TVs & Home Theaters

General discussion

Surge Protector for Home Theater

by suzycat1 / May 15, 2009 1:11 AM PDT

We just finished putting together our home theater with new LCD TV, receiver, surround sound, DVD, and cable hook-up. We are looking for a surge protector to especially protect the new TV. I have read all of the specs regarding response time, joules, etc. We have been told that it is best to get one that also includes coaxial connectors to put the cable box through as well. Is this truly necessary, or is the electical output the only important part for protection?

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surge protector or UPS?
by bearvp / May 15, 2009 1:29 AM PDT

Did you want to get a surge protector or a UPS? An adequate surge protector, from say Belkin, will run you $50-$100 depending on what features you want. A UPS will be able to power your TV during power outages and brown-outs giving you enough time to safely power down your TV if it has a usual 'cooling down' time after switching it off to cool down the hot bulb in the TV. I got a pretty nice UPS for $160 with a LCD display screen and 1500VA capacity. A UPS is also nice so you can keep your DVR recording a show you are in the middle of if the power goes out.

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by jonnybones / May 15, 2009 4:04 PM PDT

I have a monster HTS2600MKII and it is awesome. When the power flickers, my outlets shut off as they are supposed to (until stable voltage returns) and all my equipment has survives thus far. Monster is overpriced but I didn't pay full price nor should you.

You SHOULD run your coax cable through your power center. If you think about it logically, if the cable works as an antenna, it works as an electrical conductor also...duh... Comcast will tell you not to run it through the power center, but ignore them - they are dumb. After they leave run it through your power center as you should; I do with no negative impact. Monster makes good power centers, so do Belkin (Pure-AV), Tripp Lite, and Furman.

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Re: ^
by w_tom / May 16, 2009 4:58 AM PDT
In reply to: ^

> I have a monster HTS2600MKII and it is awesome. ...
> Comcast will tell you not to run it through the power
> center, but ignore them - they are dumb.

Technically naive is the consumer that wants to be scammed. Who actually recommends those products from Belkin, Tripplite, etc when even the manufacturer does not claim to provide that protection. Monster Cables history is scam products that are obscenely overpriced. For example speaker cable that has 'polarity'. So they sell $6 of speaker wire for $60 to consumers who want to be scammed.

That Monster Cable protector is the same protector circuit found in a $7 grocery store protector. Notice, like the Monster Cable, it also does not claim to provide protection in numeric specs.

Comcast is also correct. That protector has no business on their cable. Surge protection is always about dumping surge energy harmlessly in earth. Surges that do not enter the building need not dissipate energy destructively inside any appliance. Surges seek earth. Cable connect a surge short (ie 'less than 10 feet') to earth before entering the building.

If permitted inside a building, the surge seeks earth ground destructively through household appliances. If you don?t provide the shorter path to earth, then it will dissipate energy destructively inside appliances to make that path.

Comcast does not need a protector to provide superior protection. Comcast cable connects directly to earth using a wire. That is what surge protection is. A connection to earth. Either by a wire (cable TV, satellite dish) or via a protector (AC electric, telephone). 'Whole house' protectors are so effective and so inexpensive that your telephone 'whole house' protector is installed for free. Did you know of that protector that has existed for most of the last 100 years?

Where surges must never cause damage (ie your local telephone exchange - the CO), money is not wasted on plug-in protectors. That CO will suffer about 100 surges during every thunderstorm. How often is your town without phone service for four days while they replace that computer? No damage because every wire in every cable is connected to earth via a 'whole house' protector.

Comcast cable already has a short connection to earth. Comcast correctly recommends no plug-in protector. Why spend up to $150 for a Monster Cable product that also sells for $7 in a grocery store?

AC electric is the most common source of surges. Again, surge protection is about connecting surge currents short to earth. Current that need not enter a home means no surge damage. We install one 'whole house' protector so that energy even from direct lightning strikes are harmlessly dissipated in earth - not inside the house.

Only more responsible companies provide a 'whole house' protector: Siemens, Intermatic, Square D, Leviton, Keison, and General Electric are but a few. A Cutler-Hammer 'whole house' protector sells in Lowes for $50. One protector to make all types of surges irrelevant. One protector to protect every household appliance. What protects dimmer switches, dishwasher, bathroom GFCIs, and furnace? Only the 'whole house' protector. What most needs protection during a surge? Smoke detectors. Where does Monster Cable discuss any of this? No wonder Comcast accurately suggests no Monster Cable protector.

Monster Cable is only recommended by those without even basic electrical knowledge. What will the TV salesman spend most on selling? The Monster Cable protector. Highest profits are in that protector; not in the TV. Ask for numeric protector (written) specs that list each type of surge and protection from that surge. Salesman cannot provide what does not exist.

Moving on. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Proper earthing means your breaker box must be upgraded to meet and exceed post 1990 National Electrical Code. That means an earthing electrode just outside the box. To exceed code requirements, that wire must be short (ie 'less than 10 feet'), no sharp bends, no splices, a single point ground also used by the free telco protector and Comcast cable, ground wire separated from all other wires, wire not inside metallic conduit, etc. Wall receptacle safety ground obviously cannot provide earthing - violates almost every requirement for good earthing. Belkin, APC, and Monster Cable, etc cannot discuss earthing ? do not earth surges.

One 'whole house' protector means earthing surges to protect everything. Means a direct lightning strike will not even harm that protector. An effective 'whole house' protector for about $1 per protected appliance. Why would anyone recommend $150 for a Monster Cable protector when its manufacturer does not even claim to provide that protection. An informed jonnybones would have read and posted those spec numbers. Comcast accurately recommends not using that obscenely overpriced product from APC, Tripplite, or Monster Cable.

Why do lightning strikes routinely hit munitions dumps without explosions? They too use 'whole house' protectors and even better earthing. What provided protection? Not a protector. To increase surge protection, we upgrade and expand the earthing system. We meet and exceed post 1990 code requirements.

A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Those who would promote the Monster Cable scam - where does Monster mention earthing? No earth ground means no effective protection. Monster Cable does not even make protection claims in numeric specs. Instead, they get salesmen and other technically na

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by jonnybones / May 18, 2009 1:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: ^

Now what would be TRULY naive would be to assertively correct someone when you yourself obviously have done no research of your own, or have personal experience to back up what you claim. I would hope nobody would ever do that though.

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Just because...
by Pepe7 / May 19, 2009 2:57 AM PDT
In reply to: - drank the 'Monster Kool-Aid' and overspent doesn't mean it's the correct approach. Please comment on the specific technical points of the previous poster that you feel are incorrect. (For the record, he's spot on!).


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For the most part right....
by WildClay / May 19, 2009 8:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: ^

Just a couple of things to point out, surges or all electricity in any form always takes the path of least resistance to ground, which is not aways the shortest path.

That out of the way, The protection my system offers to the cable is not on the shield, the part Comcast and all other cable provider make sure is grounded, it also protect the signal line, this is the part the cable compainies hate since there is a small loss in the connectors and components that deal with this and if they have a marginal signal to start with they have to add an amp, of course the consummer can also add their own amp as I did, but Cable company amp tended to over drive the signal the one I have has and AGC (Automatic Gain Control) that makes sure the output is aways at the optimum level.

Ground or Earth in any home up to electrical code is going to provide sufficient ground to get the job done, it it can't take lightening voltage to ground, then there is no chance it would take 120 or 220 VAC to ground and would be dangerous.

I would also dispute that a 7 buck surge protector is the same protection as a 50 buck one, but would agree that a 300 buck one that is not doing a lot more than surge protection would be a waste.

I agree that the monster series of everything is over-priced, the only place it might make some difference over the cheapest possiible is in an HDMI cable, but I douby it has much over a 30 buck one either. The one I find the funniest is the optical cables, pure digitial, eithere the 1's and 0's make or they don't, but I digress...

I think it is well worth protecting all lines that come from outside, that include cable, phone, and power, perhaps your ethernet cable also as high voltage from something like lightening has a very slim chance to get through your cable box modem before it fries it.

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by mcglynns2004 / January 22, 2011 7:09 AM PST
In reply to: Re: ^

People by these ones from monster not just for the surge protection but they remove and electrostatic discrepancies that cause blemishes in your screen! So do not be cheap and buy the right stuff for your tv!

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Surge Protection, Generally a good idea
by WildClay / May 16, 2009 12:07 PM PDT

While I know my comments may disagree with some posts on here, so be it, but what you are really looking for is in non-UPS surge protector is protection from all potential sources where a surge can come in, this will typically be on your power lines and more often than not from something in your own home, like when your AC compressor cuts off, generally when it comes on you get a sag and a general surge protector does nothing to protect from sags, although most modern components have switching power supplies that are sort of immunue from sags, except in extreme cases.

Now what comes in on wire from the outside: Well you power, but also your Cable, and if you are hooked to a phone line, that also.

If lightening hits your cable, you will have a fried TV if you have not run the cable through a surge protector that has the right ratings on to protect from lightening, same for electrical feeds and phone lines.

I will agree that there are some grossly overpriced fancy "junk" on the market, one thing to look for unless you really know your electrical specs, is how much they will refund you if your stuff gets damaged using their device, if it is 0 then you really no real protection from a moneny perspective. APC for one, has on most of their equipment, and insurance value, for exmaple my UPS covers up to 15,000 in damaged equipment down stream.

Cable and other providors will often say don't use these, but they are not looking out for you, they are looking out for them. Adding any connection to say a cable means you get some signal loss at the connector and if it is not properly impedance matched you can lose a lot of power and then they have to put an amp in to get you back to a proper signal level. They may whine a little, but they will do it, my cable, by Comcast goes through an APC HT UPS/Surge/Sag protector. My signal strength was marginal and this was enough to drop it below their spec, I complained that I have $10,000 bucks of electonics on their wire and have a right to protect it, they put in an amp and life is good.

Since my APC is a UPS unlike a plain surge protector, it covers sagg (drop in power) as well we frequency out of range (60Hz), and votlate spikes.

I would suggest that you use a surge protector even if it is a cheaper one, might look in to 50-60 buck range, the next jump is in the 300+ buck range and now you are talking power contditioning and/or UPS, this is pretty much a nice to have in a home theater setting not a requirement and usually not worth the money, on your computer a good UPS is well worht it to me, but that is me.

