Surge Protector / Power Conditioner Help for Noob!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Surge Protector / Power Conditioner Help for Noob!!!

I live in South FL and it has literally been storming 6 out of 7 days, consistently. Thunder, lightning, rain...had the power go out 4/6 days last week. With this being the case, I fear for my equipment. I have everything plugged into a surge protector, but it is very old and I am not sure if it even does any "protecting."

For the time being, every time I see a storm coming I just unplug everything from the wall. This obviously isn't very efficient, but I would rather save my equipment than risk damaging it.

I have been reading around but still can't seem to come upon a decision. I am pretty sure that I do not need/want a power conditioner. I have a budget theater and am not concerned about the supreme, highest-quality-possible audio and video that may or may not be gained from having "cleaner" power. I am happy with my current setup and the way it performs, with power coming straight out of the wall.

As far as surge protection, I was shopping around in the $100 or so range. I see all different types, at different price points, that seem to offer different things...but I am not sure what exactly I need. I plan on using it for my TV, cable box, PS3, AVR, and subwoofer. Here are some specific choices I came upon:

APC SurgeArrest 11 ~ $30
http://www.amazon.com/APC-Performanc.../dp/B0012YLTR6

Panamax MR4000 ~ $150
http://www.amazon.com/Panamax-MR4000.../dp/B008K7BQ08

Panamax SP8-AV ~$50
http://www.amazon.com/Panamax-SP8-AV.../dp/B000O0E6H4

Tripp Lite Home Theater Surge ~ $50
http://www.walmart.com/ip/14006103?w...599990&veh=sem

Tripp Lite HT10DBS ~ $80
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-HT1.../dp/B0002QPC28

And the APC H15 also seems very popular on this forum, but again I do not know if I need that, and would prefer not to spend that much money.


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post #2 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 02:37 PM
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I live in Houston TX, and I had a lightening surge wipe out my whole HT system in 1999.
I use this:
http://www.zerosurge.com/
I like this because it will work forever, and will not wear out.
I have one on my HT system, one on my computer, and one on my (expensive) refrigerator.
On my HT and Computer, I also have a UPS after the surge protector.
I also had an electrician install this to my house:
Whole house Surge protector
http://www.deltala.com/
LA302 3 WIRE, SINGLE PHASE, 36" LEADS 1 60.00 60.00
CA302R 3 WIRE, SINGLE PHASE, 18" LEADS 1 66.00 66.00
TA304 2 PAIR, 130V ROMS, DATA LINE CIRCUIT PROTECTOR 52.00
Installation instructions:
http://www.deltala.com/installa.htm

Your other option would be to buy a Belkin or APC or Triplite or similar "top of the line" surge protector, and change it out every year.


I am not "made of money" by any means, but I think about how much I have invested in my HT, my computer, and my refrigerator, and if I got hit again, I would be out a lot of money, not to mention that some things are not in production anymore, so there would be no replacing it.

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post #3 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 03:34 PM
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Maybe I'm a sucker, but I like the build quality of the Monster Power surge/conditioners. The Monster HTS 1000 Mk3 is $90 on Amazon. I use both a Monster HTS 5100 Mk2 and HTS 1000 Mk3 for the various A/V components. The exception is my amplifier, which I have plugged directly into a dedicated 20 Amp circuit. The amp has its own protective circuitry built in and power strips usually have current limiters in them that won't deliver peak power to the amp when needed.

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post #4 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevans64 View Post
Maybe I'm a sucker, but I like the build quality of the Monster Power surge/conditioners. The Monster HTS 1000 Mk3 is $90 on Amazon. I use both a Monster HTS 5100 Mk2 and HTS 1000 Mk3 for the various A/V components. The exception is my amplifier, which I have plugged directly into a dedicated 20 Amp circuit. The amp has its own protective circuitry built in and power strips usually have current limiters in them that won't deliver peak power to the amp when needed.
I am always hesitant to buy products from Monster because I always hear that they're the biggest "gimmick" company in the world ($180 HDMI cables, for example). And I mean that with as much respect as possible to you...I sincerely appreciate your suggestion.

