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Surge Protectors vs Circuit Breakers

UnderwhelmingUnderwhelming myMomIsTheJam July 13, 2013Registered User regular
Hey hey,

The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?

Posts

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    Hey hey,

    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?

    Your breaker is not going to protect you from a surge. That isn;t what they are made for. Sure, they will pop if the load over the line reaches a dangerous point, but by the time it pops damage will have already happened. A quality surge strip will pop waaaaay before a breaker, and will pay for replacement equipment if your stuff actually blows up. And a UPS, while unnessecary for most home users, is kind of awesome to have for your networking gear, especially if you have laptops and mobile devices that rely on them for internet.

    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    3) A really good surge strip for your home theater gear. Weird as it sounds, I suggest Monster, because fucking hell their stuff is cheap (or in truth appropriately priced) on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-MP-PowerCenter-Satellite-Protection/dp/B00005T3EM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356984024&sr=8-4

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    SoggybiscuitHonk
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    A good UPS will have surge suppression capability built in. Nice thing about UPS is that they deal with power sags and brownouts that normally shut your machine down.

  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    syndalis wrote: »
    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    I'm assuming that by 2 you mean modem/router & desktop, otherwise I don't get this at all - if you're going to buy a UPS, absolutely absolutely put your (desktop) computer on it. For a home consumer, a UPS isn't really something you should buy to give you an extra couple of hours of web browsing, it's intended to prevent you from losing a hard drive when the power dies (or, what's generally less annoying but much worse computer-wise, when the power flickers off and on). And honestly, this is probably significantly more likely than a lightning strike close enough to your house to fry electronics. (It obviously depends on where you live, but you'd be surprised how often this happens - something like a power outage due to a storm you can obviously see coming and shut stuff down before the hurricane passes, but I (in CA) as well as my parents (in NY) have had multiple times where the power cuts out for 2-5 seconds... and then it's basically random chance, if the HD wasn't doing anything you'd be fine, if it happened to be doing something that was using the partition table you can lose the entire drive).

    It depends on cost, obviously... but a UPS is very nice for a desktop computer that has data that you care about (especially if you're lazy about making backups). For a laptop, this isn't really a concern, so then I wouldn't bother.

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    No, I meant purely my networking equipment.

    I use the UPS as a means to have uninterrupted network service even during a power outage.

    And considering I have multiple devices that can go online via Wifi, I am very happy to have this as a solution.

    Of course, if you want a UPS for your desktop that is great as well.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
  • SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit At the edge of spacetime lies a path with no end.Registered User regular
    syndalis wrote: »
    Hey hey,

    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?

    Your breaker is not going to protect you from a surge. That isn;t what they are made for. Sure, they will pop if the load over the line reaches a dangerous point, but by the time it pops damage will have already happened. A quality surge strip will pop waaaaay before a breaker, and will pay for replacement equipment if your stuff actually blows up. And a UPS, while unnessecary for most home users, is kind of awesome to have for your networking gear, especially if you have laptops and mobile devices that rely on them for internet.

    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    3) A really good surge strip for your home theater gear. Weird as it sounds, I suggest Monster, because fucking hell their stuff is cheap (or in truth appropriately priced) on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-MP-PowerCenter-Satellite-Protection/dp/B00005T3EM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356984024&sr=8-4

    Let me throw in a personal recommendation (if you are going to have a lot of stuff plugged in)

    Utilitech 10 outlet 6 ft surge protector

    This thing can handle 15A (1800VA), and if you are going to have multiple wall warts plugged in they will not block other outlets. Can easily be wall mounted as well and comes with the screws to do it with.

    Steam - Synthetic Violence | XBOX Live - Cannonfuse | PSN - CastleBravo | Twitch - SoggybiscuitPA
  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    Surge protectors are really worth it, so long as it is a good one. Every blackout we have I end up getting 4-5 computers with bad motherboards/PSUs right after. When asked if they are using a surge protector the answer is always the same "nope".

  • UnderwhelmingUnderwhelming myMomIsTheJam July 13, 2013 Registered User regular
    Thank you all for the great info!

    I see different ratings on surge protectors, xx,000 joules, so what number of joules should I be looking for? Do I want the lowest number (it trips at x joules) or the highest number? (it protects against up to x joules) Do I need to watch out for some that won't stop a surge because they are rated too low?

