Is there a true, fail-safe, surge protector for the insanely paranoid?

Here he goes again, Phlosphr trying to helpa friend in need. Anyway, I have a good friend who owns and operates a small engineering comapny…He has millions of dollars worth of drawings on his computers, and he thinks he must unplug them all at night to protect them from frying in case of a lightning storm.

That being said he refuses to get a server (as I suggested before) as he does not really understand the benefit it would have to his company… So we have several machines with tons of drawings on them and all independently running. They are networked.

This being said he broke down a bought a rev drive a few weeks ago so he can back up the info each night and take it home with him on a disk…you know a mini-hard drive disk…

But he still unpluggs his surge protector every night. He got the most beefy hairy chested surge protector he could find and still unpluggs the damn thing.

Is there a website I could show him to give him some semblence of peace of mind? Some info I could give him to help him understand that even lightning can be diverted? [I hope thats true] and that he is really safer than he thinks… OR am I a complete horses ass and have no clue what I am talking about?

Divert lightning? I don’t think so.

Well unless you convert the electricity to another form of energy and back into electricity, like a electric motor connected to a generator into the computer, or running a large bank of lights that charge solar panels which run the computer.

The solution is not to unplug the computer, but to distribute the data to seperate places, which could include that backup drive, online storage or other places.

The solution is to spend the money on great back up equipment.

When an outside conection for networking may cause power surge worry, an optical cable and repeater can be used for a section of network to isolate the sustem electricaly from the outside wire. A back up to isolated equipment is the way. A fire or flood could wipe the guy out with his current system. Backup at a remote location can handle those types of risks with a high rate of certainty, but never 100 percent.

At least you’re nudging him towards a backup strategy.

As for power protection, most of the top brands provide $x coverage for connected equipment against power anomalies. APC, for example, has this coverage on a line of relatively basic “under the monitor” surge supressors:
Lifetime equipment protection policy
Your equipment connected to SurgeArrest is protected, too! Under the Lifetime Equipment
Protection policy, APC will repair or replace connected equipment damaged by surges, including lightning strikes, up to $25,000!

(* See policy for details. Equipment Protection varies by product. Valid only in the U.S. and Canada)*

Keep in mind this covers the hardware, and not data, which is why a data backup plan is essential.

Actually, even though he should be doing a more comprehensive job or distributing and backing up his data, unplugging his PCs from the AC is the only absolutely surefire way of preventing lightening damage to the PCs via the AC line, and if his data is really worth millions of dollars, I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t be doing the same thing in his position if my data wasn’t 100% backed up.

Surge suppressors within the realm of rational pricing aren’t (by any means) 100% foolproof, and if a strike is big enough it’s gonna come in. There are very sophisticated and reliable (but not 100%) suppression systems for electrical hardware that costs millions of dollars, but these range from thousands to tens of thousands (or more) dollars in price.

Or an uninterruptible power supply that always runs the attached devices using an inverter running on the batteries, which are themselves being charged by the wall current. I believe there are some high end UPSs that do this (i.e. not the kind you go buy from Best Buy); they’re referred to as “dual conversion online” UPSs. But, again, for that kind of money, you could get a proper back-up system.

Motor-generator sets are pretty bulletproof. They aren’t cheap.

wow all those fancy words shounds like a lot of money…

No more expensive than the data. :smiley:

You’d have to be horribly paranoid to even consider using a mo-gen as an “airgap” for your power source, but yes, it would work.

He could get a DVD burner and copy all of the drawings to DVD’s and save them in a safe place. Indeed, not expensive!

Hmm… how much data needs to be backed up here? If he’ll just be using cheap burnable DVDs, he should be making regular and complete backups. Theres a good chance that some file burned years ago will become unreadable. Still, such a setup would be far better than nothing, especially if you’re only talking about ten or twenty gigs worth of files. Burning a few DVDs every week is pretty easy and cheap as hell.

Don’t bother. He sounds like the kind of person that has his mind made up, and no amount of factual info will change it.

No, it can’t really.

A direct lightning strike at the electrical service entrance on the house can easily fry any plugged in electronics, electrical appliances, and even the copper wires in the walls! I had friends whose house took such a direct strike; afterwards you could trace the wiring in the walls by the scorch marks showing thru the plaster. Some exposed wires actually exploded, showering droplets of melted copper in the room! You can’t protect against a direct strike like that. But they are pretty rare.

What those units are protecting against is nearby lightning strikes, on the power company lines in your neighborhood, and the resulting surges that come in on your electrical service. These are generally small enough to be stopped by the surge protector, or diverted into burning it out, but protecting the equipment beyond it.

Point out that he has millions of dollars worth of data here, but he is worrying about protecting a few thousand dollars worth of hardware. Spend his money on buying an effective backup system, to protect his valuable data. The relatively minor cost of replacing his hardware can be covered by his insurance policy. (Or spend a little on surge protectors, etc. – but only after he has protected his data!)

I agree with the others here about redundant backups; burn copies to DVD and store them in fireproof safes in two locations; back them up locally to a network attached storage appliance and back them up to a removable hard drive. Don’t worry about lightning strike - just have a sensible failsafe backup policy and plan to replace the hardware in the unlikely event of disaster.

I have been running dual hard drives in ‘mobile trays’ for years.

Mirror the HD once a week and unplug the second drive.

And I have nothing to protect except the PITA of having to redo my drive and some pictures and emails. Just makes sense to me. I know what lightning can do.