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Surge-protector shopping checklist
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  • Warranty. Is it lifetime? Do you get a free replacement if the unit is damaged by a surge or lightning?
  • Equipment protection policy. Is your connected equipment insured if it is damaged by bad power? How generous is that coverage (the dollar limit)? Does it cover repair costs or replacement or both? The best policies will offer unlimited coverage for repair/replacement of your equipment.
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    Best protection with PC battery backups, UPS

What they do:

  • These units protect your investment from damage or loss due to bad power.
  • These units regulate electrical voltage that flow to your PC and peripherals and they prevent brownouts and over-voltages from wearing out critical power supplies and/or causing disk drive failures.
  • Battery backup power can be used to keep your computer operational during power interruptions, allowing you to safely shut down the equipment without damaging drives or corrupting data. UPS also allows you to keep VoIP adapters and cable modems powered during a power interruption, allowing you to communicate with the world.

What to look for:

  • Underwriters Laboratories 1778 Standard, the UL standard for UPS/battery backups.
  • Number and type of outlets powered by the battery backup.
  • Response time of <1 nanosecond.
  • Rated at 300 joules or higher.
  • Proper data-line surge protection (UL 497A and UL 497 ratings) for Ethernet, COAX, DSL and telephone.
  • Fail-safe design.
  • Noise filtering.
  • Battery lifespan of at least two years.
  • Lifetime warranty and generous equipment protection policy.

AV surge protectors: Adequate protection for tube-based TVs

These devices:

  • Protect your AV investment from damage or loss due to bad power.
  • Filter out the electrical line noise to help your equipment perform optimally.

What to look for:

  • Underwriters Laboratories 1449 Standard for TVSS protected to a clamping voltage of <330V
  • Number of outlets.
  • Response time of <1 nanosecond.
  • Rated at 300 joules or higher.
  • Proper data-line surge protection (UL 497A and UL 497 ratings) for Ethernet, COAX, DSL and telephone.
  • Fail-safe design.
  • Noise filtering. Electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference, if severe enough, can make sound and video quality worse. Look for a unit that offers noise-filtering. This technology will reduce the amount of line noise present in AC current and possibly make your overall picture and sound better.
  • Lifetime warranty and generous equipment protection policy.

AV battery backups, or UPS -- Best protection for home theater gear

What these units do:

  • Protect your investment from damage or loss due to bad power.
  • Filter electrical noise to help AV equipment provide you with the best video and audio performance possible.
  • Regulate electrical voltage that flow to your AV equipment and prevent brownouts and over-voltages from wearing out critical power supplies and/or causing video degradation.
  • Battery backup power eliminates all power interruptions and adverse aftereffects (i.e., they prevent loss of Digital Video Recorder, or DVR/multimedia server recordings, they can prevent hard drive damage, they protect expensive projector and DLP TV bulbs from premature failure due to power loss).

What to look for:

  • Underwriters Laboratories 1778 Standard.
  • Number of outlets that remain powered by the battery backup.
  • Response time of <1 nanosecond.
  • Rated at 300 joules or higher.
  • Proper data-line surge protection (UL 497A and UL 497 ratings) for Ethernet, COAX, DSL and telephone.
  • Fail-safe design.
  • Noise filtering.
  • Battery lifespan of at least two years.
  • Automatic voltage regulation. This feature solves the most common power problem, fluctuating voltages (so-called brownouts/over-voltages). Automatic voltage regulation eliminates the stress fluctuating voltages place on AV component power supplies and can help improve overall video and sound quality.
  • The battery backup/UPS should be designed specifically for AV systems. PC battery backups are not able to handle the unique power characteristics found in larger TVs and amplifiers. If not designed properly, the battery backup may fail.
Bankrate.com's corrections policy-- Posted: Sept. 30, 2005
 
 
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