Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Surge Protector question.

34 posts in this topic

Posted

So in our apartment we have a surge protector.  All the rooms but one is three prong outlets, the one room is two prong.     Well today I plugged in a new surge protector into the three prong and it lights up "Protected".  but not "grounded"  

 

Is this an issue?

 

In our other apartment everything was new and was grounded. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I would get the socket tested for ground. If the ground pin isn't actually grounded, it could be dangerous if you have a faulty appliance plugged into it.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I would get the socket tested for ground. If the ground pin isn't actually grounded, it could be dangerous if you have a faulty appliance plugged into it.

 

 

Thanks, I have a friend coming over with a socket ground teser?  (whatever you plug into the socket to see if it's grounded).   If it's not then what?  I just checked with our city, and if it's built before a certain time, it's not required then therefor not required to be upgraded. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

From my understanding you have both sockets below in your apartment:

 

how-to-replace-an-electrical-receptacle-

 

It sounds to me that your apartment must be quite an old building, and that it hasn't been 'grounded'. The reason for the three pin socket could be that a two pin one could have been in it's place and became faulty, and someone one day replaced it with a three pin type and didn't bother grounding it.

 

Your surge protector actually seems to have a ground tester inbuilt. It is possible to test for grounding with a multimeter, however it's much safer to use a dedicated tester like the one pictured below (which you can buy from most major hardware stores).

 

In Australia, we call ground 'Earth'. Earthed outlets have an extra pin that's wired to a stake in the ground (the dirt somewhere around the perimeter of your building, usually near the fuse box). However in line with this, there's a device called a residual-current device (RCD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device), which in the case a small electrical current is sensed flowing down the line (ie. in the case of a fault) will trip and disconnect all power. RCDs are a requirement by law in Australia (however there's still quite a few people living in older homes (pre-1930s) who haven't bothered upgrading), and on many instances have been life-savers.

 

There are two types of electrical devices:

- Earthed: those with a metal case/body connected to earth, so in the case there's a electrical short inside, current will flow to Earth and trip the RCD, protecting the user, and

- Double-insulated: usually devices with a plastic casing, that in the event of something going wrong will be of no harm to the user who may be holding them (ie. most plug packs and some small power tools).

 

If you test that your three-pin outlets are not grounded, I would contact the apartment owner to organize proper grounding. As mentioned above, it could be a life-saver one day. However if you only use double insulated devices (ie. TVs/laptops/phone charges, items that have a Class II symbol on them (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appliance_classes), and never pull things apart), then grounding's not really required (however I'd highly recommend it anyway).

 

Your surge protector will still fully protect against a surge regardless of grounding (it contains electronic components internally for this).

 

Regardless of whether grounding goes ahead or not, it is important to realize that the electricity coming from a wall socket can be lethal. SAFETY FIRST.

 

socket_tester_uk_L.jpg

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

From my understanding you have both sockets below in your apartment:

 

how-to-replace-an-electrical-receptacle-

 

It sounds to me that your apartment must be quite an old building, and that it hasn't been 'grounded'. The reason for the three pin socket could be that a two pin one could have been in it's place and became faulty, and someone one day replaced it with a three pin type and didn't bother grounding it.

 

Your surge protector actually seems to have a ground tester inbuilt. It is possible to test for grounding with a multimeter, however it's much safer to use a dedicated tester like the one pictured below (which you can buy from most major hardware stores).

 

In Australia, we call ground 'Earth'. Earthed outlets have an extra pin that's wired to a stake in the ground (the dirt somewhere around the perimeter of your building, usually near the fuse box). However in line with this, there's a device called a residual-current device (RCD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device), which in the case a small electrical current is sensed flowing down the line (ie. in the case of a fault) will trip and disconnect all power. RCDs are a requirement by law in Australia (however there's still quite a few people living in older homes (pre-1930s) who haven't bothered upgrading), and on many instances have been life-savers.

 

There are two types of electrical devices:

- Earthed: those with a metal case/body connected to earth, so in the case there's a electrical short inside, current will flow to Earth and trip the RCD, protecting the user, and

- Double-insulated: usually devices with a plastic casing, that in the event of something going wrong will be of no harm to the user who may be holding them (ie. most plug packs and some small power tools).

