Surge Protection Components
How does surge protection work?
Power surges are a sudden increase in the electrical current being routed into power outlets. If a power surge happens, irreparable damage to equipment can be caused.
Surge protection is an essential and effective way of preventing this damage from occurring and can take many forms, from specialist plug sockets that absorb the additional voltage to components that can be used in the equipment itself.
What causes a power surge?
Power surges happen when the flow of electricity is briefly interrupted and started again. They can occur when equipment starts up or shut off. Classic examples of this would be air conditioning units, refrigeration equipment or motor-driven devices.
Power surges can also happen naturally, like a lightning strike or power lines coming down in a storm. They can also happen after mains power cuts when the power returns.
What is the difference between a surge and a spike?
- If overvoltage increases for three nanoseconds or more this is called a surge.
- If overvoltage increases for one or two nanoseconds this is called a spike.
What types of surge protection components are there?
Gas discharge tubes- a glass tube which is sealed at both ends, contains two electrodes and is filled with a gas that conducts electricity when a high voltage is applied. This type of component can be used to protect sensitive circuits.
Surge suppressor units - a common type of component, a surge suppressor unit can be built into a device, such as a power strip, or used as a standalone component.
Switching spark gap - these are used to switch between circuits quickly and are often used in the building and automotive industries.