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Power surge

Posted by helpless_n_ny (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 1, 11 at 21:09

We had a power surge due to the power company working on a line outside our house. The power went off and when it came back on it kicked off four circuit breakers. This was the first time in 28 years living here that the breakers have kicked off following a power outage. We have a Fios power box that burned out in the basement, a microwave oven which was on its own line, two surge protector power strips in a bedroom on its own line, a lcd tv with a Fios top box and a x-box360, plus three hdmi cords in another bedroom with its own line(the tv still runs but its hdmi ports are shot and it won't display HD any more). The refrigerator and washer and some lights were off when the breaker went off, but when I switched the breakers back on they turned on with no visible ill effects. I'm going through my home owners insurance to try and get something back, but I want to see about not having a repeat performance. The lcd tv, Fios top box and x-box weren't on a surge protector, but would one really have stopped the surge? What I mean is, how about one plugged into another? Two, inline. I don't have room in my electric panel for the surge breakers, and I'm not sure that I care for the power meter device the power company puts on. Any ideas?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Power surge

Not sure what you mean by not having enough room in the panel for surge breakers. The TVSS devices I'm familar with mount externally. Maybe you mean you don't have spaces in the panel for the dedicated 2-pole breakers they need?

AFAIK, the most surge-proof setup will be a meter-installed TVSS, a secondary TVSS at the main panel, more TVSSes at subpanels, and plug strips for sensitive electronics.

Keep in mind that any TVSS using MOVs must be replaced periodically, as MOVs lose a little protection ability each time they contain a surge.

FWIW, my house survived a similar surge some years back, with only (at the time) plug-in surge strips. A lineman dropped a 7.5kv (IIRC) line onto a 240v (IIRC) line. I lost only a pair of computer speakers and a fluorescent pole lamp with an electronic ballast. Well, that and the surge strips, most of which gave their lives protecting my electronics.

A neighbor a few roads away was not as lucky. The surge apparently caused flames to break out in a subpanel which had some kind of flammable material nearby. The resulting fire destroyed the home. No one was there at the time, fortunately.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that if you don't want a meter mount TVSS and/or panel mount TVSS, you're pretty well limited to surge strips.


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RE: Power surge

Yes, I don't have spaces for the dedicated 2-pole breakers. I didn't know about panel mounted TVSSes. What is your opinion on using two surge strips in a row before the devise? The thing I don't understand is the breakers going off. Does that mean that all these years of the power going off, then coming back on between minutes or hours, I've never had a surge before?


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RE: Power surge

do whole house surge suppressors use the same technology as the cheaper power strips? In particular the Cutler Hammer CSHP Ultra?


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RE: Power surge

The technology is roughly the same (both tend to rely on MOVs). The whole house ones tend to have a slightly higher clamping voltage (i.e, the point where it kicks into play) but also has a higher current capacity. They usually also tend to have an indicator to tell you when the thing has already laid down it's life to protect your appliances and needs replacing.

Hence, your best bet is to have both the whole house unit and then some good quality smaller units on your critical components (TV/stereo/computers).


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RE: Power surge

> do whole house surge suppressors use the same technology as the cheaper power strips?

Does not matter. No protector does protection. Either a protector connects a transient short to the only item that does protection. Or that protector (ie those in the bedroom) can in rare cases create house fires.

Protection is always about where energy dissipates. View numbers for those power strips. Hundreds of joules. Near zero energy. It has no short connection to earth, will not discuss earthing, and does not make any protection claims in numeric specs.

But one 'whole house' protector (to be effective) has a short (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to single point earth ground. To what absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules - harmlessly.

'Whole house' protectors can also be mounted behind an electric meter or might share an existing circuit breaker. But most important. That ground wire from breaker box must be low impedance. A ground wire that routes over a foundation and down to earth should be rerouted through the foundation and shorter to earth. Shorter. Eliminate sharp wire bends. Important for making any protector effective is single point earth ground.

Plug-in protectors must somehow absorb all that energy. View its numbers. Near zero joules. Effective protection is where hundreds of thousands of joules are absorbed. Single point earth ground. A protector is made better by upgrading that earthing and decreasing the distance to earth. A protector without a short connection to earth is ineffective.


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RE: Power surge

Bunk. The transient isn't some flow of water that needs to go to the sea, it's a differential between two of the lines (could be any of hot-ground, hot-neutral, neutral-earth). The MOV conducts between those rather than the voltage being presented to the device (it essentially becomes close to a dead short).


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RE: Power surge

An MOV will dissipate (bypass) a moderate transient. The bigger the MOV, the bigger the transient it can dissipate, and the more transients it can handle before it's used up and needs to be replaced.

For the big and/or long term stuff, the MOV will pass the surge and immmediately fail shorted. Then with any luck the breaker ahead of the MOV will open just about the time the MOV vaporizes.

This is why it's a good idea to have multiple stages of TVSS ahead of your $10k home theatre system or your $3k computer network.


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RE: Power surge

> An MOV will dissipate (bypass) a moderate transient. The bigger the
> MOV, the bigger the transient it can dissipate, ...

You must decide if it absorbs energy. Or conducts it. Nothing does both to each joule. View numbers for an MOV protector. Hundreds of joules. Near zero energy. How does that MOV protector dissipate hundreds of thousands of joules. Again, where do hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate? That energy did not just disappear as you have posted.

NIST (US government research agency that studies this stuff) completely disagrees with your claims. The NIST says:
> A very important point to keep in mind is that your surge protector
> will work by diverting the surges to ground. The best surge
> protection in the world can be useless if grounding is not done
> properly.

What do protectors do when not earthed? I was kind. I called them ineffective. The NIST is blunter. Those protectors without earth ground are called "useless". In some cases, house fires have resulted.

Hundreds of joules inside a protector will absorb hundreds of thousands of joules? Read the manufacturer's numeric specifications. As the NIST said,
> The best surge protection in the world can be useless if grounding
> is not done properly.

These concepts were even taught in elementary school. Ben Franklin lightning rods. A lighting rod is only as effective as its earth ground. Again, where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate? Inside the rod? Of course not. Protection is always about energy dissipating harmlessly outside a building. In earth.

Informed homwowner installs one properly earthed protector. So that a bedroom protector does not create a house fire. After all, what happens to hundreds of thousands of joules inside a hundreds joule protector? Bedroom fire is one option. Fire starts when MOVs do what the manufacturer says is unacceptable. Vaporize. But grossly undersizing it is why so many naively recommend these obscenely overpriced protectors.

Why did so many OP's appliances remain undamaged by a surge? Or do millimeters inside a switch stop what three miles of sky could not? Of course not. Even powered off appliances had to protect themselves. Due to superior internal protection, GFCIs, dimmer switches, digital clocks, dishwasher, the door bell, smoke detectors, and clock radios also had no protector. And no damage. Because best protection at each appliance is internal. Internal protection is not overwhelmed by rare and typically destructive transients when one 'whole house' protector is properly earthed. Ahe least expenisve solution is also well proven by over 100 years of science and experience.


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RE: Power surge

A MOV can't "absorb" anything. People who describe it as that are speaking figuratively. All it can do is start conducting once you exceed it's clamping voltage.

You throw joules and energy around like they are contradictory terms. Joule is the UNIT that energy is measured in. That alone makes your entire post non-sensical.

You're confusing a few concepts. It's important that the system be effictively grounded WHETHER YOU HAVE SURGE SUPPRESSION or not. This is your first line of defense against transients (especially lightning induced ones) from possibly causing insulation failures, etc... in the house.

That's all separate from your surge suppressor. It has no clue if any of the conductors it's connected to is earthed or not and it doesn't care. It isn't siphoning off some illusory current to some illusory sink, all it does is shorting the transient voltage THROUGH ITSELF to keep it from flowing through the attached equipment.


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RE: Power surge

Th power rating associated with MOVs is derived from their break-over rating and the current they can carry while in the conducting state.

If an MOV starts conducting at 600 V, and the current passing through it is 10 amps, it is dissipating 6,000 Watts.
If the surge lasts only 0.10 seconds, the MOV will have dissipated 600 Joules internally as it conducts the 10 amps with a 600 V drop.

MOVs are effective against brief surges, not long term over-voltage.

The main weakness of MOVs is that they are damaged every time they break-over reducing the power they can subsequently conduct.

For all intents and purposes every NEC compliant service has a single point ground in the main panel.

