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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Whole house power surge protection

    Last year we had a power surge during a storm. It took out my computer as well as a few other things. Since then my RCBO had been tripping on irregular intervals. This was also put down to the power surge. I've now changed that and everything works fine.
    I want to fit a 'Power Surge Breaker' before the supply reaches the consumer unit. Has anyone any recommendations to which type is best ? Thanks
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  2. #2
    Member EssEffBee's Avatar
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    I believe that I have found something for you at http://www.leonics.co.th/support/brochure/LS-113.pdf
    Please notice the address at the bottom of the document.

    Many people sell these things - ABB, Square-D, Critec, Procel, Erico, Novaris.

    Regardless of whether your house is single phase or 3 phase, select the 40kA unit.

    Connecting this thing to your system is not easy. I'm not sure if Thai 'electricians' would even know what it is, let alone connect it correctly.
    Idiots! I'm surrounded by idiots!

  3. #3
    euston has flown

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    Don't these devices work by diverting the serge current into the house earth. Would I be rig to think that the usual single 5ft rod is not going to be unto the job and if it isn't you are looking at a voltage surge on your earth?

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    Member SandMike's Avatar
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    There's a commercial unit called 'Safe T Cut' available in Thailand, and the company's own electricians come and install it. Here's their website

    SAFE-T-CUT (THAILAND) Co., Ltd.

    Hope this is of some help

    Oh, just noticed your OP - this is NOT a surge protector, that is something very different. The Leonics device is what you are looking for.

    You will need to ensure you have a good Earth (Ground) connection for it to operate properly though.
    Last edited by SandMike; 21-03-2011 at 12:33 AM.

  5. #5
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    I thought the safe t cut was a surge protector? I know if you got old air-cons when they start up they draw too much and cause the safe t cut to trip.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Safe T Cut do do a surge protector . My consumer unit is 'Square D' and the mains cable connects to an RCBO which clips onto the bus bar, linking all the individual RCB's. Due to not having a 'surge protector' fitted, the damage caused exceeded 15,000 baht. The purchace of a new RCBO alone cost 2,800 Baht. This is why I want to put a 'power surge breaker' inline before it connects to the consumer unit.

  7. #7
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    Square D has its ownn surge arresters

    Electrical Distribution - Schneider Electric

  8. #8
    Newbie sammilaw's Avatar
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    At the present time, our surge protector is two strands of solder or the few threads of copper in the reusable ceramic fuse. They both melt pretty easily.

    I hope to make some contemporary adjustments in the future. Circuitry is not a strong suite of mine.

    At the expense of exposing the depth of my ignorance, would there be a willingness to expound on “a good ground”? Specifically, I’m wondering about using a zone approach, which is to say – have more than one. Would connecting to a matrix of steel woven inside cement walls or flooring be safe and/or effective.

    Khob khoon krb

  9. #9
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    a metre long copper/steel reinforced rod driven into the ground is a good earth, as long as the ground stays damp after the initial 40/50cm

    I think the surges are spikes in voltage, which tends to blow a few electronic devices

    In electrical engineering, spikes are fast, short duration electrical transients in voltage (voltage spikes), current (current spike), or transferred energy (energy spikes) in an electrical circuit.


    Fast, short duration electrical transients (overvoltages) in the electric potential of a circuit are typically caused bySurge protector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by DrAndy; 21-03-2011 at 11:58 AM.
    I have reported your post

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    If you live in Bangkok and access to someone who speaks Thai you can call Safe-T-Cut and they will send a technician to your house. I have a customer whose RCBO was affected by lightning he called the number written on the unit and a guy came the same day to fix it. My customer was was very impressed.

    Maybe worth a try even if you don't live in Bangkok.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
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  11. #11
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Thanks for that VocalNeal. Unfortunately I don't live in BKK. If they were to send a technician to my house it would probably cost more in fuel than for the supply & fit. Hence the reason why I'm looking to buy & fit myself.

  12. #12
    Member EssEffBee's Avatar
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    Divert or Filter?

