Surge Protector, Surge Suppressor, Line Conditioner, etc...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MarkWC, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. MarkWC

    MarkWC Stunt Coordinator

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    Between hearing clicks through my daughter's intercom and the lights glowing/dimming I need to invest in a new surge protector for piece of mind. I have set a budget at about $300 and have four contenders. They are:

    Monster HTS - 2500 or 3500
    Panamax M - 5100 or 5300

    The all have many bells and whistles of more expensive line conditioners, but as far as pure guts, which is the most logical one to get??

    I have a receiver, hdtv, satelitte receiver, cable box, vcr, dvd, cd, sub, and ps2 to go through it. This is why I really don't want to skimp, unless the cheaper will not make a difference. Can pick up the 2500 as little as $166.

    I am worried about spike and brownout protection more than lightning coverage. Not too much metal on homes in Bermuda, just old circuitry and a couple power outages a year.

    Thx
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mark,

    Personally, I'd prefer the Panamax-engineered line, just because Panamax offers specifications while Monster just says "trust me."

    Panamax differentiates betw sat and CATV coax voltages where I've not seen others do this. Panamax also has shutdown circuitry to wit:

    The AC system uses Panamax Surgegate Plus technology. This system detects prolonged over or under voltage and disconnects power until it returns to a safe level

    To be fair, I don’t think you’d go wrong with the equivalent MonsterPower 3500 either at this level. But again, Panamax wud be my first choice.

    bill
     
  3. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    between those probably panamax, but first just what is it you're trying to accomplish? when i read your post i get the feeling that the dimmers and intercom might be affecting your stereo system. is that the case?
     
  5. MarkWC

    MarkWC Stunt Coordinator

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    It is not so much that it is effecting my system, but I hear and see the fluctuations in the electrical system which has me worried. I am putting an Elite HDTV in my home today and am worried about the 1) protecting the tv & stereo and 2) possibly reducing the audio/video noise with a proper line filter. I don't expect it to create a miracle but along with what was mentioned, it would provide an easier connection into a rack based surge suppressor rather than an on the floor behind the tv.

    I don't really know how many joules or protection I need or the exact specs of the Panamax. I am just looking for a good reccommendation rather than asking a retailer who is going to suggest a $500 -1000 protection unit.

    I have invested almost $10,000 into my HT and would like a proper consideration for protection. Are the Panamax 5100 and 5300 good selections? I see their joule rating is the same, what features seperate these two? Or should I just get the Monster 2500 or 2600 for under $180?

    Thx[​IMG]
     
  6. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mark,

    Since you live on an island, we really don’t know the reliability of the power supply company vs. the condition of the wiring circuits in your house, which may be older or newer, that contribute to any “dimming” or possible 15A circuit overload. Certainly, one wants a steady 120VAC delivery at the outlets, +or- 5 percent. A simple digital multimeter set at the 200VAC scale with the two leads stuck into the HT wall outlet can over a period of days and night (in and out) provide a log of what’s being delivered. Assuming this is ok, and the house wiring conditiuon is resolved, you wont need to ante up for a voltage regenerator type unit ($1200-$1600).

    While the Joules Rating is most prevalent, it measures a Single Spike and isn’t the ultimate measure. See this commentary by APC engineers HERE

    So this makes the case for looking at “let-through” voltage, and for our consumer surge protectors this will be 330V according to the U.L.1449 Listing standards, which should be what you look for in any unit. Like I say, Panamax specifications are published, while Monster prefers to merely rely on a Joules scale. Monster may be just as “good” but I feel better with the former.

    There’s no difference betw the Panamax 5100 and 5300 in surge protection, just more features and meters. From powersystemsdirect.com:

    Here is a list of differences between the 5300 and the 5100: The Max5300 has 11 outlets vs 10, including a front convenience outlet. The 5300 provides protection for 2 satellite and 2 coax lines, vs 1 and 1. This unit has double balanced L filtration circuits vs balanced L circuits. This unit has a analog voltmeter vs a led version. This unit has a DC output trigger. Finally, this unit has a detachable power cord.

