# UPS or Surge Protector?

P

#### Pat

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have a Tripplite Isobar surge protector for my PC and peripherals. I want
to replace it, because a friend told me that surge suppressors tend to
degrade over time. I've had mine for 3 years. Also, I was told that surge
suppressors, in the past, would often not give any indication after taking a
hit, and being ineffective after the hit. Was this true in the past, is it
true for suppressors today?

Lastly, should I be considering a UPS, in place of a surge suppressor? Which
would do the same thing and also provide some time to take a backup and
power down. Also, if I get a UPS is it desirable to:

(1) Get a true sine wave model?

(2) Get one that regulates the voltage, which might vary on input?

Thanks,

Pat

S

#### SmartyPants

Jan 1, 1970
0
Blah blah blah

Pat, the quick answer is basically "yes" to everything. The UPS will
protect your hardware in case of a blackout, which a surge suppressor will
not do a thing about. Yes, sine wave is better than square wave. I went
APC Back UPS instead of Smart UPS to save $even though it is slighty less good for the equipment. Yes a unit that will raise the voltage when it drops or rises will protect the system and itself more than one that just clicks over to batteries. Yes treat any surge suppressor without "OK" lights as just a power strip... assume it has no suppression. If a unit is over five years or so, even if it says "OK", I still would replace it. J #### Jim Rusling Jan 1, 1970 0 Pat said: I have a Tripplite Isobar surge protector for my PC and peripherals. I want to replace it, because a friend told me that surge suppressors tend to degrade over time. I've had mine for 3 years. Also, I was told that surge suppressors, in the past, would often not give any indication after taking a hit, and being ineffective after the hit. Was this true in the past, is it true for suppressors today? Lastly, should I be considering a UPS, in place of a surge suppressor? Which would do the same thing and also provide some time to take a backup and power down. Also, if I get a UPS is it desirable to: Yes, the cost has come down so much it is just cheap insurance. (1) Get a true sine wave model? Not needed for most if not all modern computer equipment. H #### Harry Chickpea Jan 1, 1970 0 Pat said: I have a Tripplite Isobar surge protector for my PC and peripherals. I want to replace it, because a friend told me that surge suppressors tend to degrade over time. I've had mine for 3 years. Also, I was told that surge suppressors, in the past, would often not give any indication after taking a hit, and being ineffective after the hit. Was this true in the past, is it true for suppressors today? Your friend may have been talking about MOVs. Isobars use a toroidal coil in addition to that. I have yet to see a toroidal coil degrade. Isobars also have a failure light. On the rare occasions that I've had one fail, I called up Tripplite and was sent a new one free of charge once I confirmed the original purchase. In one case I was told not to bother returning the defective one. Isobars also have a guarantee against equipment damage if you use them properly. That insurance doesn't go away even if the MOV degrades. I can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another surge suppressor unless you want to go with a whole house suppressor or change to a UPS because of power dropouts. Lastly, should I be considering a UPS, in place of a surge suppressor? Which would do the same thing and also provide some time to take a backup and power down. Also, if I get a UPS is it desirable to: Remember that a UPS has to be quickly powered down as well in a blackout unless you want to discharge the internal battery and risk damaging it. P #### Pat Jan 1, 1970 0 Steve Spence said: Computers could care less whether it's sine or square wave. Is this a function of how the power supplies handle a "non pure sine wave" in a PC? Printer? Scanner? Modem? Et al? P #### Pat Jan 1, 1970 0 Harry Chickpea said: Your friend may have been talking about MOVs. Isobars use a toroidal coil in addition to that. I have yet to see a toroidal coil degrade. Isobars also have a failure light. On the rare occasions that I've had one fail, I called up Tripplite and was sent a new one free of charge once I confirmed the original purchase. In one case I was told not to bother returning the defective one. Isobars also have a guarantee against equipment damage if you use them properly. That insurance doesn't go away even if the MOV degrades. I can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another surge suppressor unless you want to go with a whole house suppressor or change to a UPS because of power dropouts. Remember that a UPS has to be quickly powered down as well in a blackout unless you want to discharge the internal battery and risk damaging it. What you said makes sense. However, I am now intrigued with the ability to have voltage regulation. While I love the Tripplite units, they are pricey for what I want. But worth it. This Belkin is for sale at Micro Center. It has AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) and the price is great. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0113558 Simulated Sine Wave 120VAc +/- 5% AVR Boost Increase 20% of Voltage if input 90 ~ 108 Vac AVR Response Time ,150ms (Good or Bad?) Spike 890 Jolues Audible Noise 40dBA at 1 meter (may be noisy) Software? My gut feel is to pay more and get a APC or Tripplite. Any thoughts? N #### [email protected] Jan 1, 1970 0 Is this a function of how the power supplies handle a "non pure sine wave" in a PC? Printer? Scanner? Modem? Et al? All of the "stuff" that runs on Wall-Warts really prefers a sine wave. I'm in the 'puter business, and when kt comes to mission critical servers I won't spec anything less than dual conversion true sine-wave units like the PowerWare Presige or it's replacement, the 9 series. It gives you all the advantages of a true isolated ground outlet, being a "separately generated" power supply, and it is always a totally clean power supply. It does not pass harmonics back to the grid, either from itself or from the switching power supply of the computer. Laser printers are NEVER connected to a UPS - (at least not if I have anything to say about it) but all network switches and routers are protected. N #### [email protected]yder.on.ca Jan 1, 1970 0 My gut feel is to pay more and get a APC or Tripplite. Any thoughts? Personally I am not a fan of APC or Triplite - they are OK consumer units, but give me a Powerware (formerly Best) unit any day of the week. There are lots more exopensive, and possibly better, but I find the Powerware good value. They are NOT readily available from mass marketers, so price pressure is not as strong, and the accountants have less influence on the quality of the device. H #### Harry Chickpea Jan 1, 1970 0 Pat said: What you said makes sense. However, I am now intrigued with the ability to have voltage regulation. While I love the Tripplite units, they are pricey for what I want. But worth it. This Belkin is for sale at Micro Center. It has AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) and the price is great. