Faqs about Surge & Strips



Q: What does the RED "protected" indicator LED on my surge protector tell me?

A: If the protected light is out, the surge protector is no longer functional. This means the surge protector has absorbed its capacity or that the surge protector has sacrificed itself for your equipment.


Q: What does the GREEN indicator LED on my surge protector tell me?

A: The grounded light indicates that your surge protector is connected to a properly grounded outlet. If the grounded light is not illuminated, your outlet is not properly grounded. If the outlet is not properly grounded, the surge protector may be unable to adequately protect your equipment and our Connected Equipment Warranty is null and void.

If the ground light begins to flicker or goes out over time, the LED may have malfunctioned or the ground connection may have been lost. This may or may not affect the surge protection of your surge protector.

The green ground light on your surge protector verifies that the surge protector is connected to a properly grounded outlet. If the green light is out, it means that the outlet is not properly grounded and the surge protector may not be able to properly protect your equipment. You should try the unit in other outlets to see if they are faulty or the unit is faulty. You may have to contact a licensed electrician to have the wiring in your outlets or home checked and corrected.


Q: Does a surge protector protect my equipment even if my surge protector is turned off?

A: As long as the surge protector is plugged into a properly grounded wall receptacle, all outlets are protected regardless of the position of the on/off switch.


Q: The phone/fax is not working when plugged into the surge protector.

A: Check the cable to make sure it is plugged in properly. The cable from the wall plugs into the IN jack on the surge protector. The second phone cable plugs into the OUT connector on the surge protector and into the phone and/or fax machine. If the connections are correct, bypass the surge protector by plugging the phone/fax directly into the wall jack. If the phone/fax works, the surge protector may have been damaged by a surge or spike or it could be defective. Please contact Prime Technical Support.


Q: Can a surge protector be plugged into a power strip, another surge protector, or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS)?

A: No. Surge protectors must be plugged directly into a grounded outlet to work properly.

Note: NEC or local codes prohibits daisy-chaining of power strips, surge protectors, or UPS units.


Q: My outlets are not grounded. Can I use an adapter to plug in the surge protector?

A: No. Your surge protector must be plugged directly into a three-pronged grounded outlet. If you use an adapter the Connected Equipment Warranty will become null and void. One way that surge protectors are able to protect your equipment is by diverting the over-voltage to ground.


Q: Can I replace the fuses in my surge protector?

A: No. There are no user-serviceable parts inside any of the Prime surge protectors. If you have a surge protector which is not functioning properly, please contact our customer service.


Q: How do I hook up my surge protector / power strip?

A: Plug the surge protector into a properly grounded powered wall outlet. Make sure the on/off switch is in the "OFF" position. All equipment to be plugged into the surge protector or power strip should be turned off. Plug the equipment into the outlets on the power strip or surge protector. Be sure to plug in your phone/fax/modem or TV/Satellite/DSL equipment if your surge protector has any of these options.

Turn the on/off switch on the surge protector or power strip to the "ON" position. Next, turn on your connected equipment one at a time. Be careful not to overload the unit by exceeding the maximum electrical rating.

At this point, all of your connected equipment should be working properly. If not, re-check connections and refer to the Troubleshooting section of the user manual included with the surge protector or power strip. If you are still having problems contact Prime technical support.


Q: What is the Clear Power Auto Shut-Off Safeguard on my surge protector?

A: MOVs degrade over time. Even when the MOV's are no longer protecting, most surge protectors continue to provide AC power which may result in potential damage of your connected equipment. The Auto Shut-Off Safeguard feature on selected surge protectors cuts power to the surge protector in the event of a catastrophic surge or when the MOVs have absorbed as much energy as they are able. The benefit of Auto Shut-Off is that once the surge protector can no longer protect the connected equipment it turns it off, thus ensuring that no more damaging surges get through to the connected equipment.


Q: What does Joule or Joules mean on a surge protector?

A: A measurement of energy (1 joule equals one watt-second). The joule rating of your surge protector is based on the number of MOVs (metal oxide varistors) inside the protector. A higher number of joules equates to a greater ability to absorb spike or surge energy. Each MOV has a rating and when you add these all up you get the total number of joules.


Q: What is clamping voltage on a surge protector?

A: Clamping is the level of voltage (usually 330v or 400v) which activates the surge protector. Clamping voltage is the maximum voltage allowed to pass through the circuitry to the connected equipment when tested with the UL test surge. 330 volts is the lowest rating allowed by UL 1449, 2nd Edition, while 400 volts is the lowest rating allowed under UL 1449 3rd Edition. This rating must be stated on the unit.


Q: What is a surge/spike and how can a surge protector help?

A: Most of the damage caused by overvoltage "power events" is caused either by longer duration high-voltage transients (surges) or shorter-duration transients (spikes) entering via the power lines. Surges and spikes can reach 6000 volts. The typical microchip found in your computer, phone, fax machine, television, stereo, microwave and other electronics is very sensitive to voltage irregularities. If they are unprotected, damage can occur instantaneously (via internal switching of loads, weather disturbances ,or some other "tidal wave" of electricity) or, over time, as smaller surges cause the gradual deterioration of internal circuitry. Surge protectors help by adding a layer of power protection to your connected equipment.


Q: How do I register for the warranty on my surge protector?

A: There is no registration process for the warranty for your surge protector. If you have an incident where connected equipment is damaged, please contact us to place a claim under the warranty.


Q: How can I reset the surge protector / power strip?

A: Turn off or unplug all equipment that is connected to the surge protector or power strip. Push the ON/OFF switch (with built-in circuit breaker) to the OFF position, then to the ON position.

