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ZeroSurge 2R15W Surge Protector Review

Rate this surge protector:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 49 37.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 33 25.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 29 22.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 20 15.3%

  • Total voters
    131

walt99

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Exactly. Install a surge protector at the breaker box or main panel to protect the entire house and be done with it. They will provide better protection from minor and major spikes/surges. You can for redundancy sake add inexpensive surge protectors on crucial equipment if you care to.
For what it’s worth, I installed an Eaton whole house unit in the main panel and have ‘gasp’, 2 ea ZeroSurge 8 outlet units for my HT/stereo equipment stuff.
With easily in excess of 30k in equipment it just seems prudent to try to protect the power supply (we have lots of thunder storms in TX and unplugging stuff to try to prevent it is inconvenient if not impossible.
 

fpitas

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ZeroSurge might very well be a great surge suppressor. Somehow we got haring off on its filtration capabilities, which appear to be limited.
 

D700

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For what it’s worth, I installed an Eaton whole house unit in the main panel and have ‘gasp’, 2 ea ZeroSurge 8 outlet units for my HT/stereo equipment stuff.
With easily in excess of 30k in equipment it just seems prudent to try to protect the power supply (we have lots of thunder storms in TX and unplugging stuff to try to prevent it is inconvenient if not impossible.
I did same though don’t have that much equipment. when I replaced my panel electrician showed me the char marks on the previous whole house surge unit. we are high point in our neighborhood.
 

fpitas

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The power company does have lightning arrestors, and they get frequent use. But you might still get a huge surge to your house.
 

musicforcities

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For what it’s worth, I installed an Eaton whole house unit in the main panel and have ‘gasp’, 2 ea ZeroSurge 8 outlet units for my HT/stereo equipment stuff.
With easily in excess of 30k in equipment it just seems prudent to try to protect the power supply (we have lots of thunder storms in TX and unplugging stuff to try to prevent it is inconvenient if not impossible.
Any surge protector may fail to protect against a direct or close lighting hit to power lines, cable, network, phone etc if those or the house is not properly earthed. Low voltage lines should be have surge stressors and be earthed by the relevant companies at the pole or utility distribution box (except fiber of course). But one never knows for sure. but linking those to the house electric earth rod can create issues and potential hazards too if one is not careful. I even witnessed a lighting strike to a sat dish that blew past that devices protection (the earth connection was probably corroded and the electricity found an easier route), the set top box and and went straight down the coax into the tv (old cargos ray), shooting out the picture tube into the opposite wall. Kablewy. It was off as well. As admiral akbar might day, almost Nothing can repeal electricity of that magnitude!

In that such cases, insurance deductibles can still be less than expensive surge protectors. Hey, I have redundant surge protection too, but usually it just a Tripp light isobar or something along those lines.
 
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MyCuriosity

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I read the product description from their Amazon site and they talk about surge protection and nothing on sound fidelity. I suppose as a production device is not bad at all
 

fpitas

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I read the product description from their Amazon site and they talk about surge protection and nothing on sound fidelity. I suppose as a production device is not bad at all
Well...we don't know. I think Amir simply tested the filtration characteristics.
 

Dialectic

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For what it’s worth, I installed an Eaton whole house unit in the main panel and have ‘gasp’, 2 ea ZeroSurge 8 outlet units for my HT/stereo equipment stuff.
With easily in excess of 30k in equipment it just seems prudent to try to protect the power supply (we have lots of thunder storms in TX and unplugging stuff to try to prevent it is inconvenient if not impossible.
Using the unreliable power supplied by ConEdison, I have three ZeroSurge units. During the time I've had them, surges have taken out my big Furman PST strips, but the Zero Surge units and the equipment plugged into them continue to work.

Just an anecdote, I know...
 

EJ3

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Using the unreliable power supplied by ConEdison, I have three ZeroSurge units. During the time I've had them, surges have taken out my big Furman PST strips, but the Zero Surge units and the equipment plugged into them continue to work.

