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what should I look for in a surge protector? - Page 4

post #31 of 45
The oldest ISOBarUltra I have is 8 years old and guess what? It still functions 100%!

The difference between cheap and quality is that the quality unit in this case DOES NOT RELY EXCLUSIVELY ON MOV's for protection! It utilizes a combination of MOV's and capacitors amongst other things, which not only means that it will NOT immediately start degrading the second you plug it in, but also that it CAN and DOES result in increased voltage stability. I have them in use at my house, where at the outlet voltages would swing +/- 7 volts without and with the ISOBar the swing is +/- 1.1v (that's the absolute highest I've EVER measured.... it's typically less than half that). I also put them into my mother's house when I built her home theater, resulting in voltage swings going from +/- 10.5v to a hair over 1v.

For someone who has a LOT of very sensitive, very expensive audio equipment (amongst other electronics), there is a MEASURABLE increase in SNR, and a drop in distortion when the same equipment is running off a high end unit like the Tripplite vs a cheap $15 unit (as measured with some very high end equipment, which is used to ensure that the audio output is always identical, necessary in a recording environment).



Sure, if you are protecting against FATAL surges like a lightning strike to your residence, nothing short of a whole-house grounded protector will save your stuff. I have two whole-house protectors installed for peace of mind.

In my last house, however, with NO whole-house surge protectors, the transformer box IN THE FRONT YARD suffered a direct lightning strike, and I lost exactly ZERO equipment hooked up to the ISOBar's. Of the 11 in use, only 3 units were even destroyed, but they did their job admirably. And if you have a high-magnitude surge, YOU WILL BE GLAD you sprung for the QUALITY unit encased in a powder-coated high-grade steel housing rather than a plastic unit (they melt, I've seen it countless times...).
   
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post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

The oldest ISOBarUltra I have is 8 years old and guess what? It still functions 100%!

The difference between cheap and quality is that the quality unit in this case DOES NOT RELY EXCLUSIVELY ON MOV's for protection! It utilizes a combination of MOV's and capacitors amongst other things, which not only means that it will NOT immediately start degrading the second you plug it in, but also that it CAN and DOES result in increased voltage stability. I have them in use at my house, where at the outlet voltages would swing +/- 7 volts without and with the ISOBar the swing is +/- 1.1v (that's the absolute highest I've EVER measured.... it's typically less than half that). I also put them into my mother's house when I built her home theater, resulting in voltage swings going from +/- 10.5v to a hair over 1v.

For someone who has a LOT of very sensitive, very expensive audio equipment (amongst other electronics), there is a MEASURABLE increase in SNR, and a drop in distortion when the same equipment is running off a high end unit like the Tripplite vs a cheap $15 unit (as measured with some very high end equipment, which is used to ensure that the audio output is always identical, necessary in a recording environment).



Sure, if you are protecting against FATAL surges like a lightning strike to your residence, nothing short of a whole-house grounded protector will save your stuff. I have two whole-house protectors installed for peace of mind.

In my last house, however, with NO whole-house surge protectors, the transformer box IN THE FRONT YARD suffered a direct lightning strike, and I lost exactly ZERO equipment hooked up to the ISOBar's. Of the 11 in use, only 3 units were even destroyed, but they did their job admirably. And if you have a high-magnitude surge, YOU WILL BE GLAD you sprung for the QUALITY unit encased in a powder-coated high-grade steel housing rather than a plastic unit (they melt, I've seen it countless times...).

 

Thank you!

 

As I said before guys, I don't take fatal surges into account when recommending surge protectors. I recommend them with the same approach as recommending power supplies. I mean, damn, we're talking about plugging our precious and beloved rigs into them. Would you power your rig with (or recommend) a low-quality PSU? No. So, why would you use (or recommend) a low-quality surge protector? It doesn't make any sense.


Edited by TwoCables - 2/26/14 at 7:06pm
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post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

The oldest ISOBarUltra I have is 8 years old and guess what? It still functions 100%!

The difference between cheap and quality is that the quality unit in this case DOES NOT RELY EXCLUSIVELY ON MOV's for protection! It utilizes a combination of MOV's and capacitors amongst other things,
Capacitors obviously are not used for protection in that Isobar. And MOVs are some of the best protector devices in existance. But when selling a protector that does not do effective protection, then undersizing MOVs gets the naive to promote the strip. For same reasons that cigarettes could be promoted to increase health.