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0113558 Simulated Sine Wave 120VAc +/- 5% AVR Boost Increase 20% of Voltage if input 90 ~ 108 Vac AVR Response Time ,150ms (Good or Bad?) Spike 890 Jolues Audible Noise 40dBA at 1 meter (may be noisy) Software? My gut feel is to pay more and get a APC or Tripplite. Any thoughts? I just had to purchase a tripplite power conditioner for a customer today. This is different than a UPS, but you can hook a laser printer into the medium sized ones. If power coming in is clean, you don't need one of these. In the situation of the customer, they sit on the edge of the Everglades and have both dirty power and direct lightning strikes. Their printers are especially susceptible to the dirty power and until I provided them with a power conditioner they were blowing printer main boards every month. As for equipment like this, don't take the ratings too seriously. Very little of it is real. The cheap Tripplite stuff is junk. The power conditioners are decent for the price, but I figure about two year of service out of them in real world conditions. A lot of folks like APC. I never cared one way or the other. I have a couple around I think. Belkin products seem ok, but I've never done a UPS from them. P #### Pat Jan 1, 1970 0 Years ago, I occasionally got involved in specing backup for Mainframes and the units were really expensive. Do you have a web address or online site that shows these PoweWare units? H #### Harry Chickpea Jan 1, 1970 0 Pat said: Years ago, I occasionally got involved in specing backup for Mainframes and the units were really expensive. Do you have a web address or online site that shows these PoweWare units? I still have my certification for attending the Best seminar on UPS systems. Frankly, I wasn't impressed with the seminar. The presenters had never heard of Trace and when I pointedly asked a question about the output wave of their lower end UPSs I got a brush-off. I was supposed to get a free UPS for attending the seminar, but I never bothered. FWIW, Global has Tripplite <http://www.globalcomputer.com/appli...ails.asp?EdpNo=588953&Sku=T105-5084&CatId=234> and Powerware <http://www.globalcomputer.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=235358&Tab=2&NoMapp=0> I totally agree that the double conversion units offer a better output (at a price). N #### [email protected] Jan 1, 1970 0 Years ago, I occasionally got involved in specing backup for Mainframes and the units were really expensive. Do you have a web address or online site that shows these PoweWare units? WWW.powerware.com is a good start. Also go to www.powerprotector.com They are the distributor I deal with. Waterloo Ontario. Lots of information on site. S #### SmartyPants Jan 1, 1970 0 Laser printers are NEVER connected to a UPS - (at least not if I have I do, but the laser printers are only connected to the surge protected side of the UPS, not the battery protected side. This ensures that the voltage going into computer and the printer is the same, reducing the chance for extraneous current flow between them. W #### w_tom Jan 1, 1970 0 Numerous responses that don't even demonstrate knowledge of what a surge protector does. Lets take that Isobar as example. One even made some silly claim that torroids provide the protection. Isobar does same thing that most every plug-in protector and UPS does. One reason why you know this is in the specifications. They are all rated in joules because they all have same protection circuit. Look. Lightning has traveled through miles of air to obtain earth ground, destructively, via your computer. Are those silly one inch components going to stop what miles of non-conductive air did not? Of course not. But to work, that Isobar must stop, block, or absorb the transient. How does the Isobar stop miles of lightning? It does not even claim to perform that magic. Ben Franklin demonstrated the concept. Lightning sought earth ground via the church steeple. Franklin simply provided an electrically shorter path to earth. He shunted, diverted, connected lightning to earth ground in 1752. Before WWII, this was well proven in virtually every town - by example. Surge protection is about earthing before transient can enter the building. It was that well understood way back then. To sell ineffective, overpriced protectors, they simply avoid all earthing discussion - to keep you ignorant and to promote urban myth purveyors. To claim surge protector status, they provide a unit that protects from a type of surge that does not typically exist. Then they leave the naive to make this mythical word association and assumption - "surge protector is surge protection". Back to reality. A surge protector is only effective when it shunts (connects) to surge protection. Those are separate components of a surge protection 'system'. Some surge protection 'systems' don't even require a surge protector. But the one component necessary in all surge protection 'systems' is earth ground. No earth ground means no effective protection. Not one of your replies ever even mentioned the fundamental point made even in 1930s research papers. Earth ground. A surge protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Is your Isobar worn out? Doubt it. Destructive transients occur typically once every eight years. Furthermore, without a short (less than 10 foot) connection to earth ground, then Isobar may have never seen that potentially destructive transient. Transient passed right past without being observed by protector. Again, there are many types of transients. Computers already have effective protection internally. If the$0.10 components inside an Isobar were so effective, then
they would already be inside the computer.

