Good Surge Protector

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Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:05 am

Hello.

I am looking for a new surge protector. My current one is a Belkin, about 10 plugs, with an aluminum skin. Works good the problem is it makes a high pitch squeal/tone, which drives me nuts and irritates the heck out of me.
It is no longer under warranty, so it is either buy a new one or take it apart and try to fix it, either option is fine by me.

Also, my PC, monitors, speakers, etc. will be plugged into it.

Any recommendations or suggestions?
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:10 am

Get yourself a UPS, while this is not quite what you asked for, in a way it is, as some of the plugs on the back are strictly surge protectors and the others are surge/ups plugs.

While they are more expensive they are worth every penny of the money you spend, here is an example.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16842102082
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:04 am

I second the recommendation of a good UPS. You can get a good one for under $100 and they're well worth the cost. Aside from protecting you from surges, they'll also offer protection from over and under-voltage, which can also be damaging.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:52 am

Good Surge Protection: Good idea.
Good UPS: Good idea.
Relying on a consumer-grade UPS to be your surge protector: Bad idea.

The surge protection that is built into consumer grade UPS devices (read: anything under $1000 and practically anything you'll get from Newegg) is not very good. Instead, you want a dedicated surge protection device that is designed just for that purpose and is not using the metal-oxide varistors that are all too common in standard surge protectors. I highly recommend a zero-surge (http://www.zerosurge.com/) surge protector that is much more resistant to surges and effectively has a zero response time to a surge. The surge protector goes into the wall, and the UPS gets plugged into the surge protector.

Edit: Another surge protector that doesn't rely on MOVs is the Brick Wall: http://www.brickwall.com/pages/the-worl ... protectors
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:34 pm

You know, recommending surge protectors that cost more than consumer class UPS's isn't going to fly when he was using and was happy with a Belkin before it started to whine.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:42 pm

ChronoReverse wrote:You know, recommending surge protectors that cost more than consumer class UPS's isn't going to fly when he was using and was happy with a Belkin before it started to whine.


It might cost more up front, but having real surge protection can save you a whole lot more than the outlay for the surge protector (I'm using the lower-end one which is $139 and $159 for a higher-end model that can handle most any PC + extra office equipment). The surge protector lasts a long time (much longer than the battery life span of your UPS), so it is not an investment you need to make often.

I have been sitting in my home office when I witnessed a line-pole transformer blowout in my back yard that sounded like an explosion followed by an immediate power loss... but my equipment didn't have a single hiccup and I was able to shut down my PC, stereo, and other equipment safely. These things aren't cheap, but if you have equipment that is worth protecting, they are actually a bargain.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:12 pm

chuckula wrote:
ChronoReverse wrote:You know, recommending surge protectors that cost more than consumer class UPS's isn't going to fly when he was using and was happy with a Belkin before it started to whine.


It might cost more up front, but having real surge protection can save you a whole lot more than the outlay for the surge protector (I'm using the lower-end one which is $139 and $159 for a higher-end model that can handle most any PC + extra office equipment). The surge protector lasts a long time (much longer than the battery life span of your UPS), so it is not an investment you need to make often.

I have been sitting in my home office when I witnessed a line-pole transformer blowout in my back yard that sounded like an explosion followed by an immediate power loss... but my equipment didn't have a single hiccup and I was able to shut down my PC, stereo, and other equipment safely. These things aren't cheap, but if you have equipment that is worth protecting, they are actually a bargain.


Well said chuck and I wished I had come here to ask a few questions before buying my cyber power one, though I am very happy with it.

When the battery gives out I will be going the by the route you have mentioned here, they look very good and for just your computer and a tv say, its not that expensive.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:53 pm

Thanks for the feedback, I guess I should add a bit more.

The total cost of equipment this is protecting is about $1000 bucks, so although good protection is good, diminishing returns comes into play.

Next the PSU is a new Seasonic Platinum with several protections in place already, however blowing a surge bar would be better than the MOV's, & caps in the primary PSU protection circuit.
This can be seen in the 2nd set of pics
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Seas ... _V2/4.html
edit-
"The transient filtering stage starts right at the AC receptacle. Four Y caps, a CM choke, a single X cap, and a fuse are housed on a small PCB. The transient filtering stage continues on the main PCB with two CM chokes, two pairs of X and Y caps, and an MOV. There is also an NTC thermistor for protection against large inrush currents and the corresponding electromagnetic relay that cuts it off the circuit once the startup phase finishes and the APFC cap is fully charged. "

One last thing, I will be putting a main surge protector on my main breaker panel in the near future.