It is the bar the groundED (AKA neutral) and groundING (AKA grounding electrode conductor (GEC) or safety ground) are both connected to.

The system is set up for two purposes.
To return leakage current back to the pole transformer (the lowest distribution voltage is commonly 7.2 kV) and to allow lightning transients to be shunted to earth.

How a transient was created determines the path it will seek.
Lightning will seek earth, and at the voltage of a strike the earth is normally a very good conductor.
Induced transients (most commonly created by a rapidly changing magnetic field) may exist only between the wires the field coupled with. The voltage exists solely between the wires in the field, and is not going to seek earth.
By placing MOVs between all three wires of a circuit (hot, neutral, ground) you limit how much voltage can exist between the wires.


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RE: Power surge

> Induced transients (most commonly created by a rapidly changing magnetic field)
> may exist only between the wires the field coupled with. The voltage exists solely
> between the wires in the field, and is not going to seek earth.

Let's put numbers to energy in that type of transient. An antenna (designed to absorb as much E-M energy as possible) may suffer thousands of volts during a nearby lightning strike. Connect the antenna lead to an NE-2 neon light bulb. A glow light also found inside lighted wall switches. It conducts a milliamp.

During a nearby lightning strike, that milliamp neon bulb reduces thousands of volts to tens of volts. A nearby field may cause high voltage. And a most trivial protector device (a neon glow lamp) is more than sufficient to make such transients irrelevant.

Protection routinely inside appliances makes nearby strikes irrelevant. Otherwise, every car radio, wrist watch, and mobile phone is destroyed by every nearby strike. Why are none destroyed? E-M fields are made irrelevant by how all electronics are designed. Those energy levels are trivial.

Energy levels are destructive during transients that go hunting for earth. The major concern. Requires a low impedance connections (as short as possible - ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground.


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RE: Power surge

Now you're talking about things induced through antennas where we were talking about power line transients before.
The bulb doesn't "reduce" anything. All it does is let the current flow though it once the voltage gets to about 90V inside. Yes, letting that flow to ground, directly and well away from the household wiring is a great protection against antennas and other external metal.

That's not what we're talking about (or at least everybody in this thread buy you). We're talking about the transients that are coming along the service and branch circuits in the house. You're extrapolating an incomplete understanding of lightning and antenna protection to the larger effect of induced voltages and switching transients on household circuits, which is what these specific surge protectors are trying to avoid.

The main panel is already required to be grounded, and external antennas and cabling go through protectors that indeed should be directly grounded as you state, but that's
*NOT* the entire ball of wax, and *NOT* what the whole house and appliance surge protectors are all about.


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RE: Power surge

> We're talking about the transients that are coming along the service and branch circuits in the house.

1) Why are nearby lightning strikes irrelevant? Because a neon bulb even on an antenna wire (where field effects are maximumized) makes induced transients irrelevant. Induced transients on any wire are harmful in urban myths. A neon bulb makes that so obvious.

A lightning rod was directly struck. Lightning on a wire from rod to earth. Only four feet away was an IBM PC. Obviously a PC must have been destroyed by induced surges from lightning only four feet away? Reality. PC did not even blink. Induce transients are destructive in parables and urban myths. Are made completely irrelevant even by one NE-2 neon light bulb.

2) Does it matter what kind of wire carries a transient? Of course not. Transients enter on radio station towers, just like entering on AC power, and just like entering on buried pipes.

Main panel is not grounded. Only one wire is grounded (for human safety). For transistor safety, every single incoming wire must be grounded. AC wires obviously are not earthed if a 'whole house' protector is missing.

Why would transients come along service and branch circuits in the house? Because some incoming wire entered without first connecting to single point earth ground. Most often because incoming wires to that panel were not properly earthed.

Either energy is harmlessly earthed before entering a building. Or that energy goes hunting for earth destructively via household appliances. No adjacent MOV protector averts that hunt. Not one.

3) The OP discusses a typically destructive surge. Could be from lightning. In his case, from utility work. Electrically same transients that requires same solution. Solution starts with where energy dissipates - single point earth ground. Energy must not exist inside the house.

4) Earth grounding any appliance may make damage easier. Appliances must be safety grounded; not earth grounded. Understand major electrical differences between safety ground and earth ground.

What does a protector do when too close to appliances and too far from earth ground? Gives a transient current even more potentially destructive paths to find earth via that appliance.

5) Two inline protectors (OP's original question) would be just as ineffective. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Either makes a short (ie 'less than 10 foot') and low impedance connection to earth. Or is for transients that are not typically destructive (such as inducedd from a nearby lightning strike).

(learn how a neon bulb works to understand why voltages would be well below 90 volts.)


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RE: Power surge

helpless_n_ny,

Your best advice came from ronnatalie, 5th post from the top - whole house and point of use surge protectors combined.

In the interest of maintaining correct and proper information`on this forum, posters may wish to google "westom lightning" to see similar discussions.


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RE: Power surge

The utility company is responsible for the damages to your
equipment. It was not an 'Act Of God', (lightning).
Contact them for compensation. If they won't cooperate,
then contact the state agency that oversees the utility.


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RE: Power surge

"Protection routinely inside appliances makes nearby strikes irrelevant. Otherwise, every car radio, wrist watch, and mobile phone is destroyed by every nearby strike. Why are none destroyed? E-M fields are made irrelevant by how all electronics are designed. Those energy levels are trivial. "

As you have described it the neon bulb is acting as a spark gap.

Its turn on voltage is around 90 V, but its ability to carry significant current is very poor.

Actual spark gaps are designed and rated.

"every car radio, wrist watch, and mobile phone is destroyed by every nearby strike."

The small physical size of these devices (watches, mobile phones) and the shielding provided by body panels (cars, typical radio chassis, & watch cases) go a long way to protecting these devices.

Any electronics close enough to a lightning strike runs a decent chance of failing.

100,000 amps/meter with a rise time of around 10 microseconds (10% to 90%) and a pulse width (50% to 50%) of 10,000 microseconds can induce voltage surges of many hundreds of volts, with available current easily risins to many tens of amps.

I have repeatedly seen computers and LAN equipment destroyed by strikes ~100 to ~200 yards away on the house across the street from the damaged electronics.

Every LAN port with more than ~1 meter of line was completely destroyed.

Even with significant lightning protection equipment and large down wires a direct hit on the multiple antenna on the roof at my former employer would destroy the antennas, the receivers and transmitters hooked to them, and even computers in the building close (2-3 meters) to the down wires on the outside of the building.

Lightning strikes are slightly less harmful to power line equipment since the POCO typically has arrestors installed to protect their equipment.

Though with frequent strikes the down wires are often damaged enough that they fail to adequately shunt the strikes and surges.

Protection from POCO faults (shorting a 7.2 kV line to a 120 V line) is very likely to destroy all but the very largest of surge equipment.

The currents available from the HV side range well into the many of thousands of amps on the high side, and tens of thousands on the low voltage side.

For high relaiibity systems the protection equipment on the power lines and communications lines becomes very large and expensive.

A cascade of devices with lower clamp voltage and power handling is used.

Spark gaps are a typical first line of protection, followed by MOV or zener diodes on the power side. TVSS diodes, and possibly even then regular silicone diodes may be used on the communications lines but they can degrade performance by adding excessive capacitance that interferes with normal operation.

Antennas are normally grounded through relatively high impedance (from carbon blocks or inductive circuits tuned as required).

If a TV antenna on a house is directly struck you can expect it to be destroyed, the down wire (often no larger than #10) to be vaporized, every piece of equipment connected to the antenna in the house to be damaged or destroyed, any GFCI devices near the down wire to be destroyed, cordless phone and other electronics, and even motors that are in operation.

In many cases the motors (especially larger ones) may continue operating despite having damaged insulation on their windings.
Some additional heating from normal use (starting and running) can result in early failures in days or weeks.
I have sen hermetic compressors in outside central air condensers that died within hours and days of close strikes (some new, some after years of operation).


Magnetis fild strength is exporessed ads amps/meter, maeing a small device cannot couple significaqntly.


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RE: Power surge

> As you have described it the neon bulb is acting as a spark gap.
> Its turn on voltage is around 90 V, but its ability to carry significant
> current is very poor.

