Surge Protector Buying Advice

  Philbert 03:20 03 Jul 2008

Surge protectors quantify their capacity with its joules of energy absorption. How many joules does one need for a home PC? Is there anything else I should be looking for?

  wiz-king 05:24 03 Jul 2008

They work by changing resistance with voltage so what matters is the quality of the incoming mains, it does not matter what is the load(PC).

If you live in a town where the mains cables are underground and you don't have large industry around then you only need to absorb small over voltage but if you live out in the sticks where you may be fed by miles of overground cable or have some nearby heavy industrial users then you may need a bigger one.
Word of warning -- they wont cope with this click here

  wiz-king 05:29 03 Jul 2008

Another thing If you have your mains tested by an electrician at any time they show up as 'low insulation' as they will try to remove the 400v used in the test! Just something to be aware of.

  €dstowe 06:42 03 Jul 2008

Don't buy a cheap one!!!!!!!

  rickd 09:26 03 Jul 2008

I'd go for something well built (not cheapies from Curry etc) and with a UPS. I had Belkins but they were pretty cr*p and let me down. I now use APC's which have been great.

  Philbert 04:21 04 Jul 2008

Thank you for your quick responses.
I take it that there is no such thing as a recommendation that one needs at least "nnnn" Joules for protection from most lightening strikes. Or that less than "xxx" Joules isn't worth bothering with?
By the way, I saw some discussion in this forum where people were very pleased with Belkin's service when it came to replacing equipment while on their surge protector.

  €dstowe 06:46 04 Jul 2008

It isn't really the intention of surge protectors to guard against lightning strikes and if there is ANY danger of being struck the whole computer setup should be physically disconnected from any source of electricity (REMOVE the plugs from their sockets, including telephone cables).

  Philbert 20:16 04 Jul 2008

Yeah, I know that if there is a close enough lightening hit it is all over with. But I've sure seen several surge protector packages with lightening bolts on the package. I'm sure the manufacturer would argue they are alluding to the power fluctuations that occur in thunderstorms, not protection from lightening strikes at your home. There are the strikes where the lights flicker. Isn't it those kind of variations the surge protector helps with?

I found a white paper on the APC site, "The Seven Types of Power Problems." It is a good paper, but doesn't answer my question.

click here

Thanks for the input.

  Chas49 20:25 04 Jul 2008

Just get a Belkin, it has/or did have a provision that should you have a surge which resulted in the destruction of the Belkin that they would replace it and award any other damages resulting from such a powerful surge - so confident they are/were in their product.

  wiz-king 20:31 04 Jul 2008

No. A surge protector will only protect against an over-voltage, it will not help in the case of 'brown-outs' where the mains voltage goes low (lights dim)or short power cuts. You would need a UPS to cope with these. Most UPSs have a degree of mains filtering anyway and some of the will also protect your phone line.
A UPS contains one or two lead acid accumulators similar to the batteries used on motorbikes and will keep you PC running for up to 10 minutes in a power cut and will then use software to safely shut down the computer saving your data as well.
However you will need to replace the batteries every three years and they wont run a laser printer.

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