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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on a full home auto system as well as home theater for my new home. I am installing a whole house surge protector at the main panel. Will I still need power conditioner for the electronics?
 

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I would think the Whole House Surge Protector's main purpose would be to protect your electronics. Other electrical devices are generally pretty tolerant of surges.


So I don't see a need for any further protection devices, unless you are looking for brown-out protection, but that requires a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).
 

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I'm kind of a nut when it comes to TVSS, having lost more than my fair share of equipment to it.


1. The only whole-house TVSS that really works is the kind installed inline with your meter - assuming your electrical municipality will allow your electrician to install it inside their meter housing. This will protect you from all TVSS entering your home from the service entrance.


2. You must also protect electronics from lightning and internally generated TVSS. Internally generated TVSS, in this case, is typically generated from a large electrical motor blowing/shorting - this could be your HVAC, Laundry Drier, Vacuum, etc. In-panel solutions are marketed for this reason but, IMHO, you're betting that it's going to be a shorter route to ground than through the branch circuit to which your equipment is attached.


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Since you're probably going to be installing in-line automation relays, an in-panel TVSS provides some insurance for your investment .vs. none at all.


For a media closet / AV Equipment area, I would recommend a dedicated 20AMP circuit that has hospital grade 20AMP TVSS electrical outlet(s) attached to it. Into that, a good quality UPS with some kind of voltage regulation - for brown-out prevention - and maybe a full-fledged line conditioner if you tested your line and it shows you have a lot of RFI that cannot be rectified with a $1.00 ferrite core attached to the power plug.
 

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It may provide peace of mind, and you can never have too many cool LEDs in your rack.


I like the idea of a UPS that helps diminish sags and surges, but may not be worth the cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjo_reich /forum/post/19648300


I'm kind of a nut when it comes to TVSS, having lost more than my fair share of equipment to it.


1. The only whole-house TVSS that really works is the kind installed inline with your meter - assuming your electrical municipality will allow your electrician to install it inside their meter housing. This will protect you from all TVSS entering your home from the service entrance.


2. You must also protect electronics from lightning and internally generated TVSS. Internally generated TVSS, in this case, is typically generated from a large electrical motor blowing/shorting - this could be your HVAC, Laundry Drier, Vacuum, etc. In-panel solutions are marketed for this reason but, IMHO, you're betting that it's going to be a shorter route to ground than through the branch circuit to which your equipment is attached.


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Since you're probably going to be installing in-line automation relays, an in-panel TVSS provides some insurance for your investment .vs. none at all.


For a media closet / AV Equipment area, I would recommend a dedicated 20AMP circuit that has hospital grade 20AMP TVSS electrical outlet(s) attached to it. Into that, a good quality UPS with some kind of voltage regulation - for brown-out prevention - and maybe a full-fledged line conditioner if you tested your line and it shows you have a lot of RFI that cannot be rectified with a $1.00 ferrite core attached to the power plug.


So you are saying that an in panel surge protector does not offer much protection at all unless its installed in the meter?

Our municipality does not allow anything to be installed at the meter (too many grow ops bypassing power) so it has to be installed at the main panel.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjo_reich /forum/post/19648300


IThe only whole-house TVSS that really works is the kind installed inline with your meter...

Wrong. Even though the surge protective device is installed between the meter and the meter socket, the MOVs are still across the line, not in series with it. A surge protective device installed on the load side at the service entrance will work as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arjo_reich /forum/post/19648300


...HVAC, Laundry Drier, Vacuum, etc...

If you have a surge protective device at the panel, you have the same protection from surges from these sources as if they originated from outside your house as long as your sensitive equipment is not on the same branch circuit as the source.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chomperoni /forum/post/19650382


So you are saying that an in panel surge protector does not offer much protection at all unless its installed in the meter?

It only looks in-line. No protector is in-line; stops or blocks a surge. That 'whole house' protector connects every AC electric wire to earth ground.


Therein lies what does protection. What do destructive surges seek? Earth ground. Either massive surge energy harmlessly dissipates in earth. Or it dissipates destructively inside the building. Only you make that choice.


A 'whole house' protector can be located behind a meter, attached to the meter's pan, or in a breaker box. But this is what you must always know. No protector does protection. Not one. Either that protector makes a short (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. Or that energy is inside hunting for earth destructively via appliances. Only you make that choice.


Any facility that can never have damage always connects every incoming wire short to earth. AC electric three wires - each must connect to earth. Telephone is two wires. Both must connect to earth. Telco install a 'whole house' protector for free at your subcriber interface because it costs so little and is so effective.


But only you earth a 'whole house' protector on the most common incoming path of surges - AC electric.


You need protection for everything. What protects your dishwasher, furnance, clock radios, and refrigerator. Those also need protection. So informed homeowners install the effective solution for about $1 per protected appliance. More responsible companies such as ABB, Intermatic, Leviton, Siemens, and General Electric manufacturer them. A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot for less than $50.


