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Thread: whole House surge protector requires breaker to be top left space? I DOUBT IT!

  1. #1
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    whole House surge protector requires breaker to be top left space? I DOUBT IT!

    HERE is the email i got from the company who wants me to install the 2 pole breaker for their whole house surge protector/capacitor, in the top left breaker space. And ONLY the top left breaker space.

    Almost always their is big wire up there. Almost always their is a generator breaker their, or you should leave it in case their is a generator installed someday (for the interlock). or at least leave it well enough alone. j

    so here is the explanation they gave me as to why they would VOID the warranty on all blown up equipment if the protector was NOT installed in the top left (or it seems to me right also), breaker:

    "The reasoning behind the surge protector being installed into the top left breaker is because most breaker panels are wired from the top. In the event of a power surge, the current is going to travel down to each circuit in the panel. If the surge protector is wired into the bottom left breaker, the only circuits protected are the bottom two. Everything above the breaker dedicated to the surge protector would be left vulnerable to a surge. The only instance when this would not apply would be if the breaker panel were wired from the bottom, which, from what I understand, is not common. In that case, the surge protctor would be wired into the bottom breaker. I had to have my supervisor explain this to me. He is the designer of the surge protector, and has a degree in electrical engineering. i also did a little research online. I have been asked this question and wanted to be able to provide a proper answer for you. Again, thank you for installing the surge protectors for me, and I apologize for the issues with the installations."

    Im sorry, but i think this is complete BS. I am sure i have seen other surge protectors that did not specify where to put the breaker but i could be wrong on that. But the logic isn't gettin thru to me. IT Iis a giant PITA for me to do these this way, due to AC/Heat pump; sub panel; or elec Furnace wires landed on top breakers, already completely FULL panels full of tandem breakers, and the possibility of an interlock being there.

    But also let me point out there is four feet of #12 wire from the breaker to the device. the current would have to travel the four feet to the protector to do any good right? so i can't see what the diff is where in the heck this stupid breaker gets landed, esp in light of this.
    Last edited by bullheimer; 10-12-12 at 12:36 PM.
    The End of the World as i Knew it: 2012. I'm having my Doom's Day now.

  2. #2
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    While there are strong arguments for placing the protector as close as practical to where incoming power is connected to the panel board, it's not a left/right thing. But the four foot run to the protector is about three & 1/2 feet too long.

    added content:

    Why? Because much of a lightning stroke is at a very high frequency! You can hear a thunder storm on an AM radio. The longer the wire the greater the self-inductance. so we want to keep the connecting wires and the buss very short.
    Last edited by Speedskater; 10-12-12 at 01:19 PM.
    Kevin

  3. #3
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    Sounds like the Optimizer by Innovative Energy Solutions.

    The company we installed them for could not understand why the cost was so much, and each job had to be looked at prior to install.

    Most required polaris taps and twin breakers in the panel, if not a sub panel for panels that would not accept twins.

    We always pulled permits also.

    As everyone on this board knows these things are smoke and mirrors, but if they payed our price to install them we gladly did. Have not done any for a year or so, they likely found someone to do them sans permit and save the extra $80, and/or just put universal twin breakers into panels not designed to accept them. Not to mention the customers having them installed payed upwards of $600 for these things, and you go look at it only to find its an FPE panel or an ITE panel with a burning buss, now the service needs to be upgraded for another $1200+.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=bullheimer;1433011]HERE is the email i got from the company who wants me to install the 2 pole breaker for their whole house surge protector/capacitor, in the top left breaker space. And ONLY the top left breaker space.

    Almost always their is big wire up there. Almost always their is a generator breaker their, or you should leave it in case their is a generator installed someday (for the interlock). or at least leave it well enough alone. j

    so here is the explanation they gave me as to why they would VOID the warranty on all blown up equipment if the protector was NOT installed in the top left (or it seems to me right also), breaker:
    QUOTE]

    Placing close to the main it common as when located there it is able to capture the disturbance protecting the rest of the bus. Should you place it at the end if the bus the disturbance travels the length of the bur before it is able to be filtered.
    There is no reason to doubt this directive unless you have an actual study to the contrary.
    Follow the directions for installation as the manufacturers have no reason to misinform you. This is not a for profit issue but is for optimum performance and protection.

  5. #5
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    121012-1645 EDT

    Is this thing being described a power factor correction capacitor plus a transient limiter?

    The work "optimizer" might imply such a device. A PFC device at the main panel in a home is a fraud if the intended purpose is to reduce energy consumption.

    .

  6. #6
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    I am not buying the reasoning here.
    Bob

  7. #7
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    here is a link to a youtube vid of a different but the same product by powerworx. they also have the unit mounted with flex into the bottom of the panel. however, in their video, if you watch it all, they install the breaker for it at the first available spot underneath all the rest. their unit is small enough to maybe even fit inside the panel, so why dont they make you, if that is the only real way it will work. this unit is supposed to give you clean power, so i am assuming it does more than protect voltage spikes. ie these two units, the one i installed and the one in the video are no different.

    i am not getting the logic here either peterson.

    Vid link: http://youtu.be/lca1O3UCr70

    fyi i pulled permits for both and both passed with the breakers on the bottom. i went back and put one on top. but the other had a 60 elec. heat breaker there i could not stretch the wires to so i left it on the bottom. i might go back and fix it i havent decided. i did buy the large butt splices tho. the customer showed me her invoice: $1400!!!!!

    My opinion, is that the four or so feet of wires to the device completely negate any logic for putting it in the top breaker space. any engineers out there want to back up their claim? they have a $25K guarantee for anything that blows up from a spike. i don't want to get nailed i would rather waste another hour of my life and do it per their 'spec'.
    Last edited by bullheimer; 10-12-12 at 07:34 PM.
    The End of the World as i Knew it: 2012. I'm having my Doom's Day now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    I am not buying the reasoning here.
    Do you have a basis for your opinion? What do the instruction from the manufacturer state? If one were not follow the manufacture's instructon would it be a violation of NEC art 110-3 (B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling.
    Last edited by templdl; 10-12-12 at 09:08 PM.

  9. #9
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    If it is so important to get this device closer to the source then why isn't it being placed at the meter (if it is on the house anyway)?

    I can see it may make some difference having it closer to the source, I really doubt it will be a significant difference - especially if there are 4 foot leads to connect it. What is impedance of those leads compared to say 18 inches of 200 amp panel bus?

    The entire circuit will see at least some of the surge, placement in the circuit of the protector will help limit what goes where, but not every surge event will be same intensity or duration either. The closer the surge is to the clamping limitations of the device/ and or the longer the duration the more surge there is available to other portions of the circuit.

  10. #10
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    121012-2123 EDT

    I have now viewed the video. It is in fact a fraud relative to any claim of reducing energy consumption. That part is a power factor correction capacitor.

    It may be a useful transient limiter, but no performance data is provided. A price of $1400 for the box is outrageous. Also it looks visually small to have much of a capacitor.

    The $25,000 insurance policy is simply that, by self insurance, or an insurance company, and part of the reason for the very high price.

    .

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