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Show ALL Forums  > Technology/Computers  > Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???      Home login  
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 whenwillthiswork26
Joined: 11/13/2008
Msg: 1
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Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???Page 1 of 1    
My old computer had a bown CPU and the guy at geek squad said to replace all my power strips. He said they are only good for a couple of years since the fuses inside go bad. And this is most likely how my CPU got blown.

Is this correct???
 /don
Joined: 10/6/2009
Msg: 2
Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/5/2009 11:13:28 AM
Depends on how much you use it, I've had some for many years and they are still good.
If you use it a lot or it's acting as a surge protector for expensive equipment, it might not be a bad idea to switch them out every couple years.

You mentioned the Geek Squad, please be careful when dealing with them. They will ruin your stuff then charge you for it. They know more about selling you stuff than they do about fixing stuff.

Personally, I wouldn't buy anything from the geek squad and wouldn't ever let them near my computers.
 Cheburashka
Joined: 7/19/2009
Msg: 3
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Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/5/2009 11:29:22 AM
A PoWeR STriP...

Sounds rather naughty to me, isnt that what Demi Moore did in that striptease movie!

As to your multi way power socket adapter every 5 years... but it depends, I always go with Belkin branded, they recommend 5 years, but lesser brands may be less.

In all honesty it doesnt really matter, a fuse is a fuse is a fuse, if it works it works.
You can use it till it no longer carries the required current.
 SingleGuy4912
Joined: 7/25/2006
Msg: 4
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Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/5/2009 12:33:14 PM
If the fuses were blown, the power strips would no longer conduct electricity. Are the strips still conducting electricity?
 James Bottomtooth III
Joined: 5/19/2008
Msg: 5
Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/5/2009 2:25:51 PM

My old computer had a bown CPU and the guy at geek squad said to replace all my power strips. He said they are only good for a couple of years since the fuses inside go bad. And this is most likely how my CPU got blown.

Depends on if you have surge protectors or just power strips.

Surge protectors have M.O.V. Metal Oxide Varistor, this is basically a fuse that will blow when there is too much or not enough power, but it ca also wear out over time from smaller spikes.


...A varistor remains non-conductive as a shunt mode device during normal operation when voltage remains well below its "clamping voltage". If a transient pulse (often measured in joules) is too high, the device may melt, burn, vaporize, or otherwise be damaged or destroyed. This (catastrophic) failure occurs when "Absolute Maximum Ratings" in manufacturer's datasheet are significantly exceeded.
Varistor degradation is defined by manufacturer's life expectancy charts using curves that relate current, time, and number of transient pulses. A varistor fully degrades typically when its "clamping voltage" has changed by 10%. A fully degraded varistor remains functional (no catastrophic failure) and is not visibly damaged...
*

So some will still work when the MOV's are shot, so good idea to replace them.

Also installing a surge protector at your main panel is a good idea as well.



*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varistor
 subtlecaffeine
Joined: 5/23/2007
Msg: 6
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Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/6/2009 2:04:02 PM
I seriously doubt this is how your PC got blown...and when you say CPU...what do you REALLY mean? The power supply of a computer is going to be the first thing to blow up...i've VERY rarely seen a power supply blow up and take the rest of the system with it...that only happens when voltages inside the power supply arc around where they're not supposed to. as i'll state below...the geek squad guy was telling you a story..just to get you to spend money and make you think you know why the thing blew..or maybe so you think they knew why it blew.....having almost worked for them...the policy...at least to me...seemed if it can get the customer to spend more money, lie to them.

A Varistor is NOT a fuse. It might ACT like a fuse in the same way a diode can act as a switch...but it's actually a semiconductor that will latch within a specifc voltage and if it spikes or goes up past a specific voltage, it "shunts".

Being a semiconductor...these devices themselves do not age to a degree one needs to worry about. There are variables that determine the overall life of a varisitor.

Most "cheap" surge protectors...and I use that term to not only describe the $10 ones at the Drugstore, but a lot of the more expensive models...they simply have a circuit breaker and a couple of varistors in them. What will these protect from? not much really. NONE of them are rated to take a full lightning strike....most of these are rated for 330 volts, after which point...they fry. these are mostly to protect from transient voltage spikes...these occur when say, an applicance cuts on or something that draws a lot of power on the grid power cycles. they're designed for momentary spikes of a small magnitude.

the thing people seem to obsess with is lightning strikes.....people, regardless of how much you paid for something you plugged in to your wall..it is NOT going to protect you from a direct lightning strike. the intital transisent voltage is upwards of millions of volts....it's fast and high enough supression equipment can't handle it...not to mention that whatever is used to "disconnect" the power from it's load...with a ligtning strike...the electricity can actually jump across contacts.Seriously, if lightning strikes your power line.....your electronic equipment is going to be toast due to the instant fire it will cause INSIDE your walls.

