View Full Version : Surge Protectors...

10-09-2003, 04:37 PM
ok back to basics for beetle here....

explain to me why and how these things work and whether i need one for just power or for my phone lines as well?

as i went shopping and came back totally lost as to the sale man (person) said about this that and it has and wot it does and we sell this brand and oh dear lost....

i want one for each computer to replace each existing multi box thing which only has a fuse thing in it. (at different ends of house so cannot get one extremely large one).
but then the guy said i need one for phones as well and more than phone line means a different type box / protector?

and here i was thinking all i needed was a power protector...???
is their something specific i need or a brand or ? have not had to worry before but am worried about all things electrical going by the past experiences.
and have not had a chance for the leisurely shop to check these things out before and am relying on the other multi boxs at present ...

we are talking multiple dollars here but nothing compared to multiple dollars of replacing puters..... been there done that not doing it again....

help anybody?

why both sorts needed?
sigh.... more brain juice needed.....


Graham L
10-09-2003, 04:53 PM
If electricity was always nicely begaved you wouldn't need them. Everything designed to be plugged into the mains has to withstand about plus and minus about 340 volts. That's not difficult. If lighning strikes the power lines, it likes going through the copper wires twords ground. If youe expensive electric toys are plugged into those wires, they suddenly see very high voltages. They don't like it up them. The smoke escapes, and they don't work.

So there are surge protectors. They are usually a special form of resistor connected across the wires, and as long as the volts are normal, they just sit there. If the volts rise above a set level, they start to conduct, and put a "short" on the line. This holds the peak down, and your gear has a chance of surviving. That relys on the overload being for a very short time ... and it usually is. A sustained high voltage will blow up the surge protector, but any fault like that will usually have blown the fuses or circuit breakers, so the gear might still survive.

You telephone, and fax, and modem are designed to work on lower voltages, and the highest voltage they see normally is the 90V ringing sigbnals. So a mains protector won't really safeguard them, as well as being a bit slow acting. The telephone line protectors usually take a different form : a spark gap which breaks down (very quickly) and shorts the line if there is a sudden high voltage surge. The old telephone system used pairs of carbon blocks with a very thin piece of mica with a hole in it as a spacer. If you had one of these, I think your modem speed would be a bit diminished. :D

Some of the power strips have both the MOVs (name for the variable resistors in yhe power section) and phone line protectirs in the same unit. You pay more for that of course. You can get units which protect just one circuit, too.

If there has been a lightning strike, and the protoctors have worked, they should be replaced. They are internally damaged each time, and they are often non functional, but not "exploded".

10-09-2003, 05:00 PM
so what are you telling me i need one or not?
or just a power one? not a phone one?

gonna have to put that on the run again mode i feel...

wait for it to sink in and ill get back to you...lol


Terry Porritt
10-09-2003, 05:05 PM
You need both Beetle, but if your phone lines are above ground then a phone surge protector is "more" important... from bitter experience of a blown modem and motherboard.


Graham L
10-09-2003, 05:05 PM
You should have them. On both. They won't save your stuff from a big strike. But it will protect it from smaller ones.

It's like locking your house. If someone wants to break in they can break in. But you keep out "honest thieves".

10-09-2003, 05:26 PM
oh so lots a $$$$ any recomendations on what types or brands may be good?
and im presuming itll slow th whole system down then? phone net speed? thats not a good look or feel.

what sort do you use ???



10-09-2003, 05:36 PM
personally i see way more telephone strikes than power ones so make sure you have a GOOD telephone protector (not an elcheapo hpm or other generic brand).

a cheap powerboard with surge protection is better than notheing and will proberly do ok. good ones are around $100-$150.

also beaware just because it has a big price tag dosn't mean its any good. i have seen a few expenice ones that where of poor design and a $40 one would have been better.

