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UPS and a surge suppressor

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ThomasL, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    I've found some conflicting information on-line regarding putting a surge protector upstream from a UPS unit which also does surge protection/suppression. Some sites say you should do it while others say it can cause the UPS problems. Does anyone have experience with this? For my computer setup at home, I'd like to put a decent surge protector from the wall outlet and then plug the UPS (and any non-UPS'ed power sources) into that. This seems to make the most logical sense to me.

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    you can plug a UPS into a surge suppressor but not the other way. under certain conditions hazardous conditions can occur as happened back in '97 where this was done aboard navy vessels resulting in a couple of fried UPS's, power strips, and blown suppressors.
    all this assumes you've got a well grounded system and that this is not those $5 baby's you see in the discount stores. the possibility that their electrical integrity is suspect is not to be dismissed. for example, this is a nice story don't you think?
    http://cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml97/97078.html
     
  3. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Chu, thanks for the reply. What I was planning on doing was getting a TrippLite ISOBAR pr Panamax MAX8 to plug into the wall (and phone line) and plug the UPS into that. Then I guess, you're saying what I should so is plug whatever I want on the UPS directly into the UPS and not plug another surge protector into the UPS and then plug the UPS items into that? Right now, this is actually what I'm doing since I have 3 plugged things under the UPS umbrella but my small UPS (APC Back-UPS 500) only has 2 plugs in the back. Perhaps I should get a better UPS. I hear APC has a trade up program. The one I have is 3 years old as well and I suspect the battery is probably beginning to near the end of its life.

    As for improper grounding, I know all about that. My house is 5 1/2 years old but just tonight I learned one of my unfinished basement's power outlet/receptacles is not properly grounded. I plugged a surge protector into it and it came back with 'faulty wiring/improper ground' I tried a second one I had and it came back with the same result. Over the past 5 years, I've been running a treadmill, tv/vcr and a sump pump off of it at various times and have been unaware of this. I guess I need to call an electrician out to see what needs to be replaced.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    get thee a circuit tester and test all your outlets. if you want an online recommendation, i'll suggest one. sloppy work or some color blind shmuck could've been doing the wiring you know. not all surge protectors or UPS's have logic sensing, hence consider yourself lucky. after that Tom, depending upon where you live, i'd put in something relatively inexpensive like a 2000 joule or greater whole house unit. after that you can selectively add things to take care of your HT. depending upon your preferences we can look at several choices.
    you got it right...plug what you want to into the UPS (assuming you're doing it cuz losing power would wipe some settings out?) EXCEPT for a surge protector. you see, the surge protector, rely upon the existence of a ground. let's say your UPS gets fried and a surge is coming through...oops, no good ground...now where's that big-ass surge gonna go? can't be shunted to the ground cuz the UPS just up and kicked. so it'll go off on it's merry way looking to ground itself anyway it can...
    btw, why are you using a UPS?
    The max8 looks pretty good but you know i've seen a bunch of places selling that without panamax's name...wonder who really makes it?
     
  5. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Chu, thanks. Yes, I was thinking of investing in a outlet tester to see if I have any other outlets that are not wired right. Another friend told me that ground is usually just a bare copper wire that is screwed onto the metal of the receptacle. I'm not sure if this is right or not but he said I should be able to take the faceplate off and see if the problem is in the receptacle.
    I'm using the UPS in my home office to protect my Windows 2000 and Linux boxes from abrupt crashes due to loss of power. One problem we seemed to have here when we first moved here was very small interruptions of service. Long enough to power cycle everything but probably no more than 30 seconds in length. The UPS protects the computers from these outages. They are rarer these days. I could also wire it up so that it automatically shut them down gracefully but I haven't gotten around to setting that up yet. If I'm home and we lose power, I have enough time to shut them down gracefully so auto-shutdown hasn't been that big of an issue - not to mention, I'm almost always in front the darn thing anyhow [​IMG]
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well it's going to be the receptacle i dare say. the good thing about those outlet testers is they tell you if you've got an open ground...if ground and neutral are switched , hot and neutral, etc. but truly, give serious consideration to a whole house unit as the protection per appliance is just sooooooo cost effective. and if you can do a little wiring ( i like the public library, at least mine has videos that show how to work around the circuit breaker which in conjunction with the 'instructions' go a long way for ambitious DIY people). you'll GREATLY minimize things coming down the lines if you take that approach, and just think, you'll have saved the microwave, the garage door opener. my god man, you'll be a hero!
     
  7. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Well, just to followup on my bad outlet. I got a tester from work and it turned out that hot and neutral were reversed. So, I switched 'em (after switching off the breaker [​IMG] ) and now the ground/wire fault lights all are correct. While I have the tester, I think I'll test the rest of the outlets in the house. [​IMG]
    Chu, I'll definitely look into whole house surge protection systems since I think it does make sense.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    hey, it's more than makes sense...as wilfred brimley said, 'it's the right thing to do'. you see, there's a bit of overlap between the words surge and transients. transients are the little voltage perturbations, often accompanied by noise that running a vac, a fridge or ac cycling do. almost any old surge protector is going to deal with those although i'd be looking for something other than those dollar protectors in the pickle barrel. surges, which could come from lightning, from catastrophic power failures, transformers blowing up pack a wallop and a half. by placing a whole house protector out by the mains and running it's ground to your ground rod (short distance...less than 10 feet...etc.) what you do is provide a very short distance to ground to allow the whole house surge protector to shunt (divert) the surge to ground. The shorter your ground wire, the thicker your ground wire, the more effectively that surge gets diverted. you can buy units at home depot, online, your local electrical supply house, and there's all different sizes and types to meet whatever needs you have. it's kind of like worrying about your house being broken into...create barriers outside first.
     

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