Surge supressors - Zero Surge or something else?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by ButchW, May 9, 2003.

  1. ButchW

    ButchW Auditioning

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    Has anyone had any experience with Zero Surge surge supressors? I read about this company years ago and remember a review or two that stated their method of surge supression was the way to go, but haven't seen anything here. I've read a posting or two from an EE at Sutton that dissed them, but I take that with a grain of salt. I'm looking to get two supressors, one for PC equipment and one for HT equipment, and don't want anything with MOVs.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well properly sized and properly located such as at your AC meter or breakers, there's no reason why MOV's won't do the job, but if you don't want them there's alternatives. First of all, the diss from Sutton is valid with respect to the ZeroSurge's and the variants (Adcom, SurgeX, Brickwall) having been unable to substatiate issues of ground contamination during a surge. They've talked about why that doesn't happen yet the IEEE test that was done indicates otherwise. You don't refute an experiment or a test by having a symposium. You refute it by having an independent 3rd party perform the test and the chips fall where they fall.
    Further, it's pretty good engineering practice for a surge protection device to either warn you or refuse to work if the outlet is miswired, not an uncommon occurrence to have hot/neutral reversed.
    An alternative would be a device based upon Silicon Avalanche diodes such the DPS series from Transtector.
     
  3. ButchW

    ButchW Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input Chu. For a non-EE type like me, all this talk about square vs. sine wave, shunt, grounds, PSCs, etc makes my head spin.

    Are you aware of any independent reviews/comparisons? If you read Zero Surge's web site, you'd think you'd be a fool to go with any other type of surge surpressor. Sutton's makes you think you'd be a fool to go with a ZS type of device instead of theirs. Each one seems to make some sense; ZS indicates that they meet the Mode 1&2 criteria, while Sutton claims conformity with UL and IEEE standards.

    I just want something I can be confident will protect my equipment. Living in Iowa, we get a fair amount of thunderstorm activity in the spring. I haven't had any problems with surges yet (that I'm aware of) but would rather not take the chance, especially if the $50-100 spent can save me a $500 deductible.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    To say that paranoia, real or imagined, doesn't guide our decisions to be protected in various degrees would be a mistake.

    Well you can look at the following map, which was developed by NASA to get a feel for what your actual exposure to lighting is. You'll see that the colors range from red to a kind of green. The colors relate to the ratio of IC:CG which mean Inter-Cloud:Cloud-Ground. Hence, if you're located in a red region, that means there'll be 10 lightning occurences that take place between the clouds, before one will hit the earth. Now if you've got a lot of lighting storms, like in central Florida, there'll be 2 lighting strikes to the ground for every one in the clouds.
    The average household lightning strikes is about one surge
    per eight years. This is about 2 strikes per square kilometer per year. Florida can be 3-5 times higher.
    Make sense?
    [c][​IMG] [/c]

    Well if you've got your own home, have an electrician put in a whole house unit to protect all the incoming lines: AC, phone, cable, etc. If you've got a lot of lighting activity and live in one of the darker blue or green zones, consider a 2000 joule unit. I've heard total installation costs which included dedicated HT lines + the whole house unit of around $200. Maybe a bit more or less in your area. This way you're protecting everything in your home. Then, if you want to add some point of use devices, like your Brickwall types or SAD's (those'll do a better job at glitches by the way), then knock yourself out.

    The effectiveness of any surge protector, any type you can imagine, depends upon one and only one thing: a short direct path to earth ground. Ain't nothing shorter than a unit installed out by your electrical meter. And properly sized, MOV's will last for longer than you're likely to be living in your home. Also, it should increase your property value a bit. Long before there was Brickwall and the others, MOV's were being used to effectively protect structures like the Empire State Building which gets something like 50 or so direct lighting hits every year. The reason why the occupants, the electronics are protected is because there's a short path to earth ground.

    If you're sold on the idea of putting a surge protection device at the AC mains area, but still feel queezy about MOV's, then SurgeX I believe sells an electrical panel that you can put in your basement. Likely it'd have to be tied into the main panel by an isolation transformer (your electrician can confirm or deny this) and if so, it just means you've got cleaner power. For point of use Brickwall type devices, you're probably going to want to consider using one of the variants that uses that "inrush" technology. That's because amps can cause a sudden inrush of current that fools units into thinking its a surge.
    Lots of good choices limited only by what you want to spend.
     

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