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calearne

join:2013-06-25
Reviews:
·TDS

[Electrical] Is this a whole house surge protector?

On the side of the panel?

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

It looks like it. Is there a double pole breaker feeding it?



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
reply to calearne

Yes, but I don't think it is a modern surge protector.

I installed a similar one when be built our house 30 odd years ago. The problem without a status indicator no way to tell if it is fried or not. As has been posted they are sacrificial. When I replaced ours a few years ago cut it open and one side had let out the magic smoke so it no longer offered any protection.

I think modern surge protector clamp at a lower voltage then those old style lightning arrestors so offer more protection.

/tom


LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1
reply to calearne

from my limited reading,and installing a new surge suppression system, lighting arestors and surge suppression are different units

i believe lighting arrestors are not even tied into the panel and have their own direct ground system that is out of the electrical loop

i know my leviton is not warrantied for a lightening strike



calearne

join:2013-06-25
Reviews:
·TDS
reply to calearne

Click for full size
I took the cover off and I tracked down all 3 wires.

The picture was too dark so I marked them in bright colors.

The whole thing is about 20 years old.

There's so many wires in the way, I think I'll just let it be and avoid the hassle.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

Well, if that fails closed it could certainly be a noteworthy event. The only overcurrent protection is from the expulsive fuse protecting the utility transformer's primary winding.


lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to calearne

said by calearne:

The whole thing is about 20 years old.

There's so many wires in the way, I think I'll just let it be and avoid the hassle.

It is probably not doing any harm now but it could actually fail with a short after a severe thunderstorm at close range.

You should plan to replace it at some point with a modern whole-house surge protector - they fail with an open and provide visual warning of failed status. Home Depot sells Leviton models.


Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY
reply to calearne

That's going to be a pain to replace or remove since it's tied in above the main breaker you're going to have to have the meter pulled to work on it!
--
Written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to calearne

FYI for OP

downloadsec_arr.pdf 35903 bytes


downloadlasec-manual.pdf 59418 bytes


calearne

join:2013-06-25
Reviews:
·TDS
reply to calearne

Thanks for the links, I'm now more confident about leaving it installed after reading this.

''Even repeated surges won't damage its metal oxide elements. The
unique zinc-oxide valve element inside each TRANQUELL arrester
gives you improved overvoltage protection. These tough elements can
handle surge after surge with no trouble, no breakdown, no repairs.
Your TRANQUELL arrester's protective ability will remain unchanged
throughout its long service life.''



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

said by calearne:

Thanks for the links, I'm now more confident about leaving it installed after reading this.

''Even repeated surges won't damage its metal oxide elements. The
unique zinc-oxide valve element inside each TRANQUELL arrester
gives you improved overvoltage protection. These tough elements can
handle surge after surge with no trouble, no breakdown, no repairs.
Your TRANQUELL arrester's protective ability will remain unchanged
throughout its long service life.''

And you believe that?

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
reply to calearne

If those conduct a significant amount of current they'll get hot. Enough heat will change their electrical characteristics. I'm skeptical they're that bullet proof.


lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to calearne

said by calearne:

Thanks for the links, I'm now more confident about leaving it installed after reading this.

You probably did not read this warning in the second document:

WARNING: ARRESTER CAN FAIL VIOLENTLY AND CAUSE
INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE WHEN APPLIED AT VOLTAGES
GREATER THAN 120V. FUSING IS RECOMMENDED ABOVE 120V.

In the unlikely event of an electrical failure, when applied at voltages
greater than 120V, this arrester can rupture violently at available 60 Hz
fault current levels as low as 1000 A or less. Electrical failures may
result from sustained overvoltages or excessive current surges. The
failure mode can result in an electrical arc that will propel the cover and
internal components within the arrester distances up to 100 feet from the
device.


It probably has an older design single Zinc-Oxide Varistor. Zinc is the "Metal" ... so it is an MOV! There has been advances in MOV design since that time.

A good whole house surge protector design should have a "spark gap" in addition to MOV for each line.


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to calearne

I have a GE Whole House Surge Supressor in the GE panel at our house.....
And it replaces the top 2 circuits closest to the incoming line, and a ground wire to chassis. Green LED on it.

Our unit was installed by me many years ago, and I got it from Menards as a special order.
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to garys_2k

said by garys_2k:

If those conduct a significant amount of current they'll get hot. Enough heat will change their electrical characteristics. I'm skeptical they're that bullet proof.

I guess I should have posted this along with the info

MOVs used in surge protection devices (SPDs) can fail explosively when subjected to sustained steady-state power frequency overvoltages.

»powerelectronics.com/content/the···failures

I've tested MOV's on circuit boards to where they no longer worked because they were hit too many times. You would never know it they looked fine.

I've also exploded them.
--
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." - Hippocrates

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to calearne

I just posted a design with MOVs and spark-gap in »Re: [Electrical] Whole House Surge Protector Lost All Its Magic Smoke

A good quality whole house surge protector MUST have that spark-gap to protect the MOVs and prevent a surge spike from your house circuits at the very beginning of a nearby lightning strike.

I also posted lots of technical details about lightning surge protection in the WISP forum a few years ago. Those are good practice in general for residential protection too.


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

said by lutful:

I just posted a design with MOVs and spark-gap

Do you know of commercially available, residential cost range, devices that have that type of design?

lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

I know a few small companies who market that design for 240V supply in several lightning-prone Asian countries. The diagram is from an EPCOS document - they make the very best MOVs and spark-gaps in my opinion. Parts are sold even at Digikey - not that expensive.

USA/Canada has strict regulations for importing any device which will connect to utility power. You have to ask the companies who supply whole house protectors if they include a spark-gap to protect the MOVs. If they don't, they will probably explore it.