I work on arcade stuff for a living...blah..blah..i've mentioned that. but these machines have thier own built in surge supression...they generally have an EMI filter and a varisistor somewhere near the main transformer. Now, i've seen machines that have taken a heafty spike...it blows the varistor...and that's it. they're wired up in such a way with the EMI filter that the machine appears dead after a strike...but removing the varistor restores operation. I've seen a few machines take some heafty spikes that were saved by a varistor...i've seen ones take direct lightning that nothing was saved. I've been in a house that took a direct hit.....the walls were burned in the exact pattern of the wires in the walls.....did he have surge protectors? sure...they all melted when the lightning hit (you can tell where it blew the varistor and then arced ACROSS the blown part).

so, seriously, you guys sit there and spend hundreds of bucks on a surge supressor that plugs in to your wall....stop...it's no more secure than the things already built in to the computer power supplies. Yes, they've got the EXACT same varistor in 'em. Most electronic devices i've seen these days have a varistor in them.

the other thing...if you read the fine print...no surge supressor on the market is designed for a direct lightning hit....not even the fancy expensive in-wall panel filters will handle a surge THAT large. they'll protect you in case your neighbor turns off a 390VAC 3-phase motor that causes a 250V spike to jump over the grid and down your line....but lightning....no...there's no way.

I've worked...or rather taken apart all kinds of surge protectors....the difference between the cheap ones and the good ones isn't really much..just quality of materials. functionally, the $10 one is the same as the $100 one..the $100 one just has better plastic and metal contacts.

As far as replacing them...there's different reasons for replacing them. Surge supression isn't one of them...seriously, as stated..the quality of the surge supression is only to protect you from your referigerator and AC units and not any MAJOR spikes...even an out-of-spec varistor will protect against that...their clamping voltage is 330 volts. Plugs however...they do get worn out...when the recepticles get worn...things dont' make good contact. this loss of contact results in less surface area moving electrons...causing heat...which can cause another type of damage.

GeekSquad just wants you to spend money on their stuff..it's the same thing as the Magnolia guys trying to sell me Monster Cable..."dude, you need monster cable to take full advantage of your blu-ray's HDMI signal" "first of all idiot...it's a digital signal...the quality of the bits isn't affected by the transmission medium"

If it's working...the plugs are tight...then I say keep it. Ok, so maybe the light flickers...that has nothing to do with the longevity of the unit on a whole...i can't tell you the number of strips i've got at work where the lights on the switch filcker constantly or don't work at all...the light..most of the time..is just a neon lamp across the swtich...

just becuase they wear shirts that say "geek" on them...doesn't mean they're the best geeks to talk to about anything.
 tridigee
Joined: 3/2/2008
Msg: 7
Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/6/2009 11:03:03 PM
I doubt very much that power strips wear out, that's probably mostly a CYA thing that companies do. Though, if there are capaciters inside (last strip I took apart did) they can wear out over time and start to leak. My opinion is that a good surge protector will no longer work if it's not capable of protecting equipment - when it's dead, it no longer provides power. Sometime similar to a surge strip that does go bad is an uninteruptable power supply. These have batteries in them so they can provide power for a period of time in the case of a brown-out or black-out. Since batteries are chemical, they do eventually decay and wear out.

As far as not needing high quality cables to get the full quality of a digital signal, that's mostly accurate. The majority of people have a 3 or 6 foot cable connecting the blue-ray player and the TV. Over this distance the cable matters very little. However, when you run cable for 30 or 50 feet, there is enough wire to affect the signal. Depending on the quality of the metal, the cable has a different capacitance, and so has varying effects on high-speed signals. The end result is that a device has a hard time telling a 0 from a 1 in the signal, so then the quality does degrade. It's possible to calculate the maximum length based on signal frequency, metal type (impendance), and a couple other things, but I forgot how to shortly after I learned in college.
 subtlecaffeine
Joined: 5/23/2007
Msg: 8
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Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/7/2009 7:38:23 AM
capicators do wear our over time...but..the ones in power strips generally stay under charge..which preserve them longer provided they dont have bad fluid. like i said with supression...its not that heave duty so even when the varistors drop value....its not much to matter. i saw a 30 year old varistor blow once...it saved the equipment though.
 TheBigAndy
Joined: 9/23/2008
Msg: 9
Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/7/2009 8:27:49 AM
Surge protectors mainly protect you from overloading your a wall outlet. The switching power supply in your computer will protect you from anything the surge protector would protect you from. In fact I doubt the power strip has as much protective circuitry as any thing you plug into wall would be required to have through UL, TUV or CSA.

As stated before. If you really want to protect your PC you want to get a UPS so your computer can properly shut down when the power goes out.
 NightsSky
Joined: 10/2/2006
Msg: 10
Do I need to replace my power strips every few years???
Posted: 11/9/2009 6:23:04 PM
I like to buy new every so often.

With the big lightning strikes/storms. Totally disconnect your computer/equipment from power.

Remember turn them off beforehand.
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