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post #31 of 57 Old 09-09-2017, 09:28 AM
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Thanks for the reminder - I picked up a whole house unit and stuck it in the closet without opening the box. We don't get much lightning in the Bay Area thankfully, but based on the number of small voltage anomalies I see at work it didn't seem like a bad investment. It's a bit larger than I was expecting.


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post #32 of 57 Old 09-09-2017, 09:47 AM
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We have an electronics test lab at work where one of the engineers purchased several ~10kVA (or so) 3 phase APC UPS and power conditioner units, for the purpose of cleaning up the grid power and minimizing voltage transients passing into the lab equipment (many dozens of high current DC power supplies). We actually observed a lot of issues with the parts being tested getting damaged, and after finally doing some testing we found that the APC units are actually added 8% additional noise to the AC voltage traces, as well as a variable amount of phase lag. The power coming in off the grid measures very well, and after going through the APC unit the traces look very ugly. These units were around $20k each but they are really garbage.

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post #33 of 57 Old 09-09-2017, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
I was thinking of maybe buying two SurgeX's for my house:
1) a cheap $40 PCS one that I could torture: https://www.amazon.com/ESP-SurgeX-XG.../dp/B00ON3G6EE
2) an $190 Envision to protect my low-power theater stack: https://www.amazon.com/ESP-enVision-.../dp/B00PDD2KYI

They both have the same features as the $2000 SurgeX models, so I see no point in buying those.

IIRC, those cheaper models don't provide series mode protection like their regular models. If you check the specs for those, it lists 700 volts as the testing level, whereas the series mode devices are tested to 6000 volts.


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Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
In fact, after seeing panamax and surgex youtube vids of what MOV-based stripbars do when they die (i.e. they catch on FIRE) , I feel like putting the $40 SurgeX units in front of the rare few that I do have in my house.

I don't think I'll ever use another MOV-based product again. I knew they were entry-level protection devices, like: since forever, but I didn't know that they can and will explode in a ball of flames in your house 8 times out of 10!!!

Is there an echo in here? It's quite the eye opener, isn't it? My devices that got fried, were burnt bad. I'm not sure if it was MOV damage or just the sheer amount of power burning everything up.


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Most of the other stuff uses MOVs that are sacrificial. Not to mention, some, when overloaded, will even explode and start a fire. Not very "protective."
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post #34 of 57 Old 09-09-2017, 05:27 PM
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If MOV based surge suppression is inferior and a fire risk , why are all the suppression devices manufactured by Eaton , Siemens , etc. Based on that technology? I may be missing something , and am happy to learn , but it just doesn't make sense to me to me that the companies that make the panels and breakers that supply the power distribution for your house or business would then offer a product that is a fire risk like the shamwow(surgex) videos showed . The surgex may kick major ass and be far superior , but the videos I saw just stunk of late night infomercial shilling snake oil .

Again , I'm not looking to say anyone is wrong or one is superior to another , just trying to learn a little more and be as objective as possible .

It was like that when I got here
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post #35 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acras13 View Post
If MOV based surge suppression is inferior and a fire risk , why are all the suppression devices manufactured by Eaton , Siemens , etc. Based on that technology? I may be missing something , and am happy to learn , but it just doesn't make sense to me to me that the companies that make the panels and breakers that supply the power distribution for your house or business would then offer a product that is a fire risk like the shamwow(surgex) videos showed . The surgex may kick major ass and be far superior , but the videos I saw just stunk of late night infomercial shilling snake oil .

Again , I'm not looking to say anyone is wrong or one is superior to another , just trying to learn a little more and be as objective as possible .

In many cases the whole-house units are in sealed cases, often metal, and sometimes live inside the metal service panel itself. All of that sealed metal helps prevent the breakout of sparks/heat/flames of the fried MOV.
They also use higher rated MOV's (240V RMS if not more) and are likely MUCH higher quality than the ones you find in a $10 bar.
The downside is that those also let through twice the voltage (which is probably not a good thing.)

