Connect with us

Whole house surge suppressors

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Flea Ridden, Jul 5, 2004.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Flea Ridden

    Flea Ridden Guest

    This is a most informative article, and it echoes what w_tom says:

    So when I call an arbitrary electrician to ask for a grounding survey,
    how do I know he's telling me the truth?

    Do I have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to purchase a ground

    This is for a single family home that I have lived in for about 7 years,
    and will probably continue to live in for about 7 more years.

    Since I'm having electrical work done, I would also like something like
    this: installed
    at my breaker box; it would be nice if it could break down it's info by
    each breaker; and it would also be nice if it could tell me how much
    current is flowing through my ground connection.

    Here are random URLs of info:

    Here is a summary of models I have found, and some anecdotes from

    MODEL: Panamax Primax
    JOULES: 2700
    AMPS: 60,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120/240 1 Phase, 50/60 Hz
    RESPONSE TIME: 8x20 microseconds
    PRICE: $119.99
    WARRANTY: the manufacturer provides a 3-year Connected Major Appliance
    Protection Policy up to $10,000 for the repair or replacement of major
    household appliances (refrigerator, freezer, oven, range, washer, dryer,
    ceiling fan or dishwasher) and a 5-year product warranty.
    - Press Release:[email protected]&rnum=3

    - Negative Experiences:$fo1$&rnum=4

    - More Negative Experiences:

    MODEL: Leviton 51120-1
    JOULES: 950
    AMPS: 50,000
    RESPONSE TIME: "Instantaneous"
    PRICE: $189.99
    - Positive Comment:

    - Negative Comment:

    - Positive Comment:

    MODEL: Panamax gpp8005
    RESELLER: PowerSystemsDIRECT

    JOULES: 2,700
    AMPS: 60,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120/240 1 Phase 50/60Hz
    PRICE: $99.99
    WARRANTY: Connected Equipment Policy Length 3 Years; Connected
    Equipment Policy Amount $10,000; Lightning Protection Yes
    Model description:

    MODEL: Intermatic IG1240RC

    JOULES: 1,200
    AMPS: 48,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120/240V 60Hz
    RESPONSE TIME: Less than 5 nanoseconds
    PRICE: $69.95
    WARRANTY: $10,000 warrantee
    - Positive:

    - Positive:

    - Positive:

    - Informational:$&rnum=2

    MODEL: Intermatic PanelGuard IG1300-4T-2C, protects (?) phone-lines and
    cable lines too
    AMPS: 48,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120/240 single (split) phase, 4 telephone lines, and 2
    coax cable lines; ALL MODE PROTECTION (L1-N, L2-N, L1-G, L2-G, N-G,
    L1-L2); 150 Volt MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors) [AC Protection]; 350 Volt
    Gas Tube [Telephone Protection]; 90 Volt Gas Tube [Coax Cable /
    Satellite Protection]
    PRICE: IG1300-2T is $152.83 at
    WARRANTY: $10,000, 5 year warranty
    - Non-negative:

    - Positive:

    MODEL: Ditek DTK-WH8 Whole House Kit
    RESELLER: StayOnline
    JOULES: 1050
    AMPS: 125,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120 / 240 Split Phase ; Suppressed Voltage Rating: 700V
    (L-L), 400V (L-G, L-N, N-G)
    RESPONSE TIME: Less than 5 nanosecond
    PRICE: $149

    MODEL: PolyPhaser IS-PM120-SP
    AMPS: 40,000
    CIRCUIT TYPE: 120Vac, 1 Phase, 2 Wires & GND
    RESPONSE TIME: ?? Turn-On Time: 25ns ??
    - Positive:
  2. Mark

    Mark Guest

    Reality check here....I don't care what surge protection you use, if
    lightning hits your stuff its fried.

    MCSA, CNA, A+, Net+, iNet+, Server+
  3. rj

    rj Guest

    Call the local electric utility, where I live, they'll put one in and charge
    you $6.00 per month. Anything gets fried by lightning, they'll pay for it.

  4. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    drivel snipped

    If your trying to protect from lightning then you need a lightning
    protection system. try UL-96A for the specs. Every system I installed helped
    a little when the strike came. Nothing is guaranteed protection for
    lightning way to many variables.