Chances are even the best units will not protect your geat from a direct lightening strke to your electrical wires or cable feed, this is where the insurance comes in or get third party insurance like from Square Trade.

One last note, if you live in an area with higher than average electrical noise, then it is worth the bucks to get a good unti, generally a UPS so you are isolated from your external mains, other then that a medium priced surge protector for your electrical and cable is a good idea.

I live in a high lightening prone area with most overhead wires, I have had one APC die for my system and APC replaced it for free, and it did its job, it was fried but nothing in my HT was damaged.

If you live in a place where everything is underground, then you have a lot less risk from external spikes, most will be from, in your own house or that of a neighbor.

With a little googling around and using reliable sources like CNET, power companies, Consumer Reports, etc you can learn all you need to know to p[ick the right product for your level of comfort.

BTW -- All of the ones that claim using their protectors will improve your picture and/or sound are usually sort of lying, to 100% lie, but in general, it is only true if you live in a place with really noisy power.

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Consider the source
by mjd420nova / May 17, 2009 2:27 AM PDT

The major concern for protecting your home and the electronic devices you have would be to determine the sources of the surges that will destroy your precious gear. The first and foremost event would be a lightning strike. This can happen on a cable line, phone line or power line. These are three sources that can be protected by purchase of the proper surge protector that will protect the power line and has RJ-45 (phone line) and RG-59 (cable coax) connectors to provide protection there too. The most important part of any surge protectors is to be sure you have them plugged into a three prong grounded outlet as this will be the path through which any surges will be directed. One other note is that after any surge event, the protectors should be replaced. This is because they are primarily a sacrificial device, that is they will provide the protection within the parameters of their specifications but are usually destroyed by the event and will not provide any more protection after an event.

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Other than obviously critical self sacrificing protection,
by NM_Bill / May 20, 2009 12:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Consider the source

line conditioning is always a lightning rod issue here. I don't dispute any facts about electricity, but through personal experience I do believe my choice to use a line conditioner was good. A perfectly decent surge protector was introducing artifacts on my screen. So don't use a surge protector which is not specifically labeled for A/V use. That may be a few bucks more but need not be more than needed as basic protection.

I consider my line conditioner of value to me. It has relatively huge capacitors inside for a reason. Seven buck surge protectors are not equal. And, yes it is fine with me that most folks do not see any practical need for line conditioning. I realize high end audio has always been promoted with a bunch of voodoo science.

As the topic has wandered, yes if building new construction there are well known standards & procedures to install grounding for much better than typical.

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Consider the source
by w_tom / May 22, 2009 1:05 PM PDT
In reply to: Consider the source

> The most important part of any surge protectors is to be
> sure you have them plugged into a three prong grounded
> outlet as this will be the path through which any surges
> will be directed. One other note is that after any surge
> event, the protectors should be replaced. This is because
> they are primarily a sacrificial device, that is they will
> provide the protection within the parameters of their
> specifications but are usually destroyed by the event and
> will not provide any more protection after an event.

Show me even one MOV datasheet that says 'sacrificial operation' is acceptable? MOV manufacturers are blunt about this. A protector must remain functional after any surge. But a protector that fails gets the naive to recommend it.

Unlike so many others, this poster even designed protectors and then suffered direct lightning strikes without damage.

A three prong grounded outlet does not earth the protector. A previous post show why how many times? Earth ground must be short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). Separated from non-earthing wires. No sharp bends. No splices. How many requirements are violated by a wall receptacle safety ground? Every one. Every one says the three prong outlet does not do what the post has claimed - but is the half truth used to promote plug-in protectors.

Protectors are not sacrificial devices. One who designs this stuff said why a protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Explains why effective surge protection means nobody knows the surge existed. But when a grossly undersized and ineffective $7 protector (or the same circuit found in a $150 Monster Cable protector) fails during protection, the naive even promoted that protector here.

Any surge protector destroyed by a surge did not provide any protection. But a $7 protector or the same circuit in that Monster Cable $150 protector are how many hundred joules to stop and absorb surges that are hundreds of thousands of joules? Protectors damaged by a surge provide no protection - but get the technically naive to recommend it.

What must that power strip protector do? Somehow it will stop what three miles of sky could not. Somehow those few hundred joules will absorb surges that are hundreds of thousands of joules. Just a few damning facts. A designer learns what provides protection. A short connection to earth. No earth ground means no effective protection.

A protector that is a sacrificial device is even a fire hazard. Another warning about those who promote protectors that do not even claim to provide protection.

Appliances contain protection that makes most surges irrelevant. An effective protector further diminishes those surges. It also earths the typically destructive surges before that surge can enter a building. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

The most important part of a protector is how short it connects to protection.

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by jonnybones / May 22, 2009 2:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Consider the source

"Protectors damaged by a surge provide no protection"

So your seemingly-confident statement holds true for surge protectors that if overloaded past their "rating", blow their internal workings AND by doing so disconnect all the outlets from the main plug-in?

Or am I just being naive...

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I don't believe anyone is going to claim to protect me from
by NM_Bill / May 23, 2009 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Consider the source

a full fledged lightning surge. And yes, despite undisputable knowledge we don't deny, cheap $20 surge protectors are meant to be sacrificial & thus are regarded as cost effective protection.

