Spike protection for electrical items

Maca_lert

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Nov 20, 2007
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I'm no electrician so figuring the best solution in a foreign language makes it even more difficult to figure out. I installed a good quality inverter, thinking this would give me some protection, but when the clock on my new cooker failed within the first week, the tech from La Sirena said I should install "protectors" for each appliance (fridge, TV, A/C etc.) to protect from over-voltage spikes, which can fry electrical appliances.

What do others use?

I believe it's possible to install a single "household-wide" protector, rather than individual ones for each separate device (Ferr. Bellon sell the latter type). Has anyone installed the total household type protectors? If so, which one, where did you buy and did they work i.e. have you avoided further electrical failures?

Thanks, David
 

WillSDQ

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Nov 3, 2008
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Leviton Whole House Surge Suppressor / Surge Protector 51120-1 - Smarthome This is a link to an excellent "whole house surge protector". This model is designed for indoor use as it is not weather tight. Of course there are outdoor rated protectors as well. IMO the cost of these units is relatively low considering what they do. This unit for $200.00 USD will protect all of your electronics in your home and its use in the DR will probably pay for itself in short order. The problem is this. I do not know where you can obtain one in the DR. I do not do electrical work in the DR so I am not familiar with the supply houses there. Maybe someone else can tell you. You might be forced to purchase one on line and then have a competent person install it for you.
 

track

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Sep 6, 2008
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Joslyn Surge, They are the type used in Cell Sites. They are excellent, some other companies make them like Eaton Power Ware, Dehn. This is a must have item in all sites. Looking at the price for the Leviton unit makes me think it's not a quality trust wordy unit. Joslyn protectors are expensive, around $900 dollars.

The units are protectors and it works like this. They will short them self up when they sense a peak voltage. If the peak is very strong the unit will open up, ( Comit suecide ) to protect the lines. Good units like Joslyn, Dehn, have mechanical indicator to let the user know when they need replacement.

Now, for the units to work properly you need a good ground ring. This is very expensive because the amount of cooper wires, and the instalation. ( All the discharge goes to ground ) Otherwise the unit will not drain the peak power and will not work.

Do you live in a hill or near the ocean?

Something very important, at this time of year it's not likely that the problem is peak surge. It could be more like very low voltage, or worst bad electrical instalation, like low wire gage ( thin wires)

Do you see the light blink when you turn on high loads?
 

J D Sauser

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Nov 20, 2004
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www.hispanosuizainvest.com
You may buy a surge protector plug bar for individual groups of apparatuses... like your entertainment center or your computer / printer etc. The good ones (you can get them at PriceMart) work perfect AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A TRULY WORKING GROUND WIRE.

The above suggested home surge protection systems are great too, also NEED PROPER GROUNDING and some now fit into the same slots like breakers.

... J-D.
 

Sanation

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May 21, 2007
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I'm no electrician so figuring the best solution in a foreign language makes it even more difficult to figure out. I installed a good quality inverter, thinking this would give me some protection, but when the clock on my new cooker failed within the first week, the tech from La Sirena said I should install "protectors" for each appliance (fridge, TV, A/C etc.) to protect from over-voltage spikes, which can fry electrical appliances.

What do others use?

I believe it's possible to install a single "household-wide" protector, rather than individual ones for each separate device (Ferr. Bellon sell the latter type). Has anyone installed the total household type protectors? If so, which one, where did you buy and did they work i.e. have you avoided further electrical failures?

Thanks, David
The blind leading the blind...

It is my understanding that the inverter acts like a surge protector evening out the current (I'm a bean counter not a sparkie so don't shoot me!). If the stove was connected to the inverter, it shouldn't be affected.

Where are you based? If you are in the Capital, I can give you the details of a really good Electrical Engineer (he speaks English). He would be able to explain it to you and offer an affordable solution if appropriate.
 

WillSDQ

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Nov 3, 2008
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Hey Track! please, explain to me how low voltage burns up electronic circuits found in appliances, computers and alike. We will start there and then I have other questions about your post. Thanks!
 

Olly

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Mar 12, 2007
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It is worthwhile defining surge and spike in the situation before lauching into a solution>
here is my suggestion :-

Surge protection

Surge protectors, also called surge suppressors, provide protection for the downstream equipment against large "surges" of voltage that can occur during events such as lightning strikes or transmission/distribution equipment malfunction. A power surge, or spike ( transient voltage), is an increase in voltage significantly above the normal electricity voltage. In normal household the standard voltage is 120 volts or 220 volts or both. If the voltage rises approximately 25% above these levels there is a problem, and a surge protector helps to prevent that problem from destroying items connected to the electricity in your house. What is the difference between a surge and a spike :
? When the increase lasts three nanoseconds (billionths of a second) or more, it's called a surge.
? When it only lasts for one or two nanoseconds, it's called a spike.
A surge protector passes the electricity through to a number of electrical and electronic devices connected to the power. If the voltage surges or spikes -- rises above the accepted level -- the surge protector diverts the excess voltage (and current) away from the equipment.