One more thing, the PC is shut down most of the time, actually last time it ran was about 10 days ago for 3 hours, hence my preference for a new surge bar or try to repair the existing one. I guess that even though items are turned off they can still be at risk when plugged in. Oh and power grid up here in Norther Canada is pretty reliable also.

It's really too bad that companies like Belking, etc. do not list what protection is in their surge bars, ie: this bar has 2 Japanese MOVs, 1 Japanese Y-Cap, etc. etc.

Maybe I will see if I can disassemble it sometime just to see what is in it and what is making the noise?
edit - I don't use or run my PC during storms, etc.

Edit - the zero surge and brickwall 8 plug units look the same
http://www.zerosurge.com/residential/re ... et-models/
http://www.brickwall.com/collections/su ... -protector
Interesting stuff.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:17 pm

chuckula wrote:The surge protection that is built into consumer grade UPS devices (read: anything under $1000 and practically anything you'll get from Newegg) is not very good.

Do you have any third-party, reliable reviews that show this, or is it just marketing talk? :wink:

Image



chuckula wrote: I have been sitting in my home office when I witnessed a line-pole transformer blowout in my back yard that sounded like an explosion followed by an immediate power loss... but my equipment didn't have a single hiccup and I was able to shut down my PC, stereo, and other equipment safely.


Power loss and you had enough time to casually turn everything off without a "hiccup"? You must have some kind of super-capacitor in that surge protector :o ...or most likely the "magic" :wink:
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:34 pm

The input components on a PSU are engineered primarily to prevent high frequency noise generated by the supply from being injected back into the mains. Surge suppression benefits will be relatively minor and incidental.

As for MOVs...yes, they are sacrificial and for ordinary applications they suffice. In fact, they're one of the of the most common forms of surge suppression installed on the utility system that services your home. Although it is true that an aged MOV can enter thermal runaway, all modern devices are required to have thermal protection and most decent units will also have an indicator that shows whether the protection circuit has failed or been disconnected. The simplest defense is to do the same thing as recommended for smoke alarms: write the initial installation date on the unit, and then replace it every 5 years or so.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:38 pm

chuckula wrote: I have been sitting in my home office when I witnessed a line-pole transformer blowout in my back yard that sounded like an explosion followed by an immediate power loss... but my equipment didn't have a single hiccup and I was able to shut down my PC, stereo, and other equipment safely.


Power loss and you had enough time to casually turn everything off without a "hiccup"? You must have some kind of super-capacitor in that surge protector :o ...or most likely the "magic" :wink:


Not really... I just followed my own advice from my original post. The surge protector goes into the wall, then the UPS goes into the surge protector. The surge protector did its job, and the UPS did its job, and everything ended up fine. I never said that you *shouldn't* buy a UPS... I just said that you shouldn't rely on the UPS to do a job that it is not well-equipped to do....
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:49 pm

chuckula wrote:Not really... I just followed my own advice from my original post. The surge protector goes into the wall, then the UPS goes into the surge protector. The surge protector did its job, and the UPS did its job, and everything ended up fine. I never said that you *shouldn't* buy a UPS... I just said that you shouldn't rely on the UPS to do a job that it is not well-equipped to do....

It's not? According to whom? I've seen inexpensive UPS units properly protecting the connected equipment after a close lightning strike (the equipment that was not protected was permanently damaged in same house). Yes, the UPS was permanently damaged too, but it did its intended job perfectly.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:59 pm

JohnC wrote:It's not? According to whom? I've seen inexpensive UPS units properly protecting the connected equipment after a close lightning strike (the equipment that was not protected was permanently damaged in same house). Yes, the UPS was permanently damaged too, but it did its intended job perfectly.

The point is that a high-end surge suppressor will live to fight another day instead of frying itself.

The main concern with MOV-based surge suppressors is latent failures due to prior surges that cause wear and tear on the MOVs, but don't completely fry them to the point where the unit is obviously damaged. You may be running with degraded protection without realizing it.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:39 pm

just brew it! wrote:
JohnC wrote:It's not? According to whom? I've seen inexpensive UPS units properly protecting the connected equipment after a close lightning strike (the equipment that was not protected was permanently damaged in same house). Yes, the UPS was permanently damaged too, but it did its intended job perfectly.

The point is that a high-end surge suppressor will live to fight another day instead of frying itself.

The main concern with MOV-based surge suppressors is latent failures due to prior surges that cause wear and tear on the MOVs, but don't completely fry them to the point where the unit is obviously damaged. You may be running with degraded protection without realizing it.


