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  1. #1
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default Whole House Surge Suppression

    AFter my mother lost both a microwave and the control board in the refrigerator, I decided to install a whole house surge suppressor. Since I was only going to be there a day or so, I had to find one fast. Ended up with a unit from Mersen that was the only one available from any electrical supply house in the city. Everyone said they could get one, but shipping would take too long. I looked at a GE and a Leviton unit, but ended up with the Mersen unit. The company has been around for awhile, so hope it ends up being reliable. Anyway, for someone considering this, IF you have room in your panel, it's only about a 10-minute job. Poke out a 1/2" knockout in the panel, insert the three wires (L1, L2, N), slip the nut over the wires and tighten it up. Add the N to the buss bar, put L1 and L2 on the lugs of a 240vac 20A breaker, snap the breaker into the box, turn the breaker on, check that the indicator lights are green, and put the cover back on after knocking out for the new breaker.

    Anyway, she sees regular short duration power outages. Already had a UPS and a few surge suppressors on important things (the cable box and the wireless router often needed a hard reset to get them in sync and working properly after a power outage - the powered up at different rates and often wouldn't connect properly and after installing a UPS, she hasn't had this problem). These were the first major appliances to die during a storm, but hopefully, other than a direct strike, this should certainly help. It was about $125 overnighted from Amazon (which was about $30 less than the local place after taxes). If I hadn't had one day, I would have bought it locally.

    I've had a similar device on my home for decades, and have never lost a major appliance or other electronic device while neighbors have (same power feed), so I believe in both the concept and the need.

    It's a relatively inexpensive addition (you can pay more for higher power dissipation if you want) that should have some real benefits. It makes the surge suppression at the major item more effective since you're protected from the outside via the panel and at the point of use by a local strip.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    AFter my mother lost both a microwave and the control board in the refrigerator, I decided to install a whole house surge suppressor. .....

    I've had a similar device on my home for decades, and have never lost a major appliance or other electronic device while neighbors have (same power feed), so I believe in both the concept and the need.

    It's a relatively inexpensive addition (you can pay more for higher power dissipation if you want) that should have some real benefits. It makes the surge suppression at the major item more effective since you're protected from the outside via the panel and at the point of use by a local strip.
    I've done one of these for a customer. Here we tend to mount our panels on the outside of the house. I had to dig into the stucco a bit to get at a knock out, and I had to mount the thing on the external surface of the house.

    I do wish that the manufactures of these would find a way to get them listed to mount in the panel.

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    DIY Junior Member westom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeownerinburb View Post
    I do wish that the manufactures of these would find a way to get them listed to mount in the panel.
    Codes define human safety; not transistor safety. A protector is about protecting appliances - not humans.

    Appreciate what does protection. Not any protector. Protection means hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly outside in earth. Every wire inside every incoming cable must connect to single point earth ground. Otherwise all protection is compromised. For example, cable TV needs no protector. Even codes for human safety require it to be earthed where entering. That earthing (without any protector) is best protection.

    But AC electric cannot be earthed directly. A 'whole house' protector connect those wires low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground.

    A protector does not define protection from direct lightning strikes. What that protector connects to defines protection. Earth is where hundreds of thousands of joules (lightning) harmlessly dissipate. Most attention should focus on what remains unobserved. Not just any earthing. A low impedance (ie no sharp wire bends) connection to single point earth ground. A protector without a ‘low impedance’ connection to earth is ineffective.

    A 'whole house' protector is only "'secondary" protection. Also inspect your "primary" protection layer. Pictures of what to inspect:
    http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

    How to upgrade that protector? Upgrade what it connects to - single point earth ground. A minimally sized 'whole house' protector is rated 50,000 amps. So that even 20,000 amp lightning strikes do not damage it. That number defines a protector’s life expectancy.

    Earthing defines protection for each surge. Upgrade a protector's amp number to increase its life expectancy. But upgrade earthing to have better protection during each surge. Protection means that surge need not enter a building to cause appliance damage. Therefore how a ‘whole house’ protector is earthed is critical. To an earth ground that also earths a satellite dish, cable TV, and phone wires. Single point ground. And low impedance connections.

