Seems surge protectors and UPS units are more or less worthless when
it comes to a direct lightning strike nearby. Is that, in fact, the
case? I don't care about suddenly losing power (e.g. I save my work
every few minutes) so a UPS doesn't interest me.
The cheapest and most certain solution, I guess, is unplugging my
computer every time I'm not using it. A bit of a pain, but it seems
the only guarantee anyone has been able to give me.
To make it easier, I'm wondering if there's any sort of cheap circuit
breaker I could buy that would allow me to flip a switch on my
computer desk rather than reaching way down in the back to the outlet
and yanking the cord.
Failing that, what about plugging one power strip into another, and
unplugging one from the other when I'm not using the computer? Is
there anything funky about drawing current via an intermediary power
strip? Sure, I could have a power strip with a long enough length to
mount to my computer desk, but then I'd also have to individually
unplug the monitor, CPU, printer, and other devices I have connected.
What's a good solution here?
Ya talking about your computer getting hit directly? It'd smoke it ;)
I don't care about suddenly losing power (e.g. I save my work
You never know when a power loss will occur- it only takes a secound.
Seriously though, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you buy a combo surge
and UPS. It is cheap compared to replacing a 'puter. You can find
very good models in the $60-80 range. I have one by 'APC' and it
has saved my ass many a times....
Tripp Lite out of Chgo carries good stuff. and warranty lightning
protection,...... yes they paid me, for a strike....... but the pro
elec guys here will give you info on grounds.... I am learning too ,
I have had better luck with APC. A Tripp Lite I had started tripping out
for no apparently reason just before end of its 1 year warranty. Its
warranty replacement did the same after a year, although, it works OK with
the light load of my laptop (instead of risking overcharge of laptop
battery). The Tripp Lite that UPS (United Parcel Service) supplied for
their computer has died.
Of the 5 APC's between home and work, only 1 (old when we got it from our
factory) needed a new battery, and are all working fine for years. My
headless Linux servers in the basement are running on a 1100 VA unit and
my DSL/network/wireless hardware is running on a Back-UPS Office. We had
2 power surges followed by power failure last summer and no data loss, no
Someone else at work thought that a nearby lightning strike had blown
their TV equipment, but it turned out that just their surge protector gave
its life to save the other equipment (red indicator was blackened).
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /
http://www.autox.chicago.il.us/ http://www.berniesfloral.net /
firstname.lastname@example.org (dnrg) wrote in message
Like Mark says Tripp lite are very good units, you might also want to
try APC. I have both on different systems, and they have been well
worth the price.
I looked on the APC site for a non ups unit like the one I have and it
seems they no longer sell it.
Have a small APC Back-Ups 400 (I think it is now the Smart Pro series)
unit over 8 years and still working fine. We get a lot of brown outs
and only way I notice it is when the lights dim. They also have a
Equipment Protection Policy .
Well worth the price in the long run.
A close-by strike can fry even an unplugged computer, unless it is in a
Faraday cage- the various cables will pick up enough of an induced current.
Lotsa people isolate the power feed, but forget the phone or cable lines.
Recycled computers are cheap enough that I don't lose sleep over it any
more- I just make sure to have other backups of any critical data. If I
ever get a modern system worth over a grand, I'll probably spring for a baby
Thanks for the opinions, but are there any licensed electricians "in
the house?" Seems the more sophisticated peope are with electricity,
the more they're suggesting I unplug my gear as the best solution.
From what I can tell, for my specific purposes (YMMV) a UPS is a waste
of money. It's essentially paying for equipment insurance, like
someone said, and you know how collecting on extended warranties and
insurance policies goes; most companies will try to wiggle their way
out of paying.
In the mean time, my equipment would be destroyed and cost me plenty
in downtime; more of a hassle than anything else.
If you're using your computer for business, you really should be using a
UPS. It's not as much for the protection of the hardware as it is for the
protection of whatever you're working on when the power goes out.
I had all sorts of file corruption until I put in a UPS. Now I hear it
beep about 4 times a week when the power gets low.
A good ups will also monitor your power and you can see and save the 'power
history" I was somewhat surprised that in the summer when they anticipate
high demand the voltage in the morning was 126 volts!