Neon bulb turns on at 90 volts. But conducts at a much lower voltage. Its current capacity is very poor. And is more than sufficient to reduce any induced surge to well below 90 volts. Numbers for a neon glow light define induced surges as trivial. A threat defined only by hearsay. Even a neon bulb convets a major induced transient into a few tens of volts.

Transients that do damage enter on incoming wires. Nothing stops that surge. Nothing. Either that current is diverted (connects, bonds, shunts) harmlessly outside to earth. And creates a near zero voltage. Or that current is inside hunting for earth destructively via appliances. Creating a high voltage on anything that might try to stop, block, or absorb it.

lbpod makes a valid point. The utility is accused of creating that surge. So they would pay for appliance replacement.

.

More myths were posted. For example, TV antennas properly earthed rarely suffer damage. Alan Taylor of the US Forestry Service even proved that well over 95% of all trees struck by lightning leave no appreciable indication. Routine is for lightning to strike without damage. But those who know only from observation see rare and seriously damage. Then 'assume' all lightning strikes are that destructive.

What happens when lightning strikes utilities 100 or 200 yards down the street? That is also a direct strike to every household appliance. Which appliance made a better and destructive connection to earth? But observation combined with speculation proves(?) that lightning must have created destructive induced transients.

Many want to believe spark gaps, TVSS, MOVs, etc do protection. None do. Each is effective when connected short to what does protection - earth ground. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Every protection layer is only defined by one thing - earth ground.

How do hundreds of joules inside a power strip make hundreds of thousands of joules just magically disappear? Whitneyd88 on 21 Mar 2011 described the resulting fire with pictures in "My house caught on fire and my tank busted".

In one venue, a 33,000 volt wire fell on local distribution. That high energy transient blew over 100 electric meters some 30 feet from each building. Many with power strip protectors had major appliance and power strip damage (fortunately no house fires). At least one had a failed circuit breaker.

My friend knows someone who actually does this stuff. He had only one properly earthed a 'whole house' protector. Nothing was damaged (except his meter). Even the protector remained functional. Routine is to suffer a shorted 7.2K line to 120 volts without damage. But only if one learns this stuff. No protector does protection. A protector is only as effective as the only thing that does protection. Single point earth ground.

I can report these stories forever due to a few generations of experience. Also learned the hard way what does and does not work. Induced transient damage is fabrication created only by speculation. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Always.


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RE: Power surge

"Even a neon bulb convets a major induced transient into a few tens of volts."

But it cannot carry significant current without failing (they fail in just a few seconds if the current limiting resistor is not large enough with 120 VAC applied.

Neon bulbs are NOT used as protectors for a reason.

The TELCO has a LOT of experience protecting COs equipment, and spark gaps are the first line of defense, NOT neon bulbs.
Some spark gaps are charged with neon to reduce their break over voltage, but there are actually better gases for this purpose.

"For example, TV antennas properly earthed rarely suffer damage."

Large broadcast antennas with many thousands of dollars of protection for both the antenna, its feeds from the transmitter at he base of the antenna mast to the actual antennas element, and the transmitter attached but NOT simple house type receive antennas.

They normally require service from a single direct hit to repair the damage caused, but often can continue operating (though subsequent hits before repairs have been made are known to damage and even destroy transmitters.

Home antennas are almost allays destroyed by a direct hit, along with their grounding conductors and feeds. Neither is large enough to do more than barely guide the strike to earth.
"Many want to believe spark gaps, TVSS, MOVs, etc do protection. None do. Each is effective when connected short to what does protection - earth ground. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Every protection layer is only defined by one thing - earth ground."

You need to start a business and teach every TELCO how to protect their equipment using you new and simple ideas.
Voltage only exists between TWO points.
By clamping conductors to each other the surge is dissipated right there at the clamping device.
the TELCO concentrates on making sure the voltage between the pairs AND to the equipment ground stays within safe limits.
It does not have to be zero relative to local earth, just limited within the equipment exposure.

ALL these devices can provide protection when used correctly.

You sound like someone who has actually never had to design and test protection circuits.
My lightning handbook is at work.
It gives varicose percentiles for voltage and current for first strikes, follow-on strikes, return strikes, strike polarity, along with many of the 'standard waveform' that are used to design and test equipment that must withstand lightning strikes.

A typical TELCO limit is rise time of around 10 microseconds (10% to 90%) and a pulse width (50% to 50%) of 10,000 microseconds.
Peak voltage varies with the type of cable (no line can carry a voltage above ht insulation rating very far)and application (twisted pair local loops, high capacity small bore coax for higher rates, antenna leads for microwave links, etc.) but 2,000 V, 4,000, and even 10,000 volts standards exist (and sometimes the voltage is based on how close a suppressor can be to the source of the surge, like at the base of the antenna element using the mast as a ready down conductor.

The POCO uses much higher voltages routinely, and much larger conductors.
They do use spark gaps (AKA 'spark horns') between their conductors (often three or four depending on if the distributions Y or delta and how conductive the earth is in the general area).
The energy is dissipated in the arc.
No connection to earth is used for some of the gaps, it is strictly line to line.
Other equipment is then used to further limit the allowable rise of the lines above earth, but when the operating voltage is already at 7.2 kV with fault currents of many thousands of amps and up, things get a title harder.
The design MUST ensure any arc extinguishes to prevent bringing down major portions of the grid by follow on current from the lines themselves.
the typical horns spread as they rise to try and force the arc to be longer and longer till it cannot sustain.

It appears you have a lot of learning to do on how to manage surge suppression.
It appears you may have some knowledge, but it is very limited.
An electromagnetic fields course might help.

It can even explain why lighting has a problem with tight bends in down wires.
Magnetic field crowding on the inside of the bend tends to raise the impedance of the wire at the bend making the lightning flash over to a nearby lower impedance path.

Not all the surge currents are very small.
Even the break over rating of panel boards comes into play in limiting what can penetrate into a structure.


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RE: Power surge

> "Even a neon bulb convets a major induced transient into a few tens of volts."
> But it cannot carry significant current without failing (they fail in
> just a few seconds if the current limiting resistor is not large
> enough with 120 VAC applied.

Again, please grasp the point. Induced surges are so near zero that an NE-2 neon glow lamp even converts that thousands of volts to only tens (well below 90). An NE-2 demonstrates induced transients are harmful only in myths. Demonstrates why superior protection inside every appliance makes induced transients irrelevant. Can we put this to rest? Induced transients from nearby lightning are promoted by subjective myths, advertising, hearsay, and junk science reasoning. Please stop adding irrelevant details to the NE-2 example.

Transients are current sources; not voltage sources. Voltage is only a symptom of bad surge protection. A tiny current through an NE-2 even makes induced transients irrelevant.

Telcos do not use spark gaps. Telcos install 'whole house' protectors connected as short as possible to the only thing that does protection - single point earth ground. To make that protection better, telcos also locate protectors up to 50 meters distant from electronics.

Every homeowner has a 'whole house' protector on their phone line - for free. Required by code, the FCC, and others. Has existed on every phone line for longer than anyone here has existed. And is unknown to a majority educated only by advertising.

What makes that 'installed for free' protector so effective? Earth ground. Why post accusations when you did not even know about telcos protectors? Please learn from someone who has done this stuff for generations. IOW stop posting insults and other cheapshots.

Line to line protector means a surge (maybe at 6000 volts) is on one wire. And 5,670 volts is on the other wire (a 330 volt protector). Where is protection? No reliable facility wastes money on line to line protectors. Every reliable facility connects every incoming wire, as short as possible, to what does surge protection. So that current does not even create those voltages, need I say it again? Earth ground.

For over 100 years, protection has always been about earthing a protector. In early days spark gaps were earthed (the first protector patent). Later GDTs (gas discharge tubes). Now crystalline and semiconductor protectors are a superior solution (with GDTs used in special applications). What type telco protector is often found on every home? Semiconductor type. How many knew every phone line has a protector installed for free? Not anyone educated by advertising.

A 'whole house' protector connected short to a home's single point earth ground is only 'secondary' protection. Every protection layer is defined by earth ground - not by any protector. Homeowners should also inspect their 'primary' protection layer. A picture demonstrates what to inspect:
http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

A 1979 IEEE paper demonstrates a rare and extremely large transient is on AC electric wires far up the street. 15,000 amps go left and right to other homes. 40,000 amps go to earth at a street transformer (a 'primary' protection layer). 30,000 amps are earthed by the home's 'whole house' protector. Most destructive transients are about 20,000 amps. Homes with only one 50,000 amp 'whole house' protector are sufficient to even make a rarest 100,000 amps transient irrelevant.