MOVs fail catastrophically if a protector is grossly undersized. Some recommend it because it failed catastrophically. Others believe advertising myths that promote a magic box without MOVs. Because grossly undersized protectors with MOVs fail catastrophically. Superior protectors put more of your money into more MOVs; not into advertising.

The superior solution only degades; does not fail catastrophically. Degradation is discussed later to say why a 100% functional claim is only wild speculation.

Destructive surges are typically once every seven years. A number that can vary significantly even in the same town. So your Isobar never saw a surge in eight years? That proves it is effective protection? That claim only implies you live where surges are less frequent. Other claims of protection suggest you do not kow how surges do damage.

How do you know it is functional? If protector parts have degraded or even failed catastrophically, then electricity still connects to attached appliances. How do you know it has not failed?

Normal failure for any protector is to degrade. Its "Protector Good" light can never report a degraded protector. That light can only report when a protector was grossly undersized during a surge. Can only report when it failed catastrophically in violation of MOV manufacturer design requirements. Your Isobar may be completely degraded - the normal failure mode. You would never know.

Earth one 'whole house' protector so that major and tiny surges all cause no damage. Adding more protectors does little to make better protection. As made obvious to an answer to this question. "Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate?" How to make better protection for each surge? Upgrade what actually does protection - single point earth ground. Protectors are only connecting devices to what does and defines protection. Why is that essential fact, proven by over100 years of experience, so hard to grasp? A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
Edited by westom - 2/26/14 at 9:45pm
post #34 of 45
It's pretty much as simple as unscrewing a few screws, opening the casing, and checking resistance of the MOV's....


And actually, the one that's been running for 8 years was one that not only protected, but lived through the LIGHTNING STRIKE to the transformer box IN MY FRONT YARD.





Are whole house protectors better? Yes, and I have one for each circuit currently.

Does that mean I shouldn't have high-5-figure's worth of equipment (if not more) plugged into top tier surge suppressors, and instead simply plug them into the wall? #$#@ NO!


You are aware that voltage dips and spikes occur most frequently from OTHER DEVICES on the same circuit, right? Like when the lights dim from the vacuum being turned on while the dishwasher is running?
With the ISOBar Ultra's, you're protected against the AS, or even MORE harmful "day to day" spikes and dips. I am not so worried about lightning strikes, because I am all paid up with Zeus in terms of my ritual sacrifices. That, and while I have no statistics on the matter, I personally have seen FAR more equipment failure resulting from LOW voltages ("brown-outs") than I have from an equivalent upward voltage swing as most devices, PC PSU's included, will protect themselves to varying degrees against over-voltage/spikes, but it's very uncommon to see a device that has the same, or even any, protection against voltage dips.

I've spent maybe ~$500 TOTAL on Tripp Lite units. They're protecting, and have ACTUALLY PROTECTED, well over $85,000 in equipment.

I would say that's probably the best return on investment I've ever had, and I was able to buy into the Google IPO on day one!
   
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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

You are aware that voltage dips and spikes occur most frequently from OTHER DEVICES on the same circuit, right? Like when the lights dim from the vacuum being turned on while the dishwasher is running?
With the ISOBar Ultra's, you're protected against the AS, or even MORE harmful "day to day" spikes and dips.
Normal voltage for electronics is even when incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. Low voltage is a threat to motorized appliances. And normal (sufficient) voltage for electronics. If concerned about low voltage, then worry more about the refrigerator, washing machine, and furnace.

How often do your lights dim to 50% intenstiy? Never? Is low voltage is destructive?. Yes - to motorized appliances. And no - to electronics.

An Isobar does absolutely nothing for such voltages. A 120 volt Isobar does nothing for any voltage below 330 volts. As even written on its box. And yet fears promoted an Isobar to do what even the manufacturer says it will not do.

Installing more protectors does not increas protection durng a surge. As made obvious by learning what an effective protector does. How to increase protection? Upgarde the earthing. A protector is only as effetive as its earth ground. Adding more protectors does not significantly increase protection. Does virtually nothing for anomalies created by other appliances. And clearly does nothing for low voltages (when lights dim).

A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Earth ground is why one 'whole house' protector does so much protection. And why 20 plug-in protectorss remain near zero protection. The IEEE even puts a number to it. It does over 99% of the protection. Leaving the Isobar to do maybe 0.2%.

Worse, an Isobar can even give a surge more paths to find earth destructively via an adjacent appliance. It can even bypass protection already inside electronics. What kind of protection is that? Isobar is promoted by not firsr learning the basic electrtical concepts. Recommended because it is so expensive. Even its numeric specifications do not claim that proection - let alone protection from dimming lights.
post #36 of 45
All separate circuits in my house are independently grounded, the work was done professionally. Keep in mind, I use my home's power for professional studio recording, editing, and mastering so even slight voltage droop/spike becomes audibly apparent, much less a ground loop!

