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217 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 161854 21-Jan-2015 20:52
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So much conflicting information out there... is network surge protection in the home worth while at all?

My UPS has a network port but downgrades the gigabit to 100mbit.

So looking at something like:
http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=PNET1GB&tab=documentation

J
ust wonder if it's a total waste of time?

Some people say surge protector boards are a waste of time / gimmick. UPS obviously have a use for brownouts...

So what's the sort answer for network surge protection?

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834 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1219467 21-Jan-2015 21:00
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When there was some lines work near my house, the resulting surge took out two Saturn cable set top boxes.  Of course they were replaced free of charge but it was annoying.  In another incident, a nearby lightening strike, took out my garage door motor, my car alarm and radio, and a home alarm (we weren't using it anyway).  So in my experience a risk is always there.

Surge protection is a type of insurance.  If you have good financial insurance on your equipment you may not want to do any form of self insurance.  On the other hand if you think you aren't going to be adequately financially covered or will suffer unacceptable data loss, you may want to add your own protection. 



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1219844 22-Jan-2015 10:13
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I'm happy to 'self insure' - and understand / agree with your argument.

My question is more of a "does it actually do anything in a normal home environment" or is near impossible to have a situation where it is actually protects your gear?

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  Reply # 1219848 22-Jan-2015 10:19
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cshaun: My question is more of a "does it actually do anything in a normal home environment" or is near impossible to have a situation where it is actually protects your gear?

We had a lightning hit in October last year that affected a long CAT5 cable I have running along the ground in a plastic tube.  Serial comms equipment is attached to the end of it via an Ethernet lightning protector (LP).  The LP did its job and the RS-485 comms adapter survived unscathed, with the LP needing to be replaced.  A fuse on my PoE power supply also got taken out, but otherwise all good.

So I would say that LP definitely have a place in protecting your gear, although my situation is a little unusual.





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1219874 22-Jan-2015 10:41
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I think it pretty much boils down to cheap surge protectors just blow up or melt and better quality equipment will do the best it can.  Like everything the law of diminishing returns applies.  The APC unit you've linked should be fine.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1219919 22-Jan-2015 11:34
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Thanks guys. May as well grab a couple and protect the more important computers/devices. Not that expensive.

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Geek
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  Reply # 1220907 23-Jan-2015 16:40
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  May as well grab a couple and protect the more important computers/devices. 

You have no reason to believe it will protect anything.   Surges that do damage can be hundreds of thousands of joules.  How many joules does that protector claim to absorb?  Hundreds?  That is near zero protection.  But just enough above zero so that many will assume it does 100% protection.

Due to what already exists inside electronics,  a tiny hundreds joule surge is converted to low voltage DC voltages to safely power its semiconductors.  Near zero protectors forget to mention that.  Your concern is larger surges that can overwhelm existing protection.

Insurance' is bogus.  Read its fine print.  Many exemptions.

Learn what is being marketed.  A maybe $3 power strip with ten cent protector parts selling for $10, $25, or $80.  Each claim similar near zero protection. View specification numbers.

Something completely different, and also called a surge protector, means everything in a house is protected.  Facilities that cannot have damage uses this other and proven solution.  It may cost you about $1 per protected appliance.  This other and superior solution means the protector comes from companies with superior integrity.  Including Siemens, Clipsal, ABB, Polyphaser, and Novaris.

In every case, the proven solution always has one essential feature.  A dedicated and low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meters') connection to single point earth ground.  Once a surge is inside, then nothing will protect appliances.  For over 100 years, the proven solution is about connecting a surge to earth BEFORE it enters.  Then a surge need not hunt for earth destructively via appliances.  Then all appliances are protected.

A surge does damage by hunting for earth via appliances. A most common 'incoming' path is AC electric.  Damage cannot happen if an 'outgoing' path to earth does not exist.  That outgoing path can be a network, TV cable, telephone wire, or internet router.  Damage is often on the 'outgoing' path.  Many, using speculation, assume damage indicates an incoming path.  Many forget that both an incoming and outgoing path must exist.