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post #5 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 05:17 PM
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I have used the Monster 7000 surge suppressor and it seems okay. But I now use a SurgeX suppressor... It is highly rated and is supposed to be military spec. It is the first surge suppressor that meets A-1-1 certification which is required for government installations. It is superior to conventional MOV or MOV-Hybrid based technologies, as it is completely non-sacrificial.

Most surge suppressors uses MOVs which weakens as it ages or gets destroyed in a surge.

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post #6 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KtrainHurricane View Post
I am always hesitant to buy products from Monster because I always hear that they're the biggest "gimmick" company in the world ($180 HDMI cables, for example). And I mean that with as much respect as possible to you...I sincerely appreciate your suggestion.
I'd agree about Monster as far as their cables go although I have a couple of their HDMI and speaker cables bought when Tweeter filed Chapter 11. I paid way too much, even at 60% off retail, just for a cable that looks good. I generally stick with Amazon basic cables now since I just add one to my cart when buying other stuff on Amazon. I make my own analog ( speaker, RCA, Coax ) cables now.

Their surge protection stuff is pretty good and well-built, especially their HTS stuff. I've had my HTS 5100 for about 10 years now.
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post #7 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 07:00 PM
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I'm using whole home surge protection.

I made the mistake a long time ago of wasting money on a Monster power filter. You should read Monster's protection policy, assuming it hasn't changed, on how many hoops you have to jump through if indeed your electronics are damaged while being hooked up to it.

I had two pieces of equipment damaged after a power spike while being protected(?) by Monster. The Power Filter was no longer under warranty so it wouldn't have mattered but the bottom line is it didn't do its job.
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post #8 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 07:06 PM
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Most inexpensive surge protectors, and Monster last I checked, use surge devices internally that will only survive a limited number of surges (sometimes just one). That is why you have to replace them frequently. A number of professional whole-house devices will last many years and survive many events without failure. APC offers an intermediate device that allows the user to replace the MOV (surge protection) modules.

Personally I have two units installed by an electrician: a lightening arrester on the incoming power line, and a surge protection device in the electrical service panel (breaker box). Nothing died when lightening hit a tree near the house, and our neighbors (without protection but with their TV plugged into a cheap surge protector power strip) about a hundred yards away lost several devices from the same hit.

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post #9 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Most inexpensive surge protectors, and Monster last I checked, use surge devices internally that will only survive a limited number of surges (sometimes just one). That is why you have to replace them frequently. A number of professional whole-house devices will last many years and survive many events without failure. APC offers an intermediate device that allows the user to replace the MOV (surge protection) modules.

Personally I have two units installed by an electrician: a lightening arrester on the incoming power line, and a surge protection device in the electrical service panel (breaker box). Nothing died when lightening hit a tree near the house, and our neighbors (without protection but with their TV plugged into a cheap surge protector power strip) about a hundred yards away lost several devices from the same hit.
I understand that units "hard-installed" into my home would be/is the only real solution for this level of protection, but I do not own the home so that is not an option. I am strictly limited to the plug-in surge protector type items.


Anybody have input on any of those specific ones I listed?

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post #10 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 08:18 PM
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I would buy an APC Back-Ups to provide surge protection and enough power to allow you to ride out a short glitch or turn off equipment gracefully in the event of a longer glitch. It is a UPS, not just a surge protector.
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post #11 of 54 Old 06-19-2014, 08:21 PM
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Just something to keep in mind, a whole house surge/arrestor system only protects from external sources coming in on the main line. Does nothing for any surges or variations coming from inside the house or from across cable/sat/phone lines. There is no "1 item solution"
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post #12 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 05:50 AM
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^^^ Depends upon how the house is wired and what the coupling paths are among outlets/components.

The comment about incoming cable/sat lines is good; I have additional arrestors on our incoming cable line as well as surge protection on before the distribution amp and splitters in the basement. RF protection takes a little more work, natch.

Many APC units include cable and phone surge protection, so I'll stand by my UPS suggestion. I have several in our house, mainly because we seem to have a fair number of power glitches (rural'ish area).

