whole house TVSS reviews?

Anyone have any opinions, or can point me to a review, of a whole house TVSS/surge protector that they think is the best? I've currently got a Siemens breaker panel with the TVSS double breaker in it, but the LED indicates that the surge protection on one pole is weak and/or has failed. It's less than a year old so I'd like to replace it with something better. I see products available from Ditek and Panamax that just mount to the side of the breaker box, are these worthwhile? anything else I should be looking at? Is any product significantly better than any other?
I do think that such a device will probably lead a hard life in my house because we seem to have a lot of momentary power outages (e.g. i'll be hanging around the house and every now and then the lights will flicker and i'll hear the various UPSes around the house beep, then everything will go back to normal.)
I've got a 200A service, FWIW. I am using point of use surge protectors at all electronics (computer, stereo, tv, etc.)
thanks,
nate
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Joules is the ballpark measurement of protector's life expectancy. Any 'whole house' protector should be at least 1000 joules 50,000 amps. Most direct lightning strikes average 20,000 amps. As joules increase, a protector's life expectancy increases exponentially AND more surge is diverted to earth.
That determines the life of a protector over many surges. How well does a protector work during each surge? That is determines by how it is earthed. Earth is where surge energy must be dissipated. Earth provides the protection. Protector simply connects a surge to earth.
For example, if the ground wire from breaker box to earthing rod is up over foundation and down to earth - too long and too many bends. That ground wire should be directly through foundation and down to earthing electrode. If the only ground is to a water pipe 30 feet away, again, protection 'system' has been compromised. Ground is just too far away.
A protector's earthing connection should be 'less than 10 feet' (wire length is more critical than wire diameter), no sharp bends, not shared with any other protection ground until all meet at the earthing electrode, not bundled with any non-earthing wires, not inside metallic conduit, and no splices. To make a protector even more effective, enhance the earthing electrode system. The protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
All protectors must be earthed 'less than 10 feet' to the same earthing electrode. That means the 'whole house' protector, installed free by the telco, also must be grounded to the same electrode. Cable TV wire needs no protector to have 'whole house' protection. That cable TV wire also must drop down, make a 'less than 10 foot earthing connection to the single point earth ground, before entering a building. Protector is simply a $2 ground block.
Ditek is just one of so many 'whole house' protectors. Notice everyone in this list is a major, responsible electrical supply company. GE, Siemens, Intermatic, Leviton, Cutler-Hammer, or Square D. Confirm spec numbers exceed minimums. Ignore any dollar warranty numbers. Generally, the higher that dollar number, then the more inferior that protector.
Better protection is defined by what acutally provides protecton - earthing. Even a second ground rod could significantly improve protection. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
One other point. Above is only the secondary protection 'system'. While you are at it, also inspect your primary protection 'system': http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html
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w_tom wrote:

The best information on surges and surge protection I have seen is at: http://omegaps.com/Lightning%20Guide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf - "How to protect your house and its contents from lightning: IEEE guide for surge protection of equipment connected to AC power and communication circuits" published by the IEEE in 2005. And also: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/practiceguides/surgesfnl.pdf - "NIST recommended practice guide: Surges Happen!: how to protect the appliances in your home" published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2001
The IEEE guide is aimed at those with some technical background. The NIST guide is aimed at the unwashed masses.
The IEEE guide has recommendations for power service suppressor ratings.

Note that if the average 20,000A stroke hits a high voltage power line it will flow in all directions including utility surge arrestors and not much of it will reach your house.
There is a paper (I could find the internet reference if interested) that analyzes a near worst case of a strike to the utility pole behind your house resulting in 30,000A on the neutral to your house. Average likelihood of an event worse than this is 1 in 8000 years (higher on a mountaintop in central Florida if you can find one; lower in a forest in Nevada, if you can find one). Of the 30,000A, what remains on the neutral is directly earthed by the neutral-ground bond required in US services (also Canada?). Some is coupled to the hot wires for a likely worst case current of 10,000A (which you are unlikely to never see). High device current rating is related to high energy rating which, as w_ says, is directly related to the life of the device.

