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Question

Surge Protection for tv's and computers

by pigalle1 / August 11, 2012 4:14 AM PDT

Help! Just moved to Jersey and already witnessed a lightening storm that shut everything down momentarily. Happened to be backing up old tower(have new one), and glad new one wasn't up. Here's my needs breakdown:
3 tvs w/ dvd players; 47', 42', 32'.
tower w/ 2 monitors 1.5t HD/8G memory WIN7
laptop - 8G HD/6G memory/wireless all in 1 printer/ WIN7 /IPad
Multi- unit phone (base + 2)
stereo - 6 components (large - old school - Technics)

i intend to bundle them as you see them (tvs seperate). Have Central AC/Fan/Heat that surges (AC) when turned on/when it wants to.. Verizon is due Monday and I'm ready to reschedule until I work out this problem. Don't want to rush out and just buy something. I'm pretty savvy but this is giving me a headache. A little help please. Thanks.

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All Answers

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Answer
A UPS for the PC
by Steven Haninger / August 11, 2012 4:32 AM PDT

and you can buy surge protection devices for TVs and AV components that will offer some help with reverse EMF from high current motors as they turn on and off. None of these will protect you from lightning. You unplug such items when you're home and storms are around. You keep fingers crossed when you're away for the day. If on vacation you unplug the same devices that you would in a storm.

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Surge Protection for tv's and computers
by pigalle1 / August 11, 2012 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: A UPS for the PC

Thanks. I called Verizon to reschedule and asked if they had any useful information. They said it depended on my circuit breakers. I checked and they are 15A. I was told to get 15A surge protectors. Just starting to browse, but how does this differ from amount of joules. I leave early for work and come home late, and unplugging everything - or remembering to - is not really a viable option.

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Do all you can...
by Willy / August 11, 2012 5:22 PM PDT

Get whatever you can afford, the bigger joule handling, should be more capable. However, whatever comes your way all depends on hard you're hit, so everything attached is prone to damage.

Here's what I've done at home:

1) singular AC surge connector on any AC plug(LED taletale lit)
2) power surge strip(LED unlit when damaged)
3) line conditioner
4) basic UPS
5) well grounded home
5) use separate AC outlet to spread load
6) try to disconnect when possible
7) bios set to remain OFF after power loss

The more money you throw at it, the better to LESSEN damage. If you're that close to a lightning strike or power loss, the more likely the damage. Understand also, frequent hits reduce the effectiness of your protection as they are worn down or blown(unknown to you). One reason, I try to find any protection that shows active protection by some LED status, not just powered-ON.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Surge protection
by pigalle1 / August 19, 2012 9:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Do all you can...

Thanks for the info.As of today I've gone with a 3000 joules and a 2160 joules. 2 more to purchase for now. A ups is on the list.

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Answer
The problem is that we can't know how big the hand of God is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2012 6:51 AM PDT

Lightning strikes vary in intensity based on many factors. So your best bet is to install many protectors all throughout the home. The whole house then adds it all up to get more protection as you add more units.

No one should ever tell you that "this is big enough" because no one knows how much energy there is in a strike. If the strike was on the pole, then most of the power is dissipated before it gets to your home. If the strike was directly on your feed line to your power distribution box that usually has enough energy (joules) to melt the wiring then any protection is usually fried and possibly any equipment on the other side. Take a direct hit on an antenna and it's game over for anything on that connection.

You have quite a list so my advice is to get protector bars on everything.

And yes you can add one of these as well -> http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-51120-1-Panel-Protector-240-Volt/dp/B00081K55Q/ but that's only going to give so much protection.

Bob

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Surge Protection
by pigalle1 / August 11, 2012 1:06 PM PDT

Thank you. Little by little it's coming together. I welcome any other information.

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Answer
I installed APC UPS devices (1500VA) for
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 11, 2012 11:33 PM PDT

the main HD TV and its associated sound system.
I have two UPS devices on my computer setup and one UPS on a second machine in another room.

Running time is around 20 for each but the main purpose was to protect against the local utility company. They have a nasty habit of "bouncing" the power prior to a loss.
Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down in the space of 30 seconds or so but the UPS devices keep on supplying power to the devices and give enough time to shut them down nicely.

The above happens even if there is no lightening. Most times it just has to rain and the power starts to do haywire.

P

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Surge Protection
by pigalle1 / August 12, 2012 8:43 AM PDT

Thanks. I see this is going to take a little time to equip. Had 2 laptops stolen within a year. Don't want to now watch stuff blow up. Thanks for the tip.

