Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Scott Ferguson

Do surge protectors work?

Recommended Posts

A recent lightning storm fried our 20 inch Intel iMac (still under warranty) and an older seldom used G4. It also took out the Ethernet on another G4. In addition, it disabled one of the ports on my router, and damaged our satellite receiver. All of these devices were on cheap surge protectors but not the phone lines. My question is if I purchase the best surge protectors out there, how much better will I be protected? I know unplugging everything will be the best protection, but this storm came on so fast, I didn't have time to shut everything down before lightning struck. I've seen UPS power supplies but their surge protection specs are about the same as the $5 power strips. The best surge protectors I've seen are only $50 and I'm planning on getting a few, but will they help all that much?

After the fact, I found out losing the ethernet card due to lightning is not uncommon. Finding a new ethernet card with drivers for OS10.5 is pretty hard to do. Apple's USB Ethernet adapter designed for the MacBook Air works perfectly with no drivers needed. The package says it is for MacBook Air computers only but apparently if you are running OS10.5.2 or later, it will work with any Mac. It did with my G4.

Edited by Scott Ferguson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe they do work, and they certainly won't hurt anything. I think they're best for protecting against minor surges created from major appliances kicking on and off, but the good ones can help against lightning too (they come with warranties to replace damaged equipment). I've had several family members have their ethernet or USB ports get fried from lightning storms (when the puter was plugged into a surge protector), but as far as I can tell the surge came through the dsl line which was never run though the protector. So, I say get one with a phone line jack.

 

On a related note, I have always wondered whether plugging one surge protector into another doubles your protection. Any electricians out there?

 

BTW, apple will fix your warrantied imac for free - even if it wasn't plugged into a surge protector.

Edited by rmsmits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, will two apples a day keep two doctors away? Don't know about stacking surge protectors.

Apple took care of the iMac. It would have cost $850 if it was out of warranty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As mentioned above a good surge protector will have a guarantee for equipment so even if they don't work you could presumably use that "policy". More importantly though you have to protect all the incoming lines and the cheap surge protectors don't have that stuff. Get one that has ethernet and phone or cable protection and I am sure whatever you choose will be fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
More importantly though you have to protect all the incoming lines and the cheap surge protectors don't have that stuff. Get one that has ethernet and phone or cable protection and I am sure whatever you choose will be fine.

 

I have heard this and never have followed it. Lately though, I've been reading more and more horror stories of people either not using surge protectors or using cheap ones. I think I'm going to invest in a few good surge protectors for my computer setup and my home theater setup. Has anyone used Tripp Lite? Robert Heron recommended them on DL.tv but I didn't know if anyone else could recommend them. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a cheap APC battery backup which has a surge protector and a battery to fry before it hits the Powersquids (which also have a surge protector and an equipment guarantee) so Im not worried too much.

 

Just try to get some powersquids with the biggest warranty you can find. I got mine at walmart, they were the ones in a plastic bubble for home theaters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a word to the wise coming from someone who lives in the Lightning Capital of the world ..... Nothing can protect you from a direct lightning strike ( on ground outside your home, etc. ). The only sure protection is to unplug everything from the wall when you hear the first sounds of thunder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A recent lightning storm fried our 20 inch Intel iMac (still under warranty) and an older seldom used G4. It also took out the Ethernet on another G4. In addition, it disabled one of the ports on my router, and damaged our satellite receiver. All of these devices were on cheap surge protectors but not the phone lines. My question is if I purchase the best surge protectors out there, how much better will I be protected? I know unplugging everything will be the best protection, but this storm came on so fast, I didn't have time to shut everything down before lightning struck. I've seen UPS power supplies but their surge protection specs are about the same as the $5 power strips. The best surge protectors I've seen are only $50 and I'm planning on getting a few, but will they help all that much?

After the fact, I found out losing the ethernet card due to lightning is not uncommon. Finding a new ethernet card with drivers for OS10.5 is pretty hard to do. Apple's USB Ethernet adapter designed for the MacBook Air works perfectly with no drivers needed. The package says it is for MacBook Air computers only but apparently if you are running OS10.5.2 or later, it will work with any Mac. It did with my G4.

 

You can also look into a whole house surge protector. They run a few hundred dollars but are worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can also look into a whole house surge protector. They run a few hundred dollars but are worth it.

 

Whole house surge protectors are not that good at protecting computers. They are more effective with air conditioners and refrigerators. Most manufacturers recommend using strip protectors for electronics in addition to whole house systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

×