    bill
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I took a look at NASA's map for your general area (weather.com has one but my understanding is that it overestimates matters trememdously) and indeed the frequency of lighting appears quite low as can be seen for example at this site. A larger map can be found here.
    While the frequency is indeed quite low where you live, it's not unknown. My general recommendation for those looking to protect their homes from surges as would be expected from lightning, is to have whole house protection installed. But let's say you're the kind of person that for whatever reason can't or chooses not to go that way.
    You've got a fair amount invested in your HT system. I'm assuming you have, or shortly plan to have, a homeowners insurance policy that covers full equipment replacement in the event of things like surges, etc. That to me is acting prudently. Should you place your trust in the 'attached equipment' guarantee you'll find that you'll be very disappointed in how you're covered.
    A little background on how surge protectors work. Their purpose is to shunt or divert the surge to ground. With the exception of series mode devices, such as from Brickwall and others, they do not absorb transients or surges. Hence the closer you are to true earth ground, the more effective they are (that's my reason for advocating whole house units). Since a surge protector, whether from Monster or Panamax, is not close to earth ground, it's necessary to derate them to arrive at more meaningful and realistic numbers. It's more realistic to take whatever joules are listed and multiply by 0.4. So if we've got a 2250 joule unit, we effectively have 900 joules. Sounds like a lot, huh? Well keep in mind the surge devices lump all the means a surge can come into one number. Since a surge is likely to come in on one or two lines, the effective protection is more like 300 or 600 joules.
    I believe, and Bill or others will correct me if I'm in error, that the Monster and Panamax units rely upon MOV's.
    As reasonable alternatives, fairly easy to obtain, I'd consider the ZX-5000 series from suttondesigns which incorporate silicon avalanche diodes in tandem with MOV's and other ciruitry that clamps the spikes more tightly against the AC sine wave.
    Also the DPS Plus series from transtector.com, which is exclusively SAD based is worth consideration.
    Both of the above units, in the event of a catastrophic surge will either shut themselves off, or short out, in either case isolating your equipment from a surge.
    SAD's, what some call tranzsorbs, while not having the robustness of an MOV (provide of course the MOV is sized correctly), are quicker responding, clamp tighter to the AC line, and show no degradation when hit with typical transients. SAD's FWIW, are used by telcos to protect their systems and specing that is typically a requirement of many domestic government contracts and that includes in Florida, one of the US's more problematic areas for lightning.
    As an aside, there's two more things I think you should consider: a separate line for your HT system which by itself will go a long way to eliminating or mitigating possible interference from other devices in your home. purchasing a recording multimeter from RadioShack that interfaces to your PC to record your voltage over a long period of time. I don't know what guarantees your electrical company provides insofar as the consistency of the AC voltage, but sometimes it's good to know just how consistent your AC is. Just a thought. It's your money after all [​IMG]
     
  8. MarkWC

    MarkWC Stunt Coordinator

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    Bill & Chu Gai,

    Very informative, very impressive to take out the time to add a more technical perspective.

    First, rewiring or adding a seperate outlet is not relative. I will not bore you with the cost of living or service standards, but I live in an appartment and will not invest in too much permanent hardware.

    I will probably invest in the Panamax 5100. I tend to purchase on quality 'sound' advice from those more experienced than myself and again, am baffled with the true support of my fellow HT Ethusiasts to enlighten my buying decision with very thorough explanations. I am still processing the info.

    I would appreciate a little more advice on grounding my hardware. I have a four foot fiberglass dish (hey, I live on a island), and would like to know about grounding this and anything I can do inside. One friend advised me to ground my receiver around the center screw of the nearest wall outlet.

    And...what is the customer orientated experiences with dealing with these companies if anything should happen?

    Thx
     
  9. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mark,

    It's tough to address what may be a British-based power system/wiring/circuits and possibly a local Electrical Code. Like, do new outlets such as those in the U.S. come polarized with a prong hole? Does circuit wiring (Romex) use a copper ground wire alongside the hot and neutral...Do they still use metal wall boxes with wiring inside metal conduit. I dont know. Customary practice is the key phrase, and to be reassured for adequate grounding to avoid shocks, I'd say you'd have to ask locally. Using the outer wall plate screw to attach a grd wire really doesnt provide a safe fix.

    Chances are your apartment system is ok but I cant presume here.

    There arent many anecdotal reports on this website about loss of surge protector boxes. Usually it's from lightning events. I guess they do their job well. Chu Gai is more sceptical than I over the makers' warrantys. Certainly if a box takes a surge that knocks it out (protection LED lite goes off) there's no reported difficulty in getting Panamax to replace the box, hopefully with the connected equipoment still working.

    ...best I can do...

    bill
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well it's not so much that i don't think they'd replace the fried surge protector, i just got a feeling if company x said, ok, the fmv for your unit is $145 that you might be more than a little pissed off. add to that they might also say, but you didn't protect that other unit with one of our products, so sorry charlie, we can't even make good on the $145.
    if you can tell us what kind of outlets you've got there it might be a little more helpful.
    hey you want me to feel bad for your cost of living over there? you've got all that nice weather, beautiful scenery, warm waters, scantily clad members of the female persuasion while i'm in the middle of cold temperatures and bill's in california with a governor who's bankrupting the state and his lakers are losing? not a chance!
     

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