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Surge and lightning protection and power conditioning

2079 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  tonyvdb
I know this is a topic that has been covered before, but I do not see any discussions in the last 5 years so I am looking for inout based on the what is now available. While I will value all input, I would really love to hear from people who actually own the equipment and have had personal experiences with it (especially if lightening was involved).

I live in Florida, which has more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the US, so lightning protection is particularly important. Also, brown out (voltage drop) protection is very important since those happen nearly everyday. I am seeking protection for a home theater with all the basics (High-end receiver, theater projector, Xbox, Blu ray and a couple of powered subs.

I have been looking at some models from Panamax and SurgeX. Some people swear by one and some the other and I am sure there are other brands out there that others will prefer. I can read the white papers about clamping voltage and Joules, but I know that true performance cannot always been determined by specifications, hence I am looking for real world feedback and suggestions based on my setup. I don't mind spending money where warranted, but I hate wasting it.

Lastly, how do you handle the run from a ceiling mount projector to the power protection? Extension cord through the attic? Hardwire through walls? some other means?

Thanks in advance!
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If you have brown outs, lightning strikes and (I'm assuming) surges of dirty power, I wonder if you might benefit from a UPS instead. Any version other than the Joe Homeowner variety will have surge suppression built in, so you may be able to solve 2 problems with 1 solution; stop the surges and clean the power being delivered to your sensitive electronics.
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Being an installer , this is a very realtive topic - especially in certain geographic locations ... I am in TX so we do get quite a few lightning storms a year and the voltage grid dropping in the summer as everyone is cranking the AC units to MAX...

Noise filtration aside - I have been using PANAMAX for many years and have been completely satisfied ( in fairness I have never had to file a claim for equipment failure) That said It has gone into protect mode several times because of lightning/ power surge or low voltage... I am quite confident that its providing the advertised protection. The most common mistakes I see in installations are > not running the Sat coax through > not running the Ethernet cat5 through ... Any incoming cable system must be passed through to provide the max protection ... I have seen first hand the damage caused by both scenarios I described...

As you might expect most will disregard this protection thinking "IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME" ..until it does ... One of my clients( who disregarded my warnings about having surge protection ) took the hit through his VERIZON FIOS internet - the total damage was extensive and the deductible on his home insurance was 5K ..... ya so if you have invested thousands of dollars in your system, you'd be unwise not to have it.

I also believe it adds a sonic benefit - but thats another thread ... For that matter I also highly recommend PANGEA AC cords especially for AMPS and PREAMPS... nuff said.
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The best protection against lightning surges and power grid issues is to unplug the equipment when not in use. Not a big deal if everything feeds down to one plug. If I really feel the need to listen during a storm, or one sneaks up on me, then my AC regenerator handles sentry duties. It's never taken a direct strike, but it's predecessor did and survived with flying colors. Sparks actually lept from the wall outlets! My power amps did not fare so well, however, as they were plugged directly into the wall. Luckily, the designer was able to resurrect them, but it wasn't cheap. Luckily again, my deductible was only $500 at the time.

Have you considered a whole-home surge protector? It may be cost effective in an area like yours with so many strikes. The best strategy is:
  • General protection at point of entry
  • Specific protection at point of use
  • Protect equipment power, satellite/cable, and phone lines

It's also helpful to know that it's not just large surges that damage equipment. Certainly the large ones are more dramatic, but it's small ones sneaking by under-the-radar that can kill your equipment over time.
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As mentioned above surge protection is only half the problem. You would be better off getting a decent UPS from CyberPower, TripeLite or APC, They have protection against spikes, brownouts, and noise.
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