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Cable surge protection

Posted on 2013-11-13
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Hello experts.  I have a question about how much protection is provided for the internet cable against lightning strikes by relatively high end consumer grade surge protectors.  My habit is to unplug the surge protector in a lightning storm for maximum protection, but unscrewing the coax is rather tedious and I usually don't bother with it.  I am assuming that lightening is the only kind of surge one would have to worry about from the cable, but if I'm wrong please let me know.
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Question by:NonComposMentis
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7 Comments
 
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Grassi
ID: 39645956
Check to make sure your cable service is properly grounded at the entry point to your home.

I installed Direct TV Satellite service years ago and we had to install a ground rod or run a ground cable to a known good ground on the home or apartment.

If grounded properly then unplugging the cable is not required.

The surge protection should be that a surge protector many get a power strip confused with a surge protector .

If you have a surge protector then you system is protected.

If you leave your home for a long period of time like for vacation then unplugging everything is not a bad practice.
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Author Comment

by:NonComposMentis
ID: 39646156
I should have been more clear that power strip has ports to enable the cable to be routed *through* it.  It is clear that it is at least *pretending* to be a surge protector.  As I recall when I bought it, it was rated for a certain number of joules, although I couldn't say now what that number was, and anyway I assume that would be for the power line rather than the cable.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 39646660
>> ...anyway I assume that would be for the power line rather than the cable.

More or less. It will protect the cable line from ...hmmmm... stray surges that find their way on to it.
But a close/direct lighting strike, will blow right through/pass any normal protector (think spark plug gap).
But as trgrassijr55 already mentioned, having your outside box properly grounded (and crossing your fingers), is about all you can do.

They do have Lighting Arresters, that tie into your Main Power Box. But I'm not sure if/how you could/would go about rigging one of those to the cable.
Just a thought...
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Author Comment

by:NonComposMentis
ID: 39646695
So what I'm hearing from coral47's carefully calibrated snark is that the cable 'in' and 'out' ports on a consumer grade surge protector is mostly a marketing gimmick.  Am I close?
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Assisted Solution

by:Thomas Grassi
Thomas Grassi earned 1000 total points
ID: 39646731
Again if the cable is grounded properly you will have no issues

Contact the cable company and ask them to come out and check to make sure it is grounded.

As I said the surge protector will protect your equipment from spikes if your hit by lightning that is another ball game.

The chances of that are remote.

You can always unplug things to be on the safe side.

I never had to do that in over 35 years of running computer equipment and entertainment equipment.
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by:
_ earned 1000 total points
ID: 39646785
>> ...snark...

Nice word. I haven't heard it in a while.    : )

It's not completely hype. As mentioned, the surge protector will help if regular electricity happens to get on the cable line (say, a power line drops on to it), or you get some kind of strange signal spike.
Lighting is a completely different animal.

I live in Florida, and while Lighting coming in over the cable line is still rare, it does happen.
It prefers power lines, but will crawl up anything that's handy.
So as long as the surge protector isn't interfering with the cable signal, I say it can't hurt to use it.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 39648035
Thank you much.   : )
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