Protect your Electronic Equipment with Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors

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Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors are needed to stop and prevent damage to electronic equipment from electrical transients. These electrical transients may be the result of Lightning, utility and facility load switching voltage surges which couple either directly or indirectly into the electronic equipment.

Surge suppressors limit the voltage potential by “turning on” when a preset voltage is reached and then absorbing part of the energy of the surge and eventually diverting all surge energy to ground. Once the surge has been dissipated, the suppressor “resets” and waits for the next surge. Crucial in the design of a suppressor is its ability to turn on rapidly and absorb or divert all the energy present in the surge and clamping or holding the “let through” overvoltage down to a level safe for exposed circuitry.

 Without adequate protection, all electronic equipment is at risk. Usually the failures are not seen right away. Repeated stress from normal electrical transients weaken components and lead to shortened life. Transient voltages have proven to be the leading cause of semiconductor-based equipment failure and have cost the American industry more than 10 billion dollars in equipment damage alone. At least 75% of all reported failures have been attributed to electrical overstress.

A surge entering a facility will dissipate by subdividing throughout the building’s power distribution system. The capability of a surge protector is determined by its intended location. At the point of entry the energy contained in the surge is at a maximum. Fanning out on its journey through the system, it will offer less magnitude to each branch panel encountered. Finally, the least amount of damaging surge current will be experienced by equipment deep within a system.

 a.    Generally, What is needed for good transient voltage surge suppression? Quality Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors are essential everywhere there are electronics that can be damaged by electrical transients.

 i.    Quality in needed to insure reliability of protection, when transients occur. Poorly designed and “low end” surge suppressors may help equipment that is exposed to minor surge voltages, however, average and severe voltage overstress will eventually cause shortened equipment life and failure. This is due to the rise of “let through” voltage that occurs during a surge of larger amplitude. The overvoltage is caused by the inability of the suppressor to absorb or divert all of the surge energy present on the line. 

 ii.    Good grounding for the surge suppressor is needed to insure transients are limited below levels that will degrade or damage electronic equipment. Surge suppressors must always be located as close as possible to the equipment it is to protect and the suppressor ground made common to the chassis. A good earth ground should be provided at this common point.

 iii.    Fast response times are needed so that the fast rising transients can be prevented from passing through to the vulnerable electronics.

 iv.    High energy absorption is needed to dissipate the transient energy(measured in joules), as needed for the specific application. A surge suppressor will divert, absorb and dissipate the energy of a transient. It follows that this activity should be measured in units of energy (joules). Joules, as a measure of surge protection performance. The more joules generally translates to longer design life. If a surge protector has a rating of 4000 joules, (8x20us) and another has a rating of 2000 joules (8x20us), then the 4000 joule protector has a life expectancy 10 times greater than that of the second protector. Joules matter.

b.    Specifically, How much and where surge suppression is needed? Compare the value of what’s being protected to the price of Surge Protection. One must consider the cost of equipment replacement whether immediate or through shortened life. The costs of down time or out of service time and cost of repair must also be examined. The threat level in this location should be examined, lightning frequency, power quality examined and industrial environment examined for switching/inductive transient generators such as HVAC systems, copiers, motors, pumps, control equipment, etc. Some of the most common types of surge suppression used, include:

i.   AC Power Distribution Surge Suppression

 ii. Data Line Surge Suppression

 iii. Coax/RF Surge Suppression

iv. AC, Data, & Coax Surge  Surge Suppression (Plugstrip)

Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors are needed to protect valuable electronics from damaging electrical transients. Go to the Webstore for review and purchase of the TVSS products you will need – Click Here

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