Have You Ever Had a Power Surge in Your Home? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: In the past, I have had power surge at home and my surge suppressor saved my devices
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to find how many folks have actually had a surge at home, and if a surge suppressor really worked in saving whatever was plugged to it, say your home theater or parts of it.
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:25 PM
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Yep. I had a UPS burn out from a surge. My PC was safe though. That's what I get for gaming on a rainy day.

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Old 12-05-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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No not when powering up all the equipment no, not even while its operating plenty of amperes here.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks folks. Please keep and encourage others to answer the poll. There is very little collated information on consumer experience with surge suppressors.

As there are many types with different levels of protection and quality of make, we can't expect all devices labeled as such to protect everyone who owns one.

In 2000, Consumer Reports had a review were they exposed PCs to high voltages through many brands and types of surge suppressor to see if it protects the PC, but nothing since. The results are similar to the poll results at this time.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:43 AM
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Had an event without any surge protection & it was pricey indeed.
Luckily insurance paid for most of the damage.

I now use a surge protector mounted inside of my loadcenter/breaker box.

It is my understanding that there is no protection from a close proximity lightning strike.

Mark Conner
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, in the end suppression is all the devices supply so the alternate term, surge protector, is used less commonly as it implies some "guarantee" via the word "protection."

Given that a surge can have many forms, if its large and lasts long enough, nothing can stand in its way: like a close lightning strike.

I wrote this on another thread as there is little good discussion in AVS archives.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post15206043

Overall, the best suppression against power line transients is were the power enters your home. The phone lines and cable TV have suppression provided by the vendors, but surges may go in after the junction boxes, although all these should be grounded. If you have a fiber optic system, the surges can still go if the fiber feeds a copper wire system such as Verizon's FiOS network, surges can enter through satellite TV. Lightning needn't strike nearby, all that is needed is a weather change to induce a static charge into these lines that then make its way to your devices, so the last line of defense in the wall plug-in suppressor.



Quote:
Originally Posted by damon View Post

Had an event without any surge protection & it was pricey indeed.
Luckily insurance paid for most of the damage.

I now use a surge protector mounted inside of my loadcenter/breaker box.

It is my understanding that there is no protection from a close proximity lightning strike.

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Old 12-06-2008, 03:30 PM
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Here is an interesting industrial article on power surges.
It's more of an infomercial than most of David Morrison's writings but it still has good information.

Devices Stop Most Power-Line Disturbances
Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
By David Morrison, Editor in Chief


http://powerelectronics.com/mag/powe...ine/index.html

Kevin
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:31 AM
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My current protection scheme is as follows:

Hardwired to the loadcenter & ground:
Cutler-Hammer CHSPUltra

3500 Joules

180,000 Amps (Maximum Surge Current)

<1 Nanosecond Response Time
---------------------------------
Satellite & OTA input:

DCXCAB2 Cutler-Hammer Surge Cable

400 Joules (Total)

20,000 Amps (Maximum Surge Current)

DC Breakdown Voltage 145 V

<1 Nanosecond Response Time

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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These are most excellent suppressors.








The only possible conduits for surge not mentioned are the Internet connection, if not done by satellite, and your phone, but these may not affect your home theater. A suppressor is often supplied by the cable/satellite/phone company somewhere in your loop but if one can't be sure, having each device with its own plug-in suppressor atop that can't hurt, as lastly there is a remote possibility for spikes to be made within one's own house wiring.

I just read your post here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...php?p=15232134

I concur with your quick fix, but its best to have it to NEC specs by a certified electrician. If you have a ground loop found by an audio issue, this ground may not provide your suppressor with its full capabilities if they are tied to this ground.

http://www.codebookcity.com/codearti...article250.htm





Quote:
Originally Posted by damon View Post

My current protection scheme is as follows:

Hardwired to the loadcenter & ground:
Cutler-Hammer CHSPUltra
3500 Joules
180,000 Amps (Maximum Surge Current)
<1 Nanosecond Response Time

---------------------------------
Satellite & OTA input:
DCXCAB2 Cutler-Hammer Surge Cable
400 Joules (Total)
20,000 Amps (Maximum Surge Current)
DC Breakdown Voltage 145 V
<1 Nanosecond Response Time

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Old 12-07-2008, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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This is great reference information. Some engineers do not think IEEE C62.x is enough, this now ANSI document specifies what a transient is; a TVSS is built to protect against these specifications. The ANSI C62.x spec is unrevised since 1991.

http://www.eeel.nist.gov/817/pubs/sp...0for%2090s.pdf

Once above that, what becomes TVSS begins to morph into various incarnations of power line conditioners to a UPS, which are increasingly complex, bulky and expensive. Innovolt calls their device a CVSS, as a step about TVSS.