Perhaps we can go from there to a solution?

Olly
 

WillSDQ

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Nov 3, 2008
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Hey Olly! Please explain to me how a surge protector "diverts" excessive voltage? Thanks!
 

track

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Sep 6, 2008
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Hey Track! please, explain to me how low voltage burns up electronic circuits found in appliances, computers and alike. We will start there and then I have other questions about your post. Thanks!
Sir, believe it or not this is basic and simple ohm's law, I=V/R, ( It's was taught in physics class in Junior High Or what ever they call it now.

I will first try explain it using the cables on the inverter.

The cables on the battery that go to the inverter (DC Side ) are very thick because the voltage ( 12- 48 VDC ) is very low and the current are very high. If you connect the battery using small conductor " AWG 12, 10, 8 etc , The wire will produce lots of heat, and it will conduct the heat all over. This will heat up the poles in the battery and also the connectors to the inverter, all the way to the circuit board, if it keeps happening then the heat will melt the led on the battery poles and/or the solder on the inverter and who knows. At the same time the voltage to the input of the inverter is less than, making it work harder. ( More things happen at the same time ).
I know this is not a great "Theoretical" example, but in it one could see how the wire size will F..K things up.

It's a bit the same when you have a bad contact on the breakers. It will heat the beaker, lower voltage to the "device" or TV and it has to work harder because it sense lower voltage ( Again, lower voltage, more current to maintain the the power consumption.) That is directly proportional to more heat.

The end result could be a broken "device" or TV, Radio, Washing Machine, etc. The ignorant repair person could tell the "Americano" it was a surge, spike, or some other sh..t. and you will believe it.

Unfortunately I must also say this, If it's sold in "La Sirena" it's probably not a good quality inverter. For example, a Xantrex inverter has very limited protection in the input side, They have slow responding components called MOV, (Metal Oxide Varistors). They will work fine when you have a high voltage for a few seconds, but in a surge ( transient voltage ) They work a bit laid back. Quality components use Gas Tubes, MOV, SOV, and other to archive high speed response.

It is my understanding that the inverter acts like a surge protector evening out the current (I'm a bean counter not a sparkie so don't shoot me!). If the stove was connected to the inverter, it shouldn't be affected.
When the inverter is charging and/or not inverting, it does almost nothing to surge or spike. On the contrary, when it's charging the battery bank it draw high current from the utility company (EdeSur, EdeEste, EdeNorte, or What ever ). This could cause low voltage, high heat, etc. ( Here we go again )..
 

WillSDQ

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Nov 3, 2008
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Track, my man! What an answer! What is your expertise in the electrical field, if you don't mind me asking?
 

track

New member
Sep 6, 2008
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None, I just had a knight in Hilton Hotel!,

LOL!
Now, now, this could be an unforgettable mistake, It's not that I had a Knight in my room and had a good sleeping time with the guy called knight.

For the record it should be
None, I just had a good night in what ever Hotel makes the TV ad.

That's one reason why one has to keep the identity a secret!
or it could be the drink!
 

WillSDQ

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Nov 3, 2008
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I just think you should be a qualified person to get on this board and give advise about electrical application. It is dangerous. People here are looking for answers to their problems involving something that could kill them.

Now, discussing the installation of a "whole house surge protector" certainly is not immediately life threatening. However, I think it is equally irresponsible for you or anyone else to give advice that would cause a person here to spend 5 times the necessary money.

I read what you said in your first post here and it appears you base the effectiveness of a protector based on its price. That is ridiculous! The protector you sited is designed to protect extremely sensitive electronic from a direct lighting strike to a cell phone tower. Not to protect a refrigerator or a stereo in someone's home. Surge protectors that are designed for a residence (notice residence) are in the $200.00 dollar range all day long. Another gentleman here mentioned a protector at home depot for $185.00. I think that is about right. Besides, if a home were to sustain a direct lighting strike it would make little difference what you have connected to your home. You got problems.

"Under voltage" has no effect on electronic circuitry in household appliances. At least, it does not burn them up. The reason is, they are designed to shut off if this occurs. When the AC voltage falls below the needed amount for the appliance to convert it into 12 volt DC power, the circuit opens using electronic contacts. When the circuitry is "fried" it is due to a spike or surge. But guess what? 65% of surge is created inside of your home, not from the outside service. I am going to sit down and write a comprehensive guide on this subject and other things related to household electrical systems. I just don't have the energy right now.

