What is a surge protector device and how does it work?

Publish Time: Author: Site Editor

What exactly is a surge protector?
A surge protector is a small appliance or device that serves two main functions. The first is to provide the ability to plug multiple components into a single power outlet. The second and more important function is to protect your electronic equipment (such as a TV system or computer) from high voltage power surges. A surge or spike is an increase in voltage in an electrical current above a specified level.

How does a surge protector work?
A typical surge protector passes current along the outlet to multiple devices plugged into the power strip. If the voltage is just above acceptable levels, the protector will divert the excess power into the outlet ground wire. The ground wire is parallel to the live and neutral wires. They provide a path for the current to flow if the live and neutral systems that normally carry the current fail.

What is the difference between a surge and a spike?
When a voltage increase lasts three nanoseconds or more, it is called a surge. When a voltage rise lasts only one to two nanoseconds, it’s called a spike. That’s it, that’s the difference. However, if the surge is high enough, those nanoseconds (just one billionth of a second) can cause significant damage to the machine.

What usually causes surges or spikes?
One of the most well-known reasons is lightning, although it is very rare. More common causes include the operation of high-power equipment such as air conditioners, elevators, and refrigerators. The compressors and motors in it require a lot of energy to turn on and off.
When switching, it creates a sudden, brief power demand that disrupts the current steady voltage flow. Damage typically occurs in a building’s electrical system and, if unprotected, can occur immediately, or it can occur gradually over time.

Wiring faults, utility company equipment problems, and downed power lines are the most common sources of power surges. In the complex system of transformers and wiring that powers your home, there are many possible errors that can lead to uneven power flow, resulting in eventual power surges.

Is there a difference between a power strip and a surge protector?
It’s important to note that not all power strips are surge protectors. Although they look very similar, the only purpose of the power strip is to add extra socket space. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference without saying it directly. When you’re sure what to buy, you can look at the packaging. Surge protectors should have a Joule rating on the packaging.

A joule is a unit of measurement for energy. They measure how long your device will be protected. Numbers or joules are like a reservoir. Every time the protector does its job, it takes a hit, the joules will increase over time.

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