Surge & Strip FAQ's

Faqs about Surge & Strips



Q: What are surge protectors?

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


Q: Why do you need surge protectors?

A: Surge protection is vital because electricity is not constant. Even small surges/spikes can eventually destroy or affect the performance and reliability of electronic equipment such as televisions, computers, DVR’s, DVD & Blu-Ray® players, Satellite and CATV boxes, microwave ovens, stereo systems, etc. Damage can occur either instantaneously from a major spike or over time as smaller surges cause the gradual deterioration of internal circuitry.


Q: How do surge protectors work?

A: A surge protector will protect your electronics by acting as an “electrical sponge” by clamping down on spikes, “soaking them up” and converting the excess energy into heat, thus preventing the spikes from passing through the surge protector into the sensitive electronic devices and damaging them. As with any “sponge” a surge protector has a limited absorption capacity. Once that capacity is reached, the unit is no longer able to protect and must be replaced.


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 electronic equipment via the power lines. Surges and spikes can reach 6000 Volts. The typical microchip found in a computer, cordless phone, fax machine, TV, stereo receiver, microwave oven and other electronic equipment is very sensitive to voltage irregularities. Surge protectors help by adding a layer of power protection to your connected equipment.

Q: Do Prime surge protectors cover lightning strikes?

A: Surge protectors are manufactured to prevent damage from most internal causes of surges/spikes however, no surge protector can protect against a direct lightning strike.


Q. What is an MOV?

A: An MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) “clamps” and diverts the excess energy during a surge/spike in electricity by converting it into heat and absorbing the heat so it will not pass through to connected devices and cause damage


Q. What does Joules or Joule Rating mean?

A: A Joule is a measurement of energy (1 Joule equals one watt-second). The Joule Rating on a surge protector is based on the number of MOV’s (metal oxide varistors) inside the surge protector. A higher number of Joules equates to a greater ability to absorb a surge. Each MOV in the surge protector has a Joule Rating, and when added up provide the total number Joules.


Q. What is clamping voltage or VPR (voltage protection rating) on a surge protector?

A:The VPR is the maximum amount of voltage allowed to pass through the surge protector during a spike. It is the level of voltage at which the MOV’s “clamp” down on the spike and prevent the bulk of the surge from passing through the surge protector into the connected equipment. The MOV’s convert the electrical charge into heat and absorb it so it won’t damage the connected equipment (computer, TV, etc.) When measuring a surge protector’s VPR, the lower the number, the better the protection.


Q. What is 3-line or 3-mode protection?

A: There are three electrical lines of power coming through a properly grounded electrical wall outlet: • Line (L) which is the incoming power load to the equipment plugged into the wall outlet • Neutral (N) which is the returning flow of electrical current from the equipment back into the wall outlet • Ground (G) which is where any excess electricity is diverted as a protection against shocks and other damage. Surges can come through any of these three lines. Therefore surge protectors have been designed with MOV’s that are linked to all three lines and are described as “modes” as: • L-N (MOV’s protecting the Line & Neutral Mode) • L-G (MOV’s protecting the Line & Ground Mode) • N-G (MOV’s protecting the Neutral & Ground Mode)


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

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


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

A:Turn off and 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 “RESET” (ON) position. 1. If the “protected” LED is not operating at this point, the surge protector most likely absorbed a surge and must be replaced. 2. If the “protected” LED is operating at this point, turn the surge protector OFF, reconnect all of the devices, one at a time, turn ON the surge protector and then turn on the connected devices one at a time. Be careful not to overload the unit.


Q.What does the green “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 and must be replaced.



Q.What does the green “grounded” 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 green light is out, it means the outlet is not properly grounded and the surge protector may not be able to properly protect your equipment, and our Connected Equipment Warranty is null and void. Try the unit in other outlets to see if the grounded light illuminates. You may have to contact a licensed electrician to have the wiring in your electrical outlets checked to ensure they are properly grounded, and if not, to correct them. If the ground light begins to flicker or goes out over time, the LED may have malfunction or the ground connection may have been lost. This may or may not affect the ability of your surge protector to do its job.



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

A: If the “protected” light is out, the surge protector is no longer functional, or every 2 – 3 years.



Q.What is the purpose of EMI/RFI filtering?

A: EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) and RFI (Radiofrequency Interference) create “noise” through electrical lines (i.e.: turning on a hair dryer causes the TV signal to get fuzzy or interferes with downloads). Special capacitors in surge protectors filter that noise by reducing the decibels (db) in order to keep the electrical signal clean and reduce the wear and tear on the internal components in your computer, TV, DVR and other sensitive electronic equipment.