Some of us don't have horrid electrical service by reputation yet have seen line conditioning remove artifacts as visual proof. So at least some line conditioning is a legitimate separate issue.

And again, yes, If I were doing new construction I would have the house grounding done to an industry wide known level of greater protection. This is referring to the short yet effective ground to earth our friend is harping about.

Anyone who is so determined to trust their personal protection to a $7 device as found even in supermarkets is welcome to. I feel a little more investment in protection is logical.

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Re: I don't believe anyone is going to claim...
by w_tom / May 25, 2009 1:51 AM PDT

> ... cheap $20 surge protectors are meant to be sacrificial & thus
> are regarded as cost effective protection.

A $7 protector is the same circuit found in $25 and $150 plug-in protectors. If cost effective, then a $7 protector is the better solution. It does the same thing. It makes same protection claims in manufacturer specs. It does same for less money.

Often heard is "my surge protector sacrificed itself to save my computer". Reality - a surge too small to overwhelm protection already inside appliances could easily destroy that grossly undersized protector. Myth of 'sacrificial protection' is routine and easy when observation creates facts. 'Observation only' is also called junk science. Meanwhile, any protector that sacrifices itself provides ineffective protection.

What else does a grossly undersized protector do? From Norma on 27 Dec 2008 in alt.fiftyplus entitled "The Power Outage" also describes strip protector danger - because it is woefully undersized:
> Today, the cable company came to replace a wire. Well the cable
> man pulled a wire and somehow yanked loose their "ground" wire.
> The granddaughter on the computer yelled and ran because sparks
> and smoke were coming from the power surge strip.

That is protection? A grossly undersized protector is also a fire threat. See 'scary pictures' of protectors that are "sacrificial" including a Fire Marshal explaining why that fire threat exists:

Effective protection means earthing one 'whole house' protector so that even direct lightning strikes cause no damage - even to the protector. Protection that costs about $1 per protected appliance. Why would anyone waste twenty times more money for a sacrificial protector that does not even claim to provide that protection? That protector gets recommended on observation - without 'always required' technical knowledge. Also called junk science.

Spend tens of times less money to earth even direct lightning strikes without damage. But that means the always essential short connection to earth ground.

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You get what you pay for...
by WildClay / May 25, 2009 3:14 AM PDT

I would agree that a cheap under-rated protector does not offer much protection at all, if any, and in dealing with very high energy event like a lightening strike or mishaps like a ground wire getting cut or disconnection then all bets are off.

The guy that owned this house before me was an electrician so this is the first house I have ever had that has a "whole" house protector at the breaker panel on both phases, but I stull use APC UPS/Surge protectors on my computer and HT. I sometimes wonder if it would have protected the only thing I had damaged when a hogh tension wire broke and dropped onto a local feed, that was in another house, that fried the control panel on my dishwasher, that was not even on at the time but that was the only think it damaged in my house, my HR and Computer APC units both tripped and for whatever reason things like clock radio's, my fridge, microwave, and wall warts all survived it.

It was also odd I thought that it only blew out most of my breakers but not all, many of my neighbors were not so lucky, they lost TV's computers, other appliances, and even some phones that used wall warts for power.

I think the real point of this discussion should not or was not what is the worse case situation and how to protect from it, but is it worth it to use surge protectors and if so, cheap one, medium priced ones, and high end ones (including those that are high end only on cost but not on added protection, like some products out there.

I doubt most will take the time to do the homework needed to understand the specs on this kind of gear, this is why I suggest to friends to by protectors from companies that make this kind of equipment for commercial applications, like APC and others, and stay away from the folks that make extension cords and over-priced AV cables...

When is comes to this stuff, nothing is 100%, even in out data centers we have had electrical systems damaged by lightening, never made it to the computers or network gear but it sure fried a power conditioner or two.

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Mr. anti-sacrificial
by NM_Bill / May 25, 2009 11:45 AM PDT

I am bored with your harping for your terminology. You obviously have some level of professional knowledge emanating from some not quite know source.

If your short source to ground doesn't stop a largish surge from whatever source I cannot imagine then expecting a $7 surge to itself survive to protect again. I am among the substantial amount of people who have been happy to see their inexpensive surge melt so the result is my computer gear all survived just fine.

I shall get on with life...

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Re: bored with terminology and technical knowledge.
by w_tom / May 26, 2009 3:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Mr. anti-sacrificial

> If your short source to ground doesn't stop a largish surge from
> whatever source I cannot imagine then expecting a $7 surge to
> itself survive to protect again

Nobody said the $7 protector provided any protection or survives. But the $7 protector circuit is also sold in other protectors for $25 and $150. Selling the same protector for 20 times more money is typical of all Monster Cable products. Also amazing are Monster Cable speaker wires that have polarity and sell for what - $65?

Amazing how many know it must work only because it costs more money. Takes so little to see through the scam. If surges cannot be stopped by three miles of sky, then how does a 2 centimeter part inside that power strip stop a surge? It does only because it costs more money?

For 100 years, we have known how surge damage is averted. The protector is connection short to earth AND the protector survives even direct lightning strikes. But after 100 years, some manufacturers can still sell a box that magically stops what three miles of sky could not.

