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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody using a Whole House surge protector at their panel box? Any recommendations on brands, features to be aware of, pitfalls, worries with X-10?


I've seen the Leviton brand and the Cuttler Hammer versions at HD? Either of these suitable? Best way to mount?


With almost a dozen PC's of various types in the home, plus AV equipment, I'd like to get some suitable protection in and above the Belkin surge suppressors that I have on some of my equipment, especially with the summer thunderstorm season rapidly approaching.
 

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I just had my electrician put one in my house under construction. I didn't specifiy a particular model (but probably should have). He put in the Cuttler Hammer "BR-Surge" because it matched the panel he had in the house. He said its as good as any of them...


Maybe one of our resident AVS electricians can jump in and set us straight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by ebr
I just had my electrician put one in my house under construction. I didn't specifiy a particular model (but probably should have). He put in the Cuttler Hammer "BR-Surge" because it matched the panel he had in the house. He said its as good as any of them...


Maybe one of our resident AVS electricians can jump in and set us straight.
How did he mount it? I assume you have a recessed panelboard somewhere...Is it finished all around with Drywall, or do you have access to it? If finished, where did your elect. mount the Surge Device? On the wall next to it? And if so, how did he fish the leads out of the panel box and into the Surge Device.


Or, is this the type that mounts as a circuit breaker? Any limitations on those type, as they would certainly be easier to install than an external one like the larger CH or Leviton.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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The physical configuration is not that important to the operation of the protector, only to access for replacement. Surge protectors do not last forever. The MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors) have a finite life. They "die" a little bit with each surge they absorb. That's why they (usually) have indicator lights.


The whole-house protector is a good idea, but not the end of the line. Surge protection is best done in a cascade fasion. Follow the panel-mounted one with a plug-in protector where the equipment is. Some have external grounding terminals; if yours does, it should be used, and you can connect other grounds to it.


Plug-in protectors have a lower 'clamping-voltage' value, which is why it helps where more-sensitive equipment is used, and it works better and lasts longer if it follows the aforementioned whole-house protector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by ebr
Mine is mounted in the breaker panel. Takes up two breaker spots and has indicator lights.


Larry, any comments specifically on the Cuttler Hammer BR Surge...? If its not up to snuff, I can still lean on my electrician to put in a better one.
Ebr,


If you go to CH's website, you'll see where they classify that device as mid-level protection only, and recommend the CHSP external mount version. Of course, I'm sure that is partly due to pricing, but nevertheless, something to consider.


Me, I'm leaning towards the intermatic for the price
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went to HD, and they were able to special order the Intermatic for $42, so for that price, I took the plunge.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by robertmee
Man, you want some interesting reading between two diverse opinions on lighting strikes, whole house surpression and why it is a waste of money to use strip surge protectors, read this:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e...om%26rnum%3D20
Hi Robert,


It seems that the only thing those folks agree on is that the financial risk can be mitigated by insurance.


Here's Panamax's (who market quality plug-in surge protection) take on the issue:

YOU NEED A WHOLE- HOUSE PROTECTION SYSTEM



Here's an abstract of the article:

Quote:
(INTRO/ABSTRACT)

Hard-wired AC and telephone protectors at the building entrance can keep major disturbances out of the house. Complete protection of AC-powered electronic equipment requires additional plug-in protectors, at the equipment to be protected. These “point-of-use†protectors provide much lower (safer) limiting voltages than the building entrance protectors, provide for integration of AC and signal protection, and protect against overvoltages that develop within the building. This paper deals only with AC protection; a subsequent article will discuss protecting against transients on signal lines.
As you can see it's the same opinion as expressed by Larry earlier in this thread.


Larry


EDIT: I thought Panamax only marketed plug-in protectors, but apparently they also have a service entrance mounted protector:

PRIMAX® Service Entrance Protector
 

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EB, the surge protector doesn't get wired "ahead" of the other circuits. In other words, the protector isn't in series with the rest of the house, it's in parallel, similar to an X-10 coupler; two hots and ground.


Theoretically, either device could be wired anywhere in the system, but the panel is the best place, mainly because that's where the heaviest conductors and shortest current paths are (the panel busbars).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Fine
Theoretically, either device could be wired anywhere in the system, but the panel is the best place, mainly because that's where the heaviest conductors and shortest current paths are (the panel busbars).
Not to mention proximity to the building ground.
 

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Well, Mooresville can't be that far from Richmond.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Fine
EB, the surge protector doesn't get wired "ahead" of the other circuits. In other words, the protector isn't in series with the rest of the house, it's in parallel, similar to an X-10 coupler; two hots and ground.


Theoretically, either device could be wired anywhere in the system, but the panel is the best place, mainly because that's where the heaviest conductors and shortest current paths are (the panel busbars).
Hi Larry,


I started reading more literature about the Panamax service entrance protector. In this Q&A AND APPLICATION GUIDE they seem to say thay being wired in parallel with the protector is not sufficient if the equipment is mounted outside.


Perhaps they're just trying to sell more protectors, but take a look at the diagram on second page of the Q&A guide.


In addition. on that first piece of literature that I referenced they state:

Quote:
Installation Flexibility - ULâ„¢ listed for installation before the main disconnect as a Surge Arrester or after the main disconnect as a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor.
Does this make any sense to you? Electrically isn't this equivalent? Why would there be a difference?


Thanks.


Larry
 

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Bump^
 

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I would say that the outdoor exposure is why they suggest extra protectors, but a single unit should suffice. As for ahead-of-the-main-disconnect protection, most codes and/or power companies don't allow any connections in the meter or ahead the main disconnect. The transient surge refers to equipment-generated surges, i.e, that come from within the home.
 

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And one other point should be pointed out - a lightning strike to, or very close to your house will get past anything meant to stop it. There is just simply too much energy in lightning.


Now, protecting from power surges due to service interruptions is a more resonable expectation from these devices, and primarily why I will be putting one at my basement sub-panel, which is downstream from my main SE panel.


Lightning happens. Make sure your homeowner's insurance covers this type of loss, or buy a rider.
 
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