10-09-2003, 05:45 PM
> oh so lots a $$$$ any recomendations on what types or
> brands may be good?
> and im presuming itll slow th whole system down then?
> phone net speed? thats not a good look or feel.
> what sort do you use ???

i personally use panamax. not cheap but far cheaper than the locally nade products i looked at. not sure of current price but was $150 for the power surge board and $50 for the phone.

advoid zapcatcher. far to exspencive for what you get. they do make a couple of good models but for the equivilent of the panamax they where double the price.

hpm/pdl/generic electrial brands, hard to tell as there is little testing done on how they actually perform and they change models fairly regularly. personal favorite for a cheapy is PDL. hpm where a joke. one i saw even had a label stating "will not protect over 375 volts" (memorys a bit rusty on that quote so take with a grain of salt).

10-09-2003, 05:45 PM
thanxs tweak'e
i went into DSE and Noel Lems and had a look and they had same brand of something the guy showed me, most popular make they sell... about $99 but he said i should go for the next one up for $140 as it would be better for multiple lines? more than one phone line, it had a multi plug of 4 sockets have no idea what brand as did not remeber to shut the mind once it reeled at the price he quoted.... LOL

oh and also best to get some thing that does both options? or seperate for each item ... phone or power? or a both do the whole hog job the best possible needed ?

so may go back tomorow and have a look, price may be not a problem for one as i can get work to pay for the work puter but as my phone line comes out at same spot for both computers one with multiple points and one with only single may do? or get both multiples for the future of multiple computer nett working :D :p ????

cant say i trust the guy to know what he was talking about, but will hopefully drag a male with me and then i may get some better action....

blonde females dont always get the desired result ive worked out.



10-09-2003, 05:49 PM
where do you get these things from otherwise?

have yet to walk into any local computer shops round here, and as only others ive seen is DSE and NL

cant remember what PJ said was good round here.

may have to check the book for guidance.


10-09-2003, 06:13 PM

I have always had a good quality surge protector (over $100). However, on one occasion I lost a modem, and then on another occasion my new computer took almost half an hour to recover after a power surge. It was at that point that I decided to go out and get an UPS. A couple of months later my husband lost his harddrive (no data could be salvaged) as a result of a power surge (despite having a surge protector). Guess who now also has an UPS? Now I would never consider being without an UPS.

Oxie (Lyn)

10-09-2003, 06:23 PM
Believe it or not your PC can still be damaged by power surge with those so called "surge protectors" . :( Those protector will only protect sudden high power strike, but does not protect when external power drops or when it's fluctuating or when power increase slowly.

I've seen many people got their PC fried even though they said it's behind a surge protector.

But of course, having one is better than nothing as Graham L potined out earlier.

A better solution would be an UPS.

And of course to the extreme ... :D

Surge Protector -> Power Conditioner -> UPS -> PC ]:)

Greg S
10-09-2003, 06:27 PM
The article linked below would probably benefit you all:


10-09-2003, 06:27 PM
the work puter has UPS... and thats why i thought i didnt need another surge protector for work but the salesmand didnt seem to pick up on that so i then thought i needed another one.... Duh!!!
ok so back to having one then,
so whay did the sales person say i needed one for the work one to? .... cos he didnt know what he was talking about i presume .... but then neither did I!!!!!

ok so i only need one off these things....

need Goddie about now... so does that mean my phone line does something to... am going to have another look..LOL

man me and computers are not a good mix..


10-09-2003, 08:42 PM
spike/surge protectors and ups's do different jobs. idealy you need both. most ups's have built in spike protectors however they are normal poor. nothing worse than having your exspencive ups killed by a high voltage spike.

10-09-2003, 08:50 PM
so the idea is for me to stop asking difficult questions then i dont get difficult talking in riddles answers????

ok so go and get 2 surge protectors tomorow i feel?

oh dear never mind another day tomorow.

thanxs tweak'e still not sure but it sounds good sense.


Greg S
10-09-2003, 09:16 PM
Well in case the article I referred to was'nt read entirely, here's an extract on the point regarding using more than one device:

Things Not To Do

If youíve got a UPS or SPS, donít plug it into some other power filter and plug that into the wall. A quality UPS or SPS should be a perfectly good power filter by itself, and may not appreciate the other filter shorting spikes to ground for it. If you've got a cheapo SPS that doesn't filter power very well (or at all...), then another inline filter may be OK, but you'd do better to retire that SPS to the important task of keeping the VCR running through blackouts, and buy a better one for your computer.