Most electronic devices today use switching power supplies, and a current surge will nearly always cause a fuse or circuit breaker to blow. Also, many brick power supplies are made to operate between 100-240V, as a 'universal adapter' and can deal with "slower" moving fluctuations of current or voltage. As I know, low voltage and current surges were more a problem for inductive loads like motors in HVACs.

http://www.innovolt.com/products.html



Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post

Here is an interesting industrial article on power surges.
It's more of an infomercial than most of David Morrison's writings but it still has good information.

Devices Stop Most Power-Line Disturbances
Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM
By David Morrison, Editor in Chief


http://powerelectronics.com/mag/powe...ine/index.html

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Old 12-07-2008, 11:18 AM
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I had surge protectors, but was worried and was in the process of unplugging things when lightning hit the tree in my front yard. Some things got fried. I don't think any surge device could have stopped that.

I have a friend who has been protected from smaller surges though.
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:15 PM
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I had three storm-related surges before taking any measures. Good insurance covered about half of the monetary loss. Being home prevented a potential fire. But I will pay a lot of money to not get another call when I am out of town telling me that my house security alarm is sending out intrusion signals before dying, fried by a thunderstorm as it turned out.

Since then I have bought $,$$$ worth of surge-suppression/conditioning gear for A/V, computer, and assorted other equipment. There has been a lightning hit to the power lines running down the street in front of the house. There has been innumerable thunderstorms with seemingly simultaneous lightning and thunder. This is not to say that anything would have been damaged in any event but I am far less tense than I would be without this kind of equipment.

"Most people would die sooner than think, in fact they do so."  Bertrand Russell The ABC of Relativity, 1925

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Old 12-07-2008, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks humbug2, you suggest seeing lightning hits around your home since you installed your suppressor gear, and I presume nothing has happened to your equipment since?

You can get surges without being hit directly, even miles away can affect anyone if the lines are affected, its just less stronger than if you are near to it. Millions of volts can be suppressed by power company suppressors, or just reduced to thousands or hundreds, or nothing at all, that reach your home.

Thunderstorms or bad weather in a distance alone can induce static discharges than enter your line and reach your equipment or be generated within your house wiring. Most of the time, such charges are dissipated by basic electrical grounding and shielding of house wiring.

I hope you added your experiences to the poll. That many lightning incidents to any individual are unique.



Quote:
Originally Posted by humbug2 View Post

I had three storm-related surges before taking any measures. Good insurance covered about half of the monetary loss. Being home prevented a potential fire. But I will pay a lot of money to not get another call when I am out of town telling me that my house security alarm is sending out intrusion signals before dying, fried by a thunderstorm as it turned out.

Since then I have bought $,$$$ worth of surge-suppression/conditioning gear for A/V, computer, and assorted other equipment. There has been a lightning hit to the power lines running down the street in front of the house. There has been innumerable thunderstorms with seemingly simultaneous lightning and thunder. This is not to say that anything would have been damaged in any event but I am far less tense than I would be without this kind of equipment.

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Old 12-07-2008, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, probably not, but a $20 TVSS may protect it, or self destruct without a fire while protecting whatever is plugged to it.

Unplugging is the best protection, but you may not be able to reach all your devices in time, or big items like appliances. Whole home TVSS can be used, like the CHSP-Ultra.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000man View Post

I had surge protectors, but was worried and was in the process of unplugging things when lightning hit the tree in my front yard. Some things got fried. I don't think any surge device could have stopped that.

I have a friend who has been protected from smaller surges though.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:19 PM
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I've had surge suppression for years... Only one occasion has it been useless, but not many people can say they've seen ball lightning.

Attic Fan got struck, travelled through my apartment to find the wall of power meters/ground on the opposite side of the building. Killed just about everything. The insurance lady was real nice when i told her "ball lightning". She just sighed and said "okay, what needs to be replaced?" =)

It did fry through 3 UPS/Power Conditioners, 3 "surge" strips, and took out every CRT in the house...

So, is it worth it to get surge protection? Yeah, sure. Just make sure your insurance premiums are up to snuff. (my claim was upwards of $10k... in an apartment, i'd imagine if something like this went off in some of these theaters, yowza!)
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:03 PM
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Insurance Coverage & preparation is also a part of any comprehensive protection.

Towards that end I am assembling an Insurance packet that will have a list of all of my gear with pictures, serial #'s & replacement cost info.

Mark Conner
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damon View Post

Insurance Coverage & preparation is also a part of any comprehensive protection.

Towards that end I am assembling an Insurance packet that will have a list of all of my gear with pictures, serial #'s & replacement cost info.

Always helps when making claims.

One reads on other posts that TVSS makers are likely to not honor claims made to them.

