Tripp lite surge protector - diagnostic LEDs or remote switch?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Skeletron, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Skeletron

    Skeletron Junior Member

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    I'm trying to decide on a good power distribution solution for the home recording / computer / music room I'm putting together. I've come down to looking at the Tripp Lite Isobar line of surge protectors and I was wondering about these two models:

    ISOBAR8ULTRA

    IB8RM

    The only difference seems to be that the ULTRA has diagnostic indicator LEDs, while the RM model has a wired remote switch on a 9-foot cable but lacks the diagnostic lights. The insides are identical. I confirmed this with Tripp Lite customer service.

    I really want to get the RM because I think the remote power switch would be VERY convenient. I have a lot of synthesizers and electronic equipment. I could hide the surge protector out of sight and mount the remote power switch within easy reach to power all my gear on/off at once without digging around behind the desk for the switch on the surge protectors.

    Now, Melissa from Tripp Lite customer service basically told me that if one of their surge protector's takes a hit and goes bad after a surge, they simply cease functioning at all so there's no chance of providing unprotected power. Is this true?

    This makes it sound like the diagnostic lights on the ULTRA are basically redundant and unnecessary, but I don't know...

    I haven't read any discussion at all about the IB8RM online, but there are hundreds of positive reviews of the ISOBAR8ULTRA. Does nobody else think a remote power switch would be extremely useful? Are diagnostic lights important?
     
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  3. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Sure, I can believe that. A well-design surge suppressor could fail open vs. the more typical fail closed that you see in consumer models. From the design of the two, it looks like they are indeed exactly the same, Tripp-Lite just saved some money on the IB8RM and didn't put the LED module in.

    The diagnostic lights are useful for determining why you don't have power to the outlets (is there no input power or is there an internal fault?), but I'd say having a remote switch would me more useful in your particular application.
     
  4. westom

    westom Senior member

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    View spec numbers. A potentially destructive surge might be hundreds of thousands of joules. An adjacent protector either blocks that surge or absorbs it. How many joules does it claim to absorb?

    Numbers say it may be grossly undersized during a surge. Fire is a serious threat. During a surge, internal MOVs must disconnect as fast as possible to avert a fire. A surge remains connected to the appliance. Meaning that protection inside the appliance protected that appliance.

    Properly sized protectors do not fail during a surge. Those completely different devices, also called protectors, connect that energy harmlessly to earth. Then hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly outside and in earth. But only if a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth exists. A lightning strike is typically 20,000 amps. So a minimally sized 'whole house' protector is 50,000 amps - to remains functional after each surge.

    An indicator (diagnostic) light does not report all failures. Light can only report a type of failure because a protector was grossly undersized. Indicator says a thermal fuse was averting a serious human safety threat.

    Better is to use another type protector that connects hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly to earth. So that a protector does not trigger it failure light because it was undersized.

    Also consider a remote switch that is not a surge protector.
     
    #3 westom, Nov 13, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  5. bud--

    bud-- Member

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    Excellent information on surges and surge protection is at:
    http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf
    - "How to protect your house and its contents from lightning: IEEE guide for surge protection of equipment connected to AC power and communication circuits" published by the IEEE.
    And also:
    http://www.eeel.nist.gov/817/pubs/spd-anthology/files/Surges happen!.pdf
    - "NIST recommended practice guide: Surges Happen!: how to protect the appliances in your home" published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology

    The IEEE surge guide is aimed at people with some technical background.

    Surge protectors do not work by "absorbing" surges. They also do not work by "blocking" or "stopping" surges. But westom can't figure out how plug-in protectors work. Clearly explained in the IEEE surge guide starting page 30.

    Both service panel and plug-in protectors do absorb some energy in the process of protecting. An investigation by the author of the NIST surge guide found the energy that can make it to a plug-in protector is surprisingly small, even with a very close, very strong lightning strike to utility power wires.

