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37 posts


# 31456 18-Mar-2009 14:11
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Hi Everyone

I am currently using a HPM brand twin output surge protector (from Bunnings), for my TV and Wii machine. A friend saw it, and said it is rubbish, and I need to get a better surge protector, from Harvey Norman or DSE. The one which offers up to $100000 replacement cost to your machine, if it fail to protect your equipment etc etc. So, I went to Harvey Norman and had a look, the sales person show me a "when a CHEAP surge protector gone bad" photo. with burnt looking protector and busted TV etc.

I am confused. As the bunnings man saids (he is an electrician) all surge protector are more or less the same, do the same job. But the Harvey norman guy said, the cheap one can't handle the power surge, and the power will just go straight through the cheap one, and kill your TV. Who is telling porky ? The one on sales in HN is quite expensive.

Please help.



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2875 posts

Uber Geek

  # 201922 18-Mar-2009 15:35
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i wouldnt believe anything HN tells you the forum is full of tales about HN and there sales technique, read this article really helpful

Common sense is not as common as you think.

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Uber Geek


  # 201934 18-Mar-2009 15:55
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HN often tells porkies! 

If you only need to look after two maches, any surge protector no more than $50 is sufficient.  Do not buy anything more expensive than that.

I know my notebook surge protector worth $25 offers more than enough compensation money should anything go wrong (tens of thousands).


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Ultimate Geek

  # 201936 18-Mar-2009 15:59
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Have you checked your contents insurance policy?

Mine covers electrical goods being blown up through surges.  I haven't yet had the misfortune of needing to test out this policy so cannot claim that it will be easy to have pay out...but if we make the assumption it will pay it - then you could argue it is the best "surge protection" you have.

Yes I realise this will not protect you from data loss, backups are for that, but it does protect you when you experience hardware loss from power spikes/surges.

1767 posts

Uber Geek


  # 201953 18-Mar-2009 16:31
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The bunnings bloke is pretty much on the nail. 

There is no such thing as a cheap surge protector, and there is no such thing as an expensive surge protector - inside they are much the same. 

A varistor, couple of chokes, maybe a spark supressor, a couple of capacitors.

Varistors are the main protector, but by their very nature they wear out - a slow death by a thousand cuts for every surge over it's rated value, until at such time it doesnt protect anything. And you dont know when it's dead. 

As for the expensive ones that claim a zillion bucks compo, trrying to redeem or prove that it failed is worse than trying to redeem cash-back vouchers !! You probably would have to ship the dead PC etc all the way back to the USA for forensic analysis, etc;

Have a gander at

If you are truely concerned about protection, you are far better off using a UPS ( uninterruptable Power Supply) preferably one that has a double conversion ( I think that's the terminolgy) where the incomming mains is converted to 12V for the battery, and then reconverted back to 230V - pure power irrespective of what the mains input is jiggling around at.

Insurance policies are good, but that's just for the physical kit. Loosing all your multimedia, photos, etc, is where the pain is. Been there when I had a lightning strike on the street lamp outside my house when I was living in Oz. Just about NO UPS/Supressor etc would have stopped it. PC, modems, network kit, TV's, VCR's, N64 - all fried, and muliple points of surge ingress.

Just as well it was 15 years ago before too much went digital ..... these days, digital media is backed up off premises. USB HDD's are cheap insurance

PC and kit is on UPS, and home theatre on a power conditioner.

My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government

677 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 201982 18-Mar-2009 17:33
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another option, most IT switchboards are fiited with surge surpresers inside the switch board so every circuit is protected, sure they cost a litlle bit more, they also have a clear red/green display showing when the unit is no longer protecting.

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  # 202015 18-Mar-2009 20:21
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OK I don't quite agree with the idea that all surge protectors are the same and a cheap one will do as good a job as a more expensive one.

Have a read though here

As you can see if you read the above link that there are a lot of variables and I have heard enough stories from people that have been hit by a big spike (think lightning) where a better quality surge protector has saved what was down stream from it but a cheap one has failed to do its job. Check out what the maximum spike the protector can handle for a start.

Also there are just surge protectors that will stop a big spike getting to your hardware (hopefully) and units that will regulate the power getting to your device stopping it being affected by smaller spikes or brown outs that can still do damage over time. These are called a low pass filters.

Personally I think it is mad to spend thousands of dollars on a TV/PC etc and then put a cheap $20 surge protector on it. As mentioned it is not only the device itself that you are protecting but the data on that device.

Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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Ultimate Geek

  # 202033 18-Mar-2009 21:41
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I'd agree with Nety that there is probably some variance in the quality and the Wikipedia item refers to the methods of rating.

 The other thing that strikes me (pun!) is that the more of them you have in a house the better protection you are likely to have. They all basically work in parallel, even the ones that connect to the distribution panel (though there is a more expensive type that cuts the supply altogether I think), so a SP plugged in to one  socket will help to protect appliances in others (on the same phase).


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Ultimate Geek

  # 202046 18-Mar-2009 22:30
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my surge protector got a natty cable and so i took it off in the interests of safety.

I didnt get around to getting a new one, but didnt.  So, as you can guess we had a surge and my hard drive blew.
anyhow, my insurers(AMI) do cover surges. They needed me to go get it repaired by proper pc guys.  I did so. However, they wanted written proof from the Meridian.  Someone else runs their power maintenance for them. They came out and fixed it up(got my whole houses power going again).

Anyways AMI were total dicks and said they needed to write a letter to the company that does maintenance for meridian.

End result=no reply from anyone, im outta pocket more than needed and AMI shrug shoulders and say "its not our fault".

I got a new surge protector next week lol.


The force is strong with this one!

992 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 202079 19-Mar-2009 07:54
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I'm guessing if you have big money tied up in HT ( not including PC's here ) you probaly have Home and Contents insurance. We had a car hit a power pole down the road from us and fried our two year old 43" rear projection TV  ( this was about seven years ago ) they paid out immediately and with how the price of flat panels drop we upgraded at no extra cost to a 42' Plasma. Have now upgraded to a Full HD 50" Panasonic Plasma but didn't buy a surge protector the salesman was trying to force on me.

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Uber Geek

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  # 202096 19-Mar-2009 09:17
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Something we found at work was that it was worth putting line filters (low pass filters) on all our PC's and label printers located on the factory floor. Before we did this we were losing the odd power supply on the PC's and printers because of the spikes and brownouts that are produced when the factory equipment was turning on and off etc.
Once we installed the line filters we stopped loosing the power supplies. The filters were APC Line-R 600's which were around $100 each.
Although in a home situation you are not likely to get the same kind of dirty power though that we get at work but I do wonder if over a greater lenth of time you may get the same thing happening.

Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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