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Suggestions whole house surge/lightning protection?

6speed

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I am already familiar with Zero Surge and Surgex series mode devices and a lot of their competition, but am wondering if anyone has any suggestions about whole house surge/lightning protection. Which ones
  1. Clamp faster
  2. Have a lower let through voltage
  3. Incorporate multiple devices/tech to achieve #1 and 2 e.g. MOV + TVSS etc?
  4. Are easily services when components fail
  5. Other features/specs/considerations?
I am looking for something to install under my breaker panel indoors.
 

solderdude

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MOV's and TVS are fine for clamping pulses created by stuff being switched on and off.
They do not protect against lightning strikes fairly close by.

Look for Surge protectors like this
 
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6speed

6speed

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I am not familiar with these or their installation method. They look like parallel devices, but are they meant to be installed in their own box in parallel with the main breaker panel. I'm in the US so our breaker panel standards might be different.
 

amirm

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I am not familiar with these or their installation method. They look like parallel devices, but are they meant to be installed in their own box in parallel with the main breaker panel. I'm in the US so our breaker panel standards might be different.
The simplest thing that is pretty effective is to ask your power company to install a "TVSS" (surge protector) in your electric meter. We put in a 200 amp one for $320 installed I think. They open the meter, put in the board, and close it up and you are done. It works well there because the meter has a very short path to earth ground.

Next option would be one that is placed right at your entrance breaker panel. The leads must be kept short for these to work.

The point of use ones like you are thinking of are not very effective since they impedance is high to the safety ground. They can also dump surge into other devices in your home.

Note that your insurance company will most likely cover lightning surge/damage sans your deductible.
 
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6speed

6speed

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In the meter is a good idea. I am looking for all effective add-ons that don't create new problems (e.g. interrupting the existing power feed). I deliberately under-engineered the power supply for my amps, but in most cases, I am a big fan of over-engineering.
 

DonH56

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I'll have to look tonight. We had surge and lightning protection installed when we built the house 25+ years ago. They are not MOV-based (MOV's are sacrificial and without measuring them you can't tell when they go bad). It is two separate units, the high-power lightning box and a secondary surge protection box, mounted near our main service panel. The lightning protection will probably (almost certainly) not stop a direct hit but most anything else. We had a tree hit near our back deck, and several times other trees fairly near the house have been hit. No damage except to the cable line (they added a spark-gap arrestor after it was hit, natch). Fortunately I had an internal surge protector on the cable line and it was not directly hit (but durn close). Neighbors lost equipment in their house, TV and fridge plus a number of smaller items, then installed their own units and I haven't heard of any problems since.

We asked about a TVSS but in our area they said (a) they include one automatically and (b) the meter was too far from the house for adequate protection and to add whole-house protection if we wanted to be safe.
 

Gregss

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Stores like Home Depot sell Siemens MOV add on units that attach to the side of your mains breaker panel. They do have an led indicator when the MOV is shot (green led on - still good). At just under $100 USD, about as cheap and practical to add yourself as you are going to get.

Just make sure to turn off the Main Breaker for the home before wiring it in and avoiding touching the mains input wiring as well which would still be live. Not hard, but if you are not sure what you are doing, get help.
 

Doodski

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Stores like Home Depot sell Siemens MOV add on units that attach to the side of your mains breaker panel. They do have an led indicator when the MOV is shot (green led on - still good). At just under $100 USD, about as cheap and practical to add yourself as you are going to get.

Just make sure to turn off the Main Breaker for the home before wiring it in and avoiding touching the mains input wiring as well which would still be live. Not hard, but if you are not sure what you are doing, get help.
Isn't it against the electrical code to modify the breaker panel oneself without a electrician?
 

Gregss

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Hello,

Yes, depends on where you live. Even where it is legal, you need to keep the wiring according to your areas electrical codes.
And yes, voltage and current in a main box can kill if you get careless. Be careful.
 

DonH56

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The times I have done my own electrical work it was OK to do it myself as long as it was inspected afterwards. That spans several states, but local codes may vary, natch.
 

Sal1950

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Resurrecting an older thread, hoping to get some expert input here.
We really could probably use a good thread on lightning protection for our expensive rigs here on ASR.
About 2 weeks ago I got nailed by a lightning hit here in the lightning capitol of the US, Florida.
It took out my main computer motherboard by killing the USB Controllers and some other base system functions.
It also killed the new 50' HDMI optical cable I had just installed, along with a couple of HDMI inputs on my Marantz Pre/Pro,
made my Brother laser printer unresponsive and a few more things I can't remember right now. :(

So I'm looking into the best options for protection that I can find. For a whole house outside box unit my homework so far has pointed me to something like the EATON CHSPT2ULTRA. This I can install myself with no problem and doesn't cost an arm/leg.

Duke Energy here also offers a system for $7.99 a month (forever, installed free) but they give no detailed info on what it really is?
Thoughts anyone?

Anyone out there have any additional suggestions or any other input that can help me here?
I keep hearing this song in my head. LOL
 

Doodski

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Resurrecting an older thread, hoping to get some expert input here.
We really could probably use a good thread on lightning protection for our expensive rigs here on ASR.
About 2 weeks ago I got nailed by a lightning hit here in the lightning capitol of the US, Florida.
It took out my main computer motherboard by killing the USB Controllers and some other base system functions.
It also killed the new 50' HDMI optical cable I had just installed, along with a couple of HDMI inputs on my Marantz Pre/Pro,
made my Brother laser printer unresponsive and a few more things I can't remember right now. :(

So I'm looking into the best options for protection that I can find. For a whole house outside box unit my homework so far has pointed me to something like the EATON CHSPT2ULTRA. This I can install myself with no problem and doesn't cost an arm/leg.