MOV's don't protect against sustained UV/OV of say 150v RMS on a 120v RMS grid or 80V RMS.
It also doesn't protect against frequency shifts from 60hz to any other frequency.
Most UPS's protect against all 3 of those things (or they should!)

The problem with MOV's is that they conduct amperes (often to ground) when they die, or even when they reduce smaller surges. The flow of amperes causes heat in thin wires.
MOV's sacrifice themselves to save downstream stuff. It's a one-use pony that often sparks and explodes when it dies.
The dumping of electrons into the ground line causes ground contamination and raises the ground voltage from 0V to potentially high-voltage, which may cause EVEN MORE appliances to die in the house. MOV's could potentially cause more damage than a house without any.

Especially audio gear that is counting on the ground-line being at 0V and the audio signal being only a few volts higher (0.7 to 4v etc), not hundreds or thousands of volts!

Dumping power to ground at the service panel as a house-whole unit is not nearly as-bad since most of the electrons from the surge will take the shortest path to ground, which likely isn't deep into your house, but rather the grounding rod at the service panel. It still raises the ground potential though!

Supposedly the SurgeX stuff is supposed to neutralize the surge on all 3 pins (at least downstream.)

Apparently the $40 unit has everything except one thing: The 6000V surge rating.

Since it is so cheap, think I might just have to buy one to torture after I explode these APC UPS's.
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post #36 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeus33 View Post
IIRC, those cheaper models don't provide series mode protection like their regular models. If you check the specs for those, it lists 700 volts as the testing level, whereas the series mode devices are tested to 6000 volts.
Good catch, I didn't see that.
I was wondering why it was $40 for the PCS vs $400 for the SA-1810.

Oddly enough the PCS has basic monitoring, but the SA has none.
The EV has all the monitoring that the Elite version does, but at 1/10th the cost.

I guess I'll have to fork out for the 1810 for my rack (as well as the EV... if I want reporting and 110-130 UV/OV protection.) I bet the 1810 is only 95-150V protection.

700V for $40 seems like a good deal, sounds a million times better than a $10 MOV bar.
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post #37 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cswiger View Post
However, neither of these types actually provides full galvanic isolation between the source and the load.
Online UPS's don't provide that either.

The only thing that has galvanic isolation is an ungrounded isolation transformer or an ungrounded optical-based SSR.
I'm not sure if the Omega SSR's that I have are optical or not. (I should probably phone them.)

By using an ungrounded iso former in a residence I'm not sure what code violations or safety concerns there may be. At a minimum... you'd need a 15a circuit breaker or a fuse on the iso-side for it to pass any-sort of certification process I would imagine. It wouldn't hurt to have one there at least...

I may have to buy an isolation transformer just to see what those offer in terms of surge suppression.
It wouldn't stop OV/UV for sure, but it might suppress most of the UHF part of a spike or DC offsets and maybe up to a 1/4 cycle worth of frequency variation.

Tests are never a bad thing! (Unless your are trying to sell products that don't work as claimed... for profit! LOL )

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post #38 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 07:18 AM
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I use the Tripplite isobars at the receptacle level, nice thing is they are made of metal so if they do get melty they prob wont cause a fire like some of the plastic ones.

The guts for your analysis

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....299424419_.jpg
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post #39 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 07:34 AM
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great thread


slightly OT but I have been using these true sine wave UPS for PC's and STB's

https://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP.../dp/B00429N19W

with good results

I notice the lifetime of small wall wart type power supplies is shorter when connected to an inexpensive UPS that puts out lots of noise: better to plug them directly into an AC outlet or though a sine wave UPS supply

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post #40 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acras13 View Post
If MOV based surge suppression is inferior and a fire risk , why are all the suppression devices manufactured by Eaton , Siemens , etc. Based on that technology? I may be missing something , and am happy to learn , but it just doesn't make sense to me to me that the companies that make the panels and breakers that supply the power distribution for your house or business would then offer a product that is a fire risk like the shamwow(surgex) videos showed . The surgex may kick major ass and be far superior , but the videos I saw just stunk of late night infomercial shilling snake oil .
MOVs are cheap and provide mostly adequate protection.

