Surge protection

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Timothy Payton, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Timothy Payton

    Timothy Payton Auditioning

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    Surge protector/voltage control? $100,000 protection insurance? Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3, is that a load of bunk or does it make a difference. I plan on spending between $7,000 & $8,000 on my system. How much should I spend on a surge protection?
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    for protection, update your homeowners policy, perhaps a secondary rider, to include protection from fire, theft, catastrophes due to lightning, etc. if it's important to you, i'd seriously consider full replacement costs and nothing that's prorated. it's helpful to ask the agent questions like..."i paid $4000 for this tube amp...lighting blew it up...company is not in business any more...what are you going to do for me?" you get the picture.
    if you have your own house, seriously consider a whole house protection unit. total cost is likely to be around $200 or so depending how much your electrician wants to screw you. some electricians behave nicer if you feed them donuts though. don't forget to run a couple of separate lines that'll be dedicated to the HT and while you're at it, get a couple of those nice beefy industrial/hospital grade outlets.
    the attached equipment warranty is pretty much useless.
    after that, i'd consider purchasing a unit or two for some localized noise/glitch protection that clamped very very tightly to the AC waveform. there are commercial units that utilize Silicon Avalanche Diodes and what's called Sine Wave Tracking. Not particularly expensive (under $100) unless you go with 'audiophile' names. Then it's like electricians except they don't lower their price even when you give them donuts.
    Money should always be set aside for an assortment of pizza and microbrew to celebrate the completion of your home theater.
     
  3. BrianS

    BrianS Stunt Coordinator

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    Is there a site or FAQ somewhere regarding the "whole house surge protection"?

    I really know nothing about it & don't want to get screwed by a local electrician. I want to know what to ask for and what I need to have done. Does this mean they have to put in new wires, plugs, etc?

    I have all of my HT equipment in my finished basement. I have surge protectors (the $20 kind) for my electronics but I do have the cable coaxial going straight into the TV. We do get brown-outs from time to time and my reset buttons for the area sometimes trip. Thanks for any & all help!
     
  4. DavidChott

    DavidChott Auditioning

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    Wow, everyday people spend $8000 or so on equiptment but wont invest $200 on protecting all of it! Doesnt make $'s or cents? Get a decent one it will save you $ and make your system look and sound better.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well I might've been a bit harsh on the 'screwing' aspect [​IMG]
    There's a multitude of products that will meet your needs. Companies such as Siemens, 4Square, Cutler-Hammer, Intermatic, and a ton of others make units. You'll be looking for a minimum of 1000 joule or 40 kiloamps unit and everything that's incoming needs to first go through that unit. You might want to start by taking a drive over to your local large electrical supply house and tell them what your situation is. They may ask you things like what your service load is and maybe a couple of other questions. Also, Intermatic's got a toll free # and usually you can speak to an engineer that'll give you more information than you need.
    The price really varies around a bit and it's dependent upon who's making the unit, the extent to which they overdesign, etc. Not all supply houses stock everything so calling a couple up will give you an idea of who is selling what. Then if you want, post back and maybe we can make some sense out of things. Sound fair?
     
  6. JoshuaR

    JoshuaR Agent

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    I found this by a simple search on Yahoo - Whole house Surge . The first one looks nice, and only $80!! It appears that it provides ample protection...

    Would you need to use a surge protector at the equipment ends even if you had one of these on your house?
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    There's a ton of companies making these products, mostly because it's cheap to do. Surge protection really isn't rocket science when what you're looking to do is divert a surge into the ground.
    Would I still use something? Yes. Why? Because I have a desire for a couple of things.
    Redundancy.
    I want to have something to deal with glitches.
    Toss in some EMI/RFI.

    If you're considering any of the products, avail yourself of their toll-free numbers and ask to speak to a product specialist about what you're interested in. They may guide you to something less costly or more if need be and offer you a couple of options that you can consider. Likely they'll discuss a number of things with you including where you live so that a proper size can be determined. Some companies have products that have surge counters on them so periodically you can wander over and see what's happening. Of course something like that is going to cost a bit more.

    I'm only directing you and others to a better and more cost effective way to do things. Don't trust me to recommend a particular product (although there are many that are effective) and don't necessarily trust your electrician. The reason for the latter has more to do with an electrician being skilled in the art of building code which is basically designed for the purposes of ensuring human safety. What we, what you want to do, is to go beyond that. You want to ensure safety for your electronic components and provide a clean source of power. Talk to the companies.
     
  8. Douglas Kinne

    Douglas Kinne Auditioning

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    Timothy and all,

    With regards to surge protection, let the buyer beware reigns.

    I live near (read on) Mt. Hood in Oregon. We get lots of wild weather which plays havoc with the power. Also, due too our proximity to the local ski resorts, brownouts (voltage drops of 25% or more) also occur regularly.

    So, to combat the wear and tear on my gear, I placed $80.00 Battery Backups in the electrical path. These are specifically made for the computer. Some have said to me that these (filter) the perfectly elliptical sine-wave produced by A.C.. If it was perfect I would not be needing any protection.

    The device serves to allows me to shut down the amp and the HDTV even if the power goes out completely.(soft shutdown)
    During brownouts, it kicks in with enough juice to get through the event without so much as a glimmer of a dimmer while the lights and such try to fade to black.

    Tree limbs and squirrels have caused the 6000 volt mains to flop on my and my neighbors drop line. This required me to press the reset switch on the one running my theatre and to replace (free of charge) the other hooked to the desktop.

    I think we all get caught up in the $5000.00/meter cable that is filled with the latest "pollihollow thermofuzz" trap. I have seen and heard some great systems in my day and have been privy to a few blind tests of gear connected to gigabuck surge/powerline "conditioners". All I can say is that you might want to give the "path of least resistance" route a try.

    Doug[​IMG]
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    out of curiousity, when you tell your local power utility what's happening, what is their position?
     
  10. Douglas Kinne

    Douglas Kinne Auditioning

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    They respond quickly to the "live drops", when a high voltage transmission line connects with a household or commercial drop.

    Absolutely no response to brownouts. Of course, our electricity supplier was purchased by enron in '98 I believe.

    Doug
     

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