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What is a Rack Mount Surge Protector?

By Alexis W.
Updated May 17, 2024
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A rack mount surge protector is an electrical housing that protects a variety of electronic devices from harmful voltage surges or electrical noise created by a power source. A rack mount surge protector can protect against surges from high-voltage electrical appliances, such as HVAC systems, that may be present in the same building as the particular electrical devices the user intends to protect. Any electrical device that must be protected from outside electrical noise, such as personal computers, sound equipment, and audiovisual equipment, should be protected through the use of a rack mount surge protector. Such protection helps to ensure not only that the device doesn’t become affected by feedback or other electrical noise while in use, but also that the device is not damaged by an unexpected voltage surge that can completely destroy the electrical workings of valuable electronics.

When a number of electrical devices, such as all of the different components of a personal home computer including the monitor, tower, and copier, are to be plugged into the same power source, they become especially susceptible to the damaging effects of any outside electrical feedback-producing elements. Any feedback or current surge can damage the precision of the circuits inside valuable electronic equipment that requires the electrical signal from which it is drawing to remain “clean.” This feedback can be from a number of different electrical instabilities in the building, such as a large air conditioning unit or a miniature refrigerator. An individual surge protector could be placed on each item, but this would require multiple protectors and outlets, which could become expensive and space prohibitive.

A rack mount surge protector prevents this from happening by having all of the equipment that requires protection plugged into it. The rack mount surge protector is then connected to the power source. It acts as a filter between the electrical equipment it’s protecting and any power source that may be supplying “dirty” power, or power that contains electrical feedback.

The other function of a rack mount surge protector is to act as a type of circuit breaker between the power source and the equipment it has plugged into it. Any time an unexpected and unwanted voltage surge occurs in the electrical supply being delivered to the rack mount surge protector, the unit automatically breaks the connection between the equipment plugged into it and the source delivering the power to it by turning itself off immediately. Once the power supply has been regulated, the surge protector may be turned back on, usually by flipping the switch located on most units, delivering clean power to the equipment that it has protected.

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