Electronic devices are increasingly determining our living space. The correct functioning of these devices is becoming increasingly important. Due to the ever increasing integration of the circuits, they are often combined with the enhanced processing speeds. The chances of these devices malfunctioning, increases significantly if no suitable measures are taken.
Malfunctions are often caused by electromagnetic emissions from other electrical devices or atmospheric discharges. The ability of a device or a system to neither be influenced by interference or to influence other devices by its own emissions is called electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).
The resistance to interference or the maximum own interference emission is specified in various standards and regulations. A well-known example of this is the CE mark and the EMVG (law on electromagnetic compatibility of devices). However, the limits specified there are often not sufficient for the special environmental conditions of devices or systems.
Malfunctions or destruction therefore occur again and again. Effective protection can be achieved with knowledge of the mode of action of the interference and implementation of the Surge Protectors.
Types of surges, origin and effect
Electrostatic discharges occur when charged persons touch the housing or operating elements. This charging takes place by shifting the charge between different materials. In most cases this occurs between the shoes and the flooring. The voltages that occur are often several 1000V.
The discharges do not lead to malfunctions in a properly installed device. Discharges to unprotected assemblies normally lead to destruction that is not always immediately recognizable. This often results in previous damage that leads to late failure of the assembly.
Radiated fields: Radio and television stations, company radio and also cell phones influence other electronic devices through radiation. The radiated high frequency mostly only leads to malfunctions of the devices, such as false alarms or malfunctions of the microprocessor that lead to emergency operation. Destruction occurs only in very rare cases.
Avoid damage as a preventive measure
The mains voltage for the transmission of electrical energy is set at a voltage level according to each country. But,if this voltage value is heavily distorted by external influences, this can cause damage to sensitive electrical and electronic devices to such an extent that they subsequently become unusable.
There are two main reasons why surge voltages can spread in buildings at all. The first is the development of electromagnetic fields, particularly those caused by lightning strikes. In addition, overvoltage occurs as a result of conducted interference – these are also often caused by lightning strikes.
The protection against overvoltage is usually multi-track. The use of lightning current arresters first of all prevents the lightning energy from penetrating into the house via the endangered lines.
In addition, surge protection devices (installed in the electrical distribution cabinet) are used as a further preventive measure. These are able to reduce overvoltage to a normal level. Finally, specific arresters are used for particularly sensitive electrical or electronic devices. They can also reduce interference voltage to a harmless level.
Surge protectors versus power strips
When you are looking for extra electric power, you may have come across power strips and surge protectors. Both function most probably in the same way, but surge protectors include an extra feature.
Power strips offer extra outlets. On the other hand, surge protectors play the role of power strips as well as protect your appliances from power surges. Power strips cannot protect your appliances from sudden power surges. Power strips are cheaper but it is wise to choose surge protectors as an extra outlet for electronic devices. The money you pay is worth as you get considerable power spike protection and costly mishaps get avoided.
Benefits of installing surge protectors in a home
Power surges can exceed the average voltage of a home. The surge can go over 120V during a lighting storm or multiple electronic devices get used simultaneously. The surge protector will detect this extra current and divert it safely to the earthing wire of your home.
Protecting your whole house from possible upsurge hazard is affordable. Your electronics get protection against burnouts and thus have their lifespan increased. As excessive voltage gets restrained, your HVAC or refrigeration or washing machine will need less repair or maintenance calls.