  • gertlingertlin Registered User new member
    edited May 2013
    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?
    syndalis wrote: »
    Hey hey,

    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    I had to buy a new circuit breaker after an electrical storm which set me back about $180.00 .. Then panel board needed replacing too which was crazy.


    Your breaker is not going to protect you from a surge. That isn;t what they are made for. Sure, they will pop if the load over the line reaches a dangerous point, but by the time it pops damage will have already happened. A quality surge strip will pop waaaaay before a breaker, and will pay for replacement equipment if your stuff actually blows up. And a UPS, while unnessecary for most home users, is kind of awesome to have for your networking gear, especially if you have laptops and mobile devices that rely on them for internet.

    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    3) A really good surge strip for your home theater gear. Weird as it sounds, I suggest Monster, because fucking hell their stuff is cheap (or in truth appropriately priced) on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-MP-PowerCenter-Satellite-Protection/dp/B00005T3EM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356984024&sr=8-4

    Let me throw in a personal recommendation (if you are going to have a lot of stuff plugged in)

    Utilitech 10 outlet 6 ft surge protector

    This thing can handle 15A (1800VA), and if you are going to have multiple wall warts plugged in they will not block other outlets. Can easily be wall mounted as well and comes with the screws to do it with.

    I lost all my breakers during an electrical storm, it was heart breaking and set me back big time.

    gertlin on
  • gertlingertlin Registered User new member
    Man I wish I found this post like three weeks ago.
    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    I have a new UPS now I got from home depot that lasts for a good two hours with all my pc equipment attached to it. The ups was like $80.00.
    I'm assuming that by 2 you mean modem/router & desktop, otherwise I don't get this at all - if you're going to buy a UPS, absolutely absolutely put your (desktop) computer on it. For a home consumer, a UPS isn't really something you should buy to give you an extra couple of hours of web browsing, it's intended to prevent you from losing a hard drive when the power dies (or, what's generally less annoying but much worse computer-wise, when the power flickers off and on). And honestly, this is probably significantly more likely than a lightning strike close enough to your house to fry electronics. (It obviously depends on where you live, but you'd be surprised how often this happens - something like a power outage due to a storm you can obviously see coming and shut stuff down before the hurricane passes, but I (in CA) as well as my parents (in NY) have had multiple times where the power cuts out for 2-5 seconds... and then it's basically random chance, if the HD wasn't doing anything you'd be fine, if it happened to be doing something that was using the partition table you can lose the entire drive).

    It depends on cost, obviously... but a UPS is very nice for a desktop computer that has data that you care about (especially if you're lazy about making backups). For a laptop, this isn't really a concern, so then I wouldn't bother.

    A complete setup is making sure you got quality breakers installed, then making sure you don't have too much load on a single series circuit. Spread out your equipment across different outlets if possible that are on a different network.
    Gdiguy wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    I regret not using the protector in the first place and it cost me dearly during an electrical storm. I ended up getting 23 new circuit breaker units for my panel board which cost like $180.00 with shipping.

    syndalis wrote: »
    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?

    if the breaker keeps tripping intermittently then just get a new one, they are cheap if you shop around.

  • gertlingertlin Registered User new member
    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?
    syndalis wrote: »
    Hey hey,

    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    I had to buy a new circuit breaker after an electrical storm which set me back about $180.00 .. Then panel board needed replacing too which was crazy.


    Your breaker is not going to protect you from a surge. That isn;t what they are made for. Sure, they will pop if the load over the line reaches a dangerous point, but by the time it pops damage will have already happened. A quality surge strip will pop waaaaay before a breaker, and will pay for replacement equipment if your stuff actually blows up. And a UPS, while unnessecary for most home users, is kind of awesome to have for your networking gear, especially if you have laptops and mobile devices that rely on them for internet.

    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    3) A really good surge strip for your home theater gear. Weird as it sounds, I suggest Monster, because fucking hell their stuff is cheap (or in truth appropriately priced) on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-MP-PowerCenter-Satellite-Protection/dp/B00005T3EM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356984024&sr=8-4

    Let me throw in a personal recommendation (if you are going to have a lot of stuff plugged in)

    Utilitech 10 outlet 6 ft surge protector

    This thing can handle 15A (1800VA), and if you are going to have multiple wall warts plugged in they will not block other outlets. Can easily be wall mounted as well and comes with the screws to do it with.

