Best Surge Protector
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Surge Protector For High Value Electronics (One of the Best)

Best Surge Protector

Preparedness / Protection for your electronic equipment with a quality surge protector is a form of ‘modern survival’ ;)

I want to share with you what I have determined to be a very high quality choice for effective surge protection (not the cheap protection that you might find in your typical ‘power strip’).

I have been using this brand for years, and I can attest to the fact that my various electronic equipment has not blown up through the fiercest of thunderstorms!
(Hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself.)

Okay, enough teasing. You want to know what it is?

In case you haven’t noticed the picture above (this one is used for my Router and Modem),

It’s the Tripp Lite isobar Ultra Surge Protector:

Tripp Lite Isobar 4 Outlet Surge Protection

 

Why is this surge protector a great choice?

While you can certainly pay more for a surge protector, this one is THE most well reviewed and fits a reasonable price point. The main selling point for me was their extreme confidence to include a $50K insurance if equipment gets damaged!

Here are some technical specifications sourced directly from Tripp Lite:

– Lifetime Limited Warranty and $50,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance covers any connected equipment damaged by a power surge. Yes, you read that right.

– 3330-joule surge suppression rating (135,000 Amps!). Reduces 6,000-volt test surges to harmless levels under 35 volts.

– 3 built-in isolated filter banks, large torroidal chokes, ferrite rod-core inductors, HF/VHF capacitors and multiple layers of metal oxide varistors to block interference.

– Removes EMI/RFI interference up to 80 db.

– AC Suppression response time less than 1 nanosecond!

– 12 Amp resettable circuit breaker.

– Diagnostic LED’s indicate it’s present state.

– Metal housing, can also be mounted to wall.

– Right angle plug keeps it tidy.

 

Protect Valuable Electronic Equipment

I currently use three of the Tripp Lite isobar Ultra’s.

1. My Internet Modem and Wireless Router
2. TV / DirecTV satellite box / Roku / DVD player / Stereo receiver
3. Garage door opener (believe it or not, it has a microprocessor board in it)

Note: This is the Tripp Lite model that I used for the garage door opener:
Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protection

surge protection for garage door opener

 
Consider surge protection for the following:

– Printer / Scanner
– Desktop Computer
– Appliances with electronic circuits
– Network equipment
– A/V equipment

If the electronic equipment is worth more than the surge protector, especially if it’s worth a lot more, I would consider getting a surge protector. There are lots out there, and Tripp Lite (no affiliation with us) is a very good brand choice.

Do you have ‘dirty’ power or occasional power surges or drop outs? Do thunder & lightning storms frequent your region? You better get some surge protection…

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19 Comments

  1. Ken,

    This has nothing to do with the brand of surge protector you’re speaking of, just an experience I had with another brand I purchased that touted a “million dollar equipment replacement guarantee and lifetime warranty”. Like yours, it was not a cheapie.

    After moving to my mountain top and having to replace computers, phones, TV’s, etc, several times due to lightning strikes that defeated my cheaper surge protectors, I bought the best available at the local Wally World, touting the big dollar replacement warranty. It cost about 2x the one you’re recommending. I went through a couple of thunderstorms, no problem, before losing all the electronic equipment connected to it in another storm. I called the 1-800 number to file a claim, only to be asked how many thunderstorms I had experienced since purchasing the protector, and being cautioned that my answer would be verified by checking the National Weather Service records for my area. I answered that I didn’t know for sure, but probably several. The claims representative then informed me that if I had read the pages of the warranty disclaimer, I would know that the life expectancy of the surge protector was one, count them ONE, thunderstorm that it possibly could have intercepted and stopped a surge. Therefore, the life expectancy was one storm, therefore the following storms were not covered by the million dollar replacement policy. In other words the life time warranty was based on it’s life expectancy, not my not my actual lifetime, and it’s life expectancy was one storm. To say I was teed off would be an understatement.

    I’m not trying to equate my experience to your brand of protector, but it wouldn’t hurt to read your warranty word for word, keeping my experience in mind. What’s written on the package doesn’t always match what’s written in the legalese inside.

    Another word of caution, loss of electronics from lightning generated emp’s won’t be prevented by a surge protector. The emp is searching for a ground and travels through the ground side of the surge protection without impediment. Lost my satellite equipment to discover this. After a lightning strike within a few feet of my home, all my surge protector cords plugged into outlets had the ground prong fused (welded) to the outlet receptacle.

