What is a Surge Protector?
A device that shields computer and other electronic devices from surges in electrical power, or transient voltage, that flow from the power supply. Standard American voltage for home and office buildings is 120 volts. Anything over this amount is considered transient and can damage electronic devices that are plugged into an outlet. Even though power surges are so brief that they are measured in nanoseconds, they can cause considerable damage to electronic equipment.
How it Works
A surge protector works by channeling the extra voltage into the outlet's grounding wire, preventing it from flowing through the electronic devices while at the same time allowing the normal voltage to continue along its path. Electrical surges can damage computer equipment by burning its wires or gradually over time wearing down the device's internal components and even wipe out any saved data. Surge protectors can also protect telephone and cable lines as these also carry electric current.
Surge Protectors and Lightening
It is a common misunderstanding that surge protectors will protect systems from lightning, the most familiar source of power surges. Even the most effective surge protectors can not protect equipment from the sudden increase in electrical pressure of millions of volts that lightning can supply.
The best way to prevent damage during from lightning storm is to unplug devices that could be irreparably damaged. Surge protectors more commonly protect equipment from lower-voltage surges that occur frequently in modern electrical wiring. For example, devices such as refrigerators and air conditioners require large amounts of energy to switch motors and compressors on and off, creating surges in power that disrupt the steady flow of voltage. Faulty wiring, downed power lines and faulty equipment at the power source (utility company) can all cause power surges as well.
Surge protectors are also called power strips, surge suppressors and transient suppressors.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
It's not just your lawnmower and household tools that your neighbor won't return. Our top picks include everything from updating device firmware... Read More »Interesting Times: Transformation in the IT Channel
Business transformation will remain the buzzword of the moment as channel firms continue to assess the direction of their companies in the age of... Read More »What is a Virtual Private network (VPN)?
Companies and organizations will use a VPN to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »