Connect with us

UPS or Surge Protector?

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Pat, Apr 14, 2004.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Pat

    Pat Guest

    I have a Tripplite Isobar surge protector for my PC and peripherals. I want
    to replace it, because a friend told me that surge suppressors tend to
    degrade over time. I've had mine for 3 years. Also, I was told that surge
    suppressors, in the past, would often not give any indication after taking a
    hit, and being ineffective after the hit. Was this true in the past, is it
    true for suppressors today?

    Lastly, should I be considering a UPS, in place of a surge suppressor? Which
    would do the same thing and also provide some time to take a backup and
    power down. Also, if I get a UPS is it desirable to:

    (1) Get a true sine wave model?

    (2) Get one that regulates the voltage, which might vary on input?


  2. SmartyPants

    SmartyPants Guest

    Blah blah blah

    Pat, the quick answer is basically "yes" to everything. The UPS will
    protect your hardware in case of a blackout, which a surge suppressor will
    not do a thing about. Yes, sine wave is better than square wave. I went
    APC Back UPS instead of Smart UPS to save $ even though it is slighty less
    good for the equipment. Yes a unit that will raise the voltage when it
    drops or rises will protect the system and itself more than one that just
    clicks over to batteries. Yes treat any surge suppressor without "OK"
    lights as just a power strip... assume it has no suppression. If a unit is
    over five years or so, even if it says "OK", I still would replace it.
  3. Jim Rusling

    Jim Rusling Guest

    Yes, the cost has come down so much it is just cheap insurance.
    Not needed for most if not all modern computer equipment.
  4. Steve Spence

    Steve Spence Guest

  5. Your friend may have been talking about MOVs. Isobars use a toroidal coil in
    addition to that. I have yet to see a toroidal coil degrade. :) Isobars
    also have a failure light. On the rare occasions that I've had one fail, I
    called up Tripplite and was sent a new one free of charge once I confirmed the
    original purchase. In one case I was told not to bother returning the
    defective one. Isobars also have a guarantee against equipment damage if you
    use them properly. That insurance doesn't go away even if the MOV degrades. I
    can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another surge suppressor
    unless you want to go with a whole house suppressor or change to a UPS because
    of power dropouts.
    Remember that a UPS has to be quickly powered down as well in a blackout unless
    you want to discharge the internal battery and risk damaging it.
  6. Pat

    Pat Guest

    Is this a function of how the power supplies handle a "non pure sine wave"
    in a PC? Printer? Scanner? Modem? Et al?
  7. Pat

    Pat Guest

    What you said makes sense. However, I am now intrigued with the ability to
    have voltage regulation. While I love the Tripplite units, they are pricey
    for what I want. But worth it. This Belkin is for sale at Micro Center. It
    has AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) and the price is great.

    Simulated Sine Wave 120VAc +/- 5%
    AVR Boost Increase 20% of Voltage if input 90 ~ 108 Vac
    AVR Response Time ,150ms (Good or Bad?)
    Spike 890 Jolues
    Audible Noise 40dBA at 1 meter (may be noisy)

    My gut feel is to pay more and get a APC or Tripplite. Any thoughts?
  8. Guest

    All of the "stuff" that runs on Wall-Warts really prefers a sine wave.
    I'm in the 'puter business, and when kt comes to mission critical
    servers I won't spec anything less than dual conversion true sine-wave
    units like the PowerWare Presige or it's replacement, the 9 series.
    It gives you all the advantages of a true isolated ground outlet,
    being a "separately generated" power supply, and it is always a
    totally clean power supply. It does not pass harmonics back to the
    grid, either from itself or from the switching power supply of the

    Laser printers are NEVER connected to a UPS - (at least not if I have
    anything to say about it) but all network switches and routers are
  9. Guest

    Personally I am not a fan of APC or Triplite - they are OK consumer
    units, but give me a Powerware (formerly Best) unit any day of the
    week. There are lots more exopensive, and possibly better, but I find
    the Powerware good value. They are NOT readily available from mass
    marketers, so price pressure is not as strong, and the accountants
    have less influence on the quality of the device.
  10. I just had to purchase a tripplite power conditioner for a customer today.
    This is different than a UPS, but you can hook a laser printer into the medium
    sized ones. If power coming in is clean, you don't need one of these. In the
    situation of the customer, they sit on the edge of the Everglades and have both
    dirty power and direct lightning strikes. Their printers are especially
    susceptible to the dirty power and until I provided them with a power
    conditioner they were blowing printer main boards every month.