    See the following links;
    http://www.novaris.com.au/uploads/1/...iverters_1.pdf

    then;
    Novaris - Global Solutions in Lightning and Surge Protection

    then;
    Novaris - Global Solutions in Lightning and Surge Protection


    Whether you 'Divert' or 'Filter', you still require a suitable Main Earth.
    A suitable Main Earth consists of an electrode, which is connected to the Main Earth Bar in the consumer unit, by an appropriately sized Main Earth Cable.

    The electrode;
    minimum 2m long. Must be a minimum of 12mm diameter, solid copper or copper cladded steel. In the case of a copper cladded rod, the copper must be a minimum of 1mm thick. COPPER COATED RODS MUST NOT BE USED!!
    The location of this electrode should be:
    1] As close as possible to the consumer unit.
    2] Preferably in a shaded location.
    3] Completely accessible.
    4] Protected against any kind of damage.
    It does not need to be in damp soil although rocky or sandy soil is to be avoided.

    The Main Earth Cable;
    This cable must be a minimum of 4mm squared copper cable & must be attached to the earth rod by an appropriate clamp. Before attaching this cable, the rod, clamp & cable must be free from dirt &/or oxidisation (cleaned with steel wool until shiny & the wiped with a clean rag). After attachment, the connection should be painted with an acrylic paint.
    This cable, from the consumer unit to the electrode, should be:
    1] Protected against any kind of damage.
    2] Completely accessible.


    It's up to you which protection (diverter or filter) you choose.

    Connecting such devices yourself will be very difficult if you aren't 'electrically adept'.

  13. #13
    Member ShilohJim's Avatar
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    Superman, both Dr Andy's and Esseffbee's answers were really good, the earth rod in the states require it to be 9 feet long at least. The one reply with a "distributed" earth path was incorrect. It would work for sketchy wiring where a path back to the service entrance point was questionable but would offer little in regards to transient spikes or surges.
    I took the "other path" and bought battery backed UPS systems for both my computer and big screen TV. So far so good after 10 years in the country. The UPS only cost $50 dollars or so and I'm still using the two I bought originally.

    IMHO,
    Shiloh Jim

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    Member Roger Ramjet's Avatar
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    There are a few issues to consider when taking some of the previous advice. .........There are several "Earthing" systems.....and depending if your earthing system is "MEN" (main earth neutral connected) can effect the effectiveness of your solution..

    The main issue is the size of the power surge that you get!

    If you get a direct lightning strike on the cable outside your house..then probably nothing will protect you other than a "UPS" (the most and only really secure solution)....... however the front end of this may fry.... in lieu of your computer equipment.

    The reason is that all these devices mentioned have a capacity for absorbing energy or diverting electrical energy to ground.......but only so much energy!....and when there is sufficient energy to light bangkok for an hour or so (typically in a lightning strike) something close to the point of connection to ground has got to consume the energy.

    The "surge protectors" you buy can cope with small current at high voltages which have come maybe kilometers along the power line......but not with a close high energy hit!.....

    A UPS (uninteruptable power supply) basically stores energy from the mains in a battery and produces clean "surge free" electricity for you fancy toys and computer equipment. The UPS provides the barrier to line surges and only it's "front end" sees the line voltages.

    If you get a really bad "hit" and it fries something inside your house...it is also quite likely that you main Earth Leakage or magnetic circuit breaker (ie, the main switch) may also be seriously internally damaged, and need replacing.

    If it is damaged you may find all sorts of wierd electrical problems occuring, such as your refrigerator "burning out" when there is high contact resistance internally in your damaged circuit breaker..IF the lights get the flickers this is a possible clue!....can be a very expensive not so obvious result of lightning strikes.

    There are other options, and a company in beautiful Tasmania Australia specialises in higher power "lightning strike" energy dissipation, very successfully, using a purpose built electronic device made of metal oxide varistors with LED indicators which die as each element is fried! These devices are connected from line to earth, and you can see the amount of energy dissipation remaining in the LED display as individual elements get f"fried" over a period of time. These are very effective if maintained, but a more suited to be fitted to the main switchboard of your Condo than domestic residences. ....Not sure if they have cheaper domestic single phase units.....and you must keep an eye on them and replace them when they are nearly extinct!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Ramjet View Post
    There are a few issues to consider when taking some of the previous advice. .........There are several "Earthing" systems.....and depending if your earthing system is "MEN" (main earth neutral connected) can effect the effectiveness of your solution..

