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What happens with Improper Surge Protection!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by dustyjay, Mar 31, 2004.

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  1. dustyjay

    dustyjay Thread Starter

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    Last night there was a Line Power problem in my neighborhood. The Lady next door came over and ask me to take a look at her new computer. "it isnt working right!" Sure nuff it wasn't working right. We had a surge then a black out. I lost a digital clock and an older TV to it. She lost her computer and her monitor. Later her daughter had the same thing. Her older computer wasn't working. Strange smell of toasted electronics eminating from both machines. Nither one of these machines were connected to a proper Surge protector. They were plugged into a wanna be $9.00 power strip with "Surge Protection!" My computer did not suffer any such maladies. I am connected to a UPS. Gotta love the protection there.

    Suggestion is If you can't afford the few extra dollars to get yourself a UPS (uninteruptable power supply or Battery Back-up), at least spend a little more on a quality Surge Protector. The people who have spent lots of time working on their systems and those that do this for a living, will tell you that good power protection is a must. The house next door to mine is out a couple thousand dollars for the time being. Although they will be able to eventually recoup at least some if not all from the power company and it was a lost neutral at their equipment that caused the problem.

    By the way Wally World (for those who have that store available) carries a 650VA APC UPS for about $45.00. That is wwhere I got mine. I was looking at a new Surge Protector and was going to spend about $40 anyway. Glad I did!:cool: (y) (y) :p
     
  2. Davey7549

    Davey7549

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    Dusty
    Good story about improper surge protection and also a good lead on a UPS.

    Would you mind if I change the Subject title to:

    What happens with Improper Surge Protection!

    Let me know
    Dave
     
  3. dustyjay

    dustyjay Thread Starter

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    Go for it! It is a fitting title. thanks
     
  4. hewee

    hewee

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    Yes you do need a good Surge Protection and not the cheap ones. A good one will cost about $30.00 on up but you can get them for less on sell.
    Where I live it is not as bad as other places in the USA with lighting etc.
    But even with lighting it is best to unplug everything. Read the find print and it will tell you that.

    I should get me a UPS because in the summer we can have blackouts on real hot days went everyone has the air on and the power system gets over loaded.
    But when ever anything happen and I lose power I unplug the PC, monitor etc till the power comes back on and then I plug things back.
     
  5. Kandy201

    Kandy201

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    I too unlug EVERYTHING! As soon as a storm starts boom all is unplugged except for one piece of crap tv to start with that I dont care much for. I was also part of the huge north america blackout last summer. Stupid me left my computer on when I went to work but I called home and my husbands mom unplugged it for me as I was living with them at the time. Then when we got full power back 1 week later I waited a whole day before plugging it back in. Better safe than sorry I think.
     
  6. dustyjay

    dustyjay Thread Starter

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    It is not just the power cords that need to be disconnected either. You should disconnect any modem connections whether Dial-up, or Broadband. Also if you have a tv tuner card disconnect the input connection to that also. Remember Electricity is our friend, except when it starts attacking our computers! And when we get stupid with it and cause ourselves to be a path to ground of course! Believe me electrical burns hurt!
     
  7. cyberfreak

    cyberfreak

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    I just happened to be reading posts and this one struck my eye. About a year ago our house was hit with a major power surge...some power lines down the road blew and the transformer in our yard zapped so hard that the plastic cover that surrounds it blew right off.

    We had our hot tub zapped, 3 computers, one printer, vcr, tv, microwave, playstation, clock radio and a few other small appliances...I think there were 14 things total. Anyhow luckily we had insurance...but the worst thing for me was when I smelled my computers burning wires.

    Well you'd think after smelling the computer and seeing puffs of smoke that they'd be toast, however all three of them only lost their power supplies -- no data. Power supplies are not that expensive (about $5) compared to the cost of 3 computer systems.

    My point here is--Dusty you should do your neighbour a favor and tell her that her computer system is likey not completely trashed...and hopefully whoever told her it was, wasn't "over looking" anything!

    Oh and btw...the plug in where the surge bar was attached to my one computer actually had a burn area about 2 inches across. Our house practically blew up!

    I'm not an eletronics personal or anything but I do know that most electronic equipment these days are made with a fail safe to protect the expensive components in situations such as power surges, floods, etc.