This you must understand. No protector - not one - does protection. Your protector will only be as effective as its single point earth ground. That means earthing that both meets and exceed post 1990 National Electrical code. And short, low impedance connections from each protector to single point ground.


If a protector does not have a dedicated wire for the always required short connection to earth, then protection does not exist. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground - where a surge is harmlessly absorbed. Which is why that 'behind the meter' protector averts suge damage. And why plug-in protectors do not claim that protection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by westom
If a protector does not have a dedicated wire for the always required short connection to earth, then protection does not exist. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground - where a surge is harmlessly absorbed. Which is why that 'behind the meter' protector averts suge damage. And why plug-in protectors do not claim that protection.
The voltage that damages appliances usually occurs line-to-line, not line to ground. Thus a line-to-line surge protector will provide some protection, even if it does not have a short connection to earth. And I believe plug-in surge protectors have a surge protector from line to the plug ground so there is also some protection there.


My point is that, although plug-in protectors may not be as good as a protector at the panel, they will still provide some protection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow /forum/post/19652694


The voltage that damages appliances usually occurs line-to-line, not line to ground.

So how often are you replacing dimmer switches harmed by those line to line surges? Those line-to-line surges are so tiny as to not even be discussed in IEEE and other papers. They are called noise. In every case, the destructive surge is wire to earth. Doing autopsies of surge damaged electronics makes facts in IEEE and other papers totally obvious.


For example, what happens when the 33,000 volt wire dropped on local distribution? That is 33,000 volts to earth.


What happens when a transformer primary shorts to its secondary. Again, no line-to-line surge. A surge from each wire to earth. A line-to-line surge is at best maybe a hundred volts. And most often only tens of volts - noise. Well below protection inside all appliances.


Surges to damage appliances are many thousands of volts. Those are surges from each wire to earth.


How does a line-to-line protector work? Where does it absorb all that energy? Since destructive surges are tens and hundreds of thousands of joules, then how does that plug-in protector (only hundreds of joules) make all energy disappear? But again, surge protection is always about where energy dissipates.


And finally, what protects from all types of surges including line-to-line? One 'whole house' protector. Protector that earths direct lightning strikes - and remains functional - also makes irrelevant those tiny line-to-line surges.


Yes, plug-in protectors do provide protection ... from surges that typically do no damage. Surges that are near zero energy. They are profit centers. Often undersized to fail on a surge that cannot damage an appliance. Undersizing (catastrophic failure) gets the most naive to recommend plug-in protectors and buy more. Unfortunately, a power strip protector also introduces new, rare, but catastrophic problem - these scary pictures:
http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?page=556&parent=554
http://www.ddxg.net/old/surge_protectors.htm
http://www.zerosurge.com/HTML/movs.html
http://*******.com/3x73ol where *** is t i n y u r l and is entitled "Surge Protector Fires"
http://www3.cw56.com/news/articles/local/BO63312/
http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/news/les...tectorfire.htm
http://www.pennsburgfireco.com/fullstory.php?58339


Or as Norma reported on 27 Dec 2008 in "The Power Outage":

> Today, the cable company came to replace a wire. Well the cable man pulled a wire

> and somehow yanked loose their "ground" wire. The granddaughter on the computer

> yelled and ran because sparks and smoke were coming from the power surge strip.


More reasons why reliable facilities (ie your telco switching center) do not waste money on power strip protectors. Diverts more money into what does effective protection - single point earth ground.


Take a $3 power strip. Add some ten cent protector parts. It sells in a grocery store for $7. Same protector in a fancier box sells to the naive for $25 or $150. Or put inside an even fancier box and called a 'line conditioner' to sell for many $hundreds. They are not selling protection. It is a profit center. The best power strip protector is the same circuit inside a $7 grocery store version.


An informed homeowner diverts money into protection that makes even direct lightning strikes irrelevant. How many reasons why - besides energy numbers? The superior solution also costs less money. The superior solution does not have obscene profit margins. The superior solution also makes line-to-line surges irrelevant. Reliable facilities spend for properly earthed protectors.


OP must understand the point. A 'whole house' protector does not do protection. Any money spent on plug-in protectors should be diverted to install (pre-1990 homes) or upgrading what does the protection - single point earth ground. That earth ground must both meet and exceed post 1990 code requirement. Because earthing - not any protector - is where energy harmlessly dissipates. The effective protector connects short to what does the protection - single point earth ground.


See that cable TV wire? No protector connects to earth. That coax cable must connect to earth - as short as possible - with only a wire. Cable TV need no protector to connect to protection. And only you provide that protection. A wire - even required by code - must also make a short (no sharp bends, no splices, etc) connection to what you provide for protection - single point earthing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chomperoni /forum/post/19646052


I am planning on a full home auto system as well as home theater for my new home. I am installing a whole house surge protector at the main panel. Will I still need power conditioner for the electronics?