    IEEE has standards for surge protection, they come in 3 categories.
    Distribution, service and point of use. You need 2 out of 3 to have decent
    protection. Since distribution is handled by the serving utility we now have
    two to work with.
    There are 2 basic types of surge protection devices, MOV's and the rest.
    MOV's are tested once. So they will do their job once, a second hit,,, who

    Grounding and installation are the most important. The average Joe
    electrician is not going to have an ground tester. Are you planning a 3
    point or 4 point test? I used to use 3 point a lot, also called fall of
    potential. 4 point I used for measuring the soil resistively for
    installation of ground systems. Then there are the clamp on ground testers
    which can do the job with out shutting down the electrical service for a
    test. .
    The most important thing here is the guy running the meter. It takes a fair
    amount of experience to understand what the readings mean. Try to achieve
    less than 5 ohms during your driest times. You can always add more ground
    rods to the electrical service to get the readings lower. I once had to add
    2-40' long chemical ground rods to a service to get it to 2 ohms. These must
    be installed per the local and national codes.

    The wires should be short as possible for connecting your surge arrestor. CH
    and other manufactures make units that connect to the buss for services. SQD
    has one for the homeline panel that plugs in like a breaker. The most
    important part is to have the let through at the service arrestor be below
    the threshold of the point of use arrestor.
    You can put that warranty crap in you peace pipe and smoke it. I used to
    work for an OEM and they NEVER paid a single claim in 8 years for arrestors.
    You will never be able to prove the unit ever failed to work. Make the best
    choices you can and hope for the best.
  5. Chip Orange

    Chip Orange Guest

    Perhaps true, but not very useful as advice (kind of like saying I don't
    care how well you take care of your health, if you're hit by a bus, that's

  6. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Can you chain MOV's to defeat second spikes?
    If you have this much time and money, why not put a lightning rod on the

  7. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    For some reason, this reminds me of an article I read in I think Popular
    Electronics last millennium, about making a ground rod, arbitrarily
    deep, with copper pipe and your garden hose. You solder a hose fitting
    on one end of the pipe, and attach the hose. Stand it up with the
    open end on the ground, and turn the water on. The water coming out
    the pipe digs through the dirt, and unless there's big rocks, it
    supposedly goes in pretty easily. And they said, if 10' isn't enough,
    you can just solder another pipe on top of that one, move the hose
    fitting, and continue, etc.

    Anybody ever actually done that, or heard of it being done?
  8. Checkmate

    Checkmate Guest

    It works, as long as you don't hit any big rocks. I don't know of many
    places where you wouldn't hit a rock sooner or later. I used to drive
    regular ground rods with a Makita demolition hammer. Just take the bit
    out, and set the hammer onto the end of the ground rod... it's amazing
    how fast it'll go in, and it doesn't hurt the hammer a bit.
  9. John Miller

    John Miller Guest

    Yes, it works a charm. Never could figure out why it wasn't more widely
  10. Flea Ridden

    Flea Ridden Guest

    I couldn't use that clamp-on ground tester to see if my phone and cable lines are adequately grounded. Shouldn't I know how well they are grounded before I make a decision on whether or
    not to purchase a surge suppresser like the Intermatic PanelGuard IG1300-4T-2C, which protects phone lines and cable lines as well?
  11. I often create a small pond, fill it with water, hop up on the step ladder
    and use my 90° chucked on the rod to spin it in. Make sure you keep the
    pond filled with water.

  12. Rowbotth

    Rowbotth Guest

    Something like this, I've done.

    You take a plastic pail and fill it with water, make a depression in the
    ground and fill the depression with water.

    Take a 10' ground rod and start tamping the water in the depression.
    The rod will (in loan or in clay) quickly work its way down. When the
    rod gets hard to move, remove and add more water.

    Repeat until the rod is buried to within half a foot of surface.

    I'd be skeptical of the copper pipe trick, because over a period of time
    ground rods corrode - and they are made of solid copper (or something
    like it, electrically speaking). The pipe, being hollow, will corrode
    that much faster.

