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    azwanbiz's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Let's talk about surge suppressors...



    Should you unplug your computer and other equipment while you go off on holiday?
    The answer? It cannot hurt to do so. In fact, unplugging your gear can save you a lot of grief especially during the rainy seasons that poses a danger to everything electronic. It's never to late to protect your computers, printers and other gadgets against electrical surges and spikes.
    Surges and spikes are brief but spectacular increases in voltage that can fry delicate equipment. A surge lasts longer than a spike, but they are both very short- measured in nanoseconds, or billionths of a second.
    The biggest surge in nature lightning, but contrary to popular belief, direct lightning strikes cause relatively few problems for homeowners because they are so rare. In fact, if lightning does strike your house or the power lines nearby, there's almost nothing you can do to keep your plug-in equipment from being fried. This is unless of course you want to install a whole-house surge suppressor or protector, which is an expensive alternative.
    Much more common are household surges, caused by heavy equipment such as air conditioners, freezers and refrigerators that that cycle on and off, momentarily creating a jump in voltage. Often, the damage is so small that you do not even realise it until one of your gadgets quits before its time.
    Lightning strikes can also cause power interruptionsm that creates two possible outcomes: The main problem is that the power often returns with a surge in voltage that can damage unprotected components.
    The second problem is that your computer can grind to a halt while it is writing data to the hard disk, which may scramble your data or even make the computer unbootable. Shutting down suddenly without properly closing down the system files will cause trouble the next time the PC boots up, even if there's no real damage.
    To deal with the first hazard, you need a good surge suppressor. For the second, you will need to go a step further- an uninterruptible power supply to keep your system chugging along.
    Most surge suppressors are built into power strips that use a series of components known as Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) whose job is to keep normal voltage flowing through the outlets, but divert high-voltage surges to your home's grounding wire. It is a good idea to replace your power strip after a couple of years, especially after a major hit- clue: the strip is blackened or melted.

    Purchasing a surge suppressor

    Locate a surge suppressor that is designed specifically for computers and not other electronical appliances or household appliances. That done, look on the packaging for information about the surge protector's capacity to protect your equipment, measured in three ways:
    1. Find the suppressor's ability to absorb electrical energy, measured in joules. A higher rating is better. Although there have been debates over how much protection you really need, a 600- 700 joule rating is the minimun rating for valuable equipment.
    2. Look for the clamping voltage- the minimum voltage at which MOV- a digital multifunction relay that provides under voltage, voltage absence, voltage presence, and closing and re-closing permission functions for two breakers) kick in. In this case, the lower is better. Most experts recommend the lowest of the three Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) ratings, 330 volts; stay away from those higher than 400 volts.
    3. Check the response time, usually measured in nanoseconds. Lower is better- less than one nanosecond is best if possible.
    In addition, look for a power strip with two indicator lights- one showing whether the surge protection is still active and another to show whether the power is on. If the protection light goes out, the strip will still provide electricity, but won't help if there's a spike.
    You must also remember that power outlets are not the only things that pose a danger to your computer. Surges can also reach sensitive equipment through phone and network lines. The most versatile surge protectors include ports for the phone (RJ11), network (RJ45) and coaxial cables. They also require extra cables- one plugs into the suppressor and another leads from it to your equipment.
    To keep your computer running during brief outages, or to give it time to shut down during blackouts, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is worth the additional money.
    In addition to the features of a good surge protector, it adds a battery backup that kicks in automatically when it senses a power drop and provides a steady supply of conditioned electricity to your system. The capacity of UPS units is measure in Volt-Amps.
    How long it lasts depends on how much you are willing to pay, and how much equipment you plug in. Most computer stores have a chart to determine the right unit for your system.
    The best way to protect your computer and other electronic equipment would be to speak to the salesperson or dealer. Bringing in your computer or equipment specifications sheet would be a good idea to ensure you get the best recommendations.


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  3. #2
    dethro's Avatar
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    yo bro.. could you list some of the good UPS n surge supressor? i'm kinda interested in buying one.. or even better, if you could post some review on any brands in paticular.. thanks


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