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(NT) Persistent & verbose
by NM_Bill / May 27, 2009 12:29 AM PDT
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(NT) lol
by RustyDallas / May 27, 2009 8:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Persistent & verbose
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by WildClay / May 29, 2009 11:02 AM PDT
In reply to: lol


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Going to far...
by WildClay / May 23, 2009 12:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Consider the source

To suggest that a properly grounded electical system needs the ground to be staved 10 feet from the outlet is going a tad too far in technical terms vs practical terms.

It is more than generally accepted that a grounded, that is 3 prong plug that meets code provides an acceptable ground for any discussion of this nature. Cable shields and house grounds to the main breaker panel follow the 10' rule and all of the other specs to the main breaker panel in a house, after that everything is wired to that panel if they are in code with a ground wire.

That ground wire provides more than enough grounding for virtually any practical application in a home for A/V equipment and just about anything else or they would have never bothered making it code in the first place.

As I said in an earlier post, electricity will take the path of least resistance to ground, so even if that ground wire in a three prone plug us slughtly higher than a proper ground stave, it will still be by far the path of least resistance and a properly made surge protector will be effective within its rating at taking surges to ground, the rest is symantics.

I do agree a surge protector within its specs should not scrafice itself taking a surge to ground, but if those limits are exceeded, as in the case of a lightening strike, then many will and are no more a fire hazard than anything else that would get fried by the strike. Being an nearly instantanous event, the odds of that kind of surge is likely to just vaporize parts in the protector way too fast to give time for the case or wires to catch on fire.

Also if we are going in to full disclosure, there are very few things that would protect 100% from a nearby direct strike, yet very few houses burn down as a result, unless it is the house itself that gets hit, but they do take out a lot of gear every year. Even the better consumer grade UPS systems are not likely to survive a direct hit to your power wires near your home, but they may depending on the design protect your equipment or may not.

So bottom line, it is a good idea if you have a big investment in your A/V system to protect all of the input/outputs that leave the home, so that is not just the hot/neutral/ground, but the cable center wire and shield, and the phone line tip and ring. I think the ethernet cable might be over-kill since it is already going through a cable modem before it goes out to your equipment, but if your protector is so equipped there is no reason not to either.

Now power conditioners gets really in to a whole new topic, a power conditioner may have a surge protector as part of it, but it power conditioning aspect as nothing to do with surge protection, it is usually taking noise off the wire that would flow right through a surge protecter and a good one is bi-directional, it prevents noice from one device from feeding that to other devices on the same circuit.

I think power conditioners are highly over-rated and mostly not needed but if you have dirty power then they can make a difference, I would personally go for a very good UPS before I went for a power conditioner, as long as the UPS was a full sine wave output type and included high and low freq noise filtering as a part of it.

I use a lot of X-10 stuff in my house so I find that my UPS with power conditioning serves me well for my computer and A/V equipment and can tell it is doing it's job since no X-10 devices plugged in to it will work.

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Re: Going to far ...
by w_tom / May 25, 2009 1:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Going to far...

> To suggest that a properly grounded electical system needs the ground to
> be staved 10 feet from the outlet is going a tad too far in technical
> terms vs practical terms.

Which would be true if resistance was relevant. However resistance is not what every professional discusses. Low impedance is essential to effective protection. For example, the wall receptacle safety ground may be less than 0.2 ohms resistance. That same wire may be 120 ohms impedance. A trivial 100 amp surge would leave the receptacle at something approaching 12,000 volts. Where is the earthing? Even that trivial surge would seek other paths to earth. A protector adjacent to electronics can even earth surges destructively through nearby appliances.

Why do telephone COs use 'whole house' protectors with that connection to earth so short? Low impedance is essential for surge protection. Locating one protector up to 50 meters distant from electronics (higher impedance) also increases protection.

Wire resistance is irrelvant. Every foot of wire increases impedance. Thicker gauge wire does little to decrease impedance - only decreases resistance. Lower wire impedance is mostly by making the connector shorter (and other factors such as no splices and no sharp bends).

Described is the important technical term - impedance. Every professional understands this. Polyphaser - an industry benchmark - even makes a protector with no connection to earth. Distance to earth is so critical that a Polyphaser protector is zero feet to earth ground. Why so short? For the same reason that a wall receptacle does not provide earthing. The shortest electrical connection is lowest impedance - not low resistance.

Other factors make a wall receptacle farther from earth ground - increases wire impedance. Low impedance is so critical that a ground wire must have no sharp bends, be separated from other wires, not inside metallic conduit, no splices, ... as well as short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). Every requirement violated by wall receptacle safety grounds. That insufficient earthing explains why plug-in protectors may even earth a surge destructively through adjacent electronics. Why telcos do not waste money on them.

Effective protection means a surge does not enter the building. Effective protection is about energy dissipated harmlessly in earth - outside the building. If permitted inside a building, the power strip protector simply gives a surge more paths to find earth inside the house. Other conductive materials further subvert that protection. Electrically conductive items include linoleum tile, heating system, wood, and concrete floors. Effective protection means a surge has a low impedance (not low resistance) connection to earth and need not enter the building.

