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garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric

[Electrical] Whole House Surge Protector Lost All Its Magic Smoke

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I'm building a house and, more or less on a whim, I bought a whole house surge suppressor for the electrician to install. He did, it sat for weeks with no more than its two LEDs glowing. I figured it would be one of those things I'd look at for years and never really know if it did anything.

Last night we had some high winds and snow (yay, we hit a new winter season record!) and a nearby area had a power failure (trees) that got corrected. This morning the electrician getting the house ready for final inspection called and asked if I'd noticed anything about the surge protector.

This is what he found. The guts were fried. I don't have my appliances installed yet but it could have saved my garage door openers, furnace and sump pump.

I had him install a new one today -- I'm now a believer! Could have been the best $50 I'd spent in a long time.


Salty_Peaks

@as54203.net
Is not this just a bunch of sacrifical MOVs in parallel that shunt to ground and a sacrifical resistor? Not really sure how this saves sytems when it fails like yours did when wired in parallel to your existing system. Can anyone explain this in more detail as to how these work I am very curious and have considered one for my panel. Mind snapping some pix on how it is wired in to the panel? Every MOV-based system I have seen is serial not parallel.


Salty_Peaks

@as54203.net
Series, not serial. Oh RS-232, why do you still haunt me

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to Salty_Peaks
said by Salty_Peaks :

Is not this just a bunch of sacrifical MOVs in parallel that shunt to ground and a sacrifical resistor?

Yes, exactly. I think the resistors are just part of the LED drive circuit.
said by Salty_Peaks :

Not really sure how this saves sytems when it fails like yours did when wired in parallel to your existing system. Can anyone explain this in more detail as to how these work I am very curious and have considered one for my panel.

They represent a low impedance to voltages higher than their clamp rating. Once they start to conduct the current they do get hot and often fail as a short, burning up in the process. They do keep the voltage quite close to the clamp value, though, assuming they're installed with short, direct wiring for a low impedance connection.
said by Salty_Peaks :

Mind snapping some pix on how it is wired in to the panel? Every MOV-based system I have seen is serial not parallel.

There are four wires, two hots, neutral and ground. I believe it puts one each MOV from hot to ground and another from neutral to ground. Not sure how they light the LEDs, but the external wiring is pretty simple.

My "main" panel is technically a sub, as the neutral to ground bond is located at my generator's disconnect/transfer switch. That's not typical of most.


fluffybunny

@teksavvy.com
i use SPD4Home which was $350 or so to install.
awesome.


davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
reply to Salty_Peaks
they are across each leg to ground, so a spike/surge shunts directly to ground. you usually want these on one of the first sets of breakers after the main so it shunts "first" before any of your other devices get it.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to garys_2k
I have one of these in the panel in my detached shed. I have all my servers and such out there so I wanted to keep them protected. I've had mine in use for about a year now or so with no ill effects (even after a nearby lightning strike that took out several items inside the house). I've always been curious to see what was on the inside of those, and this does remind me, I should probably invest in one for the house's panel as well (or just put one on the actual main panel outside but these aren't outdoor rated I believe).

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to Salty_Peaks
said by Salty_Peaks :

Mind snapping some pix on how it is wired in to the panel?

If garys_2k See Profile doesn't get to it first, I can get you pics of how mine is wired in tomorrow. I took pics of the build-out as it progressed last year but I didn't have that installed at the time.


Salty_Peaks

@as54203.net
reply to garys_2k
Thanks everyone for the replies and teaching -- seems these systems provide a low impedence ground when the MOVs go bye bye. Did the PCB cut traces or deaolder die to current? I asssume they shunt to ground and depending on the level of line/mains failure would trip the main breaker?


Salty_Peaks

@as54203.net
iOS is horrible; desolder

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to garys_2k
the units are solely sacrificial. i have the big brother unit.
»www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00081···F8&psc=1

it is wired to the first 240 breaker after the main breaker.

remember this is kind of designed for HIGH HIGH voltage. not high amperage.

when the high voltage comes in, it goes path of least resistance, hopefully this is the first breaker wired with 10 guage wire into the surge supression panel. mine is bonded via a 10 guage neutral wire. thus shorting to ground/neutral

these are designed as second level of defense, first is tied directly into the meter.

these are designed to get the voltage down enough for the 3rd level surge suppressor, or surge strip to be able to actually stop it.

remember if the lights went out, the surge may have worked but it did not stop all the voltage since it burned out. that is why they recommended 3 steps

that said the levition pictured only has a 5 or 10 year warranty and a lower total damage policy

the one i linked is warranted for the life of the house


iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to garys_2k
I bet a surge protector using 4 of these »www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Lit···4kKFmQ== should last quite a while..

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

1 recommendation

said by iknow_t:

I bet a surge protector using 4 of these »www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Lit···4kKFmQ== should last quite a while..

Or all of 5 seconds if whacked with a powerful enough surge.


rfhar
The World Sport, Played In Every Country
Premium
join:2001-03-26
Buicktown,Mi
reply to garys_2k
I installed one of those suppressors years ago and also have an extension cord with the mutable outputs and suppressor on each piece electronic equipment in the house. Lighting can get into the wiring via transformer effect if it is nearby.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
There was no lightning the other night, it must've been a free benefit of the power company. There was wind, they brought an adjacent ~square mile back online after power had gone out there.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to Salty_Peaks
said by Salty_Peaks :

I asssume they shunt to ground and depending on the level of line/mains failure would trip the main breaker?

It's installed on its own dedicated two pole breaker so the main shouldn't ever trip. I don't know if the breaker feeding this one had tripped, but I assume it was. That much carbon would present pretty easy leakage from pole to pole.