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post #13 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Any input on some of the units I specifically asked about?

Cable/Satellite/Phone/Internet etc. is not of concern to me, just power cables for my A/V equipment.

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post #14 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 05:11 PM
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Yeah, forget about them and buy an APC Back-UPS instead. Power cycling components rapidly is not good; a lot of protection circuits don't work well when presented with fast power glitches. A UPS will cost a bit more but provide all the surge protection you need plus a lot more protection for time the power rapidly cycles on and off during/before/after a storm. You don't need to size it for long run time, just enough to (a) ride out a momentary glitch, and (b) give you time to get up and turn everything off if it lasts more than a few seconds.
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post #15 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Yeah, forget about them and buy an APC Back-UPS instead. Power cycling components rapidly is not good; a lot of protection circuits don't work well when presented with fast power glitches. A UPS will cost a bit more but provide all the surge protection you need plus a lot more protection for time the power rapidly cycles on and off during/before/after a storm. You don't need to size it for long run time, just enough to (a) ride out a momentary glitch, and (b) give you time to get up and turn everything off if it lasts more than a few seconds.
Point taken, thanks.

On the note of power cycles - is it bad that every time I see a thunderstorm coming I unplug everything from the wall? I do this, and leave it unplugged until the storm has passed...anywhere from 30-60 mins., usually.

And on that same note - can you elaborate on what you mean by point (b) "give you time to get up and turn everything off..."

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post #16 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 06:22 PM
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Not bad to unplug at all, that is by far the safest thing to do and I commend you for it. Given time I will do the same. Hard to do if you aren't home, natch. Or if you are listening or engrossed in a movie and don't notice the storm roll in, or it is far away and yet for whatever reason your power glitches whilst you are listening. My other concern is those brief little flickers that last from barely-noticeable to a few seconds. Such rapid power cycling can damage your components (and other things). Projectors that need some cool-down time or that do not adequately control power cycling to the lamp are an obvious example, but a lot of components have circuits inside that do not respond well to very brief outages.

My second point was that a UPS, uninterruptible power supply, will power the components for (at least) a few minutes so instead of a nasty little glitch taking them out, they can keep working right through it. If you have a longer outage (I have had minutes to nearly a week) then the UPS will run the gear while you get up, walk over, and turn it all off "gracefully" so everything powers down nicely on its own instead of a power glitch effectively pulling the plug while they are running.

HTH - Don
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post #17 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Not bad to unplug at all, that is by far the safest thing to do and I commend you for it. Given time I will do the same. Hard to do if you aren't home, natch. Or if you are listening or engrossed in a movie and don't notice the storm roll in, or it is far away and yet for whatever reason your power glitches whilst you are listening. My other concern is those brief little flickers that last from barely-noticeable to a few seconds. Such rapid power cycling can damage your components (and other things). Projectors that need some cool-down time or that do not adequately control power cycling to the lamp are an obvious example, but a lot of components have circuits inside that do not respond well to very brief outages.

My second point was that a UPS, uninterruptible power supply, will power the components for (at least) a few minutes so instead of a nasty little glitch taking them out, they can keep working right through it. If you have a longer outage (I have had minutes to nearly a week) then the UPS will run the gear while you get up, walk over, and turn it all off "gracefully" so everything powers down nicely on its own instead of a power glitch effectively pulling the plug while they are running.

HTH - Don
Awesome, thanks for clearing that up.

Is there a specific model you recommend I get?

FYI - I have my projector plugged into a different wall socket since it is at the back of my room...so I guess the "safe" thing to do would buy two of these UPS units, but that again puts me into a financial hole.

My "main" socket houses a power strip which contains the power supply for my TV, cable box, PS3, AVR, subwoofer and an alarm clock.

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post #18 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 06:51 PM
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A hole bigger than replacing a bunch of fried gear?