    1. Wow Dennis. Thanks for this info. We have 4 surge protectors. I too will be reading the paper work closely from now on.

    2. Hi Dennis,

      I started using surge suppressors about 25 years ago, when they were still pretty exotic. Now I use them only when combined with a UPS. If I recall correctly, the part(s) that take the hit are called a ‘MOV’, (metal oxide varistor?). I do remember back in the early days that there were very finite limits on the number and severity of ‘hits’ that an MOV could take, before it became too degraded to work. Analogous to a highway crash barrier, I suppose. Plus these devices are supposed to ‘suppress’ surges and clamp transient spikes that occur on a dirty power line. I’ve never seen one marketed as a “lightning arrester”.

      Speaking of lightning arrester… do you have one? The old copper rod driven deep into the Earth.

      Lastly… how do you attract so many lightning strikes? High iron content in the blood? I get it that you are on a mountain top, but gee whiz that’s a lot of hits and blown up gear. Stay safe!

      1. Hey McGyver,
        Yes to the copper rod driven in the ground. Two in fact, well that is if you count the one the power company grounds the meter base pole with. My home is some 150 ft from the meter base and has it’s own fuse panel and I grounded it to a 8 ft copper rod driven into the ground using 6ga. stranded wire.

        As for the number of lightning strikes, probably several factors. Number one, I live in tornado alley (NW Arkansas). Discounting the major violent storm fronts moving through seasonally, we contend with numerous small, but sometimes very intense, pop-up thunderstorms during the hot and humid days of summer. Number two would probably be due to my elevation (1750 ft.) which is 200 ft-500 ft higher than nearby surrounding terrain. That elevation coupled with being surrounded by 50-70 foot pine and oak trees probably makes my place the equivalent to the metal towers on top of city skyscrapers.

        Your comment about iron might have some validity, though not in my blood. Much of the sedimentary rock of the region has high concentrations of iron. A lot of our rock rusts.

        Lastly, I’ll mention that I’ve lost wireless phones and internet modems to electric overload coming through the phone lines, numerous times (slow learner?). I now unplug phone connectors at the first sign of a storm. Once, I had disconnected the phone line from a satellite TV receiver in my living room and was sitting across the room reading. Lightning struck nearby, I heard a popping noise and watch as a golden orb of electricity about 12 inches in diameter emanated out the end of the phone cable and travelling out into the living room before dissipating about 6 feet in front of me. It looked like something straight out of a mad scientist movie.

        I’ve learned to live with the lightning and respect it and even though I’ve lost a lot of electronic devices because of it, our home and outbuildings have never took a direct hit.

        1. Dennis,
          You may have caused yourself a problem with the second ground. The second ground may actually create something called a ground loop which could play havoc with some of your electronics that operates at very low signal voltage, ie, electronics sometimes used in frig, etc.

          1. Texas boy,

            I can’t argue that point. While I’m not an electrician, I have wired both my last two homes when we built. This home, when built we hired a subcontractor to install the heat and air conditioning. He refused to wire the units himself saying that they always left that up to the electrician (wink ,wink). I wired the unit in his absence. When he returned to charge it with freon, after inspecting my work, he asked why the quick disconnect on the outside wall was not grounded to a ground rod. I drove to town, purchased the rod and installed it to satisfy him. It’s tied directly to the 6ga wire that travels some 30ft under the home to the neutral bars of the fuse panel (sorry, breaker box).
            Actually, the 200amp meter base and breaker on the power pole originally serviced the cabin we built prior to retirement and building the new home. I tied to the same access burying 3 double ought copper strand cables almost 200 ft to service the breaker panel inside the new home. The location of the second ground rod is actually a little over 200ft from the other one. Is that still a problem? If so, it will be an easy fix to remove the brass clamp and about 2ft of wire.

        2. Your 8′ ground rod only covers about 8′ feet in all directions. If your are 20′ from the ground rod you will need a 20′ ground rod or multiple smaller ones. One other thing to check is the resistance of the ground rod. You are looking for 0 ohms. You may only get it down to 5 ohms with a 8′ rod.

          Next time you drive a ground rod use a bentonite clay slurry. Dig a 2′ hole about 2′ in diameter and put the slurry in the hole. Now you are ready to drive the rod. The top of the ground rod should be 2′ below grade. There shouldn’t be any tight bends in your ground wire. Lightening will continue to go straight at a 90 degree bend. Remember to call your Diggers Hotline before digging.