  • gertlingertlin Registered User new member
    Man I wish I found this post like three weeks ago.
    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    I have a new UPS now I got from home depot that lasts for a good two hours with all my pc equipment attached to it. The ups was like $80.00.
    I'm assuming that by 2 you mean modem/router & desktop, otherwise I don't get this at all - if you're going to buy a UPS, absolutely absolutely put your (desktop) computer on it. For a home consumer, a UPS isn't really something you should buy to give you an extra couple of hours of web browsing, it's intended to prevent you from losing a hard drive when the power dies (or, what's generally less annoying but much worse computer-wise, when the power flickers off and on). And honestly, this is probably significantly more likely than a lightning strike close enough to your house to fry electronics. (It obviously depends on where you live, but you'd be surprised how often this happens - something like a power outage due to a storm you can obviously see coming and shut stuff down before the hurricane passes, but I (in CA) as well as my parents (in NY) have had multiple times where the power cuts out for 2-5 seconds... and then it's basically random chance, if the HD wasn't doing anything you'd be fine, if it happened to be doing something that was using the partition table you can lose the entire drive).

    It depends on cost, obviously... but a UPS is very nice for a desktop computer that has data that you care about (especially if you're lazy about making backups). For a laptop, this isn't really a concern, so then I wouldn't bother.

    A complete setup is making sure you got quality breakers installed, then making sure you don't have too much load on a single series circuit. Spread out your equipment across different outlets if possible that are on a different network.
    Gdiguy wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    I regret not using the protector in the first place and it cost me dearly during an electrical storm. I ended up getting 23 new circuit breaker units for my panel board which cost like $180.00 with shipping.

    syndalis wrote: »
    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?

    if the breaker keeps tripping intermittently then just get a new one, they are cheap if you shop around.

  • gertlingertlin Registered User new member
    So... CAN a surge protector stop a lightning surge?
    What else would I have to worry about, electrically?
    Can a circuit breaker cut the circuit before lightning damages my electronics?
    Is a circuit breaker good enough, or are surge protectors necessary to protect gear that I really care about?

    I'm not sure I want to shell out the money for a UPS. I've never in my life had anything ruined by electricity, so I feel like if I won the lotto and something got fried, I would replace it and still feel safe. What do you think?
    syndalis wrote: »
    Hey hey,

    The parts for my new PC will be in this week causing me to worry about electricity ruining it immediately. I'm a worrier. I'm wondering if surge protectors are necessary? If so, how much protection do I need? I've always seen them as another way to suck money out of people. I mean, that's what circuit breakers are for, right? I read somewhere that no surge protector can stop a lightning surge, which is all I'm really worried about anyway.

    I had to buy a new circuit breaker after an electrical storm which set me back about $180.00 .. Then panel board needed replacing too which was crazy.


    Your breaker is not going to protect you from a surge. That isn;t what they are made for. Sure, they will pop if the load over the line reaches a dangerous point, but by the time it pops damage will have already happened. A quality surge strip will pop waaaaay before a breaker, and will pay for replacement equipment if your stuff actually blows up. And a UPS, while unnessecary for most home users, is kind of awesome to have for your networking gear, especially if you have laptops and mobile devices that rely on them for internet.

    This is my perfect setup:

    1) A good surge strip for your desktop computer and all the stuff that hooks into it. You don't need to shell out for Monster or anything, but you do want something that will pay for damaged goods and costs at least 30-40 bucks. Look at the reviews on Amazon. you spent 1000 or more on this shit, don't balk at 30 bucks for decent protection.

    2) A UPS that I connect my modem/router to. Something with enough battery to last a few hours with that tiny drain. It will cost you very little, and your laptop / tablet will thank you profusely should you have a power outage.

    3) A really good surge strip for your home theater gear. Weird as it sounds, I suggest Monster, because fucking hell their stuff is cheap (or in truth appropriately priced) on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-MP-PowerCenter-Satellite-Protection/dp/B00005T3EM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1356984024&sr=8-4

    Let me throw in a personal recommendation (if you are going to have a lot of stuff plugged in)

    Utilitech 10 outlet 6 ft surge protector

    This thing can handle 15A (1800VA), and if you are going to have multiple wall warts plugged in they will not block other outlets. Can easily be wall mounted as well and comes with the screws to do it with.

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