LittleBill

join:2013-05-24
kudos:1

do you know if the leviton models do??



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting

1 recommendation

reply to calearne

That's a "No-No" installation. It shouldn't be in front of the main breakers. I'd also be willing to bet it's copper wire jammed into the feeder lugs with aluminum feeder cable.
There should be some sort of OCP in front of this thing in case the shit hits the fan.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

2 recommendations

reply to calearne

There are surge suppressor units that are designed and rated for installation at the service entry (ie: before the main breaker or directly at the meter base), as they contain their own internal fusing.

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM!!!

If the device fails short, which is always a possibility with any surge suppressor, very bad things could happen. The only protection is the fuse on the primary side of the utility transformer, and let me tell you, it takes a VERY significant fault on the secondary side to take that primary fuse out. More than likely the device and its small connecting wires would be obliterated/vaporized and go open circuit without ever taking out the primary fuse.

The device you have on your breaker panel MUST be installed with appropriate fuses or circuit breakers.

Considering its age, I would have it removed and replaced with a correctly installed modern unit.



Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to calearne

Ideally, shouldn't these be a lot beefier, and directly connected to the main breaker without a smaller one, so that it can draw enough current in an over-voltage condition to trip out the main, thereby canceling the fireworks show before it either burns up or becomes disconnected from the circuits it's supposed to be protecting?

It seems like with it on a little 20A breaker, it would trip that breaker, then if the over-voltage condition still exists, it will then go and fry various other things.



calearne

join:2013-06-25
Reviews:
·TDS
reply to calearne

#1 If I buy the leviton 040-51110-001 protector from home depot how much will an average electrician charge to install it?

#2 As far as the warranty goes, how does leviton know that you used a certified electrician?

#3 When they remove the old one and mount the new one, should I tell them NOT to hook it up to the main big lines right?

This model also has phone/coax protection which is an added bonus (as long as it doesn't degrade the stats on my modem).



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

reply to Raphion

said by Raphion:

Ideally, shouldn't these be a lot beefier, and directly connected to the main breaker without a smaller one, so that it can draw enough current in an over-voltage condition to trip out the main, thereby canceling the fireworks show before it either burns up or becomes disconnected from the circuits it's supposed to be protecting?

It seems like with it on a little 20A breaker, it would trip that breaker, then if the over-voltage condition still exists, it will then go and fry various other things.

The problem is that these devices are meant as transient protectors not a long term over voltage protector. If the transient last too long they fail and it can be catastrophic. I would think if you have a severe over voltage you want something that disconnects from the main not something that tries to absorb the over voltage.

downloadGEMOV_saga.pdf 1868593 bytes

--
"There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance." - Hippocrates

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1

Click for full size
said by SparkChaser:

The problem is that these devices are meant as transient protectors not a long term over voltage protector. If the transient last too long they fail and it can be catastrophic.

The MOV specs should clearly specify continuous over-voltage rating and max temp.

I used to specify Strikesorb MOVs for cellular sites at a lightning-prone country. They are expensive but extremely robust. Possibly the best MOV ever designed.

I don't know if NEC/CEC rules allow homeowners to install such MOVs but I posted the best way to connect them for lowest impedance. I will look up the thread.
Found it: »Re: Towersite buildout

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

Who sells Strikesorbs? I can't seem to find a dealer for pricing.



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3

might have to call factory

»www.raycapsurgeprotection.com/ac···modules/



SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to lutful

said by lutful:

The MOV specs should clearly specify continuous over-voltage rating and max temp.

I think the difference is obvious.







Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to SparkChaser

said by SparkChaser:

said by Raphion:

Ideally, shouldn't these be a lot beefier, and directly connected to the main breaker without a smaller one, so that it can draw enough current in an over-voltage condition to trip out the main, thereby canceling the fireworks show before it either burns up or becomes disconnected from the circuits it's supposed to be protecting?

It seems like with it on a little 20A breaker, it would trip that breaker, then if the over-voltage condition still exists, it will then go and fry various other things.

The problem is that these devices are meant as transient protectors not a long term over voltage protector. If the transient last too long they fail and it can be catastrophic. I would think if you have a severe over voltage you want something that disconnects from the main not something that tries to absorb the over voltage.

But if it could shunt enough current for just a few milliseconds, it would trip the main breaker, disconnecting the entire house. So it would be an over-voltage disconnect in effect. My idea is not for the MOVs to continue to absorb the over-voltage for however long it lasts, but for them to effect a complete disconnect of power by tripping the main breaker.

Or would it require an impractically large MOV to shunt enough current to trip a 100-200A breaker?

It just seems to me like this setup would absorb transient surges the same as one under a separate circuit, but with the advantage of tripping the main breaker if the over voltage lasted longer. The result would be all power being cut to the entire house, but to me, that's preferable to over voltage being allowed to continue into other circuits after the MOVs had been disconnected from the other circuits by it's own independent breaker.

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

At our company's various sites, the over-voltage protection is handled by the generator automatic transfer switch, not the transient voltage suppressor.

Essentially if the ATS detects an over-voltage condition, it will act on it in exactly the same way as an under-voltage or blackout event. It will disengage the utility side contactor immediately, start the generator, and then engage the generator contactor to supply the load from the generator power until such time as the utility voltage comes back into tolerance and remains stable for a given period of time. Even if the generator does not start, or the ATS is set to off or manual operation, it will interrupt the power in an over-voltage condition regardless.

I don't know if residential ATS work the same way though, I don't have any experience with anything on the residential side. But assuming that they do, you could have one installed even if you don't have a generator, if you're really worried about over-voltage.

Or put sensitive equipment on a UPS.

But how often do such severe over-voltage events occurs, VS the changes of lightning or surge damage?