Surge protecter outlets.....are they worth it and whats the difference between panamax, legrand, and leviton? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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All mentioned above say similiar claims, its for my projector. I have a larger panamax 5300 but now that the drywall is up i cant run anymore lines. All the access i have is to the attic so i was thinking of tying into the 15 amp circuit that is only being used for 6 can lights. Then i could put the surge outlet on the ceiling for the PJ.

Is there really a difference between the PanaMax MIW-POWER-PRO-PFP , On-Q/Legrand Plastic Duplex Surge, or the Leviton 5280-W?

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post #2 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 05:13 AM
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read this then look at the MFRs specifications

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surge_protector

I would stay away from the On-Q as the MFRs site offers scant specifics and ratings.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 05:55 AM
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The single best product for you to buy is an SPD at the service entrance, available at HD/Lowes, and usually installed by an electrician. Few hundred bucks.

I use a Leviton point of use SPD, in my LV enclosure.

Transients within the house aren't an issue; devices are designed to withstand these. It's the nearby lightning strike that you're trying to protect against.

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post #4 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 01:56 PM
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Curious about whole home surge protectors. I read this on home depot site. It is in their buying guide for surge protectors.

"Whole House Surge Protectors
Also called point-of-entry surge protectors, whole-house models are installed at your main electrical panel. These protectors guard an entire household or building from external surges. They also offer some protection against surges generated by appliances within a house or building, but only when those surges reach the main electrical panel. Because they can’t intercept all surges, it’s best to use a whole-house protector in conjunction with point-of-use protectors."

So what bothers me is it says it cannot intercept all surges. It sounds like they want to you use point of use protectors as well. That seems like it negates the benefit of installing a whole home surge protector in the first place so what is going on here? Exactly what do they mean by cannot intercept all surges? Should we really be using both? Is one better than the other?

I also looked at the Leviton products offered through smarthome and on the product reviews some guy trashed the product stating that

"Don't bother with any of these Leviton Surge Protectors. 50k is no where near enough current protection, and the other improperly listed specs tell me it's not worth $5. Joules means nothing and is not an accepted SPD standard. Also, if this is Three Phase, you can't put it on your single phase house. If it's really single phase, then it's totally mislabeled. Hire a qualified electrician to install a Sycom for you. Homeowners have no business hooking up anything like this anyway."

This is a review of a 3 phase model whatever that means. I don't know anything about the Sycom model he mentions but a quick search turns up a very good price through amazon.

So basically I am totally confused. I want to do the right thing to protect my electronics but it is unclear what the right thing would be. What specs should we be looking for in a surge protector? I am also wondering about the warranty differences and how easily they will pay out. Any thoughts?
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 04:58 PM
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My advice would be a whole house surge protector and a point of use device, preferably series mode.

Forget protected equipment warranties.

Check out Eaton's Guide to Surge Suppression for a really good run down on the topic.

Master of Minions, Acoustic Frontiers. We specialize in the design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 07:22 PM
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A whole house surge protector will protect your house from spikes and surges that come from outside the home, or spikes/surges that somehow jump from one circuit to another on your main panel. I'm not even sure that's possible to occur with modern panels. A residential POE surge protector will do little at all in case of a lighting strike. The amount of energy in a lightning hit is pretty impressive. The datacenter where I work has a $50K device that claims to mitigate a strike, but none of our electricians believe it. It's really just in place to satisfy our risk management folks.

That said, a POE surge protector isn't that expensive, and will help with all but the 1-1m lightning shot. A point of use device is pretty affordable (for a quality unit) and considering how much projectors, amps etc cost, a decent investment. Better than "exotic" speaker wires blessed by monks, for sure.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-06-2013, 09:10 PM
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Ok. Very detailed article from Eaton. It looks like I will be getting an spd and using point of use devices. The article states that it is difficult to tell if an spd is a true hybrid device. Are there certain brands you trust or devices that have been verified (besides Eaton of course which I will look into)?
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-07-2013, 08:01 AM
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I would use Eaton for the service entrance unit, but most are similar. Use Eaton, or whatever the electrician usually uses.

Tripplite Isobar is a good point of use device, IMO.

Most of the transients in the house don't do anything. If you notice something in the AV equipment - audio pops, loss of picture, from a motor in the house, then a power conditioner may be of use. But, that is extremely rare.

The transients in the house do not damage the equipment, if it's built in the last 20 years.

The thing you are trying to avoid is damage from a lightning strike near your house.

There are things you can do to mitigate damage from a direct hit to your house, but it's more expensive than the equipment you're trying to protect. Think commercial broadcasting company or airport control tower - mission critical applications.

Series mode protection is good for transients, but they're not designed for large surges. If you're worried about lightning, I would skip series mode. In theory, a nearby strike shouldn't pass a large surge to the AV equipment, but that would be my primary concern.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #9 of 17 Old 04-07-2013, 01:10 PM
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Good to know that there are acceptable alternatives to the Eaton because a quick search turned up items that are outside of my budget. My electrician will need to make a return visit soon as we are closing up walls so I will see what he recommends.

