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CyberPower B604T 4 Feet 6 Outlets 1350 Joules Essential Surge Protector
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1 out of 5 eggs This would make for a simple outlet expansion strip that includes one transformer spaced plug. 02/10/2016

This review is from: CyberPower B604T 4 Feet 6 Outlets 1350 Joules Essential Surge Protector

Pros: none

Cons: MOV based surge protectors are big jokes that companies play on us by lulling us into a false sense of security. Designed to divert the surge at a certain voltage threshold to either Neutral &/or Ground prongs of a 3-prong outlet but often fail miserably at that.

A surge has both a voltage & current wave and can have fast rise times, but the MOV only acts on the voltage AND not immediately. Until it does, our electronics is protecting the surge protector (sad, true & Ironic)

Per the IEEE a surge traveling on #14 gauge house wiring can be 6000 volts 3000 amps & last up to 50 microseconds. Anything more and the wiring will be vaporized.

When diverted (to the Neutral and/or Ground wires) the surge needs a low impedance return path to the panel, otherwise it will seek an alternate path even if through the electronics we’re trying to protect or any device plugged into the same branch circuit.

Ground is a zero volt reference voltage by electronics and modern appliances. It’s expected to be at zero volts and it wasn’t designed to be used as a place to dump a surge. When a surge is on the ground, strange things can happen: unexplained hard drive crashes, fried motherboards or circuit cards, bad USB ports, premature power supply failures, hum/noise in audio, noise/pixelization in video & the most common: failed HDMI ports. Ground contamination is a big issue.

At 60 Hz (low frequencies) electricity has a low impedance path on the Neutral wire even with several 90 degree turns by the time it gets back to electrical panel. Ideally house wiring should be point to point with no 90 degree turns but often times that isn’t the case. Surges can be very fast (high frequencies) & the house wiring can suddenly represent a high impedance return path, causing the surge to seek another path to ground through the electronics we’re trying to protect.

By way of an analogy, consider a hand gently breaking the surface tension of water and freely moving underneath the water. This is how it is for electricity. Now take the same hand, slam it as hard as you can into the water & you’ll encounter a lot of resistance, perhaps it will feel as if you hit a brick wall. This is how it is for surges. The water is analogous to the house wiring. At some frequency the surge hasn’t got a chance & will seek another path perhaps damaging our electronics in the process. That’s why spikes or transients which are often measured in billionths of a second are least likely to find their way, & often zap our electronics instead.

MOV’s were designed in an age when we didn’t have microprocessors & our electronics was a lot simpler. Circuits ran on higher voltages, slower speeds and chip junctions were rather large. Today we live in a world where we can pack hundreds of millions of transistors on a chip, run at extremely low voltage levels and have chip junctions that are shrinking each year and are even more susceptible to “electronic rust” which happens when we subject the chips to surges. This rust will cause the chip to fail prematurely.

An MOV will eventually fail and the failure mode is smoke, explosion and/or fire. To protect against this, sometimes the MOV is encased in a fireproof material &/or used with a series thermal fuse (physically the two are wedged tightly against each other). When the MOV gets extremely hot, the thermal fuse opens & takes the MOV out of the circuit. Depending on the design, the surge protector will either continue to supply or remove power from its outlets.

Connected Equipment Warranties (insurance) are designed with so many loop-holes or escape clauses for manufactures that it can be very difficult to collect any money from them. You have to buy from an authorized seller, send in the warranty card on time, send the failed surge protector in & if its determined that the surge protector failed, then take the electronics to an authorized repair center to obtain a quote at the consumers expense on how much it would cost to repair the item & what the failure mode was. Once the manufacture reviews the information at their discretion they will either pay for the repair or send you the fair market value of your electronics based on recent successful auctions or local sales. Besides spending hours on the phone you risk loss of personal data not to mention the electronics &/or appliances themselves.

Some companies recognize Ground contamination as a real issue & have resorted to using single mode MOV protection across the Line to Neutral wires only. While a step in the right direction all the problems associated with placing the surge on the Ground still apply. To help some companies include over/under voltage shutdown circuitry but it takes a little time for the circuit to start work & in the meantime your electronics is protecting the surge protector again.

Surge protection is a multi-billion dollar industry growing 5.6% annually & MOV based surge protection makes up an increasingly larger share of that market.