Here is a interesting link publicly available; its a lawsuit filed by Allstate against Tripp Lite for damages that Allstate claims should be covered by Tripp Lites TVSS insurance:

http://www.tba.org/Opinion_Flash/op_...12-12-2005.htm

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/20...tate121205.pdf
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:20 PM
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Allstate...you can always tell where the storms go...just look for where Allstate has denied coverage.

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Old 12-10-2008, 07:00 PM
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Seems as if the smaller power events that surge suppressors are able to take and protect equipment from often go unnoticed. While large surge events that do actual damage with or without suppression are. It would be interesting to know if and what they where using and the results. I've heard to many stories about people running around disconnecting equipment after they see lightning or hear thunder. As others have suggested above home owners insurance coverage is key. The equipment can be replaced your life cannot be!

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Old 12-10-2008, 11:17 PM
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When my place got struck, the insurance agent wanted to "verify functionability"(is that even a word?!) of my equipment. Computers were easy, they all stopped turning on. The AV equip was a bit harder as it didn't kill the items immediately. My arguement to the insurance guy was "severely altered expected lifespan" and sure enough within a week all the devices bit the dust. It also helped that i had a video tape of the whole place specifically for insurance. Pictures are really worth a thousand words (or in my case, a few thousand dollars)

And yes, tripp lite and CyberPower are notorious for not paying out on their guarantees on equipment. In business practice though, APC will never deny if their stuff fails. They make millions on a reputation. APC is all i will put in my equipment racks. (TVSS is LEA technologies, industrial grade)
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PILLOWPANTS View Post

Seems as if the smaller power events that surge suppressors are able to take and protect equipment from often go unnoticed. While large surge events that do actual damage with or without suppression are. It would be interesting to know if and what they where using and the results. I've heard to many stories about people running around disconnecting equipment after they see lightning or hear thunder. As others have suggested above home owners insurance coverage is key. The equipment can be replaced your life cannot be!

Yes, only costly suppressors have a log capacity to register a spike had happened that went unnoticed by a user. Innovolt's $75 plug-in is one but you need a separate log reader.

http://innovolt.com/products.html

Life saving is key. In another poll ongoing, I am surprised many don't need their suppressor to be UL approved or its equivalent NRTL lab. UL ratings assures the device they bought is safe to use.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post15270810

Given the > 50% failure rate suggested by this poll so far, it seems there is more room for improvement or more protection above plug in devices are needed for many folks.

I don't know if the claims of other suppressors are true, above the basic UL 1449 rating, such as suggested by Zero Surge, Innovolt or Panamax etc.,

Quote:
Originally Posted by goobenet View Post

When my place got struck, the insurance agent wanted to "verify functionability"(is that even a word?!) of my equipment. Computers were easy, they all stopped turning on. The AV equip was a bit harder as it didn't kill the items immediately. My arguement to the insurance guy was "severely altered expected lifespan" and sure enough within a week all the devices bit the dust. It also helped that i had a video tape of the whole place specifically for insurance. Pictures are really worth a thousand words (or in my case, a few thousand dollars)

And yes, tripp lite and CyberPower are notorious for not paying out on their guarantees on equipment. In business practice though, APC will never deny if their stuff fails. They make millions on a reputation. APC is all i will put in my equipment racks. (TVSS is LEA technologies, industrial grade)

I have never had a damaging spike happen to me, so far on all my APC suppressors. Tripp Lite's are well made too. We have them because they are all easily obtained and even 10 years ago, were already UL approved.

Do you have a link or reference to folks complaining they aren't living up to their equipment policy?
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:08 AM
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Never had power surge in my area. Only electricity going off...but thankfully it never damaged anything.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:12 PM
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I have only had an earthquake kill my TV. It caused the bulb to go out, I was watching the TV when the house jumped around and then my TV made a buzz sound before it went black with audio still going. Replaced the bulb ($200) and no probelm since. If I can I will turn off the TV during the next one.

My opinion is just that, my opinion......
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:57 PM
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My house got hit by lightning twice within 12 hours in 2007. Caused $9,000 in damage. Yes, insurance covered all but $1500 but the hassle factor was incredible. I use non-Mov brickwall or surgex device, glass toslink between satellite and processor and now I have added coax gas discharge surge protection.

I've either been lucky or have effective surge protection since then. My Genelec 7073a was fried on a board level but the electrical field around the strike, not even a direct hit. No surge protection is absolute.
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Old 12-26-2008, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks DaveN and c, o for comments.

Dave, what type of protection did you have at the time of the $9000 damages?

Damage to the Genelec was also at the same time as the $9000 worth of damage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveN View Post

My house got hit by lightning twice within 12 hours in 2007. Caused $9,000 in damage. Yes, insurance covered all but $1500 but the hassle factor was incredible. I use non-Mov brickwall or surgex device, glass toslink between satellite and processor and now I have added coax gas discharge surge protection.

I've either been lucky or have effective surge protection since then. My Genelec 7073a was fried on a board level but the electrical field around the strike, not even a direct hit. No surge protection is absolute.