    With a high rating a plug-in protector is not likely to fail. (3840 joules is a high rating.) That is one reason some plug-in protectors can have a protected equipment warranty. If connected properly it is likely to protect from even a very near very strong lightning strike.

    When using a plug-in protector all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same protector. External connections, like coax also must go through the protector.

    Nonsense.

    UL has, since 1998, required thermal disconnects for failing MOVs (the voltage limiting elements in almost all protectors).

    Any surge protector in the US should be listed under UL1449. (Some UPSs don't seem to be.)

    Nonsense, but it might happen with westom's cheap dollar market protectors that are not UL listed.

    The normal failure mode for MOVs is they start conducting at lower voltages until they conduct at normal voltages and go into thermal runaway. At that point the UL requires thermal protection disconnects the MOV.

    Contrary to westom's rant, both the IEEE and NIST surge guides say plug-in protectors are effective.

    The IEEE surge guide explains the protected load can be connected across the MOVs, and be disconnected with them, or can be connected across the incoming wires. If connected across the MOVs the protected load is not exposed if MOVs fail. (Connecting this way is another reason some manufacturers can have protected equipment warranties.) Starting 2005, UL required manufacturers notify buyers if disconnecting the MOVs does NOT disconnect the protected equipment.

    Is the Isobar connected this way. I think it is likely, but ask Triplite.

    Some "appliances" have some protection. Some do not.

    The author of the NIST surge guide looked at the current that would come to a house from a lightning strike to utility wiring. He used a strike of 100,000A to the high voltage primary wire at a utility pole adjacent to a house in typical urban overhead distribution. Only about 5% of lightning strikes are stronger. There are multiple paths to earth for the strike. The power service wires wind up with 10,000 surge amps each. That is, for practical purposes, the worst case and is referred to in the IEEE surge guide.

    Recommended ratings for service panel protectors is in the IEEE surge guide on page 18. Ratings far higher than 10,000A per wire mean the protector will have a long life.

    A service panel protector with high ratings is likely to protect anything connected only to power wires from a very near very strong lightning strike.

    But from the NIST guide: "Q - Will a surge protector installed at the service entrance be sufficient for the whole house? A - There are two answers to than question: Yes for one-link appliances [electronic equipment], No for two-link appliances [equipment connected to power AND phone or cable or....]. Since most homes today have some kind of two-link appliances, the prudent answer to the question would be NO - but that does not mean that a surge protector installed at the service entrance is useless."

    Service panel protectors do not, by themselves, prevent high voltages from developing between power and phone/cable/... wires. The NIST surge guide suggests most equipment damage is from high voltage between power and signal wires.
     
  6. westom

    westom Senior member

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    So a protector adjacent to an appliance makes energy magically disappear? Of course not. Those protectors are typically tiny. One shot devices that fail on surges too small to even harm appliances. That failure promotes sales. Unfortunately if its thermal fuse does not trip fast enough, then it can even create a house fire. Numerous examples can be provided.

    Well, if hundreds of thousands of joules are not absorbed by a protector, then where does that energy dissipate? bud's citation shows what happens.

    A surge current into a protector means the same current is simultaneously outgoing elsewhere. Page 42 (of 61) figure 8 in the IEEE brochure:
    http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf
    That incoming current must also have an outgoing path to earth. In this case TV2 is the outgoing and destructive path to earth. IEEE even gives numbers. TV2 is destroyed by 8000 volts. Why? Because that current was not earthed BEFORE entering the building. Because that protector was too far from earth ground and too close to appliances.

    bud is paid to promote plug in protectors. He misrepresents what every engineering organization requires for surge protection. His other citation says what effective protectors do on page 6 (Adobe page 8 of 24):
    How does a Tripplite protector with no earth ground connection somehow connect a surge to earth? Simple. bud and Tripplite will not discuss that. Will not say where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate.

