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Surge Protector question.


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#1 Dane

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 13:18

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. 




#2 Brian M.

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 13:23

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.

#3 OP Dane

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 13:27

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. 



#4 68k

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:11

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....-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....pliance_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



#5 OP Dane

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:20

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....-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....pliance_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?



#6 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:32

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.



#7 68k

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:33

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



#8 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:34

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....-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....pliance_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.

 

 



#9 n_K

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:38

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.



#10 68k

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:41

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



#11 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 14:50

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.



#12 LaP

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 15:07

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.



#13 HawkMan

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 15:17

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. 



#14 OP Dane

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:00

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.

#15 n_K

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 22:33

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 £30) are all like that, the surge light stays on to let you know the protection circuitry hasn't blown. We've got 3 of them, and the lights on all of them are off (because they no longer protect against surges).

A proper home surge protector (we have one) has an LED and an adjustment dial that you use to set the maximum amount of power your devices use, and when they use more power, that excess power gets routed to a reusable protection circuity (the LED is to indicate if the max power is exceeded and not to show if the circuitry is dead).

A proper business/work surge protector would be built into a freestanding or rackmount device like the APC Line Suppressor I have, that protects against surges in a different way by having a transformer and control circuitry which automatically switches which poles of the transformer are used depending on if there is a brown-out (less than the normal amount of power) or a surge (too much power).

 

Both the home/business device and the proper surge protector will work multiple times, the cheap 'light-based surge protector' is single use and can be triggered after extensive use due to the cheap components (you don't necessarily need a surge to make it useless)

 

Here's an example; http://www.cyberpowe.../faq_surge.html

'Should the surge light (Red) be illuminated?
Yes, this indicates that the surge suppressor is functioning properly. If the light is not illuminated, it indicates that the surge protector has received a catastrophic surge and will need to be replaced'