Is a Surge Protection Device Worth It?

Is a Surge Protection Device Worth It?

Created by: Glen Zhu | Updated Date: March 6th, 2024

Is a Surge Protection Device Worth It?

The surge protection device is a worthwhile investment for our daily use. When you are considering if to install a surge protection device, the thought has proven to be necessary. The damage brought by the lightning strikes prompts us to determine whether surge protection devices are valuable, we will examine their necessity, effectiveness, benefits and cost to deepen the understanding.

Do you really need a surge protection device?

A surge protection device is what we call the surge protectors that with a function of protecting against electrical surges. It is easy to understand the definition of surge protector, then what does a surge protection device do?

What is electrical surge?

An electrical surge, also known as a power surge or transient voltage, is a sudden and temporary increase in voltage that occurs within an electrical circuit. These surges can vary in duration and intensity, ranging from small spikes to large over-voltages.

Electrical surges can be caused by various factors such as lightning strikes, power grid switching, electrical equipment cycling on and off, or faults within the electrical system. These surges can potentially damage electronic devices and appliances connected to the electrical circuit, which is why surge protection devices are often used to mitigate the risk.

We call a surge when the voltage increases above the norm for at least 3 nanoseconds. Lightning can and does cause electrical surges, but it’s not as common as other causes. In fact, buying a surge protector to save your electronics from a thunderstorm may not work in your favor. The best surge protection against thunderstorms is to unplug your electronics.

Is a surge protection device necessary? While surge protection devices are necessary when you want to protect your expensive and intricate electronics, your TV, computers or anything expensive electrical equipment need surge protection devices. In short, surge protection devices are worth to protect your valuable property.

IEC61643 standard strongly recommends to installing surge protection devices for low-voltage power systems. This standard applies to all types of SPDs, including those used in residential, commercial, and industrial installations.

Is Surge Protection Worth It

A surge protection device can be seen as a safe investment. It is important to understand different options can affect you find the best value for your money. There are several types of surge protection devices on the market.

The way to determine if surge protection is worth, the most intuitive way is to see its cost-effectivity. The normal price for a surge protection device is ranging from $10 to $150, while the repair cost of any electronic equipment could be far over.

Power surges and voltage spikes can be caused by various factors, both internal and external. Common causes include the restoration of power after an outage, downed power lines, electrical grid malfunctions or accidents, on/off cycling of large appliances, wiring faults, tripped circuit breakers, and lightning strikes.

While very large surges, primarily caused by lightning and temporary interruptions resulting from storm damage, occur infrequently, normal equipment operation may cause surges over 1,000 volts multiple times per day.

The additional voltage generated by both surges and spikes produces excess heat, posing a serious threat to circuit boards and critical components in electronic equipment. Damage can occur abruptly with large surges or spikes, or gradually over time with smaller, repeated occurrences.

It is worth to install a surge protection device to solve power surge and transient over-voltages. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of these causes and take preventive measures to safeguard electrical equipment from potential damage. This is why we need surge protection devices.

The application of surge protection devices is various. More information could be found in our website.

Pros and Cons of Surge Protection Devices

Advantages of surge protection devices

Surge protection devices typically have a fast response time to protect against transient over-voltages, capable of quickly grounding surge currents and high-energy applications. They are suitable for applications that require a rapid protection response, especially for high-demand equipment and explosive areas.

Surge protection devices protects well for sensitive electronics in limiting overvoltage and maintaining the voltage at safe level. MOVs can gradually lose their effectiveness over time due to repeated exposure to surges. When they fail, they can short-circuit the circuit, requiring immediate replacement.

Surge protection devices prove their benefits in various ways over a long-term running. The benefits of investing surge protection devices would surpass your initial input. Rather than feeling sad on the high repair cost on your dear devices, surge protection devices are a one-time investment that save you a lot of money.

In addition, you won’t have to sleep over worrying out power surges damaging your devices. It is especially important for this electronically reliant society as no one could live with electrical devices.

Disadvantages of Surge Protection Devices

We all know surge protection devices can limit voltage surges, but they are no longer effective when being overload. Overloading can occur when too much power is drawn from a single circuit, often from overusing extension cords or plugging in too many devices into the same circuit.

Internal power surges can result from faulty wiring, especially with damaged or exposed electrical wires. Voltage spikes also overwhelm surge protectors and lead to overloading. Overloading would ruin the surge protection device itself as well as connected electrical equipment.

A good surge protection device reacts quick to power surge but still its service life is limited. In general, the lifespan of a surge protection device is 3-5 years. It is necessary to replace a new one.

