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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Not sure if I should post this here or the AVR section.

I just bought a Pioneer VSX-LX301 from BB yesterday (as well as a pair of Kef Q100's from my local dealer), and both the BB/Magnolia salesman as Kef dealer said I should definitely get a high-current surge protector. BB wanted to sell me a Panamax MR4000 for $100, the Kef guy said he just ran out (think he said Panamax too, $100 marked down to $70). I do have plenty of surge protector strips, but none are "HC". Kef dealer told me to leave receiver unplugged if there's a chance of lightning, until I could pick one up.

So I ended up going back to BB to get the MR4000, but do I really need it? As of right now I have a 42" LED TV (which I'm sure I'll upgrade to a bigger 4k TV in a few years), a HTPC (650w power supply), Comcast DVR and DVD player (latter two of which will probably be going away in the next 6 months). Currently have 4 bookshelfs (the new Kef's and a pair of small Polks in the rear) and a small sub, which will probably upgrade to floor standers and a center at some point. We mostly watch TV and movies, although not supper loud (have no idea how many DB's, as I haven't setup the Pioneer yet).

Also, according to Amazon, the MR4000 isn't even "high-current". So, do I really need this or would something else be sufficient for my needs? Would prefer something I put behind the entertainment center as well, although I guess I could do that with the MR4000 despite it being designed for a shelf/rack mount.

Thanks in advance!
 

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You don't necessarily need a "high current" surge protector, you just need one that can meet the total wattage requirements of everything that will be plugged into it. Your new Pioneer receiver can draw up to 550 watts (per the specs on the Pioneer website), you've stated you HTPC has a 650 watt power supply. So look up the wattage draw for everything else you will plug into the surge protector and then add up the values then check that against the rating for the surge protector you have, or any that you might plan to buy.

While I won't say anything negative about Panamax products, they may be overkill for what you need. Panamax does offer a large variety of surge protectors and power conditioners, they aren't the answer for everyone. Their pricing aims them at the audiophile market - people who will purchase it because of it's price, not because it will provide a solution that they really need.
 

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I think the likelihood you'll be struck by lightning is about as likely that you'll be struck by lightning.:)

Surge protectors are like cleaning clothes for TVs, aftermarket cables, extended warranties, etc.: In theory in some instances they make sense but if you are being solicited into buying one it is most likely due to retailer greed.
 
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Did you get this sales pitch before or after the one for Monster cables and the extended warranty? :rolleyes:
You can't cheat an informed buyer. Now that you are informed take the MR4000 back for a refund.
 
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I think the likelihood you'll be struck by lightning is about as likely that you'll be struck by lightning.:)
.
Depends on where you live. My house or yard has been struck lightning at least 5/6 times since 2003 when I bought it, and I talked to one owner before that and they reported the same. For whatever reasons (Florida!)
I have replaced modems, garage door openers, phones, a water heater coil, other computer devices, I can't even remember what all over the years. I even had a small burn mark on the roof one time attic side.
I take it in stride but I do have surge protectors everywhere!
 

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I do have surge protectors everywhere!
That's a nice feel good approach, but no surge protector will stand up to a close lightning hit. OTOH the number of hits close enough to hurt anything protected or not is miniscule. I know that's of no consequence if you're the one unlucky enough to have it happen to, but it's true that surge damage to gear is just about as common as getting hit by lightning. In the last 50 years I've suffered the sum total of one $5 IC being damaged by a surge, and that was a close lightning hit. Even that wouldn't have happened but I left a mic cord plugged into a mixer with no mic at the other end, and the connector on a damp rug over a concrete basement floor.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, been offline all day. Thanks for all the replies.

Did you get this sales pitch before or after the one for Monster cables and the extended warranty? :rolleyes:
You can't cheat an informed buyer. Now that you are informed take the MR4000 back for a refund.
That's funny. I used to work at CompUSA in high-school and them trying to push us to sell the extended service plans. Also remember the "premium" printer cables and that our cost on them was just a small fraction of the cost, slightly more then the regular cables. And I've been buying all my cables at Monoprice for years now, so I wasn't going to take the bait when they asked if I needed any HDMI or speaker wires.