    If his product does protection, then manufacturer spec numbers says so. He has followed me for almost a decade posting this same half truths. And never once posted a manufacturer spec that claims that protection. Why? Page 42 figure 8. A protector without that dedicated connect to earth will even earth a surge 8000 volts destructively through any nearby appliance.

    A protector adjacent to an appliance can only block that surge. Or absorb it. That protector cannot make energy just magically disappear as bud suggests. Protection means you know where energy dissipates.

    Every facility that cannot have damage, instead, installs a 'whole house' protector that makes that low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. Then hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate harmlessly outside the building. bud's NIST citation is quite blunt about this on page 19 (of 24):
    Protectors without a dedicated earth ground were defined as ineffective. But the NIST is blunter. A protector without a low impedance connection to earth ground is "useless".

    Protectors that actually do protection connect low impedance (ie a wire without sharp bends) to earth. Are sized to earth direct lightning strikes (ie 50,000 amps). And remain functional. But then nobody would know a surge existed? Exactly. Effective protection means even the diagnostic light does not report a grossly undersized protector. Somehow 3000 joules (which is actually only 2000 joules) will magically make hundreds of thousands of joules disappear? A myth that employs bud.

    From "Guidelines For Providing Surge Protection at Commercial, Institutional, and Industrial Facilities" even found in lightningsafety.com:
    Or "Practical Guide to Electrical Grounding":
    Or IEEE Standard 80 Chapter 9.2 (c)(4):
    A &#8217;whole house protector is only secondary protection. Homeowners are encouraged to inspect what is their primary surge protection layer:
    http://www.tvtower.com/fpl.html

    Informed homeowners earth a 'whole house' protector. Because even that Tripplite needs protection only provided by earthing and a 'whole house' protector. The numbers are obvious. How many joules in the Tripplite? How large are destructive surges? Did we mention house fires sometimes created by grossly undersized power strips? Either the Tripplite&#8217;s thermal fuse disconnects protector parts as fast as possible. Or a potential house fire exists as even defined by a NC fire marshal. Or need we also cite that professional who contradicts a sales promoter? Informed consumers earth a 'whole house' protector to even protect strip protectors. That superior &#8216;whole house&#8217; solution also costs many times less money. And is the only solution always found in facilities that cannot have damage.

    An honest bud can post manufacturer spec numbers that claim protection from typically destructive surges (hundreds of thousands of joules). He will not. No such specification numbers exist. For most of the past ten years, bud turns every discussion into personal nasty attacks. Then you will zone out. Then you will never notice: he has no spec numbers that define protection.

    Even his IEEE and NIST citations say earthing (of a protector) defines protection. No earth ground (ie that Tripplite) means ineffective (what the NIST calls &#8220;useless&#8221;) protection. That Tripplite diagnostic light reports a protector grossly undersized. After all, where do hundred of thousands of joules dissipate? Honest answers always say where that energy dissipates. Effective means outside; harmlessly in earth.
     
    #5 westom, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  7. bud--

    bud-- Member

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    Of course not. It is only magic for westom.

    And it is willful stupidity. Westom ignores anything that does not conform to his very limited view of surge protection.

    Some of what westom says is very good. Some is complete nonsense. Everything he says about plug-in protectors is nonsense.

    Westom googles for "surge" to spread his beliefs. A prime goal is to save the universe from the scourge of plug-in protectors. This is at least the 7th time he has posted his nonsense about plug-in protectors here in the last 18 months.

    Nonsense.

    The author of the NIST surge guide investigated how much energy might be absorbed in a MOV in a plug-in protector. Branch circuits were 10M and longer, and the surge on incoming power wires was up to 10,000A. (That is the maximum that has any reasonable probability of occurring, as in my previous post.) The maximum energy at the MOV was a surprisingly small 35 joules. In 13 of 15 cases it was 1 joule or less. Compare that to 3840 joules for the Triplite. It is likely the Triplite will never fail.