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    i bought two that hook up just like that, made by Sycom, but I paid about $40 each for them. I think I got mine from a guy in Florida on e b a y. I think this is the same guy, they are $55 now. Still a good deal.

    http://www.****.com/itm/SYCOM-SYC-12...item5d34016730
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    Last edited by Chad Schloss; 06-29-2012 at 07:58 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    deleted. double post somehow.
    Last edited by Chad Schloss; 06-29-2012 at 07:50 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    "I do wish that the manufactures of these would find a way to get them listed to mount in the panel. "

    There are panel mount TVSS surge supressors, made to go in to a breaker slot. look up whoever makes your panel and see if they have one. here is one for a siemens panel: https://www.sea.siemens.com/us/Produ...ve-Device.aspx

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    "I do wish that the manufactures of these would find a way to get them listed to mount in the panel. "

    There are panel mount TVSS surge supressors, made to go in to a breaker slot. look up whoever makes your panel and see if they have one. here is one for a siemens panel: https://www.sea.siemens.com/us/Produ...ve-Device.aspx
    Yes, I did see those, but did not see one for the panel she has. If I remember, this one is rated at 50,000A (obviously, not a long duration!). Anyway, it's done, and hopefully, it does its job. At 85, she doesn't need hassles like the frig stopping, or the microwave failing. FWIW, there are surge suppressed receptacles for point of use rather than a plug in or a strip, but those would have cost more than the single unit I installed on the panel. As I see it, anything is better than nothing. If it keeps something from dieing before she does, it's a bonus!
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member westom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    FWIW, there are surge suppressed receptacles for point of use rather than a plug in or a strip,
    Because it is called a protector means it does something useful? Defined was what does the protection:
    “ low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground. “

    How does that receptacle make a low impedance connection to what does protection? It doesn't.

    Protection means you know where hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

  9. #9
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Codes define human safety; not transistor safety. A protector is about protecting appliances - not humans.
    This is an incorrect response as the codes are in place for; The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity.

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Appreciate what does protection. Not any protector. Protection means hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly outside in earth.
    The surge protector does just this. It is designed to let high voltages go to both the grounded neutral and equipment grounding conductors thereby giving protection. The comment that the surge device offers no protection is false.
    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Every wire inside every incoming cable must connect to single point earth ground. Otherwise all protection is compromised.
    Again this is misinformation. Only the grounded wire is connected to earth. If every wire was connected to earth then there would be no wire for current to flow on to achieve the end results of the use of electricity.
    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    For example, cable TV needs no protector. Even codes for human safety require it to be earthed where entering. That earthing (without any protector) is best protection.
    Surge devices are good on all types of utility services. I have surge on my electrical service, telephone service, cable service, and DTV service.

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    But AC electric cannot be earthed directly. A 'whole house' protector connect those wires low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground.
    My AC service has at least two direct connections to earth. One happens at the utility pole and the other happens at my meter base.

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    A protector does not define protection from direct lightning strikes. What that protector connects to defines protection. Earth is where hundreds of thousands of joules (lightning) harmlessly dissipate. Most attention should focus on what remains unobserved. Not just any earthing. A low impedance (ie no sharp wire bends) connection to single point earth ground. A protector without a ‘low impedance’ connection to earth is ineffective.
    What is low impedance? It is the resistance in the path of current flow. Impedance does not change due to a bend in the conductor. What effect does bends in the conductor play? Eddy currents.

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    A 'whole house' protector is only "'secondary" protection. Also inspect your "primary" protection layer. Pictures of what to inspect:
    Those items outlined in this link are outside the control of anyone except the utility company. Even with these conductors being cut there is still an earth connection at our services. By the way what role does a rotten pole play in surge protection?

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    How to upgrade that protector? Upgrade what it connects to - single point earth ground. A minimally sized 'whole house' protector is rated 50,000 amps. So that even 20,000 amp lightning strikes do not damage it. That number defines a protector’s life expectancy.

