A surge protector with a timer is an appliance or device designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A voltage spike is a transient event typically lasting 1-30 microseconds, that may reach over 1,000 volts.
Lightning that hits a power line can give many thousands, sometimes 100,000 or more volts. Spikes can degrade wiring insulation and destroy electronic devices like battery chargers, modems, and TVs.
Scaled-down versions of these devices, as opposed to the commercial industrial type, are sold with timers.
What the Best Surge Protector with Timer?
Hydrofarm TMSP8 Surge Protector with 8 outlets and amp timer has 4 timed, 4 constant (always on) outlets. It is also equipped with a power indicator and a surge protector. Outfitted with a 6 ft power cord, and a circuit breaker switch for safety, this product incorporates only premium quality components.
You can expand wall outlets and control your equipment with an 8-outlet power strip. The built-in timer and surge protection are second to none.
Indicator lights are present for both the timed and constant outlets. The timer has 15-minute increment pins, and a timer-override switch is provided. A lighted power switch also acts as a breaker/reset.
What Causes Voltage Spikes?
A voltage spike is a fast, short-duration electrical transients (overvoltages) in the electrical potential of a circuit.
It is typically caused by:
- Lightning strikes
- Power Outages
- Tripped circuit breakers
- Short Circuits
- Power transitions in other large equipment on the same power line
- Malfunctions caused by the power company
- Inductive strikes
Spikes can also occur on telephone and data lines when alternating currents accidentally connect to them or lighting hits them. They can also occur when the telephone and data lines travel near lines with a spike and the voltage is induced.
For Home Use
Surge protectors with timers for homes can be in power strips used inside, or in a device outside at the power panel. A modern house has three wires- Line, Neutral, and Ground (L, N, and G).
Many protectors will connect to all three, in pairs, since there are conditions like lightning where both L and N have high voltage spikes that need to be shorted to the ground.
The Operation of Surge Protectors
Surge protectors don’t operate instantaneously; a slight delay exists, a few nanoseconds. Slower responding technologies may have difficulty protecting against fast spikes. Therefore, good designs incorporating slower but otherwise useful technologies usually combine them with faster-acting components, to provide more comprehensive protection.
A popular system used to reduce or limit high voltage surges include the electronic component – MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor). Some surge suppression systems use multiple technologies since each method has its strong and weak points.
The method below (MOV) operates primarily by diverting unwanted surge away from the protected load, through a protected component connected in a shunted topology. An example is a single-outlet protector with visible connection and protection lights.
Metal Oxide Varistor
Because of their good performance/price ratio, MOV’s are the most common protector component in low-cost basic AC power protectors.
MOV’s limit voltages to about 3 to 4 times the normal circuit voltage by diverting surge current elsewhere than the protected load.
MOV’s have a finite life expectancy and “degrade” when exposed to a few large transients, or many small transients. Every tome a MOV activates, or “shorts” its threshold voltage reduces slightly.
Your surge strip house protector has circuit breakers and temperature fuses to prevent serious consequences. A thermal fuse disconnects the MOV when it gets too hot.
All MOV-based protectors intended for long term use should have an indicator that the protective components have failed. This indication must be checked regularly to ensure that protection is still functioning (Source).
How Much Do Surge Protectors with Timers Cost?
Surge protectors with timers can cost anywhere from $20-$35. The timer component of the surge protector adds a slight cost to the product.
You can buy a single outlet surge protector for as little as $5-$10. Bells and whistles that add cost to your surge protector with timers are extended cords, indicator lights and the number of outlets available.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Surge Protector
- You can control equipment such as water pumps and fans with the timed outlets and use the always-on outlets for any gear that needs constant power.
- The built-in timer controls four of the outlets so you have flexibility in scheduling multiple irrigation cycles for hydroponics, and intermittent exhaust fan cycles.
- With the timer override switch and combination lighted power/circuit breaker switch you can disable the timer and turn the four timed outlets into always-on outlets. In the event of a circuit overload, the power switch also acts as a circuit reset switch.
- You can stop making a mess of extension cords! If you have the problem that many home-owners have – limited outlets in each room- this surge protector is the solution. Instead of the fire hazard that homemade setups can cause, the days of too many cords are over. Only using a timer for your lights can take up your entire outlet. Now you can have 8 outlets! Four on a timer and four that are not.
- Remember- these are not always foolproof. Unfortunately, Surges due to lightning could be too big for a surge protector at times.
- Look for a warranty for your surge protector if this is an important feature for you.
To Sum it Up
It’s heartbreaking to lose your favorite gadget or appliance over an unpredictable power fluctuation. To ensure that your electronic device is safeguarded from unknown power strikes, you want to be sure to have an AC surge protector in place.
Also referred to as a surge suppressor, should withstand all power fluctuations caused by power outages.
It also moderates voltage. This helps in avoiding damage to your expensive electronic equipment.