Other Thoughts: MOV surge protectors:

(1) Work on a voltage (not current) thresholds so fast changing (rising surge) currents will pass into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(2) Have to wait for a voltage threshold to be reached before they can start to work, in the meantime the surge will pass into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(3) Will divert the surge and hope for the best, often times failing (the faster the surge, the longer the surge will linger, the greater the chance the surge will enter into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(4) Are sacrificial and no one knows how long they’ll. Manufacturers recommend changing them once a year to ensure protection (questionable as that protection might be). Don’t confuse a sacrificial surge protector with quality.

Lastly, you can’t always count on the status LED to know that you have protection. It’s worth performing a shake, rattle & roll test periodically by unplugging everything from the surge protector, gently shaking & rolling it to see if you can hear something rattling around inside. If you do, chances are it’s one or more of the MOV’s that have exploded or caught fire.

The best place to provide initial surge protection is at the service entrance. For electrical outlets it’s in the mains electrical panel with a Whole House Surge Suppressor. Many of these devices have clamping voltages that start at 600+ Volts or more so some external surges still make their way into the home & many in-house generated surges are too far away from the panel so surge protection in the house is still needed.

Coax connections (CATV, Internet, Satellite, &/or antennas) are best dealt with where they enter the house. An effective method is to run the coax cable into a ground block then into a hybrid surge arrestor that uses a combination of GDT/MOV technology such as the Morgan Mfg M311. The GDT will ignite, glow like a NEON light & the MOV will direct the surge on the central conductor of the coax to ground quickly. Both the ground block and the surge arrestor need a short low impedance path to earth ground.

TELCO connections if still used can be protected with a commercial device like the Eaton CHSPTEL. Protection at the service entrance eliminates the need to provide additional protection throughout the house for coax and TELCO.

Ideally if you could put a buried ground rod at each point of surge protector in the house, you could provide a low impedance path to ground, but all the ground rods would have to be connected together and this is not ideal or practical. Plus the MOV is voltage based & damaging currents can still get passed it before the MOV starts to work and while it's working.

One could invest in point isolation transformers (better than MOV technology) similar to those used in high end audio equipment but this would be a very costly.

Another technology called series-mode is basically a heavy duty low pass filter filtering anything faster than 60 Hz including spikes, transients & surges. The surge energy is slowed down in real-time, stored as energy in capacitor banks and then safely bled onto the neutral a few volts at a time. Recall the water analogy, slowing the surge down is the key otherwise the impedance of the return path might be too high & the surge will seek another way. Series mode offers true surge elimination, lowest VPR, highest MCOV.

Series mode filters can cost more initially, starting at $139 for a new 2-outlet 7.5 amp model from Zero Surge, Inc. and $159 for a new 2-outlet 15 amp model from the same company. These can also be purchased used or new old stock on the popular auction site for as little as $30 to $75+. Since no MOV’s are used, they aren’t sacrificial & will last a lifetime in the intended application.

Consider the annual replacement of an MOV based surge protector like this one that costs $12, over a 15 year period you’ll have spent $180+. Contrast that to a new $170 2-outlet 15 amp model or $60 for a new old stock 2-outlet 7.5 amp model & long term economics favors series mode on price alone. Factor in true surge elimination vs. surge diversion/hope for the best then series-mode wins hands down.

Series mode filters are available from Zero Surge, Inc. (inventors & holders of the patents), Brickwall (a private label of Zero Surge aimed at audiophiles) & SurgeX (a licensee of the technology). You can purchase Zero Surge and Brickwall directly from the manufacture and SurgeX here on NEWEGG. All 3 can be purchased on the popular auction site.

You can’t daisy chain MOV based surge protectors for safety reasons, but you can safely plug an MOV based surge protector like this one into a series mode filter to expand the number of outlets. If you have a UPS, you can also safely plug a UPS into a series mode filter and since many UPS’s have MOV surge protection built in, a series mode filter will ensure that the MOV protection never wears out.

READ FULL REVIEW

Pros: This would make a great outlet or expansion strip with its swiveling (rotating) outlets which makes it easier to accommodate transformer type bricks, blocks or wall-warts as they are sometimes called.

Cons: MOV based surge protectors are big jokes that companies play on us by lulling us into a false sense of security. Designed to divert the surge at a certain voltage threshold to either Neutral &/or Ground prongs of a 3-prong outlet but often fail miserably at that.

A surge has both a voltage & current wave & both can have fast rise times, but the MOV only acts on the voltage & not immediately. Until it does, our electronics is protecting the surge protector which is sad & ironic.

Per the IEEE a surge traveling on #14 gauge house wiring can be 6000 volts 3000 amps & last up to 50 microseconds. Anything more & the wiring will be vaporized.
When diverted (to the Neutral and/or Ground wires) the surge needs a low impedance return path to the panel, otherwise it will seek an alternate path even if through the electronics we’re trying to protect or any device plugged into the same branch circuit.