    Millions of surge protectors. Where is the massive record of fires in UL listed protectors made since thermal protection was required in 1998. Lacking valid technical arguments westom uses scare tactics.

    What the IEEE guide says in this example:
    - A plug-in protector protects the TV connected to it.
    - "To protect TV2, a second multiport protector located at TV2 is required."
    - The illustration "shows a very common improper use of multiport protectors"
    - In the example a surge comes in on a cable service with the ground wire from cable entry ground block to the earthing system at the power service that is far too long. In that case the IEEE guide says "the only effective way of protecting the equipment is to use a multiport [plug-in] protector."
    - westom's favored service panel protector would provide absolutely NO protection.

    The IEEE surge guide says plug-in protectors are effective. This is part of the explanation of how they work.

    If westom had valid technical arguments he wouldn't have to lie.
    Isn't that a violation of the TOS?

    What does the NIST surge guide actually say about plug-in protectors?
    They are "the easiest solution".
    And "one effective solution is to have the consumer install" a multiport plug-in protector.

    It is simply a lie that the protector at TV1 in the IEEE example causes damage to TV2. It reduces the surge voltage at TV2. But its purpose is only to protect TV1.

    Only magic for westom.

    I have often explained where energy goes. At about 6kV there is arc-over from service panel busbars to the enclosure. Since the enclosure is connected to the earthing system that dumps most of a strong surge to earth. That is one reason why the maximum energy at a plug-in protector was 35 joules in the investigation above. Ignored by westom.

    Immediately following westom's quote is a list of surge protectors that can be used. #6 is
    "Plug-in...The easiest of all for anyone to do. The only question is 'Which to choose?' ";

    The NIST guide, of course, says nothing of the kind.

    Industrial facilities? Everyone, of course, is in favor of earthing of power systems. The question is whether plug-in protectors are effective.

    Westom believes surge protectors must directly earth a surge. Since plug-in protectors are not well earthed he believes they can not possibly work.

    The IEEE surge guide explains, starting page 30, that plug-in protectors work by limiting the voltage from each wire to the ground at the protector. The voltage between the wires going to the protected equipment is safe for the protected equipment. The guide explains earthing occurs elsewhere.

    And a standard for utility substations. How useful.

    A service panel protector provides NO protection in the IEEE surge guide example above.

    Nonsense.

    A 10 year old could find specs.

    An honest westom would admit I have provided specs often (and so have others, like 3450 joules), which westom always ignores.

    I first saw westom far less than 10 years ago. But he has been posting his misinformation for 10 years?

    Westom thinks the IEEE and NIST are "nasty".

    For real science read the IEEE and NIST surge guides. Excellent information that covers far more than what has come up here. And both say plug-in protectors are effective.

    Then look at the sources that agree with westom that plug-in protectors do NOT work. There are none.
     
  8. westom

    westom Senior member

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    Again, the diagnostic light is useful. Because it reports when protector circuits were so undersized as to disconnect as fast as possible. Leaving AC still connected (controled) to the appliance. That light cannot report all failures. It only reports a catastrophic type failure due to undersizing. A useful indicator.

    A remote switch without protector circuits is better. Eliminates a possible fire threat.
     
  9. wirednuts

    wirednuts Diamond Member

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    people ask me all the time what a good surge protector is to buy... and i tell them any one is fine because they all work realistically the same. they add a small extra layer of protection via the circuit breaker in them, but thats it. they will not protect against lightning strikes and if they want to save their tv's and such they have to unplug them during a storm. period end of story.
     
  10. westom

    westom Senior member

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    Surges are done in microseconds. A circuit breaker takes milliseconds to even consider responding. Circuit breakers do not protect hardware. Do not do any surge protection. A circuit breaker trips AFTER damage happens. So that existing damage does not threaten human life or even cause a house fire.

    All power strips (protector or non-protector) must have that circuit breaker. Essential to protect human life. In the UK, an equivalent device is a fuse inside its power connector.