Why do telcos not use plug-in protectors? Telcos need protection that works for every of 100 surges during every thunderstorm. Telcos locate protectors as close to single point earth ground as possible. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Wall receptacle does not provide earthing - for simple technical reasons. Impedance (not resistance) makes that obvious.
> Well I assert, from personal and broadcast experience spanning 30
> years, that you can design a system that will handle *direct
> lightning strikes* on a routine basis. ...
> Of course you *must* have a single point ground system that
> eliminates all ground loops. And you must present a low *impedance*
> path for the energy to go. That's most generally a low *inductance*
> path rather than just a low ohm DC path.

Wall receptacles do not provide these well understood surge protection requirements.

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How would it ne practical or even possible?
by WildClay / May 25, 2009 2:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Going to far ...

Tell me how it would be practical or even possible to true earth/ground every plug in your house? The best most can do is have a good true Earth/Ground at their panel with proper run ground electrical wiring, including the ground wire to each outlet. For example my Home Theater system nor computer are within 10 feet of anything I could get a true 100% ground on.

I never disputed impedance was not part of the deal, I just kept it simple at using resistance since impedance is just resistane at a certain AC frequency (that also takes phase into account), including 60Hz.

There is very little in a house one can do it get 100% protection from a direct lightening strike and I also never disputed that the ground stave that the telco, phone company, and cable companies use as they enter your house is the not best possible, it is, which is why they use it.

What I am saying it that it is not practical or even possible to provide that level of grounding to every plug in your house, and as in my case not even for my home theater or computer, so I used a good USP with surge protection on both, and ones that cover the cable wire center conductor and telecom tip/ring wires.

What I am saying is that these devices do add resonable protection against most surge situation that would or could damage your equipment. I also don't think it is wise to buy junk or under-rated cheap products for this, but that even the best stuff will not be 100%, in fact it will not be 100% even with proper Earthing.

So the real point was to separare the "theory" from the practical, so to say that protection with reasonable equipment is of no value since it does not connect inside 10 feet to a true Earth/Ground is not correct. To say it is 100% protection is not correct either, but it does add to the protection of your gear.

So while a surge protector likely will not cover you in a direct lightening strike it will protect from many other surge causes, I know this from first hand experience when a high tension wire broke and fell across local feed, smoked utility transformers for blocks, al a lot of peoples TV's stereo's, took out circuit breakers, and even a number of major applaiaces in the area, I lost the control panel on my dish washer but thankfully everything survived. Both of my APC UPS/Surge systems, the one on my computer and HT both tripped off, they did not break, just did their jobs.

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Re: How would it ne practical or even possible?
by w_tom / May 26, 2009 3:38 PM PDT

Again, why must a protector be at every plug? No effective protection exists at a wall receptacle. Surge protection for every plug is about earthing before that surge even enters a building.

Why does your telco routinely discontinue service for four days while they replace that switching computer? Connected to wires all over town, that CO will suffer maybe 100 surges during each thunderstorm - and must never suffer damage. So every wire is earthed before it enters the building. A connection so short as to be low impedance.

How to protect every home theater component? One 'whole house' protector earthed where AC electric enters the building. Just like your telco does to never suffer damage. They do not waste money for protectors on receptacles. Effective protection is for all household receptacles - and for the dishwasher, bathroom GFCIs, furnace ...

Your example suggests that appliances on UPSes had superior internal protection, or were not a better path to earth. IOW with or without the UPS, those items would have survived.

Worse, a dishwasher apparently acted as the 'whole house' protector. That is the more logical conclusion from your observations. Especially since that UPS claims what kind of protection? Where does it list each type of surge and protection from that surge? It does not. How did it do what the manufacturer does not even claim?

Your dishwasher provided protection by acting as a 'whole house' protector.

How many joules in that UPS? Near zero. Where is the protection from near zero joules?

You made a conclusion using only observation. Observation without underlying technical facts. Conclusion only from observation is (by definition) classic junk science. Worse, you ignored the dishwasher that acted as a 'whole house' protector. That's two logic violations.

For your observation to have credibility, every device that did not have a UPS must be damaged. Every undamaged device must have a UPS or equivalent protection. The third logic violation to make your conclusion. Where is that protector for every undamaged smoke detector, clock radio, and dimmer switch? Selectively listing some undamaged items (ie on UPSes) and completely ignoring other undamaged items is classic junk science. Selectively choosing what data to use was how childhood leukemia from electric wires was *proven*. Junk science is selectively viewing some examples and conveniently ignoring others.

A damning fact remains: where are those UPS manufacturer specs that claim that protection? Not subjective claims in a sales brochure. Technical numbers from a specification sheet. UPS did not even claim to provide protection. So the dishwasher provided protection - and the UPS gets all the credit? An example of how junk science works.

Protection for a wall receptacle means a solution distant (ie 'less than 50 meter') from that receptacle.

Those other surges? What other surges? Any household appliance that creates a surge is killed by its own surge. Other surges are popular urban myths, trivial, AND are made completely irrelevant by one 'whole house' protector. Just because propaganda said those other surges exist, well, then we are all trooping to the hardware store every day to replace dimmer switches and clock radios. Or those other surges do not exist.

