Whole House Surge Protector - AVS Forum
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Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+) > Whole House Surge Protector
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 06:36 PM 01-13-2008
The question of having a whole house surge protector comes up time and time again at different forums on AVS.

I've been meaning to get one for some time.

Today my wife and I went to the Home and Garden Show in Phoenix. One of the booths was a local well respected electrical company:

RDS Electric
www.rdselectric.com

They have a special on the Sycom whole house surge suppressor for $199 installed!!!! Here's the info on it.

We have a 400 amp line coming in which then splits off into one 200 amp line for the west side of our home (the west panel box then has an isolated 100 amp transformer which feeds my dedicated home theater 100 amp power panel) and into another 200 amp line fo the east side of our home. They suggested putting one for both the east and west lines.

Any comments? What are you using for a whole house surge suppressor if anything?

 

SYC-120-240TC.pdf 57.49609375k . file

oneobgyn's Avatar oneobgyn 06:58 PM 01-13-2008
Steve

Why ask for comments?

For $199 x 2 installed what do you have to lose beside your audio and video gear?
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 07:03 PM 01-13-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn View Post

Steve

Why ask for comments?

For $199 x 2 installed what do you have to lose beside your audio and video gear?

OB, sounds like you don't have any whole house surge suppressor or you'd be saying something about yours.


Why ask for comments? Because a few members like Chu Gai are very familiar with whole house surge suppressors and have strongly recommended them in the past, and I'd like to see what they say about the specs of this particular model.

And yes I agree for $199 X 2 including installation it seems a no brainer that I will be doing.
ak_47_boy's Avatar ak_47_boy 07:09 PM 01-13-2008
All you need to do is throw a gas discharge arrestor or varistor from each leg to ground. This should cost about $3.
joeycalda's Avatar joeycalda 07:34 PM 01-13-2008
Wow Over $20,000 forum has diminished to $199.00 and above forum
or should we call it the Steve Bruzonsky Forum..it has a nice ring to it
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 07:43 PM 01-13-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeycalda View Post

Wow Over $20,000 forum has diminished to $199.00 and above forum
or should we call it the Steve Bruzonsky Forum..it has a nice ring to it

Sometimes you guys are just plain stupid and idiotic.

Yea we have some very expensive gear here in this forum.

This thread is about protecting it. Or do you give a darn about that?

Your making fun of me posting this thread is plain stupid.

How about some positive information from someone? Anyone?
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 07:47 PM 01-13-2008
In the time that an idiot can make fun of this thread, the idiot could do a web search and learn something about protecting all that expensive gear!!!@@@

Here's a little info that I learned in doing that:

http://www.portlandgeneral.com/home/...tor.asp?bhcp=1

And there's plenty of other info out there, too.

Apparently, not all whole house surge suppressors are equally created. Some are not properly UL Listed for what the power companies recommend.

But Joey I'm sure you know all that and you can educate us regarding this, right?
joeycalda's Avatar joeycalda 10:11 PM 01-13-2008
Quote:
Sometimes you guys are just plain stupid and idiotic.

and what does responding like that makes you?


Quote:
In the time that an idiot can make fun of this thread, the idiot could do a web search and learn something about protecting all that expensive gear!!!@@@

STICKS AND STONES ....I thought the smiley was meant to be funny for both parties. I guess I was wrong because I felt you would get a kick out of it, (the second part that is) and hoped that would calm your easy to braise ego....

Quote:
But Joey I'm sure you know all that and you can educate us regarding this, right?

no.... it's not my area of expertize, but to be quite honest, I do post on many of the forums here and appropriately I might add. I guess I could start a thread on the make of toilet I choose in the room adjacent to the theater. I mean come on man you don't want me to pee on my equipment or do you??

Actually the more I think about it were you not the one that started a thread about the lack of threads that pertained to the over $20,000 forum title? It's a good chance it was you, since you do start about 50% of the threads and of that 50% only 5% actually meet the criteria. BUT hey that's okay it's your own personal playground....but lets not be hypocritical.
iansilv's Avatar iansilv 10:34 PM 01-13-2008
Steve-
Along the lines of what you are looking for comments on, what do you think about this company's products? :

www.gridpoint.com

Surge suppression is obviously important, but would sudden power outages that individual backup systems might or might not cover be stopped with a system like this?