Well, yea, a "series"-based protector will most likely have longer lifespan, but realistically it's irrelevant for many people. I've seen regular surge protectors lasting many, many years and still protecting connected equipment properly (meaning "sacrificing" themselves) even after 10 or more years... And if it ever fail to protect (such as when its MOVs will degrade to unusable level after several years) - there's a lifetime connected equipment warranty from good companies like APC, which does work (you just have to register your unit with APC). And it only costs $20 to replace (which is not a big deal unless you have constant lightning strikes near your house). Plus with a whole house protector there's even less reason to spend on such overpriced products.


Edit: to make my point perfectly clear: why waste $100+ on an over-engineered 2-outlet series-based surge protector when I can get this:
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-ISOBAR ... rds=Isobar
A $40, 4-outlet MOV-based unit from a well-known brand with a similar fire-proof durable metal enclosure, a lifetime replacement warranty (if it will ever die - you get free replacement) and a lifetime connected equipment warranty covering up to $50,000 in connected equipment?
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:51 pm

Tripp Lite Isobar, looks like exactly what I am looking for, thanks!
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:47 am

Update, ordered a Tripp Lite IsoBar8Ultra

http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/mo ... odelID=111

http://www.amazon.ca/Tripp-Lite-ISOBAR8 ... B0000511U7

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G ... parts2.jpg

Nice they show the internals, be nice if more surge-bars showed that.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:26 am

What I used to do was use a simple cheap wall mount one socket unit and then connect a strip bar protector to that. That way the el cheapo would burn out way before the strip unit started to get old.. And when it did I would throw em both out. To the strip I connected various things AND a ups powrring just the computer and its monitor.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:52 am

anotherengineer wrote:Update, ordered a Tripp Lite IsoBar8Ultra

http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/mo ... odelID=111

http://www.amazon.ca/Tripp-Lite-ISOBAR8 ... B0000511U7

http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G ... parts2.jpg

Nice they show the internals, be nice if more surge-bars showed that.


To the surge protector experts here: What's the main difference between one of these models (I like the 4 outlet one) and one of the more expensive models, like the Zero Surge and Brick Walls?

I like the lifetime warranty and $50k in insurance - though who knows if they'd ever pay out - and the significant price difference. I know you get what you pay for, so I'm just wonder what the difference is between the two price points.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:11 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:What's the main difference between one of these models (I like the 4 outlet one) and one of the more expensive models, like the Zero Surge and Brick Walls?

Per company product literature and some disassembly pics and schematics I can find on the web, the main difference is that the more expensive models are using a gigantic (and therefore expensive) wound inductor with common-mode line and neutral, and then adding very large snubber networks (typically a high-voltage, low-uF capacitor and a resistor in series) on either side. Most surge events behave, in principle, as a high-frequency impulse wave, and can be filtered in a similar manner. But surges have a lower frequency, and higher energy levels, than typical RFI noise. So, the filter design is similar to an ordinary RFI noise filter, but enlarged to the point where it will block and shunt surge impulses.

Some of the higher-end models also seem to include low-impedance resistors and SCRs with high-speed event detectors on their gates to arrest any surge events that get through the filter stage. When the SCR is fired, it briefly shunts current from line to neutral through the resistor, dissipating the excess surge energy through the resistor rather than the load device(s). These components perform the same function as a MOV but with higher cost and complexity, albeit no self-consumable parts.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:20 am

ludi wrote:
southrncomfortjm wrote:What's the main difference between one of these models (I like the 4 outlet one) and one of the more expensive models, like the Zero Surge and Brick Walls?

Per company product literature and some disassembly pics and schematics I can find on the web, the main difference is that the more expensive models are using a gigantic (and therefore expensive) wound inductor with common-mode line and neutral, and then adding very large snubber networks (typically a high-voltage, low-uF capacitor and a resistor in series) on either side. Most surge events behave, in principle, as a high-frequency impulse wave, and can be filtered in a similar manner. But surges have a lower frequency, and higher energy levels, than typical RFI noise. So, the filter design is similar to an ordinary RFI noise filter, but enlarged to the point where it will block and shunt surge impulses.

Some of the higher-end models also seem to include low-impedance resistors and SCRs with high-speed event detectors on their gates to arrest any surge events that get through the filter stage. When the SCR is fired, it briefly shunts current from line to neutral through the resistor, dissipating the excess surge energy through the resistor rather than the load device(s). These components perform the same function as a MOV but with higher cost and complexity, albeit no self-consumable parts.


I kind of understood that. The higher end protectors have a lot of higher end protections. What then, is the net effect of spending $40 for the tripplite v. $140 for a Zero surge? Far inferior protection? Or just a lower level of still pretty good protection? '
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:23 am

ludi wrote:... These components perform the same function as a MOV but with higher cost and complexity, albeit no self-consumable parts.