There are charts on the APC site. You can add up the Watts for all of your gear and choose a UPS with enough margin to support everything running at full power for about 5 minutes. That is probably overkill. I would not put the subwoofer on the UPS (they tend to draw a lot of power, and many will auto shut off when everything else turns off and not turn back on until it is all on anyway). Chances are a 350 VA unit would be enough to get you through a brief outage, and maybe just a 150 VA unit for the projector. I would get one rated a little more than the projector's power because it really draws about that much, and you need to give it time for the fan to cool the bulb before it turns off (it will be at a lower power level after you turn it off and while the fan runs). For the rest, add the ratings on the back (or from the manual) for the cable box, PS3 and TV, and derate the AVR to maybe 25% - 50% of it's rated max power from the label on the back (usually near the power cord). I wouldn't worry about the alarm clock unless it is some gigantic thing with sirens and flashing lights.

They are frequently on sale so watch the adverts or shop around for a good deal.

Close lightening strikes sneaking through the cable line and wiping out the TV are not uncommon. Many of the APC units include protection for the cable as well. We lost a VCR and TV to such a near strike years ago (hit a neighbor's tree and jumped to the cable drop); the main VCR and TV protected by an APC unit (power and cable) survived. Cable is buried in our area but the feeder line is still above ground.

HTH - Don
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post #19 of 54 Old 06-20-2014, 10:10 PM
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I use a combo of these:

Breaker Box / Whole House: Cutler Hammer CHSPT2ULTRA - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005C5NQTA
Before the UPS: Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector - http://www.amazon.com/Furman-Series-.../dp/B003BQ91Y6 and Tripp Lite ISOBARs - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000511U7
and then a UPS for projector
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post #20 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 07:54 AM
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If your intention is surge protection, then you'd better buy a decent quality surge protector to put in front of a UPS. Short of going commercial with your ups solution, they don't really provide that great of surge protection. I use 1500vs units from apc which are only rated at 459 joules. Been in the process of swapping them out for smaller units from Cyberpower rated at 1080 joules (for better power management is reason of switch). These numbers are still pretty damn far from the surge protection you can get from an actual surge protector and if you're worried about a lightning strike or any serious surge I would implore you to add a real surge protector also.

Now as to the capacity, suggesting a 350va unit to run everything is incredibly conservative. 350VA is only around 255 watts and most units that smaller under an 80% load will only have 2-3 minutes of run time. For a PS3, just a quick google shows a power draw between 150 - 200 watts during use. If you have the PS3 going, your AVR, and tv then a 350VA unit will in all likelihood trip out in alarm mode as soon as you turn the battery backup on. Do the math on your own gear using rated maximums, give a 10% or so increase in wattage, then go looking for a ups. Also note that the batteries in these don't last forever, but if you get a large than 'bare minimum specs' unit, then you also have a bit longer for battery replacement (you'll be cutting in to available run time as the batteries age). On my units I average between 3 and 5 years before replacements. The cheapo batteries on Amazon seem to always lose capacity faster, but are also 20-25% cost of APC labeled batteries.

If you spend some more money and get an active ups then you don't have to worry about the line conditioner as it's already built into the ups. Would still HIGHLY suggesting something like the triplite surge protector linked in the post above. They make some nice surge units (have never had a chance to test out the filters in them). If you do like Don suggests though and do NOT put the sub on the ups (no real need to), make sure it's still behind a surge protected outlet or you COULD backfeed a surge through the sub if it's large enough. And cable coming into your house IS a concern if it's unprotected. If you're going to the expense of protecting your equipment, protect from all points of entry or you could potentially backfeed and take out a few things you thought were protected.
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post #21 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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If your intention is surge protection, then you'd better buy a decent quality surge protector to put in front of a UPS. Short of going commercial with your ups solution, they don't really provide that great of surge protection. I use 1500vs units from apc which are only rated at 459 joules. Been in the process of swapping them out for smaller units from Cyberpower rated at 1080 joules (for better power management is reason of switch). These numbers are still pretty damn far from the surge protection you can get from an actual surge protector and if you're worried about a lightning strike or any serious surge I would implore you to add a real surge protector also.