The Tripplite products look to be high quality and I plan to place one on each of the 4 20 amp lines that I have running to my equipment room.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-08-2013, 07:17 AM
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Just remember that a whole home surge protector is not always enough.

A drunk recently sheared off the utility pole in front of my home and sent 240v throughout the house destroying the whole home surge protector. The surge damaged a central air conditioning unit, frying all the circuit boards. All GFCI outlets were destroyed as well as some outside garage lights. My Zwave system was also destroyed except for one module.

Fortunately all of my expense electronic equipment protected by Panamax and APC surge and Ups units were unharmed.
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post #11 of 17 Old 04-09-2013, 08:52 AM
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Oh, wow, that's terrible. What model of whole-house SPD?

I don't think 240v is very high, must have been the amps. Most devices plugged into the outlets in your home are designed to withstand 300v, with inherent surge protection.

An exhaustive, though slightly dated review of surge protection publications http://www.nist.gov/pml/div684/spd.cfm

A general overview of surge protection, written for the layman, by Martzloff - SURGES HAPPEN! How to Protect the Appliances in Your Home (link halfway down the page)

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post #12 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Oh, wow, that's terrible. What model of whole-house SPD?

I don't think 240v is very high, must have been the amps. Most devices plugged into the outlets in your home are designed to withstand 300v, with inherent surge protection.

An exhaustive, though slightly dated review of surge protection publications http://www.nist.gov/pml/div684/spd.cfm

A general overview of surge protection, written for the layman, by Martzloff - SURGES HAPPEN! How to Protect the Appliances in Your Home (link halfway down the page)

The model was the Leviton 51120-1.

There is a bright spot to all of this. Finally due to the hurricane damage from last October, roof damage from a winter storm and now the electrical damage, the wife has finally agreed to move. As soon as we find the right house, plans will be underway for the new theater.

Thanks for the links.
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 07:42 AM
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The Leviton 51120-1 specs look to be similar to most residential whole-house SPDs. You might want to try pursuing money from Leviton, especially since it wasn't lightning. Was it installed directly adjacent to the surface-mount breaker box (little/no bends in the short connecting wires)? Any pics of it and the connections, fried or otherwise?

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post #14 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 07:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiV View Post

Just remember that a whole home surge protector is not always enough.

A drunk recently sheared off the utility pole in front of my home and sent 240v throughout the house destroying the whole home surge protector. The surge damaged a central air conditioning unit, frying all the circuit boards. All GFCI outlets were destroyed as well as some outside garage lights. My Zwave system was also destroyed except for one module.

Fortunately all of my expense electronic equipment protected by Panamax and APC surge and Ups units were unharmed.
240 would not have fried everything. What happened, is as soon as the Neutral dropped, or all 3 phases got tangled together, not only did you get a high voltage surge, but a high amp surge. It was the amp surge that did the damage, not the volts.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-10-2013, 10:25 AM
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It seems more likely that the primary transmission voltage from the pole (probably around 3000 volts) got tangled with the 240 V secondary wires, which would cause the kind of thing you saw.
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post #16 of 17 Old 04-11-2013, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

The Leviton 51120-1 specs look to be similar to most residential whole-house SPDs. You might want to try pursuing money from Leviton, especially since it wasn't lightning. Was it installed directly adjacent to the surface-mount breaker box (little/no bends in the short connecting wires)? Any pics of it and the connections, fried or otherwise?

Yes the Leviton was within a few inches of the main and gen panels with a small but not sharp bend in the connecting wire. It looked normal both on the inside and outside with the exception that one of the green protection lights was out. Sorry did not think about taking pics of the box before it was replaced.

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Thats what the assistant fire chief said. He believed the lines got together. Amps, watts and neutrals are beyond my understanding of electricity. Give me 12V DC anyday.
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post #17 of 17 Old 04-19-2013, 10:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiV View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

The Leviton 51120-1 specs look to be similar to most residential whole-house SPDs. You might want to try pursuing money from Leviton, especially since it wasn't lightning. Was it installed directly adjacent to the surface-mount breaker box (little/no bends in the short connecting wires)? Any pics of it and the connections, fried or otherwise?

Yes the Leviton was within a few inches of the main and gen panels with a small but not sharp bend in the connecting wire. It looked normal both on the inside and outside with the exception that one of the green protection lights was out. Sorry did not think about taking pics of the box before it was replaced.

LeBon and Gregzoll

Thats what the assistant fire chief said. He believed the lines got together. Amps, watts and neutrals are beyond my understanding of electricity. Give me 12V DC anyday.
Amps, Watts, are a part of Ohm's law, regardless if it is AC or DC. As for a Neutral, it is just that. It is a common wire between two phases. You can also have a Neutral when using -DC with +DC, which is the ground, but then you start getting into some really technical stuff, that is what EE's are paid for.
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