Surge protectors.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by aPple nErd, May 31, 2013.

  1. aPple nErd macrumors 68030

    aPple nErd

    Feb 12, 2012
    Jailbreaks/IOS Hacks
    So at night while I'm sleeping, I charge my iPhone 5, iPod touch 5, iPad 3, and leave my iMac mid 2011plugged in of course, and all these are plugged into a standard outlet extender (the long thing with multiple outlets you plug in) and its annoying when it thunderstorms here (every knight for the past 2 weeks) I can't charge, or keep my iMac plugged in, so then I have to charge in the day witch is annoying because then I have to stay at my rest for the 8 hours my iPad takes to charge... Any reliable solutions that will keep my Mac, and iOS devices safe If the house gets struck by lightning and it's plugged in? Or are surge protectors just kinda pointless if it gets struck?
  2. IGregory macrumors 6502a


    Aug 5, 2012
    This article on surge protection may help you decide.
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    8 hours for your iPad to charge? Are you using the correct adaptor if came with? Even from zero mine takes 2-3 hours.
  4. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    For lightning strikes only a whole house arrester installed at the electrical service panel will protect your equipment.
  5. karpich1 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2007
    Agreed. If you're using the small iPhone charger... it takes for flippin' ever.

    You need to use the larger iPad charger to charge them.

    I don't remember the exact hours-per-charger, but the iPhone charger takes at least twice as long... perhaps 3x as long.
  6. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    iPad charges (including the one that came with the original iPad 3) were 10W. Apple has now replaced that with a 12W charger. I recommend getting one if you have an iPad 3. It is much faster than the original 10W charger.

  7. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    True, but most decent surge protectors will offer insurance if your stuff gets fried. That said I think our house insurance covers this as well.
  8. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    I live in northern San Diego County, so lighting just doesn't ever happen here except far off in the distance, but if I lived where lightning strikes are expected, I'd get a whole house surge protector. Reasons:
    1) It's much easier than trying to deal with getting fried stuff replaced -- read the linked article by IGregory above.
    2) Insurance will cover it, but my home owners has a $1K deductible. Additionally, you have to deal with the hassle of getting it replaced. Meanwhile, a whole house surge protector, installed by a licensed electrician, is probably $500 tops.

    But I'm pretty much endorse protection up front rather than trying to figure out how to undue the damage later. That's why I have two UPS units and two NAS units, with three external backup drives that get rotated, along with an online backup. My TVs and home theater equipment are all hooked up to surge protectors too. Overkill? Maybe, but I'd much rather do this than wish I had done it after damage has occurred.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    A good surge protector will help, but even better would probably be a UPS which includes surge protection.

    If you have an iPad mini, I suggest buying the Apple 12W USB Power Adapter as it will charge the iPad mini in less than half the time than the charger it came with.
  10. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Disconnecting from power is the only sure way to protect your equipment from a lightning strike to your home that goes into the wiring. Surge protectors are useless against this. Regardless of what a company might claim, I would not trust an inexpensive UPS for home use to protect against lightning either.
  11. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Disconnecting is effective when you never use that appliance. An accurate reply is what has been common knowledge for over 100 years. For lightning strikes, only a whole house arrester installed at the electrical service panel will protect your equipment.

    Actually, no protector does protection. Best protection means an incoming utility wire (ie cable TV) connects low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to earth ground via a hardwire. That hardwire and earthing electrode is the best possible protection.

    Some utility wires cannot connect directly to earth (ie telephone, AC electric). In every facility that cannot have damage, the same 'direct wire' connection is made via a 'whole house' protector. A protector does not do protection. The effective type protector (completely different from plug-in types) always has and makes a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to what does protection. Where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Earth ground.

    Neither a power strip protector nor UPS claims to protect from any typically destructive surge. Any layman can see why. No dedicated and low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to single point earth ground exists.

    'Effective' protection means 'best' protection when using and when not using appliances. Your telco's $multi-million switching computer is connected to wires all over town. Suffers about 100 surges per storm. How often is your town without phone service for four days? They also do not waste money on 'miracle' plug-in solutions. They locate a 'whole house' type protector (a completely different device that unfortunately shares a same name) within feet of earth ground. And up to 50 meters distant from electronics. That separation (< 150') increases protection.