Just an anecdote, I know...
The beginning of EMPIRICAL knowledge. If it worked for you and others try it and it works for them and more try it, if it keeps working for more & more people, it becomes an accepted standard (until there is a situation in which it doesn't work0. And, unless there is something peculiar about that particular use case, then it is no longer considered empirical knowledge but a good guess that it may work.
 

delta76

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I did do some investigation but could not get my arounds exactly what is needed for testing. You need a chamber for protection and then right equipment to generate the surges and such. And yes, the device could easily be destroyed. The one thing that gave me pause is the dangers involved in testing. We are talking about very lethal voltages and currents and any mistake could have dire consequences.

I agree that this is badly needed. There are thousands and thousands of these devices with no independent third party performing any efficacy and safety testing on them. If someone has full competency in this field, would be great for them to contact me and educate me on what all is involved and whether it is wise for me to get involved in it.
this is wise man talking - recognize the danger and know his limits. (and thinking out lout, this is how youtube and tiktok are getting more and more dangerous - many people create videos for likes without even knowing what they are doing)

for the discussion, I would argue that this is audio science review. yes the test for surge protection would be helpful and meaningful, but would it be a good fit for ASR? Even if somehow Amir acquires necessary tools and expertise to test high voltage equipment, i'm not sure if he should spend time on that (except for his own interests). there are bunch of audio equipment that need testing.
 
Last edited:

MyCuriosity

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Well...we don't know. I think Amir simply tested the filtration characteristics.
I guess he tested against their below claim
  • Non-sacrificial filter technology repeatedly suppresses worst case surges and removes EMI/RFI noise disturbances from the power line without wear or degradation to the components
 

fpitas

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I guess he tested against their below claim
  • Non-sacrificial filter technology repeatedly suppresses worst case surges and removes EMI/RFI noise disturbances from the power line without wear or degradation to the components
That, and I think one of their more creative marketeers made up something about filtering and audio improvements. The usual stuff.
 

Jim from ZSI

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the ZeroSurge 2R15W AC filter & surge protector. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $239.
View attachment 259469
I like the descriptive model name: it has two (2) outlets and is rated for 15 amps. A hefty AC cord gives one confidence that it can carry that much current.

If you are not familiar with the company and this product, their products (and that of another competitor) use "series" non-destructive surge protection devices. Traditional surge protectors rely on components that are in parallel with the line and sacrifice themselves should a sufficiently powerful surge arrives. Some can fail this way with catastrophic results (think smoke and fire). They are cheap and have the advantage of having no impact (if well designed) on power delivery of the unit. Series protection devices like the one in this review, shunt the power instead and are able to do so repeatedly. But by putting a circuit (inductor) in series, they are said to impact power delivery. They also cost a lot more as you can tell here.

I can't test the surge protection of these devices but can see if a) they improve the fidelity of audio system and b) whether they have a negative impact on power delivery. Many audiophiles buy these for reason (a) and to sleep easy should a surge arrive.

ZeroSurge Filtering Measurements
For such a device in theory having a benefit, it needs to filter noise in the audio band so let's test that. I first measure the "raw" AC coming out of my equipment rack power strip using a 1/100 attenuator:

View attachment 259470

The level of distortion and noise remains more or less the same. Lots of harmonic distortion is responsible for creating 2.2% distortion added to the 60 Hz mains. Now let's do the same measurement but routing the AC through 2R15W:
View attachment 259471

Focusing on THD+N, we see the same 2.2% so nothing has been filtered there. The sine wave on the left looks distorted just as it did when we didn't use the device. The FFT spectrum also appears to be the same but let's run a dedicated test to be sure:
View attachment 259472

There doesn't seem to be any attenuation there. Based on this we can predict that performance of our audio gear won't be improved but let's test that theory.

EDIT: question was raised about the above measurements as to impact of loading down the ZeroSurge to see if it makes a difference in filtering. Before doing that, I expanded the measurement bandwidth 50 times to 1 MHz to see if there is a filter operating above audio band and there is:
View attachment 259738

As is typical, filtering doesn't start until well above audio band around 40 kHz. Even then the attenuation is about 11 dB or so and not enough to shunt all that noise down.