    As for equipment like this, don't take the ratings too seriously. Very little
    of it is real. The cheap Tripplite stuff is junk. The power conditioners are
    decent for the price, but I figure about two year of service out of them in
    real world conditions. A lot of folks like APC. I never cared one way or the
    other. I have a couple around I think. Belkin products seem ok, but I've
    never done a UPS from them.
  11. Pat

    Pat Guest

    Years ago, I occasionally got involved in specing backup for Mainframes and
    the units were really expensive. Do you have a web address or online site
    that shows these PoweWare units?
  12. I still have my certification for attending the Best seminar on UPS systems.
    Frankly, I wasn't impressed with the seminar. The presenters had never heard
    of Trace and when I pointedly asked a question about the output wave of their
    lower end UPSs I got a brush-off. I was supposed to get a free UPS for
    attending the seminar, but I never bothered.

    FWIW, Global has
    and Powerware

    I totally agree that the double conversion units offer a better output (at a
  13. Guest is a good start.

    Also go to
    They are the distributor I deal with.
    Waterloo Ontario. Lots of information on site.
  14. SmartyPants

    SmartyPants Guest

    Laser printers are NEVER connected to a UPS - (at least not if I have
    I do, but the laser printers are only connected to the surge protected side
    of the UPS, not the battery protected side. This ensures that the voltage
    going into computer and the printer is the same, reducing the chance for
    extraneous current flow between them.
  15. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    Numerous responses that don't even demonstrate knowledge of
    what a surge protector does. Lets take that Isobar as
    example. One even made some silly claim that torroids provide
    the protection. Isobar does same thing that most every
    plug-in protector and UPS does. One reason why you know this
    is in the specifications. They are all rated in joules
    because they all have same protection circuit.

    Look. Lightning has traveled through miles of air to obtain
    earth ground, destructively, via your computer. Are those
    silly one inch components going to stop what miles of
    non-conductive air did not? Of course not. But to work, that
    Isobar must stop, block, or absorb the transient. How does
    the Isobar stop miles of lightning? It does not even claim
    to perform that magic.

    Ben Franklin demonstrated the concept. Lightning sought
    earth ground via the church steeple. Franklin simply provided
    an electrically shorter path to earth. He shunted, diverted,
    connected lightning to earth ground in 1752. Before WWII,
    this was well proven in virtually every town - by example.
    Surge protection is about earthing before transient can enter
    the building. It was that well understood way back then.

    To sell ineffective, overpriced protectors, they simply
    avoid all earthing discussion - to keep you ignorant and to
    promote urban myth purveyors. To claim surge protector
    status, they provide a unit that protects from a type of surge
    that does not typically exist. Then they leave the naive to
    make this mythical word association and assumption - "surge
    protector is surge protection".

    Back to reality. A surge protector is only effective when
    it shunts (connects) to surge protection. Those are separate
    components of a surge protection 'system'. Some surge
    protection 'systems' don't even require a surge protector.
    But the one component necessary in all surge protection
    'systems' is earth ground. No earth ground means no effective
    protection. Not one of your replies ever even mentioned the
    fundamental point made even in 1930s research papers. Earth

    A surge protector is only as effective as its earth ground.

    Is your Isobar worn out? Doubt it. Destructive transients
    occur typically once every eight years. Furthermore, without
    a short (less than 10 foot) connection to earth ground, then
    Isobar may have never seen that potentially destructive
    transient. Transient passed right past without being observed
    by protector. Again, there are many types of transients.

    Computers already have effective protection internally. If
    the $0.10 components inside an Isobar were so effective, then
    they would already be inside the computer.

    How effective is that internal protection? Well, lets look
    at the output of a UPS that has a simulated sine wave output.
    Under no load, the 120 volts is two 200 volt square waves with
    a 280 volt spike between those square waves. This is a
    simulated sine wave that provides the equivalent of 120 VAC
    into computer. Will simulated sine wave damage a computer?
    Of course not. Computer power supplies are so resilient that
    even the much dirtier power from a UPS does not adversely
    affect a computer. However do not run some small electric
    motors on this UPS. Small motors may be damaged by a voltage
    output that cannot harm a computer.

