Get a Good Surge Protector or you Could End Up Like This Guy

  • Comments: 12
  • Written on: May 29th, 2007

Every year right before storm season I do a radio show on the need to have a good surge protector. I tell my listeners about surge protector myths and how to know if your surge protector is actually doing its job.

Last week a customer brought in a computer complaining about a burning smell after the last big thunderstorm. We opened up the computer to take a look and this is what we saw.

Fried Power Supply

The molex adapter had completely fused itself to the plastic on the computer’s hard drive and the black power wires leading to it had become so hot that the shielding melted completely off in some places.

When we told our customer what had happened, he was surprised to say the least. His computer was plugged into not one, but two surge protectors! He thought surely 2 was better than one, so why did the computer get fried?

His computer got toasted primarily because he was plugged into a non-grounded outlet using an adapter. without a grounded outlet, no surge protector can function properly. In fact, the 3000 Joule protectors that we sell will sound an audible alarm if they are plugged into a non-grounded outlet.

Remember that surge protectors only have a finite ability to protect your equipment. They wear out quicker than you think. Inexpensive protectors (like the ones for under $25 at Wal-Mart) are typically good for about a year. Don’t trust the “protected” lights unless the instructions say the surge protector will turn off the light when it is dead. Most of the time the lights stay on for ever.

If your surge protector is more than a year old, has a flickering power light, a dim power light, or no power/protected light it s time to replace it.

I have a couple surge protectors that were returned because our customers do not have grounded outlets in their home. The packages are open so I can not sell them. Post a comment below and I will mail you a FREE surge protector. I have two to give away, so first come first serve!

  1. Jeff B.
    Jeff B. said on May 29th, 2007 at 5:22 am

    Just wanted to say I enjoy your show and listen to it when I get a chance. You have an ability to make very technical things understandable.

    I must admit I am probably one of those who fit in the category of not havng a proper surge protector, so I would happily take one of those free ones you offer.

  2. Thor Schrock said on May 29th, 2007 at 6:53 am

    I have sent you an email Jeff asking for your contact information. Thanks for reading the blog! The early bird gets the worm!

    I have two left folks… Any other takers?

  3. lyle s
    lyle s said on May 29th, 2007 at 8:37 am

    my surge protector is about a year old so a new one would work for me and my schrock computer. thanks

  4. Thor Schrock said on May 29th, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Thanks for visiting my blog Lyle! I sent you an email asking for contact information. I have one left to give away!

  5. Eric
    Eric said on May 29th, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    I just opened a new office and could use an extra surge protector if you still have one. Otherwise, nice article.

  6. Alex Adams said on June 9th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Hi,
    I have a customer who just asked us to replace some parts on two out of three of their systems we sold them. Turns out, they don’t use the UPS’s we included with the systems, due to “no room”. Then, they mention that this all happened after the power went out, and then came back on.
    Now, we tell them they at least have to have surge protectors. What are the units you sell (the 3000 joules ones you mention)?
    If you have an extra – we’ll send it to them also!
    Thanks!

  7. Hey there
    Hey there said on August 13th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Am I still eligible to receive that Surge Protector?
    I would love to have something like that, I’m in desperate need.

    Feel free to e-mail me at the e-mail I provided. 🙂
    Thanks a lot.

  8. ZacK Martineau
    ZacK Martineau said on February 13th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Thor is such an AWSOME name!
    I have always wanted to name my first born son “Thor.” I didn’t know other people would beat me to it, but oh well, his name will still be, THOR!
    By the way, what brands of surge protectors would you reccomend, and what about “let through voltage” ratings??

  9. Kent Guerriero
    Kent Guerriero said on May 19th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Love the show!!

  10. Sherry Paar
    Sherry Paar said on October 7th, 2009 at 2:12 am

    I have a question. My Hubby and I are having an arguement. He keeps flipping the switch off on our surge protectors to save energy. Does this turn off the surge protector and negate the whole purpose of the thing or does it just cut off the power to things plugged into it. I felt it should stay on. Can you please help us with this and if it shoild stay on can you provide proof for my stubborn hubby?

    Thank you so much

  11. Don Gilbert
    Don Gilbert said on June 9th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I have a Walmart type surge protector that lighting went through around or over to get to and fry my modem and computer tower…the light is still on. This surge protector is the type that has 120v outlets along with telephone ports. I had everything hooked to it by the book.

    After working with AT&T for days restoring my internet service and borrowing my daughter’s computer I find that original surge protector appears to be working fine… How??

    Don in Georgia

  12. […] completely understand what a powerful surge can do to your computer, take a look at what happened to this computer that came into our Lincoln Service Center for repair.  Needless to say you must […]

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