Yes, I'm well aware of salespeople trying to upsell things that aren't needed. But I do know that it is possible for equipment to get damanged due to electrical. I lost a receiver 13 years ago on moving day (as I didn't wait to find a surge protector and just plugged it into the wall). And watching the news as I write this and they showed a house fire that is believed to be caused by a "faulty" power strip (which may or may not have been overloaded).

Again, that's for the responses. Definitely returning the Panamax, although will probably still pickup a decent cheaper surge protector that offers insurance, if only for my peace of mind. Wirecutter has reviewed a bunch and recommends a Tripp Lite for roughly $30.
 

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^^ The only surge arrestors worth having are large whole house units installed in the switchboard. Won't protect against a direct lightning strike though. Plug in ones are junk and a waste of money.
 

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I used to work at CompUSA in high-school and them trying to push us to sell the extended service plans. Also remember the "premium" printer cables and that our cost on them was just a small fraction of the cost, slightly more then the regular cables.
The profit margin on most gear is barely enough to cover overhead. That's why brick and mortar electronics stores are in such bad shape. The items they make the most profit on are high priced cables, extended warrantees and printer ink.
 

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That's a nice feel good approach, but no surge protector will stand up to a close lightning hit. OTOH the number of hits close enough to hurt anything protected or not is miniscule. I know that's of no consequence if you're the one unlucky enough to have it happen to, but it's true that surge damage to gear is just about as common as getting hit by lightning. In the last 50 years I've suffered the sum total of one $5 IC being damaged by a surge, and that was a close lightning hit. Even that wouldn't have happened but I left a mic cord plugged into a mixer with no mic at the other end, and the connector on a damp rug over a concrete basement floor.
Yeah, well its not the point to protect gear from close lightning hits...that requires different kinds of gear. The point is to protect from "not so close" indirect lightning strikes. Here where I live network cards in PC are a typical victim of lightning strike that can originate quite far away, because phone lines don't get much of a surge protection. Electric devices at least have main breakers in the house as a first line of defense, and if that isn't enough...next in line are failsafes in power supplies of your devices. We had indirect hit once nearby. All of our TVs, radios and some other gear had to be serviced. Would've been cheaper just to replace few surge protectors if we had them then.
Ofc, its implied to buy something that works, and doesn't cost like its made of gold. As for a folk that prefer some expensive electronic gear, insurance against indirect lightning strike is required if you can actually find a decent insurance house that offers such a deal.
 
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Here where I live network cards in PC are a typical victim of lightning strike that can originate quite far away
That's because PC power supplies tend to be built as cheaply as possible. It's the fragility of PC power supplies that gave rise to the widespread use of surge protectors, while the need to safely shut down computers in case of a power failure resulted in the UPS. Audio gear tends to be much more robust, and all they need for surge protection is a handful of $2 MOVs. For that matter most decent quality audio gear has MOVs built in already.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah, well its not the point to protect gear from close lightning hits...that requires different kinds of gear. The point is to protect from "not so close" indirect lightning strikes. Here where I live network cards in PC are a typical victim of lightning strike that can originate quite far away, because phone lines don't get much of a surge protection. Electric devices at least have main breakers in the house as a first line of defense, and if that isn't enough...next in line are failsafes in power supplies of your devices. We had indirect hit once nearby. All of our TVs, radios and some other gear had to be serviced. Would've been cheaper just to replace few surge protectors if we had them then.
Ofc, its implied to buy something that works, and doesn't cost like its made of gold. As for a folk that prefer some expensive electronic gear, insurance against indirect lightning strike is required if you can actually find a decent insurance house that offers such a deal.
Exactly. I know the chances of getting a direct hit are extremely rare, but I've lost equipment before due to other no-so close lightning or just bad electrical outlets/power.

I don't mind spending ~$30 on a power strip that will probably have gear insurance (or even if it doesn't), if it'll save me $1-2k on new equipment in the rare chance that something should happen (again).
 

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Electric devices at least have main breakers in the house as a first line of defense,
They will not offer any protection to an HV surge. They are designed to operate under conditions of current overload to prevent the insulation on the wiring in your walls etc melting, causing shorts and fires from this or the heat generated in the cables. Lightning strikes, HV intermixes are high voltage events.

and if that isn't enough...next in line are failsafes in power supplies of your devices.
Most gear has zero overvoltage protection, not even a cheap MOV so there are no fail safes in the devices.