 

If you test that your three-pin outlets are not grounded, I would contact the apartment owner to organize proper grounding. As mentioned above, it could be a life-saver one day. However if you only use double insulated devices (ie. TVs/laptops/phone charges, items that have a Class II symbol on them (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appliance_classes), and never pull things apart), then grounding's not really required (however I'd highly recommend it anyway).

 

Your surge protector will still fully protect against a surge regardless of grounding (it contains electronic components internally for this).

 

Regardless of weather grounding goes ahead or not, it is important to realize that the electricity coming from a wall socket can be lethal. SAFETY FIRST.

 

socket_tester_uk_L.jpg

 

 

Thanks for the info! yeah for the socket pictures that's what they are.  I'm still waiting on my friend to bring over the tester. 

 

So if the landlord doesn't want to upgrade it, would the surge protector still protector everything?  or would it be virtually worthless?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

IIRC, you can ground your own outlets to a screw within the same outlet with a copper wire, granted it won't work as well as properly grounded. What other folks do is connect ground to neutral... Which is worse IMO.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the info! yeah for the socket pictures that's what they are.  I'm still waiting on my friend to bring over the tester. 

 

So if the landlord doesn't want to upgrade it, would the surge protector still protector everything?  or would it be virtually worthless?

Surge protected power boards are designed to protect against power surges only (ie. from lightning strikes [common in some areas], which will blow any devices they reach immediately). However most units these days also feature over-current protection (trip when a device uses more than an electrical socket is designed to output (which in Australia is 240V @ 10A (2400W)), and even RCD protection.

 

Pictured below is a model with all of the above, however I'd say surge protection is definitely worth the investment especially if you hear of lightning strikes around your area, and you're going to have expensive equipment plugged into it. With global warming, you never know what could happen in the future! :)

 

122255-full.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the info! yeah for the socket pictures that's what they are.  I'm still waiting on my friend to bring over the tester. 

 

So if the landlord doesn't want to upgrade it, would the surge protector still protector everything?  or would it be virtually worthless?

See below.

 

From my understanding you have both sockets below in your apartment:

 

 

It sounds to me that your apartment must be quite an old building, and that it hasn't been 'grounded'. The reason for the three pin socket could be that a two pin one could have been in it's place and became faulty, and someone one day replaced it with a three pin type and didn't bother grounding it.

 

Your surge protector actually seems to have a ground tester inbuilt. It is possible to test for grounding with a multimeter, however it's much safer to use a dedicated tester like the one pictured below (which you can buy from most major hardware stores).

 

In Australia, we call ground 'Earth'. Earthed outlets have an extra pin that's wired to a stake in the ground (the dirt somewhere around the perimeter of your building, usually near the fuse box). However in line with this, there's a device called a residual-current device (RCD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device), which in the case a small electrical current is sensed flowing down the line (ie. in the case of a fault) will trip and disconnect all power. RCDs are a requirement by law in Australia (however there's still quite a few people living in older homes (pre-1930s) who haven't bothered upgrading), and on many instances have been life-savers.

 

There are two types of electrical devices:

- Earthed: those with a metal case/body connected to earth, so in the case there's a electrical short inside, current will flow to Earth and trip the RCD, protecting the user, and

- Double-insulated: usually devices with a plastic casing, that in the event of something going wrong will be of no harm to the user who may be holding them (ie. most plug packs and some small power tools).

 

If you test that your three-pin outlets are not grounded, I would contact the apartment owner to organize proper grounding. As mentioned above, it could be a life-saver one day. However if you only use double insulated devices (ie. TVs/laptops/phone charges, items that have a Class II symbol on them (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appliance_classes), and never pull things apart), then grounding's not really required (however I'd highly recommend it anyway).

 

Your surge protector will still fully protect against a surge regardless of grounding (it contains electronic components internally for this).

 

Regardless of whether grounding goes ahead or not, it is important to realize that the electricity coming from a wall socket can be lethal. SAFETY FIRST.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Also important to note that you have a once-only surge protector (if it's got the light).
That means once it's had one surge, it's useless for any future surge protection (the light will go out) and another surge will damage/destroy any attached equipment.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

IIRC, you can ground your own outlets to a screw within the same outlet with a copper wire, granted it won't work as well as properly grounded. What other folks do is connect ground to neutral... Which is worse IMO.