As the videos show, their weakness is that they tend to fail closed resulting in a dead short, although they are also supposed to be protected by a thermal fuse or the like which is intended to shut them down before they actually start a fire. However, components like these are supposed to be kept in metal or otherwise fire-resistant enclosures to reduce the risk, much as @BassThatHz said.

Series-mode protection is a lot more expensive because it uses a more components and they need to be wired in series with the load, rather than in parallel like the MOVs, also meaning everything needs to be rated for lifetime use at full load, rather than just being intended for a short OV/UV or surge condition.

It also makes assumptions about the type of events-- it is guarding a single phase against external surges and dumps energy into neutral rather than ground. Sure, that's what you want for audio and for datacenter/telephony usage, but if you have a 10+ HP motor running an elevator or a big HVAC plant which is getting 3-phase wye, you want a TVSS which can handle all-mode protection including loss of phase and phase reversal.

The point is, even if you just want to protect your home audio or computer equipment, understanding what's out there and what the interface is between your electric provider and your gear is helpful. At least as far as I can tell, series-mode protection like the SurgeX stuff is much better off if you have a building-level TVSS in front of it to help protect against neutral-to-ground leakage.

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post #41 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
Online UPS's don't provide that either.

The only thing that has galvanic isolation is an ungrounded isolation transformer or an ungrounded optical-based SSR. I'm not sure if the Omega SSR's that I have are optical or not. (I should probably phone them.)
Double-conversion UPSes used to have a pair of isolation transformers which provided galvanic isolation for hot and neutral between the source and load, generally using a shared ground reference, but there are lots of variants and this has been changing over time as well.

Here's a detailed discussion:

http://www.apc.com/salestools/NRAN-7...B2FG_R0_EN.pdf

"The first UPS products were developed over 40 years ago and used a ground-referenced battery system. The grounded electronics and battery configuration required these systems to have two transformers for isolation from the mains – one on the input rectifier, and one in the output inverter. Later improvements in these designs, where the battery bus was moved to the neutral wire or electrically floated, eliminated one of the transformers, typically removing the rectifier transformer. Taking advantage of high-voltage, high-speed power semiconductors that did not exist 15 years ago, most recent UPS designs use newer designs that eliminate both the input and output transformer."

Quote:
By using an ungrounded iso former in a residence I'm not sure what code violations or safety concerns there may be. At a minimum... you'd need a 15a circuit breaker or a fuse on the iso-side for it to pass any-sort of certification process I would imagine. It wouldn't hurt to have one there at least...
An isolation transformer can provide floating voltage without a ground reference if needed, but it's extremely common to tie the neutral or common output from the iso to building ground.

See page 7 of the PDF I'd linked to above for a discussion of various ground system types.

Quote:
I may have to buy an isolation transformer just to see what those offer in terms of surge suppression.
It wouldn't stop OV/UV for sure, but it might suppress most of the UHF part of a spike or DC offsets and maybe up to a 1/4 cycle worth of frequency variation.

Tests are never a bad thing! (Unless your are trying to sell products that don't work as claimed... for profit! LOL )
Any transformer will block a pure DC offset component. You can get so-called ferroresonant transformers which are a form of voltage regulation which help maintain near-constant output voltage in the face of OV/UV:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltag...ge_transformer

They work well as surge suppressors, although they tend to hum at 60Hz and aren't very power-efficient especially for light loads.

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post #42 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 12:40 PM
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Ths problem I've found with the double conversion online UPS units is they all have a constant fan running for cooling. Fine for the datacenter and office but too much for me in the theatre. One day a bank of Tesla batteries...
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post #43 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 01:13 PM
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Thanks Bass and Cswiger for the in depth responses , I'm an electrician with at least a passing knowledge of electronics , not at the level of a lot of folks in here , but I think I grasp the concepts . Bass , you answered my most pressing question concerning the MOV topic , that it's more an issue of build quality and enclosure of the suppression device than it being ALL MOV are lousy .

