Browse Definitions :
Definition

surge suppressor (surge protector)

See also Uninterruptible power supply .

A surge suppressor (sometimes optimistically called a "surge protector") is a device inserted in the alternating current ( AC ) utility line and/or telephone line to prevent damage to electronic equipment from voltage "spikes" called transients. A more accurate term for this type of device is "transient suppressor." A typical surge suppressor is a small box with several utility outlets, a power switch, and a 3-wire cord for plugging into a wall outlet.

In most countries where electronic equipment is used, the effective AC utility voltage is 110 to 120 volts; the peak voltage is on the order of plus-or-minus 160 to 170 volts at a frequency of 60 hertz . But transients, which arise from various causes, commonly reach peak levels of several hundred volts. These pulses are of short duration, measured in microseconds (units of 10 -6 second), but in that time, they can cause hardware to malfunction. The worst type of transient occurs when lightning strikes in the vicinity (it is not necessary for a power line to be directly hit). Such a "spike" can peak at thousands of volts and cause permanent damage to equipment.

A surge suppressor prevents the peak AC voltage from going above a certain threshold such as plus-or-minus 200 volts. Semiconductor devices are used for this purpose. The power line is effectively short-circuited to electrical ground for transient pulses exceeding the threshold, while the flow of normal 60-Hz current is unaffected. For the suppressor to work, a 3-wire AC power connection must be used. "Cheater" adapters, which allow 3-wire appliances to be used with 2-wire outlets or extension cords, defeat the electrical ground connection and render most surge suppressors ineffective.

Surge suppressors should be used as a matter of habit with all semiconductor-based electronic and computer hardware, including peripherals such as printers, monitors, external disk drives, and modem s. But the suppressor should not be relied upon to provide protection against lightning-induced transients. The safest procedure, inconvenient though it be, is to ensure that all susceptible hardware is plugged into the suppressor box, and to unplug the suppressor's main power cord when the equipment is not in use if you live in a thunderstorm-prone area.

This was last updated in March 2011
SearchCompliance
  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

  • risk profile

    A risk profile is a quantitative analysis of the types of threats an organization, asset, project or individual faces.

SearchSecurity
  • script kiddie

    Script kiddie is a derogative term that computer hackers coined to refer to immature, but often just as dangerous, exploiters of ...

  • cipher

    In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for encrypting and decrypting data.

  • What is risk analysis?

    Risk analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing potential issues that could negatively impact key business initiatives ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
  • gigabyte (GB)

    A gigabyte (GB) -- pronounced with two hard Gs -- is a unit of data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion ...

  • MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory)

    MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a method of storing data bits using magnetic states instead of the electrical ...

  • storage volume

    A storage volume is an identifiable unit of data storage. It can be a removable hard disk, but it does not have to be a unit that...

Close