Power Sentry Surge Protectors

HiDezDecember 28, 2005

I cross posted this message to Computer Help Forum too. I have had a pretty bad experience with with a Power Sentry Office Workstation Surge Protector. I don't know how to attach photos here but I have taken some. We had a power surge and the blooming thing caught on fire. I am very thankful that we were home. I was in the next room - heard my computer make a terrible noise and then smelled the most awful burning smell. I rushed into the office and yanked the Power Sentry plug from the wall and put out the fire that had started in the carpeting beneath my desk!

We had an electrician check things out to make sure the wiring in the room was okay. He said the problem was not the wiring. It does not appear that my computer was damaged so the surge protector appears to have shut things down BUT I don't believe surge protectors are supposed to catch fire after they do their job! I purchased this one at Walmart only a short while (approximately two weeks) before this occurred. It is model 3320 v3, the box claims the product has V3 Advanced Surge Technology which uses advanced surge protection components which have more surge absorption capacity and superior heat dissipation (yeah, right).

I have contacted Power Sentry (a division of Fiskars) numerous times because I felt it was important that they know there could be a serious problem with this product. The contact person was a Wendy Collins. I left messages for her twice with no return call from her and then actually managed to speak to her in person after I called and spoke to the operator at Power Sentry who tracked her down and got her on the phone. I explained to her that we weren't trying to recover any costs but that we were concerned about what might have happened had we not been in the house when this occurred. I often leave my computer on all day. Since we are on dial up I don't leave it connected to the internet but I generally leave it in sleep mode. I explained to her that the carpet had actually ignited after the surge protector caught on fire and that if there were others out there with the same problem that someone's home could burn down and/or someone could lose their life in a fire.

She gave me the usual corporate disclaimer that they were only responsible for repairing or replacing the product. I explained to her if that was my only concern then I would just return to item to Walmart and get a refund because I did not want a replacement unless someone from their company could assure me this would not happen again. She said she was sending a return address label with postage so they could test the surge protector and find out why this had occurred.

It is no surprise to me that I never received the return slip from her since she has been totally lax about returning calls, etc. It has now been almost two months since I last spoke with her and since nothing has happened I figure the best thing to do is to warn people in case they own one of these surge protectors or in case they need to purchase a surge protector. I have noticed this brand is sold in a number of places besides Walmart. I thought I would buy a new surge protector at Costco but they only had Power Sentry.

Yesterday I filed a complaint with the US Product Safety Commission. I also wrote Walmart's Corporate Headquarters. Today I learned of this web site:


Apparently this is not a new problem with these surge protectors! I filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs as well since I was already at the web page. I find this company's apparently lax attitude toward this appalling.



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What is it you are trying to accomplish? Maybe we can help if you explain.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 6:39PM
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Accomplish? Only to alert people to the fact that this surge protector has the potential to catch fire. I rather imagine many people leave their computer on all of the time thinking the surge protector will guard their equipment. Perhaps this is naive but there it is, the last thing I ever expected was for the thing to suffer a melt down. The thing is that we have other electronics hooked up to surge protectors (other brands) and none of them caught fire. We have one that no longer works but that is my understanding of what is supposed to happen when they take a hit. They no longer work and need to be replaced.

I hope to make people aware of the problem and that perhaps they should not buy this particular brand since the problem seems to be ongoing and with other models. In addition, based on my experience the company doesn't seem to be overly concerned that there could be a safety issue. . I wish I had been better informed before I purchased this item and thought I might be able to help someone else by reporting this. I don't really need any help since I think I have done about as much as I can do at this point by contacting the Product Safety Commission, Consumer Affairs, etc. And by being allowed to post the information on this forum. Thanks for your reply.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 8:30PM
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I have a safer, more econcomical solution. Put a 'whole house' surge protector on your main Electrical panel. This way, ALL your appliances, T.V.'s, stereos, computers, alarm clocks, furnace(s) etc. etc. etc. are protected. It only costs a couple of hundred, and it has lights to indicate when they are in a state of failure and need replacing (fyi - anything with a joule rating will fail after so many surges, and will need to be replaced. Only a "SM" device with no joule rating will last forever. You can look them up at 'brickwall.com' to see what I mean. People with 5 and six figure home theatres use these to protect against surges).

You get what you pay for - remember that!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 11:59PM
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Yep, if you milk a goat, you get goat's milk!! duh


    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 11:32PM
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I found this page doing a Google search: "Power Sentry fire" after watching my Power Sentry power strip catch on fire this morning without warning. From the corner of my eye I noticed a yellow glow from the strip, I turned to see it subside, then light up again. It subsided, then the third time burst into flames. This took place in about 10 seconds, had I not been sitting right by the strip my house would have been on fire. As it was, I caught it and unplugged the strip, the flames were already 3 inches high.

My simple Google search has turned up plenty of stories like mine and many with far more disastrous consequences. This power strip was not overloaded by any means. 3 items were plugged into the strip and all items were powered off, the same 3 items have been plugged into this strip for years.

Like the original poster, I'm only trying to warn others about Power Sentry strips/surge protectors as I think they are a fire hazard.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 2:06PM
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