Popular myths foolishly claim TV antennas are routinely destroyed by lightning. 'Foolish' is being kind to that claim. Even electronics atop the Empire State Building suffer about 23 direct lightning strikes annually without damage. Electronics atop the WTC suffered 40 strikes annually. Direct lightning strike without damage is routine as even Alan Taylor proved with trees. But Alan was only using science. Others know it must be false because they can deny it here?

Correctly noted: sharp wire bends "tends to raise the impedance". Bends do not cause arcing. Increased impedance means a serious voltage that arc at a bend or elsewhere. Impedance is why telcos all over the world connect protectors as short and straight as possible to earth. Wire splices and metallic conduit also increase impedance; subvert protection. An earth ground wire from a breaker box over a foundation and down to earth also means excessive impedance. Too long and too many sharp bends. Low impedance is why 'whole house' protectors are so effective. And why other protectors are ineffective - do not even claim protection in numeric specs. Notice how others never post those spec numbers - that do not exist.

A Nebraska radio station suffered damage from lightning. Station managers made things worse by disconnecting earth grounds on some ridiculous idea that grounds attracted lightning. How was the station modified so that direct lightning strikes caused no damage? Earthing - the only thing that does protection - was upgraded. They even upgraded the 'primary' protection system. Science demonstrated in this case study:
http://www.copper.org/applications/electrical/pq/casestudy/nebraska.html

Transient damage eliminated by fixing the only thing that does protection - earth ground. Because damage must never happen (even to a TV antenna). Orange County FL did same to their 911 facilities. Fixed only what always does protection - earth ground:
http://www.psihq.com/AllCopper.htm

Another professional installed a variation of Ufer grounds to have no station damage:
http://scott-inc.com/html/ufer.htm

Where do you discuss energy dissipation? Where do you list manufacturer spec numbers that defines protection? Why so many claims without discussing what matters? Well some facts (rise time of 10 usec, arcs must extinguish, towers protectors must be earthed at their base) are correct and relevant. But other obvious facts are missing or just plain wrong (ie all struck TV antennas are destroyed). Routine is for all broadcasting stations (or homes) to suffer direct lightning strikes without damage. Another professional says so bluntly:
> Well I assert, from personal and broadcast experience spanning 30 years, that
> you can design a system that will handle *direct lightning strikes* on a
> routine basis. It takes some planning and careful layout, but it's not
> hard, nor is it overly expensive. At WXIA-TV, my other job, we take direct
> lightning strikes nearly every time there's a thunderstorm. Our downtime
> from such strikes is almost non-existant. The last time we went down from a strike,
> it was due to a strike on the power company's lines knocking *them* out, ...
> Since my disasterous strike, I've been campaigning vigorously to educate
> amateurs that you *can* avoid damage from direct strikes. The belief that
> there's no protection from direct strike damage is *myth*. ...
> The keys to effective lightning protection are surprisingly simple, and
> surprisingly less than obvious. Of course you *must* have a single point
> ground system that eliminates all ground loops. And you must present a low
> *impedance* path for the energy to go. That's most generally a low
> *inductance* path rather than just a low ohm DC path.

A low impedance (short) connection to single point ground. Could he make it any more obvious? How many hundreds professionals must be quoted before that is obvious?

OP should seek reimbursement from his electric company. Also should inspect his 'primary' protection layer. Facts that would make reimbursement easier. Too many linemen and electricians know none of this resulting in transient damage even to broadcast stations.


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RE: Power surge

"Again, please grasp the point. Induced surges are so near zero"

You need yo grasp the concept t Hat surges are NOT always "so near zero" that a low power device can handle them.

If this were so we wouldst never see MOV devices destroyed and we could use plain capacitors as surge protection devices all the time (they are used in certain applications).

Referencing to earth is NOT the only method of preventing equipment damage, no matter how long it has been in use.

By limiting the voltage between conductors additional protection is gained without the need for a low impedance earth path at every location.

"Since my disasterous strike, I've been campaigning vigorously to educate
> amateurs that you *can* avoid damage from direct strikes. The belief that
> there's no protection from direct strike damage is *myth*."

No, it is a realistic assessment that in many cases it is actually not cost effective.

We can all spend a huge amount of money (even a lower cost fix becomes a lot of money across millions of applications) for protection that often cannot reliably handle direct strikes (especially repeated direct strikes) for an event that does NOT happen all that frequently.

LAN lines are probably one of the most vulnerable things to magnetically coupled damage.
The high speed performance we demand puts a premium on requiring any protection used to not have significant capacitance.
When you are using 1 gigabit/second signaling it takes very little to load the signal with parasitic capacitance, and those nice long twisted pairs can have plenty of common mode transient induced.


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RE: Power surge

> By limiting the voltage between conductors additional protection is
> gained without the need for a low impedance earth path at every location.

Again you claim two completely different types of electricity as if both are same. Again confuse irrelevant induced transients with another destructive transients that seeks earth ground. And refuse to learn by ignoring every previously posted number.

Please appreciate your reasoning even contradicts basic electrical concepts taught in first year engineering. Your post again contradicts concepts even taught in basic circuit theory. Why do you again conventiently ignore facts provided with numbers?
> Line to line protector means a surge (maybe at 6000 volts) is on one wire.
> And 5,670 volts is on the other wire (a 330 volt protector). Where is
> protection? No reliable facility wastes money on line to line protectors.

How does that line to line protector make 6000 and 5670 volts non-destructive? Simple. You ignored that sentence and its numbers. You repeatedly ignore numbers. Why is your every post only subjective? All symptoms of classic junk science reasoning.

Numbers, professional citations, and basic electrical knowledge make this obvious. Informed consumers earth one 'whole house' protector that comes from more responsible companies including ABB, General Electric, Leviton, Square D, Intermatic, or Siemens. A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot for less than $50. Effective protectors for serious transients start at 50,000 amps. That means all transients, even direct lightning strikes (typically 20,000 amps), are made irrelevant.

The superior solution also costs less money. A what point does the word 'scam' have significance? Effective solution always discuss where energy dissipates. Fictional replies pretend those 6000 and 5670 volts do not exist.

Maybe your next reply will post some numbers from manufacturer specs. You won't. Those most easily manipulated by hearsay and subjective advertising never learn this. Even those spec numbers do not exist.

OP can apply for reimbursement from his electric company. Inspection of a missing primary protection system would further bolster his claim. Only the electrically informed would know that primary protection system must exist. Posted was an example of what to inspect.

Then the OP can properly earth one 'whole house' protector to avert future damage. Do what engineers recommend due to over 100 years of well proven experience. And due to numbers even taught in basic circuit theory.


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RE: Power surge

"> Line to line protector means a surge (maybe at 6000 volts) is on one wire.
> And 5,670 volts is on the other wire (a 330 volt protector). Where is
> protection? No reliable facility wastes money on line to line protectors.

How does that line to line protector make 6000 and 5670 volts non-destructive? Simple. You ignored that sentence and its numbers. You repeatedly ignore numbers. Why is your every post only subjective? All symptoms of classic junk science reasoning. "

And you have failed to realize that surges come in a variety of type, both single ended (where clamping to earth can be effective) and common mode (on both lines of a service).

Protection is required from both types if you want it to be effective.

"Please appreciate your reasoning even contradicts basic electrical concepts taught in first year engineering. Your post again contradicts concepts even taught in basic circuit theory. Why do you again conventiently ignore facts provided with numbers? "

No, you show an enormous ignorance of electricity, and first year electrical engineering does not even touch on electromagnetic fields, discharge behavior, and circuit protection.

No freshmen student has enough knowledge to even understand what is going on, let alone how to protect things.

Every electrical service in the US installed for at least the past 30 years HAS a single point tie to earth ground for lighting's and high voltage pole transformer leakage (you do ubderstand that the leakage is mainly fomr the capcitance betweenthe primary and secondary windings?).

Where did you get this BS idea that induced surges are always low current events?

One of the 'standard' test used in numerous applications uses a simple high current circuit with a mechanical relay in it.
The relay is opened and closed to create quick changes in the magnetic field around the energized circuit.
A length of the conductor from the relay circuit is placed beside a 'victim' circuit to check for susceptibility.

I have designed lightning protect6ion systems for military systems, communications system (including broadcast transformers).

