Electrical Surge Suppressors - current as of February 2009
by Chuck Husick
Virtually anyone who
owns a computer is already familiar with the need for an AC surge suppressor.
Usually incorporated in an outlet strip or built into the system's uninterruptable
power supply, the suppressor protects the costly computer from being damaged
by a momentary surge of higher than normal voltage on the power line.
The potential for
damage to electrical and electronic equipment on board a boat caused by
powerline voltage surges can be greater than for similar equipment used
in homes or offices. In addition, damaging voltage surges can also occur
on the boat's 12 or 24 volt DC supply. Although the types of AC line voltage
surge protectors used ashore may be useful on a boat they are not specifically
designed to function in the often harsh marine environment. In addition,
these line current rated devices cannot protect equipment connected to
the boat's low voltage DC power system.
Charles Marine offers
special marine rated, 12 or 24 volt DC or 120 / 240 volt AC, Underwriter's
Laboratory approved surge suppressors specifically designed for use on
boats. The devices contain Metal Oxide Varistors, solid state, voltage
sensitive switches that react to a voltage surge in a fraction of a millionth
of a second, short circuiting the input circuit, protecting the connected
power consumers from damage. The operational readiness of these surge
protectors is monitored and indicated by front panel indicator lamps.
These high quality surge protectors are not cheap, except when compared
with the value of the computers, entertainment systems and other electronics
commonly installed on today's boats and yachts.