Originally Posted by aj1101
I went to the wire cutter site and they recommended this protector: http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Out...subtag=WC28180
and it comes with $150000 insurance for equipment attached to it. There are protectors that are more money with higher jule ratings, 2395 joule surge suppression rating for this unit. Would I need a higher jule rating and why?
Wirecutter's article is grossly misleading. Their aim is the "best surge protection" for under $25. To their credit they basically state that whether you're buying a $10 surge protector from the local grocery store to a $180 Monster Power center, at the heart of the protection the technology is all the same. MOV's were never intended to be used for surge protection but because they are cheap, they are being used this way. A whole house surge protector will handle about 80% of the external surges but nothing for in-home generated surges coming from anything with a motor that cycles on/off (think air conditioner, furnace/box/window fan, washing machine, clothes dryer, blender, mixer, grinder, hair dryer and refrigerator). So targeted point solutions are still required.
Then how does an MOV surge protector work? Most use triple mode protection and divert the surge to NEUTRAL and GROUND. Where does the surge go when it gets to ground? It needs an ultra low impedance path to the mains electrical panel and subsequent ground wire connection to the buried ground rod, but consider that even a 1 ohm impedance of the house wiring can cause 1000 volts to appear on ground from a 1000 amp surge. The very electronics you're trying to protect from the surge will get zapped when Ground is contaminated. Over time you'll have an unexplained hard drive crash, fried motherboard, premature failure of a power supply, bad USB or bad HDMI port.
The only improvements in the 40-45 years in MOV technology is to how it is encased to prevent explosions or catching fire or how it's wired in a circuit (adjacent to a thermal fuse) that either takes the MOV out of the circuit and allows the surge protector to work w/o surge protection or takes the surge protector off-line and anything connected to it.
Connected Equipment Warranties are difficult to collect on especially if you did not follow all the rules and in the end if its determined that the surge made its way into the damaged electronics by a different path (i.e., ground contamination is a valid different path but not covered under the warranty) you get nothing. But even if you meet all the requirements at best you only get fair market value based on recent Craigslist or eBay prices.
An alternative is to use a true surge eliminator (not just something that diverts the surge) rather a series mode power filter made by ZeroSurge, Brickwall or SurgeX. These devices cost more up front (from $60 used to $160+ new) but are one time purchases per application and will outlive you. Consider that many manufactures of MOV based surge protectors encourage you to replace the surge protector annually (since they don't know how long the MOV's will last), long term economics favor series mode.
Then there is the matter of testing. Wirecutter relied on a surge ranging from 100 to 600 V in 100 V increments with no more than 2 amps of current. Put another way, a surge ranging from 0.01 Joules to 0.06 Joules. What surge protector would fail this test? And how does this test tell you how well a surge protector will work?
Wirecutter adds the following disclosure to their article: We help support the hundreds of hours that go into our evaluations through affiliate commissions on purchases made through our links. We’re committed to publishing unbiased guides that clearly detail our decision-making criteria to our readers, but we just want you to know." The #1
rated products appear to change every 3-4 months amongst the companies whose products are in those links and of course those companies tout the #1
rating assigned to them by Wirecutter. Wirecutter is happy, the manufactures are happy, but is the consumer happy? Their current #1
rated surge protector was given that rating because of information that the manufacture's PR
department gave to Wirecutter last September. The information is not included on the manufactures website or in the documentation provided with the surge protector.
The author of the Dec 2015 update added "There are many ways to achieve the outcomes we desire" but consider that even APC in their Technical Note #T3
describes series-mode technology: "The best type of surge suppressors use a "series" or isolating design". Manufacturers of (series-mode) surge suppressors, such as Zero Surge, Inc., virtually eliminate ground wire contamination.." In other words, APC engineers had the integrity to acknowledge the benefits of the series-mode technology, even though they offer shunt-mode technology, and do not benefit from their candid observations.
Lastly, if you live in a place that has no ground connections, then you cannot use an MOV based surge protector which shunts surges to GROUND. Your only alternatives are to retrofit your wiring by adding a ground, moving or purchasing a SERIES MODE power filter which does not rely on MOV's or ground.