The idea that MOVS and other similar devices provide no benefit is simply false. By using them between all three conductors of a typical 120 V circuit the voltage between them can be limited to prevent damage.
The equipment already withstands almost 170 V peak between the hot and neutral and ground.
It is actually not all that hard to make sure transformers in power supplies have a decent insulation resistance to allow brief higher voltage transients without damage.
Even electric motors can typically withstand well above their operating voltage for short durations without issue.


You can go waste your time and money trying to make your house bullet proof from lightning, including direct strikes.

I (like the vast majority) will save our money and efforts on things that are productive.

Every time threshold device breaks over, the capacity for the next event is decreased.
Few of the devices can be reliably tested to determine what the actual capacity of the device is outside of a lab, and some cannot be tested with out actually destroying them.

"A low impedance (short) connection to single point ground."

How do you propose to limit the current in this "low impedance (short) connection to ground" from the operating voltage in a power circuit?

Do you have ANY idea what the available short circuit current in an ordinary 120 V circuit is?
There is a reason the interrupt rating of breakers is often 10,000 amps (or more).

The problem with ANY protection circuit is that it must also deal with (especially for power circuits) the normal voltage and current the system can deliver.

You sound like you are running on a lot of 'book' type knowledge with very little real world experience.

Whole house type surge equipment provides very limited protection, commensurate with the risk and frequency of the occurrence.
Spending thousands of dollars to bullet proof a house is simply NOT cost effective.


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RE: Power surge

Whew!

My electrician suggest using a panel installed surge protector (Squre D Homeline). He said although it's not the pinacle of protection, it's vastly better than the power strip type. Any comments?

Here is a link that might be useful: Homeline Surge Protector


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RE: Power surge

> My electrician suggest using a panel installed surge protector
> (Squre D Homeline). He said although it's not the pinacle of
> protection, it's vastly better than the power strip type.

First, how many amps is it rated? Protector must be at least 50,000 amps.

Second, no protector does protection. The Square D is a massive improvement IF (and this is most important) is connects short (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground. Did your electrician upgrade earthing to both meet and exceed post 1990 code requirements?

Previously noted are other important characteristics. A ground wire from the breaker box (a bare, solid copper quarter inch wire) must go as short as possible to that earthing electrode. If connected up over the foundation and down to earth, then it is too long, has too many sharp bends, and is not separated from other wires. As defined so many times previously, a low impedance connection to earth is absolutely critical. (Same earth ground missing on plug-in protectors to therefore provide near zero protection.)

Your post implies a major mistake. Assumed a protector was most important. No protector ever does protection. Every useful post always discusses the only thing that does protection. Where energy must dissipate. Single point earth ground. Nobody can say if your new protector is good. You did not define the most critical item that defines all protection - earthing.

Protection is always about where energy dissipates. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. How well was the Square D earthed?


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RE: Power surge

willinak

the panel devices like the square D are a good first layer of protection. You might want to consider adding outlets with MOV's as a second layer.

See the link and click on the Surge Suppressor Outlet brochure on the right. I put these where I plug in expensive electronics. I think a duplex 20amp decora outlet ran around 50 dollars.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hospital Grade Surge Outlets


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RE: Power surge

"(a bare, solid copper quarter inch wire) "

Wires are normally measured by gauge (cross section), not diameter.
This allows the use of stranded wire that sums up to the same cross section.

Your entire idea rests on the fact that the earth never has any voltage drop or rise, and this is simply wrong.

Drive a couple rods a few hundred yards apart, run a wire between them and tell us what you measure, especially as a storm cloud passes overhead.

The length of the grounding electrode conductor is NOT the only important thing.
It needs to be as straight as possible with few bends.
Every bend will raise the impedance of the wire for fast rise time high current events.

You repeat other incorrect claims like "Second, no protector does protection."

The device will provide some degree of protection in just about any application.
It will provide better protection if it has a solid straight low impedance ground path for surges from lightning strikes.
It is less valuable for induced current surges from fast changing magnetic fields from any source.

Though the field from a lightning strike is normally about the strongest you will see a lower strength field in closer proximity can do just as much damage.

Protection in industrial settings for process control equipment when large loads are present remains a difficult environment to operate in.
When a 300 amp, 440 V, 3-phase motor shuts down it plays havoc with lower voltage circuits in proximity to the motors feed.


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RE: Power surge

willinak, there is a lot of argument here about theory. It's interesting to read but let's cut to the chase.

The meter-mounted TVSS is a great choice. If you can buy one rather than having to lease it from the power company, that is the way to go.

For even better protection, back it up with plug-in surge strips at each device or appliance.

For the best protection, also use a panel-mounted secondary TVSS (and others at any subpanels you may have). This gives you 3 levels of protection.

This is not 100% set-and-forget. The active suppressor devices in these gadgets wear out in time. Monitor the operation lights on the TVSSes. Also, replace your surge strips every 5 years or so. (I usually just open mine up and put new MOVs in them, but most folks probably won't want to do that.)


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RE: Power surge

> The active suppressor devices in these gadgets wear out in time. Monitor the
> operation lights on the TVSSes. Also, replace your surge strips every 5
> years or so.

Those lights only report one type of failure. The protector was so grossly undersized as to disconnect from a surge ASAP. Leave that surge connected to adjacent appliances. Disconnect fast enough to avoid a house fire. Those lights never report any acceptable failure mode. Light only report when a protector was grossly undersized - a potential house fire. A failure that gets the naive to recommend that protector.

View manufacturer spec numbers on any plug-in protector. Everyone here is challenged to post those spec numbers. Nobody does.

A properly sized protector does wear out ... long after you are gone. Another reason why 'whole house' protectors start at 50,000 amps. To increase profits, ineffective power strip protectors will even recommend replacement even one year or five years. Some have even cited monthly replacement - to increase profits.

A protector is for surges that occur typically once every seven years. Why must anyone replace a protector every five years? Advertising myths.

If a 'whole house' protector is properly earthed, then any rumored surge leaking into a building is made more than irrelevant by protection already inside every appliance. Quoting many of the industry�s gurus. One says an adjacent protector can even make appliance damage easier. From Dr Martzloff's 1994 IEEE paper. His first conclusion about plug-in (point of connection) protectors:
> Conclusion:
> 1) Quantitative measurements in the Upside-Down house clearly show
> objectionable difference in reference voltages. These occur even when
> or perhaps because, surge protective devices are present at the point
> of connection of appliances.

Could he be blunter? Need I cite personal engineering history? We have identified same damage. A protector too close to appliances and too far from earth ground does not even claim to provide protection. And can make appliance damage easier. No problem. It costs tens or 100 times more money. So it must be better?

Effective protectors that actually do protection are short (ie 'less than 10 feet') to earth ground. For all protectors: a protector is only as effective as what does the protection - its earth ground. Advertising avoids all discussion about earthing to protect obscene profit margins. So that others will recommend only using subjective hearsay.

A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. So its manufacturer specifications do not (cannot) claim protection. Where are spec numbers? Advertising is about protecting profit margins subjectively. Ie. replace protectors every five years due to surges that occur every seven.


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RE: Power surge

The status LEDs (neons on some TVSSes) are a warning. If the "OK" LED is off, you need a new one pronto!

If the LED is still on ... well, you MIGHT be OK, but you don't know for sure that the MOVs in your device have enough surge-absorbing capacity left. They generally do their job quietly and dutifully, without complaint, until they don't.

With all due respect, I can't figure out where the statement that "A properly sized protector does wear out ... long after you are gone" is coming from. A TVSS that provides adequate protection does degrade over time. That's the nature of MOVs (and there are darn few that aren't MOV based).

When do you need to junk it and get a new one? Ah, there's the rub. Regrettably there's no really good way to be sure that your TVSS is still providing full protection, other than to simulate a surge - and then how do you know that you haven't just finished it off?

Replacement every few years is simple insurance. I know, it costs a few bucks, especially if you're getting good quality surge gear (and you should). But if you're looking after several thousand dollars' worth of electronic stuff, believe me, it's worth the price.

So, Helpless: just skip over all the technical discussion, and follow the suggestions in my posts, ronnatalie's, and sniffdog's. These are all straightforward, practical answers for the non-technical end user.


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RE: Power surge

> A TVSS that provides adequate protection does degrade over time.
> That's the nature of MOVs (and there are darn few that aren't MOV based).

