or whatever. If it's something you plug in the wall for electricity, there is no difference. From my own personal experiences, as well as those of my fellow radio buddies, you would really have to stretch your imagination to appreciate what lightning can (and DOES) do; what it can and does blow up, and flat out turn to crispy critters. And contrary to what you might be thinking, the overwhelming majority of damage does NOT occur as a result of energy picked up from ANTENNAS. NOT so. It's those darned power lines.

Surge protectors for consumers, such as what we're surely talking about here, will not save your bacon from lightning. Consumer-grade surge protectors are useful to protect you from surges induced in the utility lines by the UTILITY COMPANIES. If anyone reading this post had access to what is called a power line chart recorder, you would find that yes, the utility companies definitely distribute "dirty power", day in, day out. By that I mean electricity that is chock full of wild fluctuations, and spikes, some of which definitely can cause damage to certain electronic devices. Which devices? Well, one doesn't really know until your toy has been fried, right? A chart recorder is basically just a high accuracy voltmeter, but it looks like the gizmo they use to chart earthquakes, so when you're not sitting there gawking at your voltmeter, it continuously scribbles out on paper the voltage being measured. Then you can scan the page and see all the spikes. And there will usually be several over the course of a single day. For this, a surge suppressor will help

Broadcast radio and TV stations spend huge sums of money (keeping in mind there is nothing broadcasters hate more than spending money) to protect their equipment from electric surges of all types. Quite often, when the TV station drops regular programming to cover emergency weather happenings in your area (tornado or the like). they are already on EMERGENCY GENERATOR power to bring you the broadcast, but they don't tell the viewers they are on emergency power, because so doing would surely add just more fear to an already frightening situation, and if viewers were actually thinking clearly, they would forget about watching the TV weather broadcast and UNPLUG their equipment before lightning fries it to charcoal. But if the TV weather man spoke as he should, the stations ADVERTISERS would throw a fit because the advertisers don't want to be paying big bucks to run their silly-*** commercials when no one is watching.

I have a "campers" TV, just a simple black and white jobbie, with 4 inch screen, designed for use from portable DC power supplies. I use this TV during severe storms, and connect it up to either my motorcycle battery, gel cell, or simply plug the power cube into the TrippLite Internet Office 500 battery backup I use for the computer. It'll run the TV for 90 minutes, which is plenty long enough for a weather emergency.

But the kicker is to get all the expensive toys UNPLUGGED from the wall outlets. As it concerns lightning, this is the only real safe solutions.

As the lawyer man said ("dawndd"), if you DID encounter a problem with equipment being damaged while plugged into one of these surge suppressors, even the ones that advertise LIGHTNING PROTECTION as included, you'll probably find getting satisfaction not worth the hassle. If your heavy 27" TV gets fried, or your 35 pound computer, 23 pound monitor, gets toasted, what do you do if the surge suppressor manufacturer demands you ship the damaged goods to them for their inspection, along with the surge suppressor device, before awarding you any payment? Ah yes, you either fork out the big bucks for all this shipping, or you just slink away and bite the loss. The chances of these companies paying you on a claim, WITHOUT EQUIPMENT INSPECTION, is as close to zero as your mind can imagine.

These TrippLite and APC battery backup devices-- they are fantastic to keep the computer OS from crashing when the juice flickers, and these all have surge suppression built in but they are no better than anything else when lightning is visiting your neighborhood.

That's my 2 cents on this subject.
 
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Dec 27, 2003
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hopsing47 said:
But the kicker is to get all the expensive toys UNPLUGGED from the wall outlets. As it concerns lightning, this is the only real safe solutions.
and your 2 cents worth on that is a bar of gold when it comes to correct info.

There is no other safe way to protect electronics in a storm.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
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What I found to be especially disappointing, while I was researching surge protectors, was that once the thing goes off for any reason and protects your stuff, the surge protector is fried and you have to buy a new one. I got a battery back-up, but it doesn't solve the problem if you get a direct lightening hit. :( I had a direct lightening strike and I didn't know my surge protector was already useless. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. We had an antennae on the roof from before we had cable and then DirecTV. It actually burned up. It probably contributed to the problem. At least the insurer paid for surge protectors on three TVs. (and the TVs)
Dawn
 
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Aug 23, 2007
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I was told to pay at least around 100 bucks for a decent surge protector as well as every tech website saying they would cost a lot but I bought a philips surge protector at wal-mart for $25 and its technical specs meet and exceed every websites requirements for a good surge protector. does anyone else have an opinion on this?
 
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