What type of damage can power surges do?


[I]s it possible for power surges to inflict partial damage on electrical devices?

What you refer to as a power surge will most likely be a voltage spike, i.e. short but significant increase in the line voltage. This increased voltage will in the most general case lead to increased electrical currents in your devices, and this may kill them.

Simplest example: a light bulb that is specified for 230V will generate more light at higher voltages (because higher voltage -> higher current -> higher temperature of the filament -> more light), but due to the higher temperature, the filament will break earlier (as early as "instantly" if enough voltage is applied). Other simple examples might be motors which might run faster at higher voltages but will also suffer from the increased currents.

Any devices involving semiconductor circuits (so, almost all nowadays, I guess) are also affected in the same way. Too much current -> too much heat -> broken device. It is quite...

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September 15, 2017

It is extremely likely that during and after the storm, power surges occurred. What are power surges? A power surge is basically a voltage spike in your home's electrical current. Even though it might only last less than a thousandth of a second, it can still be a significant increase in the line voltage. This increased voltage will in most general cases lead to increased electrical currents in your devices, which may kill them.

A good example is a light bulb. When a light bulb experiences a power surge, due to the increased voltage it will generate more light. Simply said: higher voltage means higher current, which means higher temperature of the filament, which means more light. But the light bulb is made for a certain amount of voltage, for example 230V. So an increase in this voltage means a higher temperature, which means it will break earlier (as early as "instantly" if enough voltage is applied). The same goes for any other appliance. You appliance...

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Presentation on theme: "What is a power surge? Tutorial SA1"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is a power surge? Tutorial SA1
The purpose of this tutorial is to increase consumer awareness about the unavoidable power surges that can damage, degrade or destroy sensitive electronic equipment, such as appliances, home office equipment, home theater equipment and other sensitive electronic devices in the home.

2 What are they? Where do they come from? What damage do they cause?
Power Surges What are they? Where do they come from? What damage do they cause? To understand the problem, and what is at risk in your home, you must first gain an understanding of What a power surge is, What causes power surges and What damage they do to electrical and electronic equipment.

3 What is a Power Surge? Power surges...

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What Are Power (Voltage) Surges?

A power surge is one form of electrical power disturbance. There are four main types of power disturbances:

Voltage dips (also called "sags" or "brownouts") Electromagnetic interference Radio frequency interference Power surges (also referred to as "voltage surges" or "transient voltages")

Power surges are generally considered to be the most destructive of the four types of electrical power disturbances.

Power surges are spikes in voltage.

They are very brief, usually lasting millionths of a second. Power surges can vary in duration and magnitude, varying from a few hundred volts to several thousand volts.

No matter where you live, your home experiences power...

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What Is a Power Surge?

A power surge is talking about a sudden electric current spike of your home or office. Like the common instant power loss issue, it happens without any sign, doesn’t last long, but, still arouse damages to your appliances of your home or office. Moreover, if you are coincidentally using your digital storage devices, including some computer hard disks, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD card or other memory cards, on your computer, the power surges also can corrupt your storage devices and bring your hard drive or memory card data loss troubles.

What Causes a Power Surge?

There are often two types of power surges: the internal power surges and external power surges.
The internal power surge, as the most commonly encountered type for people, often happen due to the high-power electrical devices, like elevators, air conditioners and refrigerators, etc, which can bring people an electric current spike when they are switched on...

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When electrical damage or a power surge happens in your home, the damage can be huge. So what is a power surge?

A power surge can cause major electrical damage to your AC unit, your computer, your TV, your washer/dryer and anything else that you have plugged into the wall.

A power surge is when a massive amount of electricity flows into a home or building. Because most buildings electric voltage doesn’t exceed 120 volts, this sudden blast of electricity is jolting. A power surge can cause electrical damage to anything you have plugged into the wall’s electric outlet at the time of the surge. This massive influx of volts can fry air conditioning units, computers, your washer and dryer, and your entire living room entertainment system.

What causes a power surge?

There are 3 major causes of power surges. A power surge can happen in various ways and impact your home or business with different levels of force. If you live in Florida’s Gulf Coast, you may be...

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What are power surges?

Power surges happen when electrical charge is boosted on a power line which, in turn, leads to a greater amount of electricity flowing to an electrical


on a wall. There are many reasons why these surges occur. One of the reasons is lightning which can cause a power surge by increasing electrical pressure by millions of volts. Many electrical devices like air conditioners and elevators that draw a lot of power to


on and off can also cause power surges. Other factors that can cause a surge may include downed power lines, problem with the


, and faulty equipment from the utility company.

Listed below are a few questions answered by electricians on issues relating to power surges.