      2. One of my HF antennas (Alpha-Delta dipole) has a lightning arrester in the feed line circuit. They are a replaceable cartridge. I haven’t ever had a strike. Be safe All.
        Doc

  2. UPS/Surge protection on >everything< with a PCB, except those which drive heavy motors (laundry, dishwasher, etc.) Power sags can damage equipment almost as well as a spike in some cases. Having the UPS integration protects against that and adds an additional physical layer between an electrical anomaly and your sensitive gear.

    1. McGyver:
      Do you recommend any certain UPS? I know zero about all this, but have ordered one of the surge protectors Ken recommends for DH for Father’s Day. We got him a really nice electric piano for Christmas, and I’d sure hate to see it fried.

      1. Hi chipmunk,

        APC and Cyber Power are two popular brands, both work well. The nerd in me likes the Cyber Power interface better. I also have, through sheer dumb luck, and enterprise class HP rack mount UPS, which is very nice, but proportionately worth the difference in price.

        In all cases, environmental laws mandate that the sealed lead acid batteries inside be easily recyclable. And they are easy to get to, typically via a plastic door. This also means they are very easy to replace when they wear out. Example, I have a couple of units I bought in the 1990’s, perhaps on a 4th or 5th set of batteries, but otherwise still functioning when needed.

        Check the sale ads, there are frequent big discounts. Generally speaking, the higher the ‘VA’ rating, the more available run time at a given load.

  3. A thunderstorm went thru our farm about 48 hours ago and fried my cable modem (not protected), I have surge protectors on all my sensitive equipment (in the house) and the best I can surmise nothing else got hit. I have an UPS for my desk top computer, desk top printer, one security camera, ham radio chargers, desk lights, phones and phone chargers and battery chargers. The UPS (uninterruptable power supply) got fried and have to get a new battery but saved about $1,500 to $2000 worth of equipment with no interruptions in service. Comcast just replaced my old modem with a brand new one. Highly recommend that our readers invest in an UPS and high quality surge protectors (recycle these devices over time). This episode two days ago is just one among many times that my UPS and surge protectors have saved our stuff. My wife stated that she believes that the lightning hit our (barn about 1:30 am) which have lightning rods installed…..and yes, the rods do in fact attract lightning which help to prevent fires.

  4. Home depot sells whole house surge protectors.
    Polyphaser sells lightning arrestors for the antenna lines to Ham radios, CB radios.
    If I hear any thunder I run around to disconnect the TV and Computers just to be safe.

    1. Yes, a whole house AND individual protectors will give you layered protection and is an effective strategy. I also live on a hill and replaced quite a few dial-up modems and cards back in the day. We finally got cable service and a cable modem, and this problem was finally eliminated. My theory is that the metal shield on the coaxial cable provides far better protection from lightining than the phone company twisted pair unshielded cable. Still, lightning is very unpredictable and a direct hit will likely cause damage. Also PROTECT YOUR DEEP WELL CIRCUIT if you have one. I put a separate whole-house protector on this circuit.

  5. Does anyone know of power protectors that work for both lightening and EMP? I know that the pulse duration, frequency and amplitude for those two events are not the same. I know that in the 80’s poly switches were used, but not for both events. Any help here?

  6. My most valuable electronics are Ham radios (I have a doz of them, not counting all the hand held ones) and for the most part I just disconnect them from the antenna and power.

    Everything else in the home is not protected other then the large computer.

    I have never had anything get fried and I know of no one that has gotten hit, and I know and talk to a lot of hams that have thousands invested in radios. .

    We get thunder storms here (Toledo Ohio) but it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  7. Ken,

    Agreed on the isobar, it is an excellent device.

    I also recommend Tripp’s lite’s “super7” when price is a factor. Not as capable as the isobar, but much better than most at a very reasonable price.

    McGyver’s point on “except those which drive heavy motors” is valid. In those cases, I use a simple MOV unit with no other “filtering” such as the “spike cube”.

  8. Cable Innovations has exceptional surge protection designed for the consumer. They have patents pertaining to the use of sidactors. The sidactors have sub-nano clamp times and are able to take 1000’s of hits. Only problem is that for the most part they only sell in quantity to cable providers.

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