Ways to protect computers and electrical items

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by TraderSystem, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. A new thread as suggested by version77, in this earlier thread.

    Electrical accidents are increasing yearly and especially indoors, due to error in wiring and also because people are careless. Insurance companies are paying huge amounts for this and governments have set up important safety measures for us to follow.

    Also, electricity and computers are part of our lives, so we must know how to protect ourselves and our property from damage.

    Let us discuss and share our experiences.
  2. According to one of those links, practically, you should simply disconnect your UPS and PC and use it in battery mode ('or read a book' instead of working /playing) to prevent any link to the electrical network: there is no way to protect the PC or the PS3 from a lighning strike.
  3. Banjo


  4. We live in the lightning capital of the world (really!) and have had multiple lightning strikes to the home and property. I have lost multiple printers, routers, phones, TV's and have been struggling with it also.

    The solution that I finally came up with was to put one of the industrial surge suppressors on the house - these are sold and installed by electricians. For overkill, I also put garden variety muti-outlet surge suppressors (the more common variety) on the electronics, cable, and phone line. Don't forget the phone line!!!

    I presume it works because we took a direct hit about a year ago after I had put the industrial surge suppressor on the house and I did not lose any electronics. Money well spent.

    I gave up on the UPS since it was always alarming in the middle of the night (brownouts) but probably for mission critical stuff its necessary. I don't trade in the middle of the night, so for me it was unnecessary.
  5. Very interesting inputs, thanks to you all. Anyway, just to inform you that lightning is a real concern and can cause over $6 billion in damages. Wow! See, below link:


    But, the confusion remains, does UPS or power surgers help? Lot of contradictory reports, but maybe it depends on the power of the lightning or so? See below, to see the various people links as well as those in my earlier thread:


    Wish more people who actually have gone through the lightning storm can give their experiences, like drsteph did.
  6. But, which place is the lightning capital of the world? Many places are called as such as shown below, please clarify:

    a) "Florida the Sunshine State, which is also known as the lightning capital of the world".

    b) "Rwanda, Africa is the lightning capitol of the world, receiving nearly 2.5 times the amount of lightning as Florida"

    c) "Even though Florida is the lightning capital of the world, it was bested on Wednesday by a state you may not think of when it comes to lightning... South Dakota."

    d) "Miami is often associated with beautiful beaches, wild nightlife and pastel colors. Despite being a world famous city, few know it by its most notorious title - lightning capital of the world."
    http://www.outloud.com/2003/July 2003/lightning.htm

    e) "Tampa is the lightning capital of the world"

    f) "Orlando is worlds capital for lightning"

    Now, which is the lightning capital? :confused: By the way, where do you stay, drstep, please?
  7. Zzoom


    This may be of some help....

    The are links for example only from the original post on T2W, I have nothing to do with APC.

    Good luck,
    Posted by:
    MartinD Trade2win 31-12-2004

    I used to work for a UPS company years back, and then I ran my own UPS sales company before I started trading, so I thought I'd share some of the useful stuff I learnt about the technicalities of UPS power supplies.

    An interruption in the power supply to your trading workstation for less than a second will cause your system to crash, with additional consequences such as damaged hardware and corrupted software, EasyLanguage or data cache files. Brownouts, surges or other power fluctuations can have similar effects. Investing in a decent quality Uninterruptible Power Supply should be a "must have" peice of hardware for any serious day traders workstation. Most of us know this anyway, but while many of us know as much as we need to about specifying a decent computer, most everyone knows squat about the finer points of protecting that computer from the mains power supply.

    "offline" UPS and basic surge protectors:
    Belkin and most PC hardware stores sell surge supressors, some of which have rudimentary battery backup. APC's bottom of the range UPS is the "BackUPS" uninterruptible power supply. These low spec products are better than nothing, but in reality they give you very minimal protection from utility mains interference. During normal operation, they basically pass mains power directly onto your PC. While claiming to offer "filtered mains" this is misleading, because all they do is reduce the impact of spikes and RFI - MOV's clamp voltage spikes over a certain voltage down to the earth line - this means a 600V mains spike will have its peak lopped off, but a decent percentage of it will still give your computer PSU a nice shock. UPS of this type that offer basic battery backup work on the basis that when mains power fails, a relay closes and supplies battery power to an inverter to resume AC mains power. This invariably means a break in power of around 30ms or longer... dont beleive the 4-8ms transfer time claims on the brochure. 9 times out of 10 your computer PSU capacitors will have enough charge to bridge this gap, but is 90% reliability good enough when you have money on the line in the middle of a trade?

    Line-Interactive UPS
    "line-interactive" technology is a small improvement over offline UPS previously mentioned. It means that the device supplies more actively regulated and filtered mains power directly to your equipment. Usually a line-interactive UPS will have features to boost low voltage conditions and reduce high voltage conditions - both of which can put stress on your PC components, or in extremes cause damage to hardware and data. The way the UPS does this is via a multitap transformer - when it detects mains power dropping below a certain level, it will loop mains power through an extra coil on the transformer to boost the voltage up a stage. Spikes are still dealt with in the same manner as offline UPS by chopping the peaks off. An unfortunate side effect of using transformers to boost low voltages means that line-interactive UPS can actually boost spikes - so although a spike might have its peak chopped off, if you are experiencing a brownout at the same time your UPS will actually boost the reduced spike up again on its way out to your computer. They also have battery backup, but transfer to battery mode is still facilitated via a relay which means that there is still a small gap in the supply during switchover. This type of line-interactive UPS is the most basic standard of power protection that I would recommend. Online UPS technology is a far better, albeit more expensive solution - see next

    Online / double conversion / redundant UPS
    A true "online" type of UPS reconstructs the mains supply by artificially generating its own "pure" sinewave output powered continually by the UPS battery (which is constantly charged when the mains power is on) - so that your trading workstation is never directly connected to the raw mains supply. This means that your trading system is fully isolated from any kind of spike, noise or mains power disturbances, and because the UPS power output is driven by the battery there is no break in supply at all when the mains power should fail. You can also get this type of UPS in array's - the power equivalent of RAID hard drives, along with extended battery options for complete autonomy during blackouts.

    So, without wishing to be completely anal (too late i suspect) about computer power, I hope the above info can be of use in helping anyone who is thinking about investing in backup power to spend their $$ effectively.
  8. SunSol


    My understanding is that most surge suppressors are ineffective, including those embedded in a UPS. A trader friend who is also an electrical engineer convinced me to buy a real surge suppressor from ZeroSurge. Plug everything you want to protect, including the UPS, into it.

    Mine is the 2R15W 15 amp unit. It sells for $159.


  9. The inputs have been real interesting.

    Zzoom, your post was very informative. Can you please tell how do we exactly protect our systems?

    SunSol, please give more information about the "real surge suppressor from ZeroSurge"
  10. MGJ


    FYI, the technology of the ZeroSurge device is explained in their US patents. The first one to issue was (4,870,528) and it is an extremely clever design in my opinion. Thanks for mentioning it, SunSol! I think I'll buy one and install it upstream of my APC "SmartUPS" 1500.

    AC Mains -> Series Mode Protector (ZeroSurge) -> Shunt Mode Protector (UPS) -> Trading Computers.

    Interestingly, Jack Hanford is the president of ZeroSurge but (all of the patents) are owned by him, personally ... not by ZeroSurge the company. Glad I'm a just a potential customer and not a shareholder.

    #10     Jan 1, 2008