  13. John Miller

    John Miller Guest

    There has been a misunderstanding. The copper pipe is not the ground rod;
    it's just the drill.
    John Miller
    Email address: domain,; username, jsm

    Some people around here wouldn't recognize subtlety if it hit them on the
  14. volts500

    volts500 Guest

    I hope not. It's Mickey Mouse. That's the kind of misinformation about
    power wiring that one can expect from an electronics magazine. Grounds rods
    need to be _driven_ so that they are in close, tight contact with the soil.
    Blasting one in with a water hose would result in a very bad ground because
    the soil around it would be very loose. If pounding one in with a sledge
    hammer is too much work, rent a rotory hammer, set it to the hammer mode and
    have at it (some require an adapter). Driving ground rods deeper (20 ft.)
    results in a better ground. That's what threaded ground rods are for.
  15. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    Ground tester is for measuring the conductivity of earth. This is
    different from the wires that connect to that single point earth
    ground. Those wires are best 'tested' by visual inspection. Low
    conductivity might appear good to the tester. But higher impedance
    created by wire too long, splices, sharp bends, wire inside metallic
    conduit, wire bundled with other non-earthing wires, etc all would
    contribute to an inferior connection to earth ground. That tester
    cannot test wire impedance. Low impedance (not just good conductivity)
    is essential to effective protection.

    Conductivity of earth ground is only one factor in surge protection.
    Another factor that is not measured is how well that single point
    ground makes earth beneath the building equipotential. Furthermore,
    how each incoming utility connects to that earthing point is, but,
    another factor in protection - another factor that cannot be tested.
    Either that connection is made via a 'less than 10 foot' wire OR
    connection made through a surge protector. (Notice MOVs are not surge
    protection; MOVs simply the equivalent of that earthing wire). But how
    each incoming utility connects to single point earth ground is best
    determined by visual inspection.

    Furthermore, the above is only a household secondary protection.
    The 'whole house' protector is only secondary protection. Primary
    protector is installed by the utility. That primary protection system
    is shown in pictures with examples of a defective primary protection
    And rules for earthing:

    Yes, one can measure the conductivity of earth. That, in part,
    defines effectiveness of a protection system. But other essential
    parts are best verified only using visual inspection.

    Does one require cable and phone protection? The telco installs and
    earths an effective protector for free. They already should make that
    'less than 10 foot' earthing connection to single point ground. CATV
    needs no protector. CATV protection is the 'less than 10 foot' wire
    that connects ground block to single point earth ground. Why install
    a protector when a hardwire connection does same thing?

    This we do know. Effective protection from a direct lightning
    strike is so well proven that damage is considered traceable to human
  16. Bob S.

    Bob S. Guest

    I have 2 point protection - service and point of use. I have had 2
    lightning strikes in the past few years and have had no power related
    damage. However, both times it wiped out my tv's by coming in the
    cable tv line. Last week it got 3 tv's ($2500 loss). Sure wish there
    was a better way of protecting the cable.
    They usually blow open so you don't know they're not working. I have
    only seen one blow to a short - kept popping a breaker.
    I have had to pour 50# bags of rock salt around ground rods in sandy
    soil to get less than 5 ohms. Have had to cad-weld rods end-to-end and
    go down 50 ft. to get a good ground. Have also had to create a ground
    field of up to 12 interconnected rods. Sometimes you just do what you
    have to do!
    And the fine print says you have to have affidavits from all utility
    companies, service providers, and home insurance companies stating
    they will not pay for losses before the arrestor company will even
    accept your claim.

    Bob S.
  17. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Guest

    Regarding the Watt's Up Meter Technology. Using existing electronic
    meters, a version of this would be easy enough for the power companies
    to implement. With the technology available today, there is no
    significant technical barrier to doing this. They could charge you
    something extra for a remote detailed readout of your hourly power
    consumption and how much you are paying for it on an hour-by-hour
    basis. It might even help you save some energy when you are more
    aware of what you are paying for it up-to-the minute.

    The problem is that the power companies don't really want you to be
    too aware of what you are paying for energy. Saving energy may be
    good for you and your neighbor (unless your neighbor is president of
    the power company and their bonus is tied to the gross revenue of the
    company), but it is their interest for you to consume as much power as
    possible (particularly during off peak hours).

  18. Don Kelly

    Don Kelly Guest

    Don Kelly

    remove the urine to answer
    I remember a different version of this- where the ground rod was hard to
    drive- piss on it ( or rather in the initial hole). It really does help in
    driving the rod. Cheaper than the above.However this is limited to
    non-public places.

    As to Michael's suggestion re lightning rods- these are worse than useless
    without proper grounding.
  19. jk

    jk Guest

    How do you know any one is?
    But what you want is not an electrician.
    You want an electrical testing company.

    Thats a big range, but no. You could make one.

    I think we still have some equipment that could do that for you, but I
    doubt you want to pay for it or for the software system to run it.

  20. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Actually, from the article, I'd had the impression that they left the
    pipe. But, this was for ham radio antenna grounding, not mains power
    entry panel grounding.
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