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Electrical Storm - Poof, Out go the LED Lights

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Aug 18, 2013, 12:20 AM
Electrical Storm - Poof, Out go the LED Lights
Water damage to the kitchen ceiling led to the fortunate removal of the ugly 4 foot tube lights and the install of 6 inch can lights. LED bulbs were selected, put on a dimmer and wired in series.

A little over a week ago there was a nasty electrical storm, the only damage to the house was the 6 LED bulbs, ouch over $300 worth!

The bulbs have been replaced, but naturally I fear for the next storm and another poof and the bulbs are fried again.

I'm looking for an inline surge protector to cut into the circuit. I've done some searching and found that MTL Industries makes one specifically for LED lights, but I can't see to find anywhere they are sold.

Anyone know where I can find an inline surge protector, the MTL one or any other that would work.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree and there is a better way to protect my lights.

Aug 18, 2013, 12:57 AM
I don't know if this would help as it's listed as commercial surge protectors, but it might be a start:

Contact info for MTL surge protection products:


MTL US Offices & Reps:

and lists by states:
Aug 18, 2013, 10:40 AM
a surge protector might help, might not. you don't want one that conducts too early, because motor start impulses and stuff might wear it out before you need it. one that conducts at too high a voltage will, of course, not protect against the induced surge that takes the LED lights out. LEDs are solid-state, as is the control element in the base, and it doesn't take but one pulse to whack the bulbs.

yes, surge suppressors do wear out in normal use from spikes. we use hard-core suppressors in the field in DSL installations, and in many locations they don't last two years, evidenced by the red lights if you take off the deadfront panel at the power pedestal, or the zap failure of the $12,000 per shelf equipment. I had a surge power strip flame out during a storm 15 years ago, the suppressor was shattered. strip case prevented a fire.

most elegant and inefficient, for the sake of education, is a constant-voltage transformer, which generates a lot of heat and buzzes like a beehive. oh, and they are very intensively pricey. direct-wire, no plug-ins, and they are large due to the inherent magnetic inefficiency needed for the transformer to shrug off surges as heat.

considering the average voltage varies by time of day and distance to the pole pig and is often in the 128 volt range, a 140 volt surge suppressor is kinda close to the wire. a 160 volt suppressor might let through too large a spike.

since this is likely to be put in a difficult place to inspect, and it will need to be in a place where you can inspect it, I'd check the packaging on the LED bulbs and see if they have a warranty. try and collect on this hit. if you get taken out again relatively soon, well, another technology that may be not ready for prime-time in this application.

LED bulbs are also a nasty source of RF interference, many brands like Cree and Philips have been tagged on ham radio forums like as prolific band-killers.

I've got a little 3 watter as a night light in the hamshack from Feit, and so far, it's been quiet. YMMV.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

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