surge protection - power cut during surge?

hi all!

we had just had a storm here and all my computers that were hooked into surge strips got reset at the same time during it.

The wierd thing is I also had a laptop running on a normal outlet and it did NOT get reset - is the cutting off of power to the devices you are trying to protect part of the protection system in action?

It just seems really odd that only the devices on surge strips got reset - things on unprotected outlets like alarm clocks and the laptop I mentioned did not...

I know thesw things use MOVs which will eventually "blow" given enough jolts but I was unaware that surge guards might interrupt power to the device during a surge.

anyway, maybe someone can educate me a little!

thanks :-)

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What "surge strips"? Did you buy them at a grocery store? What brand? What model?

Reply to
John Doe

Why would the laptop reset? Even when plugged in, it is running off of the battery.

Do your alarm clocks have battery backup? Do they have capacitor backup?(something most newer VCRs, etc have now to avoid the blinking clock problem).

VERY unlikely that the power was interrupted by the surge guards. You experienced either a very deep voltage sag or a momentary interruption. This reset everything without energy storage backup (like the laptop battery).

Charles Perry P.E.

Reply to
Charles Perry

Power restored, but computers still down

After 45,000 customers in Washington County (Oregon) lost power, some learned their PCs were damaged

Thursday, January 06, 2005 HILLSBORO -- The morning after a falling tree cut power to nearly

45,000 Washington County customers, residents and employees went to work Wednesday replacing drained flashlight batteries and repairing fried computers. Portland General Electric officials said a 50-foot fir fell on two power lines about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The toppled tree along Northwest West Union Road west of Helvetia Road started a chain reaction of failing power substations. Within minutes, a temporary blackout blanketed North Plains, Banks, Cornelius and Hillsboro.

Repair crews restored service to about 25,000 residents and business owners after two hours and to the rest by Wednesday morning. "It went fairly quickly," said Vickie Rocker, a PGE spokeswoman. While the blackout left some residents wondering who won the Orange Bowl and others shivering for a few hours without heat, it caused few serious problems, according to Hillsboro Fire & Rescue. But several computer repair businesses were hit Wednesday with dozens of calls to help small-business owners and homeowners reboot their machines. "It's been pretty busy all day," said Scott Pilcher, vice president of Compatible Computers. "Problems can also come up weeks or months later. If it didn't fail that day, it's possible that it could fail in the next couple days. . . . It can have a cascading effect on a computer system."

Pilcher said his company, which serves customers in western Washington County and other areas, spent the day assisting small offices and manufacturers, along with homeowners hoping to access the Internet. Problems ranged from ruined hardware to data corruption and hard drive failures.

Most problems occurred as a surge of energy passed through when the power was restored, said Ed Manivanh, co-owner of Compuchips Etc. in Hillsboro.

"You should unplug your computer during an outage," said Manivanh, who spent a busy Wednesday fixing zapped computers from Banks, Cornelius and Hillsboro.

PGE officials recommend that people buy surge protectors to guard computers, televisions and other appliances during power failures. If the surge protector fails during a blackout, it should be replaced with a new one, Manivanh said.

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It's not possible to know what really happened on the AC lines without having a power monitor on it but your described results are not at all surprising. All the devices that stayed on have something else in common other than being on unprotected outlets; they have a built in 'UPS', battery in the notebook and battery or capacitor hold up in the alarm clocks, whereas the computer systems on the protected outlets do not.

And it doesn't take anything so dramatic as a lightning storm to do it. Just go to the main breaker, flip it off for a second then back on, and you'll get the same result. And that may very well be what the lightning storm did, except to a power co. feed breaker. They automatically re-close after a fault so if lightning caused one to trip it would drop power briefly and then back on.

It wasn't the MOVs that caused the interruption. The lightning did. It either tripped a breaker or it was on the power lines to the devices and 'lightning' isn't 'A.C.', and by that I mean it's not the 'A.C.' that the power supplies expect for proper operation.

Surge protectors protect the device from being damaged. They don't 'keep it running'.

Reply to
David Maynard

doh! yep very good point about the laptop using the battery - well it was 4am when I posted, sorry for not thinking too clearly :-)

anyway, these were belkin surgemaster protectors (gold, i.e. expensive version, though I am not sure how much difference that makes).

Well everything seems to have survived so I guess they worked to some extent...

Charles Perry wrote:


Reply to

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, I can't breathe.

Wrong. Likely, the damaged occured when the fault (tree) happened. It is not uncommon to have a line to ground fault in a distribution system result in an overvoltage on one, or both, of the two phases that are NOT faulted. There is no "surge of power" when the power is restored. Sorry.

Charles Perry P.E.

Reply to
Charles Perry

Brownouts kill more hard drives than blackouts. All my systems are connected to APC UPSes to prevent both surge and power fluctuation damage.

Reply to

Good job of seeing through the fog.

And 3:24PM on Aug 18 2004.

It doesn't since the surge suppressor was not the cause.

If you want something that works to any extent during a brownout or blackout, you need a line conditioner or battery backup (also known as an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS).

Reply to
John Doe

You could say Belkin protectors worked because, fortunately, they did nothing. How good are those Belkin products (and what model number)? Start with numbers. How many joules? Is it at least 3000?

Dirty little secret. Effective protectors cost about $1 per protected appliance AND protect from the typically destructive type of surge. Those plug-> doh! yep very good point about the laptop using the battery - well it

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Reply to
John Doe

I followed the thread and Other than when Lightening Strikes a substation, The same thing used to happen at my place here in NYC after a total renovation the occasionally the lights suddenly dimmed and any standby remote control equipment would come on (also heard of wired led clocks resetting) when the power stablized again., i called and noted this to the AHJ and it took an underground Transformer to blow up n burn, and the problem ceased. I was up til 3am with the firemen & con-ed but we were not affected by that incident., it served the nearby comercial customers only. and, Thankfully none of my equipment was damaged either.

Reply to
Roy Q.T.

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