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What you should know to protect your computer and other electrical equipment

Not all surge protectors are the same
There are power strips and then there are and surge protectors
Usually power strips are low cost and a multi-outlet that is merely an expansion of a wall socket. They often have a circuit breaker or specifically rated fuse. Ensure the fuse is right for the equipment you are intending to plug in.
i.e. the device works at 3A, use a 5A fuse, or the device works at 10A, use a 13A fuse
However, a power strip often does not offer any ‘real’ protection from electrical issues.
Surge protectors DO offer some level of protection against power surges. How much and how well varies considerably.

Get to know you joules
“One joule is defined as the amount of energy exerted when a force of one newton is applied over a displacement of one meter. One joule is the equivalent of one watt of power radiated or dissipated for one second.”
Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. It is sort of a reservoir of protection. If a product has 1,000 joules of protection, it means it can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1,000 joule hit. Generally, the more joules the better.

Power Surges can come over any wire
If you are after total protection, think about that phone and other cable lines can carry power surges, too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well.

USB is great – but check the amps
“An amp is a unit of electrical current. The quantity tells you how much electricity is being drawn through the power cable. A product that draws 10 amps sucks twice as much electricity as a product that draws 5 amps.”
Many surge protectors come with USB connections, so you can charge your mobile devices. Great! But check what the output amp rating is. Usually it is either 1 or 2 amps (labelled 1A or 2A). This is how much flow of current you can. For a mobile phone, 1 amp is adequate, but for a tablet, you may want 2 amps for quicker charging.

Warranty wanted!
Some surge protectors do offer a warranty (up to a certain amount) for the equipment connected to the protector. If you value your gear, live in an area with many thunderstorms or have expensive AV equipment – this is well worth looking out for!

Engineer Artur

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