Power surge protection: how much is enough?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JazzCrazy, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Inactive

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    I have a G&K mb800, love it, don't want it to fry, but I only want a small 2-3 outlet surge/protector power strip. I did find a little Monster Cable surge protector @ Walmart & it's the right size, but it's protective rating is 250 joules. Not enough? I've never experienced any power surge first hand.
  2. BOOG likes this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I discovered I had had a surge when my cable modem refused to connect until I removed the (now blown, since replaced) surge protector from the cable. The power side seemed to be ok, but the cable protector gave its life apparently.
    mbelue and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  4. Cool deal. Good to know your box did what it was supposed to do.

    I guess a more properly phrased question would be.
    If you don't have an equipment failure, how do you know if the protector is doing its job, or you've just never had a surge?
    Kind of one of those "tree falls in the forrest" questions.
    pudgychef likes this.
  5. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Quality products do not need a "surge protector", they have them built in and designed specifically for the amp's power supply. If a voltage spike large enough to damage the amp comes along, it would have blown the protector all to hell and still damaged the amp. They are typically a false sense of security, with a few specialized exceptions. Now they do appear to be a good way to separate customers from their hard earned money.
    byacey, AGCurry, Mr.Ace and 5 others like this.
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Cable and telco wiring is a different thing. They are more vulnerable because the impedances are higher and electrical disturbances feed much more sensitive electronics (though there is pretty robust signal protection provided on professional, commercial and industrial devices).
    bholder likes this.
  7. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016

    But if you insist, get a metal box TrippLite iso bar. Like:

    Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Direct Plug in 1410 Joules 3 Diagnostic LEDS 4 in Height (ISOBLOK2-0) | Tripp Lite


    Isobar 4 Outlet Surge Protector 6 ft Cord 3330 Joules Space Saving Plug (IBAR4) | Tripp Lite

    Many other models to choose from, but get the metal one, not the plastic junk.

    Plastic crap melts. I've seen it. I have photo's. The metal boxed iso bars work. I've been using and recommending these to customers for 30 years with no failures.
  8. Enough to hold back a lightning strike. Byo truck to haul it home.
    BadExample likes this.
  9. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    Lightning is hard to stop.
    mbelue, Mr.Ace and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  10. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Inactive

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    Nice to know & makes sense, although some claim that built in protection fuses can fail, so why not have additional protection. (In the past with my hone audio amps, I've inadvertantly touched both positive & negative speaker cable wires together, & the fuses saved the day. But other times, not so lucky. But I don't know anyone who's had anything zapped by a power surge.

    The reason why I want something small is that I want to be minimalistic packing my gig bag. More importantly. I don't want to provide outlets for other band members who do things like plug their digital guitar effect pedals into my outlet & make my amp pop & explode with their transient pops & clicks. Particularly a nuisance us drummers who plug their fans into my extsnsion cord or surge suppressor & contaminate my power. If I just have a single fdmale extension chord jack, nobidy else can plug in. (
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  11. image.jpeg
    lug likes this.
  12. I also have several Isobar 4 and 6 outlet box types.
    And for power distribution in equipment racks, I use some of these.

    Isobar 12 Outlet Rack Mount Surge Protector 15 ft Cord 3840 Joules Locking Switch Cover (ISOBAR12ULTRA) | Tripp Lite


    Nov 15, 2017
    Richmond VA
    As a ham radio operator, I learned long ago about power surges, lighting strikes and sensitive radio equipment. ...listen to agedhorse for he knows about that which he speaks....
    Oh and a direct hit from a lightning strike....?
    Good luck...cuz you ain't stopping that...there are some tricks from the old hams but nothing is certain.
    byacey, Clark Dark and Mr.Ace like this.
  14. Ham here as well and broadcast tech for the day job.
    I've been tending to equipment, connected to the bottom of 1200 ft lightning rods, for a good chunk of my life.
    Have yet to lose anything to Thor. (Fingers crossed)

    As I'm sure you know, the key is proper grounding and bonding of equipment.
    Others may not know this, but the worlds best surge suppressor is garbage without a proper ground.

    Yeah, lighting. It laughs at our efforts to keep it out.
    That doesn't mean you shouldn't take the usual precautions.
    byacey and Mr.Ace like this.
  15. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Surge suppressor aren't going to do anything for noise from a fan.

    Fuses are a different form of protection.
  16. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
  17. I unplug from the outlet when not using my amp. So far no problems.
    p12bassnut, trevcda, Mr.Ace and 2 others like this.
  18. 2112


    Apr 30, 2005
    Ham here too, also manager for a public-safety radio system. Bad news: no matter how much you do, you cannot achieve 100% protection. Even grounding & protecting to R56 standards, lightning and other particularly strong spikes may not give a toot about your protective measures.

    That being said, there are prudent measures that should be taken to protect mission-critical infrastructure... because that equipment is vulnerable and necessary. Even so, power surge/spike protection is a game of balancing cost & risk with a decreasing return on investment as more money's poured in. We're not going to spend megabucks to achieve a tiny increase in protection; the line is drawn at a certain, responsible level. Yes we do lose equipment every once in awhile... but it's not responsible to pay many times the cost of that equipment to protect it from damage... Without going too far down a rabbit hole, it's much better in those cases to have disconnected hot spares on standby.

    But as far as consumer electronics and power events involving them... over the decades the only (unprotected) things I've lost to surges are modems, routers & UPS's. I've played tons of gigs in crusty bars and never had any damage to my rigs.

    This is not to say it couldn't happen... but it is saying that putting it into perspective, i.e., considering the amount of time I'm actually playing a gig and the actual likelihood that I'll experience a damaging spike during those relatively short periods, I haven't been terribly motivated to come off my wallet for spike protection. I do use a cheap power conditioner, but mainly because I prefer a tidy, convenient rig and the conditioner provides several rack-mount outlets and a front-panel master power switch.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
    agedhorse likes this.
  19. tchristian

    tchristian Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Missoula, MT
    I use cheap MOV power strips for the convenience of multiple outlets, and according to you guys (and I defer to your expertise) I'm kidding myself that I'm "protecting" my rig. (And I'm betting I'm not the only player out there doing it!)

    Should I be concerned over non-lightning power surges?
  20. JazzCrazy

    JazzCrazy Inactive

    Mar 25, 2018
    Joshua Tree
    The strips are for surge protection, bur with those empty outlets sitting there, they invite people to plug in their crappy sompnents. I'll take your word for it & just plug in
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