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Question for non-Brazilians about electric power





Da Rossa
Hi,
You know, in Brazil most people, which are also less computer savvy, use a device called "tension stabilizer" between their computers's PSUs and the energy socket.
Everything electronic but the computers go directly on the wall but the PCs themselves, only them, curiously have this in the circuit.
The alleged function is to prevent a sudden tension variation (spike), from 220V to 250V or even more (considering we have 220V nets in the majority here in Brazil), from destroying, searing, burning, exploding (and many other verbs) the device.
I try telling people this is more damaging than protective, but they have a "better safe than sorry" mentality. Then I asked them to name a reliable, worldwide-known stabilizer brand and no one is able to find one.

Do you use anything similar to the described device there in the northern hemisphere?
Bondings
I'm not sure about the tension stabilizer term, but here in Belgium most advanced power strips have a surge protector inside that tries to protect against abnormal voltage spikes (normal ones are let through though) by shutting down the current or routing it to ground.

I think they have some valid use as voltage spikes sometimes do break electronic devices, although I guess for a very close lightning charge they probably won't help much.
ocalhoun
'Tension' is sometimes used synonymously with 'voltage'*... and stabilizing the voltage used by your electronics is a good idea.

That should apply to any electronics though, not just for the computer's CPU.

And while a surge protector may also be a very good idea, I'm not sure that most of them would trip their breaker for only 20-40 volts over normal. They're mostly intended to stop huge surges caused by lightning, so they might not notice smaller ones.

*The term is outdated, but still used in some places. Another place I've seen that used is in 'high tension power lines' ... not named so because of any especially high mechanical tension, but named because they carry high voltage.
Da Rossa
@ocal
Quote:

'Tension' is sometimes used synonymously with 'voltage'*... and stabilizing the voltage used by your electronics is a good idea.

Yes, in theory correcting the voltage is good, but this very device called "stabilizer" in here apparently doesn't to the alleged job. There are some articles about it, which I can't explain plainly in here.

@Bondings
Quote:
I think they have some valid use as voltage spikes sometimes do break electronic devices, although I guess for a very close lightning charge they probably won't help much.


The stabilizer is intended for correcting voltages from 220V to 110V, since electrical and computer components operate with 110V but the network in here works @220V. That's what the surge protectos do, but in here people almost don't use them; they rely on the stabilizers. What those authors say is that the stabilizer doesn't actually "correct the voltage" because, when it kicks in, the damage is already done.
Marcuzzo
I think it depends on where you live and how touristic the area is.
here in belgium we also use 220V and there is not a lot of change in power usage throughout the year. Since most people have a night and day counter they will run their heavier machines at night because it is cheaper.
but in Italy for instance this is another story. my parents have a house in a little town and in the winter only 30000 people live there, but in the summer there are over 70000 tourists and a lot of hotels need a lot of power. and when you measure the Voltage in the summer you can see it spike up to 250V while in the winter there is a steady 220V on the network.
not having a stabilizer there will shorten the lifespan of electrical equipment
Da Rossa
Not a very touristic city here. No expectations of big variations.

Edit: what people argue is that the stabilizer is slow comparing to the PSU. When the elevated pulse comes in, the PSU adjusts by itself in less than 5% of the time the stabilizer does, so, when the latter kicks in, it "corrects" what was not supposed to be corrected. So the PSU works twice and, therefore, this will have a shorter lifespan.
ocalhoun
Da Rossa wrote:

Yes, in theory correcting the voltage is good, but this very device called "stabilizer" in here apparently doesn't to the alleged job.


Well, I'd have to see one of these devices and learn more about them to figure out what they're really for, and if they do their job or not... Preferably with some internal diagrams and bench testing for good measure.

If in doubt, I'd just connect everything through a high-quality battery backup/line conditioner unit, so no matter how messy the incoming power is, the sensitive electronics still get clean, steady input.
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