Similarly, donít use another filter between your SPS/UPS and the computer - thatís just unnecessary.

10-09-2003, 09:21 PM
i did so but then tweak'e said something different.... :p

so was going by that

and i did note that you should not mix and match as it were items as they tend not to work effectively or at all... see!!!!!

just its too much for my sensibilities at moment.
and just wish i could chuck it in the bin and let the rubbish man come and get it at mo so not feeling very rational about computer stuff....

thanxs G S otherwise i did read your brilliant link not quite to the end as got interupted but life goes on


10-09-2003, 09:23 PM
~~~~ :) ~~~~~ see in one ear and out the other... :p


10-09-2003, 09:27 PM
A surge protector will give a small degree of protection from power spikes. The amount of protection is relative to the price usually.

I have seen surge protector power strips that also include a single phone circuit spike protector as well.

That would normally protect the modem, by plugging the modem lead in via the device.

As to if you need one, well it depends on the power network. If a surge was caused by a car mowing down a power pole for instance, then the surge protector would be useless in most cases. It would fry as well.

I do not use a separate surge protector here, the entire low voltage network is underground, and any nasties coming from the high voltage part of the Network would certainly take out the surge diverter as well.

To give you a comparison, the powerlines here are capable of a surge equating to 3,000 horsepower instantaneously. Thats quite normal.

Visualise for a moment how powerful that much energy would be (100 car engines at full throttle) and ask yourself "will this little plastic cased surge diverter device stop that"?

I do run a UPS here, which as tweak'e says, has a simple surge diverter in it as well. But I run it to protect from data loss.

But to answer your question beetle, yes I would consider a surge diverter on the phone and the power lead in your case, simply on the basis that I do not know enough about the network supplying your installation to judge otherwise.

It will make you feel a little more comfortable as well probably.

Just don't expect the impossible from one, they work on smaller surges (spikes) only.

And you will never "see" those spikes either, they last about 1/100th of a second.

Greg S
10-09-2003, 09:29 PM
> ~~~~ :) ~~~~~ see in one ear and out the other...
> :p
> beetle


>>" i did so but then tweak'e said something different....
>>so was going by that "

Fair enough - Tweakie's a competent felow in most respects

10-09-2003, 09:38 PM
thanxs Goddie,
ESP huh?
i knew if i hung around long enough all the guys (um gentlemen) would come to my aid. :D

and just for instance a car hitting a pole????? you remembered that from somewhere ?? lol
yes and know i have no idea whether i should or shouldnt, friend of ours says it wouldnt matter if a big surge like the car hitting pole did damage it would wipe out all components in between as well as the puter like it did last time...
so maybe its nerves or one thing less to worry about if i protect it some more and now my baby is no longer in warranty anymore must endeavor to look after her a little better.

thanxs Greg S :D we pf1 people make a good team.... :D :D

and i will keep this all in mind if and when i get the chance to shop tomorow.

even now knowing all this still makes things a little clearer and easier on the mind even if i dont do anything about it, or just part of the original deal i had thought of.

thanxs all

10-09-2003, 09:50 PM
>Things Not To Do
If you?ve got a UPS or SPS, don?t plug it into some other power filter and plug that into the wall........

just to clarify one thing, filter and spike protectors are two different things. generally theres no point to having a filter in front of a ups due to the ups already has a decent one.

10-09-2003, 09:57 PM
oh oh i did it now, war is on between pf1'ers

i have heard all relevant information and will deal accordingly and then not tell you just in case? lol

really i got it now
thanxs tweak'e and Greg s and Godfather all help much appreciated.

will keep you posted on what brand i buy? and how i proceed to then wreck something else other than a puter. :D


10-09-2003, 10:10 PM
sometimes when it gets too thundry and it seems pretty close
and if i'm not on the comp i just turn it off and unplug power and phoneline

just on the safe side...

all i use is a surge protector...

10-09-2003, 10:14 PM
visulising well here goddie as a friend says imagine a power surge and blow the components off the wall.... desk or where ever they may be with smoke arising from their middle components....

i can visualise that one really well