At 60 Hz (low frequencies) electricity has a low impedance path on the Neutral wire even with several 90 degree turns by the time it gets back to electrical panel. Ideally house wiring should be point to point with no 90 degree turns but often times that isn’t the case. Surges can be very fast (high frequencies) & the house wiring can suddenly represent a high impedance return path, causing the surge to seek another path to ground through the electronics we’re trying to protect.

Ground is a zero volt reference voltage by electronics and modern appliances. It’s expected to be at zero volts and it wasn’t designed to be used as a place to dump a surge. When a surge is on the ground, strange things can happen: unexplained hard drive crashes, fried motherboards or circuit cards, bad USB ports, premature power supply failures, hum/noise in audio, noise/pixelization in video & the most common: failed HDMI ports. Ground contamination is a big issue.

By way of an analogy, consider a hand gently breaking the surface tension of water & freely moving underneath the water. This is how it is for electricity. Now take the same hand, slam it as hard as you can into the water & you’ll encounter a lot of resistance, perhaps it will feel as if you hit a brick wall. This is how it is for surges. The water is analogous to the house wiring. At some frequency the surge hasn’t got a chance & will seek another path perhaps damaging our electronics in the process. That’s why spikes or transients which are often measured in billionths of a second are least likely to find their way, & often zap our electronics instead.

MOV’s were designed in an age when we didn’t have microprocessors & our electronics was a lot simpler. Circuits ran on higher voltages, slower speeds and chip junctions were rather large. Today we live in a world where we can pack hundreds of millions of transistors on a chip, run at extremely low voltage levels and have chip junctions that are shrinking each year and are even more susceptible to “electronic rust” which happens when we subject the chips to surges. This rust will cause the chip to fail prematurely.

An MOV will eventually fail and the failure mode is smoke, explosion and/or fire. To protect against this, sometimes the MOV is encased in a fireproof material &/or used with a series thermal fuse (physically the two are wedged tightly against each other). When the MOV gets extremely hot, the thermal fuse opens & takes the MOV out of the circuit. Depending on the design, the surge protector will either continue to supply or remove power from its outlets.

Connected Equipment Warranties (insurance) are designed with so many loop-holes or escape clauses for manufactures that it can be very difficult to collect any money from them. You have to buy from an authorized seller, send in the warranty card on time, send the failed surge protector in & if its determined that the surge protector failed, then take the electronics to an authorized repair center to obtain a quote at the consumers expense on how much it would cost to repair the item & what the failure mode was. Once the manufacture reviews the information at their discretion they will either pay for the repair or send you the fair market value of your electronics based on recent successful auctions or local sales. Besides spending hours on the phone the phone, you risk loss of personal data not to mention the electronics &/or appliances themselves.

Some companies recognize Ground contamination as a real issue & have resorted to using single mode MOV protection across the Line to Neutral wires only. While a step in the right direction all the problems associated with placing the surge on the Ground still apply. To help some companies include over/under voltage shutdown circuitry but it takes a little time for the circuit to start work & in the meantime your electronics is protecting the surge protector again.

Surge protection is a multi-billion dollar industry growing 5.6% annually & MOV based surge protection makes up an increasingly larger share of that market.

Other Thoughts: In Summary, MOV surge protectors:

(1) Work on a voltage (not current) thresholds so fast rising surge currents will pass into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(2) Have to wait for a voltage threshold to be reached before they can start to work, in the meantime the surge will pass into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(3) Will divert the surge and hope for the best, often times failing (the faster the surge, the longer the surge will linger, the greater the chance the surge will enter into the very electronics that one is trying to protect.

(4) Are sacrificial & no one knows how long they’ll. Manufacturers recommend changing them once a year to ensure protection (questionable as that protection might be). Don’t confuse a sacrificial surge protector with quality.

Lastly, you can’t always count on the status LED to know that you have protection. It’s worth performing a shake, rattle & roll test periodically by unplugging everything from the surge protector, gently shaking & rolling it to see if you can hear something rattling around inside. If you do, chances are it’s one or more of the MOV’s that have exploded or caught fire. This is what happened to me & why I no longer believe in MOV based surge protection.

The best place to provide initial surge protection is at the service entrance. For electrical outlets it’s in the mains electrical panel with a Whole House Surge Suppressor. Many of these devices have clamping voltages that start at 600 Volts or more so some external surges still make their way into the home & many in-house generated surges are too far away from the panel so surge protection in the house is still needed.