    The main issue is the size of the power surge that you get!

    If you get a direct lightning strike on the cable outside your house..then probably nothing will protect you other than a "UPS" (the most and only really secure solution)....... however the front end of this may fry.... in lieu of your computer equipment.

    The reason is that all these devices mentioned have a capacity for absorbing energy or diverting electrical energy to ground.......but only so much energy!....and when there is sufficient energy to light bangkok for an hour or so (typically in a lightning strike) something close to the point of connection to ground has got to consume the energy.

    The "surge protectors" you buy can cope with small current at high voltages which have come maybe kilometers along the power line......but not with a close high energy hit!.....

    A UPS (uninteruptable power supply) basically stores energy from the mains in a battery and produces clean "surge free" electricity for you fancy toys and computer equipment. The UPS provides the barrier to line surges and only it's "front end" sees the line voltages.

    If you get a really bad "hit" and it fries something inside your house...it is also quite likely that you main Earth Leakage or magnetic circuit breaker (ie, the main switch) may also be seriously internally damaged, and need replacing.

    If it is damaged you may find all sorts of wierd electrical problems occuring, such as your refrigerator "burning out" when there is high contact resistance internally in your damaged circuit breaker..IF the lights get the flickers this is a possible clue!....can be a very expensive not so obvious result of lightning strikes.

    There are other options, and a company in beautiful Tasmania Australia specialises in higher power "lightning strike" energy dissipation, very successfully, using a purpose built electronic device made of metal oxide varistors with LED indicators which die as each element is fried! These devices are connected from line to earth, and you can see the amount of energy dissipation remaining in the LED display as individual elements get f"fried" over a period of time. These are very effective if maintained, but a more suited to be fitted to the main switchboard of your Condo than domestic residences. ....Not sure if they have cheaper domestic single phase units.....and you must keep an eye on them and replace them when they are nearly extinct!
    Do you think you can give us the brand name of the unit like the other posters have??

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    I have a transformer (30kva) on my power supply. Does that not act like a big UPS, hence isolating my system and providing surge protection from the larger electrical system? If so, would I be safer from power surges as long as they don't originate after the transformer? I only have a SqaureD electrical box containing breakers for the house, no surge protector or RCD (I don't think), should I be looking to upgrade my electrical setup for more protection?

  17. #17
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    the best way is to get either UPS to protect each of your valuable appliances (computer, monster TV etc)

    it is not worth spending a fortune trying to protect the whole house system

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Thanks for all replies. I was hoping for a quick fix suggestion but now other worries spring to mind like is my ground/earth suitable, or even working ? Instead of this being a DIY job I think I'm going to leave it to an expert. That is if I can find one around here. Once again thanks to all.

  19. #19
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    Lightning diverters are used in the electric fence industry to help protect against direct fence lightning strikes.

    I guess anyone living in a lightning prone area could adapt them to help protect 220v household supply.

  20. #20
    Newbie Nomaifalang's Avatar
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    TVSS

    I am an Electronic computer systems engineer with the US navy. We use a TVSS device manufactured by

    INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY, INC
    15470 Flight Path Drive
    Brooksville, Florida 34609 USA

    that does quite a good job. Upon installation our system maintenance costs drop dramatically. I live in a lightning prone area so I purchased one and installed it in my house and since then I have had no losses form voltage spikes. This unit connects to the power input breaker panel via a breaker and the most difficult part is mounting it onto the wall. Needs to be installed as close to the panel as possible. Electrical connection is a snap. We use them due to all of the electrical motors on navy ships that are cutting off and on all the time. Think of the voltage transient caused by all of the electical motors that move an aircraft elevator on an aircraftcarrier or a new emergency diesel generator being brought online.
    I can't tell you the model # as I use the 115 VAC model and you will need the 220 in Thailand. This device should protect you from a lightning strike almost at your power panel, please note I said almost, a lightning strike is normally millions of volts and a driect his can destroy almost anything with the exception of the earth rod. A lightning strike extremly close to an input power panel can even jump the electrical contacts of open circuit breakers
    Also, a few corrections on some of the statements made above. ANY surge protection device has a "Response time" that it reacts within. The faster response time the better. A unit that can shunt high voltage/current but has a slow response time is worthless.
    There are two different typs of UPS. One filters your input power and provides power from a battery in times of power losses. The other type charges the battery from the input power and supplies the load (i.e. your computer, TV etc)with power from the battery at all times. The first type is also almost worthless as a protection device.
    The earth rod needs to be as close to the power input panel (not consumer equipment) as possible with the connecting cable as short as possible. Good electrical connections on each end of this cable to both the panel and the earth rod is a necessity. Lightning seeks the easiest way to earth and this is the cable that needs to be the easiest path to earth or the lightning finds an easier path through your electrical devices or you if you have a poor connection and am in the shower, washing hands, dishes etc.
    A transformer will NOT protect you. A transformer steps voltage/current up or down depending on the configuration of the internal windings, normally step down is on the consumer end and step up is on the power generation end. However, a transformer WILL pass voltage abnormalities.

