No. of Recommendations: 3
I think all this business about power surges is made out to be a bigger monster than it is. "Power surge" is a very generic term and seems to be getting used haphazardly or conveniently. I don't think strong surges are common. I do think surge protectors are a good idea, and I do think some devices are much more delicate and fragile and susceptible to damage, than are others.

Power fluctuations, by contrast, are very common. Getting 109 volts where you usually measure 118, now that is common. 126 volts, shouldn't shock you (pun intended). According to State Farm insurance, peak voltages that the power company may send should not exceed 169 volts. Rarely does your home have mysterious surges that exceed that. Again, it largely takes lightning to "arc" past high voltage circuits in your electronics, and jumper over to the lower voltage circuits.

When heavy equipment turns on, it can cause a surge of electricity in the line. This actually does happen frequently, however, in your home it isn't much of a concern. You don't have a crane on your roof, or an elevator, or other large device that causes heavy spikes.

Generally, your laptop electronics run on DC voltage, not AC. Think about it people. You don't even need to plug your laptop in, it can run on batteries.

My point is that minor fluctuations in your ac power does not affect most home electronics. Lightning bolts on the other hand, can jumper past the low voltage circuits and fuse it all together. 110 volt power surges just don't do that. That was my point about the tv being "off." Yeah sure, the "on" circuit is still energized at-the-ready. But for those who don't understand how electricity works, there is no power in lines unless there is resistance. In other words you could have a billion volts in a line but it is only "potential" volts. It takes a circuit, a motor, or something to demand of those volts. An "on" circuit may be able to be blown with a regular power surge, but it aint going to be able to blow up your tv just because there was a spike from 110 volts to 136 volts via a "surge." Not when it's sitting there "off" anyway.

It will take a very large, like lightning bolt large, surge to "fry" entire circuit boards.

Amateurs that we are, all it takes is a tiny little cold soldered path to be interrupted, and then like the inexperienced elfin' Best Buy geek wannabe kid says, the tv is ready for the trash bin. Because we are amateurs and don't know the difference between a lightning bolt shooting 1,000 degree sparks through the plastic case, and, a loose 10 cents diode from cold solder failure the size of this period .

Does it (electronic failure due to power surges) happen? Yes. Does it happen alot? No, your power in your home rarely jumps by more than a few volts, and almost never, past 169 volts. Unless you have some sort of heavy equipment like pool pumps or the like, which is not likely whatsoever to "fry" your electronics. It may however shorten the life of your electronics, if you have something in your home that repeatedly turns on and off, causing voltage variations more than 10%.

Of course, nothing I've written here should suggest you don't need surge protection. And some of you guys are writing some excellent stuff regarding the best type of protections to consider.

I intend on writing Insignia and asking them why "power surges" are a go-to answer when a customer brings in a tv, but then in their literature they don't even recommend a surge protector.

p.s. I found out that only tv's smaller than 42" can be returned to Best Buy. If I had to guess, it's probably because their garbage cans only have 40" lids.

Paul T.
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