Duke Energy here also offers a system for $7.99 a month (forever, installed free) but they give no detailed info on what it really is?
Thoughts anyone?

Anyone out there have any additional suggestions or any other input that can help me here?
I keep hearing this song in my head. LOL
Disconnect the gear for the utmost protection... If severe ESD and lightning is to occur there's nothing that can be done about that. Myself I plug and play and forget about it and I have been lucky in that no strikes occurred.
 

DonH56

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The ones around here are Eaton and Leviton. We have Leviton surge protection and also lightning protection (two different units; I think the lightning unit is Eaton but not sure -- it was relocated outside when our generator was installed) on our incoming service but I did not do a lot of research, listened to the electrician (lightning strikes are frequent in our area). There's also a "spark gap" lightning protector on the incoming cable line.

Nothing will stop a direct hit, but when a tree about 25 yards from our deck was hit some 10-15 years ago nothing in our house was affected, but the neighbors lost some stuff. They have since installed the same units and no problems since despite a few more close strikes.
 

Sal1950

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We have Leviton surge protection and also lightning protection (two different units; I think the lightning unit is Eaton but not sure -- it was relocated outside when our generator was installed) on our incoming service but I did not do a lot of research, listened to the electrician (lightning strikes are frequent in our area).
Thanks Don. I'll have to do a little more homework. I haven't heard of the units being recommended for different uses, surge and lightning?
Central Fl is insane around here for lightning in the summer, almost monsoon like with thunderstorms most every day during the season.
 

amirm

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Duke Energy here also offers a system for $7.99 a month (forever, installed free) but they give no detailed info on what it really is?
In our area you can pay a one-time fee of about $350 for the same. They put it inside the meter where there is a very effective ground for it to do its job. So I definitely recommend it as it is cheap and quick. You can then opt to put secondary one right by your electrical panel. That requires electrician and more expense. I personally don't bother and rely on home owner's insurance for back up.
 

DonH56

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Thanks Don. I'll have to do a little more homework. I haven't heard of the units being recommended for different uses, surge and lightning?
Central Fl is insane around here for lightning in the summer, almost monsoon like with thunderstorms most every day during the season.
It was a long time ago when we built the house... But yah, two different units. The surge protector is a fancy high-power series unit, I think, so lasts a "lifetime" vs. the inexpensive MOV-based strips that are no good after a surge or two. The lightning protector I am less sure about; I think it is more of a gap-type device but sealed vs. the "open" little unit on the cable (the cable one is the same type I had on my Ham antennas back when I was doing that). My vague memory is that the surge protection had a much lower "let-through" voltage than the lightning protection and would handle much less power. The lightning protector is outside and the surge protector is next to the main service panel. Our electric coop would not allow anything inside the meter; since it is a good 50+ yards from the house I'd rather have something closer anyway.

Amir's post reminds me that I need to up my insurance; there are limits for things like electronics and musical instruments so we need to pick up some riders and additional coverage. The nominal limits won't come close to replacing the media room system, nor my stash of trumpets and wife's grand piano. I also need to check the computer limits; a work friend lost his in a fire and the insurance company balked and wanted to low-ball the computers.
 

Sal1950

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In our area you can pay a one-time fee of about $350 for the same. They put it inside the meter where there is a very effective ground for it to do its job. So I definitely recommend it as it is cheap and quick. You can then opt to put secondary one right by your electrical panel. That requires electrician and more expense. I personally don't bother and rely on home owner's insurance for back up.
Thanks Amir & Don,
I have a friend here that I know signed on for Duke's monthly fee program, tomorrow I go raise the hood on his outside meter box and see what they put in.. They're no big deal at all to install if your comfortable inside the panel, I've done a lot of that stuff before.
That's a great idea about a second unit, I can put one in the meter box that's right outside on the side of my house, and then a second on the breaker panel inside the house.
I'd much rather not have my gear smoked, than rely on insurance to replace it.
Of course there's nothing going to protect you from a direct (or close to direct) hit.
I thought it was going to be much worse than it was that night.
I was just sitting here like now, when the whole inside of the house lit-up with the brightest white light I've ever seen.
Funny that myself and a neighbor looked everywhere outside for evidence of the strike but haven't found anything out there?
Strange stuff that lightning. ;)
 

Sal1950

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This I can install myself with no problem and doesn't cost an arm/leg.
Just a quick update on my journey.
I checked at my bud's house today and couldn't really see what it was the Duke Energy installed and he pays monthly for?
Maybe it's inside the actually meter box which I'm not breaking the seal on to look inside.
So anyway today I did order a EATON CHSPT2ULTRA. for $165, small potatoes if it saves any future damage.
I'll get it installed and take a photo or two when done.
After that I believe I'll get that second unit from Leviton and install it next to the breaker panel in he house.
There's a ton of lightning in this area of FL, we have just under 1000 homes in our little senior community and I hear
of at least 1 or 2 a season of people losing the TV or whatever due to close strikes, etc.
I always thought it happens to the other guy, not me, until it did.
I can only suggest my friends here at ASR to get off your butt's and do something.
We all have a good amount of money invested in gear, protect it as best you can. ;)
 
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