Are Surge Protection Devices Effective

No surge protection device can offer 100% protection. There are several misconceptions about Surge Protection Devices (SPDs). While SPDs are designed to protect against surges, they do not safeguard against all electrical problems. Specifically:

SPDs do not protect against excessive voltage at the fundamental power frequency but rather shield against surges caused by direct lightning strikes or voltage spikes in the line at a remote location.

SPDs cannot protect against poor power quality, including harmonics. Although some SPDs filter high-frequency noise, they cannot filter harmonic loads.

They also do not provide protection against under-voltage issues or direct lightning strikes. While an SPD can reduce induced surges from a lightning strike on the power line, it cannot prevent damage from strikes near its location.

Additionally, SPDs do not guard against temporary overvoltage resulting from severe faults in utility power or ground issues. Temporary overvoltage occurs when voltage briefly exceeds the nominal level, potentially causing damage if it surpasses 25% of the system’s nominal voltage.

In summary, while SPDs are essential for surge protection, they have limitations and cannot address all electrical issues such as poor power quality, under-voltage problems, direct lightning strikes, or temporary overvoltage.

Do Surge Protection Devices Actually Work

The working principle of surge protector

Surge protection devices do work. When appropriately selected, installed, and maintained, surge protectors can significantly reduce the risk of damage to sensitive electronics, providing valuable protection and peace of mind.

Characteristics of reliable surge protection devices

Reliable surge protection devices typically possess a high Joule rating to withstand surges, a low clamping voltage to respond quickly to voltage spikes, and a fast response time to minimize the impact of surges on connected equipment.

These characteristics collectively contribute to effective protection against electrical surges and help safeguard electronic devices from damage.

High Joule Rating

Surge protection devices with a high Joule rating are capable of absorbing more energy from electrical surges before they fail or become overwhelmed.

A higher Joule rating indicates greater capacity to handle surges without sacrificing effectiveness.

Devices with higher Joule ratings are often more durable and offer better long-term protection for connected equipment.

Clamping Voltage

Clamping voltage refers to the voltage level at which the surge protection device begins to divert excess energy away from connected equipment.

A lower clamping voltage means the surge protector reacts more quickly to surges, limiting the voltage reaching the equipment.

Surge protectors with lower clamping voltages provide better protection by diverting surges at lower voltage levels, minimizing potential damage to sensitive electronics.

Response Time

Response time indicates how quickly the surge protection device reacts to an electrical surge.

A shorter response time means the surge protector can begin diverting excess energy away from connected equipment more rapidly.

Surge protectors with faster response times offer enhanced protection by reducing the duration of exposure to potentially damaging surges.

Tips for Choosing High-quality Surge Protection Devices

Quality of Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs)

MOVs are the key component of a surge protection device. To get know more information on how to choose the right MOVs for surge protection devices, visit our website – Blogs.

Molding, Welding, and Tripping Technology

A successful surge protection device relies on right molding, welding and mature tripping mechanisms. Welding techniques are employed in surge protection devices for joining different metallic parts or components together. The temperature of soldering should be suitable for different conductive elements and solder materials.

Surge protection devices incorporate tripping mechanisms to respond rapidly to transient voltage surges and divert excessive currents away from sensitive equipment. Tripping technology typically involves the use of internal circuitry or components that can detect overvoltage conditions and trigger the activation of protective elements such as MOVs or GDTs.

These protective elements conduct excess current safely to ground, limiting voltage spikes and preventing damage to downstream equipment. Advanced tripping technologies include features like self-resetting mechanisms or remote monitoring capabilities for enhanced functionality and convenience.

Lightning Simulation Testing

All reliable surge protection devices are undergone the lightning simulation test. Lightning simulation testing is typically conducted according to recognized industry standards such as IEC 61643.

Test setups may include surge generators, impulse current generators, or lightning simulators capable of producing voltage impulses with specific waveforms, durations, and magnitudes corresponding to different types of lightning strikes. SPDs under test are connected to the test setup in accordance with standard test configurations to simulate real-world installation scenarios.

Waveform of Surge protection devices

Iimp 10/350 µs Waveform of Type 1 Surge Protective Device SPD

In and Imax 8/20 µs Waveform of Type 2 Surge Protective Device SPD

Uoc 1.2/50 µs Waveform of Type 3 Surge Protective Device SPD

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Reliability in surge protection!

LSP’s reliable surge protection devices (SPDs) are designed to meet the protection needs of installations against lightning and surges. Contact our Experts!

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