    Hope my story helps someone. :)
     
  8. hewee

    hewee

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    Also check that your home plus are wired right and grounded.
    They may be gounded but the white and black wire maybe be switched.

    You can get a tester that you plug into the outlet that is very easy to use and it will tell you if everything is ok.

    Go to HomeDepot and get a 3-Wire Circuit Analyzer for $5.00

    http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDU...ID=ccddadcldkflmfjcgelceffdfgidgki.0&MID=9876

    Or a GFCI Circuit Tester that is the same thing but has a button on it to test a GFCI Circuit too. They are $8.00.

    http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDU...ID=ccddadcldkflmfjcgelceffdfgidgki.0&MID=9876

    Very cheap to have around and are nice to have too if you are working on something and you want to make should you have the power turn off you cab just plug it in and turn off the break till the lights go out on the tester and then your know what plug goes to what breaker.

    Even turn off all the breaker and then turn just one breaker at a time and go tru your home so you know what plugs and lights are on what breaker so you can write it all down on paper and at the breaker box.
     
  9. dustyjay

    dustyjay Thread Starter

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    I have confirmed that her computers are indeed toasted.Her hew one actually has burns to the motherboard. Her old one lost everything except the cdrom. I keep spare partss around to verify problems. I also have a back ground in electronic repair so I know what I am looking at.

    And Hewee you are right People should check their home wiring for correct installation at least when the either first move in or when they buy the house. This can save a lot of grief. Also Identifying the breakers properly is important. I do not own my wn home. I rent, even so I went and tested all the out lets and actually had to rewire 8 in this house. I also had to replace 3 outlets that had lost the spring tension to hold a plug.
     
  10. hewee

    hewee

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    dustyjay,

    Wow you really had a lot work then on wiring etc on the place where it should of all been ok so it pays to check.
    This is a old house I rent and most of it is not with grounded plugs. Very old two wire so I had to add a ground. I gounded the plugs by bring in a ground wire from outside that is on a water pipe. Have it coming into the room and alot the baseboard. Then have a wire going up to the plugs that I replace with a grounded outlet.
    Was all very easy and cheap to do as I had everything so it was free. Not the best way best I can see the ground wire coming in at the corner of the window frame where I drilled a hole to run the wire tru and the you see the wires going up to each plug. Will you can't see them because of things setting in front of the plugs but the wire is still there.
    But hey it works and it has all been tested so that is all I care about.
     
  11. kiwiguy

    kiwiguy

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    People need to put "surge protection" devices into perspective.

    Consider the energy that the power network can deliver under fault conditions. Typically here it is 20 kA.

    That is over 6,000 horsepower instantaneously. Visualise it.

    Now, if anyone here believes that little plastic surge protector could withstand 6,000 HP unleashed on it, they must be dreaming ...

    Quality surge protectors give protection for only the most minor events. Significant faults will toast them in a few milliseconds, along with everything else.
     
  12. dustyjay

    dustyjay Thread Starter

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    Well that is why you buy a quality unit. The UPS I am using has an equipment replacement garaunty. Tripplite Surge protectors do as well. If my surge protector dies due to a spike or surge then I am really happy as long as my computer does go with it!
     
  13. hewee

    hewee

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    I also have a good surge protection with equipment replacement garaunty.
    BUT read what it says about lighting and it says you are NOT covered and it tell you to unplug the unit.

    So like kiwiguy said when you have that much power it will get tru anything.
     
  14. hewee

    hewee

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  15. Wet Chicken

    Wet Chicken

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    Wow that's a great price. I'm running a 700 Smart-UPS from APC and it cost a lot more, but still worth every penny. By the way, a little engineers tech trick here, take your power cords and tie them into a knot. Any power surges that you have will self destruct and be reduced by 2/3rds :D I tie 3 or 4 knots in mine just to be safe :p Also it should be noted that those cheap "power protecting strips" do NOT have to see a full power surge to go bad! They often times contain a part called a MOV and generally work like a fancy fuse, BUT they are ACCUMULATIVE so if you have (for example) 3 smaller power surges (or spikes) they will add up inside the MOV and destroy it just as one big power surge would! In other words, if your power protector is older than one year old, then it's time to replace it because it is NOT giving you any protection!
     
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