Red light normally just means strip is on and working okay. A short circuit occurs whenever there is an unwanted direct connection between the two powered wires that serve your outlets, or run inside the cords from outlet to lamp, appliance, TV, etc., or inside the device connected to the cord.
For example, if you stick one end of a bare wire in one outlet slot, and the other end of the wire in the other slot, you will create a “short” circuit. Answer: the absence of a “load,” meaning something to use up the electricity before it crosses from one wire to the other.
So, even thought the bulb and toaster operate by using a short circuit, they give off enough heat energy to use up the power, and there is no spark, no breaker trips anywhere, and there is no sudden in-rush of more power to the device. A SURGE, on the other hand, is the instantaneous appearance of much more power than is normally present, such as a lightning strike or some sudden elevation power from the electric company.
The filament of a light bulb would break, the elements of a toaster would sizzle and fall apart or burst apart in a shower of sparks. And you can well imagine the impact on the circuits of a computer which operate on very low voltages.
Electrical components and connecting wires that are physically damaged by a surge can end up falling across one another, or even becoming welded together. Thus, if you were to touch wires together on the device side of the protector, you'd still get a short.
The surge light indicates that the protector is still within its manufacturer's coverage life, and will still provide the expected levels of protection. The wiring in my house is old, and existing three prong outlets do not show up as properly grounded when I plug in a surge protector or UPS.
The whole point of a surge protected is that it dumps excess voltage to ground. I don't know about your breaker panels, but mine have the neutral/return/common (whatever you want to call it -- the larger of the two non-round terminals on a polarized 5-15R) wire connected to the ground bar. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but it seems that you're saying that the common wire is connected to something that goes back to the utility pole, which is a configuration I've never seen.
The whole point of a surge protected is that it dumps excess voltage to ground. Neutral does not have to be tied to ground (although it is usually, in my experience), but it certainly does not go back to the power station.
A little story:I built a wood shop in CT 4 years ago and wired 100amps of service out to it. I installed all the electrical components according to code- individual neutral, hot and ground lines.
I pulled the 100amp line off of my house's main panel (thus the shop had its own subpanel). I added a ground stake to the shop and wired it up.
I disconnected the ground stake... and lost a ton of money in repairs. MAJOR oversight on my part!BTW, that was not even a storm, just light rain for a few minutes.
When there is no current low, neutral is at ground potential. If there is a 10A load on an outlet, and the wire has a 0.1 ohm impedance, the neutral ON THAT OUTLET will be 1V from ground. Electrical devices are designed to either not use ground, or to use ground as a reference.
Quote:Originally posted by Carole:Older wiring schemes often have the “common ground” arrangement where the neutral and ground line are one and the same or bound in the panel. A little story:I built a wood shop in CT 4 years ago and wired 100amps of service out to it.
I installed all the electrical components according to code- individual neutral, hot and ground lines. I pulled the 100amp line off of my house's main panel (thus the shop had its own subpanel).
I added a ground stake to the shop and wired it up. Remember that my line pulled off of the house, so my ground stake ran directly back to the neutral ground bind in the main house panel and gave me this result: Twenty minutes after completing the job I went in to eat, it started to rain very lightly and my house got struck by lightning.
It went through my arm as I was holding a metal skillet on an electric stove (numb for over a day) all electronics got fried including my well pump which resides 350ft underground! I disconnected the ground stake... and lost a ton of money in repairs.
MAJOR oversight on my part!BTW, that was not even a storm, just light rain for a few minutes. The general idea of a ground prong is that if a device fails in a way that current is directed to the chassis of the device rather than out the “correct” path, then it still has a route out other than “through the operator who may be standing in a puddle or touching something that is grounded “.
In fact, in many setups (like mine), both wires go to the same bus in the fuse panel. In fact, I think you might have some problems if they weren't connected and one happened to develop a different potential than the other, like if the ground prong or the chassis itself made a more attractive path out of the device than the neutral, you could get bad things happening (this is what FCI outlets protect against). That said, I have no idea how it would affect a surge suppressor.
Not long ago, electrical contractor Allen Gallant was about halfway through the job of completely rewiring a 3,200-square-foot house in Acton, Massachusetts, when the owners decided to save some money and not install whole house surge protection against surges from lightning or downed power lines. “It burned out the motherboard in the Sub-Zero refrigerator, fried the temperature controls in the double-wall oven, killed six dimmers, two computers, and every FCI plug in the house,” Gallant says.
And third, as the owners in the Acton remodel discovered, delicate electronic circuitry has proliferated throughout our homes, leaving common appliances as vulnerable as computers to the effects of surges. A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin home-entertainment systems.
Surge Station What it does: Protects phone lines and coaxial cable, in addition to plug-in devices. Far more common, if not as dramatic, are surges caused by downed power lines, sudden changes in electricity use by a nearby factory, or even the cycling on and off of laser printers, electric dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy-sucking devices in the home.
As soon as voltage levels return to normal, the flow of electricity is restored, unless the surge was big enough to melt the fuse built into some units. Typically, whole-house suppressors are hard-wired to the service panel, a process that takes a licensed electrician about two hours.
By themselves, whole-house suppressors can’t stop surges completely; up to 15 percent of excess voltage may leak by. These buffers between individual appliances and wall outlets come in a bewildering array of options and prices.
Battery backup buys time to save data during a power outage. Expect to pay between $20 and $70 for a quality power strip or surge station, and from $100 to $350 for a UPS.
Even the best surge suppressor can’t do its job if the house wiring isn’t properly grounded ; there has to be a single way for the diverted electricity to go. “Without a good ground, the current may follow another wire and end up inside your modem or fax machine,” says Tom Physics, director of business development at Innovative Technology, a maker of surge -suppression equipment.
Also, avoid plugging surge -sensitive electronic devices into the same power strip with laser printers, air conditioners, or other appliances with large motor loads. Insurance companies don’t typically give discounts for surge -protected homes, but investing in protection may very well pay for itself, and then some.