That's pretty much the key right there. The more expensive units are designed to continue working after absorbing a surge instead of sacrificing themselves.

southrncomfortjm wrote:What then, is the net effect of spending $40 for the tripplite v. $140 for a Zero surge? Far inferior protection? Or just a lower level of still pretty good protection?

The Tripp Lite will need to be replaced periodically if you want to ensure continued protection, and you never really *know* what sort of condition the MOVs are in since you don't know how many surges (or how big of surges) they've already had to deal with. The Zero Surge should pretty much be "fire and forget".

That said, for home use I'd be inclined to go with something like the Tripp Lite, with a mid-range consumer grade UPS downstream of it. This is in fact exactly what I'm using for power protection on my file server.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:18 pm

just brew it! wrote:
ludi wrote:... These components perform the same function as a MOV but with higher cost and complexity, albeit no self-consumable parts.

That's pretty much the key right there. The more expensive units are designed to continue working after absorbing a surge instead of sacrificing themselves.

southrncomfortjm wrote:What then, is the net effect of spending $40 for the tripplite v. $140 for a Zero surge? Far inferior protection? Or just a lower level of still pretty good protection?

The Tripp Lite will need to be replaced periodically if you want to ensure continued protection, and you never really *know* what sort of condition the MOVs are in since you don't know how many surges (or how big of surges) they've already had to deal with. The Zero Surge should pretty much be "fire and forget".

That said, for home use I'd be inclined to go with something like the Tripp Lite, with a mid-range consumer grade UPS downstream of it. This is in fact exactly what I'm using for power protection on my file server.


Great, so it will provide a good level of protection before it wears out. Problem is, I wouldn't know when its wearing or worn out. So, maybe after a few bad storms its time to get a new one?
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:26 pm

just brew it! wrote:
southrncomfortjm wrote:What then, is the net effect of spending $40 for the tripplite v. $140 for a Zero surge? Far inferior protection? Or just a lower level of still pretty good protection?

The Tripp Lite will need to be replaced periodically if you want to ensure continued protection, and you never really *know* what sort of condition the MOVs are in since you don't know how many surges (or how big of surges) they've already had to deal with. The Zero Surge should pretty much be "fire and forget"


ZeroSurge products are also not "eternal" - that's why they actually have a limited warranty (10 years) :wink: I am not even sure they offer any connected equipment warranty...
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:34 pm

southrncomfortjm wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
ludi wrote:... These components perform the same function as a MOV but with higher cost and complexity, albeit no self-consumable parts.

That's pretty much the key right there. The more expensive units are designed to continue working after absorbing a surge instead of sacrificing themselves.

southrncomfortjm wrote:What then, is the net effect of spending $40 for the tripplite v. $140 for a Zero surge? Far inferior protection? Or just a lower level of still pretty good protection?

The Tripp Lite will need to be replaced periodically if you want to ensure continued protection, and you never really *know* what sort of condition the MOVs are in since you don't know how many surges (or how big of surges) they've already had to deal with. The Zero Surge should pretty much be "fire and forget".

That said, for home use I'd be inclined to go with something like the Tripp Lite, with a mid-range consumer grade UPS downstream of it. This is in fact exactly what I'm using for power protection on my file server.


Great, so it will provide a good level of protection before it wears out. Problem is, I wouldn't know when its wearing or worn out. So, maybe after a few bad storms its time to get a new one?


You worry way too much about these things :wink: If the Isobar can no longer protect your stuff - the green LED indicator marked "Protection Present" will not be lit anymore.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:20 am

I had always assumed when a cheap surge protector burned out it died as in shut down... but from what im reading here it sounds like they don't do that?
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:54 am

JohnC wrote:You worry way too much about these things :wink: If the Isobar can no longer protect your stuff - the green LED indicator marked "Protection Present" will not be lit anymore.


I wouldn't say worried, more like I just question and verify.

Good to know about the light!
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:04 am

The light isn't 100% reliable either. If it is off, then yeah the unit is suspect; but if it is on, all you really know is that the 5 cent circuit they put in there to detect if the MOVs are still any good *thinks* they're still good. IOW you're relying on a cheap circuit to detect whether cheap, consumable protection components are still providing protection, instead of using components that are designed to not wear out in the first place.
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Re: Good Surge Protector

Postposted on Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:23 am

I think due diligence and common sense go a long way here.

If/when there is a storm shut down your PC/TV/whatever and turn off the surge-bar or unplug it from the wall, this would go a long way in protecting your equipment and extending the life of your surge-bar.

In enterprise where it runs 24/7 then shell out the big bucks for high end protection.

My current surge bar is whining, hence the replacement, I am going to disassemble the old one to see what it could be making that awful hiss.
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