Coax connections (CATV, Internet, Satellite, &/or antennas) are best dealt with where they enter the house. An effective method is to run the coax cable into a ground block then into a hybrid surge arrestor that uses a combination of GDT/MOV technology such as the Morgan Mfg M311. The GDT will ignite, glow like a NEON light & the MOV will direct the surge on the central conductor of the coax to ground quickly. Both the ground block and the surge arrestor need a short low impedance path to earth ground.

Telco connections if still used can be protected with a commercial device like the Eaton CHSPTEL. Protection at the service entrance eliminates the need to provide additional protection throughout the house for coax and TELCO.

Ideally if you could put a buried ground rod at each point of surge protector in the house, you could provide a low impedance path to ground, but all the ground rods would have to be connected together & this is not ideal or practical.

One could invest in point isolation transformers similar to those used in high end audio equipment but this would be a very costly solution, & also not practical.

Another technology called series-mode is basically a heavy duty low pass filter filtering anything faster than 60 Hz including spikes, transients & surges. The surge energy is slowed down in real-time, stored as energy in capacitor banks and then safely bled onto the neutral a few volts at a time. Recall the water analogy, slowing the surge down is the key otherwise the impedance of the return path might be too high & the surge will seek another way. Series mode offers true surge elimination not just diversion & hope for the best.

Series mode filters can cost more initially, starting at $139 for a new 2-outlet 7.5 amp model from Zero Surge, Inc. and $159 for a new 2-outlet 15 amp model from the same company. These can also be purchased used or new old stock on the popular auction site for as little as $30 to $75+. Since no MOV’s are used, they aren’t sacrificial & will last a lifetime in the intended application.

If you consider the annual replacement of an MOV based surge protector like this one that costs $22, over a 10 year period you’ll have spent $220+. Contrast that to a new $170 2-outlet 15 amp model or $60 for a new old stock 2-outlet 7.5 amp model & long term economics favors series mode on price alone. Factor in true surge elimination vs. surge diversion/hope for the best then series-mode wins hands down.

Series mode filters are available from Zero Surge, Inc. (inventors & holders of the patents), Brickwall (a private label of Zero Surge aimed at audiophiles) & SurgeX (a licensee of the technology). You can purchase Zero Surge and Brickwall directly from the manufacture and SurgeX here on Newegg. All 3 can be purchased on the popular auction site.

You can’t daisy chain MOV based surge protectors for safety reasons, but you can safely plug an MOV based surge protector like this one into a series mode filter to expand the number of outlets. If you have a UPS, you can also safely plug a UPS into a series mode filter and since many UPS’s have MOV surge protection built in, a series mode filter will ensure that the MOV protection never wears out.

READ FULL REVIEW

1 out of 5 eggs Great as an outlet strip (not so good as a surge protector) 01/25/2016

This review is from: BELKIN BE108200-06 6 feet 8 Outlets 3390 Joules Surge Protector with Telephone Protection

Pros: None that I know of.

Cons: Purchasing surge protectors is often an afterthought. We buy one, plug it in and if everything works we feel good about the purchase.

The problems only begin when our electronics starts behaving strangely for no apparent reason (a hard drive crashes, a motherboard is fried, a power supply fails prematurely, we lose a USB or an HDMI port, etc …). We talk to more knowledgeable people and sometimes conclude that a surge managed to take out our electronics but not our surge protector. Yet at the heart of almost all surge protectors sold today is a 1970’s era device about the size of a quarter that costs about a quarter in volumes, called an MOV or Metal Oxide Varistor. It’s usually placed across the Line-Neutral, Line-Ground, and Neutral-Ground connections. It works by turning on at a certain voltage and diverting the surge to Ground.

It’s only when a surge happens that things begin to go very wrong. Surges can be caused by lightning or induced by lightning or from power companies or they can come from appliances within a house that have a motor in it (i.e. air conditioner, fans, mixers, blenders, refrigerators, washing machine, clothes dryer, hair dryer, vacuum cleaners, etc …). Every time each one of these appliances cycles a small surge is generated.

The surge protector doesn’t actually suppress the surge; rather it diverted to both the Neutral and Ground wires in the outlet and makes its way back to the mains electrical panel where the Neutral and Ground are bonded to each other and connected to a ground rod buried in the earth.