It's really more of a personal choice than it is anything else .. modern gear is built to withstand minor current fluctuation ..


That said, I do use a conditioner / UPS on my rack .. why .. ?? I like the extra peace of mind, I'm an old tech head that used to run pro sound so I like gear, I've watched metered grid fluctuations on incoming power and I know it does fluctuate, the area I live has more than average fluctuation as well as electrical outages ..


But it's mainly because I just like the gear ..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn /forum/post/19654388


I've watched metered grid fluctuations on incoming power and I know it does fluctuate,

Now apply hard facts to that observation. All electronics work normally even when incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. How much are your bulbs changing intensity. Voltage variations that are still normal power for all electronics can also be harmful to other at risk appliances. Serious voltage variations can harm the refrigerator, dishwasher, and furnace. Voltage changes that great are still normal power to all electronics.


When we design, changing voltages even down to zero is normal testing. That testing never causes damage. We must confirm voltage that low (bulbs at less than 50% intensity) still result in fully functional electronics. That low voltage requirement was standard long before the transistors were standard in homes.


Your fluctuations cause bulbs to change intensity how little? Those variations are more fear than fact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am going to talk to my electrician to ask him about the method that he is proposing. Since this is a new home under construction the house will be built according to the latest codes.

I live in Canada and the electrical codes here are very strict and require two ground wires attached to rods buried deep into the ground.

However, I've been told that this alone does not protect from large surges for electronics therefore the need for a device installed by the electrician at the panel.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chomperoni /forum/post/19656367


I am going to talk to my electrician to ask him about the method that he is proposing. Since this is a new home under construction the house will be built according to the latest codes.

I live in Canada and the electrical codes here are very strict and require two ground wires attached to rods buried deep into the ground.

However, I've been told that this alone does not protect from large surges for electronics therefore the need for a device installed by the electrician at the panel.

Nobody said earth ground alone does protection. Either each incoming wire connects to that best earth ground. Or protection has been compromised. Any incoming wire inside any cable not connected to earthing means compromised protection. That is what a ‘whole house’ protector in the panel does. A minimally sized protector starts at 50,000 amps.


Unfortunately, a best earth ground is installed before footings are poured - Ufer ground. Or a buried loop encircles the building before backfilling. But you have one advantage. In Canada, the intensity and frequency of surges is less.


Geology (including soil type) is important. If soil is conductive, then two earth ground rods can be more than sufficient. But again, even a telephone installed for free 'whole house' protector must be located for a short (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to those electrodes. Even a satellite dish wire.


Either a wire connects directly to that ground (cable TV), or makes that connection via a 'whole house' protector (AC electric). A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Building protection means every incoming wire (including underground) makes that short earthing connection.


Your codes are similar to others in North America. Those codes only define human safety. Transistor safety means exceeding those codes. Each ground wire must be short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). No sharp wire bends. Ground wires separated from other wires. All grounds meet at the earthing electrode.


For example, a ground wire from breaker box can go up over a foundation and down to earth. Sufficient for code. And insufficient for surge protection. That ground wire best goes through a foundation and down to earth. Eliminate sharp bends over the foundation. Many feet shorter. Separated from other breaker box wires. Examples of how to reduce wire impedance. Minimizing ground wire impedance (with is different from wire resistance) only makes each 'whole house' protector even more effective.


Wire diameter has less effect on impedance. Shorter wire length does more. Low impedance and better earthing make every nearby protector even that much better. Every incoming wire must make a low impedance connection to earth.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by westom /forum/post/19654714


Now apply hard facts to that observation. All electronics work normally even when incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. How much are your bulbs changing intensity. Voltage variations that are still normal power for all electronics can also be harmful to other at risk appliances. Serious voltage variations can harm the refrigerator, dishwasher, and furnace. Voltage changes that great are still normal power to all electronics.


When we design, changing voltages even down to zero is normal testing. That testing never causes damage. We must confirm voltage that low (bulbs at less than 50% intensity) still result in fully functional electronics. That low voltage requirement was standard long before the transistors were standard in homes.


Your fluctuations cause bulbs to change intensity how little? Those variations are more fear than fact.

Did you even read my post .. ??
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn /forum/post/19657818


Did you even read my post .. ??

Peace of mind is a 'fear of monsters under the bed' when you ignore facts. How much are your light bulbs dimming and brightening? A fact necessary before entertaining any fear.


Worry more about a rat infestation. Or about other appliances at greater risk. Ideal power for your electronics is incandescent lamps at 50% intensity. Yes, ideal. If you really have a problem, then what is that variation - the numbers?


Are your bulb variations irritating? That means reading and replying to what was posted. Apparently you have near zero variation. Post some numbers to learn more.
 
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