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Old 04-16-2010, 11:46 AM   #1
Sevdalina
 
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Do surge protectors actually protect from lightning damage?

I am living in a country where there are masses of thunder storms. One happening right now in fact. As someone who uses one of her husbands toys to play games on while the boys talk business I am keen to keep them safe. He spends a fortune on this stuff.

Since my departure from Xbox I have recently become aware of just how much he spends on this stuff!.

My question is, do these surge protectors actually work. Everything in our home offices are connected to these little battery UPS things. Several people we know have experienced damage as a result of lightning striking power or telecomm cables (even when the strike is miles away) Do these little surge protector things actually make any difference or should I be turning the PC off and unplugging it?

I am always suspicious of claims from equipment manufacturers, hell, I am in marketing for an IT related company myself. Sometimes reality and marketing are not quite as good close as one would like.
 
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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It's always safer to shutdown & unplug during any storm.

I had a thread going about this same discussion awhile back due to having my APC BackUPS system fail & cause my motherboard to fry.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 AM   #3
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yes, try getting one where you can also plug in your ethernet cable. 90% of the fried computer's are see are fine after lighting storm except for the internet wont work. That's because they plugged the pc into the surge protector and didn't think an electrical pulse can come through a network cable.

you get what you pay for <---remember that the most.

if you want 8 dollar radioshack protection, go for it. I personally spent a little over 85 dollars on my surge protector.

EDIT

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Originally Posted by L.o.D. View Post
It's always safer to shutdown & unplug during any storm.
^--thats not bad info, I'd listen to him when possible.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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Moose, I spent almost $90 for mine & it failed.
The kicker is, there was a storm happening, albeit not too serious, but there was one flash to where I heard a click but with NO power fluctuations.
I shut down the PC soon after. 15mins later, went to power it back up & got nothing.
APC paid me what I asked for to replace the board a few months later.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.o.D. View Post
Moose, I spent almost $90 for mine & it failed.
The kicker is, there was a storm happening, albeit not too serious, but there was one flash to where I heard a click but with NO power fluctuations.
I shut down the PC soon after. 15mins later, went to power it back up & got nothing.
APC paid me what I asked for to replace the board a few months later.
I was going to go into APC actually standing behind their "10k, 15k, 25k guarantees" but I thought that might be too lengthy of a discussion.

I agree 100%, there is always that "one" strike that has enough juice to push through. The one time I had a mishap and APC replaced my burnt up components as well, which is why I stressed you get what you pay for.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:03 PM   #6
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When I submitted my claim, I thought it would take maybe a couple weeks to investigate. Then I found out they were swamped with investigations, so it took longer.
But they eventually sent me a check for just under $300.
I still have the mobo in question as I want to do my own thorough testing, but I don't have enough parts to do so.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.o.D. View Post
When I submitted my claim, I thought it would take maybe a couple weeks to investigate. Then I found out they were swamped with investigations, so it took longer.
But they eventually sent me a check for just under $300.
I still have the mobo in question as I want to do my own thorough testing, but I don't have enough parts to do so.
if you check out tigerdirect they have some ULTRA tools to test amperage, current etc etc which is good for normal -> small components.

I would recommend it...anyways, enough thread jacking.

OP buy a good surge protector for unexpected storms and it will give you enough time to get ur pc shut down
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:17 PM   #8
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Surge protectors help, but they don't always protect from every possible occurence of lightning strikes. Most, if not all, surge protectors employ MOVs that are rated for a certain voltage and energy dissipation. They are intended to be the sacrificial component at the expense of other more expensive components that are plugged into the suppressor.

You need to analyze how many different circuits you have entering your dwelling and figure out how many different paths that a lightning strike may take to dissipate the energy of the bolt. Coax cable, telecom line, power circuit, antenna, doorbell, weather station, etc. Lightning is very unpredictable.

I had a TV attached to an external antenna that wasn't properly grounded and lightning hit the antenna. I figured the lightning came down the twinax, destroyed the TV tuner, went into the power circuit, blew up a light bulb in a lamp, destroyed a circuit breaker on that same circuit in the breaker panel and was finally satisfied for energy dissipation.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rotNdude View Post
Surge protectors help, but they don't always protect from every possible occurence of lightning strikes. Most, if not all, surge protectors employ MOVs that are rated for a certain voltage and energy dissipation. They are intended to be the sacrificial component at the expense of other more expensive components that are plugged into the suppressor.

You need to analyze how many different circuits you have entering your dwelling and figure out how many different paths that a lightning strike may take to dissipate the energy of the bolt. Coax cable, telecom line, power circuit, antenna, doorbell, weather station, etc. Lightning is very unpredictable.

I had a TV attached to an external antenna that wasn't properly grounded and lightning hit the antenna. I figured the lightning came down the twinax, destroyed the TV tuner, went into the power circuit, blew up a light bulb in a lamp, destroyed a circuit breaker on that same circuit in the breaker panel and was finally satisfied for energy dissipation.
^--this right here, is why every day i look at new mexico tech's M.S. program for shock physics...just mind blowing
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose Muscles View Post
yes, try getting one where you can also plug in your ethernet cable. 90% of the fried computer's are see are fine after lighting storm except for the internet wont work. That's because they plugged the pc into the surge protector and didn't think an electrical pulse can come through a network cable.

you get what you pay for <---remember that the most.

if you want 8 dollar radioshack protection, go for it. I personally spent a little over 85 dollars on my surge protector.
+1 on the Ethernet and yeah like anything buy a cheap one probably crap by an expensive one should be good
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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If your house gets struck directly (or a powerline very close by), no. But in most circumstances they will.
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:14 PM   #12
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Protection against lightning strikes is indeed a very tricky thing to do, and a bunch of MOVs as found in most surge protectors will not do the trick unless the lightning strike is quite distant.

A direct hit or near-miss, forget about it. You would need gas-discharge lightning arrestors and a combination of other devices. It's not impossible to do, but it is expensive and overkill for a household.

The best investment you can make with regards to household surge protection is to install a whole-house transient voltage suppressor (TVSS) at the breaker panel, as well as surge suppressing devices at the point where phone lines and cable enter the house. May not hold up to a direct strike, but they offer much better protection that your typical surge bar.
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:17 PM   #13
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Nothing on the planet can protect your computer from a lightening strike within a block or so of your house. It's for all the other strikes further away and brownouts that you buy a surge protector and why a cheap twenty dollar walmart special is a bad idea. It helps to also have a decent powersupply that has its own protection instead of something made by the lowest bidder.
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:26 PM   #14
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I have a UPS with lightning guarantee, its made by CyberPower. They promised that if anything is damaged by their UPS, they will imbuse up to $100,000... now that is a lot cash O_o but the point is that I've been thorough a lot blackouts/brownouts/surges, and nothing bad happened. This UPS cost me $250 but it was totally worth it because it actually serves its purpose
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #15
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Some of you guys must see a lot of lightning to kow so much about it i cant remember the last time i saw some... i feel well safe from it
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