The whole point of grounding is to create an automatic power-cutoff system in the case of a fault, protecting the user of an appliance.

 

There's no way around it - a ground stake and an RCD (pictured below) are a must for a system that will provide proper protection.

 

Grounding/Earth stake/rod:

 

640px-HomeEarthRodAustralia1.jpg

 

RCDs:

 

mk-fuse-board.png

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The whole point of grounding is to create an automatic power-cutoff system in the case of a fault, protecting the user of an appliance.

 

There's no way around it - a ground stake and an RCD (pictured below) are a must for a system that will provide proper protection.

 

Grounding/Earth stake/rod:

 

640px-HomeEarthRodAustralia1.jpg

 

RCDs:

 

mk-fuse-board.png

I'm really no expert, that's what a previous landlord of mine used to do. :laugh: he would run a copper wire from the ground prong in the outlet and tie it to a nail in the wall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

So in our apartment we have a surge protector.  All the rooms but one is three prong outlets, the one room is two prong.     Well today I plugged in a new surge protector into the three prong and it lights up "Protected".  but not "grounded"  

 

Is this an issue?

 

 

 

Yes

 

If you have very old outlets and plan to stay there for a while it might be a good idea to invest in new outlets and properly wire and ground them. It's not hard you can do it yourself. I had the same PC dies 3 times on me in 4 years because of an old outlet even while using a good surge protector (the surge protector was replaced everytime the PC died). Had to replace the MB and PSU everytime (and the gpu once).

 

Do as Draconian Gruppy said for the ground. It's better than nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I thought most systems in the world (except us here in Norway and albania) used 400v distribution system with ground build in so that the whole house had the same ground. not the old style grounding rod which is common her that gives you uneven ground throughout the house. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Also important to note that you have a once-only surge protector (if it's got the light).

That means once it's had one surge, it's useless for any future surge protection (the light will go out) and another surge will damage/destroy any attached equipment.

How can you tell if it's once only? I bought this one in maybe 2004/2005?

I unplugged it and plugged it in, it now lights up grounded but "surge" light is on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

How can you tell if it's once only? I bought this one in maybe 2004/2005?

I unplugged it and plugged it in, it now lights up grounded but "surge" light is on.

Because the cheap surge protectors (under

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Some surge protectors the light will change color. 

 

the APC one I have(had) kept lighting blue after the phone part blew though(it was a single with a phone part as well) saved my modem I guess so :) but the light only seeed to work for the power part as it's supposed to change to green and red and stuff. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

How can you tell if it's once only? I bought this one in maybe 2004/2005?

 

 

Protectors that are part of a system for protection of destructive surges must be located within 3 meters of that earth ground rod.  Grossly undersized protectors (to only protect from surges that do not do damage) fail on a first surge.  To disconnect protector parts as fast as possible to avert a house fire.  And leaves a surge connected to adjacent appliances.

 

Due to superior protection already inside each appliance, a surge too tiny to harm appliances can destroy that protector.  Grossly undersizing it (making it a one time protector) increases sales and is obscenely profitable.  It gets the naive to recommend it.  Because superior protection is already inside appliances.

 

Protection from surges that can overwhelm what is already inside appliances is needed.  That is one 'whole house' protector with a critically important low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meter') connection to single point earth ground.  A protector does not do protection.  It only connects a surge (like a wire) to what actually absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules.  Protection is provided by that earthing electrode.  However that electrode picture features a mistake.  A coiled green/yellow wire connection to earth actually subverts protection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm really no expert, that's what a previous landlord of mine used to do. :laugh: he would run a copper wire from the ground prong in the outlet and tie it to a nail in the wall.

 

Which does absolutely nothing...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Protectors that are part of a system for protection of destructive surges must be located within 3 meters of that earth ground rod.  Grossly undersized protectors (to only protect from surges that do not do damage) fail on a first surge.  To disconnect protector parts as fast as possible to avert a house fire.  And leaves a surge connected to adjacent appliances.