Q.What is the purpose of a circuit breaker on a surge protector/power strip?

A: The built-in resettable circuit breaker stops the flow of electricity when the circuit is overloaded. In simple terms, that means the amount of electricity required to power everything plugged into the surge protector/power strip is more than the unit is made to handle, causing the unit to overload. The circuit breaker prevents the unit from overheating and potentially causing a fire. If the circuit breaker trips, turn off and unplug all the connected devices. Look at the electrical rating on all of the connected equipment. It cannot exceed a total of 15 Amps, otherwise the circuit breaker will continue to trip.



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 that is not functioning properly, contact our customer service.



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

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



Q.Can I use my surge protector with a heater, generator or aquarium?

A: No. Surge protectors must be plugged directly into a grounded outlet to work properly. PLEASE NOTE: UL Safety Standards, the National Electrical Code (NEC) and several local codes prohibit daisy-chaining of power strips, surge protectors or UPS units. Doing so voids the Prime Warranty and also may void any insurance coverage you may have should there be an incident.



Q.Can I use a surge protector with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet?

A:No. There are electronics within the GFCI and the surge protector that are not compatible and will cause either the GFCI or the surge protector to trip. GFCI receptacles are placed in potentially wet locations such as kitchen sinks, bathrooms, garages and outside outlets. Surge protectors should not be used in such wet or potentially wet locations.



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

A:No. Surge protectors must be plugged directly into a three-pronged outlet. If you use an adapter the Prime 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.Why do I need protection for my coax or data lines?

A:Electricity knows no direction. Electrical surges can travel through low-voltage lines as easily as through line voltage power lines (AC outlets). This makes it necessary to protect every avenue of entry to your connected equipment. Therefore, unless your provider has fiber-optic lines running to your home, CATV, Satellite and Internet lines must be protected as well.



Q.Electricity knows no direction. Electrical surges can travel through low-voltage lines as easily as through line voltage power lines (AC outlets). This makes it necessary to protect every avenue of entry to your connected equipment. Therefore, unless your provider has fiber-optic lines running to your home, CATV, Satellite and Internet lines must be protected as well.

A: Check the coax or data-line cables to ensure they are plugged in properly. The cable from the wall plugs into the IN jack on the surge protector. The second coax or data-line cable plugs into the OUT jack on the surge protector and into the INPUT jack on the device. If the connections are correct but the device still isn’t working, bypass the surge protector and plug the coax or data-line cable directly from the wall jack into the device. If the device works, it means either that the surge protector probably absorbed a spike through the coax/data-line and needs to be replaced or there is already surge protection up-line from your TV, phone or Internet service provider and the second level of surge protection from this item interferes with the signal level.



Q.TWhat is the purpose of an Alarm on a surge protector?

A:Some surge protectors are equipped with an end-of-service alarm which will buzz when the surge protector has taken a hit and must be replaced. This is a good feature for surge protectors that are out of sight such as behind a refrigerator. If the alarm sounds, turn off the surge protector then turn off and unplug connected equipment before unplugging the surge protector from the wall outlet.



Q.How do the USB charging ports work?

A:These ports are designed to provide charging power to cell phones, tablets, cameras, wireless headsets and other USB charged small electronic devices. These charging ports will enable you to do so without having to use one of the standard AC outlets in your surge protector. Some models have charging/charged indicator lights that change color from red (charging) to green (charged) so that you can easily see when your device is fully charged and ready to use.



Q.What type/size of screws should be used when wall mounting the surge protector or power strip?

A:Surge protectors/power strips 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 slots on the back of the unit. Pan-head screws are good for the units with smaller slot openings. Flat head screws are better for the larger openings.



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 Prime to file a claim under the conditions of the warranty as outlined in the warranty form packaged with your Prime surge protector.



Q.What does the Prime surge protector warranty cover?

A:The warranty covers defects in material and workmanship.



Q.How do I file a claim?

A:Contact Prime’s customer service department at our toll-free number, 1 (888) 445-9955 and request a claim form. The claim form provides detailed instructions on how to start the claim process.



Q.What is the turnaround time for a claim to be processed?

A:Upon our receipt of the surge protector and completed claim documentation (including all receipts, technical reports, estimates for repairs, etc. as outlined in the claim procedure) it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete the claim evaluation process.





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