Knowledge by ignoring numbers. Without perspective from numbers, then junk science reasoning is alive and healthy. We all learned same from Saddam's WMDs. Hard facts and numbers said WMDs did not exist. But a majority knew otherwise by ignoring facts and numbers. Same mistake also recommends grossly undersized plug-in protectors here.

MOV manufacturers measure MOV life expectancy. From a manufacturer datasheet:
> The change of Vb shall be measured after the impulse listed below is
> applied 10,000 times continuously with the interval of ten seconds at
> room temperature.

10,000 surges before an MOV only degrades - still does not fail? How can that be? If destructive surges are typically once every seven years, then MOVs be replaced every month, year, or five years? Must be replaced frequently because same MOV datasheets define those protectors as grossly undersized.

One 'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps so that even a direct lightning strike (maybe a massive 20,000 amps once every seven years) does not degrade protection. Some homeowners with more frequent surges earth a 100,000 amp protector so that protector life expectancy increases *exponentially*. Numbers provided from datasheets. Ignore advertising, hearsay, and price. Learn from technical discussions. That always means numbers. Subjective claims are always suspect as lies.

A recommendation that ignores technical discussions is junk science. Irresponsible. Responsible consumers learn from science that has been proven repeatedly for over 100 years. How to promote scams? Get a majority to ignore what is obvious - called advertising. Plug-in manufacturers do not claim protection in their numeric specifications. They are not promoting to informed consumers. They are promoting to others easily brainwashed by advertising.

Where are those manufacture spec numbers that claim any protection? Still not posted.

I keep asking for honest numbers. Not one reply will provide numbers. They cannot post what does not exist. Silence because no plug-in protector claims effective protection. Not even one. But it sure can fail quickly - to promote sales.

Effective protector connects short (ie 'less than 10 feet') to protection. The NIST (a government research agency that studies this stuff) says what any protector must do without exception:
> A very important point to keep in mind is that your surge protector will work
> by diverting the surges to ground. The best surge protection in the world
> can be useless if grounding is not done properly.

How much blunter need the NIST be? I called plug-in protectors ineffective. The NIST calls them "useless".

Very profitable and subjective junk science also promotes "digitalis rectalitis" (or whatever it is called) from Dannon Yogurt for increased health. And Pond's age defying creams that everyone 'knows' must work. Advertising says so. So it must be true.

Only single point earth ground does protection. Connection must be short (ie 'less than 10 feet'). No sharp wire bends. More 'too complex' facts from over 100 years of science and experience. Advertising says a grossly undersized protector with a glowing failure light is good. After all, its profit margins are tens or 100 times larger. So it must be better. Ignore technical facts. Honesty can only confuse you. Protect those profit margins as recommended by advertising and hearsay.


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RE: Power surge

And the NIST results are nothing more than lab perfection, rarely achievable in the real world.

You still cannot seem to understand that if you can clamp all the wires within an acceptable voltage range protection can also be obtained.

You have obviously never considered how aircraft electronics has been protected for as long as we have used electronics on air planes.

Earth ground?"
You think there is a wire 10,000-20,000...100,000+ feet long dangling from every airplane?

How can anything work?

There is NO earth ground.
There is nowhere to dump transients and charge.
Aircraft electronics should die from every strike and even the static buildup from air and dust friction during flight (every heard of St. Elmo's fire?

As in most academic exercises a set of conditions have bee created to allow for simple evaluation and measurements to be performed.
The number of facilities that can even attempt to simulate lightning strikes is very small (and very expansive to hire - been there, done that).

While dumping surges to earth (at least the ones actually seeking earth) is effective, it carries with it a huge set or problems.

It takes more than one item from the 'bag of tricks,' and you seem very stuck on one (and only one) trick.

While pint of use MOVs and other suppression devices do rely on a ground path the characteristics of a surge waveform by the time it has reached from distribution lines, through electrical panels (with breakers with nice magnetic coils in line) through typical branch circuit wiring are NOT the same in amplitude, duration, or shape as the initial surge.

There are numerous locations for flash over to occur along the way reducing the peak voltage.

Residential panes that have had nearby strikes on their feed lies invariably show signs of arcing over.

You appear to have fallen into the 'better is the enemy of good enough trap.'

The numbers are not good without a detailed understanding of their distribution, and lightning strikes and induced surges have very large distributions and absolute values.

"10,000 surges before an MOV only degrades - still does not fail? "

Measurements like this all depend on how one defines the surges and failure.
Hit the MOV with its maximum rated power and see how many times it survives.
Measuring break-over in a current limited circuit is NOT a useful metric.

I guess all those maintenance cycles on high value transmitter protection are a wast of time.

The interval should be based on counting the strikes.


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RE: Power surge

> You have obviously never considered how aircraft electronics has been protected
> for as long as we have used electronics on air planes.

Wow. You really only want to argue. When you cannot win, you change the argument. Nobody was discussing airplanes. So why are you?

Broadcast stations stopped damage when defective human thinking was replaced with well proven solutions. In one Nebraska radio station, people using your reasoning even disconnected grounds. Foolishly assumed grounds were attracting lightning. Therefore made damage more frequent. I know you will only reply to argue. But others can learn from reality and this case study.

They wasted no money on magic box protectors. Only reason for surge damage was corrected. Defective earthing. Not only a secondary protection system. They also upgraded an insufficient primary protection system at the transformer: http://www.copper.org/applications/electrical/pq/casestudy/nebraska.html

AtlanticScientific.com also explains what effective protectors do:
> Surge protection devices should ideally operate instantaneously to
> divert a surge current to ground with no residual common-mode voltage
> presented at the equipment terminals. Once the surge current has
> subsided, the SPD should automatically restore normal operation and
> reset to a state ready to receive the next surge.

Earth a surge (common mode). Protector must remain fully functional. Essential is to maintain a short (low impedance) connection to the only item that defines protection. Earth ground. Where hundreds of thousands of joules are harmlessly absorbed resulting in no common mode voltages. Otherwise a surge is destructively connected to earth when someone foolishly invites those currents to go hunting inside.

Surge damage is directly traceable to human failure. Such as people who now want to argue airplanes only because they want to argue. Not help others. Surge protection - for over 100 years and in every facility that can never suffer damage - is earthing.

What did Ben Franklin do in 1752 to make lightning rods effective? Better earthing. Reality does not change because some only want to argue. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Protection was and is always about where energy is absorbed.


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RE: Power surge

Westom, WTF?

Brickeyee, why are you arguing with this nonsense?


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RE: Power surge

The best information on surges and surge protection I have seen is at:
http://www.mikeholt.com/files/PDF/LightningGuide_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 (the IEEE is the major organization of electrical and electronic engineers in the US).
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

Responding to a post from Westom:

> The protector was so grossly undersized as to disconnect from a surge ASAP.

Westom believes all plug-in protectors are "grossly undersized".

Francois Martzloff was the US-NIST surge guru with many published papers. One paper looked at the energy absorbed in a MOV on branch circuits of 10m and longer and surges on power service wires up to the maximum that has any reasonable probability of occurring. The maximum was a surprisingly small 35 joules. In 13 of 15 cases it was 1 joule or less. This is well within the ratings of plug-in protectors. With high ratings and connected correctly it is unlikely a plug-in protector will fail.

There are a couple reasons the energy is so low.
One is that (for US panels) there is arc-over from hot busbars to the enclosure at about 6,000V. After the arc is established it is hundreds of volts. Since the enclosure is connected to the earthing electrodes, that dumps most of the surge energy to earth (even with no service panel protector).
The second reason is that a surge is a very short event. Thus the currents are relatively high frequencies. The inductance of the wire is much more important than the resistance. The impedance of the branch circuit wires greatly limit the current (and thus energy) that can reach a plug-in protector.

(Neither service panel or plug-in protectors protect by absorbing energy.)

>View manufacturer spec numbers on any plug-in protector. Everyone here is challenged to post
>those spec numbers. Nobody does.

Nonsense. Many people have provided specs for Westom. He always ignores them and repeats the lie that "nobody does". Apparently Westom knows that plug-in protectors can not possibly work, so specs can not possibly exist.

> A properly sized protector does wear out ... long after you are gone. Another reason
> why 'whole house' protectors start at 50,000 amps.

Service panel protectors are a good idea.
But from the NIST guide:
"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 [electronic equipment], 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."

