View Full Version : serge Protector

06-06-2014, 05:31 AM
I have a serge protector with over 3,000 joules. We had 2 bad lighting storms which blow out the electricity and shut my computer down twice and I had to re-image it and it has never been the same. I also have the top of the line UPS which I was too lazy to put in so I will put that in to save whatever is left of my computer. My understanding is that a UPS is ten times better than a serge protector which didn't help much for me. Now I would like to protect my 55 inch TV and the $150 sound system, it's a Visio. What UPS should I buy because I sure don't trust the serge protector in a lighting storm?

06-06-2014, 07:37 AM
Wainuitech uses UPS's but I don't know of anyone using a police uniform (blue serge) to protect sensitive electrical equipment, some use a surge protector though.

06-06-2014, 09:55 AM
Leather patches.

06-06-2014, 10:13 AM
I think Scotchguard and 3M both make good fabric protectors.

06-06-2014, 10:15 AM
I'm not a great believer in surge protectors myself, the conditions they protect you from are fairly unlikely. If you read the fine print they get pretty specific. It's far more likely to have your PC damaged by the sudden power loss than anything - and that's what a UPS is for. Up to you if you want to protect your TV & Stereo but I've never had any electronic or even basic electric equipment damaged by a surge ever. Maybe it's just that power is reliable in Hamilton city.

If electrical storms cause issues for you you could always just unplug everything. I'd stick your Surge protector on the TV & sound system seeing as you already have it and use a UPS for the PC. TV's don't really suffer from being suddenly powered down the way PC's do. Also bear in mind if a surge protector trips or whatever it may not be any good afterwards - some of them are a 1 shot deal and you'd need to read the instructions.

If lightning strikes cables or very close to your house no surge protector will help and no UPS is likely to survive, they protect against induced voltage spikes and sudden surges but only up to a certain level which is well below the energy contained in a lightning strike. The only 100% way to be safe in a storm is to disconnect everything. I never do though, I'll happily keep gaming in a thunderstorm with no protection :)

06-06-2014, 10:43 AM
+1 What Duggi said.

06-06-2014, 11:05 AM
Never believed in surge protectors, myself, either. I have certainly unplugged everything when lightning is about. Usually it is pretty short-lived so no biggie. Don't get many here, anyway. But, if you are not home, the unplugging doesn't seem to work very well.

I have a UPS on my main machine but all bets would be off in a direct hit.

Alex B
06-06-2014, 01:21 PM
With lightening you're talking in the millions if not billions of joules of energy. Your best course of action is to simply unplug the computer until the storm passes if you're worried about it.

06-06-2014, 06:47 PM
i've dealt with a few direct hit lightning strikes over the years.
a lot of the energy tends to get diverted to earth before the pc or appliance. simply due to the device is right at the end and theres quite a few shortcuts to earth before it gets there.
so a pc is unlikely to receive a full hit.
a good example of this was a house where the tv aerial was hit. lightning traveled down the aerial cable jumping across it sections. most tv's got fried except for one because the cable lay on the floor and the lightning went through the carpet/underlay into the concrete. the tv was perfectly fine.

the earlier you can divert the hit the better. eg use lightning diverter in the switch board or meter board. then your basic surge protectors will handle whats left.
i used to fix a lot of appliances where the built in spike protector had blown and saved the boards. also fixed ones where it had blown and wasn't replaced. not much left of the circuits after the next hit.

however the biggy for pc's is spikes up the phone lines. that can fry the modem. i've tossed out a few charred ones before. also security system, emergency dialer, phone, are all prone. when i did sky work no1 killer of sky sat boxes was spikes up the phone line. i set up a few homes with them wired into the incoming lines. it saved their gear.

decent pc power supplies handle brown outs reasonably well. but cheap ones tend to blow and can take out the motherboard with it. UPS are fairly cheap and handy that it gives you time to save files etc after the power goes out.

the big problem with surge protectors is most in nz are junk. doesn't matter what price, even expensive ones can have the exact same parts as the cheap ones.
the good ones i got in, i don't know if they are imported into nz anymore.

Billy T
07-06-2014, 09:10 PM
By definition a surge has a finite time span, but is significantly longer than, and carries more energy than, a spike.

Any 'surge protector' you might buy in a retail shop is unlikely to be able to handle a major surge from a localised strike on the energy supply system. To manage a normal surge requires a combination of inductance and capacitance plus MOVs (metal oxide varisters) to contain the energy pulse. The only product I have found that can even come close to that spec is a professional inductance/capacitance/MOV unit with 13 Varisters across the supply, and costing around $500, but even that one can be rendered ineffective by repetitive high current switching spikes on the mains, so a lightning strike would likely blow it into little pieces. They are unlikely to assist with the outcomes of a car vs power pole either, if the lines get tangled on the way down. The local substation will not cut the supply fast enough to save your bacon.

A UPS will not protect against a major strike either, so the only reliable protection against lightning is an air gap of sufficient size to prevent the effects of the strike from damaging your equipment.

Such an air gap can be obtained very cheaply by unplugging all sensitive equipment when an electrical storm is imminent, and making sure the leads are well away from the power outlets.

OK, so that is a bit tongue in cheek, but unplugging is the only sure protection, anything else is simply playing the odds and hoping you get lucky.


Billy 8-{) :groan:

07-06-2014, 09:26 PM
but, what are the odds of a direct hit close to your house? fairly slim but the damage is horrific.
whats more common is pike a surges caused by events at great distance. you would not unplug anything because you don't see a storm.
the protection is more about handling the more common small to mid sized hits rather than the very remote chance of a big hit.

edit: btw lightning is just one cause. a mate did several repair jobs on telecommunication equipment after a "strike" (according to telecom) which happened when there was no lightning. go figure.

09-06-2014, 11:04 AM
Consumer mag did a test of these many years back, they were all pretty much worthless, except the one costing almost $200

Generally, they are also only good for 1 'hit'

I have had a customer hit buy a surge (actually a massive overvoltage) . It blew everything in the house, except the PC!! , and the printer was only a $5 fix.