 

Due to superior protection already inside each appliance, a surge too tiny to harm appliances can destroy that protector.  Grossly undersizing it (making it a one time protector) increases sales and is obscenely profitable.  It gets the naive to recommend it.  Because superior protection is already inside appliances.

 

Protection from surges that can overwhelm what is already inside appliances is needed.  That is one 'whole house' protector with a critically important low impedance (ie 'less than 3 meter') connection to single point earth ground.  A protector does not do protection.  It only connects a surge (like a wire) to what actually absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules.  Protection is provided by that earthing electrode.  However that electrode picture features a mistake.  A coiled green/yellow wire connection to earth actually subverts protection.

 

You know except, I live in an area where lightning takes out phones and modems in a huge area if theres even a whiff of thunder.

 

I lost a modem and a router myself last year. The power net is brand new since I bought it 3 years ago. But most strikes come from the phone lines and the copper rich ground attracting lightning, so I use a small single outlet surge protector from aps with phone line protection.

 

My last one blew two weeks ago as I described last page, phone part on it died but the power part is fine(took out he fuse when it blew though, but again brand new electric net, so just flip the switch).  a new 20 protector was far cheaper than a 100+dollar modem and a new Asus black knight router.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 But most strikes come from the phone lines and the copper rich ground attracting lightning, so I use a small single outlet surge protector from aps with phone line protection.

 

 

Surge protection is so well understood that damage is considered a human mistake. Your post demonstrates many mistakes that have causes electronics damage.

 

For example, cable and telephone already have superior 'whole house' protector. You made a conclusion only from observation.  And forgot how electricity works.

 

A typical surge is an electrical connection from a cloud to distant (miles away) earthborne charges.  Surge damage is an electric current in that path that is both incoming and outgoing through appliances.  Telephone and cable already connect to earth so that that current need not be anywhere inside the house.  So why is that current so often inside your house?

 

Most common source of surges is AC mains.  A lightning strike far down the street is a direct strike to every household appliance.  Are all damaged?  Of course not.  That is only an incoming path.  An outgoing path must also exist.  Damaged are appliances that make a best and outgoing path to earth.  In your case, that is routers and modems.  Because cable and telephone already have best protection connected low impedance to earth.  Once you all but invited a surge inside to go hunting, then it found earth destructively via modems, routers, etc.  Damage is often on the outgoing path. Not the incoming path as you only speculated.

 

If any AC wire enters without first connecting to earth ground, then your entire protection system is compromised.  Especially if using many plug-in protectors.  Some AC electric wires cannot connect directly to earth (as cable is).  So we do a next best thing.  We use a 'whole house' protector to do what a wire would do better.

 

Of course, only effective protection means no damage even from direct lightning strikes. Lightning is maybe 20,000 amps.  So a minimal 'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps.  Concepts and numbers understood even 100 years ago.  Why do so many not know them?  Most are educated by hearsay, wild speculation, and advertising.  Above introduces well proven science that remains unknown to a majority of consumers.

 

Simple rules.  Protection means you know where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate.  A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Once that surge is permitted inside, then nothing can stop a surge from destructively hunting for earth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Some surge protectors the light will change color. 

 

 

MOV manufacturers are quite clear about a normal (acceptable) failure and the unacceptable catastrophic type. Latter exists when a protector is grossly undersized.  A thermal fuse must blow as fast as possible to avert that fire.

 

The light can only report on that latter and unaceptable type of failure.  It cannot report on the other and acceptable type - degradation.  IOW the light said your protector was so grossly undersized that an emergency protection device (a thermal fuse) averted a potential house fire.

 

Effective protectors even connect direct lightning strikes to earth.  And remain functional.  This superior device (for about $1 per protected appliance) is located adjacent to earth ground, is properly sized, and is manufactured by other companies with better integrity.  Be extemely concerned if your protector was so grossly undersized as to even cause its light change.  It is a human safety issue.  That undersized protector needed to be protected by an earthed 'whole house' protector.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

For example, cable and telephone already have superior 'whole house' protector. You made a conclusion only from observation.  And forgot how electricity works.

 

 

Now you're demonstrating your lack of understanding. phone cables, at least here have no built in protection. they go directly in the house and into the first device connected. 