I am experiencing power surges at home and all the lights keep dimming and then getting brighter. The electric company says that everything at their end is fine. How do you think I can fix this?

It seems likely...

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Simple steps can help save your electronics from electrical surge damage

Have you ever noticed the lights in your home flickering? You might not have thought much of it, but that's a telltale sign of an electrical surge that could cause permanent damage to computers, TVs and other sensitive electronics.

Surges can be caused by a number of factors. A nearby lightning strike, your utility company switching from one distribution system to another, or an animal like a squirrel or raccoon damaging a power line could all be causes. In in some cases, if your home is near a large factory and you share the same transformer or electrical system, even simply powering heavy machinery on or off could cause a surge.

A power surge can reach your home, fry your circuit breakers and spread to your outlets. If a device or appliance is plugged in, it may not survive the sudden surge of electricity.

So what can you do to make sure your electronics survive an electrical...

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Physically damage? No. However, a power surge could knock out any of the components that make-up the display sub-system. For instance, the display adapter logic could be affected, thereby causing a display problem (no video most likely). Or, the inverter board, which supplies power to the LCD panel, could be affected, resulting in anything from no video, to extremely dim video due to loss of backlight, to intermittent video. Now, if your laptop was struck by lightning directly, then you could conceivably sustain the damage you are describing. Depending on the manufacturer and the particular support person you talk to, you are probably going to be accused of dropping the laptop and have to pay for repair, as typically that is the only action that will cause the type of damage you are...

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Maybe you know this story: There's a thunderstorm. Lightning strikes nearby. The power cuts out for a moment, then returns. But when you try to switch on the TV, it doesn't seem to work.

Electrical surges can instantly overload and short out the circuitry of home electronics and anything else plugged into the wall, or they can degrade them over time. Learning more about surges can help save money and how to protect your property.

How does a power surge cause damage?

In the United States, most homes use electrical power in the form of 120 volt, 60 hertz, single phase, alternating current.

However, the voltage is not delivered at a constant 120 volts. With alternating current, the voltage rises and falls in a predetermined rhythm. The voltage oscillates from 0 to a peak voltage of 169 volts. Most appliances and electronics used in the United States are designed to be powered by this form of generated electricity.

But during a power surge, the...

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Power surges are temporary, fast voltage spikes that occurs either due to an interruption in electricity flow or when an increased rush of electricity flows back into the system. They can occur in a number of ways, such as when you turn large appliances on and off, when the electric utility company conducts power grid switching, or even when lightning strikes.

The average American home use electrical power in the form of 120-volt, 60Hz, single phase, alternating current. While most homeowners assume that the voltage in their home is consistently delivered at 120 volts, the voltage actually fluctuates due to alternating current, oscillating from 0 to a peak 169 volts.

Most electronics and appliances can withstand this fluctuation in current. However, when a power surge occurs, generating voltage that exceeds 169 volts, it can cause an arc of electrical current within the device. The heat produced in the arc results in damage to the electronic circuit boards ...

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Alternatively known as a line surge or power surge, a surge is a short, fast rise in voltage that inherently causes an increase in electrical current or vice versa. Exclusive to electrical circuits, a power surge can cause damage or impairment to a computer or other devices.

For example, the standard voltage rating on a landline in the United States is 120 V. If this rating is exceeded for more than three nanoseconds, it would be considered a surge, any shorter duration is a spike.

Tip: Users can help prevent damage from power surges with surge protectors.

Note: A surge can also travel over a phone line. An unprotected modem may also cause damage to your computer.

What causes a surge?

The most common cause of a surge is a lightning bolt in an electrical storm that strikes a device connected to a power, phone, cable, or other wire. For example, a lightning bolt could strike a satellite dish. Then, the electricity could travel over the wire...

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Power Line Surges Questions

Power Line Surges Questions & Answers

Power Lines


Experts say that power line surge suppressors can actually cause damage to motherboards and data cards, and scramble data sent to interconnected computers, printers and modems. How does this happen, and how can I avoid these problems?


There are basically two types of power line surge technology, newly patented Series Mode and the older Shunt Mode (so-called hybrids are usually Shunt Mode). The Shunt Mode technology was developed over twenty years ago to protect stand-alone equipment, but this older technology is no longer suitable for modern sensitive interconnected equipment.

Shunt Mode suppressors are still very common because this older technology...

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Raise your hand if you have your computer plugged in to a surge protecting power strip. OK, now raise your hand if you think that's adequate to protect your gear in an electrical storm. Wow, a lot of you. The reality is that many of us don't know enough about power surges. What are they? Where do they start? How can you really protect against them? And what the heck is a whole-house suppressor? We've got your answers right here.