How effective is that internal protection? Well, lets look
at the output of a UPS that has a simulated sine wave output.
Under no load, the 120 volts is two 200 volt square waves with
a 280 volt spike between those square waves. This is a
simulated sine wave that provides the equivalent of 120 VAC
into computer. Will simulated sine wave damage a computer?
Of course not. Computer power supplies are so resilient that
even the much dirtier power from a UPS does not adversely
affect a computer. However do not run some small electric
motors on this UPS. Small motors may be damaged by a voltage
output that cannot harm a computer.

Any protector adjacent to the computer, if effective, is
already inside that computer. But this internal protection
assumes you have installed 'whole house' protector - to earth
any destructive incoming transient. If incoming transient is
not earthed where utility wires enter building, then that
transient can overwhelm a computer's existing internal
protection.

'Whole house' protectors are so effective and so inexpensive
installed for 'free'. But the source of most destructive type
of surges (those that the Isobar does not even claim to
protect from) is via wires highest on the pole; wires that
enter the building without a 'whole house' protector .... AC
electric.

Effective AC electric protection costs about $1 per protected appliance. How much did you spend for that Isobar to only protect one appliance?$50. \$70. That would be 50
or 70 times more for a protector that does not even claim to
provide the necessary protection. Does not even claim to
protect from a typically destructive type of transient. Get
specifications if you doubt this post. Post the common mode
and differential mode protection - or did they forget to
provide that information? Remember, they also forgot to
discuss earth ground.