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Answer
The point
by w_tom / August 13, 2012 1:05 AM PDT

I am not sure what you are asking for. Verizon is arriving to install a new phone system? So their FIOS needs a 15 amp or 20 amp circuit to a duplex receptacle. Best is to run a dedicated one.

Bundling of what?

Some major corrections. The UPS has one function - temporary and dirty power during a blackout. Some are designed so cheaply as to even switch to batteries due to minor noise on AC mains. Then many 'assume' AC mains voltages are changing massively. Nonsense. Voltage can drop so low that incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. That is normal voltage for electronics. Harmful voltage for motorized appliances - ie a refrigerator. So the UPS should be put on appliances that are much more voltage sensitive.

Only protection worth spending money must protect even from direct lightning strikes. Protection from lesser events is protection from transients that cause no damage. Superior protection is already inside all appliances. Your only concern is the rare transient (maybe once every seven years) that can overwhelm superior protection inside appliances. One solution does everything - a properly earthed 'whole house' protector. That one solution is also costs tens or 100 times less money than what others have proposed - to not even protect from lightning.

But again, I am not sure you were asking.

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I'm sorry to say that this is pure nonsense.
by Steven Haninger / August 13, 2012 4:12 AM PDT
In reply to: The point

Nothing you can buy will provide much protection from a direct lightning strike. You don't need a dedicated 15/20 amp circuit for FIOS. A short dip in voltage will not kill your refrigerator and the sweeping generalization that "superior protection is already inside all appliances" is patently false. You've not provided a definition for what "superior protection" means. Where you got the once in 7 year transient figure is beyond me as well....and a properly earthed "whole house protector" that's inexpensive is quite a mathematical stretch. Sorry but your advice is so full of holes that it should be ignored.

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Have been hit by lightning 8 times in 28 years.
by cairrots / August 14, 2012 6:48 AM PDT

Our first hit by lightning was the day we moved in to the house and it fried all the telephone jacks. I updated our service panel to 200 amps which gave us a much larger ground. Our phones were hit again so I grounded the main phone line to the 200 amp ground line. the next hit on the phone line did not do any damage to any phone this time. I went down to Home Depot and bought a whole house surge protector which I connected to the service panel as it required you to do so. After installing that the lightning has not made it all the way to the house. It has hit the phone line at the hydro pole and the last hit was the cable television/internet service at the same hydro pole, but we felt the electrical charge inside the house. I back up the whole house protector with high joule bars at each television plus the computer and low joule plugs at things such as the fridge. Since doing that I haven't lost any electrical appliance.

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How damage really happens.
by w_tom / August 14, 2012 12:49 PM PDT

Described was a classic example of damage because a surge is all but invited inside. Multiple times. Damage because a surge inside will hunt for earth destructively via appliances.

First, phone lines are protected from lightning by higher AC electric wires. AC wires (not phone lines) are most often struck. Second, phone lines also have a superior protector where telco wires meet yours - at the subscriber interface. That 'installled for free' protector has existed on every phone line longer than anyone here has even existed.

Phone lines already have a best protector. AC typically does not.

To have damage means an appliance must have both an incoming and an outgoing path to earth. Incoming apparently was AC mains. Now a surge is inside and incoming to every household appliance. Damaged appliances must also have an outgoing path to earth. Since phone lines already have a properly earthed 'whole house' protector, then a phone line is the perfect outgoing path. Not an incoming path.

What is most often damaged? The outgoing path. Incoming via AC mains. Outgoing and destructively via the phone wire. Unfortunately many only speculate; assume damage is an incoming path. And do not even know of a protector 'installed for free' on all phone lines.

A 'whole house' protector on AC mains means a surge is no longer inside hunting. No longer doing damage outgoing via phone appliances.

Read spec numbers for those power bars. If adjacent to an appliance it must either block or must absorb that surge energy. How does its hundreds of joules absorb destructive surges that are hundreds of thousands of joules? It doesn't. It is seriously undersized. How does its 2 cm part stop what three miles of sky could not? In rare cases, an undersized power bar has even caused a house fire. Fortunately you have a 'whole house' protector to also protect those undersized and expenisve power bars.

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Have been hit by lightning 8 times in 28 years.
by cairrots / August 15, 2012 10:04 AM PDT

I understand the reasoning of "How damage really happens" as I was accepted injto the electricians union but I am having a time understanding how the first strike happened to all the lines(5) when the protector was installed on the phone line in the first instance and no electrical appliances were plugged in at the time as they were still at the apartment waiting to be picked up. My wife was on the phone at the house with myself being on the phone at the apartment talking to her when the lightning hit the house. This house used to be made of logs in 1820 and due to all our strikes I surmise that lightning hit the log house about 1840 and then it was replaced with the present brick structure. The stone house directly across the street which is three times higher than our house built about 1832 has never been hit while we have been living here.

