PC hardware forum: Do surge protectors merely give us a false sense of security?

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) June 29, 2012 4:39 PM PDT

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Do surge protectors merely give us a false sense of security?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 6/29/12 4:39 PM

Question:

Do surge protectors merely give us a false sense of security?

Here's why I ask this question. I live in upstate South Carolina, a
region prone to severe thunderstorms in the spring and summer. So
naturally I purchased and faithfully use surge protectors for all of
my sensitive electronic equipment. Several weeks ago we had a doozy of
a thunderstorm with multiple nearby lightning strikes and power
surges. I sat confidently at my computer and continued to work,
basking in the false security of a UPS and multiple surge protectors.
Zap-crackle, zap-crackle, Zap! "Wow, that was close" I thought. I even
thought I heard the surge protector "kick in." What I heard was my
cable modem arcing to ground! Yep. Fried it. And the phone modem. But
the big loss was my multi-function printer/scanner/copier/fax system.
D-E-A-D dead.

But wait! Don't these surge protectors come with a "connected
equipment protection policy?" I was shocked to discover (pardon the
pun) that I had actually kept the warranty information for the surge
protector in question. Indeed yes, it has such as policy. So I
contacted Schneider Electric, the manufacturer of the APC brand. They
confirmed the product's warranty and took me through their product
return process. Their letter arrived today. "The APC product we tested
showed no indication of malfunction," they wrote. "Your equipment
damage is therefore unfortunately not covered under APC's Equipment
Protection Policy."

So what I have is a perfectly "good" $20 surge protector that failed
to protect a device worth hundreds of dollars. It seems to me this is
$20 wasted. What do your readers think?

Kind regards.

--Submitted by: Jeff H.

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