Just thought I would add some thought to the discussion...
teamrivers's Avatar teamrivers 10:37 PM 01-13-2008
I don't have comments, but I am interested as I've built up quite an asset base of HT and audio gear, not to mention PC equipment, so I think it's relavent. I just hopped into this forum and this thread caught my eye. I have localized filtering and UPS, but want a whole house solution as well.

Steve, out of curiousity, why do you have a separate 100amp panel for your HT? I have separate circuits for my audio gear, but everything runs from one panel. I love to hear about what people have installed...I'm a small general contractor.
Chu Gai's Avatar Chu Gai 04:47 AM 01-14-2008
For the incoming AC and phone, I picked up the Delta Residential Package and installed it myself. That took care of my primary concerns about the AC and phones.

http://www.deltasurgeprotectors.com/...id=1&phaseid=1

For the coax, I obtained an Altelicon Model AL-FFFF-9.

http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/dss..._protector.php

Costs, IMO, were quite reasonable. I could equally as well have obtained any number of products from any number of companies, some known, some, as these probably are, unknown. Additional protection, where felt to be desireable was obtained by $1 Intermatic plug-in units that I got at Home Depot from a wheelbarrow full of stuff they were discounting to get rid of. I simply filled a bag with them and stuck them on things like the dishwasher, washing machine, garage door openers, microwave, etc. For the HT, I picked up a unit from Transtector for a little under $100 that was based on Silicon Avalanche Diodes. I'd estimate that my total cost for doing the entire house was a bit under $250.

In your case Steve, IIRC, you've got a climate that's fairly dry and your soil is rather sandy. This leads to a relatively high resistance with respect to say myself. While it likely meets the requirements for NEC and human safety, it bears mention that NEC does not concern itself with transistor safety, the requirements of which are more stringent. IMO, it would be desireble for yourself to investigate means of lowering your ground resistance. That can be done relatively inexpensively by driving additional grounding rods and bonding them together. OTOH, for exceptionally low resistance, consider what are known as electrolytic grounding rods (google the term up). Those are used by places like Lucas as well as the US military for providing excellent earth grounds in places like Iraq.
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 06:36 AM 01-14-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamrivers View Post

I don't have comments, but I am interested as I've built up quite an asset base of HT and audio gear, not to mention PC equipment, so I think it's relavent. I just hopped into this forum and this thread caught my eye. I have localized filtering and UPS, but want a whole house solution as well.

Steve, out of curiousity, why do you have a separate 100amp panel for your HT? I have separate circuits for my audio gear, but everything runs from one panel. I love to hear about what people have installed...I'm a small general contractor.

When I built a brand new dedicated home theater room as an add on to my home in 1996, my dedicated circuits for my home theater room were all in the same panel as my west side 200 amp power panel. I happened across an article about reducing noise by having all dedicated circuits on the same phase, discussed this with some technical folks, and we then used an
isolated 100 amp transformer into a new panel for my home theater room, with the new panel connected to its own ground rod, with that ground rod tied to the house ground nearby.
mark haflich's Avatar mark haflich 07:04 AM 01-14-2008
Ok boys time to be nice.

Time for some rules here.

PLAIN STUPIITY IS BANNED!

Before anybody over reacts (afraid that they could never post here again with such a rule):

EMBELISHED STUPIDITY IS NOT ONLY PERMITTED, IT IS ENCOURAGED!

The act of embelishment would indicate a modicum of intelligence by the poster, negating the urge by others to ignore the post because one believes the poster to be an absolute moron.

Whole house surge suppressors would seem to be a good idea. Of course one shouldn't buy one unless the suppressor meets applicable electrical safety standards. The other issue is will they indeed protect your equipment?

This require data.

Such as, does anyone use such a device. If so, did your ever have surge damage despite using such a device?

If twodevices can be identified as working, then we need to do a double blind test to determine which device hyas a better sonic oand/or visual effect in our HTS. This will not be a simple test to conduct but hell we have our criteria.

