Does a costly surge protector really matter?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by perrin, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. perrin

    perrin Stunt Coordinator

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    I am wondering if I should get a surge protector for my home theater. I live in the Seattle area, and brown outs and lightening are very rare for this area. I am using a standard, inexpensive power strip for my Sony Wega 27" TV, Denon 2802 receiver, Sony C670D 5-disc DVD player, and my digital cable box. Would a surge protector make any difference such as Monster Cable?

    perrin
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Perrin,

    If you are under the impression that Monster = costly surge suppressor, the answer is Yes. But wait, there are dozens of surge protectors under $50 if you want basic insurance against a surge or spike that may or may NOT ever strike – that’s insurance for ya, who knows?

    For example, the Panamax POWERMAX 8 COAX model (with terminals to connection your incoming cable tv coax) goes for $29 at this online dealer POWERSYSTEMSDIRECT

    Anything similar that’s rated at least 1600 Joules can be found at OfficeMax and other mass electronics stores, too, without mailing costs.

    At this level, it’s basic peace-of-mind like plug it in and forget it (so long as the idiot lites keep lit).

    bill
     
  3. perrin

    perrin Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Bill.

    I will look into that site you have listed to find more information.

    perrin
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    ..and more than one ever needs to read here in SEARCH for SURGE PROTECTORS...
     
  5. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Second Unit

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    I had the same question a few months ago, and here's how I looked at it. I talked to my insurance agent regarding the matter, and I have a $500 deductible on my homeowners. I would basically have to eat my DVD changer if my whole system got fried (total approx. value = $8000). I thought, what the hell, what's another $100 or less for one of these surge protectors which offer a total connected equipment replacement policy. I picked up one of the Panamax models (DBS I think), and as long as you have everything hooked in (including Sat and/or CATV), you're covered for life. Sounds like the cheapest insurance policy that I have ever come across.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    now does that cover full replacement costs? let's say your TV is no longer made, how will they compensate you?
     
  7. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Brown outs and lightning might not be a problem in Seattle, but what about utility equipment failures, large commercial and/or industrial facilities, cars hitting utility poles? All of these can cause problems with the power to your home. Invest in surge protection. It's cheap insurance. Even if you have homeowners insurance that covers this kind of damage, the time you'll be be without equipment while you go through the claims process, and then the shopping process isn't worth the money you'll save by not purchasing some form of protection.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    those are legitimate issues Gary.
     
  9. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Second Unit

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    Chu,

    I believe that it would be similar to those extnended warranties at BB and/or CC, where if your model is no longer made, then they have to compensate you with something similar by the same manufacturer. Don't quote me on that, as it is a very good question you bring up. I'll have to double check with their website/customer support. As always, if nothing else keep receipts, take digital pics, burn them on a CD and keep at a separate location just in case sh!t ever really hits the fan.
     
  10. Dave HW

    Dave HW Extra

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    i don't question the value of surge protection. However, I just bought an RPTV. The saleman tried to sell me a monster surge protector and tried to see me on the fact that only was it good for surge protection, it significantly improved the signal. Is this true and does it matter?

    Dave
     
  11. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Second Unit

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    Dave,

    I'd be a little weary if the cat is trying to sell you one of those fancy power center line conditioner thingies. I'm sure somebody out there can swear up and down and sideways that they noticed in an improvement in sound or better PQ, but these things run upwards of $1000+. For that kind of jack, I'd rather have more/upgraded components. I do suggest in dropping the $100 or less for a good surge protector. Also, I'm a little skeptical of Monster in general knowing what I know from this forum and from retailers. I, personally, would pass on anything fancier than a good surge protector.
     
