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132 posts

Master Geek


# 205905 1-Dec-2016 22:46
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Can you use a 4 way power board with a single outlet surge protector plug or do you have to buy a 4way surge protected strip? What is the difference?

 

Also what brands etc are good and what ones are aa waste of time?


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588 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 1681005 2-Dec-2016 07:01
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No problem plugging multibox into single outlet surge protector.

They are mostly the same basic components so as long as you don't go too non-brand cheap cheap you should be fine. Try find one with and indicator that tells you when the surge protection has "run out" (they can only take so many hits).

I personally go for protected strips as I find that piggybacking sockets off a wall outlet can cause loose connections; however if you're expecting it will get a lot of surges then will be more economical replacing a ~$20 single surge outlet vs ~$100 surge strip.

neb

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  # 1681367 2-Dec-2016 16:30
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Any MOV-based one, which in practice means pretty much all of them, are at best a waste of time and money, at worst actively dangerous. Hmm, I'd have to type up a small textbook on how MOVs work, what sort of conditions you'd find on power lines, and how electric devices are protected, which I don't really feel like doing. Anyone have any already-written go-to references?

 

 

Short version: If you're really worried about voltage spikes, which 99.999% of people don't have to care about, get a good series-mode protection device, not something that uses MOVs.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1686046 11-Dec-2016 14:47
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Also what brands etc are good and what ones are aa waste of time?

 

Surges that are hundreds of joules are made irrelevant by protection already inside appliances. How many joules does a cheap or most expensive protector absorb?  Compare that to potentially destructive surges - ie hundreds of thousands of joules.  What happens when a near joule protector tries to 'block' or 'absorb' hundreds of thousands of joules?  Near zero protectors (both expensive and cheap) "are at best a waste of time and money, at worst actively dangerous."  

 

View spec numbers for a series mode protector.  Those typically absorb maybe 600 joules; also near zero.  However, a destructive surge does not result in disconnected protectors.  After a first 600 joules, rest of that surge energy dissipates downstream - ie inside the appliance. Where is the protection?

 

Effective means hundreds of thousands of joules are nowhere inside a building.  Then a surge is not incoming to all appliances.  No plug-in protector claims or will even discuss hundreds of thousands of joules.  Something completely different, unfortunately also called a surge protector, does make hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly outside.  Then everything is protected - including near zero joule series mode and MOV based protectors.

 

Best protection for the price is MOV based protectors.  Effective protectors that protect from hundreds of thousands of joules are MOV based.  And have what every effective protection system always has.  A low impedance (ie less than 3 meter) connection to single point earth ground.

 

No protector does protection - not one.  Effective protectors do not foolishly 'block' or 'absorb' surges as advertising and hearsay claim.  Effective protectors are connecting devices to what actually does protection - single point earth ground.  A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.  Near zero joule protectors do not have and will not discuss that most critical item.  A 'whole house' protector connected low impedance (ie less than 3 meters) to earth means even those near zero joule protectors are protected; means nobody even knew a surge existed.

 

Get effective protection.  Then everything is protected.  And the original question is moot.

 

 


neb

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  # 1686245 11-Dec-2016 21:58
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westom:

Surges that are hundreds of joules are made irrelevant by protection already inside appliances. How many joules does a cheap or most expensive protector absorb?  Compare that to potentially destructive surges - ie hundreds of thousands of joules.  What happens when a near joule protector tries to 'block' or 'absorb' hundreds of thousands of joules?  Near zero protectors (both expensive and cheap) "are at best a waste of time and money, at worst actively dangerous."

 

 

Yup. MOVs in particular have a tendency to catch fire or explode, depending on how much energy they're being asked to deal with. Or by the time you need them they've degraded to the point where they're useless. OTOH if you're being hit with that amount of power, you're looking at something like a nearby lightning strike, for which you're going to run into trouble no matter what you use.

 

 

westom:

View spec numbers for a series mode protector.  Those typically absorb maybe 600 joules; also near zero.  However, a destructive surge does not result in disconnected protectors.  After a first 600 joules, rest of that surge energy dissipates downstream - ie inside the appliance. Where is the protection?

 

 

Using joules to characterise surge energy is quite misleading, which is why electrical tesst documents use kV, A, time, and the resistive load into which the power is delivered. You can play with numbers for MOVs and get ludicrous values, much like PMPO for audio amps. In any case, how many sites will experience the standard IEEE C62.41 6kV 500A cat C1 test surge (C3 is a direct lightning strike, nothing normal will survive that)? The answer in pretty much all cases is zero, you just don't get that on power lines under any normal conditions. What you may get is noise from e.g. heavy industrial equipment being switched on and off, and endless crap from switchmode power supplies, for which something like a sinewave tracking filter would be a better bet.

 

 

westom:

Best protection for the price is MOV based protectors.

 

 

Well, that's only because they're near-free. The actual best protection is nothing at all, because when you divide by its cost, zero, you get infinite effectiveness. The near-free cost of MOVs is why they're included in every crappy power board, they add next to nothing to the cost, and since they do next to nothing no-one will complain that they don't work. If there really is a surge, then, assuming they don't explode or catch fire, what they'll do is shunt a significant chunk of it to neutral or ground (they're almost never done properly, it's just a single MOV bridging active to something else). So now you've induced a huge voltage spike onto either neutral or ground, and if it's ground then it's the thing that's being used as system ground for your computer, networking gear, cables, etc. Most electronics don't deal with multi-kV spikes on their system ground too well. MOVs are great for contaminating system ground.

 

 

westom:

Effective protectors do not foolishly 'block' or 'absorb' surges as advertising and hearsay claim.

 

 

Ferroresonant power conditioners do a pretty good job. You can absorb a whole lot of power in 50-100kg of copper and iron. And absorbing excess energy is a helluva lot better than just moving it elsewhere, like onto the system ground.

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