Author Topic: Surge Protectors  (Read 3669 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline J P Sousa

  • We Built Our Business - IN SPITE OF GOVERNMENT
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3629
  • Reputation: +299/-19
  • I love the smell of gun powder in the morning
Surge Protectors
« on: June 15, 2016, 05:17:36 PM »
I was reading information on surge protectors over the weekend. A few people on the internet (well meaning of course) believe a whole house surge protector is all that is needed.......wrong.

Two years ago my home lost electricity in a storm for about 8 hours. During those 8 hours the electricity came on for a few minutes then off again. This happened three times. Finally on the last time I heard a loud "bang" and the room lit up in an orange glow. My heart did a few flips when that happened (in the dark).   

I had a whole house surge protector and about a dozen individual protectors around the house for various equipment. Turns out the protector next to my chair which I used for my laptop (which was disconnected) melted inside the plastic case and scorched the carpet. That apparently is where the "orange glow" and "bang" came from. I had to replace 10 of the individual protectors as well as the whole house protector but none of my equipment died.

Just thought I would share my experience on surge protectors.  :-)
John Wayne: "America Why I Love Her"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5ZGz7h0epU

Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal ~Capt Katie Petronio

Obama Wiretapped The Trump Tower...FACT

Lois Lerner Needs To Be Prosecuted,.....Or Our Constitution Means Nothing,

Offline FunkyZero

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1991
  • Reputation: +193/-11
  • ha ha, charade you are
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2016, 08:53:39 PM »


I'd say you got lucky. A "surge protector" may be better than nothing, but they are generally just not fast enough to do what they need in order to protect sensitive circuits. My advice to anyone is if you like the electronics, put it on a UPS. Period. Every TV, stereo and computer I own is on a UPS. They are not direct connected to the AC supply, the AC is converted to DC battery, then the battery powers the transformer to upscale back to 120v for your electronics giving them a constant, never fluctuating source of power. If you get REALLY hammered, only the UPS and battery may get damaged. Cheaper UPS's aren't so reliable either. Read up and stick with APC or Powerware. Decent ones can be had for 100-125 bucks and expect to replace a 50 dollar battery every 3-4 years. A lot of times you can ebay them for 20 bucks with no battery in them and then buy a fresh replacement from APC and you have a new, half price UPS... always an option

Offline SVPete

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15056
  • Reputation: +893/-171
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2016, 01:38:40 PM »
Adding a little technoid stuff ... there are three types of devices that may be used in surge protectors. All work on the principle that if a certain voltage is exceeded, the devices clamp and absorb a lot of energy. But their diabolical details are different:

* Transient Voltage Switches are super fast, but can't absorb a lot of energy without being destroyed;

* Gas Discharge tubes can absorb a lot of energy, but aren't (comparatively) very fast;

* Metal Oxide Varistors are almost as fast as TVSs, and can absorb almost as much energy as Gas Discharge tube, and are very inexpensive.

Guess what is used in those power strips with surge protection. HOWEVER every time an MOV absorbs a transient, a little damage is done to the MOV. Not a lot, but over time and power surges, the damage is cumulative, and the effect is that the break-over voltage, the voltage at which the MOV conducts, gradually drops, until it is conducting at normal line voltage and soon self-destructs.

My guess is that either the MOVs in your power strip dumped more energy than the MOVs could handle - even if new - or that they had deteriorated to the point that a couple of significant surges fried them. So ... how is this practical? Depending on weather in your area, you need to replace your power strips with some regularity. If you live somewhere with lots of thunderstorms - like KS or NE - I'd suggest every 2 years. Somewhere like Silicon Valley, maybe every 10-15 years. Now, if you know what you are doing - I don't recommend doing this casually, if ever - you could open up old power strips and replace the MOVs with new ones of the same voltage rating and the same or higher energy rating.

FZ's thinking is basically sound. Personally, I'd plug into the UPS your computer and other devices that are both pricey and have important data, and use power strips for stuff like TVs.

ETA: I've worked in power electronics since 1980, so I have some familiarity with such things.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 01:45:53 PM by SVPete »
Facts don't matter to DUpipo

Note to "Warpy": I voted for Donald Trump! I would do so again!

Big CHEETO is WATCHING You!

Offline thundley4

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 39046
  • Reputation: +2049/-124
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 05:36:35 PM »

FZ's thinking is basically sound. Personally, I'd plug into the UPS your computer and other devices that are both pricey and have important data, and use power strips for stuff like TVs.

ETA: I've worked in power electronics since 1980, so I have some familiarity with such things.