The reasons I suggest whole house units are many, but mainly these two: I've seen them work, and they're placed at the point they'll work best, ie where the earthing resistance and inductance is lowest so as to clamps the voltage better. They also tend to be much larger and have the capacity to deal with the sorts of energies required.

Australia has a different distribution structure for urban power distribution than the US. Instead of a transformer every couple of homes and HV on the poles, we typically use a two layer construction on overhead distribution. The top layer is 11/22kV (sometimes 33kV) above a 415V distribution. Transformers are 330kVA to 1MVA and will feed many dozens of homes. If a vehicle strikes the pole, it is possible for the HV to fall into the LV wiring suddenly making the LV, HV. The sub protection will pick up the fault fairly quickly, but not quickly enough to prevent damage to the sensitive electronics in your home. This is a far more likely event than lightning strike and what I'm trying to cover for.
 

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That's because PC power supplies tend to be built as cheaply as possible. It's the fragility of PC power supplies that gave rise to the widespread use of surge protectors, while the need to safely shut down computers in case of a power failure resulted in the UPS. Audio gear tends to be much more robust, and all they need for surge protection is a handful of $2 MOVs. For that matter most decent quality audio gear has MOVs built in already.
True, power supplies in PCs are usually terrible. Things have somewhat improved since. Network cards getting fried from overvoltage is a different issue though, non PSU related, since network cards usually get fried through LAN cable which offers zero surge protection. And if they are integrated on motherboard damage can be worse too. Thats why some surge protectors have jacks for LAN cables. I use ones from www.apc.com Hopefully they provide "some" protection. :D
 

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They will not offer any protection to an HV surge. They are designed to operate under conditions of current overload to prevent the insulation on the wiring in your walls etc melting, causing shorts and fires from this or the heat generated in the cables. Lightning strikes, HV intermixes are high voltage events.
I see. I didn't really distinguish between two.

Most gear has zero overvoltage protection, not even a cheap MOV so there are no fail safes in the devices.

The reasons I suggest whole house units are many, but mainly these two: I've seen them work, and they're placed at the point they'll work best, ie where the earthing resistance and inductance is lowest so as to clamps the voltage better. They also tend to be much larger and have the capacity to deal with the sorts of energies required.

Australia has a different distribution structure for urban power distribution than the US. Instead of a transformer every couple of homes and HV on the poles, we typically use a two layer construction on overhead distribution. The top layer is 11/22kV (sometimes 33kV) above a 415V distribution. Transformers are 330kVA to 1MVA and will feed many dozens of homes. If a vehicle strikes the pole, it is possible for the HV to fall into the LV wiring suddenly making the LV, HV. The sub protection will pick up the fault fairly quickly, but not quickly enough to prevent damage to the sensitive electronics in your home. This is a far more likely event than lightning strike and what I'm trying to cover for.
Yeah, I'm from Europe, I think its similar design to Australian. Do you maybe know a typical cost of whole house surge protection unit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
FYI, I ended up buying the Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV for $26, which is good for 1875 watts and has $150k insurance. I was going to get the RJ45 model, but it's only 100MB and I'd prefer my HTPC to have full GB.

Thanks again for the responses!
 

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I have a Tripp Lite mounted vertically on the back of my audio tower:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00019OXF8/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Works great and I discovered a secret trick they won't tell you about [due to liability concerns]: if you have at least some basic electrical skills you can unscrew/remove the end cap, saw it down to whatever length you need, patch the cut wires so they don't short [that's the part they are afraid customers will botch], and then since the screw threads for the end cap run the entire length you can then screw it back in. BINGO! Custom length to fit any rack!:cool:

They also sell shorter versions but only at specific lengths. Some are just strips and others have UL1449 surge protection, all that I care about, although I usually plug these things in other, already protected products such as my APC UPS.
 

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FYI, I ended up buying the Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV for $26, which is good for 1875 watts and has $150k insurance.
$26 is worth it just for the outlets, so that's not a bad deal. But at their wholesale price, figure $15, they'd have to sell 10,000 of them to cover the $150k insurance maximum payout if just one of them failed. They're willing to take that bet, because they know that chance is about the same as you being hit by lightning: 1 in 280,000.
 
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