 

You're also showing a complete lack of any understanding that things aren't universal. there is no street here. I live out in the middle of nowhere. I also know that this strike that NOT come through the power, but through the phone line. yes, phone lines are small and can't carry to much, but they can carry enough to blow modems and routers. 

 

There's an easy way over in this area to tell the difference between a phone line or power strike.

 

the phone line strike will take our your modem and router, maybe a mobo or just a network card if it's a good one. often it also causes minor or major disruptions to the service as it often does some damage up in the distributions central(more often those are rather from their mountaintop repeaters getting blow out from a big strike further away though)

 

Power line strikes over here (consider I live on a mountain, over 600meters with a lot of copper ore around here) they either stop at your fuse box protector. or if it's an old fusebox. It will literally blow your power sockets out of the wall, or even your entire fusebox into nothing. or it you have a modern fusebox and it's a good strike. your protectors is melted and you have some insurance work to get the fusebox redone. 

 

We have quite a bit of experience with strikes in this area and how they affect stuff and which path they take. Enough to know that when the phone line protector blew from a distant strike, and the neighbours all lot their modems, we know where it came from. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Now you're demonstrating your lack of understanding. phone cables, at least here have no built in protection. they go directly in the house and into the first device connected. 

 

 

Learn from an engineer who was doing this stuff even 40 years ago.  Who even repaired surge damged modems and other electronics by tracing a surge and replacing each damaged transistor and IC.  Or remain in denial with nasty accusations.

 

A lightning strike far down the street is no different that a lighting strike to utility wires far out in the country.  Lightning does not know the diference even between your modem and a muntiions dump.  A minor point that demonstrates why we had to know this stuff. And why damage from direct lightning strikes is made irrelevant when one learns about the most crtically important component in every protection system - single point earth ground.  Any inspection or informed discussion about modem damage and protection starts with that one component.

 

Surge protection means you know why lightning strikes can be just as likely to items in the valley rather than on mountaintops.  More relevant is geology and other neighborhood factors.  To l\ightning, it does not matter that utility wires stop at a fuse box.  Since lightning obviously considers AC wires inside the wall (or telephone wires) similar.

 

Did you know all phone lines have add surge protection installed for free long before even you and I existed?

 

Damage is typically on an outgoing port of a damged appliance (ie cable ot telephone connection).  Incoming path (ie AC electric) is often not damaged. But again, we did this stuff as engineers.  You have two choices.  Remain in denial.  Or learn from someone who has done this stuff so that direct lightning strikes cause no damage.

 

Modem damage is typical of a surge incoming on AC mains.  Inspect your telco 'installed for free' protector.  Since the most common reason these to fail is mistakes made by a homeowner to THE most important component in every protection system - single point earth ground.  A common reason all neighborhood modems damaged by lightning - a surge was incoming to all homes on AC electric.  Since all cable and phone lines already have (as required by code and other industry standards) best protection.  Protection that you knew and inspected IF experience had taught how surges do damage.

 

If you want protection, then define the component that actually makes direct lightning striked non-destructive. How is your single point earth ground installed and connected?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Because the cheap surge protectors (under

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I guess that explains that one then.  I'm curious to why it says grounded now and not before.  

 

Landlord is not required to upgrade to three prong circuit due to grandfathering. But a code violation is three prong receptacles on two wire circuits (where the safety ground does not exist).  Code is quite blunt about this.  Either he must route new three circuit cables to those receptacles.  Or those receptacles must be protected by a GFCI with a label on each receptacle that does not actually connect its third prong to anything.

 

That light could have been reporting a stray sliver that was accidently making a ground. Or a ground like connection being made by some other appliance.  In short, the ground light can only report a defective ground; cannot report a good ground.  Same with a protector light.  It can only report a catastrophically failed protector; cannot report a good protector.

 

Only effective protection that works on both 1920 two wire and 2010 three wire circuits is the 'whole house' solution.  To protect appliances from a rare and typically destructive surge, that is your only and well proven option.  Even the electric company might rent one that is installed behind their meter.

 

Best protection at any appliance is already inside that appliance.  Lesser surges may be converted to rock solid DC electricity to safely power its semiconductors.  Destructive surges occur maybe once every seven years.  A number that can vary significantly even in the same town.  A number that is best learned from at least ten years of neighborhood history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.