We started with one UPS for our two computers, monitors and printers.  After a few years, we bought a new one for the computers, etc, and used the old one for the TV, cable box, game system and DVD player.

Offline It_Guy

  • Probationary (Probie)
  • Posts: 20
  • Reputation: +5/-0
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 09:38:44 PM »
The other thing to consider is the earth ground of the structure.  There's the standard copper clad 8' ground rod that should be located near the electric panel.  The other type is a computer grade earth ground rod, which is also 8' in length, but is not simply driven into the earth but has an 8' post hole dug with salt added into the infill dirt.  The salted dirt is watered in to infuse ions into the surrounding dirt.

The point to having a good ground is that even though you may have great suppression equipment, the surge that is clamped is shunted to earth ground and one wants to make sure that absolute minimum resistant is provided. 

That's why when you look at electric utility poles there is a ground wire for each pole that is coiled and fastened to the bottom of the pole before its buried.   

Offline J P Sousa

  • We Built Our Business - IN SPITE OF GOVERNMENT
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3629
  • Reputation: +299/-19
  • I love the smell of gun powder in the morning
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2016, 10:42:17 AM »
The other thing to consider is the earth ground of the structure.  There's the standard copper clad 8' ground rod that should be located near the electric panel.  The other type is a computer grade earth ground rod, which is also 8' in length, but is not simply driven into the earth but has an 8' post hole dug with salt added into the infill dirt.  The salted dirt is watered in to infuse ions into the surrounding dirt.

The point to having a good ground is that even though you may have great suppression equipment, the surge that is clamped is shunted to earth ground and one wants to make sure that absolute minimum resistant is provided. 

That's why when you look at electric utility poles there is a ground wire for each pole that is coiled and fastened to the bottom of the pole before its buried.

I would think that salt would cause the ground rod to deteriorate faster than ordinary rods.
John Wayne: "America Why I Love Her"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5ZGz7h0epU

Get Over It! We Are Not All Created Equal ~Capt Katie Petronio

Obama Wiretapped The Trump Tower...FACT

Lois Lerner Needs To Be Prosecuted,.....Or Our Constitution Means Nothing,

Offline FunkyZero

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1991
  • Reputation: +193/-11
  • ha ha, charade you are
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2016, 10:52:41 AM »
I would think that salt would cause the ground rod to deteriorate faster than ordinary rods.

On those rigs, the ground "rod" is actually a copper pipe filled with an electrolytic salt mix. Over time, the chemicals seep out into the earth (by design) and the resistance properties of the soil drop more and more as the process continues. The pipe has to be refilled with the salt concoction once in a while as it leaks out into the soil.
Tin is also used a lot in these setups. I don't know how long the ground "rod" will actually last though.

Offline It_Guy

  • Probationary (Probie)
  • Posts: 20
  • Reputation: +5/-0
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2017, 02:12:02 AM »
I would think that salt would cause the ground rod to deteriorate faster than ordinary rods.

True, the metal does become sacrificial, but that's a cost that if one wants the best protection it's a given.
Cathodic protection is a must on steel hull ships and they use zinc as the sacrificial metal and in addition they use a power supply to reverse the electrolysis caused by dissimilar metals. 

For that matter, most water heaters will use a zinc cathode for the same reason, to protect the tank and the copper pipes.

Offline Gamle-ged

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 243
  • Reputation: +16/-0
Re: Surge Protectors
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2017, 10:01:26 AM »
True, the metal does become sacrificial, but that's a cost that if one wants the best protection it's a given.
Cathodic protection is a must on steel hull ships and they use zinc as the sacrificial metal and in addition they use a power supply to reverse the electrolysis caused by dissimilar metals. 

For that matter, most water heaters will use a zinc cathode for the same reason, to protect the tank and the copper pipes.

Also outdoor AC and heatpump units:

Prevent Corrosion with Corrosion Grenades

As the metal continues to corrode, the local potentials on the surface of the metal will change and the anodic and cathodic areas on them will change and move. As a result, in ferrous metals, a general covering of rust is formed over the whole surface, which will eventually consume all the metal. This is rather a simplified view of the corrosion process as it can occur in several different forms.

Cathodic protection works by introducing another metal (the galvanic anode) with a much more anodic surface, so that all the current will flow from the introduced anode and the metal to be protected becomes cathodic in comparison to the anode. This effectively stops the oxidisation reactions on the metal surface by transferring them to the galvanic anode, which will be sacrificed in favour of the structure under protection.

http://abbeypro.com/115.blogs
"This is football season. A team can have more yards and lose the game. What matters is how many points you put on the board. The Electoral College is the points."   (Newt Gingrich)