Surge Protection

Discussion in 'AV Accessories' started by Sonnie, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Sonnie

    Sonnie Senior Admin
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    We have whole house surge protection on our meter base that protects our larger appliances in case of a power/storm surge, but it won't protect the more delicate electronics in the house... nor does it protect our Ethernet, Dish Network cables or phone lines, where surges can enter thru the "back door" so to speak. We just recently had a surge that got several of our AC adapters throughout the house and one of our Dish Joey's... and a few other items.

    I have a few of these Tripp Lite Isobars on some of my amps in the listening/theater room...

    upload_2018-7-11_6-6-2.png

    Then I have the following Isobars on some other areas where we have a conglomerate of AC connections, phone, Ethernet, etc...

    upload_2018-7-11_6-8-58.png

    And I just ordered one of these from ZeroSurge to go in the listening/theater room as well... for superior protection, as one of my amps got zapped from using a cheaper Furman product. BTW... I contacted Furman a few days ago to talk to them about it and haven't heard a word back from them.

    upload_2018-7-11_6-18-47.png

    I'd like to get some better Ethernet protection, but I've not found any power outlets with Ethernet that do up to a Gigabit throughput... they all seem to be limited to 100 Megabit... and I don't want to limit my speeds, cause we get right at 200mbps tested (190-198). I can purchase a separate Ethernet protector that connects to the receptacle ground, but I'd rather have an all-in-one product for where my Ethernet enters... so I can take care of protecting our router/modem, Dish Network and other items at that location.

    This is what seems to be popular on Amazon, but again, it's not an all-in-one unit... upload_2018-7-11_6-27-17.png

    I contacted Tripp Lite and they do NOT make a combo unit that will handle more than 100mbps.

    What are you guys using for your equipment throughout your home?

    Anyone know of any combo units that have Gigabit throughput?
     
  2. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    You've done more than I have it seems. My ethernet isn't on a surge supressor, but most of my house is on Wifi. My whole house is on a surge suppressor and my office has a bunch of things including an online battery backup with surge suppression. My theater has both a Zero surge device and Belken device.

    I've honestly lost faith in any surge suppressor. I have two good reasons for feeling that way. First, I lost about half of my gear to a lightning strike outside my then home and all of it was on Zero Surge. It didn't protect my equipment and totally fried the device. It was a particularly bad strike, leaving a strike pattern on the ground where it hit, including an obvious path that it took into the house. It destroyed outlets, lights, a computer, etc. I was in the house when it happened and saw plasma shoot from my speaker cones as well as the outlets.

    Now as for why I don't believe anything can provide sufficient protection, I actually tested these for an internship at Cuttler Hammer (Eaton) for two years. I worked in an R&D lab developing and testing lightning arrestors. Since it was an internship with a PhD Physicist, much of what we did was meant to be educational for me. While most of our testing was of large vacuum arrestors used by power companies, my mentor also purchased typical surge suppressing devices to see if a) they worked and b) what it would take to break them. We used the most sophisticated test equipment of the time and the lightning surrogate was custom made by us and capable of about 1/5 of a true direct lightning strike. It was not feasable to do a real full on lightning strike.

    Varistors (the thing Zero surge likes to bash on) were as capable as anything and had by far the fastest clamping time. With many average surges, these were the best thing. You just need a lot of them. They wore down quickly and needed replacement, just as people claim (but I was zapping them repeatedly with massive power, something they don't face in real life).
    LC Surge filter (Similar to what I think Zero Surge used): Never degraded but easily destroyed. We fried inductors and capacitors routinely with this setup. I actually had a very negative view of these until Zero Surge got big on them. In the commercial products we tested, these were used frequently, and I built them into test devices because they do work well for routine surges, but we used Varistors in front of these for quicker protection against larger surges. When these are destroyed they often created a large arc path, which is good, but then, so did the Varistors.

    Vacuum surge arrestor is what all major companies use on their transformers and the poles. These are the best of the best and what Cuttler Hammer specifically made. They are currently sold by Eaton as Vacuum interrupters and basically work like a really high power fuse. They have electrodes that touch each other in a vacuum. They naturally want to spring apart rapidly but are made such that the two electrodes touch each other. In the event of a lightning strike, they immediately pull apart. Compared to an LC filter or Varistor these are slow to react and are sacrificial by nature. However, they simply can't be beaten. It's the only thing that can really stop a large lightning strike from doing a lot of damage.

    In the lab, when we needed to protect sensitive equipment against our shenanigans, we would build protection devices that involved LC filters (for series mode protection), Varistors at various locations, and multiple vacuum arrestors. While we often built devices to intentionally fail in order to learn how and why they fail, these devices we built never failed. I'll admit to not knowing enough to know if any one of those components could have been removed and still had a good device, but I assume my mentor built the devices this way on purpose. We also destroyed another companies series mode LC protection in our lab and it caught fire in spectacular fashion. I say this not to bag on Zero Mode or other similar companies, as I do think they are among the best, but because I don't believe anyone makes a single device that offers faultless protection.
     
  3. Sonnie

    Sonnie Senior Admin
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    Yeah... no doubt it is hard to find something that can withstand a direct lightening strike... probably not very likely to find it. We get a lot of dropouts and surges, so most of what we have is worth it to me to try to help suppress it as much as possible... but again, if you don't protect that back end, it's fruitless.
     
  4. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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    I honestly think the best protection is really insurance. Obviously i wouldn’t own the devices I own if I didn’t believe they help with the much more common small stuff. I just think the big storms that are going to take out half your electronics are best replaced through insurance.

    I also started disconnecting my theater during bad storms. I can’t wait for my plasma to die so I leave that sucker plugged in, but I try to unplug everything else. I also unplug when I leave for vacation. No better protection than being fully disconnected right!

    https://store.acousticfrontiers.com/products/environmental-potentials-ep-2050
    These are pretty nice too. I had this on my short list for the theater but cheaped out. I had a chance to measure one once and it works as advertised. I make no claims that it improves sound or picture, I’m sure it doesn’t, but it does seem to clean up slightly distorted ac waveforms and it supposedly offers really good surge protection.
     
  5. Sonnie

    Sonnie Senior Admin
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    I have a $1500 deductible and if I file a claim for $2500 to cover a few items, I only get $1000 and my insurance goes up. Insurance is only good for big losses or total losses. Rarely do we get big storms with direct lightening strikes, but we get lots of drop out and minor surges, which is where the surge protectors typically help.
     
  6. Eric SVL

    Eric SVL Active Member

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    Do you unplug everything, or just switch off the room at the breaker panel? I do the latter out of laziness.

    Also, sad to hear about your plasma. I love mine, and won't replace it for a while yet.
     
  7. Negatron

    Negatron Senior Member
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    We just had a Siemons whole house surge protector installed in our new house, as one if our friends recently had a lightning strike that took out his electronics. We have always used Leviton whole house surge protector, but I had heard good things about the Siemons so I paid the extra cash to buy it, and the electrician for our solar install installed it for $15.
     

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