What is a Power Surge?
A power surge happens when there's an unexpected spike in the voltage supplied through an electrical line. It's a quick event, sometimes it may last for only a few millionths of a second, but a surge can carry tens of thousands of volts.

What Causes Surges?
Even though you're on guard whenever there's a lighting storm nearby, that's not the most common cause for household power surges. More likely, a surge in your home will be caused by downed power lines, short circuits, tripped circuit breakers, a sudden...

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Do you unplug your computer during severe storms? If not, you may want to start.

It’s long been known that frequent electrical storms and power outages can damage electronic devices or full-out destroy them, and that includes computers. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying or misguided. The worst part is that power outages Top 10 Activities To Do When There's A Power Outage aren’t the only concern.

What are the risks of electrical failure? How do they impact your computer? And what can you do to protect your computer from being fried?

The Different Types of Electrical Anomalies

The electricity flowing through your home is not constant. Ideally it would be, but the reality is that electrical currents can ebb and flow, sometimes dropping in voltage and other times surging with extra power. All of these can have undesirable effects.

When power completely shuts off, it’s known as a...

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Posted on: July 1, 2014

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge is an abnormally high voltage lasting for a short period of time.

A power surge is a transient wave of voltage, current or power in an electrical circuit. This is usually a sub-cycle overvoltage lasting less than a half-cycle of the regular voltage waveform, and can either be additive or subtractive with positive or negative polarity.

This is usually an oversupply of the voltage from a source such as mains supply or generator and lasting only for a few microseconds. Typical surges may last for 50 microseconds and even though it’s only a very short duration, they surge can reach 6000 Volts and 3000Amps by the time they arrive at the powered equipment.

Surges are produced by various events such as equipment faults, lightning discharges, capacitor bank building and load switching. The ability of the equipment to withstand the transients greatly impact on its reliability.


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A transient wave of current, voltage or both in an electric circuit. Be aware that ‘surge’ and ‘power surge’ carry a layman’s connotation of almost any type of power disturbance, which differs from technical definition. Within the electrical standards community, the term ‘power surge’ approaches nebulous, inviting further information. ‘Surge’ is more formally defined as a transient overvoltage or transient sub-cycle event, and not as an event that increases power frequency voltage for multiple cycles. Multi-cycle overvoltage events are more aptly named temporary overvoltages (TOVs), designating a similar sounding, but substantially different power anomaly. As an oversimplification, surges are caused by switching or lightning disturbances.

TVSS is an abbreviation for "transient voltage surge suppressor." This term is giving way to "surge protective device" (SPD). A TVSS or surge protective device (SPD) is a device that attenuates...

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Power surges occur when an electrical charge is sent suddenly through the lines. These cause spikes in the typical power flowing through an outlet: power and phone outlets. Weather is one of the most common causes of power surges, though problems with your electric company's equipment and high powered electrical devices can also cause power surges. When a laptop is the victim of a power surge, the effects range from no damage to inoperable.

Power surges can severely damage a laptop.

The charger is what supplies power to your laptop and is the first thing to be hit. If you notice your battery no longer charges or takes much longer to charge, your charger is probably damaged. In addition to the charger, your battery can be damaged as well. It may run down quicker or not hold a charge at all.

One of the worst things that can happen to a laptop during a power surge is the motherboard being hit. If the motherboard takes the brunt of the electrical surge, your laptop...

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Should you worry about power surges?

Lightning strikes are a common cause, but most power surges stem from inside your home.

Power surges occur when the flow of electricity is interrupted, then started again, or when something sends electricity flowing back into the system.

Surges can range from five or ten volts when you turn on your hair dryer to thousands of volts if lightning strikes a transformer.

Internal power surges

More than half of household power surges are internal. These happen dozens of times of day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances.

Refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools can also cause problems.

External power surges

An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility...

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In general a surge is a transient wave of current, voltage or power in an electric circuit. In power systems in particular – and this is likely the most common context that we relate surges to – a surge, or transient, is a subcycle overvoltage with a duration of less than a half-cycle of the normal voltage waveform. A surge can be either positive or negative polarity, can be additive or subtractive from the normal voltage waveform, and is often oscillatory and decaying over time.

Surges, or transients, are brief overvoltage spikes or disturbances on a power waveform that can damage, degrade, or destroy electronic equipment within any home, commercial building, industrial, or manufacturing facility. Transients can reach amplitudes of tens of thousands of volts. Surges are generally measured in microseconds.

Every piece of electrical equipment is designed to operate at a specified nominal voltage such as 120 Vac, 240 Vac, 480 Vac, and so on. Most equipment is designed...

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