I then tested the impact of having a load in the form of Hypex NCx500 amplifier plugged into the ZeroSurge:
View attachment 259739

There seems to be some incremental attenuation around 20 to 50 kHz. The load is forming a network with the internal filter changing its transfer function. But the impact is again very minimal. The bulk of what is 'bad' remains with AC power.

ZeroSurge 2R15W Amplifier Measurement
I recently tested the new NCx500 high power class D from Hypex so I thought it would make a good target for measuring the fidelity and impact on power of the amplifier. Let's start with our standard 4 ohm power sweep (with buffer enabled in NCx500):

View attachment 259473

The raw AC (green) and run through ZeroSurge show identical noise and distortion. The two graphs are completely on top of each other indicating that no improvement to be had. You can take to the ban that the fidelity is the same.

But let's see if we lost some power starting with maximum power available into 4 ohm:
View attachment 259474

There is a tiny impact here which is not even worth noting. Let's test burst power:

View attachment 259475

Once again, the impact is tiny which could just be the extra wiring and outlet involved in the circuit. This is great news as it dispels the worry that you can't use these surge protectors for power amplifiers. Granted, we are talking almost 700 watts here and not 1,500 but still, you are unlikely to be pulling 600 watts continuously as I am doing here.

Conclusions
As with all the other power tweaks, filters and cables, no fidelity improvement is to be had with 2R15W. It doesn't "clean" the AC in any way that I can measure. And as a result, real-life testing with an amplifier shows the same performance with and without. On the other hand, it is a major sigh of relief that despite pulling some 700+ watts out of the box, it had essentially no impact on the amplifier performance.

Where this leaves us is that if you like its flavor of surge protection, you can proceed to use it for that purpose and not worry about power loss.

I can't recommend the ZeroSurge 2R15W as a fidelity improvement device. As a surge protector, going by what they say it does, it seems like a better bet than many cheap solutions.
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

This is a review and detailed measurements of the ZeroSurge 2R15W AC filter & surge protector. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $239.
View attachment 259469
I like the descriptive model name: it has two (2) outlets and is rated for 15 amps. A hefty AC cord gives one confidence that it can carry that much current.

If you are not familiar with the company and this product, their products (and that of another competitor) use "series" non-destructive surge protection devices. Traditional surge protectors rely on components that are in parallel with the line and sacrifice themselves should a sufficiently powerful surge arrives. Some can fail this way with catastrophic results (think smoke and fire). They are cheap and have the advantage of having no impact (if well designed) on power delivery of the unit. Series protection devices like the one in this review, shunt the power instead and are able to do so repeatedly. But by putting a circuit (inductor) in series, they are said to impact power delivery. They also cost a lot more as you can tell here.

I can't test the surge protection of these devices but can see if a) they improve the fidelity of audio system and b) whether they have a negative impact on power delivery. Many audiophiles buy these for reason (a) and to sleep easy should a surge arrive.

ZeroSurge Filtering Measurements
For such a device in theory having a benefit, it needs to filter noise in the audio band so let's test that. I first measure the "raw" AC coming out of my equipment rack power strip using a 1/100 attenuator:

View attachment 259470

The level of distortion and noise remains more or less the same. Lots of harmonic distortion is responsible for creating 2.2% distortion added to the 60 Hz mains. Now let's do the same measurement but routing the AC through 2R15W:
View attachment 259471

Focusing on THD+N, we see the same 2.2% so nothing has been filtered there. The sine wave on the left looks distorted just as it did when we didn't use the device. The FFT spectrum also appears to be the same but let's run a dedicated test to be sure:
View attachment 259472

There doesn't seem to be any attenuation there. Based on this we can predict that performance of our audio gear won't be improved but let's test that theory.

EDIT: question was raised about the above measurements as to impact of loading down the ZeroSurge to see if it makes a difference in filtering. Before doing that, I expanded the measurement bandwidth 50 times to 1 MHz to see if there is a filter operating above audio band and there is:
View attachment 259738

As is typical, filtering doesn't start until well above audio band around 40 kHz. Even then the attenuation is about 11 dB or so and not enough to shunt all that noise down.