    Any protector adjacent to the computer, if effective, is
    already inside that computer. But this internal protection
    assumes you have installed 'whole house' protector - to earth
    any destructive incoming transient. If incoming transient is
    not earthed where utility wires enter building, then that
    transient can overwhelm a computer's existing internal

    'Whole house' protectors are so effective and so inexpensive
    that your telco provides one inside your premise interface.
    Yes, your phone wires already have effective protector
    installed for 'free'. But the source of most destructive type
    of surges (those that the Isobar does not even claim to
    protect from) is via wires highest on the pole; wires that
    enter the building without a 'whole house' protector .... AC

    Effective AC electric protection costs about $1 per
    protected appliance. How much did you spend for that Isobar
    to only protect one appliance? $50. $70. That would be 50
    or 70 times more for a protector that does not even claim to
    provide the necessary protection. Does not even claim to
    protect from a typically destructive type of transient. Get
    specifications if you doubt this post. Post the common mode
    and differential mode protection - or did they forget to
    provide that information? Remember, they also forgot to
    discuss earth ground.

    This thread is chock full of urban myths. Learn some basic
    information. Learn about effective protection that costs so
    much less. Suggest you go to another previous discussion to
    first learn what surge protection really is. This posted not
    from what I have heard. This post from having designed this
    stuff over many decades and having learned from IEEE research
    papers. "RJ-11 line protection?" on 31 Dec 2003 in
    pdx.computing, or and
    "Opinions on Surge Protectors?" on 7 Jul 2003 in the
    newsgroup alt.certification.a-plus or

    Bottom line - never forget this one sentence as you read
    those discussions and what everyone else posts: a surge
    protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Any
    post that ignores this important point - earth ground - may
    simply be promoting more urban myths. Note how many posters
    only reported what they had heard rather than having first
    learned basic circuit theory. No earth ground means no
    effective protection.
  16. w_tom, sometimes you get so involved with your own rant that you fail to read.
    I said that I had never seen a toroidal coil fail. Have you? :)
    In that same post I also said:
    " That insurance doesn't go away even if the MOV degrades. I
    can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another surge suppressor
    unless you want to go with a whole house suppressor or change to a UPS because
    of power dropouts."

    What part of "whole house suppressor" didn't you understand? Did you see the
    word "suppressor" and then just see red and begin typing or pasteing your rant

    What part of "can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another
    surge suppressor" is too difficult for you to comprehend? It means "don't buy

    As for suppressors not working: " Are those
    silly one inch components going to stop what miles of
    non-conductive air did not?" What makes _your_ silly one inch of whole house
    surge suppressor circuitry any more magical than that silly one inch in a surge
    suppressor? Yeah, I know your mantra, very close proper ground (which can be
    nearly impossible to achieve in some situations). However, since your whole
    house protector is rated in joules...

    Your apparent lack of logic when you get heated above your component failure
    temperature sometimes astounds me.
    So, using this logic, I can expect my oven to do the same thing my washer does,
    and my air conditioner to vacuum my carpet, because they are all rated in
    watts, and therefore have the same circuit. I think not.

    You also have clearly shown that you choose to ignore the double conversion
    UPSs mentioned --- for the sole purpose of building your rant to fever pitch
    and being able to call everyone else "Numerous responses that don't even
    demonstrate knowledge of what a surge protector does." .

    Double conversion units convert AC to DC, which then charges a battery, which
    then feeds an inverter. Depending on the circuitry power surges don't even
    make it as far as the battery, much less the inverter on the downstream end.

    I agree with you that whole house suppressors have a distinct advantage in
    certain situations, but you and I have run circles around the outhouse on
    numerous occasions and you have _never_ properly addressed or admitted to
    issues such as strikes past the electrical entrance (especially possible in
    larger buildings), strikes on antennas and other paths for high voltage
    alternating current, blown suppressors and working downstream equipment, and a
    host of other issues.

    I have no problem with your being a "One note Sally" as long as you play that
    note well, on tune, and don't disrupt the orchestra. When you come into the
    hall screaming that off-key note without reading, without giving proper credit
    or recognizing the other parts, or you start out by calling names such as
    "urban myth purveyors", you lose standing and you open yourself up to
    retaliatory personal attack or complaints of abuse to your mail provider.
    Rather than waste time with yet another round, anyone who wants to read all the
    past arguments can google groups your name and read the numerous threads.