More important than the same electrode is that the phone, cable, ... entrance protector ground connect with *short* wires to the earthing wire at the power service. Even if you have a good impedance to ground of 10 ohms and a modest 1,000A surge earth current, the voltage from the power ground to `absolute' earth is 10,000V. You want the ground for power and phone and cable to rise together. That requires short interconnects. Francois Martzloff, the NIST guru on surges and author of the NIST guide, has written "the impedance of the grounding system to `true earth' is far less important than the integrity of the bonding of the various parts of the grounding system." The IEEE guide has an example of too long a ground wire starting pdf page 40.
Some service panel suppressors have ports to wire the phone and cable *through*.
(The service panel ground is the magic point because the neutral and ground are tied together at that point in US services - it is the ground reference point of the power service.)
The NIST guide cites US insurance information that indicates equipment most likely to be damaged by lightning is computers with modem connection and TV related equipment - presumably with cable connection. All can be damaged by voltage between signal and power wires.

Doesnt need a protector? The IEEE guide says there is no requirement to limit the voltage developed between the core and the sheath. .... The only voltage limit is the breakdown of the F connectors, typically ~24 kV. And "there is obviously the possibility of damage to TV tuners and cable modems from the very high voltages that can be developed, especially from nearby lightning."
--
bud--

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As usual, the promoter for plug-in protectors posts information that does not belong here AND that says plug-in protectors can even damage adjacent electronics - Page 42 Figure 8. These are the products Bud is lying to promote. Well, fire departments and other professional cites are not selling anything but safety. The 'scary pictures' that Bud will lie about to deny. These 'scary pictures' are just another reason why the technically informed install one properly earthed 'whole house' protector: http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?pageU6&parentU4 http://www.westwhitelandfire.com/Articles/Surge%20Protectors.pdf http://www.ddxg.net/old/surge_protectors.htm http://www.zerosurge.com/HTML/movs.html : http://tinyurl.com/3x73ol or http://www.esdjournal.com/techpapr/Pharr/INVESTIGATING%20SURGE%20SUPPRESSOR%20FIRES.doc http://www3.cw56.com/news/articles/local/BO63312 /
Ask Bud for plug-in manufacturer spec numbers that claim protection from each type of surge. Oh. He never posts numbers that do not exist. The plug-in protector only claims to protect from a type of surge that does not typically damage appliances. Meanwhile the 'whole house' protector will protect from that type of surge AND other typically destructive surges. $2000 or $3000 for plug-in protectors on the furnace, smoke detectors, GFCIS, clock radios, etc? Or one 'whole house' protector that actually has that earthing - will dissipate surge energy in earth?
Bud promotes for plug-in protector manufactures and will not even admit to that. Honesty is not Bud.
Where are those manufacturer spec numbers that claim protection? Oh? They don't exist? Honesty is not Bud.
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w_tom wrote:

To quote w_ "It is an old political trick. When facts cannot be challenged technically, then attack the messenger." My only association with surge protectors is I have some.

I posted 2 links to excellent guides on surges and surge protection that were published by the best independent technical sources in the US. They talk about surge suppression and give valuable information on service panel suppressors, which is what N8N was looking for. The guides are exactly what belongs here.
I minimally disagreed with what w_ said about service panel suppressors.

A lie w_ likes to repeat

w_ brought up plug-in suppressors. w_ can't understand his own hanford link. It is about "some older model" power strips and says overheating was fixed with a revision to UL1449 that requires thermal disconnects. That was 1998.
Ignoring the rest of w_s antiplugin suppressor rant.