I then tested the impact of having a load in the form of Hypex NCx500 amplifier plugged into the ZeroSurge:
View attachment 259739

There seems to be some incremental attenuation around 20 to 50 kHz. The load is forming a network with the internal filter changing its transfer function. But the impact is again very minimal. The bulk of what is 'bad' remains with AC power.

ZeroSurge 2R15W Amplifier Measurement
I recently tested the new NCx500 high power class D from Hypex so I thought it would make a good target for measuring the fidelity and impact on power of the amplifier. Let's start with our standard 4 ohm power sweep (with buffer enabled in NCx500):

View attachment 259473

The raw AC (green) and run through ZeroSurge show identical noise and distortion. The two graphs are completely on top of each other indicating that no improvement to be had. You can take to the ban that the fidelity is the same.

But let's see if we lost some power starting with maximum power available into 4 ohm:
View attachment 259474

There is a tiny impact here which is not even worth noting. Let's test burst power:

View attachment 259475

Once again, the impact is tiny which could just be the extra wiring and outlet involved in the circuit. This is great news as it dispels the worry that you can't use these surge protectors for power amplifiers. Granted, we are talking almost 700 watts here and not 1,500 but still, you are unlikely to be pulling 600 watts continuously as I am doing here.

Conclusions
As with all the other power tweaks, filters and cables, no fidelity improvement is to be had with 2R15W. It doesn't "clean" the AC in any way that I can measure. And as a result, real-life testing with an amplifier shows the same performance with and without. On the other hand, it is a major sigh of relief that despite pulling some 700+ watts out of the box, it had essentially no impact on the amplifier performance.

Where this leaves us is that if you like its flavor of surge protection, you can proceed to use it for that purpose and not worry about power loss.

I can't recommend the ZeroSurge 2R15W as a fidelity improvement device. As a surge protector, going by what they say it does, it seems like a better bet than many cheap solutions.
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Amir - It would have been more informative to the reader if there was a discussion with us prior to posting. Thank you for confirming that we do not affect the performance of amps as that is the number one question we receive by far from the AV customers.

We have been making this product for over 33 years in New Jersey (and still make it here in NJ). Our founder, Rudy Harford is a living genius who first gave us circuits for color television in the 1960's while working for RCA. He is the only two time winner of the NJIT Inventor if the Year.

We know it works. I have a unit that has survived 186,000 surges of 6000 volts. That is over 150 years worth of surges! I have countless responses from customers that say their systems seem to work better. I never ever take credit for sound quality. I can only take credit that your equipment is not degraded by surges. Surges will reduce the quality of the performance of audio equipment - even with using traditional MOV surge protection.

This is my one and only post on this thread. I can not answer 11 pages of posts. A longer detailed reply is here - https://zerosurge.com/2023/01/zero-surge-response-to-audio-science-review-of-a-2r15w/

I thank Fred for the being so happy with our product that he lent it to Amir.
 

Jim from ZSI

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I did do some investigation but could not get my arounds exactly what is needed for testing. You need a chamber for protection and then right equipment to generate the surges and such. And yes, the device could easily be destroyed. The one thing that gave me pause is the dangers involved in testing. We are talking about very lethal voltages and currents and any mistake could have dire consequences.