Telephone, cable, and satellite dish (if properly installed) already have best protection.  As required even by industry standards.  Common source of surges is the one incoming utility that typically has no protection. This other and superior 'whole house' solution is essential to even protect those near zero protectors.  Costs about $1 per.  Comes with manufacturer specification numbers that say why it remains functional even after direct lightning strikes. And is provided by companies of integrity.  Proven by over 100 years of science and experience.  And it not promoted by insurance full of fine print exemptions.

Did some also forget to mention a fire threat eixsts when a near zero (hundreds of joules) protector tries to absorb a surge that is hundreds of thousands of joules?  Insurance also does not cover fire damage.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1220966 23-Jan-2015 17:42
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westom:
  May as well grab a couple and protect the more important computers/devices. 

You have no reason to believe it will protect anything.   Surges that do damage can be hundreds of thousands of joules.  How many joules does that protector claim to absorb?  Hundreds?  That is near zero protection.  But just enough above zero so that many will assume it does 100% protection.

Due to what already exists inside electronics,  a tiny hundreds joule surge is converted to low voltage DC voltages to safely power its semiconductors.  Near zero protectors forget to mention that.  Your concern is larger surges that can overwhelm existing protection.

Insurance' is bogus.  Read its fine print.  Many exemptions.

Learn what is being marketed.  A maybe $3 power strip with ten cent protector parts selling for $10, $25, or $80.  Each claim similar near zero protection. View specification numbers.

Something completely different, and also called a surge protector, means everything in a house is protected.  Facilities that cannot have damage uses this other and proven solution.  It may cost you about $1 per protected appliance.  This other and superior solution means the protector comes from companies with superior integrity.  Including Siemens, Clipsal, ABB, Polyphaser, and Novaris.

In every case, the proven solution always has one essential feature.  A dedicated and low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meters') connection to single point earth ground.  Once a surge is inside, then nothing will protect appliances.  For over 100 years, the proven solution is about connecting a surge to earth BEFORE it enters.  Then a surge need not hunt for earth destructively via appliances.  Then all appliances are protected.

A surge does damage by hunting for earth via appliances. A most common 'incoming' path is AC electric.  Damage cannot happen if an 'outgoing' path to earth does not exist.  That outgoing path can be a network, TV cable, telephone wire, or internet router.  Damage is often on the 'outgoing' path.  Many, using speculation, assume damage indicates an incoming path.  Many forget that both an incoming and outgoing path must exist.

Telephone, cable, and satellite dish (if properly installed) already have best protection.  As required even by industry standards.  Common source of surges is the one incoming utility that typically has no protection. This other and superior 'whole house' solution is essential to even protect those near zero protectors.  Costs about $1 per.  Comes with manufacturer specification numbers that say why it remains functional even after direct lightning strikes. And is provided by companies of integrity.  Proven by over 100 years of science and experience.  And it not promoted by insurance full of fine print exemptions.

Did some also forget to mention a fire threat eixsts when a near zero (hundreds of joules) protector tries to absorb a surge that is hundreds of thousands of joules?  Insurance also does not cover fire damage.


Do most NZ homes already have 'whole house' protection? I've read a little about them before and seems like it's not the case. I've also reads posts similar to yours - basically saying surge protectors are just a gimick and waste of money. I just find it confusing/frustrating if this is the case that companies like APC market and sell such devices if they don't really do anything.
Kind of like Monster cables etc.
I just don't know enough of the technical side to know if it is actually all just bogus.

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  Reply # 1220977 23-Jan-2015 17:57
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There is a lot of junk products out there. In Norway the insurance companies recommend the (insurance company approved) surge protectors. They recommend the solution in the fuse cabinet that westom is talking about, as well as the insurance approved surge protectors at the sockets. 

The end-of-line (so to speak) surge protectors are meant to take what ever residue voltage is traveling through your house after the main surge protector has taken the main hit.

This is for surges that comes through the power line. Surges that comes through the phone-cable does not necessarily have to come from a direct hit to your house, it can come from a hit to equipment in your neighborhood. Be aware that putting a surge protector between your line and your modem could cause you to loose connection or have a degraded connection, depending on how well your signal is coming through already. It will give you some signal loss.