This thread is chock full of urban myths. Learn some basic
information. Learn about effective protection that costs so
much less. Suggest you go to another previous discussion to
first learn what surge protection really is. This posted not
from what I have heard. This post from having designed this
stuff over many decades and having learned from IEEE research
papers. "RJ-11 line protection?" on 31 Dec 2003 in
pdx.computing, or
http://tinyurl.com/2hl53 and
"Opinions on Surge Protectors?" on 7 Jul 2003 in the
newsgroup alt.certification.a-plus or
http://tinyurl.com/l3m9

Bottom line - never forget this one sentence as you read
those discussions and what everyone else posts: a surge
protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Any
post that ignores this important point - earth ground - may
simply be promoting more urban myths. Note how many posters
only reported what they had heard rather than having first
learned basic circuit theory. No earth ground means no
effective protection.

H

#### Harry Chickpea

Jan 1, 1970
0
w_tom said:
Numerous responses that don't even demonstrate knowledge of
what a surge protector does. Lets take that Isobar as
example. One even made some silly claim that torroids provide
the protection. Isobar does same thing that most every
plug-in protector and UPS does. One reason why you know this
is in the specifications. They are all rated in joules
because they all have same protection circuit.

w_tom, sometimes you get so involved with your own rant that you fail to read.
I said that I had never seen a toroidal coil fail. Have you?
In that same post I also said:
" That insurance doesn't go away even if the MOV degrades. I
can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another surge suppressor
unless you want to go with a whole house suppressor or change to a UPS because
of power dropouts."

What part of "whole house suppressor" didn't you understand? Did you see the
word "suppressor" and then just see red and begin typing or pasteing your rant
101?

What part of "can't think of a single reason to spend more money on another
surge suppressor" is too difficult for you to comprehend? It means "don't buy
another."

As for suppressors not working: " Are those
silly one inch components going to stop what miles of
non-conductive air did not?" What makes _your_ silly one inch of whole house
surge suppressor circuitry any more magical than that silly one inch in a surge
suppressor? Yeah, I know your mantra, very close proper ground (which can be
nearly impossible to achieve in some situations). However, since your whole
house protector is rated in joules...

Your apparent lack of logic when you get heated above your component failure
temperature sometimes astounds me.
Isobar does same thing that most every
plug-in protector and UPS does. One reason why you know this
is in the specifications. They are all rated in joules
because they all have same protection circuit.

So, using this logic, I can expect my oven to do the same thing my washer does,
and my air conditioner to vacuum my carpet, because they are all rated in
watts, and therefore have the same circuit. I think not.

You also have clearly shown that you choose to ignore the double conversion
UPSs mentioned --- for the sole purpose of building your rant to fever pitch
and being able to call everyone else "Numerous responses that don't even
demonstrate knowledge of what a surge protector does." .

Double conversion units convert AC to DC, which then charges a battery, which
then feeds an inverter. Depending on the circuitry power surges don't even
make it as far as the battery, much less the inverter on the downstream end.

I agree with you that whole house suppressors have a distinct advantage in
certain situations, but you and I have run circles around the outhouse on
issues such as strikes past the electrical entrance (especially possible in
larger buildings), strikes on antennas and other paths for high voltage
alternating current, blown suppressors and working downstream equipment, and a
host of other issues.

I have no problem with your being a "One note Sally" as long as you play that
note well, on tune, and don't disrupt the orchestra. When you come into the
hall screaming that off-key note without reading, without giving proper credit
or recognizing the other parts, or you start out by calling names such as
"urban myth purveyors", you lose standing and you open yourself up to
retaliatory personal attack or complaints of abuse to your mail provider.
Rather than waste time with yet another round, anyone who wants to read all the

This will be my only response to you in this thread. Oh yeah, since you claim
that a whole house protector with good ground will solve all electrical
problems, I'll say "urban myth purveyor" back at'cha.

