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Help! Which Surge Protecter?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Scottie Mow

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Posted April 04 2003 - 11:30 AM

I'm looking to spend up to $400 for a top quality power bar for my home theater. The problem is, I know squat about this. I was eyeing up the Monster HTS 1000, but then someone advised me to look at Panamax. I'm not quite sure what to look for in a good power bar. Can someone help me? By the way, my apartment is a fairly old building and the wiring is poor - proper grounding is a problem (if that makes a difference). I'm also not in an area prone to brown-outs, but do experience power outtages due to lightning strikes knocking power out. Thanks for any help

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   TyR



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Posted April 04 2003 - 11:54 AM

I'm actually going to add a question, Scottie. Two, actually. I hope that doing so doesn't prevent you from getting a clear and helpful answer to your question. How often should one replace a power strip? My understanding is that they can reach an absorptive limit. And how big a difference -- performance-wise -- is there between low, medium, and high-end power strips?

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted April 04 2003 - 02:05 PM

a typical surge protector works on the basis of diverting the excess voltage to ground. ideally, what you're looking to do is have that ground be earth ground. in other words, the excess would be diverted into the earth. if you were in your own home, i'd advocate strongly for a whole house surge protector since those are placed at the meter or the circuit breakers. the key is a short (10 foot or less) path to earth ground. so if your ground is suspect, and there's really no way of telling (this isn't a simple measure the resistance with a multimeter) the effectiveness of a surge protector is compromised. a surge will seek the lowest impedance path to earth and who knows where that will be.

since you're up in BC and I 'think' you don't have a lot of lighting activity with a high percentage of ground strikes, you might be better served with a surge protection device that utilize either Silicon Avalanche Diodes or devices that incorporate sine wave tracking or some hybridization of the two. It's really not all that big a deal which way you go.
An example of the former (SAD) is the DPS Plus series from Transtector Corporation Transtector is a highly regarded company in surge protection and is a sister company of PolyPhaser, considered by many a leader in protecting sensitive electronic equipment. Transtector is a US corporation 800-882-9110 and you can buy their DPS plus, which includes protection for cable for <$100 US. The person to speak to over there is a gentleman by the name of August.

An example of the latter would be the ZX-5000 (it comes in various configurations) from www.suttondesigns.com. Also under $100 US.

Both of these units go a little beyond typical surge protectors in that they act to tightly control glitches and voltage spikes. In the event of catastrophic failure, they both fail 'open' which means that the unit is dead (replaced if under warranty) but no current will get past to your equipment.

If you're on the cheap, likely you'll be looking at MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) devices. As TyR mentioned, MOV's do have a finite life time. This lifetime is predicated on the # of surges, the magnitude of the surges, the joule rating. The lifetime of an MOV based device goes up exponentially as the joules go up. So...on the cheap we have the Stratitec S5200 which does it all for HT, 3050 joules (quite a large amount...compare other brands), and can be found online at a variety of places. Directron has it bundled for $25. A bargain IMHO. If you've got a Sam's Club by you, I think you can get the bundle for $20 or less. I think Stratitec can provide a list of retailers in your area if you contact them.
Knock yourselves out.

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Scottie Mow

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Posted April 11 2003 - 04:29 AM

great, thanks for the advice Chu. I'll talk to the local power company and see if there's anything they can do. Scott

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