The further the surge protector is from the mains electrical panel, the more resistance (impedance in AC terminology) that it can encounter and often times the surge will look for another path even if that path is via the very electronics plugged into the surge protector or anywhere else in the house. When this happens, ground (which is used as a reference by modern day electronics) is no longer at zero volts and is considered contaminated for the duration of the surge. If the surge makes its way back into some electronics it can wreak havoc and take out motherboards, cause hard drives to crash or USB/HDMI ports to fail.

A second problem is that each time the MOV turns on it takes a little less voltage for it to turn on the next time. Eventually it will smoke, explode and/or catch fire. So companies sometimes encase the MOV in a fireproof material or place a thermal fuse in series with the MOV which is physically wedged against it. As the MOV heats up the thermal fuse opens and either takes the MOV out of the circuit (in which case the surge protector continues to supply power to whatever is plugged in), or removes power to the surge protector causing it kill power to anything that is plugged into it. Neither of these is good, but if you have a critical circuit like a security camera you may want to the camera to continue operating even w/o surge protection, other times you may want the power off until you can replace the surge protector.

What’s worse is that many companies want you to replace the surge protector on some schedule i.e. every 1,2 or 3 years since they have no way of knowing how long the MOVs will last in your environment. If you fail to do that you could be without surge protection, and you can’t always rely on the surge protectors LED status. There is no known meter that can be built into the surge protector to inform you how much protection is left. It all depends on where you live.

Some companies like Furman Sound recognize that ground contamination is a serious enough issue and make surge protectors with an MOV across the Line to Neutral connections only. This is a step in the right direction but since they don’t do anything to limit the amount of the surge that is transferred to the Neutral you have the same kinds of issues you have with the Ground and hope that the surge makes its way back to the mains electrical panel. If it does not, it will find its way into the very electronics behind the surge protector or anything else between the surge protector and the mains electrical panel.

Many surge protectors including this one carry a note: "DO NOT INSTALL THIS DEVICE IF THERE IS NOT AT LEAST 10 METERS (30 FEET) OR MORE OF WIRE BETWEEN THE ELECTRICAL OUTLET AND THE ELECTRICAL SERVICE PANEL"

It's because this type of surge protector is known as a Type 3 surge protector and not designed for use in an electrical panel. If you place the unit within 30 feet of the electrical panel it could act like a Type 2 surge protector and attempt to do the work of a protector designed to deal with larger voltages and currents.

Other Thoughts: The only effective way to deal with surges are to use an isolating transformer or a series mode power filter. Many appliances used to come with heavy iron isolating transformers but in the last 50 years many have stopped using the costly & heavy technology.

Series mode power filters can effectively deal with the surge as they are designed to slow the surge down in time, store it as energy and bleed it onto the Neutral wire a few volts at a time until it’s completely gone. It doesn’t rely on MOV’s so it does not need to be replaced periodically. It does cost more, but if you consider the annual replacement of a $18 surge protector after 10 years you’ll have spend $180 and have questionable protection at best. If you bought a series mode power filter you’d have spent from $140-$160 for a new unit one time & still be using it 10 years later. You can safely plug a UPS or even this MOV based surge protector into a series mode power filter to protect those items.

Series Mode power filters have been around since 1989. They companies that make them are: Zero Surge (the holders of the patents), Brickwall (a private label of Zero Surge aimed at audiophiles), and SurgeX (a licensee of the technology & also sold here on Newegg). A 2-outlet 7.5 Amp or 15 Amp unit should be good enough for most needs. 20 Amp models are available as well as those used in marine (wet) applications (i.e., aquariums). They start out at $139 (new), but can be purchased on popular auction sites used for as little as $30 - $75. When you consider this and the annual replacement of a $18 MOV surge protector it gets easier to justify the upfront costs and knowing that you get true surge elimination, not just diverting it to ground and hoping for the best.

You can install the series mode power filters within 30 feet of your main electrical panel as they are designed to withstand 6,000 volt, 3,000 amp surges 50 microseconds in duration every 30 seconds.

UPDATED 01/25/16

Here's another issue that's pretty big. If you use a mixture of MOV based surge protectors even if they are all from the same vendor, same seller, same model, same manufacturing dates, there is a good chance that one will turn on ahead of the other since the manufacture does not guarantee that match MOV's have been used (even within the same surge protector). This problem is worsened with different models and a mixture of different vendors, but helps to explain why some MOV surge protectors "sacrificed" themselves instead of others. Some would think sacrificing is better because it proved the protection worked, others might think the other brand is better because it kept working. With Series Mode Power filters you don't have to worry about this - as they are continuously filtering.

READ FULL REVIEW

Danny J.'s Profile

Display Name: Danny J.

Date Joined: 09/04/01

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