I agree that this is badly needed. There are thousands and thousands of these devices with no independent third party performing any efficacy and safety testing on them. If someone has full competency in this field, would be great for them to contact me and educate me on what all is involved and whether it is wise for me to get involved in it.
Since this is an important safety issue.... Any surge protector - heck any device you plug into the wall - should have a UL sticker somewhere on it. NOT a CE mark. CE is self certifying. In Canada, CSA is the spec. UL is two entities. One is the group of people that make the specifications. For example, UL1283 is the filter spec. And there is UL the testing company. They test products for safety. There are 16 Nationally Recognized Test Labs in the US. Any one can test for UL specs if they have the equipment. We currently use Intertek (which is the oldest test lab in existence evolving from Edison). They independently test our products for surge and safety. And they test our custom inductor. So only plug in the wall a device that has UL safety sticker somewhere on it. It is called the "Authorization to Mark" or ATM. You can check your products here https://productiq.ulprospector.com/en to make sure they have been tested. For surge protection, there are only two properties - the Voltage Protection Rating (VPR) of which the lowest result will be "<330 volts". The other is the Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage (MCOV) which ideally should be >170 volts but for most MOV protection it is 127 volts. "Joule rating" is a FAKE rating. There is no performance or safety from that number. Sometimes they add up the value even though one failing stops everything. It is like saying you have 80,000 mile tread life because you have four 20,000 mile tires.
 

Lawn

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I was wondering about the ZeroSurge response time (in terms of normal music, not a surge). Would the surge circuitry cause a slight delay in power delivery to an amp playing a brief musical peak?
 
OP
amirm

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I was wondering about the ZeroSurge response time (in terms of normal music, not a surge). Would the surge circuitry cause a slight delay in power delivery to an amp playing a brief musical peak?
It likely slows down current slew rate a bit but the amplifier is fine anyway as it has its capacitor bank to reduce instantaneous demands.
 
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amirm

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Amir - It would have been more informative to the reader if there was a discussion with us prior to posting.
If you had supplied the product to me, I would have definitely done that. But since you had not, as a policy, I publish what I measure. Companies are welcome, as you have, to comment afterward. If corrections are needed, I will provide them.

As to the rest of your comments, our business here is about audio fidelity. It is through that lens which I evaluate power product. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they do what they say as far as surges. The question for us as a community is whether claims of audio fidelity are valid or not. I have tested countless power products in this manner with the same outcome so far.
 

bkdc

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20 years ago, I bought six or seven SurgeX units for my apartment. I think I can resell them now (in used but great functioning condition) at over 250% of what I bought them for, which I guess is a wash after inflation adjustment. I have a rack mount SurgeX protecting my AV equipment and bricks for all my computers.

We all know these offer no audio fidelity improvement. But they are the gold standard for surge suppression.

They are built to last and will withstand 100 direct lightning strikes and then keep working. And that’s why every major stadium, event venue, and major corporate building seeking surge suppression uses the technology.

The only downside is that there is a small vampire power draw for each unit. It is best placed at the main panel to protect the whole building.

 
Last edited:

Fred H

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Anecdote 1: We have a family house in rural Vermont; about 25 years ago we discovered that the lightening rods (it's on a local maximum) were not properly grounded so we had it fixed. The results of this were (1) the house was frequently hit by lightning; and, (2) the burglar alarm panel began blowing and requiring frequent repairs. The burglar alarm company (who was eating these repairs) tried several surge protectors and none worked for more than a few months. So they told us: "The costs are your problem from now on." Because of its location there was no alternative burglar alarm company and we put the alarm in because the house was broken into. I found ZeroSurge and sent their smallest unit to the property manager, who plugged the burglar alarm into it. The unit is still there, 25 years later, and we have had no problems with the burglar alarm panel since it was installed.

Anecdote 2: My son, who lives near Atlanta, found that his AVR lost its programming during most thunderstorms. I sent him a ZeroSurge and it hasn't lost its programming since.

I have two ZeroSurge units: one for the TV/stereo system (with a UPS and power strip downstream) and one for my PC (with a UPS downstream). I doubt they are necessary where we live, but I prefer the peace of mind. The discuss above has convinced me to have a whole house surge protector installed and I thank those who pointed out its desirability.
 

12Many

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Nothing surprising here. I have used these devices (also similar to Brickwall) and never have I seen any assertion that it will improve 'quality'. That is not its purpose. It is a surge suppressor and it works great. I have never had a surge hurt equipment protected by these while I have other electronics in the same house damaged from the surge that did not have these. I have 1 that is 15+ years old and still works great which makes its yearly cost low. They are not a one time use.
 
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