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Keep in mind that lightning striking your home
by Steven Haninger / August 15, 2012 11:15 AM PDT

doesn't happen the same way as do falling rocks. It doesn't strike you just from above but the difference in potential that's created causes your entire house to become highly electrically charged and it becomes a source and not just a target. Some strikes actually originate on the ground and travel skyward as well. It takes about 20k volts to arc 1 inch in dry air. With lightning, you're talking many millions in the way of voltage potential and any metal object is vulnerable in that it aids the conduction of that energy surge through its full path. Any metal appliance, connected or not, can be electrically damaged during a direct strike to your house. Sensitive electronics that require ESD handling of components are no match for lightning and, under some conditions, can be damaged when not attached to your home wiring. Surge protection devices may have their place just as do flak jackets worn by police but they do have limits. And just like those flak jackets, they are damaged when hit. If you're convinced that the "whole house" systems are the way to go and add such to the service panels, you're going to be wanting to replace them anytime you think they saved you from a hit.

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normal?
by uglypedro / August 31, 2012 11:35 PM PDT
In reply to: The point

"Voltage can drop so low that incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. That is normal voltage for electronics. Harmful voltage for motorized appliances - ie a refrigerator. So the UPS should be put on appliances that are much
more voltage sensitive."-----A "brownout" will not only fry motorized appliances it will also fry electronics! It is certainly not "normal". If the drop is big enough to dim your light, it can destroy your toys....it did mine.

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(NT) Yep!
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / August 31, 2012 11:40 PM PDT
In reply to: normal?
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Junk science vs knowledge with numbers.
by w_tom / September 1, 2012 9:21 AM PDT
In reply to: normal?

Normal for electronics is a voltage so low that incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. Since voltages that low are only harmful to motorized appliances, then a utility will disconnect power ASAP when voltage is that low.

Voltage that low is unacceptable for a utility. May be harmful to motorized appliances. And is normal for electronics. In fact, ATX computer standards defines as normal a voltage causing only 40% bulb intensity. Also from engineers, "... voltage below the minimum specified ... shall not cause damage".

Unfortunately too many 'know' observation is proof. Nonsense. Even elementary school science defined that as junk science: ie spontaneous reproduction or moldy bread breeding maggots. "I saw it so it must be true" is classic junk science.

If voltage that low was destructive, then relevant spec numbers were posted. Not an empty denial promoted by advertising myths.

Why no number? Because knowledge based in science says bulbs at 50% intensity is a normal operating voltage for electronics.

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Answer
Ultimate Surge Protection
by Iatros / August 17, 2012 10:10 AM PDT

Kinda late, but here are some things I have figured out.

Nothing, but nothing will protect against a very close lightening strike. It will arc over open contacts, jump grounds, cause havoc.

Having said that, what you want to do is protect your equipment from voltage surges, spikes, and dropouts. Then you want to try and stop damage with in the house.

Here's what I recommend:
At the computer: a good UPS, as large as you can afford, with connection between UPS and computer via USB ports and software installed to shut down the computer. The argument is still out as to true sine wave versus pseudo-sine wave...it does not seem to matter.
All other electronics: TVs, stereo, sewing machines, etc. Use a really good surge protector strip. The more joules it can adsorb, the better. Some strips will also throw an internal breaker with large surges/spikes.

At the power 'head', where the meter comes in: a good whole house surge arrestor, to try to protect as well as possible surges coming in from the power line.

Not sure: additional surge protector on the panel.

The more rural your location, the more likely you will have surges/spikes, and dropouts. For safety's sake, the power company runs the hot feeder line on the top of the pole. The ground wire is below the feeder line. Each pole has a ground wire running down it to the bottom of the pole. Lightening will almost always hit the top, hot feeder wire. A huge surge will up and down the line until it is adsorbed and dispersed by various devices on the power lines. Thus thunderstorms and lightening are really problems for your household circuits.

The best thing is to unplug equipment when possible. This is often not possible.

Surge arrestors and protectors are the next best protection.