It is clear I am not going to convince you, and that's fine. I stand by my recommendation of the units 110%, they've saved me an incredible amount of money, and I have measured a completely consistent voltage from the unit compared to the wall (using a Fluke DMM, calibrated; that voltage stability, by the way, THAT is a big reason for the capacitors!).

I have never argued that it would be a good idea to use them as a "band aid" solution for a home with poor electrical wiring. Of course not!

Clearly, if you want good electrical stability, much less protection, it starts with the power coming in, but everything after that is in your power to ensure is beyond spec/standard. Assuming that, and properly grounded circuit(s) (I have 5 independent circuits for my home, 3x 15a and 2x 20, plus the dedicated 20a for washer/dryer), and QUALITY surge suppressors, with or without voltage regulation depending on the sensitivity of the connected equipment, anywhere needed. A whole house surge protector can be beneficial, but if your circuits are already properly grounded and you know not to create surge traps, I have yet to see it make a difference; on houses without properly grounded circuits, sure, and yes many people are ignorant regarding this, but that's life: people are dumb.

My university's computer labs have the same kind of whole-home surge suppressor I have, it's a box on the wall about 5ft tall by 4ft wide by 1ft deep, and it provides voltage regulation for dips/spikes, load metering, and even intelligent "off" (it will turn off lights left on for more than 25hrs; it can be programmed to do all kinds of sweet stuff, and also has REPLACEABLE MOV sections, which I have a box of and cost all of $4 a piece, with the unit alerting you to know when the MOV's have degraded below 50%, as well as providing a digital percentage of estimated life remaining per section). Oh, and it's properly grounded.


Do I think you need to spend four figures for good protection? no way! I am just a unique combination of lazy, easily intrigued by fancy new gizmo's with flashing lights, and protective of my possessions that cost me a lot of time and effort to acquire.
   
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post #37 of 45
im a little jealous of that setup....but its major overkill for my needs wink.gif
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post #38 of 45
For the price you're going to pay for a good surge protector that actually works, I would just get a UPS. I don't recommend the APC brand, but I can definitely vouch for CyberPower, one like this: http://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP1500AVRLCD-Intelligent-1500VA-Mini-Tower/dp/B000FBK3QK

A good surge protector (by that I'm referring to not the Walmart-tier junk you mentioned) will work decently, but for the price... /weighs hands left and right/ I'd just go with a UPS. The UPS will actually supply the extra voltage needed when you have a voltage drop, or regulate and lower the voltage when a surge hits. The important thing to look for when buying one is to get one that has pure sine wave output.
Edited by Stealth Pyros - 3/3/14 at 11:44am
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post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth Pyros View Post

For the price you're going to pay for a good surge protector that actually works, I would just get a UPS. ... A good surge protector (by that I'm referring to not the Walmart-tier junk you mentioned) will work decently, but for the price... /weighs hands left and right/ I'd just go with a UPS. The UPS will actually supply the extra voltage needed when you have a voltage drop, or regulate and lower the voltage when a surge hits.

1) Read the manufacturer specifications. A $25 Wal-mart protector often claims same or better ;protection than an adjacent UPS.

2) Surges are high voltages (ie thousnads) Obviously surges are not lower voltages (ie ones or tens of volts lower).

3) Lower voltages damage no electronics. As defined even in international design standards over 40 years ago. Ideal voltage for all electronics is even when incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. How often does your voltage drop that low? What is this voltage variation that a UPS protects from? The one that damages unsaved data - a blackout. UPS protects unsaved data - not hardware.

What is the purpose of a supply inside all electronics? To regulate all voltages. For example, ideal voltage for a laptop is any voltage from 85 to 265 volts. And it provide rock solid 3.3 and 5 volts without even 0.1 volt variation. Those damning numbers are missingide when advertising promotes myths about a UPS. Best voltage regulation is already inside electronics.

Maybe $150 for a UPS to not protect from destrutive surges. Or $1 per to protect all appliances from all surges. Which makes more sense both technically and monetarily? Read those UPS specs. Where is a spicification number that says it is better than a Wal-mart protector? So far, that UPS is only recommended by hearsay, speculation, and invalid technical reasons. And it costs as much as 150 times more money.
Edited by westom - 3/3/14 at 10:23pm
post #40 of 45

SIGH....

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It's a computer!
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