    This will be my only response to you in this thread. Oh yeah, since you claim
    that a whole house protector with good ground will solve all electrical
    problems, I'll say "urban myth purveyor" back at'cha.
  17. Guest

    Don't work with dual conversions though - and I put the lazer printers
    on the network - not on the computer so it's not an issue for me.
    If the printer goes down, you just retart the job (after clearing the
    inevitable jam)

    Then again, the new Xerox jams at the drop of a hat, even without
    power problems.
  18. Steve Spence

    Steve Spence Guest

    Funny, I buy surge protectors to protect my electronics from the power
    surges from the a/c equipment and RFI, not lightning. I unplug everything
    during lightning storms (we have some real doozies).

    Steve Spence
    Renewable energy and sustainable living
    Discuss vegetable oil and biodiesel
    powered diesels at
  19. Bob Peterson

    Bob Peterson Guest

    interesting rant about 'earth' grounding. its not as if such transients
    actually can be 'sunk to ground anyway, its a bit of a myth. he is right
    about one thing though, a whole house protector makes a lot more sense.
  20. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    Why should the torroid fail? It's not doing anything
    effective for protection. Do you think a silly little
    torroid is stopping, blocking, or absorbing the destructive
    transient? Of course not, which is why a destructive
    transient does not even damage the torroid. Even in that
    Isobar, the primary protector remains its MOVs - just like any
    other plug-in protector.

    If you are saying to not buy another Isobar, then I agree.
    However I read your post to say buy an Isobar, or install a
    'whole house' protector. Is that the point of your post?

    So what does that Iosbar "insurance" protect? The
    protector? History says plug-in protectors have numerous fine
    print exemptions that result in no replacement of damaged
    appliances. Furthermore, benchmarks in protection (ie
    Polyphaser) offer no "insurance" - no warranty. Instead
    serious protectors promote actual protection. A lesser
    warranty means a better protector.

    Reality is to earth a transient before it seeks earth
    ground, destructively, via that appliance. Earth it before
    transient can enter the building. Electrical path to earth
    ground via an appliance is why appliance is damaged -
    especially portable phone base stations and computer modems.
    Lightning seeks earth ground. It will find earth ground
    either via the appliance - or via the 'whole house'
    protector. Homeowner's choice. No torroid inside that
    Isobar will stop that transient. No warranty will protect
    from damage.

    No earth ground means no effective protection - which is why
    that Isobar completely avoids the earthing topic.

    The 'whole house' protector does not even claim to stop,
    block, or absorb the transient. Only ineffective plug-in
    protectors must stop, block, or absorb a transient to be
    effective. Even Ben Franklin's lightning rods demonstrate why
    'whole house' protectors are so effective. In the meantime,
    those torroids do not provide protection. Why then should
    torroids burn out?

    However should you think otherwise, then you are invited to
    demonstrate how a 100 mH inductor stops the transient. Please
    feel free to put up some numbers that shows how that little
    torroid blocks or absorbs a lightning strike. You are
    invited, again, to put up some simple circuit equations -
    provide numbers - that show how a torroid 'stops' that

    In the meantime, that double conversion UPS has numerous
    glaring weaknesses. A green safety ground wire bypasses the
    entire UPS and the power supply. Green wire connects a
    destructive common mode transient directly to motherboard.
    Just one reason why that double conversion UPS provides no
    effective protection.

    How many volts does that double conversion UPS stop before
    breakdown voltages converts that UPS into a short circuit? In
    the meantime, that same protection exists inside a computer
    power supply. So what has the double conversion UPS provided
    that a power supply does not? Nothing. Anything provided by
    the double conversion UPS is already inside an ATX computer
    power supply.

    Again, that power supply already has internal protection.
    Double conversion UPS provided nothing since protection
    already exists inside a power supply. However that protection
    assumes the 'whole house' protector is installed. Where does
    a double conversion UPS provide numbers that disputes this?
    Feel free to provide those numbers that demonstrate common
    mode protection by a double conversion UPS. As done
    previously, when confronted to provide numerical specs, will
    you again go silent?
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day