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Surge protectors damage PSUs?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I read that surge protectors (except the very expensive ones, electronic sine wave and stuff, which regulate the load before passing it to the PSU) damage quality PSUs and the logic behind that goes something like this:

When there is a spike it goes through the surge protector and when the PSU detects it, it regulates itself to deal with the increased power, but then the surge protector cuts off the excess of current so the PSU doesnt receive the increased current it expected. This ends up damaging the PSU long term.

It makes sense to me but I dont know if its true or not, Linus in this youtube video says nothing about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EShLNyEoqHM

Thanks!
Leoso
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Leoso
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post #2 of 9
If the surge protector prevent the excess current from ever getting to the PSU, then how does the PSU know that surge ever even happened?

That would imply the PSU has some sort of monitoring in the line ahead of the Surge protector, which we know it doesn't.
post #3 of 9

With good PSUs, they automatically adjust to fluctuations of the input voltage. So I'd say it's probably only a problem for PSUs that don't do that, we never recommend such PSU.

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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoso View Post

I read that surge protectors (except the very expensive ones, electronic sine wave and stuff, which regulate the load before passing it to the PSU) damage quality PSUs and the logic behind that goes something like this:

When there is a spike it goes through the surge protector and when the PSU detects it, it regulates itself to deal with the increased power, but then the surge protector cuts off the excess of current so the PSU doesnt receive the increased current it expected. This ends up damaging the PSU long term.

It makes sense to me but I dont know if its true or not, Linus in this youtube video says nothing about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EShLNyEoqHM

Thanks!

I'm thinking you may be confusing surge arrestors with UPSs or power conditioners (voltage regulators).
     
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses!

Its not that the PSU has some sort of monitoring that can bypass the surge protector, its that the surge protector (the common mechanical ones at least) has some delay between detecting the higher current and regulating it, so the higher current reaches the PSU before being corrected by the surge protector.

So do you guys think this is just a myth?
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post #6 of 9
Absolutely B.S.

Cheap power strips are nothing more than a few MOVs (the higher the Joule rating of the power strip, the more MOVs are used) in line between the AC input and AC outlets.

If a surge exceeds the value of the MOV, the MOV triggers or burns out. Unless that happens, power is continuously delivered to the PSU as if the power strip isn't even there.

FYI: Decent PSUs also have their own MOVs in them utilizing the same type of surge suppression you find in power strips.

The only products that regulate voltage are voltage regulators, or "AVR's". These are much larger than your standard power strip. They're essentially large transformers that either buck or boost the line voltage to maintain a continuous output voltage. Many "better" UPSs have AVR built into them.

The issue that we often see with "power protection" and PSUs has more to do with UPSs that have simulated sine-wave output when on battery power. Some PSUs see the transition from a pure-sine signal from the wall to a square sine wave as a transient spike and this causes the PSU to trip off. This DOES NOT damage the PSU though.


Hope this helps!
Jon
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyGURU View Post

Absolutely B.S.

Cheap power strips are nothing more than a few MOVs (the higher the Joule rating of the power strip, the more MOVs are used) in line between the AC input and AC outlets.

If a surge exceeds the value of the MOV, the MOV triggers or burns out. Unless that happens, power is continuously delivered to the PSU as if the power strip isn't even there.

FYI: Decent PSUs also have their own MOVs in them utilizing the same type of surge suppression you find in power strips.

The only products that regulate voltage are voltage regulators, or "AVR's". These are much larger than your standard power strip. They're essentially large transformers that either buck or boost the line voltage to maintain a continuous output voltage. Many "better" UPSs have AVR built into them.

The issue that we often see with "power protection" and PSUs has more to do with UPSs that have simulated sine-wave output when on battery power. Some PSUs see the transition from a pure-sine signal from the wall to a square sine wave as a transient spike and this causes the PSU to trip off. This DOES NOT damage the PSU though.


Hope this helps!
Jon




Thanks a lot Jon!

That clears out a lot of things. Congrats on your website, it has been very useful to me!

Just a couple more questions, if you have the time:

1) It makes sense to have a surge protector just because if there is a surge the MOVs burnt out (in case they burn out) are the ones in the surge protector and not the ones in the power supply which is more expensive? Any negative in having a surge protector for the PC?

2) These voltage regulators (on their own or in a UPS) provide any benefit to the PC? I guess maybe they reduce the job that has to do the power supply and maybe improve its longevity or not? Any negative in having one for the PC?

3) I thought that a UPS used current to charge its batteries and the power supplied to the things connected to it was always from the batteries, so no matter the current received by the UPS the output was always the same and always safe being from the batteries, but this is not how they work, right? The only benefit in having a UPS is being able to use equipment when the light goes out for a few minutes, and provides no additional benefit or pitfall than a voltage regulator (for those UPS that have voltage regulation), right?
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Leoso
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoso View Post


1) It makes sense to have a surge protector just because if there is a surge the MOVs burnt out (in case they burn out) are the ones in the surge protector and not the ones in the power supply which is more expensive? Any negative in having a surge protector for the PC?

Nope. If the MOV burns out in the PSU, the PSU is done. Remember: The protection in a PSU iis to protect YOUR WHOLE PC. Many times, it's at a self sacrifice. Using a surge strip just means the strip takes the hit before the PSU... and even a good surge strip is cheaper than a good PSU.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoso View Post


2) These voltage regulators (on their own or in a UPS) provide any benefit to the PC? I guess maybe they reduce the job that has to do the power supply and maybe improve its longevity or not? Any negative in having one for the PC?

I like AVR's simply because you're normalizing the AC input to the PSU. (Good) PSUs are pretty robust these days, but the more fluctuations you have in your mains, the more stress you're putting on your PSU.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoso View Post


3) I thought that a UPS used current to charge its batteries and the power supplied to the things connected to it was always from the batteries, so no matter the current received by the UPS the output was always the same and always safe being from the batteries, but this is not how they work, right? The only benefit in having a UPS is being able to use equipment when the light goes out for a few minutes, and provides no additional benefit or pitfall than a voltage regulator (for those UPS that have voltage regulation), right?

That's only in the case of a very expensive "on line" UPS. Most UPSs and pretty much all consumer grade UPSs are either stand-by or line interactive. These run on your mains UNTIL the power goes out. Then, a very fast micro-controller switch switches you over to the batteries.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Jon, take care!
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