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Old 12-26-2008, 06:00 AM
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Never used surge suppressors. I mean the powerstrips with the MOVs don't really count. House across the street was struck by lightening, actually hit a tree first then jumped to the house, knocked bricks off, then penetrated the attic and fried ever piece of electronics inside the house. Nothing even blinked in my house. 'Bout the only power outages are from drunk drivers hitting poles.
Several houses on my street (or the transformers) have received lightening strikes but it appears the 2/12 pitch metal roof and lack of a slab foundation have reduced the attraction of lightening at my place (crosses fingers).
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:25 AM
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My Genelec was part of the 9k. It was off at the time, plugged into an Acurus RPC-120 30 amp relay (also off) and I can't remember what surge protector but I think it was a brickwall. When I sent the sub's amp boards for service they were not obviously fried by a surge but components on the circuit board(s) failed.

I had everything but the gas arrestors at the time of the strikes. It took out my generator logic board, transfer switch, steam iron, one dimmer switch, my sub and the hdmi input on my plasma TV. All were in separate rooms on separate circuits.

I could never get a tech to come to my house to replace the hdmi input board on my Panny plasma. I live in a rural area with no local service. The inconvenience of the whole thing was monumental. It took almost a year to get everything paid or repaired. I am a firm believer in non-MOV surge protection but as I stated a direct hit produces a large EM field that can still wreck havoc on circuits w/o direct contact.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saturation View Post

I have never had a damaging spike happen to me, so far on all my APC suppressors. Tripp Lite's are well made too. We have them because they are all easily obtained and even 10 years ago, were already UL approved.

Do you have a link or reference to folks complaining they aren't living up to their equipment policy?

More personal experience working in small to medium datacenters that didn't have central power filtering. Had a few surges while they were working on the power lines, blew about 1/2 of the 20 we were using... called tripplite and explained to them what happened, they said that because it was a man-made event, they wouldn't warrant the equipment. It has to be a natural disaster.

Other event we were using cyber power, similar situation, but this time it was a natural disaster. Now, granted it wasn't used for computers per-se, but it was electronic equipment. 1kva UPS in a rack of radio station processing equipment, took a direct lightning hit, went through the surge suppressors on the wall (blew them off actually) and roached everything. Big hit... Cyber power said they wouldn't cover because it's not a computer... but their warranty never said computer, it just says electronics.

APC doesn't care what application, as long as it's installed correctly/professionally. I've had an APC central 30kva UPS take a direct short from the power company, blow out a few batteries, kill the MOVs, and even got to a few pieces of -granted crap- equipment, APC had no problems with a warranty claim.

So, nothing but APC for me if you care about the warranty side of things. UL listed just means it basically will not catch on fire. (most of the time)
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that opine, goobenet, if you peruse google you'll find more surge stories and a consistently good response to consumers from APC, it reads like they truly care about their customer service. Its probably how they rose for near bankruptcy to become a S&P 500 index company.

Ul 1449 has gone through 3 Editions and multiple revisions, each improving its protective capacity. If you track the stats for home fires associated with surge suppressors the good news is the trend is down.

MOV can explode like a flare once its joule rating is exceeded, as demonstrated here:



Initial ignition due to a maximum overload







Continuous flame. The MOV is the disk like structure in the picture. These photos are from product liability tests done by a law firm.

How well the casing contains the flame is key, and is now the focus of UL 1449 3rd Edition.




Quote:
Originally Posted by goobenet View Post

More personal experience working in small to medium datacenters that didn't have central power filtering. Had a few surges while they were working on the power lines, blew about 1/2 of the 20 we were using... called tripplite and explained to them what happened, they said that because it was a man-made event, they wouldn't warrant the equipment. It has to be a natural disaster.

Other event we were using cyber power, similar situation, but this time it was a natural disaster. Now, granted it wasn't used for computers per-se, but it was electronic equipment. 1kva UPS in a rack of radio station processing equipment, took a direct lightning hit, went through the surge suppressors on the wall (blew them off actually) and roached everything. Big hit... Cyber power said they wouldn't cover because it's not a computer... but their warranty never said computer, it just says electronics.

APC doesn't care what application, as long as it's installed correctly/professionally. I've had an APC central 30kva UPS take a direct short from the power company, blow out a few batteries, kill the MOVs, and even got to a few pieces of -granted crap- equipment, APC had no problems with a warranty claim.

So, nothing but APC for me if you care about the warranty side of things. UL listed just means it basically will not catch on fire. (most of the time)

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Old 01-05-2009, 02:57 PM
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I think those pics above were for older surge protectors, probably pre UL1449 2nd edition. Regardless, they still argue if you will for whole house as being the homeowners primary means of defence with the plug in units serving as secondaries where needed or wanted.

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