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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys. I know this subject has been discussed a lot, especially over in the RPTV forum. So, please indulge me. Found/read several good threads using the search function, but still have questions.


I've finally made up my mind to go the whole house route (installed at the main panel), rather than just buying a point-of-use unit. "Clean" power is not an issue for me. I just want great surge protection (non-MOV, of course). If the recommended surge protector also has line conditioning and/or noise filtering, great... but I don't think I'll need it.


I have a Panny 50PX50U, which is just plugged into an inexpensive power strip/protector, until I find a more permanent and "better" solution. I'll probably have an electrician install the unit and would like to keep my total installed cost to $500 or less.


What brands/models would you guys recommend? I've heard some positive things about Surgex and Brickwall, among others. Also, a whole house protection unit by a company called Environmental Potential (model EP2050) sounds intriguing/promising. However, I'm a bit skeptical about this particular company/product. Anyone actually using a product from this company?


Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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SP

Have a new 50U and just had a Whole House Surge Protector put in. I went with the SurgeBreaker Plus by Square D. I think you have to go with the Company on your Circuit box. If its a Siemens then you get a Siemens Protector. I had a Square D box. It also protects Cable and Phone lines. I intended to sneak a little Belkins Protector behind the Plasma but I only have 1 and a quarter inches space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. What type of circuitry does your SurgeBreaker Plus use (SM or MOV)?
 

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The SurgeBreaker Plus is MOV, protects up to 4 Tel. lines, 2 Antenna conections;cable,satellite or master antenna, and of course protects AC power.
 

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MOV type protects 4 Tel. lines and two coaxial lines as well as AC
 

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I think you will find that almost any practical whole house surge suppressor is going to be MOV based. And there is nothing wrong with that except that they have a limited service life, typically several years. There may be other circuitry in addition to the MOVs, like SCRS, zener diodes, capacitors, etc. But it is still likely to be MOV based.


A series mode whole house unit has a couple very large chokes in series with the utility drop. The resulting unit is very expensive, big and ugly. But I have actually saw series mode units rated for up to 100A being sold for residential installation a few years ago. Don't know if they are still available. Of course, 100A is a minimial electrical service by today's standards.


Even when you have a whole house suppressor, you still need to protect sensitive gear with other devices. This is because the whole house units typically have a higher clamping voltage than the plug-in devices, not all damaging surges originate from outside the building, and damaging surges can enter the building and get onto the power wiring other than through your electrical panel.


Unless the whole house unit plugs in like a breaker, it does not have to be the same manufacturer as the panel. What would all the poor folks who have obsolete panels like Federal Pacific and Zinsco do? I have a Leviton whole house unit at my Square D QO panel.


I suggest you stick to name-brand companies, forget about series mode, just pay attention to clamping voltage and surge current, and plan on using additional devices at sensitive equipment.
 

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MOV-surger ???, how do you know the surger is still working. It has been posted that even the indicator lights are not that reliable..

db
 

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I know Progress Energy in Central Florida offers surge protection for $5 a month and they warranty and cover any replacement of the device should it fail. It's just a small device that hooks into the outside panel and has two indicator lights on it.
 

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A whole-house series mode unit would be quite an installation; it would have to be wired IN SERIES with each hot line from the pole to the house, probably between the meter box and the service entrance panel. The best you can do with panel-mounted series mode units are ones that protect an individual branch circuit.


I went with a Leviton 51110-PTC whole-house MOV-based unit (indicator lights indicate if protection is still available), and a Furman Sound PM-PRO Series II series-mode unit at the point of use.


Tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the excellent replies everyone! This is the info I was looking for. While not exactly what I wanted to hear, it sounds like if you want protection for all your appliances, etc... as well as HT equipment (plasma, receiver, ...), a whole house MOV unit + one point-of-use SM unit is the way to go.


I was hoping to avoid the expense of two surge protectors, but it looks like I may not have much choice... at least for what I want to accomplish.


Again, many thanks for the education. Guess what? The sky has turned dark and yet another thunderstorm is heading my way. Gotta go!!
 

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The only other thing I would add is that from what I understand, the whole house protection is only as good the the earth ground it is attached to. The rod should be deep (10') and connected to the panel using a continuous cable not to exceed around 10 ft.
 
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