1. If the surge protection LED is not operating at this point, the protector may have been damaged by a surge or spike, and may need to be replaced.

2. If the surge protection LED is operating at this point, reconnect each piece of equipment one at a time being careful not to overload the unit.


Q: What is the adapter/transformer size plug for on a surge protector?

A: The adapter/transformer size plugs are spaced for your convenience so that you can insert bulkier adapter or transformer plugs without covering up adjacent outlets on the surge protector.


Q: What does the Prime surge protector product warranty cover?

A: Our product warranty for surge protectors cover defects in material and workmanship.


Q: When does my surge protector need to be replaced?

A: You need to replace your surge protector unit when the red LED surge protection light goes out or every 2 years.


Q: Do Prime surge protectors cover lightning strikes?

A: Surge Protectors are manufactured to prevent damage from distant lightning strikes and the remnants of lightning, however, no surge protector can protect against a direct lightning strike.


Q: What is an MOV in a surge protector?

A: An MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) is a little disc within a surge protector that diverts the excess energy flowing through your wall outlet to prevent power surges.


Q: Why do I need a phone connection on my surge protector?

A: You can receive a surge through your phone as well as through your wall outlet. The phone jacks will prevent damage to your phone or modem utilizing state of the art surge protection.


Q: Why do I need a higher joule rating on my surge protector?

A: The higher the joule rating on a surge protector, the less likely the surge protection unit will be damaged by low level power fluctuations in the power line. It will also give you a higher connected equipment warranty should anything ever happen to your equipment.


Q: Do surge protectors work when they are turned off?

A: Yes, surge protectors work even when they are turned off; which is why if you are vacationing, it's best to unplug the surge protector and all equipment from our wall outlet.


Q: What is three-line protection on a surge protector?

A: Surges can occur between hot, neutral, and ground lines. If you look at the end of the electrical cords on most electrical equipment, or an extension cord, you will see three prongs, each connected to a wire or line. A surge can come into equipment through any one of the three lines, so each one has to be protected. Hence, three-line surge protection guards the hot-to-neutral, hot-to-ground, and neutral-to-ground paths. Surge protectors help provide power protection to your connected equipment.


Q: What does EMI/RFI noise filtering do?

A: Noise (static) is like a tiny vibration in the line. It can be very fast. It will not harm electrical components, such as your surge protector, but the long term affect of cumulative noise pulses can affect the reliability of equipment. Capacitors in surge protectors filter the noise and reduce the decibels (db) of the noise.


Q: What type/size of screws should be used when wall mounting the surge protector?

A: Surge Protectors that have screw slots on the back can use # 8 self-tapping screws. The most common are pan head or flat head depending on the opening on the Surge Protector.

· Pan Head are good for the surges with smaller openings.

· Flat head are better for the larger openings.


Q: What are power strips?

A: Power Strips (also called multiple outlet strips) provide additional outlets for your electrical needs. Power strips do not provide any level of surge protection to electronic equipment.


Q: What are surge protectors?

A: Surge protectors are designed to protect electronic equipment from the damaging effects of electrical transients. Transients are fluctuations in electrical voltage. They are caused by any sudden change in the demand for electricity, (i.e., a heavy duty appliances being turned on or off, or by electrical utility company switching and maintenance).


Q: How do surge protectors work?

A: As the demand for electricity increases, the need for power protection will become even more important. A surge protector will protect your electronics by acting like an electrical sponge, absorbing dangerous excess voltage and preventing most of it from reaching your sensitive equipment. Like a sponge, surge protectors have a limited capacity to absorb. Once the capacity is reached, the unit is no longer able to protect and should be replaced.


Q: Why do you need surge protectors?

A: Surge control is important because even small surges or spikes can eventually destroy or affect the performance and reliability of expensive electronic equipment such as computers, phones, faxes, TVs, VCRs, DVDs/DVRs, Blu-Ray Players, Satellite TV, HDTV, stereos and microwaves. Damage can occur either instantaneously or over time as smaller surges cause the gradual deterioration of internal circuitry. The common use of microprocessors (chips) in electronics has increased the need for surge protection because these chips are generally very sensitive to voltage fluctuations.


Q: Why do I Need telephone, cable, or digital satellite line protection?

A: Electricity knows no direction. It can travel up or down your power and data lines. This makes it necessary to protect every avenue of entry to your equipment. If you have a television hooked up to a cable TV box, then a surge protector with coax connectors is required. Where Digital Satellite Systems are used, surge units with both coax and phone line protection is necessary. The same is true for a computer with modem - a surge can enter just as easily through your data line as through the power line.


Q: What Does the End-of-Life Alarm Do on a surge protector?

A: An end-of-life alarm lets you know the surge protector is no longer functioning and should be replaced. Turn off the surge protector and disconnect all equipment.

This feature is important when the indicator light is out of sight.


Q: What Does the circuit breaker do on a surge protector?

A: The circuit breaker, whether on a surge protector, power strip, or as a standalone device, stops the flow of electricity when a circuit is overloaded.


Q: How Do I file a Claim on my surge protector?

A: Contact Prime customer service at our toll-free number, (888) 445-9955 and request a claim form. The claim form provides detailed instructions on how to start the claim process for your surge protector or valuable equipment.


Q: What is the turnaround time for a claim to be processed for a surge protector?

A: Upon our receipt of the surge protector and completed claim documentation (including all receipts, technical reports and estimates of repair) in our office, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete the claim evaluation process. Occasionally the process is shorter, but during lightning season (June – November), it may be somewhat longer.


Q: Can I use my surge protector with a heater?

A: Surge protectors are not designed to work with heaters. The normal load current of many heaters is beyond the capacity of the surge protector, causing a potential fire/safety hazard.