    Hope thei spelling isn't too bad, my 3 year old grandaughter just walked into the room and I don't ahve time to review. hope this helps and gotta go.

  21. #21
    Member Roger Ramjet's Avatar
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    Here is a small single phase MOV (metal oxide Varistor) from the company mentioned in Tasmania........

    Go to their web site www.novaris.com.au for some very good information on lightning protection, from an actual manufacturerl, backed by very good Engineers with more than 30 years experience. They have an enquiry link..and should be asy to install in or next to your switchboard.......I have used these for years in Darwin Northern Australia....(credited with the most lightning strikes per wet season in the world!!!).....and they are very good...although will still not save your arse if you get a serious direct hit!

  22. #22
    Member Roger Ramjet's Avatar
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    If a few teak door members are interested in ordering some Movtecs as I detailed, I will look at volume purchase in oz and distribution by mail with payment by EFT to Thai Bank....I am checking on pricing and will advise......

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    groundless and confused

    So much free advice must be confusing.
    This is my biz here in Thailand.
    I will not go on self promoting or DD will kick my ass but here is some free advice
    (the US embassy pays me as well as Toyota so I must know something right?)

    Ground rod: 5/8" x10 ft copper clad steel . use a bronze ground clamp by Erico avaialable at most Wholesellers or use an exothermic weld one shot fro Kummeld.

    If you have a "Megger" type ground resistance meter (60k baht) you can check yoursoil and see if it's below 5 ohms..a regular ohm meter will not work.

    If you have bad soil you can add ground eh\nhancer clay avail from Kummweld.

    Then ground yur panel ..it's probally not.
    Use a farang electrician..there are several here.

    you need a surge protector on you phoe line, cable tv line and on all phase of your panel. I recomend Stabil..search for it..Leonics is expensive andtheir techs are often clueless.

    Ground fault protection is yet another issue.

    Lightning protection:

    Can be done cheaply but design is crucial...if you are not at the beach on a golf course or mountain or lower than3 stories you don'tneed it.

    I can give free advice (max 10 min on phone)..just pm me.

    Be carefullof what you read here..everyone is trying to help but this is fairly complcated and shoud be done by a pro.......

    thanks

  24. #24
    Member EssEffBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panthira View Post
    Use a farang electrician..there are several here.
    This is the strange thing...everybody wants 'safe' electrics but nobody wants to pay for it (or very few). They want western quality electrics at Thai prices.

    I've had requests to go to many sites for consultation purposes. I went to these places, spent 2 or 3 hours looking at things at no cost to the client (opening panels, entering ceilings etc) & then provided a reasonably detailed report ( I didn't reveal the 'how to fix it' info). Nonetheless, I was never contacted again. I don't believe that my suggested prices were high at all, considering what was involved & how the work should be carried out.

    It doesn't matter now. I only tried the 'consultation' thing as a means to assess the viability of starting an electrical business in Thailand. The results of my experiment indicate that most foreigners are happy to rely on DIY info from unknown people, as well as irrelevant info from the internet.

    I have a reasonably rich Thai friend, who wanted to start an electrical business, with me as the boss. I declined as his idea was to simply carry on the doing things the 'Thai way'. He is not a technical person but I feel that he may change his mind about this venture soon.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panthira
    you need a surge protector on you phoe line, cable tv line
    Even if you have a whole house surge breaker installed ?

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