Now as to the capacity, suggesting a 350va unit to run everything is incredibly conservative. 350VA is only around 255 watts and most units that smaller under an 80% load will only have 2-3 minutes of run time. For a PS3, just a quick google shows a power draw between 150 - 200 watts during use. If you have the PS3 going, your AVR, and tv then a 350VA unit will in all likelihood trip out in alarm mode as soon as you turn the battery backup on. Do the math on your own gear using rated maximums, give a 10% or so increase in wattage, then go looking for a ups. Also note that the batteries in these don't last forever, but if you get a large than 'bare minimum specs' unit, then you also have a bit longer for battery replacement (you'll be cutting in to available run time as the batteries age). On my units I average between 3 and 5 years before replacements. The cheapo batteries on Amazon seem to always lose capacity faster, but are also 20-25% cost of APC labeled batteries.

If you spend some more money and get an active ups then you don't have to worry about the line conditioner as it's already built into the ups. Would still HIGHLY suggesting something like the triplite surge protector linked in the post above. They make some nice surge units (have never had a chance to test out the filters in them). If you do like Don suggests though and do NOT put the sub on the ups (no real need to), make sure it's still behind a surge protected outlet or you COULD backfeed a surge through the sub if it's large enough. And cable coming into your house IS a concern if it's unprotected. If you're going to the expense of protecting your equipment, protect from all points of entry or you could potentially backfeed and take out a few things you thought were protected.
Thanks for the info. Adding a surge protector like one of the Tripp Lite options does seem like a reasonable suggestion. Just to clarify - I would plug this surge protector into the wall outlet, and then the UPS into the surge protector, right?

Is there a specific one you suggested from the options that have been listed in this thread?:

A). http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002QPC28/...SIN=B0002QPC28

B). http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0038JOJYS?tag=vglnk-c333-20

C). http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000511U7?tag=vglnk-c333-20

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post #22 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 10:08 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-TLP...urge+protector

or if you want the filter so you don't NEED an active ups, or just want the cleaner signal

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-ISO...urge+protector

You can get both in more outlet versions for more money, but with a ups behind these you should have plenty of protected outlets between the two.

Correct in that you would put the surge protector first, then the ups. Both the units I listed are also 15amp strips. Some are 12 amps. Keep that in mind when you figure your total numbers.

EDIT>>> Sorry, only the top one I listed is a 15amp, the second is a 12 amp. If you will never pull 12 amps through it then it doesn't matter, but something that needs to be factored in.

Last edited by wdeydwondrer; 06-21-2014 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Correction
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post #23 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 10:16 AM
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^^^ I'll agree with that, mostly, including the low rating (I would say "optimistic"; conservative to me would be a much higher power unit).

Note I said to check the ratings for his gear. He seemed concerned about finances and for myself I do not normally run the equipment on the UPS; all I want is a few minutes to give me time to turn things off. More conservative would be what I first said -- add up all the numbers on the labels then get a unit that provides a good 5 minutes (or more) run time. And my caveat was for the projector, which needs to run longer (albeit at lower power) to save the bulb. BUT, I agree he needs to check the equipment. Frankly I did not know a PS3 would try 200 W, that's a bit of power. Not really surprised, just hadn't thought about it. I would have said 350 VA is optimistic, not conservative, but semantics vary.

I routinely buy larger than needed so I forgot about the alarm/overcurrent feature. That is an excellent point: a UPS that does not handle the operating load even briefly will likely alarm and shut down immediately. It is not a good thing to happen.

Personally most of the units I have around the house are rated at 2x the power of their total max load. The exceptions are a couple of media systems, where I tend to derate the AVR (only -- everything else per label) since I rarely run it at max power or anywhere close, but with that derating the UPS are still ~2x the load. The smallest I have is actually a 250 VA model on a laptop and monitor; all the rest are 750 - 1500 VA units.

I have read mixed reviews on various sites and in journals about point-of-use surge protection after a whole-house solution (which I already have as stated earlier). For now I use mainly UPS' on electronic gear and nothing on the rest. Most of the inexpensive (and some very expensive) surge protectors use devices that will not survive more than a few significant events, and do not last all that long with smaller events. A number of commercial units recommend you replace them yearly. That's a lot of money in surge protectors, so I am getting by with my UPS units. I have a few surge strips but they are more because I needed the outlets than that I expect long-lasting surge protection from them.