    Earthing defines protection for each surge. Upgrade a protector's amp number to increase its life expectancy. But upgrade earthing to have better protection during each surge. Protection means that surge need not enter a building to cause appliance damage. Therefore how a ‘whole house’ protector is earthed is critical. To an earth ground that also earths a satellite dish, cable TV, and phone wires. Single point ground. And low impedance connections.
    I don’t understand this single point ground statement. I have, as outlined in 250.52(A) at least eight points to connect to earth.
    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Because it is called a protector means it does something useful? Defined was what does the protection:
    “ low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground. “
    Are you saying that each appliance in my home needs to be connected to earth within 10 feet of where it is installed?

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    How does that receptacle make a low impedance connection to what does protection? It doesn't.
    Yes it does, through both the neutral and the equipment grounding conductor that is installed with the branch circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    Protection means you know where hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
    and even without an earth connection at our homes the utility has these connections every 300 feet so the system is still connected to earth. The surge device will dissipate surge current back to the utility neutral and earth through the neutral conductor. This is how they work on the older homes that have no equipment grounding conductors.

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    I don't think that many brands are any better than others when the manufacture may be the same in many cases.

    I do not use a single point grounding system here because it can cause more problems than it solves.
    I like my lightning to be redirected and not go to my incoming power source. NEC is not always correct when it comes to reality.

    Whole house may be nice but I use a surge suppressor on all of my devices individually.

    The most I am out is a $20 dollar power strip or plug in surge protector, even if I take a direct lightning hit.

    A direct hit may take out my gas discharge tubes in my lightning protectors but may save me and the house.

    Gods power has more power over anything that you can install to protect from her.
    Last edited by DonL; 07-04-2012 at 01:43 PM.
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    DIY Junior Member westom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    The most I am out is a $20 dollar power strip or plug in surge protector, even if I take a direct lightning hit.
    A failed $20 protector means it did no protection. An appliance protected itself while the protector disconnected as fast as possible from the surge. Left the surge connected to the appliance. If disconnecting too slow, then a grossly undersized protector may create a house fire. Have your attention?

    Called a protector means it does something useful? Not without numbers. Defined repeatedly was what does protection:
    " low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground. "

    Where does energy dissipate? Only the informed can answer that question.

    Knowledge from the NEC only defines simple concepts for "human safety". Electrical concepts for "transistor safety" are different. NEC addresses concepts such as wire thickness and resistance. Surge protection involves wire length and impedance. A low resistance wire can also have excessive impedance.

    Of course, that was posted previously and repeatedly.

    Return to what everyone was taught in elementary school science. How a lightning rod works. Lightning (the typical surge) seeks earth ground. Finds a conductive and destructive path to earth via a church steeple. Yes, wood is electrically conductive. Now, numbers not taught then. Wood is not very conductive. So 20,000 amps creates a high voltage. From high school science: 20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy. Church steeple destroyed.

    Back to elementary school science: Franklin earthed lightning rods. Do lightning rods do protection? Of course not. A lightning rod is useless without its 'short as possible' connection to a best earth ground. To what harmlessly absorbs energy. Now 20,000 amps creates a near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. No church steeple damage.

    A lightning rod works when a surge connects harmlessly to earth. A ''whole house' protector does same. DonL's protectors are like the wooden church steeple. A poor connection to earth (creates a high voltage). Informed homeowners install a 'whole house' protector with a conductive (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. Then have near zero voltage. No damage even to the protector (or to gas discharge tubes). A low impedance (conductive) connection to earth means even protectors do not fail.

    Grossly undersized protectors fail on surges too tiny to overwhelm superior protection inside appliances. This gets the naïve to recommend them. Sometimes a protector does not disconnect fast enough. Then a house fire can result. Another problem when a surge is permitted inside the building.

    Those, who learned science, were hired to undo a mess created by naive radio station personal. The naive foolishly thought grounds were causing problems. Probably due to NEC knowledge rather than how electricity works. A case study explains a solution by fixing the compromised earthing system. At no time did they waste money on protectors adjacent to electronics:
    http://www.copper.org/applications/e.../nebraska.html

    Bottom line - a protector is a connection to earth or it is "useless". A point made constantly because so many will have difficulty unlearning myths and propaganda promoted by advertising and hearsay.

