Surge protector

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Stegman, Jan 25, 2003.

  1. John Stegman

    John Stegman Auditioning

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    A couple of weeks ago we had a big wind storm. Our power was knocked out for a couple of hours and when it was restored, my H/K receiver wouldn't run in DD or DTS modes. I tried to reboot it a couple of time, but no luck. Took it to a repair shop and they were able to get it going. The service slip listed the problem as a "confused processor". Luckily this only cost one hour of labor, but if the processor had been fried, it would have been $250! I had been using a cheapo surge protector. So I shopped around and found a very good protector at Radio Shack for $39.98. Much more for the money that I found anywhere else. Just thought that I would share this possibly sad experience.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    You dodged a bullet there.

    And I believe I have the same surge protector you have, in my bedroom system. Never be without one. Even still, people who live in areas prone to thunderstorms would do well to shut their systems down and unplug them when the lightning starts. Never can be too safe.
     
  3. Jay W.

    Jay W. Stunt Coordinator

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    What makes a good surge protecter? I bought one a couple years ago for about $27. Its a recoton and can accept 1295 joules.
     
  4. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Bill Kane's "WHAT IS A POWER OR LINE CONDITIONER/SURGE PROTECTOR?" from the HTF Primer: here
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jay,

    A guy elsewhere wondered why he shouldn't just buy a cheaper computer surge protector, say from OfficeMax, compared to the MonsterPowers at CC and BB. I wrote:

    What we want to look for is a SURGE PROTECTOR that comes with AC line noise filters for RF/EMI (and nearly all HT units DO). Technically, these are not called POWER LINE CONDITIONERS, which can be separate animals and run to $1000 or more and offer claims of cleaning up "dirty power" whatever that may be, depending on how obsessive one becomes as an audiophile/videophile.

    The size also can depend on how much expensive gear you have that you want to protect from this just-in-case damage. It makes sense that a surge protector made for HT use, such as the Panamax line, is dedicated to these power supplies, often with outlets electrically separated betw amp/analog and digital/video components to minimize crosstalk within the protector power center.

    Basic requirements to look for in a surge unit, whether computer based or not, for HT include:

    1. Enough outlets for all components and one or two extra for future use.
    2. Inclusion of coax F-terminals to connect incoming cabletv coax, which can carry surges, too.
    3. Meets the U.L. 1449 Listing for today's minimum standards for handling surge/spikes.
    4. A peace-of-mind connected equipment replacement warranty, coupled with adequate renters/homeowners insurance.

    I agree that comparing the MonsterPower cost lineup with computer surge protectors is too much spread to stomach. There are options. The $39 Radio Shack is OK. A Belkin SurgeMasterII is OK.

    There are two other basic surge protectors that meet the above and are under $100.

    * TrippLite ISOBAR6 DBS (6 outlet) for $77 at www.partsexpress.com Part 125-165.
    * Panamax MAX8 DBS+5 (8 outlet) for ~$75 at www.powersystemsdirect.com

    bill
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    also worthy of consideration are the ZX-5000 series from www.suttondesigns.com which also incorporate intelligence and silicon avalanche diodes in conjunction with MOV's etc.

    the DPS Plus series from www.transtector.com also fit the bill and are exclusively silicon avalanche diodes.

    however...if you own your house, your best first approach should be the consideration of a whole house unit. that way the entire home is protected. your utility company may lease them or they can be installed by a diy'r if you're comfortable around electricity. after that, one can always add some local redundancy.

    as far as that attached equipment warranty...don't count on it. homeowners/renters insurance with no deductible rider.
     
  7. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    i think panamax will replace the box but these attached equipment warranties are an interesting study. for starters, everything that can be protected is supposed to be protected. and if you need multiple protection sources, they generally have to be from the same company. then it's a question of fair market value or repair, typically at the surge protector's discretion. and all that will occur after any homeowner's insurance kicks in.
    i totally agree with your statement of a good homeowner's policy but too often i see people buying these units and relying on that $25,000 attached equipment warranty. I think it'd be a long long process before one received satisfaction.
    as to whether the power going off and then coming on resulted in John's problem, who can say. it certainly pays to ask the people whom you plan on buying the surge protector from a few questions such as does the unit protect against both differential and common mode surges as well as what happens if a surge comes in that'll overwhelm the capabilities of the unit. Will it shut down, fail open, fail closed...
    time for some emails and/or phone calls I think.
     
  9. John Stegman

    John Stegman Auditioning

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    Yes, I've wondered about those guarantees too, but I feel better with the new, better surge protection. But also confused. I know very little about electricity and trying to compare what I bought with the others that were recommended is a little too much. I know that this one is 2601 Joules, which is more than most of the ones that I saw when shopping and seems to compare favoribly with the others, I think....
     
  10. Wesley S

    Wesley S Stunt Coordinator

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    I've always heard that Surge protectors are only good for one surge. Is this true? If so how do you know whether or not it's had it's day? Also what about battery backups (UPS)?
     
  11. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Most surge suppressors use coils called MOVs (oxide varistors) which can degrade OVER TIME, maybe years, or with one massive lightning field even 2-3 miles distant. So it's always wise to keep an eye on the box's PROTECTION GOOD LED light.

    Have you seen this tutorial from the Beginners Primer & FAQ atop the Basics Area forum? CLICK

    If you live in lightning country, some will recommend getting a "Series Mode" surge protector that absorbs the hit and keeps on working: see Adcom ACE 315/615, Brickwall, SurgeX and ZeroSurge. The expense wud be justified if one has many thousands of dollars of connected components.

    People always wonder about UPS. One shortcoming is these come with minimal surge supression, usually measured in Joules Rating. During a power outage, they are good for keeping some components "alive" long enough for a more relaxed shutdown, computer-style, or to keep a Tivo type box settings until power comes back shortly. The best use requires some 1000VA to 1200VA and now we're getting toward $600.

    bill
     
  12. RussKon

    RussKon Stunt Coordinator

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    bill is right about the series mode protectors..they take a hit and don't even blink...

    here are the websites for those companies....alot of info is presented in the links provided...

    www.surgex.com
    www.brickwall.com
    www.zerosurge.com

    i have a surge-x unit in my rack and am very pleased with its performance...(i also sell surgex at the distributor level)..

    russ
     
  13. Andrew Testa

    Andrew Testa Second Unit

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    Also, read the fine print carefully on any UPS you use with audio gear. We have an APC 1000 VA UPS for our computer system. The UPS manual clearly states that it provides a stepped approximation to a sine wave function with 35% THD, and should only be used with computer equipment. Depending on the fidelity of that step function, you could be sending what appears to your transformer to be an extremely clipped AC line. Make sure any UPC you buy puts out a true sine wave AC signal. I don't know which ones do that are affordable. I know for sure that APC does not.

    As for surge protection, my pioneer VSX-D608 was recently injured by a lightning strike while on a $40 RCA surge protector that is a MOV type. The RCA "protecting" light is still on, even though my receiver got hit hard enough to damage something. I'm attempting to get RCA's insurance (EFI Electronics) to pay for the repairs.

    I've since bought a Brick Wall unit as in the link above. I won't claim any sonic or visual improvements due to the touted line filtering, but the separate grounds have eliminated some annoying cross-talk I had noticed between components. Previously, with my receiver in standby and my headphone amp on and connected to the tape monitor out, I would hear an AM radio station through the headphones. That is now gone.

    Andy
     

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