The old political trick #3. But w_ wont answer if he has/had connections to surge protection equipment manufacturers.
He is a troll who injected an irrelevant issue into the thread.
He makes no response to what I really said - all of which has available sources. Have anything to say on-topic w_?
----------------------------------- Getting back on--topic: Both w_ and I said energy (Joule) ratings generally indicate the life of a suppressor. The IEEE guide warns that different products can not be exactly compared by their Joule rating because there is no standard for measuring it and manufacturers may use incomparable methods. I believe SquareD (one of w_'s preferred manufacturers) has stopped publishing Joule ratings for that reason.
--
bud--

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N8N - Bud will keep posting until he gets the last word. He will not even admit he promotes plug-in protectors. No earth ground means no effective protection. Thereofre your 'whole house' protector provides sufficient protection for so little money.
Bud does not even answer questions such as which 'whole house' protector is better. He must do anything to promote his ineffective products. Profits are at risk if anyone learns the protector without earth ground is wasted money. Profits at risk by reality in these 'scary pictures': http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?pageU6&parentU4 http://www.westwhitelandfire.com/Articles/Surge%20Protectors.pdf http://www.ddxg.net/old/surge_protectors.htm http://www.zerosurge.com/HTML/movs.html : http://tinyurl.com/3x73ol or http://www.esdjournal.com/techpapr/Pharr/INVESTIGATING%20SURGE%20SUPPRESSOR%20FIRES.doc http://www3.cw56.com/news/articles/local/BO63312 /
Get another 'whole house' protector from any of the more responsible manufacturer. Install it especially without sharp wire bends to the earth ground connection. More joules means better connection to earth AND longer life expectancy: more surges without surge protector damage. Upgrade earthing for even better protection. Also inspect the 'primary' protection system; have the utility fix that protection 'system' if necessary.
Bud's incessant posting provides nothing useful and does not answer any of your questions. But that is Bud - posting incessantly to get the last word. Profits are at risk.

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w_tom wrote:

w_ will post incessantly to protect his religious belief in earthing which is challenged by plug-in suppressors that do not work by earthing.

Repeating To quote w_ "It is an old political trick. When facts cannot be challenged technically, then attack the messenger." My only association with surge protectors is I have some.
w_ has never answered if he has/had connections to surge protection equipment manufacturers? Specifically ZeroSurge?

w_ has a religious belief (immune from challenge) that surge protection must use earthing. Thus in his view plug-in suppressors (which are not well earthed) can not possibly work. The IEEE guide explains plug-in suppressors work by CLAMPING the voltage on all wires (signal and power) to the common ground at the suppressor. Plug-in suppressors do not work primarily by earthing (or stopping or absorbing). The guide explains earthing occurs elsewhere. (Read the guide starting pdf page 40).

The old political trick again.

My first post talked about service panel suppressors and single point ground. It said nothing about plug-in suppressors. Poor w_ had to drag them into the thread.
For reliable information on surge protection read the IEEE and NIST guides. Service panel suppressors are covered. Both guides also say plug-in suppressors are effective.
w_ has never found a link to a source that says plug-in suppressors are NOT effective. Some of what w_ says is quite good. But it can be hard to separate from the bullcrap.
Bizarre claim - plug-in surge suppressors don't work Never any sources that say plug-in suppressors are NOT effective. Attempts to discredit opponents. w_ is still a purveyor of junk science.
--
bud--


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Provided were manufacturers for effective protectors. Names such as Square D, GE, Intermatic, etc make a protector that has what NIST, IEEE, every telco, US Air Forces, all commercial broadcasting stations, cell phone towers, maritime communication facilities, FAA control towers, .... Literally anyone who needs reliable operation installs the single point earth ground AND connects 'whole house' type protectors to that earthing.
The informed homeowner installs a 'whole house' protector on AC mains, confirms his other protection (cable, telephone) are still properly earthed, inspects the other (primary - utility installed) protection system - and does not waste tens or 100 times more money on ineffective plug-in protectors.
Bud will then reply again to promote plug-in protectors - completely irrelevant to the OP's question. Profits are at risk.
A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Facts that explain why were posted above. Answers to the OP's request for a 'whole house' protector were provided with numbers, manufacturer names, and recommendations for installing and inspecting that replacement protector.
So what does every Bud citation recommend? Protection is achieved when the protector *diverts* a surge to earth. Where is surge energy dissipated without damage? In earth which is why a better earthing connection to the protector means an ever better protector. What happens when too much energy is somehow dissipated, instead, inside a grossly undersized plug-in protector? See those 'scary pictures'.
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w_tom wrote:

Not provided are links to anyone who agress with w_ that plug-in suppressors are NOT effective.