I've been back and forth on the whole house suppressor for a while now , I have a cyberpower ups running my "theater" , mostly because I wanted the battery for safe shutdown of my projector in the event of a power outage . I keep reading mixed reports on if a whole house unit would do anything to protect anyway, but the Surgex would be too expensive compared to the gear I might lose , I'm going to start looking at the quality of the surge suppression receptacles offered by Levinton , P&S and some other name brands to see if I can do the cascading protection that some companies recommend .

It was like that when I got here
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post #44 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post
slightly OT but I have been using these true sine wave UPS for PC's and STB's

https://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP.../dp/B00429N19W
That's pretty much what I've been using for the last 5 years in my rack, except I use the 2200VA (the 20A model.)
I tested them and they put out 3% distortion during battery mode, which is about as-clean-as the cleanest grid power I've ever seen.

I haven't opened mine up yet to see what's really under the hood because it was still under warranty at the time, but I'd imagine that has now past and could probably do so now.
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post #45 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cswiger View Post
but it's extremely common to tie the neutral or common output from the iso to building ground.
Perhaps, but as soon as you do, it is no longer "technically" galvanically isolated.

Another interesting (or scary) thing about lightning is that it can kill a whole circle of cows, because it raises the voltage of the ground itself (to lethal amounts.)
There is nothing we can really do about that, and luckily that is a fairly rare situation.
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post #46 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pradeep2 View Post
I use the Tripplite isobars at the receptacle level, nice thing is they are made of metal so if they do get melty they prob wont cause a fire like some of the plastic ones.

The guts for your analysis

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....299424419_.jpg
Haven't looked at it's specs, but seems like it is fairly well built for a passive MOV-based unit.
About as good as one could expect; it appears to have great HF filtering and a thermal protection.
Probably a million times better than a standard WalMart unit (that has none of that. )
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post #47 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acras13 View Post
to see if I can do the cascading protection that some companies recommend .
Yes, I don't think you can really have "too much" electrical protection.
Especially if you live in a hurricane or tornado zone.

I don't see anything wrong with having a whole-house unit (MOV TVSS) at the service panel, and then a $40 SurgeX at the device end, and lastly a $100 CyberPower or APC puresine wave UPS for things that can't (or shouldn't) have downtime (like computers and projector bulb cooling.)

For a more expensive theater, a $400 SurgeX and maybe a double-online UPS if you really want to get crazy with it.

If you have really bad grid power, maybe a whole-house genny with automatic failover. Like the 20kW Honeywell's from Costco for a few grand that runs off natural gas.
Or a solar system if you are into the whole "green" thing.

Where I work, we pretty much have it all: We got auto failover genny's, TVSS's, SurgeX's, and double online UPS's. (The show must go on.)
Just fairly darn rare for a consumer to have all that stuff... mostly because it's not cheap to say the least, and also totally overkill in nearly all cases. Not that it doesn't work well (it does.)
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post #48 of 57 Old 09-10-2017, 07:37 PM
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Its pretty much belt and suspenders on elastic waistband sweatpants for me in So. CA . , my grid is pretty damned stable , very occasional power outages , and to my knowledge , the first brown out at my place in 17 years about a week ago . Lightning is about as rare as unicorns so really not worried about that either. Across the highway from me is another story , they've given me a lot of work replacing blown up devices in peoples houses due to surges from the substation .

Out of curiosity , aren't you looking at placing a plastic cased MOV based device in your house with that surgex esp that you listed? For 40 bucks with the monitoring it provides wouldn't there be a fair chance that MOV's aren't any higher quality than any of the power strips that they claim are fire hazards? I like the idea of monitoring , just for giggles , but not sure about the product now that I'm going down the rabbit hole .

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post #49 of 57 Old 09-13-2017, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
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MOAR POWAH! (Wish I had this in my amp rack!!!)