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Hire an Electrician
by arnold88 / August 17, 2012 10:54 AM PDT

You should be able to find a good electrician by asking questions about surge protection; and protection starts, as Latros points out, at the point of entry. You should have a 'whole house' surge protector mounted on the service entry and a well established ground to go with it.
Any electronics store should sell a good grade of surge protector to be used at point of service; tv, stereo, etc. These should also have the capability of offering protection for your cable and phone lines. All of your incoming cable and phone lines should be protected at the point of entry as well.
Redundancy is your best friend when dealing with lightning, we have lightning storms all the time here in middle TN just south of Nashville. Ever since applying the items noted above we have had no problems with loss of service or damage to equipment. We had 2 wall phones get fried by lightning before installing the items noted above. In the ensuing 17 years the only irritation has been the beeping from the UPS units on the separate PCs in the house. Another plus is the equipment replacement assurance offered if the UPS or surge strip doesn't perform properly.
Buy legitimate surge protection strips rather than the inexpensive plug strips as the latter won't do what you're after.

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Numbers are always required
by w_tom / August 17, 2012 1:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Hire an Electrician

> Buy legitimate surge protection strips rather than the inexpensive plug strips
> as the latter won't do what you're after.

Any useful recommendation always includes numbers. Any recommendation without perspective is how myths and scams get created.

View numbers for a Monster power strip. Compare those spec numbers to a $7 Wal-Mart power strip. A destructive surge typically is hundreds of thousands of joules. Meaning the $7 Wal-Mart strip and $55 Monster strip are similar.

Did you know speaker wire has polarity? Reverse the speaker and amp ends of that wire to subvert audio quality. Many even said they could hear the difference. Again, so many who know by ignoreing facts and numbers. Monster sold $7 speaker wire marked with the amp and speaker ends ... for $70. Monster has a long history of identifying scams. Then selling an equivalent product for even higher profits. Always be suspicious of anything when Monster is marketing a similar product.

Little relationship exists between price and quality. Protection numbers for a UPS typically claim even less protection. Same applies to a UPS. Without numbers, a recommendation is best doubted since a typical UPS claims even less protection. Only numeric specs say what is relevant. Any recommendation without those specs is best ignored.

Each layer of protection (redundancy) is only defined buy what does protection. A 'whole house' protector only connects to a 'seconday' protection layer. Also inspect the 'primary' inspection layer. A picture demonstrates what to inspect; the only item in each layer that actually defines protection:
http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Protectors are only connecting devices to that protection.

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A note about speaker polarity
by Steven Haninger / August 18, 2012 12:06 AM PDT

No, there is no "polarity" involved with speaker wire. A difference in sound happens if your wiring is out of phase. This is why one wire is usually marked with a stripe. It's o you can hook + to + and - to -. Swapping the amp and speaker ends does nothing. Swapping them on a terminal pair will as you'll change the speaker phase. I've no idea where you're getting this stuff.

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Numbers required
by w_tom / August 18, 2012 8:13 AM PDT

> Swapping the amp and speaker ends does nothing.

So you completely agree with what was posted. Monster sold speaker wire marked for the speaker and amp ends. And many said they could even hear the difference! Why? Claims were made subjectively. No facts and no numbers. But it was the first thing so many heard - therefore it must be true! (Something like 50% of consumers think that way.) Many would buy $7 speaker wire from Monster for $70. And even hear the difference!

Same applies to protectors. Monster has a long history of identifying scams. And then selling an equivalent product with a higher profit margin. Stick with the point. View spec numbers for a power strip from Wal-Mart for $7 or from Monster for $55. Similar products. Similar spec numbers. But most if not a majority will recommend the Monster because it costs more and looks more expensive. Meanwhile, neither claim to protect from a typically destructive surge.

Monster sells protectors just like they sold speaker wire with polarity - marked for the amp and speaker ends. If Monster is selling an equivalent product, then also suspect similar products from other manufacturers.

Monster does not sell a completely difference device (also called a surge protector). Because 'whole house' protectors are for protection. Less money goes into profits and more money goes what makes protection possible. Each layer of protection is only defined by what that protector connects to - where energy dissipates harmlessly - earth ground. Neither the Monster nor Wal-Mart (nor similar products from others) have that earthing wire or claim that protection.

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Then I misread what you wrote by the way it was written
by Steven Haninger / August 18, 2012 10:29 AM PDT

Substance can get lost in verbosity. Sorry

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Answer
Just moved to Jersey ?
by montroxz3 / August 17, 2012 10:34 AM PDT

BIG , BIG MISTAKE !

First , get the hell out of Jersey as of yesterday. When you arrive at your new location immediately take a long hot shower, have several stiff cocktails while giving thanks and calmly re-evaluate your situation.
Godspeed , Good Luck !

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Answer
lack of lighten storms.
by alaskagram / August 19, 2012 10:25 AM PDT

It may be cold here in Anchorage but we rarely have lightening storms.Lots of static but almost no lightening.

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