Install one 'whole house' protector to make lightning irrelevant. Then all other lesser surges are also irrelevant. UPS does not claim to provide that protection. In your example, the dishwasher provided protection. More reasonable: a dishwasher even protected those UPSes.

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Agree to Disagree
by WildClay / May 27, 2009 10:14 AM PDT

There is little point in this going on, I think there is calue added for a good surge proector at devices and you don't. I have hole house protection in this house as I noted and still use a UPS/Surge protector for my HT and computer. As I noted before, whole house protectors don't help for intrahouse events, especially noise.

As for selective answers, it makes perfect sense that even some things not on a surge protector were not damaged in my prior house, the spike ovbiouslly found a better path. If I wanted to "cheat" in my answer I would not have mentioned that some things survived with no protection. In that same even, neighbors that had their computers on surge protectors also did no lose their computers, but all those that did lose their computers did not have any proection.

As for the dishwasher, perhaps you are right, glad it was still under warranty.

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Re: Agree to disagree
by w_tom / May 28, 2009 12:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Agree to Disagree

> As I noted before, whole house protectors don't help for
> intrahouse events, especially noise.

No protector works for noise. A protector appears to be non-existent. Protector only appears to exist when 120 VAC exceeds 330 volts. See the let-through number on its box. 330 volts. That means the protector does nothing significant until voltage is that high.

If a filter inside electronics is insufficient for noise, then a more serious filter is required such as from Brickwall, Surgex, or Zerosurge.

If any appliance creates problems, then a protector should be located on that noisy appliance - not on that other 100 that would be at risk. That assumes a protector location is important for noise. Reality. A power strip adjacent to the appliance or a 'whole house' protector located in the breaker box - both would accomplish same.

If plug-in protection does something, then its manufacturer would make that claim in specs.

Even a typical UPS manufacturer does not list each type of surge and numbers for that surge. A typical UPS is for constant power - to protect data. UPS even connects an appliance directly to AC mains. Where is the blocking device? Surges get connected directly to electronics (via a UPS relay).

When do electronics see most noise? When UPS is in battery backup mode. See that spike of up to 270 volts? More than noise - and must be made irrelevant by filtering already inside the electronics. How to test noise protection in entertainment electronics? Power it from a UPS in battery backup mode. If that massive noise does not impede performance, then serious filters are not needed.

UPS does not even claim to provide protection. It only claims to provide power during blackouts and extreme brownouts. You can feel all you want. But knowledge comes from specs. Numeric specifications state what it really does. BTW, which one of us designed these things, suffered a direct strike, and had no damage?

The only effective protection means even direct lightning strikes cause no damage - even to the protector. One such device from Cutler Hammer is sold for less than $50 in Lowes.

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Re: Agree to Disagree
by w_tom / May 28, 2009 12:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Agree to Disagree

> I have hole house protection in this house as I noted ...

If it was installed and you had that damage, then do what is standard when damage is not an option. No protector provides protection. Protection is earth ground. Your 'whole house' protector may be improperly connected to earth. For example, the connection from protector to earth ground must be short - 'less than 10 feet'. No sharp bends in that wire. Ground wire not bundled with other wires. Wire not inside metallic conduit. Etc.

You had damage. What provides protection is not properly connected to the protector. Or other incoming wires (cable, telephone, etc) also are not connected (short, no splices, no sharp bends, etc) properly to that same earth ground. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Applies to a UPS and to the ?whole house? protector.

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by WildClay / May 28, 2009 9:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Agree to Disagree

The house I lived in when the power line fell did not have a whole house protector, just surge protectors on my HT and computer stuff and no damage there, as I noted that only thing in my house that got damaged was the dishwasher.

In this house with a whole house protector, this house has a Ditek whole house and as I mentioned before, and APC UPS/Surge Protectors on the HT and Computer systems. Most makers of whole house protectors still suggest value in having sensitive things like HT's and Computers on a surger protector in addition, just look that their own web sites, APC, Ditek, Panamanx, Levliton, any of them.

As for taking noise off of the line, again go do your own homework, X-10 puts at best a 5v p-p signal on the AC waveform and both my APC's totally remove it.

We could spend an eternity in the debate of specs, but there is one spec I tell most poeple to look for since view are going to understand any of the electrical spec's in the first place, and that is what insurance does the maker give in the Warranty, one of my APC's is $50,000 and the bigger one is $100,000 for anything connected to their device getting damaged from a surge. The Ditek I did not put in is also $100,000 but limited to major appliances, they suggest using surge suppressors for your computer and HT systems in addition to their Whole House protection, all of the better surge protectors will come with a detailed insurance warrenty, there is a reasson they can do that, they work.

Finally, it is not a case of going an putting surge protectors on everything in your house, with a whole house protection system, I think it would be wise to have one for your computer systems and HT.

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Re: Mis-read
by w_tom / May 28, 2009 12:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Mis-read

> Most makers of whole house protectors still suggest
> value in having sensitive things like HT's and
> Computers on a surger protector in addition, just
> look that their own web sites, APC, Ditek, Panamanx,
> Levliton, any of them.

I would also recommend a plug-in protector if selling them because profit margins are so massive. BTW, some of those manufacturers (ie APC) do not sell 'whole house' protectors and avoid all discussion about earthing.

