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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I admit to being essentially clueless on this topic. Reading the various manufacturers web sites confuses me even more.


I hear great things about b-p-t gear, and I read the Special Guest interview with Chris Hoff from that company in August. I gathered that the b-p-t units don't include surge suppression. If that's correct, can someone recommend a good surge suppressor to use with the b-p-t units or, alternatively, a good all-in-one device from another company within my $700 price constraint?


I'll also show my complete ignorance here -- If I recall correctly, Chris mentioned the desirability of routing "digital" equipment through an isolated circuit available in some of the b-p-t units. Is that correct? Exactly which A/V gear is considered "digital?" DVD players? CD players? Should video gear be isolated from audio gear? (I told you I was clueless!)


I plan to ask b-p-t directly some of these questions but thought I'd get a head start here, since it's the weekend. Any input will be greatly appreciated.
 

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No manufacturer i know of makes a surge suppressor that really works. All are metal oxide varistor based, and one really good surge will permanently disable, either shorting together or opening the circuit.


Large transformer based isolation devices are mostly immune to short duration surges.
 

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Duane,


I had Chris at BPT design a power cord for my plasma which works very well. I had several good do-it-yourself suggestions here but just didn't have the time to construct them. I use a Tripplite Isobar 6+ surge protector because of the insurance offered. I previously took about an $8000 hit from lightning through the video portion of my sat. cable. I had an outside ground and different surge protectors on the electrical side but still lost all video. My homeowners paid but there was still the deductible and some upgrades that cost me well over $1000. I think surges and lightning are inevitable so I tried to take cost effective measures for future losses while not degrading sound and video.
 

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The BPTs are very good, and the Ultra edition does add surge suppression in the form of MOVs.


Brick Wall surge supressors work via shunt to neutral using no MOVs.


Maybe a combination of both (Brick Wall feeding BPT) would be a very good solution.


Regards,
 

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Iceman,


It doesn't help that you live in the lightning strike capital of the world, dude!


Regards,
 

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I'd start with a Brickwall, which is a non-MOV surge supressor, and also provides basic line conditioning. For about $150, it's an easy start.


Don't go crazy on this all at once, you may find that expensive equipment produces little improvement, or a cheap device solves a problem. It isn't that power conditioning is a black art, but the truth is that there are all sorts of power anomalies which you may or may not be experiencing...some devices may work for you, some may not, and the most reasonable way to be sure is to try. About the only thing that's certain is that everyone should have a surge supression device.


The problem with MOV based surge supressors is that the components are gradually worn down by voltage surges. If you don't have a lot of line disturbances, this may not be a big deal, if you live in thunder country, it is. The MOV devices will fail without warning, possibly exposing your equipment (and you) to high voltages. Having insurance doesn't guarantee performance. You really don't want to be in the position of testing your insurance.


Here are a few links for non-MOV surge supressors:

http://www.zerosurge.com/
http://www.surgex.com/
http://www.brickwall.com/


Mike Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info and links, everyone. This is a big help.
 

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John,


You are so right about lightning capital of the world. I'm impressed that you were aware of that. It creates problems such that we know we can't avoid it so we simply try to lessen the damage. The power company has very quick switchers to reroute supply but that causes many surges and one second outages. I don't think anyone uses a computer without a UPS.
 

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Iceman:


Isee you are using a Triplite, but I'm curious whether you've tried one of the series mode supressors, and what your experience has been. I haven't had a problem with the Brickwall. My earlier generic MOV supressor allowed a surge to destroy my last projector. That was in the days before the manufacturers offered surge damage insurance or warrantys. I use a Compaq UPS with my HT equipment, because I live in a rural area and get frequent brief outages.


Mike Frank
 

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iceman,


I grew up in Florida, so I'm well aware of its status.


You haven't lived in Florida until you've:


1) Been driving down A1A and had a tree 5 feet away hit by lightning!


2) Had the AC compressor take a strike outside your bedroom window. That'll get your attention in a hurry ;)


Regards,
 

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Mike,


The problem with most computer UPSs that aren't up into 4 figures, is that the quality of the "sine wave" isn't even good enough to be pathetic.


It's really a stepped Sine Wave, that looks kind of like a staircase. While it works fine with the switching power supply of a computer, many consumer electronics products don't like this output, and the result is transformer humming and buzzing.


If the Compaq is just passing wall current untouched except in the event of an outage, than you're, relatively speaking, OK.


Regards,
 

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The Compaq is a line interactive power system, which means that the power is filtered through a large transformer when main power is available. The transformer smoothes out brief transients. The batteries only kick in when there is an outage. Although I've not had any observable problems when on battery power, but I agree that cheap UPS's don't really produce pure sine waves, despite the manuf. claims. This is the reason I chose a line interactive, rather than an online UPS system.


There's also a built in MOV surge supressor, but since the UPS is plugged into the Brickwall, there should never be a case where this feature is used.

b

Mike Frank
 

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That's nice that it's "line interactive", but it says nothing about the quality of the output signal.


My guess, is it's none too pretty, even the "true sine" output UPSs aren't that great until you put in the US$3000+ units.


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I have have Isobars from tripplite in my systems for some time now and I like the idea of a the isolation it provides so cheap.


However, the one I have now (its the 6 outlet with coax and phone line protection) has a 10 amp breaker and when I have it pluged in and my amp (on a seperate outlet as per manufacturers instructions) at the same time I can pop the 20 amp breaker (mys systems on) when powering up the amp easily. The inrush current caused by the 120,000 micro farads in storage caps cause a surge that just pops the breaker most times. If I have the amp plugged into the protector it's fine mostly. Also I had an Anthem MCA 5 plugged into the 6 outlet one and it thouroghly wigged out the amps protection circuitry. Anthem said to make sue the cord was pushed in all the way in the back of the amp and not to plug it into any supressor. I pushed the cord in to make sure it was in all the way (not sure if it was or not) and plugged the amp into that wall and viola no problems.
 
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