  12. Frank joe

    Frank joe Stunt Coordinator

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    i am confused as i read the statements above. i purscased a monster hts 5000 surge protector and power line conditioner as well as stage 4 filtering. list price was 700 bucks. i ordered it from the soundprofessionals webiste for 340 deliverd to my door. if you look at the time it took you to research all your gear and how long it took to put it all together, not to mention all the monies that were spent. itn's it worth some peace of mind not to have all the equipment hit by either lighting,( do you have a satellit reciever of outside antenna hooked up to your tuner for fm reception) or surge as the power going off and on. i have personally heard of people loosing their equipment ( phones , computers hard drives, tv's ect.) to the things i have mentioned. but, i have never heard of anyone loosing their equipment that has a good (not under 200 bucks)
    surge protector. so the choice is clear ( was to me).
    i think so far i have spent 15-20,000 dollars on my equipment over the years. a few hundred for peace of mind was well worth it. just putting in my thought. frankie
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    That's a tough question to answer Dave. You see, most surge protectors, or TVSS (transient voltage) have some sort of emi/rfi filtration. They'll usually specify this filtration either as a percent (ex. 99.97%) or as dB (45 db). The thing with this specification David, is that it's not uniform among manufacturers with how it's specified. For example one manufacturer might say their product provides 15 dB of suppresion at 15 kHz. Another might say they've got 50 dB at 10 mHz. Another might simply say they've got 35 dB and not specify the frequency. The funny thing is, it's entirely possible that each of the three manufacturers has identical emi/rfi supperession units in them. The reason why they're all different has to do with where on the EMI/RFI suppression curve they've taken their numbers. These devices, which are dirt, and I do mean dirt, cheap have modest amounts of suppression at low frequencies and greater amounts at higher values.

    If your AC line has signficant amounts of junk on it, and if your RPTV has a susceptibility to this junk because the manufacturer has somehow skimped on building in EMI/RFI rejection into the circuitry of the power supply (that is after all, where this ought to be taking place) then maybe the use of such a device would result in an improved picture.

    Now I'll bet that the place you saw your RPTV had a whole slew of TV's and stereos and computers all hooked up. And probably you selected your RPTV for a number of reasons, one of them probably being that you liked the picture. Well I can't think of too many worse scenarios like the one I mentioned to cause EMI/RFI to enter the AC lines.

    If this issue is of concern to you, then consider buying one of the units like the Belkin Isolators (they've got a HT version). Here we have your basic point of use surge protector and each pair of outlets has it's own EMI/RFI device. The thinking here is that an assumption is being made that each device you own has the possibility of dumping EMI/RFI back into the AC lines which can then further affect attached components. Furthermore, the further an attached component is from where AC enters the system, the greater the amount of protection since it's a cumulative effect. Is this a real problem? Dunno but next time you go into your favourite audio store, take a look at what all the devices are hooked up to. Maybe just an outlet?

    Frank Joe, if your concern was to protect your system against surges, you chose an enormously expensive and ineffective way of doing so. Not because it's Monster either. What one should do, and I do mean should, is to have installed a whole house surge protection device. These are located at the breakers or at the meter where the incoming AC and all other lines such as cable, phones, etc. also come in. For any surge protector to realize maximum benefit, it must be located within about 10 feet of house ground. The reason is that surges are dealt with by diverting the surge to ground and as you go significantly past this 10 feet, there's no telling how the surge will find a way to reach ground. It's kind of like your having bought a very expensive weapon to deal with an intruder in one room when you could've bought a lock to keep the intruder out in the first place. As far as the conditioning aspect of your device, any benefit realized would be highly dependent upon your AC power quality. For the vast majority of us, it's not bad and even if there are issues, they can more effectively and inexpensively be solved by tackling matters further downstream. There's a lot of companies selling solutions to problems that don't exist. Better to find out if you've got a problem in the first place. Don't need to add octane increasing additives to your gas tank if you bought high octane gas to begin with [​IMG]
     
  14. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    And to expand on Chu's statement on whole house protection, consider a "cascade system", where the suppressor at the main service takes the brunt of a hit, a sub-panel mounted suppressor takes what gets by the main, and then point-of-use surge suppressors at your equipment.
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    There's so many ways to effectively play the game and it may be that redundancy might bear some consideration. For those that live in highly lighting prone Florida and parts of the Midwest, beefier MOV's are required simply because the probability of cloud to ground strikes increases. If they're going to size you with 1000 joules, I wouldn't expect longevity out of the unit. 2000 or better would provide greater peace of mind.
    To that end one can always contact major manufacturers of such units, and there's tons of them (Siemens, 4-Square, Leviton, Intermatic, etc.) and ask to speak to an engineering specialist. While they may have a vested interest in selling you their unit, at least they'll suggest their most appropriate unit.

    Well water's not electricity and for what it's worth, my tap water comes off a well. Ever so so slightly hard and cold and refreshing even in the summer. I'll tell you, most places you buy your stuff from aren't conditioning their equipment and the attached stuff they've got is hell compared to your home environmet. If you're going to go for conditioning, then you need to define what your problem is and then attack that. It just might be that a separate line to your HT off a subpanel that's got an isolation transformer is going to much much cheaper and effective than point of use.

    Regarding Richard Gray all I can say is I've posted on his products before. Search my name and you'll get my opinion.
     

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