    Step one: did the advertising provide any numbers? If not, it was probably a lie. Step two: did advertising discuss where energy dissipates? If not, again a sales myth. No low impedance connection to earth means no effective protection. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westom View Post
    A failed $20 protector means it did no protection. An appliance protected itself while the protector disconnected as fast as possible from the surge. Left the surge connected to the appliance. If disconnecting too slow, then a grossly undersized protector may create a house fire. Have your attention?

    Called a protector means it does something useful? Not without numbers. Defined repeatedly was what does protection:
    " low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point ground. "

    Where does energy dissipate? Only the informed can answer that question.

    Knowledge from the NEC only defines simple concepts for "human safety". Electrical concepts for "transistor safety" are different. NEC addresses concepts such as wire thickness and resistance. Surge protection involves wire length and impedance. A low resistance wire can also have excessive impedance.

    Of course, that was posted previously and repeatedly.

    Return to what everyone was taught in elementary school science. How a lightning rod works. Lightning (the typical surge) seeks earth ground. Finds a conductive and destructive path to earth via a church steeple. Yes, wood is electrically conductive. Now, numbers not taught then. Wood is not very conductive. So 20,000 amps creates a high voltage. From high school science: 20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy. Church steeple destroyed.

    Back to elementary school science: Franklin earthed lightning rods. Do lightning rods do protection? Of course not. A lightning rod is useless without its 'short as possible' connection to a best earth ground. To what harmlessly absorbs energy. Now 20,000 amps creates a near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. No church steeple damage.

    A lightning rod works when a surge connects harmlessly to earth. A ''whole house' protector does same. DonL's protectors are like the wooden church steeple. A poor connection to earth (creates a high voltage). Informed homeowners install a 'whole house' protector with a conductive (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. Then have near zero voltage. No damage even to the protector (or to gas discharge tubes). A low impedance (conductive) connection to earth means even protectors do not fail.

    Grossly undersized protectors fail on surges too tiny to overwhelm superior protection inside appliances. This gets the naïve to recommend them. Sometimes a protector does not disconnect fast enough. Then a house fire can result. Another problem when a surge is permitted inside the building.

    Those, who learned science, were hired to undo a mess created by naive radio station personal. The naive foolishly thought grounds were causing problems. Probably due to NEC knowledge rather than how electricity works. A case study explains a solution by fixing the compromised earthing system. At no time did they waste money on protectors adjacent to electronics:
    http://www.copper.org/applications/e.../nebraska.html

    Bottom line - a protector is a connection to earth or it is "useless". A point made constantly because so many will have difficulty unlearning myths and propaganda promoted by advertising and hearsay.

    Step one: did the advertising provide any numbers? If not, it was probably a lie. Step two: did advertising discuss where energy dissipates? If not, again a sales myth. No low impedance connection to earth means no effective protection. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
    wwhere are you westom? your location shows nja; is that India?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    He is misquoting some of the publications of Martin Conroy of Computer Power and Consulting Corporation, Omaha, Nebraska.

    Everything he is talking about has to do with the prevention of lightning damage to transmitting towers such as for radio and TV. Some of what he is saying is true for these installations but his theory of current flow has many flaws. He is also mistaken about built-in surge protection in our appliances.

    In his last post he made an attempt at destroying anything published in the NEC yet addresses surge protection that would be under the rules of the NEC. I suppose he hasn’t done any research on the authors of the NEC or he would know that most of them can decorate their wall just as well as Mr. Conroy and some even better.

    Based solely on the content of his post in this thread it is obvious that he is self-taught over the internet and is totally confused on the subject matter.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, most devices I've looked at have rudimentary, if any, surge suppression built into them. Some things have a noise filter, but that's not the same thing. Most apply the power directly to either a transformer or a rectifier. Yes, there will be some filtering required on most things electronic, as the ripple from a ps otherwise would be too large to allow it to either function or if it did, function very well. Very few devices I've looked at (and I admit I'm not a specialist in this area) have any incoming voltage clamping (usually MOV's) or other devices (spark gaps) to contain any out of tolerance inputs. Their output of internal ps may be quite robust, but that assumes the input power is within range.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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