    Important for protecting a Mac is "what does the protection?" Protectors are simple science. The art is what should have most of your attention and questions. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground - the art of protection. Protection means you know where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate.
  12. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Umm, disconnecting is effective 100% of the time and costs zero. Is it inconvenient? Yes. Does it work? Always. Does it cost anything? Nope. Can anyone do it? Yep.

    I think therefore that advising someone to unplug represents a reply that is plenty accurate.

    As for whole house arrestors, you should read the following article by an authority in the field (see link to his bio on same page). I think you may find it enlightening:

    I guess "common knowledge" ain't all it's cracked up to be. :D
  13. westom, Jun 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013

    westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Same 'articles' also proved that smoking increases health. Most 1950 Americans believed it for the same reasons found in your only 'article'.
    Which is true as long as we ignore all numbers, By ignoring 100 years of knowledge and experience. The article *proves* power cycling by the refrigerator, vacuum, dishwasher, and furnace are destroying dimmer switches, clocks, and GFCIs causes surges. So how many times every day do you replace dimmer switches and clocks? Replace wild speculation with reality. Ignore articles that are obviously propaganda - that replace science and numbers with wild speculation.

    That 'surge' is called noise. So trivial as to not damage anything. Destructive surges occur maybe once even seven years - a number based in science, research, and generations of experience. Destructive surges are from other anomalies such as stray cars striking poles, linemen mistakes, and of course lightning. Publications based in science (ie Bell System Technical Journal) described where most surges come from - not inside a building.

    Disconnecting works only when one is clairvoyant and never sleeps.

    Unfortunately, too many are 'eager'' to be educated by propaganda. Somehow a magic 2 cm filter will stop what three miles of sky could not? Did they forget to mention: superior protection inside appliances already features better filters. Explains why your 80% surges are only irrelevant noise.

    So many also *knew* smoking increases health. Propaganda proved it. Fun and profitable is ZeroSurge using same hearsay and propaganda to increase their profits. A majority automatically believe the first thing told. Never demand reasons why with numbers. Then get emotional (angry) when science exposes those myths. So many also believe Airborne cures the common cold, Geritol extended life expectancy, magic plastic on a bumper clears the roads of deer, and Nigerian princes will make you rich.

    The informed earth one 'whole house' protector so that nobody need know a surge existed. And waste no time disconnecting the furnace, clocks, and refrigerator. Replace urban myths with well proven science:ignore propaganda devoid of numbers. And learn that Nigeria has no princes.
  14. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    Here in Thailand, no one runs a desktop without a UPS, which also has surge protection. Power cuts are relatively frequent, and the voltage can be all over the place. When I first came here (in 1981) I was bemused by TV sets being advertised being able to adjust automatically from 90 volts to 270 volts.

    When I first moved into my apartment (which is near the end of a power line) there were times when there was not enough power to kick the fluorescent lights into action. The supply has since been upgraded, but we still do have cuts. the whole of the south of Thailand was blacked out for about 4 hours a couple of weeks ago, and we have had four or five power cuts since then.

    I also use a surge protected extension cable, into which I plug the UPS, printer and other accessories.

    My first UPS got cooked a couple of times in massive surges. The first time it was repaired under warranty (to my pleasant surprise, it was already out of the warranty period). That was plugged directly in to the mains. The power supply for my Mac took a hit too.

    Since then I have installed an earth wire, and now have a UPS with AVR (auto voltage regulation) Along with the improved mains supply, everything seems to be working much better now.
  15. bud-- macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2012
    Excellent information on surges and surge protection is at:
    - "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 (the IEEE is a major organization of electrical and electronic engineers).
    And also: happen!.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

    The IEEE surge guide is aimed at people with some technical background (which probably includes about everyone here).

    The information in these guides, written by engineers that research and design protection, is rather different from the other sources in this thread. For instance, surges that originate in a house are not likely a problem.

    Service panel protectors are a real 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."

    Service panel protectors are very likely to protect anything connected only to power wires from a very near very strong lightning strike. The NIST surge guide suggests most equipment damage is from high voltage between power and signal wires. Serrvice panel protectors may or may not protect equipment that also has a connection like phone or cable.