N

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
I do, but the laser printers are only connected to the surge protected side
of the UPS, not the battery protected side. This ensures that the voltage
going into computer and the printer is the same, reducing the chance for
extraneous current flow between them.
Don't work with dual conversions though - and I put the lazer printers
on the network - not on the computer so it's not an issue for me.
If the printer goes down, you just retart the job (after clearing the
inevitable jam)

Then again, the new Xerox jams at the drop of a hat, even without
power problems.

S

#### Steve Spence

Jan 1, 1970
0
Funny, I buy surge protectors to protect my electronics from the power
surges from the a/c equipment and RFI, not lightning. I unplug everything
during lightning storms (we have some real doozies).

--
Steve Spence
Renewable energy and sustainable living
http://www.green-trust.org
Discuss vegetable oil and biodiesel
powered diesels at
http://www.veggievan.org/discuss/

B

#### Bob Peterson

Jan 1, 1970
0
interesting rant about 'earth' grounding. its not as if such transients
actually can be 'sunk to ground anyway, its a bit of a myth. he is right
about one thing though, a whole house protector makes a lot more sense.

W

#### w_tom

Jan 1, 1970
0
Why should the torroid fail? It's not doing anything
effective for protection. Do you think a silly little
torroid is stopping, blocking, or absorbing the destructive
transient? Of course not, which is why a destructive
transient does not even damage the torroid. Even in that
Isobar, the primary protector remains its MOVs - just like any
other plug-in protector.

If you are saying to not buy another Isobar, then I agree.
'whole house' protector. Is that the point of your post?

So what does that Iosbar "insurance" protect? The
protector? History says plug-in protectors have numerous fine
print exemptions that result in no replacement of damaged
appliances. Furthermore, benchmarks in protection (ie
Polyphaser) offer no "insurance" - no warranty. Instead
serious protectors promote actual protection. A lesser
warranty means a better protector.

Reality is to earth a transient before it seeks earth
ground, destructively, via that appliance. Earth it before
transient can enter the building. Electrical path to earth
ground via an appliance is why appliance is damaged -
especially portable phone base stations and computer modems.
Lightning seeks earth ground. It will find earth ground
either via the appliance - or via the 'whole house'
protector. Homeowner's choice. No torroid inside that
Isobar will stop that transient. No warranty will protect
from damage.

No earth ground means no effective protection - which is why
that Isobar completely avoids the earthing topic.

Harry said:
What makes _your_ silly one inch of whole house surge suppressor
circuitry any more magical than that silly one inch in a surge
suppressor?

The 'whole house' protector does not even claim to stop,
block, or absorb the transient. Only ineffective plug-in
protectors must stop, block, or absorb a transient to be
effective. Even Ben Franklin's lightning rods demonstrate why
'whole house' protectors are so effective. In the meantime,
those torroids do not provide protection. Why then should
torroids burn out?

However should you think otherwise, then you are invited to
demonstrate how a 100 mH inductor stops the transient. Please
feel free to put up some numbers that shows how that little
torroid blocks or absorbs a lightning strike. You are
invited, again, to put up some simple circuit equations -
provide numbers - that show how a torroid 'stops' that
transient.

In the meantime, that double conversion UPS has numerous
glaring weaknesses. A green safety ground wire bypasses the
entire UPS and the power supply. Green wire connects a
destructive common mode transient directly to motherboard.
Just one reason why that double conversion UPS provides no
effective protection.

How many volts does that double conversion UPS stop before
breakdown voltages converts that UPS into a short circuit? In
the meantime, that same protection exists inside a computer
power supply. So what has the double conversion UPS provided
that a power supply does not? Nothing. Anything provided by
the double conversion UPS is already inside an ATX computer
power supply.

Again, that power supply already has internal protection.
Double conversion UPS provided nothing since protection
already exists inside a power supply. However that protection
assumes the 'whole house' protector is installed. Where does
a double conversion UPS provide numbers that disputes this?
Feel free to provide those numbers that demonstrate common
mode protection by a double conversion UPS. As done
previously, when confronted to provide numerical specs, will
you again go silent?

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