Surge protection advice

Having recently had a surge event that lunched a server, I would be keen to know what others are doing to protect their HiFi/AV and other gear.
I am considering an SPD on the line in, PSDs on each of the circuits (currently just RCDs) and then individual SPDs on the high value items.
Computer gear all have UPSs.
All using products from reputable companies that offer insurance (none available on my home policies and increasingly not on any in Aust I understand).
Thoughts? Advice? Experiences?

Might want to check out this thread…

At Antipodes Audio we use the Puritan Audio Labs PSM1512 which not only purifies but offers surge protection.

Thanks Mark. I was specifically interested in the use of whole home surge protection alone as distinct from discrete conditioning gear with SPD. Perhaps I should have been more clear…but have done now I guess.
Any thoughts?

I have to admit that I am unfamiliar with the acronyms SPD, PSD and RCD. At least I know UPS. I ship with them on occasion.

(Sorry for the bad joke. UPS is the one acronym I knew as I have several).

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Surge Protection Device (SPD), Residual Current Device (RCD), dunno PSD and dare not guess!
Like your posts - thanks

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I’ve been meaning to get who home surge protection but I tend to be terrible at procrastination. I think though that my only at risk component would be my amp as it’s the only component plugged directly into the wall. Maybe my procrastination there is because I think I’m due for a new amp. Haha.

I wish I could be helpful. If you do elect to move forward with a whole home solution, please report back.

It’s certainly worth fitting a type 1 or 2 SPD at the incoming mains position. Exactly which type you need is dependant on the incoming mains arrangement & whether or not the building has an external lightning protection system.

The installation of an SPD at the mains will have zero negative effect on sound quality as they connect in parallel to the circuits & unless there’s a spike or surge they remain passive. They do more than just protect against a single huge over voltage event & will also protect against the many smaller & more frequent spikes, such as those caused by switching.

In the U.K & with the advent of the 18th edition of the wiring regulations their fitment has now become the norm especially after the latest March 2022 amendments. It’s still slightly open to interpretation but one of the stipulations of chapter 44 is that SPD’s should always be fitted where there is a risk of significant financial or data loss.

However regulation 443.4.1 then goes on to state that for all other cases SPD protection shall be provided unless the owner of the installation:
Declares they do not want them fitting as the potential loss is deemed to be tolerable.
Accepts the risk of damage to equipment & any consequential loss.
In such instances an electrician should be getting the customer to sign a waiver to that effect.

A type 3 SPD should then be used wherever the circuit length reaches or exceeds a conductor length of 10 metres from the electrical panel. It’s not a bad idea to have some form of spike protection next to every area where you have expensive electrical equipment.

Being as the price of a type 2 SPD starts at around £70 U.K + the cost of installation then most households would benefit from their installation, let alone one that contains expensive audio equipment such as your own.

It should be noted that an SPD installation alone will not protect you from a direct lightning strike but will provide a high degree of protection against strikes further along on the HV network.


Excellent advice thank you. Confirms my thinking. SPDs are trivial in cost relative to the value of the gear in many homes these days.
I figure I’ll have more important things to be concerned about if I have a direct hit from lightning!

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Apart from anything else, all those minor surges & spikes act together to shorten the life of your electrical/electronic equipment. SPD’s particularly at the incoming mains will guard against that & that alone makes fitment worthwhile.

I’ve installed a great many voltage recorders at various properties (normally for a period of two weeks) & not once have I ever removed one that hadn’t recorded multiple transient over voltage spikes during that short period.

Even an SPD fitted at the mains position will eventually fail & it’s for this reason that most have removable/replaceable cartridges. In the case of my own a red indicator will show when it needs replacing.

I’ve never had to replace an SPD cartridge on my own installation though & being as I’ve recently installed an updated fuse board (again with an integral SPD) I’m hopefully not expecting to have to do so any time soon. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Years ago I had an Enviromental Potentials EP-2000 installed on my mains and also purchased an EP-2350 for my music/home theater room. I also have an older APC S15 conditioner with battery back up for some of my equipment in this room to allow me time for normal shut down, such as the K50, during loss of power.

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Good thinking. I have UPSs on all computer gear other than K30 and it makes sense to do the same with it of course. But without the ability to have the Antipodes accept a signal from the NAS to shut down it relies on someone being near to manually do so.
Coupled with SPDs would make a pretty robust system IMO.
@MarkCole thoughts?

We have built in SPD and RCD on most all our homes.
How does a UPS affect the sound?

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I am of the opinion that everything in the chain has an influence on the sound. My UPS, APC S15, is an older unit, which, I believe, has been discontinued. It was marketed as an “audiophile” quality pure sine wave unit for music and home theater at the time. As I recall, there were positive “professional” and user reviews on the unit. However, that unit is getting a bit long in the tooth (as am I). I have replaced the battery only once with it. I have had at least 4 UPS units for my home office in that time, and none of those have lasted nor performed as well as the S15. I live in a location with high heat requiring air conditioning for 4-6 months of the year. We experience voltage grid fluctuations due to high demand. During this time, the S15 can activate for voltage regulation when my air conditioner kicks on. We also experience power outages, especially during summer monsoons. As to the heart of your question of how does the UPS affect the sound, I have not tested this for many years, and so much has changed in my system since then. At the time, I believed I was hearing less glare and more organic presentation. I am very reluctant now to go through tear down testing with and without it in the chain. I have 4-way active main speakers. I have 4 amps that are direct to outlet, not UPS. The amount of cabling for these, including the active crossover, is nuts. The Enviromental Potentials EP-2350 and S15 also assist for electrically connecting the other equipment. It would just be a painful process to remove the S15 for testing at this time. Very possibly removing this UPS from the chain could have some sound improvements, but the system does sound quite good to me now and not worth losing the voltage regulation and backup power for me at this stage.

I have a couple of new Eaton UPSs and a much less complex system, so intend to give it a go this weekend.

I see a problem with my computer system and my stereo system. The computer is set up with a big surge protector from Home Depot, and my stereo system is set up with a audiophile Torus power conditioner. If there is a hint of a thunderstorm, the stereo system goes off. I learned a $1200 lesson about turning off electronics before a storm !


Zero Surge is a reputable company
I have used them for years

Belatedly tested my existing UPSs, but then did some more research. Essentially three different UPS configurations, so whether there is a SQ effect depends on the type of UPS and its configuration.
So spent some time talking to surge protection companies.
In particular the senior tech guys at the Australian companies Novaris and Powershield.
Consensus is that to adequately protect the Music Server requires a surge protection device (SPD) at the line into the house prior to the board and then a Line Interactive UPS before the Server.

There are a number of systems available at the mains input.
I am installing 3 phase power ready for an EV at some stage (when they get reasonable range). The best 3P SPDs are around the $3-4k range plus installation and are 3 stage SPDs. If you only have single phase, cost is a lot cheaper.
Good example is the PowerShield 63Amp 3 Phase Wall Mount Surge Filter.
Novaris make a 3 stage much smaller SPD with MOVs/filter/MOVs (SFD3 range). So sacrificial, but very effective reduction. It can go directly on most boards, not needing a separate cabinet. Runs in parallel, so no SQ impact. $900 plus fitting. This is what I have purchased.

Best UPS appears to be the Powershield Commander RT range - pure sine, AVR, etc. Likely others around with similar specs. Again no SQ issues as a parallel device.
Issue with UPSs is whether Antipodes can program the server to gracefully shut down when the UPS activates - @MarkCole is this possible??
Otherwise it is of not much use unless you happen to be around when the surge/spike occurs.

Simplistic overview so happy to answer any questions that I can.

Hope this helps.

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