Let's put numbers to protection. From the IEEE Green Book:
> Lightning cannot be prevented; it can only be intercepted or
> diverted to a path which will, if well designed and constructed,
> not result in damage. Even this means is not positive,
> providing only 99.5-99.9% protection. ...
> Still, a 99.5% protection level will reduce the incidence of direct
> strokes from one stroke per 30 years ... to one stroke per
> 6000 years ...

So yes. For that extra 0.2%, spend $25 or $150 for each appliance. And don't forget smoke detectors. If a surge exists, the most critical appliance is that smoke detector.

Even telcos do not waste money on plug-in protectors. They suffer typically 100 surges during every thunderstorm. If damage happens, a telco begins an investigation at earth ground. Why? Every protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

Appreciate recommendations made without any numbers. Same technique - subjective reasoning - got so many to believe Saddam had WMDs. Numbers say the plug-in protector adds some protection - so little as to not be worth the money.

Again, that UPS does not provide surge protection. View the numbers. How many joules? 345? That means as little as 115 joules actually get used. So close to zero protection as to be zero protection. However, that number is also far enough above zero that a sales brochure can claim "surge protection". Surge protection exists if numbers are not provided. It?s the classic "Saddam had WMDs" trick.

Damage occurred with a 'whole house' protector installed. Therefore the 'whole house' protector probably has a serious detriment in earthing or in a connection to earthing. Some parameters described previously. No 'whole house' protector is 100%. But protection is so effective as to be more than sufficient. See IEEE Green Book. Appreciate why telcos (with over 100 years of experience) do not use plug-in protectors.

BTW, did you learn this by tracing surges and then replacing those damaged semiconductors to make electronics work? I did. Two plug-in protectors were too close to computers and too far from earth ground. Power strips earthed a surge through the network, through a third computer, and then to ground. Protectors only put the surge on all wires giving the surge more paths to find earth ground. Protectors are effective when one of those wires is a better path to earth.

But again, I too would sell a plug-in protector because profit margins are so high. I would simply forget to include the perspective of numbers - because 'no numbers' so often convinces people. But as one who only designed this stuff, I can be honest here. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

Apparently your 'whole house' protector is defectively earthed. For example, was your earthing upgraded to meet and exceed post 1990 National Electrical code? If not, that might explain your damage. Unfortunately, there is no way to test an installation. Either we inspect the installation, or learn where a surge was permitted inside the building - by tracing the surge and resulting damage.

I don't expect to convince you. But I would be remiss to not put your experience into perspective for the benefit of others. You had damage. Therefore the surge was not earthed before entering the building. That is where the investigation should begin. No box solves surges. But when selling a $3 power strip with some ten cent parts for $25, then even I would sell plug-in protectors. A perfect business for Monster Cable who sell the same protector circuit for $75 and $150.

Noise ? protectors are (electrically) capacitors. Higher frequency and weak signals from X-10s easily get ?eaten? by protectors. Visit the alt.home.automation newsgroup where Leviton ?whole house? protectors are often recommended to not destroy X-10 signals. Little can subvert X-10 signals. X-10 signals are easily attenuated (blocked) by filters routinely installed in electronics. X-10 is a poor example of noise. How often does an X-10 signal appear in your audio output or clock radio? It does have filtering. Near zero so that a sales brochure can claim filtering ? that is near zero.

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Again you mis-quote me
by WildClay / May 29, 2009 12:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Mis-read

I had no damage at my house with a whole house protector, but I have also had no lightening events since I lived here.

Ad for you APC does not make whole house protectors, that would sure be a surprise to them :

They clearly make them.

As for the UPS I have said, more than once, UPS/Surge Protector, meaning like the 2 APC ones I have that have both, they have a battery driven static inverter for UPS and surge protection for not just the mains lines but also for the center conductor that at whole house protector will do nothing for on your cable line, now will the cable company grounding the shield, they can't ground the center conductor or you would get nothing, so it is unprotected, unless of course you have a surge protector that covers that.

Now will a surge protector protect a hit to a cable feed that gets on the center conductor, hard to say, but when they back it up with a $50,000 insurance policy you have to believe it either works or not care since the insurance will cover it if it doesn't but I suspect it does the job in most cases or it would not be offered.

There is a lot more than lightening, the worse case surge to protect your computer from, again as I noted there are intra-house surges that also happen and can take out gear.

We are really not going to change each others mind on this, but I continue to post so other reader get the fully story.

What would be nice is to see someone like CNET put some of the low end, mid-range, and high end surget supressors through some tests going from a moderate surge to a full blown lightening strike and that against a cable tv cable where it gets to the center conductor.

In any event, I think having surge protectors on ALL of your external feeds to your computer and HT systems is a wise investment. I also think that power conditioners are typeically a rip off and only needed if you have really dirty power for some reason.

I used X-10 as just one example to counter your claim that it takes 300V for noise protection to work, now you have helped make my case even more. I did not say X-10 was a great example of noise, just an example of noise that even moderatly priced noise/line conditions and many surge protectors take care of easily.

I know well how easily X-10 signals are eaten by things, this is why I have X-10 boosters in a couple spots and an X-10 phase bridge so it works on all my circuits.

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