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Do tube amps require surge protection?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Tarnisher, Apr 19, 2021.

What do you plug your tube amp into?

  1. wall outlet

    22.5%
  2. power strip (not surge protected)

    13.3%
  3. surge protector

    59.2%
  4. other

    9.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Tarnisher

    Tarnisher Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Is there a risk of damage from leaving a tube amp plugged in to the wall or a normal power strip?

    Would that be reduced by plugging it in to a surge protector?

    What do you use and why?
     
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  2. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Holic

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    ALWAYS use a surge protector for you good equipment.

    There are some people who unplug their equipment during a lightning storm.
     
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  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    About 2 years ago I had a lightning strike power surge wipe out a lot of my electronics, including some guitar gear. The gear that was plugged into a high quality surge protector strip was unaffected. Digital gear that wasn't plugged into a surge protector was destroyed, most notably, my Mooer Radar. After that strike, we had the electrician install a whole house surge protector but I still use separate power surge rated strips or UPS units for my electronics, including guitar gear.
     
  4. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    No greater risk to a tube amp than any other piece of electrical or electronic equipment...but yes, it’s a good idea to plug into a surge protector.

    At some venues, I’ll plug my amp into the power strip on my (Furman) pedalboard, because it’s got a built-in power conditioner...but I don’t carry a surge protector with me...maybe I need to start.
     
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  5. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    I use an isobar IB4. It's the only part of the whole rig that never changed since I was a teenager. Isolated outlets quiet down junky pedals a bit. I need a new one as backup, come to think of it......
     
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  6. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    I live in Central Florida, the Lightning Capital of the World, and take no chances. I have surge protection on most electronic/electrical items...amps, computer, refrig. and freezer, TV/Audio, etc. Should just go whole house, and may soon....
     
  7. 421JAM

    421JAM Tele-Meister

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    Maybe this is overkill, but I unplug my amps always when not in use. Many surge protectors are good for one surge and a surge can happen silently (no lightning required) so I just assume my surge protectors are already fried and offer no protection. They’re essentially nothing more than multi-outlet power strips.

    I’ve had stereos and TVs ruined that were plugged into surge protectors. I’m willing to leave that stuff plugged in and risk it. But I’m not trusting my amps to surge protectors.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  8. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    "Surge strips" are a bit awkward to haul with you, so consider the single-receptical surge protectors that don't have a cable. They're the size of a tangerine and fit in your hand
     
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  9. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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    I surge protect all my gear. Bear in mind that, according to ms. d, I'm OCD. I guess that makes me OCDd.
     
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  10. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Meister

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    If you have room in your electric panel, whole house protectors are not expensive.
    I have a square D one that I stuck up near the top of the busbars in my panel about 4 years ago. It snaps in like a breaker.

    Don't do this if you aren't an electrician. It can be real dangerous.

    Since then, no problems, even though my neighbors have had several different failures. So far so good.
     
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  11. DADGAD

    DADGAD Friend of Leo's

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    BobbyZ, jays0n and Tarnisher like this.
  12. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Afflicted

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    I have Furmans for all my gear.
     
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  13. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Meister

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    I'm purely guessing here, but if a tube amp is turned off there is no current path to allow an overvoltage to conduct through the transformer windings. This is especially true if the power switch is a DPST that disconnects the hot and the neutral. I suppose in extreme voltage situations the switch points could arc. I don't know if the instantaneous voltage generated in a power line is enough to do that.

    About a month after I moved into my first apartment, the building was hit by lightning and I came home to find my brand new 25" color tv with a crazy rainbow permanently burned on the screen, my 4 head stereo VCR was dead, my dual micro cassette answering machine was dead, and my alarm clock was dead. I don't remember if my gear was plugged in or not or what I was even using at the time, but none of it was damaged.

    BTW, I got the tv replaced under warranty. I played dumb when they asked if there was a lightning strike. I had to buy a new VCR. I got one of those fancy new-fangled digital answering machines but the sample rate was so bad that I couldn't recognize the voices on playback, so I returned it and bought another micro cassette unit. I did upgrade my alarm clock to a Fancy Sony one with a built-in cassette player. I still use it every day! Bonus points if anyone can guess what year this was! :D
     
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  14. trouserpress

    trouserpress Tele-Holic

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    Would a surge protection in a stepdown transformer provide sufficient protection for the amp?
     
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  15. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I use a power strip that has surge protection.
     
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  16. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    "Power Conditioning" is the biggest BS marketing speak of all time. Unless you get into something like a Furman AR-1215 where it's actually regulating the voltage, or a sine wave UPS backup that generates pure sine wave AC, you have a glorified power strip.
     
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  17. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    Any HiFi audio equipment whether it's a tube amp or my Helix can be damaged by a power surge. If I decided to forgo a $25 surge protecting powerstrip and cooked my gear, I would feel like a dumbass.
     
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  18. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    .
     
  19. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    I have surge protectors on almost everything except appliances. I unplug amps, recording equipment, and any expensive gear when there are storms.

    The reason I unplug is my experience with lightning as a kid when our house was struck. The lightning went in through an exterior wall, knocked a hole in the sheetrock (inside only), and arced across the kitchen to hit an interior wall. The outside wall opposite the hole just had a small burn mark but was otherwise untouched.

    So after seeing the lightning arc ~10 feet inside the house, I do not trust vintage amps with just a surge protector. The amount of power in a lightning strike is so great, all bets are off.
     
  20. puddin

    puddin Tele-Afflicted

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    I have 3 of these.. takes care of gear, computer, and Tv. In Florida we surge, and power drops. Keeps my cable box, and internet up and running, without them having to reboot. I don't play during storms, and unplug my gear.


    thumbnail_IMG_0897.jpg
     
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