Service panel suppressors are a good idea. What does the NIST guide say about them? "Q - Will a surge protector installed at the service entrance be sufficient for the whole house? A - There are two answers to than question: Yes for one-link appliances, No for two-link appliances [equipment connected to power AND phone or cable or....]. Since most homes today have some kind of two-link appliances, the prudent answer to the question would be NO - but that does not mean that a surge protector installed at the service entrance is useless."
According to the NIST guide, US insurance information indicates equipment most frequently damaged by lightning is computers with a modem connection TVs, VCRs and similar equipment (presumably with cable TV connections). All are two-link appliances and can be damaged by high voltages between power and signal wires. If using just a service panel suppressor you really need a good single point ground as in my 1st post.

I promote only accurate information from reputable sources, not w_s junk science
- completely

Plug-in suppressors were brought up by w_, not me.

The required statement of religious belief in earthing.
For reliable information on surge protection read the IEEE and NIST guides. Both guides also say plug-in suppressors are effective.
w_ has never found a link to a source that says plug-in suppressors are NOT effective. All you get are his opinions based on his religious belief in earthing.
Questions w_ cant answer: - Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE guide use plug-in suppressors? - Why does the NIST guide says plug-in suppressors are "the easiest solution"? What are w_s connections to surge protection equipment manufacturers? Specifically ZeroSurge?
Bizarre claim - plug-in surge suppressors don't work Never any sources that say plug-in suppressors are NOT effective. Attempts to discredit opponents. w_ is still a purveyor of junk science.
--
bud--

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Bud posts lies to promote his products and still does not answer the OP's questions. Let's see. How many telco switching stations (COs) use plug-in protectors because the 'whole house' protector is not sufficient? Zero. Let's see. That computer is connected to overhead wires everywhere in town and must never suffer damage. A typical thunderstorm applies maybe 100 surges to that computer - and no damage. Bud tells us that computer must suffer damage regularly due to no plug-in protectors Reality - no damage because the telco instead installs the necessary earthing system and because no plug-in protectors to contribute to electronics damage (8000 volts through the adjacent TV on Page 42 Figure 8; those scary pictures; etc).
Bud again posted nothing to answer the OP's question. He will not admit why he must repeatedly get the last word. Profits are at risk. Bud promotes protectors that have no earthing - a very first reason why his protector is not effective.
Bud still cannot provide plug-in spec numbers that list protection for each type of surge. Why? No spec numbers exist. Bud cannot provide spec numbers for protection that does not exist. So he must post incessantly and attack the messenger. Answering the OP's question? Bud never does that either.
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w_tom wrote:

My lies come from the IEEE and NIST. w_s lies come from voices in his head.

w_ again posted nothing to answer the OP's question. My 1st post was entirely about the OPs question. Poor w_ then had to drag in plug-in suppressors, which I never mentioned.

Lacking valid technical arguments poor w_ has to invent issues. Plug-in suppressors have MOVs from H-G, N-G, H-N. That covers all surge modes.
w_s favored SquareD service panel suppressors do not list each type of surge.
Both the IEEE and NIST guides say plug-in suppressors are effective. Read the sources.
There are 98,615,938 other web sites, including 13,843,032 by lunatics, and w_ still can't find another lunatic that says plug-in suppressors are NOT effective.
w_ still has not answered simple questions: - Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE guide use plug-in suppressors? - Why does the NIST guide says plug-in suppressors are "the easiest solution"? What are w_s connections to surge protection equipment manufacturers? Specifically ZeroSurge? - Why dont favored SquareD service panel suppressors list each type of surge?
Bizarre claim - plug-in surge suppressors don't work Never any sources that say plug-in suppressors are NOT effective. Attempts to discredit opponents. w_ is still a purveyor of junk science.
--
bud--


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