I was stuck in the electrical room today, installing a data interceptor cable. (Which was successful.)

Unfortunately... in order to get to this room you have to pass through level-3.
I had to dip my shoes in bleach afterwards, and when I got home I had an hour long shower, but no matter how hard I scrubbed with soap my skin was just never clean enough!

But more importantly, with this data I can now calculate the delta mass of objects using multiple computers at once, which is the key aspect of my current project! (Totally unrelated to power stuff btw. )
Just thought I'd share another mysterious-day in the life of Hz...
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post #50 of 57 Old 09-13-2017, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
Don't be silly... That's not how capacitors work!

If you have 1000volts DC, then charge is a function of Time, not Amperes.



Unless I failed Physics 12...

(which I didn't... )


You missed my point. I wasn't suggesting you couldn't reach the voltage. I was saying the total energy would be too low. Joules is total energy and this joules per second is watts. Since a lightning strike is fairly brief you need the total energy of the strike to be on par with lightning as a function of high voltage and high current over a short period. I was suggesting that you we need too many capacitors to store enough amperage to bring the total joules up.


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post #51 of 57 Old 09-13-2017, 12:34 PM
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Here I'll add numbers in case it's of interest. Lightning contains between 1 billion and 10 billion joules of energy or so. It's rare that your surge device would need to handle that level, so let's say 1/10 of the low end is a sufficient worst case test. That is 100 million joules.

Let's say that to reach a sufficiently high voltage to approximate lightning we want to be at 100,000 volts. With 1000 volt capacitors we could wire 100 of them in series. Attainable 1000v capacitors are often small in value so let's say we can get 10uf or 100uf. That puts the total energy in a discharge at between 50,000 and 500,000 joules. We are still way off our target. In the lab I worked in we had in the range of 100 million joules and had that as a result of 100's of capacitors rated at 10,000 volts and 3200uf each. These are not obtainable by us mere mortals. That was my point, with the parts we can buy it's really hard to make something that discharges even 1000th of the energy in lightning.


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post #52 of 57 Old 09-13-2017, 06:32 PM
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So I have no idea how potent a stun gun is in terms of joules, but do you think zapping these APC's with a stun gun might provide sufficient transient events to test their function. I would think that if you have your meter on a load plugged into the output and you zapped them you should be able to see if anything gets through.


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post #53 of 57 Old 09-14-2017, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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A stun gun is a few tens of thousands of volts and probably even fewer microfarads.

They don't use a big power supply nor big capacitors, or even 10's of capacitors in series.

and yet, even that small thing is capable of killing a person in the right conditions.

I probably WILL get lazy and just go buy a stun gun. Great idea!!!

I can smell the smoke and see the fire already!
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post #54 of 57 Old 09-14-2017, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd imagine that if a device can't handle a surge in its off-state, that it won't do any better with an additional 170v P-P swinging through it...

That certainly makes the project cheaper, easier, safer, and gives us quicker end-results.

Just to be to UL code, I could put 30ft of cable between the stun gun and the DUT,
and with a decent grounding rod attached to the ground pin to be all proper.
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post #55 of 57 Old 09-14-2017, 06:55 PM
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Oh I never expected you to plug this in. I wouldn't do that either. I only suggested a load to give you a reactive load to measure off of. Something like a fan. Again, not plugging the suppressor into an outlet.

Don't they make million volt stun guns yet? I've not exactly kept pace with stun gun technology. It just seemed like the cheapest easiest way to safely get 1000's of volts through one of these devices.


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post #56 of 57 Old 09-14-2017, 07:02 PM
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If you have an older vehicle that is not coil-on-plug, you could make an extra-extra long plug wire for ~50KV, it will happily run with one cylinder dead for a minute or so.

You could even step that game up with a transformer....

Spoon feeding with a 9 yd bucket.
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post #57 of 57 Old 09-15-2017, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael hurd View Post
You could even step that game up with a transformer....
A microwave transformer, set it to 11.

11 minutes of high-bake at 3000v DC. That will teach it!!!!
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