One thing you said is very true. It is important for a surge protector to be properly grounded. I tell people to think of electricity as if it were water. The surge protector, when it detects an over-voltage outside of its norms, simply opens all incoming wires to the residence. The hot leg (black) the natural or grounded conductor (white) and the ground (green) all open. A good protector does this with special fuses that detect over-voltage as were normal fuses detect over-current. These fuses will need to be replaced after an incident and as stated here before, a mechanical indicator is tripped or an indicator light is triggered to let you know the system is open.

The excess voltage fills the box containing the surge protector (as would water). The ground connected to the surge protector then "drains" the excess voltage to the ground. In fact, this particular grounding system is call a "drain" in the industry. High voltage wires (2400 volts and higher) are installed with special kits that contains a braided "drain". The "drain" is connected to the surface of the high voltage wire. If a problem occurs and the voltage gets loose, the drain gives the voltage somewhere to go. It is the same principle.

The only thing you said about the ground I disagree with is that a "grounding ring" is required. I don't know what a "grounding ring" is. I assume you are talking about a "grounding grid". "Grounding grids", FOR A RESIDENCE, are not expensive! They are easily made and the material is not relatively expensive.

But I do not think a "grounding grid" is necessary if a home's regular grounding system is installed correctly. However, if a person wants to go the extra mile this is what you do. Purchase 3 ground rods from your local supply store. I know you can purchase wire by the foot in the DR because I have done that. So, obtain "#6 bare copper" wire. The amount will depend on where you install the "delta"

Find the closest piece of ground to the spot you will install your protector. You then measure out a "delta" (a triangle) six foot, by six foot, by six foot. Drive the rods into the ground and leave about 6 to 10 inches exposed. Connect the wire to the closest rod and run it to one of the other rods. Then run the wire to the last rod and then back to the first. Then run the remainder of the wire to the surge protector. To do a good job, you might need to trench under the wire so it can be buried later. Next, attach all of the wires to the rods using "ground rod connectors". The drive the rods underground.

This grounding system I have described is so effective that it is used in oil refineries when they install equipment that is outside of the plant's grounding grid. It will more than handle any situation you encounter, except direct lighting strike.

Now, back to something I said earlier. 65% of surge is created inside of your home. In short, it is cause by the demand placed on the system when motors start. An electrical motor can draw two and half times its required power when it first starts. If you have electronics on the same circuit as your air conditioner or refrigerator it can cause damage. So it is still wise to use individual in house surge protectors on your equipment or make sure your equipment is not on circuits containing motorized appliances.

I do not make any comments on this board about subjects I know nothing about. When I read all of the real estate threads, most of it is Greek to me. So, I depend on the people posting to know their subject matter. I thought that was what this board is for, to help each other. I am sorry if anyone has taken any offense to my post here tonight. However, I am passionate that electricity is nothing to play with. It is worse than playing with fire. It is playing with death you can not see.
 

track

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Sep 6, 2008
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I just think you should be a qualified person to get on this board and give advise about electrical application.
Sorry, it will not happen again, I will only post stuff I think I know and have credential and 25+ years of experience to talk about.

"Under voltage" has no effect on electronic circuitry in household appliances. At least, it does not burn them up.
Most of the "commercial" residential equipment sold in DR are not UL approved or anything approved, most are made in China and very little protection are implemented. I will agree with you on switching power supply, they are mature products, but blenders and washing machine will try to work with 40 - 50 volts. Some refrigerators with just the motor and thermostat will do the same.
Have you seen an AC Motor working with 50 - 60 volts, when it's design to work at 120VAC? I have, they heat up very quickly.

If you have electronics on the same circuit as your air conditioner or refrigerator it can cause damage.
But, I thought the protectors are installed parallel to the lines.

The only thing you said about the ground I disagree with is that a "grounding ring" is required.
Grounding is a very complex subject.
I'm not a qualify person to talk about it. At this point I wondering what a ground differential will do. Also why are all the "green" ( Green and yellow in Europe code ) wires connected to to each other on the breaker box?
I'm not an electrician.

But then again I will wait and see what Maca_lert will responde to my original question
 

Squat

Tropical geek in Las Terrenas
Jan 1, 2002
2,122
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Grounding is fundamental !!!

Most desktop PC's die here because of the lack of proper grounding (the motherboard fries...)

Proper wiring with oversized electrical cables, proper installation of the breakers, and a good ground is the 1st step to do before buying those "bells & whistles" gizmos at PriceMart ;)
 

track

New member
Sep 6, 2008
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To do a good job, you might need to trench under the wire so it can be buried later. Next, attach all of the wires to the rods using "ground rod connectors". The drive the rods underground.
WinSDQ, my man!
What, if any is the maintenance on this "ground system", you know up in a hill or next to the ocean?