    The author of the NIST surge guide has written "In fact, the major cause of [surge protector] failures is a temporary overvoltage, rather than an unusually large surge." Temporary overvoltage would be, for instance, crossed power wires.

    Complete nonsense. Some even have protected equipment warranties.

    Both the IEEE and NIST surge guides say plug-in protectors are effective.

    The author of the NIST surge guide looked at the amount of energy that could make it to a plug-in protector, even with a very near very strong strike to utility wires. The energy is surprisingly small. (There are a couple reasons, if anyone is interested.) A plug-in protector, wired correctly (as below), is likely to protect from even a very near very strong strike.

    The IEEE surge guide explains how plug-in protectors work starting page 30. It is not primarily by earthing a surge. They work primarily by limiting the voltage from each wire (power and signal) to the ground at the protector. The voltage between the wires going to the protected equipment is safe for the protected equipment.

    When using a plug-in protector all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same protector. External connections, like coax also must go through the protector.

    It is a miracle for westom because he can not understand how plug-in protectors work, explained in the IEEE surge guide starting page 30.


    Plug-in protectors do not work primarily by earthing surges. As the IEEE surge guide explains, earthing occurs elsewhere in the system.

    I would not worry about chargers on a plug-in surge protector or protected by a whole house surge protector.
  16. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I stopped reading right here. Good luck to you.
  17. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    You make a lot of very good points although my distrust of surge protection equipment stems from the possibility of a direct strike to the home itself versus the wires coming into it. I mean the kind of strike in which the electricity may travel through metal construction materials, plumbing or wiring within the home. Depending on where it hit and where it traveled I am guessing protection at the breaker box would not necessarily be very helpful and I question the ability of a 10 dollar surge protector to withstand a lightning strike that occurs within feet of it potentially.

    As someone mentioned above I believe, they had an incident in which a UPS was destroyed and the connected Mac power supply was as well. So I guess that surge protection didn't work too well.

    By the way, I am certainly not arguing against the general value of these protective measures. I'm just saying that when mother nature may unleash her fury upon my dwelling with expected severe storms, I feel safer just unplugging valuable electronics briefly. Better safe than sorry.
  18. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    A surge is electricity. If a surge is incoming to the UPS, then a same current is also outgoing into the Mac. Many assume a surge is incoming but not outgoing. Basic electrical concepts. That surge incoming must also be outgoing to earth (typically via appliances). Or the surge never existed.

    UPS manufacturers quietly recommend no surge protector on the UPS output. Since many UPS outputs in battery backup mode are so 'dirty' as to degrade that strip protector. 'Dirty'? Yes. But since appliances already have robust protection, then 'dirty power (harmful to a strip protector) is also ideal power to electronics.

    Your concern is not blackouts. Blackouts are not surges. Blackouts do not harm electronics. Your concern is a rare surge that can overwhelm existing protection inside appliances. That destructive surge must be earthed BEFORE entering a building. Otherwise it can overwhelm protection found in power strips or UPS.

    Critical to protection is where hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate. View specs for that UPS or power strip. Hundreds of joules? IOW near zero protection. It also must be protected by earthing one 'whole house' protector.

    The IEEE even provides numbers. A properly earthed 'whole house' protector does "99.5% to 99.9% protection". Leaving a UPS or power strip to do tiny additionally protection claimed in specifications. Maybe 0.2% of additional protection.

    UPS is temporary and 'dirty' power during a blackout. 'Dirty' is why that power strip should not be powered by a UPS. A UPS even fail if doing what its manufacturer said it would do. Effective protection is located at earth ground since even a UPS and power strip needs protection only possible by an earthed protector. So that hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate in earth.
  19. bud-- macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2012
    Totally irrelevant to protection. The kind of UPS that people buy does not have a sine wave output. Protection is on the line side of a UPS.


    As I wrote in my first post, the author of the NIST surge guide looked at the amount of energy that could make it to a plug-in protector. Branch circuits were 10m and longer. The surges coming in on power wires were up to 10,000A. That is the maximum that has any reasonable probability of occurring, and is referenced in the IEEE surge guide. The maximum energy at a plug-in protector was a surprisingly small 35 joules. In 13 of 15 cases it was 1 joule or less. Plug-in protectors will all have much higher ratings than that.

