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9 Things To Know About Surge Protectors
Surge protectors are a reasonable and very useful tool in protecting your gadgets and devices from power surges. They’re not all the same. Below are a few tips to help you get a surge protector.
Whether you’re just looking to add more outlets, or want to add a layer of protection between your gear and the outside world, you’ll eventually want to buy a surge protector.
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Surge Protectors – Adelaide
To help you sort through it all, here are nine things you should know about surge protectors.
1. Not all are the same.
Some might often get confused and think that power strips and surge protectors (also called surge suppressors) are the same however they are not.Power strips are cheap, multi-outlet products that allow the expansion of a wall outlet.They do have a circuit breaker but they do not provide any strong protection from electrical problems. Some might have the barest level of protection however, they are just like plugging directly into the wall.
Surge protectors offer some level of protection against power spikes. How much and how well varies considerably.
2. It’s all about the joules.
The protection from surge protectors are measured in amounts called joules. Thereby consider them being a reservoir. If a product has 1,000 joules of protection, that means it can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1,000 joule hit. Generally, the more joules the better.
How do you know how many joules a protector has left, or if the rating is even accurate? Well, you don’t. The Wirecutter did a massive test on surge protectors, basically blowing them up to see how well they worked, to find an answer.
3. A warranty…on your stuff.
Sometimes surge protectors offer warranty up to a certain amount protecting the gear connected to it. For example, in the US, one Belkin model has a $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty, and states: “If your electronic equipment is damaged by a surge, spike, or lightning strike while properly connected to this power strip, we will repair or replace it, up to $300,000.”
You’ll probably never need it, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it. Belkin has similar warranties in effect for other products, but they vary by region.
4. A power “conditioner.”
There are some products in the market that often claim to “condition” power flowing through the wall, saying that it improves performance in the connected gear. However, the truth is that your gear already does this. All electronics have a power supply that takes the incoming wall current and filters it for noise, converting it into whatever the device needs.. Almost nothing actually runs on 110 volts (or alternating current, for that matter), so unless you’ve got cheap or bad quality gear, and live in an area with insufficient power supply, a power conditioner isn’t something you need.
5. Always get more outlets than you need.
More outlets are always useful. You can add extra gear without having to get rid of other gear. It is not necessary to get a significant amount of outlets like 12 of them but 6 is a good amount.
6. Power spikes can come over any wire.
If you want total protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well.
7. USB is great, but check the amps.
Many surge protectors come with USB connections, so you can charge your mobile devices. Although this is useful do check the the output amp rating. Generally, this is either 1 or 2 amps (often labeled 1A or 2A). This is around how much flow you can get through the pipe. For a mobile phone, 1 amp is enough, but for a tablet, you’ll want 2 amps for quicker charging.
8. Get a portable power strip.
Portable power strips help in times when there are multiple users and travelers. Most hotels have few accessible outlets, when there are multiple devices that need recharging. Most portable power strips add two to three additional outlets, plus offer direct USB charging.
9. They don’t last forever.
A surge protector is going to wear out. Some will give you a warning when they do. Many won’t. If you know you’ve had a serious electrical event (like lighting blew out a transformer down the street), it’s probably worth replacing your surge protector just in case.
There really is no reason not to get a surge protector even though your need for it might vary. However, it definitely is helpful if you live in an area with lots of thunderstorms and your gear is more likely to experience power surges. Even if you live in the desert, your A/C or refrigerator could kick power spikes back down the lines to your A/V gear.
Since most surge protectors are cheap, they’re worth getting just in case.
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