The NIST surge guide suggests that most equipment damage is from high voltage between power and phone or cable wires. Service panel protectors do not prevent that high voltage from developing.

If using plug-in protectors all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same plug-in suppressor. External connections, like phone, also need to go through the suppressor. Connecting all wiring through the suppressor prevents damaging voltages between power and signal wires. These multiport suppressors are described in both guides.

>If a 'whole house' protector is properly earthed, then any rumored surge leaking into a
> building is made more than irrelevant by protection already inside every appliance.
> Quoting many of the industry�s gurus. One says an adjacent protector can even
> make appliance damage easier. From Dr Martzloff's 1994 IEEE paper. His first
>conclusion about plug-in (point of connection) protectors:

At the time of the paper (1994) multiport surge suppressors were just a concept or very new. (Multiport protectors have additional ports where phone or cable wires run through them.) The *point* of the paper was that multiport protectors were effective: "Mitigation of the threat can take many forms. One solution. illustrated in this paper, is the insertion of a properly designed [multiport plug-in surge protector]."

Martzloff also wrote the NIST surge guide which also says plug-in suppressors are effective:
They are "the easiest solution".
And "one effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in suppressor.

Westom lies about what Martzloff says about plug-in protectors.

Martzloff has also written: "Whole house protection consists of a protective device at the service entrance complemented by [plug-in surge suppressors] for sensitive [electronic equipment] within the house." (It is the same as what others have said in this thread.)

Martzloff also talks about "induced transients" in the NIST surge guide (which Westom says are not a problem).

>A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

Not explained - how do you protect flying airplanes. Do they drag an earthing chain? Is it '"less than 10 feet" long? This is a completely relevant question. Protection of airplanes is somewhat like protection with plug-in protectors.

Westom appears to have a religious belief that earthing must be directly involved in protection. Thus a plug-in protector that is not well earthed can not possibly work. Unfortunately for Westom, the IEEE surge guide explains (starting pdf page 40) that plug-in protectors work primarily by limiting the voltage from all wires (power and signal) to the ground at the protector. They don't work by earthing surges.

For real science read the NIST and IEEE surge guides. Both are excellent sources of information. Both say plug-in protectors are effective.

Westom has no sources that agree with him that plug-in protectors do NOT work.

==============================================
It is likely that whatever happened to the OP, was not a surge. It is unlikely that either a service panel or plug-in protector would provide protection. A MOV that can handle a very large surge from lightning with a duration of around 200 microseconds will be rapidly destroyed by temporary overvoltage long enough to trip a breaker.

There are 2 possible exceptions.
A UPS may transfer to battery backup and disconnect from the line.
And in the US, since 1998, UL has required disconnects for failing MOVs. The IEEE guide explains that the protected equipment can be connected across the incoming power, or it can be connected across the MOVs. In the latter case, the protected equipment may be protected as the MOVs are disconnected (it may not be effective with sustained overvoltage).

Except for Westom, good information in this thread.


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RE: Power surge

Bud follows me to post insults. He is paid to promote power strip protectors. Honesty and ethics are not his intent.

Read Bud's citations. For example, his NIST says:
> A very important point to keep in mind is that your surge protector will
> work by diverting the surges to ground. The best surge protection in the
> world can be useless if grounding is not done properly.

His power strips have no earthing. Will not even discuss it. Protection is always about where energy dissipates. Bud's power strips will magically make energy disappear? Of course not. He hopes you see his insults - not his missing facts and numbers. Even his citation defined power strip protectors as "useless".

If his power strips did effective protection, then he would have posted manufacturer spec numbers that say so. He cannot. No power strip claims that protection. Ask bud for those spec numbers. He will ignore your request. Claiming mythical protection (lying) subjectively in advertising, sales brochures, and insults is legal. Claiming protection that does not exist in numeric specs can get them sued.

I only called his products ineffective. The NIST is blunter. Protectors without the always required short (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth are "useless".

Francois Martzloff also defines power strip problems as making damage easier. Martzloff defines power strip (point of connection) protectors in the very first conclusion of his 1994 IEEE paper:
> Conclusion:
> 1) Quantitative measurements in the Upside-Down house clearly show
> objectionable difference in reference voltages. These occur even when
> or perhaps because, surge protective devices are present at the point of
> connection of appliances.

bud says these protectors in 1994 were new? Protectors were originally patented in the late 1880s. Only thing new in the last few decades are protectors without earthing that magically make energy disappear. Bud's job is to promote subjective myths. Only the myths are new. Protectors have been well understood for over 100 years. Protection is never provided by a protector. Protection is provides where hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate - earth ground.

Why does Bud ignore facts? Why does he not post manufacturer spec numbers? He is promoting protectors with obscene profit margins. Put some ten cent protector parts inside a $4 power strip. Sell it for $25 or $150. That is income. He must post insults and half truths to protect profit margins. Similar protectors sell in supermarkets for $7. Insufficient enough profit.

Where does his power strip numeric spec claim protection? It never does. So bud follows me to post insults. He fears you might learn these numbers - and an obscene profit margin.

His IEEE brochure, page 42 figure 8 shows what happens when a protector is too close to a TV and too far from earth ground. Figure 8 puts a number to the damage. Protector earthed a surge *8000 volts* destructively via a nearby TV. Where is protection? bud hopes you ignore facts even in his own citations. IEEE is quite blunt about what does protection in multiple Standards - the Red Book, Green Book, and Emerald Book. Protection is always about earthing.

Being too close to appliances and too far from earth, a surge is earthed 8000 volts destructively through TV2. How can this be when bud, using insults, says otherwise? Even his citations say why power strip protectors are .... what did the NIST says: "useless".

Either energy dissipates harmlessly outside in earth. Or that energy goes hunting for earth ground destructively via appliances. Page 42 Figure 8. 8000 volts destructively through a nearby TV when the protector is not properly earthed. Energy permitted inside went hunting for earth - 8000 volts destructively.

Informed consumers earth one 'whole house' protector so that everything is protected. Even refrigerator, dishwasher, and clocks. Even necessary to protect those strip protectors. Earth one 'whole house' protector to have effective protection for about $1 per appliance. A protector's obscene profit margins pay for myths, insults, and advertising. Forget to provide any specifications that claim real world protection.

Effective protectors connect surges harmlessly to single point earth ground. Always have that earthing wire to make all types of surges irrelevant. Cost about $1 per appliance. How it was done even 100 years ago before advertising discovered obscene profits selling ineffective plug-in protectors.

Did I mention those missing numeric specs? Nobody can post what the manufacturer does not claim - numbers for effective protection.


 o
RE: Power surge

"Wow. You really only want to argue. When you cannot win, you change the argument. Nobody was discussing airplanes. So why are you? "

Because under your approach to the world there would be no way to protect anything not sitting on the earth, meaning you have no real idea what you are doing.


 o
RE: Power surge

Responding to a post from Westom:

>Bud follows me to post insults. He is paid to promote
> power strip protectors. Honesty and ethics are not his
> intent.

Lacking valid technical arguments westom uses personal attacks. My only association with surge protectors is I have some.

Westom is evangelical in his belief in earthing and uses google to search for "surge" so he can paste his religious tract to convert the heathens. Among his prized beliefs is that plug-in protector do not work. Unfortunately for westom, this group appears to be full of pagans.

>Read Bud's citations. For example, his NIST says:

Repeating what the NIST surge guide says about plug-in suppressors:
They are "the easiest solution".
And "one effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in suppressor.

Since the NIST surge guide clearly says plug-in protectors are effective westom has to try to twist what it says.

>His power strips have no earthing. Will not even discuss
> it. Protection is always about where energy dissipates.
> Bud's power strips will magically make energy disappear?

It is only magic for westom.

"Discussion" from my last post:
- from the IEEE surge guide - protection is primarily by limiting the voltage from all wires to the ground at the suppressor. It is not primarily by earthing the surge.

- from a Martzloff investigation - the energy absorbed at a plug-in protector is "surprisingly small", even with an extreme surge event.

>If his power strips did effective protection, then he
> would have posted manufacturer spec numbers that say so.
> He cannot. No power strip claims that protection. Ask bud
> for those spec numbers. He will ignore your request.

Ho-hum. "Many people have provided specs for Westom. He always ignores them and repeats the lie."

A 10 year old could google for specs.

