Surge Protection Help

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Ferdinand*T, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Ferdinand*T

    Ferdinand*T Second Unit

    Nov 11, 2002
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    Hey guys I did some research and decided that I'm going to buy a Monster 2100 Powerbar for $250 as my surge protector. I figured since I have about $4500 invested in my theater that this is the right choice considering I'm currently using a $15 power strip now. The audio department of my theater is all new and I don't want to see my money go down the drain because my equipment wasn't protected.

    Now here is my problem, my house is pretty old. The living room and dinning room only have 2 prong ac outlets not 3. Could I buy a 3 prong into 2 prong adapter so I can plug it in the living room directly to the outlet without any problems? Two I have two rooms that have the 3 prong outlets but when I plug this $15 power strip into those the red light says faulty wire turns on. Only 1 one out of 8 ac outlets does the light not come on. Thing is its two rooms away so I would need a extension cord. When I did this with the cheap power strip the red light came back on. Either way would the power strip still do its job if the red light comes on? If I went with the extension cable route would everything get just as much power as if I had it directly plugged into the wall? I plan on buying one today but I don't want to waste $250 if its going to be useless in my situation.
  2. Dave Nibeck

    Dave Nibeck Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 23, 2000
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    This is one of the can-o-worms topics....

    Here is my 2 cents (you asked) - I would first look into whole house surge protection. Your utility company may offer these devices or check with your local electricians. For less than $300 installed, it will protect your entire house! I have an Intermatic Panel Guard. Some, like leviton's, even offers phone and cable protection.

    You can then purchase way less expensive (about $30) surge strips for your equipment. Just make sure it is UL 1449 approved. Look for the UL listing details (on the package or on the product itself) showing voltage ratings of 330V between L-N, L-G and N-G.

    I am not an electrician but do work for an insurance company and often see other electronic products (microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, phones and answering machines) get fried. Might as well protect them all!
  3. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

    Feb 5, 2001
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    You are correct in thinking you need an actual GROUND (as verified by the surge protector LED light) for the surge protector to work properly.

    Now you must determine what's with your house wiring. In the old days, say up to the '50s, electrical wires ran from metal junction boxes in the wall through a metal-flex conduit to the fuse panel. This offere d a path for the ground.

    Today a 3-wire (hot-neutral-bare ground) is used with Romex and the grd wire attaches to the duplex outlet screw.

    It is possible to replace old 2-prong duplex outlets with today's 3-prong, but again for it to work, one needs a grounding back to the breaker panel and an earth ground (stake) with a #6gauge wire betw the stake clamp and breaker panel.

    You may wish to get a qualified electrician to make things right. You also may research Dave's suggestion for a whole-house of service panel surge protector -- Pananamax sells one at for around $150 -- which the electrician can install in less than 1/2 hour. With a whole-house unit you then can get away with using smaller units behinds the HT gear, say the adioShack $49.95 model, a Stratitec at some wal-mart/sam's outlets, or a Panamax 4300 for $169, or TrippLite Isobar6 DBs for $50-$60.


  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Jun 29, 2001
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    To echo Bill's succinct ground = no protection.

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