Better yet, just use the device I use. Its as least as good as safe sex (wearing a trojan) and doesn't have any apparent (to me) adverse effects other than perhaps a loss of some sensitivity.

I tried to insert a little substance into this post (hidden in the middle) but I offer it mostly as an example of embellished stupidity. Niot a high degree of embellishment, say for example, as would be in an elaborate April Fool"s joke, but hopefully enough to take the post out of the stupid class. Maybe not. OK. I'll settle. I may be stupid, but I'm also dumb.
Chu Gai's Avatar Chu Gai 07:23 AM 01-14-2008
The general wisdom Mark, is that you use the whole house as your primary means of defense. That throttles incoming surges to something that's trivial to deal with. I can't think of any that I've run across that don't have the requisite testing be it UL, IEEE, and so forth. Generally, it's prominently displayed or available on demand. Steve I believe needs to also address grounding issues because of his climate and soil conditions.
mark haflich's Avatar mark haflich 07:32 AM 01-14-2008
To meet code, I believe the grounding rods must be tightly bundled together. Seperate rods spaced apart and tied together with a grounding strap, I think woud be a code violation. You could dig upthe soil, add some rock salt to it, replace the soil, and pound the rods in.
Chu Gai's Avatar Chu Gai 07:39 AM 01-14-2008
They must be bonded but not tightly bundled. The rock salt eventually goes bye bye. Steve could construct a DIY electrolytic system by studying what they're made up of.
AV Doogie's Avatar AV Doogie 07:57 AM 01-14-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

Tomeet code, I believe the grounding rods must be tightly bundled together. Seperate rods spaced apart and tied together with a grounding strap, I think woud be a code violation.you could add some rock salt tothe soil, replace the soil, and pound the rods in.

Residential systems typically require one driven ground rod with bonding to the water system.

Industrial and commercial systems typically require the same as above but the NEC provides for a 'triad' type ground rod system in which the ground rods are driven in a triangular pattern with not less than 6 feet of distance between the rods. These rods are then bonded together to form the connection to 'earth' and then bonded to your 'panel' ground.
mark haflich's Avatar mark haflich 08:01 AM 01-14-2008
Thanks for the correction.
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 01:57 PM 01-14-2008
http://www.certfaq.com/bb/ftopic10954.html

for some info on a # of whole house surge suppressors from some different companies.
Ted99's Avatar Ted99 03:14 PM 01-14-2008
I'm an Electrical Engineer, and I have one. Made by GE, bought it at Lowes for about $90 and installed it in a half hour. Legal disclaimer: Do not do this if you don't know what you are doing and no, I won't give instructions over the internet. But, this should give you an idea of how much is involved. I have a 200 amp main service panel and two sub-panels. The whole house arrestor should be at the panel where the electrical service enters the house. You don't need another unless you have more than one service entrance to the house (more than one meter). These are a very good idea for everyone. Houses are full of things with electronics. I have a GE Monogram refrigerator with more electronics than a radio. Your A/C, thermostats, anything with a motor, is subject to a frying with a nearby lightning strike. I have a belt and suspender approach by also using a Brickwall brand lightning surge blocker at my HT. The typical arrestor is a semiconductor shunt to ground for the overvoltage lightning surge. These can be overloaded with a very big and nearby strike. They also deteriorate with each surge shunted to ground, and eventually fail. My GE whole house supressor has a green LED that will go out if the surge surpressor has finally failed open. The brick wall blocker works on a different principle and does a better job of blocking a high voltage surge, and does not deteriorate.

There have been many discussions on this subject in many of the forums on this site and I will not repeat them here. In short, a whole house lightning supressor is a good thing and is money well spent ( and not much money at that).
teamrivers's Avatar teamrivers 03:53 PM 01-14-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

When I built a brand new dedicated home theater room as an add on to my home in 1996, my dedicated circuits for my home theater room were all in the same panel as my west side 200 amp power panel. I happened across an article about reducing noise by having all dedicated circuits on the same phase, discussed this with some technical folks, and we then used an
isolated 100 amp transformer into a new panel for my home theater room, with the new panel connected to its own ground rod, with that ground rod tied to the house ground nearby.