As long as we are talking about these things I should note Back-UPS (and virtually all the inexpensive UPS units you will find at most stores) do not provide a very clean output when running on battery. They depend upon your equipment to filter out noise. For my application that is fine since I am only using them to protect things during a short glitch or give me time to shut down cleanly. At work we use SmartUPS on test equipment. They provide much cleaner output but cost much more. The only place I have a SmartUPS at home is on the aquarium. The coarse approximation ("noisy") output of a BackUPS can cause things like aquarium pumps and motors to overheat if used long term. The aquarium air and filter pumps I do need to keep running through a longer outage, so I have a 1500 VA SmartUPS for about a 150 W load, less when I kill the lights.

Finally, batteries and UPS lifetime are things I wince about. At home or at work (our engineering lab has point of use UPS' so we can wheel equipment around, plus a huge array to power several of our labs) the batteries often last only 2 - 3 years, replacements can be most of the cost of a new UPS (on sale), and we have several times replaced the battery in an expensive unit only to have something else fail a short time later. The batteries are usually lead-acid types so you have to take special care in their disposal. Of course I am a little more sensitized lately since, after paying for a college semester, two unexpected (and large) vehicle repairs, new tires for one of them, doggie surgery and following infection, and having my Oppo die a power outage a couple of days ago revealed two dead or nearly-dead UPS batteries in 750 VA and 1500 VA units, arrrgh!

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http://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP8...cyberpower+850

Then you could add in something like that. Decent entry level active ups. Total cost around $150

I don't know your ACTUAL power reqs, but on my particular setup, this would power it for about 10 minutes give or take what I was doing at the time and allow either utility power to return, or to get it all shut down. Naturally you'll want to leave your sub just on the surge protector.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
^^^ I'll agree with that, mostly, including the low rating (I would say "optimistic"; conservative to me would be a much higher power unit).

Note I said to check the ratings for his gear. He seemed concerned about finances and for myself I do not normally run the equipment on the UPS; all I want is a few minutes to give me time to turn things off. More conservative would be what I first said -- add up all the numbers on the labels then get a unit that provides a good 5 minutes (or more) run time. And my caveat was for the projector, which needs to run longer (albeit at lower power) to save the bulb. BUT, I agree he needs to check the equipment. Frankly I did not know a PS3 would try 200 W, that's a bit of power. Not really surprised, just hadn't thought about it. I would have said 350 VA is optimistic, not conservative, but semantics vary.

I routinely buy larger than needed so I forgot about the alarm/overcurrent feature. That is an excellent point: a UPS that does not handle the operating load even briefly will likely alarm and shut down immediately. It is not a good thing to happen.

Personally most of the units I have around the house are rated at 2x the power of their total max load. The exceptions are a couple of media systems, where I tend to derate the AVR (only -- everything else per label) since I rarely run it at max power or anywhere close, but with that derating the UPS are still ~2x the load. The smallest I have is actually a 250 VA model on a laptop and monitor; all the rest are 750 - 1500 VA units.

I have read mixed reviews on various sites and in journals about point-of-use surge protection after a whole-house solution (which I already have as stated earlier). For now I use mainly UPS' on electronic gear and nothing on the rest. Most of the inexpensive (and some very expensive) surge protectors use devices that will not survive more than a few significant events, and do not last all that long with smaller events. A number of commercial units recommend you replace them yearly. That's a lot of money in surge protectors, so I am getting by with my UPS units. I have a few surge strips but they are more because I needed the outlets than that I expect long-lasting surge protection from them.

As long as we are talking about these things I should note Back-UPS (and virtually all the inexpensive UPS units you will find at most stores) do not provide a very clean output when running on battery. They depend upon your equipment to filter out noise. For my application that is fine since I am only using them to protect things during a short glitch or give me time to shut down cleanly. At work we use SmartUPS on test equipment. They provide much cleaner output but cost much more. The only place I have a SmartUPS at home is on the aquarium. The coarse approximation ("noisy") output of a BackUPS can cause things like aquarium pumps and motors to overheat if used long term. The aquarium air and filter pumps I do need to keep running through a longer outage, so I have a 1500 VA SmartUPS for about a 150 W load, less when I kill the lights.

