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Old Nov 21, 2008, 12:34 PM   #1
dannyboxer
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Question Do I Need A Surge Protector?

Hello everyone.

I've heard of people using surge protectors for they're electrical equipment. I'm thinking about buying one for my iMac when I get it as I don't want it to be damaged.

What does a surge protector actually protect against? Power cuts? If this is true then how come our TV, PC and loads of other electrical equipment around the house have been through loads of power cuts and storms and have not been damaged in any way?

I know that they don't cost much but I'm just wondering if I actually need one or if they are just a way of companies earning money selling pointless things that they claim are vital.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 12:56 PM   #2
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I would recommend a UPS instead of a surge protector but you really need a surge protector! Just because you haven't had anything fried doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow. The problem comes when the power comes back on - sometimes it surges and you get way too much power briefly. I lost a 27" tv to a power surge when the power came back on. None of my computers were bothered - they are all on UPS. Surge protectors provide cheap protection considering the value of the Mac. It's smart to protect any electrical appliance with a surge protector: TV, DVD player, Cable box, computer, printer.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 12:57 PM   #3
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I'm not at all an expert in this area, but IMO surge protectors are largely worthless. Like any modern electrical device, your computer should be able to easily handle the typical daily electric flow irregularities, and any electrical event beyond that range is likely to be beyond the range of the surge protector as well. For instance, if your building is struck by lightning and it goes through your electrical wires, then your computer will almost definitely be fried regardless of whether there was a surge protector in the line or not.

Think about it. Most surge protectors cost at most $20 retail price at the store, and cost maybe a couple of bucks in parts. If surge protector technology offered any protective advantage that wasn't offered by the computer itself, then computer manufacturers would just incorporate that cheap technology into the computers themselves. And that's probably what happened a long long time ago.

UPS is a different beast altogether, and it probably offers an actual protective advantage.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:03 PM   #4
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OK, so what UPS do you recommend? I want one that's as small as possible, cheap and has at least 5 plugs on it.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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I've used APC, HP, and Tripp-Lite, all with good results.

APC has a UPS selector which can help you choose:

http://www.apcc.com/tools/ups_selector/
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by motulist View Post
Think about it. Most surge protectors cost at most $20 retail price at the store, and cost maybe a couple of bucks in parts. If surge protector technology offered any protective advantage that wasn't offered by the computer itself, then computer manufacturers would just incorporate that cheap technology into the computers themselves.
The surge protectors that I have said "will cover any damages up to $100,000" on the package. I've never had anything get fried, not have I ever heard of anyone getting paid back for something that got fried.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:10 PM   #7
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OK, so what UPS do you recommend? I want one that's as small as possible, cheap and has at least 5 plugs on it.
Yes, you need a surge protector. What a surge protector does, is what it sounds like. During a storm (or sometimes just because) your electricity and surge or spike. Most of the time it doesn't hurt anything, but if it is significant enough, it can fry your equipment. A good surge protector will set you back $50-$100. I recommend getting a UPS. UPS stands for Uninterruptable Power Supply. Some of the best ones I have used are from APC. They give you the benefits of a surge protector but also have a built in battery to keep you up during short power outages. Usually when you just have your PC plugged into it, one can keep you up for about 20 minutes.

The thing is, they wont protect you from everything. Say you have your computer on a surge protector and your house gets hit by lightning.. the surge protector wont stop a surge from going down your COAX cable, fry your modem, fry your switch/router and then fry your network card. You're never completely safe... unless you're using a laptop and wifi.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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Surge protectors can 'wear out' quickly. They can only handle a limited number of surges before degrading to ineffectiveness. Some have indicator lights that stay on if it will no longer stops spikes.

http://www.hydroonenetworks.com/en/s...ge_protection/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surge_protector
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:21 PM   #9
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Is this a good surge protector?

http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=21

Sorry, but what does the drop down menu mean with the blue arrow coming out from it?
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 01:23 PM   #10
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That's the size of the UPS; basically, how much battery power the unit has. Did you follow that UPS Selector link above? It will guide you through selecting the appropriate size UPS.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:00 PM   #11
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That's the size of the UPS; basically, how much battery power the unit has. Did you follow that UPS Selector link above? It will guide you through selecting the appropriate size UPS.
So, which one should I get? I will be running a iMac, speakers, camera charger and other things. How much power will that take? Should I get the 50W, 100W, 200W, 300W or 400W version? Thanks.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:03 PM   #12
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So, which one should I get? I will be running a iMac, speakers, camera charger and other things. How much power will that take? Should I get the 50W, 100W, 200W, 300W or 400W version? Thanks.
Again, go through that UPS Selector link above. It will tell you.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:15 PM   #13
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Again, go through that UPS Selector link above. It will tell you.
Where's that, I can't see any UPS Selector link.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by belvdr View Post
I've used APC, HP, and Tripp-Lite, all with good results.

APC has a UPS selector which can help you choose:

http://www.apcc.com/tools/ups_selector/
Here it is.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:22 PM   #15
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The thing is, they wont protect you from everything. Say you have your computer on a surge protector and your house gets hit by lightning.. the surge protector wont stop a surge from going down your COAX cable, fry your modem, fry your switch/router and then fry your network card. You're never completely safe... unless you're using a laptop and wifi.
So? Get a surge protector for the coax and phone lines as well . . .
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:25 PM   #16
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So, which one should I get? I will be running a iMac, speakers, camera charger and other things. How much power will that take? Should I get the 50W, 100W, 200W, 300W or 400W version? Thanks.
The iMac is the only thing you need to worry about in terms of battery backup. The rest need only a surge protector. Check the wattage consumption of your iMac and use that for the drop down box. You really don't need a huge amount of run time--that's just so if you lose power while at your computer you can save work. Unless you're doing movies or major photo/graphic design, you can probably close out of Word or email within a minute or two. Obviously you don't need to worry about backing up your camera charger--if the power goes out you don't want to waste your battery charge on that.