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to garys_2k
said by LittleBill:

the units are solely sacrificial. i have the big brother unit.
»www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00081···F8&psc=1

here's mine...



LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
looks like we think alike

do you have a cup of coffee? mine is cold


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to LittleBill
said by LittleBill:

the one i linked is warranted for the life of the house

Do you happen to know if the warranty is only valid if it is installed by a certified electrician? If a homeowner installs it I would imagine the warranty may not be valid? My field of work is HVAC, and that is how a lot of warranties work for us, so that's my guess with these, too.

Reason I ask is I am very interested in one of these, and am more than capable of installing it myself. But the warranty is a big benefit of owning the part.

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to LittleBill
said by LittleBill:

looks like we think alike

do you have a cup of coffee? mine is cold

just finished mine...

said by Lurch77:

said by LittleBill:

the one i linked is warranted for the life of the house

Do you happen to know if the warranty is only valid if it is installed by a certified electrician? If a homeowner installs it I would imagine the warranty may not be valid? My field of work is HVAC, and that is how a lot of warranties work for us, so that's my guess with these, too.

Reason I ask is I am very interested in one of these, and am more than capable of installing it myself. But the warranty is a big benefit of owning the part.

mine was installed by a certified electrician upon the recommendation of Leviton.

cost me $75 and I think is cheap compared to having your warranty denied.

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to Lurch77
said by Lurch77:

said by LittleBill:

the one i linked is warranted for the life of the house

Do you happen to know if the warranty is only valid if it is installed by a certified electrician? If a homeowner installs it I would imagine the warranty may not be valid? My field of work is HVAC, and that is how a lot of warranties work for us, so that's my guess with these, too.

Reason I ask is I am very interested in one of these, and am more than capable of installing it myself. But the warranty is a big benefit of owning the part.

i don't know honestly. i expect that is the case, but i do everything myself and have friends that are certified electricians if they want to play that card.

that being said it is dirt simple to install.

you have to mail the unit back to them to make sure it did not take a direct strike from lightening (not covered) so im not sure how they would prove it was installed correctly

i have read multiple posts of people using the warranty on the unit so... your mileage may vary

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to Salty_Peaks
said by Salty_Peaks :

Mind snapping some pix on how it is wired in to the panel?

Here's how mine is wired.



This is just the overview of the panel showing where things are. I mounted mine directly into a knockout but you don't have to (I didn't realize it could be mounted like that when I first bought it).



Closeup of the device.



Closeup of the side of the panel where it's connected. The bottom two 20A breakers are what feed that device. I cut them short so as to limit the slack running around my panel, and I figured given it's function the shorter the better on these wires. I'd have done it even shorter (top of the panel) but I read that this ideally needs to be closest to the incoming lugs. I didn't want to leave a huge gap between breakers at the time (I did later on so that's a moot point now) so I put it at low as I could. I can't really move it now without moving the device to a knockout on the bottom of the panel.

Because I know everyone will see these pics and want to critique them, go ahead. I wouldn't post them otherwise.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to LittleBill
Thanks for the input, medbuyer and LittleBill.

said by LittleBill:

so im not sure how they would prove it was installed correctly

For my work the homeowner would usually have to have the receipt/customer service report that the contractor provides them when he installs the part. And often any warranty work needs to be done by the contractor to apply, as well. Heck, I installed an ECM blower motor in my own furnace. Wisconsin has the Focus On Energy program that gives me $125 back for replacing my PSC motor. But I had to fill out a customer service report from my company and give it to myself, to send in as proof a "certified professional" installed the motor.

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to JoelC707
is this a sub panel? i see isolated neutral/ground bars? this should be in MAIN panel

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to Lurch77
said by Lurch77:

Thanks for the input, medbuyer and LittleBill.

said by LittleBill:

so im not sure how they would prove it was installed correctly

For my work the homeowner would usually have to have the receipt/customer service report that the contractor provides them when he installs the part. And often any warranty work needs to be done by the contractor to apply, as well. Heck, I installed an ECM blower motor in my own furnace. Wisconsin has the Focus On Energy program that gives me $125 back for replacing my PSC motor. But I had to fill out a customer service report from my company and give it to myself, to send in as proof a "certified professional" installed the motor.

i guess my buddy would have to write a receipt for me then if it went that far

if they try to screw me, they will, they can just say lightening hit it. regardless im happy with the protection. my UPS's engage ALOT during storms so it makes me feel better

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to LittleBill
said by LittleBill:

is this a sub panel? i see isolated neutral/ground bars? this should be in MAIN panel

It is. As I said earlier I put this in the detached shed's sub panel because that's where I have a lot of expensive server equipment sitting. I wanted them protected specifically (they are on a UPS as well but this is just another layer of defense).

Plus, to put it in the actual main panel I either will have to leave it sitting inside the gutter in the panel or buy an outdoor rated surge protector instead (which last I looked, were much more expensive).

LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
sorry my reading skills are not what they should be, as long as you realize the main panel is not covered, its cool.

ok good i run alot of computer equipment as well. hope your using UPS as well

EDIT didn't realize you weren't the OP, your sneaky LOL


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to LittleBill
said by LittleBill:

regardless im happy with the protection.

I think that's the key. We have had a surge a couple years ago that killed a fairly new DVD player and a radio. The surge protector would have paid for itself with that alone. We have so many expensive electronic appliances and devices in this house, it gets expensive to install point of service surge devices everywhere. We do that with our big TV and related components. But there are other smaller TVs, the built in microwave, dishwasher, furnace, etc, that could use some additional protection.

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to garys_2k
how its attached...



LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to Lurch77
agreed, i have 6 upss in my house. it adds up stupidly fast, but when i constantly hear them tripping on i feel good.

i live in the country our power is pretty rough compared to what i am use to , which ironically was the country as well