An UPS will get you thru small spikes, and drops. A close lightening strike
can fry everything plugged or unplugged as well as start a fire! If you
have data you cannot lose you need to back it up and store it someplace
I don't know if a GFI circuit would help or not since they are suppose to
open much faster than a regular breaker?
email@example.com (dnrg) wrote in message
Well, yes, if you want 99.999999% protection, by all means unplug
everything that is connected to your pc in any way. Nothing
electrical will give you 100% protection, unless you get in the
$100,000.00 and up price range and I have even seen one of these fail
and take out a bunch of very high end computer/network equipment.
And don't forget about getting a big hit while working on the pc and
your hard drive gets corrupted. No matter how often you save your
work, it won't help in this case. (happened to me, why I started
using the APC and TL units) Never had a problem since.
Or, set back and hope nothing happens. Works for some people.
I bought one of these power control boxes that sits on the desk and lets me
switch on different components as I want to. It also has surge protection. I
don't count on the surge protection for much of anything, when storms
threaten or are even in the forecast, I unplug this box from the wall. To
get around the problem of having to crawl under the desk, I cut the line
cord before it drops behind the desk (make sure that you have the cord
unplugged from the wall before cutting). Go to the hardware store of your
choice and buy a plug and a mating connector that will attach to the line
cord. Install the male on the end of the cut cord that comes from the box
and the mate to the other end of the cut cord. Be sure that the wiring is
done so that the wires that had been cut still go to the respective places.
That is, hot to hot, neutral to neutral and ground to ground. What you end
up with is the control box now has a very short cord and an extension cord
that fits perfectly. Of course, you could just buy an extension cord, but
then you have wire all over the place.
Now the mating connectors for the line cord are right up on the desk and in
easy reach. Even my wife can reach out and do a disconnect or reconnect with
out difficulty. since everything is plugged into this control box, it is
simple to remove everything from the powerline at once.
I am on cable and I put a slip on adapter on the cable line to the modem so
that disconnecting that is simple and does not require turning the cable
connector multiple times to release it. If you are on dial up, just a word
to be careful with the little tab on the phone line connector. They are not
made to withstand a lot of stress and can be broken off easily.
Thinking back to that FEMA course I took which covered lightning and EMP
protection, you are more or less right -- if you have a cheap surge
suppressor strip and lightning strikes the transformer on the pole outside
the house you can expect some damage. Hell, you can expect appliances to
explode and light bulbs to fly across the room if it is a direct hit.
If you want to gain some real protection, consider the invesment in a
whole-house surge suppressor which must be installed by a professional
(several hundred $$, at least). And consider having it installed outside the
house, right after the utility's electric meter rather than inside the
breaker panel as is usually done. The key is to absorb as much energy as
possible and to do it as FAR AWAY from any sensitive equipment as possible.
With a whole-house system properly installed a good grade surge suppressor
on your computer (don't forget the phone lines, etc) will stand a lot better
chance of giving some protection.
I have a device called a Meter Treater which I purchased from my power
company for $100. It plugs into the meter socket and it has 2 l e d's that
glow showing that it is operating. I also use a Belkin SurgeMaster on my
PC. I forget how many joules of protection it offers. In addition to this I
have my Ham Radio equipment, big screen TV and other devices also protected
on surge devices.
My 2 cents worth.
Best thing for lighting strikes are what the telephone lines and medical
devices have used for years: spark-gaps. I had an unintended spark gap,
created by the surge protector physical wiring, that saved my equipment.
Most surge protectors will not protect equipment from the high voltage
spikes caused by lighting, transformer failure or power-pole damage from
vehicular collisions. The MOV's fail shorted which then can become a fire
hazard until the breaker or fuse kicks out.
UPS is an excellent idea for most everyday power line anomalies. However,
APC style "OFF-LINE" backup will not be much help for most power line
problems. You need a good "ON-LINE" UPS and the cost of one is too high for
the typical home owner.
So, get some spark gaps or roll your own.
When using the line powered Computer, set the application for automatic
back-ups in case of power loss because the APC OFF-LINE mode does not work
in every line failure case.
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