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Power Strips

May 13th 2013, 14:48

KV5WS

Joined: Jun 23rd 2004, 14:56
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I found in the ARRL 2005 Handbook page 3.5 a topic "How Safe are Outlet Strips"? The article indicates that manufacturers accommodate the market with marginal products that are cheap. It goes on to indicate that the nonindicating and poorly designed surge protections also add to the safety hazard of using power strips.

What is considered a good quality power strip? I realize that the power strip should not be used to switch on and off the load, but rather the individual items connected to the strip should be turned on and off.

Thank you for any advice.
May 13th 2013, 16:20

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
It's hard to answer this question. There are thousands of power strips out there. There are some standard marks to look for, such as a UL rating. This hardly guarantees much, but if a model doesn't have this, it's something to worry about.

The big differences are internal -- the quality of wiring, contacts, switches, etc. They are very hard to judge on the shelf.

My guideline is to avoid the cheapest products. I've seen $2 no-name power strips. Don't trust these in any important application. Look for solid construction (e.g. metal), a switch that feels and looks substantial, and ideally a circuit breaker and pilot light.

Then there's the whole question of surge suppressors in outlet strips. You will see all kinds of claims, even "insurance" against appliance damage. My attitude is that something is probably better than nothing, and a higher "joule" (energy absorbing) rating is better than lower, but I would not trust my valuable gear to protection from a cheap power strip. Stick with known name brands if you can find them, and be prepared to pay a little more. Also, be VERY sure your 3rd wire ground pin is truly connected to your power ground.

For what it's worth, I'm using a Belkin 10-outlet switched strip in my shack, model F9D1001-15. No smoke so far.

73 Martin AA6E
May 14th 2013, 05:53

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi Guys. The best power protection will be provided by quality UPSs. Thats Uninteruptable Power Supply. They are kinda expensive, and are designed to to be used wit computers and other sensitive equipment. They have a battery that will power the device(s) connected to them for a few minutes, long enought to properly shut down a computer.

Definetly avoid cheap outlet strips, and the cheapest UPSs too. Outlet strips are handy in older houses or situations where you need more outlets than you have. Most outlet strips are rated at 15 Amps, so be carefull not to overload them.
May 14th 2013, 17:44

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
UPS's may provide surge protection, but that's not their main purpose. They automatically switch from AC mains to a battery-powered inverter when AC is lost. There's no guarantee that a lightning surge (or some such) won't get through before the switch over happens.

Some (more expensive) UPS's may always run the load off the DC inverter. That would give more isolation from the AC line. But I've never seen that in a consumer unit.

73 Martin AA6E

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