    One of the reasons the energy is so low is that at about 6,000V (US) there is arc-over from service panel busbars to the enclosure. The established arc is hundreds of volts. Since the enclosure is connected to the neutral and earthing system (US) that dumps most of the surge energy to earth. The other reason is the impedance of the branch circuit for the relatively high frequency current components of a surge. But it is all too complicated for westom.

    I have no idea what the wiring is in Thailand for Mickey Do.

    Complete nonsense.

    Just the opposite may be necessary.
    SquareD says for their "best" service panel protector "electronic equipment may need additional protection by installing plug-in [protectors] at the point of use."

    The 99+% figures are from the IEEE "Green" book. They are for lighting rods. The have nothing to do with surge protectors.

    It is typical of westom's 'facts', which he compulsively posts all over the internet.

    Since the 99% figure is bogus so is this.

    Contrary to westom's compulsive posting that plug-in protectors are scams, both the IEEE and NIST surge guides say they are effective.

    To protect a house from a direct lightning strike you need lightning rods. Most of our housed are not particularly exposed and probability of a lightning strike is very low.
  20. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    Why? His point seemed pretty clear to me.
  21. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Many if not a majority only believe the first thing they are told (ie cigarettes increase health). Then get angry when facts contradict what they believed. The Surgeon General was angrily attacked for saying cigarettes kill. Because a majority were told something completely different by advertising. A similar situation exists here.

    Protectors that do not have a low impedance connection to earth (ie if adjacent to a computer) do not and cannot protect from lightning and other typically destructive surges. It does not even claim to protect (read manufacturer spec numbers). But the other and completely different device is for protecting from destructive surges such as lightning.

    Because a plug-in protector did not avert damage, then one 'whole house' protector also would not work? The former has no low impedance connection to earth. Therefore does not claim that protection. The latter is located to make a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. And has spec numbers defined for lightning protection (ie 50,000 amps).

    Two completely different devices. Only one is intented for protection from typically destructive surges. Unfortunately many confuse a power strip protector with a 'whole house' protector.
  22. bud-- macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2012
    In other words only westom knows the answer.

    Westom just ignores information from reliable sources (IEEE, NIST, SquareD) that demolish his narrow beliefs about surge protection. Westom ignores the 'Surgeon General'.

    It is "repeat the lie often enough and people will believe".

    Never seen - any source that agrees with westom that plug-in protectors do not work.
  23. Nuke61, Jun 6, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013

    Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    Incorrect, only one is intended to protect against nearby LIGHTNING strikes. That does not mean that other destructive surges don't happen and cannot be protected against by using point-of-use surge protectors. The IEEE document says as much, and disagrees with your position that the only protector worth having is a whole house surge protector.

    The odds are that even lightning strikes will be quite some distance from a house, so the surge is significantly lessened by the time it reaches the outlet. At that point is where a point of use protector is valuable. The NIST says so, and so does the IEEE. To claim that they are of no help is about as far out in left field as your claim that all UPS's in battery backup mode puts out 200 volt square waves with spikes up to 270 volts -- what?!?!?
  24. westom macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2009
    Every professional organization says earth essential to protection. IEEE makes recommendations bluntly in standards. From the IEEE Red Book Standard 141:
    From the IEEE Emerald Book:
    From the IEEE Green Book Standard 142:
    Even all major equipment provider require earthing. For example Sun Microsystems:
    "Planning guide for Sun Server room"
    If a protector does not "divert the power of the surge [on a] path to ground", then that protector is ineffective. Somehow the IEEE says something different? No. The IEEE NIST and every other professional organization defines protection in terms of what absorbs the energy. Earth ground.
  25. Nuke61 macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2013
    Columbia, SC
    Nobody here has said anything different... what is being disputed is your unsubstantiated assertion that plug-in surge protectors offer no protection against surges. The IEEE and NIST both recommend plug-in surge protectors IN ADDITION TO the service entrance lightning protector.

    What you just added above addresses NOTHING under dispute.

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