>Francois Martzloff also defines power strip problems as
> making damage easier. Martzloff defines power strip
> (point of connection) protectors in the very first
> conclusion of his 1994 IEEE paper:

Westom repeats the lie covered in my last post. The point of the paper was that multiport plug-in protectors are effective.

Since Martzloff clearly says plug-in protectors are effective westom has to try to twist what he says.

>bud says these protectors in 1994 were new? Protectors
> were originally patented in the late 1880s.

With minimal reading ability westom could read that "MULTIPORT surge suppressors" were new.

>So bud follows me to post insults.

Westom is insulted by facts from the IEEE and NIST.

>His IEEE brochure, page 42 figure 8 shows what happens
> when a protector is too close to a TV and too far from
> earth ground. Figure 8 puts a number to the damage.
> Protector earthed a surge *8000 volts* destructively via
> a nearby TV. Where is protection? bud hopes you ignore
> facts

Fact - the plug-in protector in the IEEE surge guide example protects the TV connected to it.

Fact - without the plug-in protector, the voltage at TV2 is 10,000V. With the protector at TV1 the voltage at TV2 is 8,000V. It is a lie that the protector at TV1 does any damage to TV2.

Fact - the point of the illustration for the IEEE, and anyone who can read and think, is "to protect TV2, a second multiport protector located at TV2 is required."

Fact - the surge comes in on the cable TV service with the cable entry point too far from the power service point to effectively bond the cable entry protector. The IEEE surge guide says in cases like that "the only effective way of protecting the equipment is to use a multiport [plug-in] protector."

Fact - westom's favored power service suppressor would provide absolutely NO protection.

Since the IEEE surge guide clearly says plug-in protectors are effective westom has to try to twist what it says.

>Informed consumers earth one 'whole house' protector so
> that everything is protected.

Repeating what informed consumers find out from the NIST surge guide:
"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 [electronic equipment], 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."

For real science read the NIST and IEEE surge guides. Both are excellent sources of information. Both say plug-in protectors are effective.

Perhaps westom could explain:
- Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE surge guide use plug-in protectors?
- Why does the NIST guide says plug-in protectors are "the easiest solution"?
- Why does the NIST guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in protector?
- How would a service panel protector provide any protection in the IEEE example, pdf page 42?
- Why does the IEEE guide say for distant service points "the only effective way of protecting the equipment is to use a multiport [plug-in] protector"?
- Why did Martzloff say in his paper "One solution. illustrated in this paper, is the insertion of a properly designed [multiport plug-in surge protector]"?
- Why aren't airplanes crashing daily when they get hit by lightning (or do they drag an earthing chain)?


 o
RE: Power surge

Maybe Bud can explain why the IEEE and so many others demonstrate a plug-in protector (not protected by a properly earthed 'whole house' protector) has a history of sometimes creating house fires. His own citation page 42 figure 8 shows what a protector too close to a TV and to far from earth ground actually does. The protector earthed a surge 8000 volts destructively through TV2. His reply: pretend figure 8 does not exist.

bud is not promoting a 'whole house' protector. bud promotes plug-in protectors. His protectors, without the required short connect to earth, magically make hundreds of thousands of joules just disappear. That works in subjective claims; not in professional installations.

IEEE in a Green Book entitled "Static and Lightning Protection Grounding" says a properly earth 'whole house' protector does 99.5% to 99.9% of the protection. The most effective solution costs about $1 per protected appliance. Is sold by more responsible companies. And does not have obscene profit margins that pay his salary.

bud must ignore 100 years of well proven facts to follow me everywhere posting disparaging remarks and claims that selectively ignore numbers. Even his IEEE brochure shows a protector earthing a surge destructively through an adjacent TV. Even his NIST citation defined his protectors as "useless":
> The best surge protection in the world can be useless if grounding is not done properly.

bud denies what Martzloff so bluntly says in his 1994 IEEE paper. What we engineers saw so often. Plug-in (point of connection) protectors even made appliance damage easier when a properly earthed 'whole house' protector is missing:
> Conclusion:
> 1) Quantitative measurements in the Upside-Down house clearly show objectionable
> difference in reference voltages. These occur even when or perhaps because, surge
> protective devices are present at the point of connection of appliances.

He hopes you never learn how to have 99.5% protection when the superior solution costs only $1 per protected appliance. Because effective protectors always have a dedicated and short (low impedance) connection to earth. Plug-in protector do not; will not even discuss earthing to protect profit margins. Learning how protection is always done in reliable facilities - even munitions dumps - threatens profit margins.

So where is that manufacturer spec number that bud promised to provide? He cannot find manufacturer spec numbers that claim protection from each type of surge. His protectors do not even claim that protection.

OP's damage was averted had each incoming utility wire been earthed directly or via a 'whole house' protector. Best protection does not have obscene profit margins. Is found in every facility that cannot have damage. Energy absorbed harmlessly outside means superior protection inside every appliance is not overwhelmed. In every case, a protector is only as effective as its earth ground.


 o
RE: Power surge

>bud is not promoting a 'whole house' protector. bud
> promotes plug-in protectors.

I am promoting nothing but accurate information. What I write centers on plug-in protectors because of the nonsense that westom posts about them.

Westom is a fan of Josef Goebbels and believes if you repeat the lie often enough, people will believe it. He just repeats the same lies and misrepresentations - all already debunked.

For real science read the NIST and IEEE surge guides. Both are excellent sources of information. Both say plug-in protectors are effective.

Then read westom's sources that say plug-in protectors are NOT effective. There are none.

Simple questions westom has not explained:
- Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE surge guide use plug-in protectors?
- Why does the NIST surge guide says plug-in protectors are "the easiest solution"?
- Why does the NIST surge guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in protector?
- How would a service panel protector provide any protection in the IEEE example, pdf page 42?
- Why does the IEEE surge guide say for distant service points "the only effective way of protecting the equipment is to use a multiport [plug-in] protector"?
- Why did Martzloff say in his paper "One solution. illustrated in this paper, is the insertion of a properly designed [multiport plug-in surge protector]"?
- Why aren't airplanes crashing daily when they get hit by lightning (or do they drag an earthing chain)?

>OP's damage was averted had each incoming utility wire
> been earthed directly or via a 'whole house' protector.

As I said in my first post, the OP did not likely have a "surge". Surges are far too short duration to trip breakers. The MOVs in both service panel and plug-in protectors are rapidly destroyed by "temporary overvoltage". Unlikely you will see a manufacturer say their product will protect from an event longer than a "surge". In the OP's case the utility probably has liability.


 o
RE: Power surge

3 weeks later and you guys are still going at it.


 o
RE: Power surge

He still cannot provide even one manufacturer specification that claims effective surge protection from each type of surge. Posting spin and accusations is necessary to avoid missing technical facts and 100 years of well proven science.

He will reply again - without manufacturer numbers. It is his job.


 o
RE: Power surge

>He still cannot provide even one manufacturer specification
> that claims effective surge protection from each type of surge.

Just a few of the times specs that have been posted in the past (and ignored by westom):
http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=1770++joules+author%3Abud--&btnG=Search&sitesearch=

"Each type of surge" is more nonsense. Plug-in protectors have MOVs from H-G, H-N, N-G. That covers all surges.

>Posting spin and accusations is necessary to avoid missing
> technical facts and 100 years of well proven science.

"Spin" comes from the NIST and IEEE.

Westom ignores the "technical facts" from the IEEE and NIST. Both clearly say plug-in protectors are effective.

>He will reply again - without manufacturer numbers. It is his job.

Two of westom's favorite lies.

Still missing - answers to simple questions:
- Why do the only 2 examples of protection in the IEEE surge guide use plug-in protectors?
- Why does the NIST surge guide says plug-in protectors are "the easiest solution"?
- Why does the NIST surge guide say "One effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in protector?
- How would a service panel protector provide any protection in the IEEE example, pdf page 42?
- Why does the IEEE surge guide say for distant service points "the only effective way of protecting the equipment is to use a multiport [plug-in] protector"?
- Why did Martzloff say in his paper "One solution. illustrated in this paper, is the insertion of a properly designed [multiport plug-in surge protector]"?
- Why aren't airplanes crashing daily when they get hit by lightning (or do they drag an earthing chain)?

Still missing - any source that agrees with westom that plug-in protectors do NOT work.

For real science read the NIST and IEEE surge guides. Both are excellent sources of information. Both say plug-in protectors are effective.


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