Anyway, the APC you linked to us a good unit--I have an earlier model and have been happy with it.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 02:36 PM   #17
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The iMac is the only thing you need to worry about in terms of battery backup. The rest need only a surge protector. Check the wattage consumption of your iMac and use that for the drop down box. You really don't need a huge amount of run time--that's just so if you lose power while at your computer you can save work. Unless you're doing movies or major photo/graphic design, you can probably close out of Word or email within a minute or two. Obviously you don't need to worry about backing up your camera charger--if the power goes out you don't want to waste your battery charge on that.

Anyway, the APC you linked to us a good unit--I have an earlier model and have been happy with it.
So, would this UPS be good.

http://www.apc.com/resource/include/...otal_watts=200

The iMac doesn't use more than 200 watts does it?
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 05:44 PM   #18
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I've used APC, HP, and Tripp-Lite, all with good results.
My Tripp-Lite is an absolute piece of crap. Would not buy again.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 05:54 PM   #19
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Do I need a surge protector?

I have a little experience with this topic. (Disclaimer: I work for a surge protector company). I have seen plenty of devices that have croaked from a little lightning strike. TV's, computers, cable boxes, AV Receivers etc. I have even been hit by lightening myself, over a telephone line. It really hurt! Not fun, it knocked me almost fifteen feet across a room.

I have seen power cords with the plastic melted off them.

I agree with Le Big Mac, if you have a coax wire, then get a surge protector that covers all the copper, coax, telco, whatever. The only line that won't conduct a surge is fiber.

So if you have any copper wire going to your Mac I highly recommend a good surge protector. You can't get a "good" surge protector for $15.

This is the surge protector I use for my Mac Mini. It costs about $52 on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Panamax-M4T-Ex...7311508&sr=1-1

They work very well and have an auto reset feature, if there is a surge or a brown out they disconnect your equipment right away, anything over 139 volts!

http://www.panamax.com/Products/Floo...ls/M4T-EX.aspx
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Old Nov 22, 2008, 01:09 PM   #20
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Is this a good surge protector?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-PureA...5S61DF4PPT2561

It's got a 50,000 connected equipment warranty so if my iMac gets damaged it will be okay won't it?
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 02:21 PM   #21
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Hello, can someone please help me, I don't know anything about this at all.
I've found out the iMac's power requirements on the Apple page.

Electrical and Operating Requirements
Line voltage: 100-240V AC
Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz, single phase
Maximum continuous power: 200W (20-inch models); 280W (24-inch model)
Operating temperature: 10 to 35 C (50 to 95 F)
Storage temperature: -40 to 85 C (-40 to 185 F)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
Maximum altitude: 3,000 m (10,000 feet)

Iv'e also found this Belkin UPS on eBay
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Belkin-325VA-R...1%7C240%3A1318
Will be okay for my iMac and will it be safe?
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 02:35 PM   #22
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I've just thought of something. If I have a power surge or when there is a lightning storm I could just turn of my iMac and unplug it from the wall. That way my iMac doesn't get damaged and I don't need a surge protector or UPS.

I am right in thinking am I not that electrical equipment gets damaged when the power comes back on.

Also, does a UPS offer more surge protection then a normal surge protector? I would not really use the battery in the UPS as I always save my work regularly.
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 08:08 PM   #23
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yea ESP will work
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 08:22 PM   #24
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Yes Get A Coax Surge Protector Also!

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So? Get a surge protector for the coax and phone lines as well . . .
This is the smartest piece of advice on this thread. I have backup/surge system, everything worked great, but I did NOT have my coax cable modem line protected. Right from the router to my new 2008 Mac Pro.

During a Lightning storm, I was shutting everything down to unplug it (I am paranoid like that) and BOOM a strike of lightning hit my pole and shut everything down. When power came back on, Mac would boot just fine, but the logic board was fried meaning no ethernet.

Good thing it was under warranty, $900 logic board replacement ($45 labor) and Apple replaced no problem. Now I use a Belkin surge protector with insurance and the coax runs right through it. Never had a problem since. I have used computers for 25 years of my life and never saw a surge hit through a coax before...

Beware the surge...

BTW if you are in solid standing with your homeowner's insurance for many years and have a situation like that and your computer is not under warranty....often times you get a "freebie" from the insurance company with no rate increase because you are a valued customer. Meaning if you can get in writing that the computer is fried due to a lightning strike, they will usually cover a replacement with no impact on your rates. Just FYI...
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 08:26 PM   #25
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I've just thought of something. If I have a power surge or when there is a lightning storm I could just turn of my iMac and unplug it from the wall. That way my iMac doesn't get damaged and I don't need a surge protector or UPS.

I am right in thinking am I not that electrical equipment gets damaged when the power comes back on.

Also, does a UPS offer more surge protection then a normal surge protector? I would not really use the battery in the UPS as I always save my work regularly.
Yeah, as long as you are around when a storm comes through. What happens if you're at a friend's house, or on vacation, and a storm comes through.

When the power comes on, electrical equipment could get damaged. There's no guarantee either way, and that's where a UPS or a very nice surge protector should help. That said, nothing is guaranteed to stop lightning. I have seen lightning arrestors for my ham radio equipment, but I just unplug my coax when not in use. Much safer and I have no worries. But, I don't use that equipment every day, like I would a PC, and I do use a UPS for all of that stuff too, just to keep the line voltage clean.
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