Finally, batteries and UPS lifetime are things I wince about. At home or at work (our engineering lab has point of use UPS' so we can wheel equipment around, plus a huge array to power several of our labs) the batteries often last only 2 - 3 years, replacements can be most of the cost of a new UPS (on sale), and we have several times replaced the battery in an expensive unit only to have something else fail a short time later. The batteries are usually lead-acid types so you have to take special care in their disposal. Of course I am a little more sensitized lately since, after paying for a college semester, two unexpected (and large) vehicle repairs, new tires for one of them, doggie surgery and following infection, and having my Oppo die a power outage a couple of days ago revealed two dead or nearly-dead UPS batteries in 750 VA and 1500 VA units, arrrgh!
If those are APC units, def go to Amazon and get the off brand and they'll service for about 3 years at a FAR lower price. The last I called APC for replacements for a 1500, it was over $100 plus the shipping. Not going to happen, lol. I also like to buy my ups around 2x req wattage, hence why I've been going to multiple smaller units.

I agree about the output and was recommending the active units for the better voltage regulation and simulated sin wave filtration which beats nothing. Didn't bother to mention the pure sine wave units since I'm fairly sure he wouldn't want to pay for them.

I've likely read the same mixed reviews as you about the whole home units and it seems I came out on the opposite side of believing their usefulness, lol. But I have yet to have a good quality tripp lite wear out on me (granted if you live in a real rural area with crap power, i'd be expecting to replace every year or buy the more expensive resistor ones that "never wear out"). From my understanding of the tripp lite units, they are designed to render themselves unusable after their serviceable life (huge surge or many smaller). Cheaper units will just turn off the protected light and still work. Even cheaper (Dollar Store stuff) will just trip out and turn into a power strip with no warning. Stay away from them.
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Small world, I have an old TrippLite 5 kVA unit I have hung onto and rebuilt several times through the years.

I do live in a rural area. The power quality is not bad, but outages are fairly common, usually just a few seconds, but I can count on several outages of an hour or more during the year. A few years ago a snowstorm took out the substation feeders and we were without power for about five days. No fun. We also have a lot of lightening.

Thanks for the advice on APC batteries. I have gone with them when they have had sales or a good deal on a swap, but that is rare, and seems rarer since Schneider took them over. And my workplace recycles batteries so I can just bring them in and avoid the hassle myself. Amazon it is!

Agree 1000000% on the Wal-Mart and no-name or cheapie power strips -- they fail quickly and with no indication that the MOV (or whatever) is no longer protecting anything. I have also found that to be true on some $100 and up "power conditioners", alas.

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Any opinions on how the CyberPower UPS compare to the APC ones? They seem to be similarly priced:
APC 1000 VA for $125, or
CyberPower 1000 VA for $100


And wdeydwondrer, what do you think about the difference between the Tripp Lite surge protector you posted a link to, compared to something like the APC for $30 less?
http://www.amazon.com/APC-Performanc.../dp/B0012YLTR6


P.S. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeydwondrer View Post
Now as to the capacity, suggesting a 350va unit to run everything is incredibly conservative. 350VA is only around 255 watts and most units that smaller under an 80% load will only have 2-3 minutes of run time. For a PS3, just a quick google shows a power draw between 150 - 200 watts during use. If you have the PS3 going, your AVR, and tv then a 350VA unit will in all likelihood trip out in alarm mode as soon as you turn the battery backup on. Do the math on your own gear using rated maximums, give a 10% or so increase in wattage, then go looking for a ups. Also note that the batteries in these don't last forever, but if you get a large than 'bare minimum specs' unit, then you also have a bit longer for battery replacement (you'll be cutting in to available run time as the batteries age). On my units I average between 3 and 5 years before replacements. The cheapo batteries on Amazon seem to always lose capacity faster, but are also 20-25% cost of APC labeled batteries.
I searched up all the power ratings for my equipment, input them into the "calculator" on the APC site, and it said the cheapest unit for my equipment costs $1,500. I definitely think I did something wrong...
AVR - 570 watts
TV - 340 watts
PS3 - 200 watts
Cable box - 30 watts