If I lived in an area that was very prone to lightening strikes, I would secure my equipment after the router, so at least you will not have the problem traveling through your network. Have not seen any problems with (good quality) surge protectors between ethernet equipment. (Make sure the surge protector for ethernet actually covers all the pins, some of them will only cover the typical phone pins).

And as always (and in particular in this case), if the surge protector is very cheap, its bound to be pretty useless.




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Geek
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  Reply # 1221010 23-Jan-2015 18:59
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cshaun:  I just find it confusing/frustrating if this is the case that companies like APC market and sell such devices if they don't really do anything.


They do something.  But forget to mention what effective protection does.  Concepts were first introduced in elementary school science.

Lightning seeks earth ground.  A path for a 20,000 amp electric surge is via a wooden church steeple destructively to earth.  Wood is not a good conductor.  So 20,000 amps creates a high voltage.  20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy.  Church steeple damaged.

Franklin installed a lightning rod.  Now 20,000 amps is via a wire to an earthing electrode.  High current creates near zero voltage.  20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy.  Structure not damaged.

Lightning seeks earth ground. A lightning strike to utility wires far down the street is a direct strike, incoming to every household appliance, destructively to earth.  Appliances are not a good conductor.  So lightning creates a high voltage.  Lightning current times a high voltage is high energy.  Appliances damaged.

For over 100 years, facilities that cannot have damage installed superior earthing connected low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meters') via one 'whole house' protector.  Then high current creates near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy.  Appliances not damaged.

TV Cable should already have best protection.  A short (ie 'less than 3 meter') hardwire should connect cable direct to single point earth ground.  Then a surge need not enter the house to hunt for earth destructively via appliances.

AC electric will not work if hardwired to earth.  So a protector does what a hardwire would do better.  Make that short as possible connection to earth.  That completely different device (called a protector) does not work by absorbing energy.  Instead it connects all type of destructive surges to what harmlessly absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules - earth.

That is how protection has been done for over 100 years.  Simple concepts separate high profit and 'near zero' protectors from a completely different device (for tens of times less money).   A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.  Any protector without a low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meter') connection to earth is for other surges that typically do not cause damage.

Above simple concepts separate the informed from others who only recite advertising myths.  Protection is always about where energy harmlessly dissipates.  Protection means a surge current connects to earth on a path that is not destructive - not inside.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1221171 23-Jan-2015 22:11
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cshaun: 

Do most NZ homes already have 'whole house' protection? I've read a little about them before and seems like it's not the case. I've also reads posts similar to yours - basically saying surge protectors are just a gimick and waste of money. I just find it confusing/frustrating if this is the case that companies like APC market and sell such devices if they don't really do anything.
Kind of like Monster cables etc.
I just don't know enough of the technical side to know if it is actually all just bogus.


So what I'm wondering is why you'd think an anonymous poster writing with terrible sentence structure, which probably indicates a lack of education or at best English is not his native language, is an expert on electricity and power protection?  NZ has a licensing and certification scheme for electricians and electrical devices.  You can check whether someone is registered here https://ewr.dbh.govt.nz/PublicRegister/Search.aspx.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1221270 24-Jan-2015 09:40
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I thought it is also worth mentioning that you're not only protecting against external surges.  I once worked in a building on the Terrace and a couple of PCs a week to dead power supplies.  With the help of the local power company (can't remember what they were called at the time) we started to investigate whether we were getting surges from a nearby substation.  What we discovered was that our PC fleet had substandard power supplies and they caused a spike when they were turned on in the morning, which in turn was damaging other PC power supplies on the same circuit.  The "noise" on each circuit was quite remarkable.  We basically had a cascading failure of power supplies.  Anyone who has worked PC support on streets in Wellington like Lambton Quay probably also knows what utter havoc the trolley buses and their lines cause to nearby electrical equipment.

If you have a malfunctioning device, or a device that switchs a motor on and off (say a fridge) you're not going to have clean power.

I have a reconditioned Eaton UPS protecting my media devices and console, not because I think will protect them in a lightening strike, but because it will clean up the electricity and prolong their life.

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