I'm jealous.
Anthony A.'s Avatar Anthony A. 07:47 PM 01-14-2008
i agree about the brickwall, those units are actually good to have a worth every penny. although the price of a whole house surge suppressor is not much in comparison to one's system, and one might sleep better at night, NOTHING will protect any devices plugged in if you get a direct hit or a fairly close hit. true the surge suppressor will help a bit, but with such a close hit, nothing will save your equipment so i see it as being pointless. unplugging is the ONLY way to save your system from a direct/close lightning hit.
Chu Gai's Avatar Chu Gai 05:14 AM 01-15-2008
Unfortunately unplugging doesn't work very well if you're at work when a surge hits.
Brucemck2's Avatar Brucemck2 03:50 PM 01-15-2008
Chu Gai ...

Are the Delta and Altelicon devices suitable for exterior use; can I put them at the exterior entry point for my cable and my phone service? (I've got good ground connections at that entry point.)

For my OTA antenna and my Tivo dish, do I need a gas discharge device at each TV/Tivo coax input, or, one only at each antenna output, or one at each of the outputs of the antenna distribution boxes?
Dizzman's Avatar Dizzman 04:03 PM 01-15-2008
what is nice about this thread is that it is about real science. and real solid gear that says what it does and does what it says.

I do not nor have i ever lived in lightning prone areas, so have really nothing to add.
Anthony A.'s Avatar Anthony A. 04:55 PM 01-15-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Unfortunately unplugging doesn't work very well if you're at work when a surge hits.

agreed. but what good does it do if you have a whole house surge unit and you get a direct hit while your at work?

again, the surge protector will do nothing for you!
Curt Palme's Avatar Curt Palme 05:27 PM 01-15-2008
Steve, I see problems with this unit, Dizz (or others), correct me if I'm wrong.

Seems like this unit is based on MOVs as per their specs. If so, MOVs will blow shorted usually if an overvoltage condition is achieved. Now, according to their website, you wire this 'whole house' protection into two adjacent breakers and to ground. A minor spike comes along, the MOV clips anything over 150 volts to ground, you're fine. Something more major comes along, the MOVs blow shorted, which then trip the one or two breakers, thereby taking the surge protection device out of the circuit.

I still maintain that:

a) Most electronic equipment has enough protection in it to self protect in the case of minor surges
b) This unit will not protect against major faults like a falling tree taking out a neutral coming into a home, lightning, etc.

As a test for you unbelievers, take a light bulb out of a 2 cell flashlight that's rated at about 2.5 volts, and quickly touch the bulb to a good 9 volt battery. The light flashes way brighter than normal, but can withstand the momentary surge. Put it back in a flashlight, the bulb is fine. It might have a slightly shortened life, but I think we can all agree that a 4X voltage surge through a tiny bulb is a lot more than say a 140 volt surge that hits a piece of electronic equipment.

AS others have stated above, the slight surges that you might see in your incoming power are nothing to worrry about. Items like this will not protect against what will damage the electronics in the house, and unplugging everything is the only way to protect against that. I think that even a very expensive whole house power regenerator would be damaged by a typical direct lightning hit. It might withstand a loose/broken neutral if a tree hits it, and from my 20+ years in electronics, a floating/lifted neutral causes far more damage to a home than any surge.
AV Doogie's Avatar AV Doogie 06:43 PM 01-15-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony A. View Post

agreed. but what good does it do if you have a whole house surge unit and you get a direct hit while your at work?

again, the surge protector will do nothing for you!


but....most lightning damage is from the indirect effects of the electric field and therefore protecting your investments with surge suppression is a good idea according to standard statistical methods
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 06:57 PM 01-15-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

Steve, I see problems with this unit, Dizz (or others), correct me if I'm wrong.

Seems like this unit is based on MOVs as per their specs. If so, MOVs will blow shorted usually if an overvoltage condition is achieved. Now, according to their website, you wire this 'whole house' protection into two adjacent breakers and to ground. A minor spike comes along, the MOV clips anything over 150 volts to ground, you're fine. Something more major comes along, the MOVs blow shorted, which then trip the one or two breakers, thereby taking the surge protection device out of the circuit.