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That is 1140 W. Chances are the AVR is pulling less than half that power most of the time, so optimistically subtract a couple of hundred watts, remembering that the idea is not to provide lengthy run time but ride through a short glitch and give you time to get up and turn things off. APC direct is awfully expensive unless they are having a big sale and you have an email code, and even then your local Best Buy or whatever probably has them cheaper. A TrippLite 1500 VA/900W unit from Amazon is about $150: http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-SMA...1&keywords=ups A similar APC unit is about $200: http://www.amazon.com/APC-BR1500G-BA...s=apc+back-ups I did not look to see what the differences are.

The comparable CyberPower unit is $140 but I have zero experience with CyberPower. I would read some customer reviews on Amazon and Google for other reviews.

I would get the 1500VA TrippLite and call it done.

HTH - Don

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That APC is similar to the Tripp lite unit that looks the same. Just never worked with APC surge protectors before.

No, you didn't really do anything wrong. A/V equipment just has the potential to use a TON of energy. You'd be looking at a unit around 2000va and that wouldn't be cheap. But don't let that be a dead end for you. Since you have multiple devices to plug in, you can go with multiple smaller ups. So instead of dropping $1200-1500 on a 2200va or bigger unit, you could easily grab 2 - 1000va units for right around $100 a piece. Then you'd put the avr on one unit, and the tv/ps3/cable box on the other unit. Both those units at full draw would be pulling a bit less than 11 amps so you'd be good to go provided you get a 15amp main surge protector and that your subwoofer amp draws less than 400-500 watts at the outlet.

Is your TV at 340 watts the projector? Or do you have a tv AND a projector that you would be protecting separately?

EDIT>> I've had no problems with CyberPower units. I've actually been switching out my older APC for Cyberpower lately. All active simulated sin wave units. Also, I can't really recommend anyone to under buy an ups because if your equipment DOES happen to kick up and take the full amount in it's specs, then your ups will simply turn off in overload mode. Of course you can do what you want to, but I can't recommend you do that.

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post #30 of 54 Old 06-21-2014, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeydwondrer View Post
That APC is similar to the Tripp lite unit that looks the same. Just never worked with APC surge protectors before.

No, you didn't really do anything wrong. A/V equipment just has the potential to use a TON of energy. You'd be looking at a unit around 2000va and that wouldn't be cheap. But don't let that be a dead end for you. Since you have multiple devices to plug in, you can go with multiple smaller ups. So instead of dropping $1200-1500 on a 2200va or bigger unit, you could easily grab 2 - 1000va units for right around $100 a piece. Then you'd put the avr on one unit, and the tv/ps3/cable box on the other unit. Both those units at full draw would be pulling a bit less than 11 amps so you'd be good to go provided you get a 15amp main surge protector and that your subwoofer amp draws less than 400-500 watts at the outlet.

Is your TV at 340 watts the projector? Or do you have a tv AND a projector that you would be protecting separately?

EDIT>> I've had no problems with CyberPower units. I've actually been switching out my older APC for Cyberpower lately. All active simulated sin wave units. Also, I can't really recommend anyone to under buy an ups because if your equipment DOES happen to kick up and take the full amount in it's specs, then your ups will simply turn off in overload mode. Of course you can do what you want to, but I can't recommend you do that.
I never even thought about using 2 smaller units as opposed to 1 big one....so thanks for that! My only concern would then become the amount of power being drawn from the actual wall socket, because won't the UPC itself be pulling power, too?

And the 340 is for my TV - its a Panasonic ST30, 50". I searched on the Panasonic site but a power consumption rating was not provided; I found that number from a website that reviewed the model and tested numbers for themselves.

I have an Optoma HD131xe projector, but as I told DonH it would not be connected to the same protection device since it is located at the opposite side of the room. It would/will have its own unit(s).

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