I still maintain that:

a) Most electronic equipment has enough protection in it to self protect in the case of minor surges
b) This unit will not protect against major faults like a falling tree taking out a neutral coming into a home, lightning, etc.

As a test for you unbelievers, take a light bulb out of a 2 cell flashlight that's rated at about 2.5 volts, and quickly touch the bulb to a good 9 volt battery. The light flashes way brighter than normal, but can withstand the momentary surge. Put it back in a flashlight, the bulb is fine. It might have a slightly shortened life, but I think we can all agree that a 4X voltage surge through a tiny bulb is a lot more than say a 140 volt surge that hits a piece of electronic equipment.

AS others have stated above, the slight surges that you might see in your incoming power are nothing to worrry about. Items like this will not protect against what will damage the electronics in the house, and unplugging everything is the only way to protect against that. I think that even a very expensive whole house power regenerator would be damaged by a typical direct lightning hit. It might withstand a loose/broken neutral if a tree hits it, and from my 20+ years in electronics, a floating/lifted neutral causes far more damage to a home than any surge.

Curt, do you recommend any whole house surge suppression units and why? Thanks.
AV Doogie's Avatar AV Doogie 07:05 PM 01-15-2008
Quote:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

Seems like this unit is based on MOVs as per their specs. If so, MOVs will blow shorted usually if an overvoltage condition is achieved. Now, according to their website, you wire this 'whole house' protection into two adjacent breakers and to ground. A minor spike comes along, the MOV clips anything over 150 volts to ground, you're fine. Something more major comes along, the MOVs blow shorted, which then trip the one or two breakers, thereby taking the surge protection device out of the circuit.

This scenario can certainly happen, however, only the cheesiest of suppression units use only straight MOV's for protection. Unfortunately, you may not know which units are like this.


Quote:


I still maintain that:

a) Most electronic equipment has enough protection in it to self protect in the case of minor surges

There is truth here, but it is generally installed in the electronic equipment to get the product through its warranty period without failure of the incoming electronics....and this protection is generally not much more than a couple of MOVs at the input.

Quote:


b) This unit will not protect against major faults like a falling tree taking out a neutral coming into a home, lightning, etc.

How do you know unless you test it Again, the suppressor is meant to reduce the incoming voltage level to a magnitude which can be less damaging to equipment downstream. Multiple levels of suppression can ensure that you protect your investments in a reasonable fashion.

Quote:


As a test for you unbelievers, take a light bulb out of a 2 cell flashlight that's rated at about 2.5 volts, and quickly touch the bulb to a good 9 volt battery. The light flashes way brighter than normal, but can withstand the momentary surge. Put it back in a flashlight, the bulb is fine. It might have a slightly shortened life, but I think we can all agree that a 4X voltage surge through a tiny bulb is a lot more than say a 140 volt surge that hits a piece of electronic equipment.

A voltage surge in an analog type light bulb filament is not a good analogy to a circiuit path which is digital. Where a voltage rise in a light bulb filament may cause a temporary rise in filament temperature and possibly some loss of bulb life, the digital circuit path is typically damaged in ways which require a microscope to reveal. The damage to the digital circuit components is seen as destruction of the dielectric barriers and conductive pathways. I have pictures to prove this if needed.

Quote:


AS others have stated above, the slight surges that you might see in your incoming power are nothing to worrry about. Items like this will not protect against what will damage the el
ectronics in the house, and unplugging everything is the only way to protect against that. I think that even a very expensive whole house power regenerator would be damaged by a typical direct lightning hit. It might withstand a loose/broken neutral if a tree hits it, and from my 20+ years in electronics, a floating/lifted neutral causes far more damage to a home than any surge.

This is true for the most part. Many of our electronic 'toys' are supplied power by a power supply which acts as a buffer to much of the crap coming from the outlet.

P.S. Whats with the neutral broken by a tree? Do you have bad dreams of such things
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