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Product Review

American Power Conversion Protectnet PV Coax Surge Protector
August, 2002

Brian Florian




Insertion Loss

Less than 2.3dB within range of 1MHz-1.45GHz


Peak Surge Current



Protection Type

Line to Ground


Let-through Voltage



0ns (instant) Surge Response




American Power Conversion

132 Fairground Road

West Kingston, RI

Phone 800-800-4APC


Data Lines:  The forgotten surge path

While most of you know me as a no nonsense associate editor of Secrets, I am by day a humble system architect for a rather small computer VAR.  Over the years I've seen my share of computers coming into our service department for power related damage.

Interestingly, 9 out of 10 of those systems were hit not through the power lines, but the data lines (most frequently through the modem).

Our computers are connected to the outside world through phone lines and various broadband connections, including DSL (which piggy backs on the phone line) and high speed cable (which piggy backs on the television lines).  If your computer is connected to phone or cable line, it needs to be protected on both the AC power line and the data line.  All the better brands of surge protectors offer models which provide protection to one or more of the data lines.  It's just good sense.

While a decent surge bar is a bare minimum of common sense protection for an expensive home theater, many of us are opting for more in terms of power filters or what-have-you.  I am partial to balanced AC for my system.  The Smart Theater Systems GC120 I'm using right now, like so many others in its class, provides surge protection, but only on the AC line.  What about the cable connection to my television?  That wire looms outside on the pole just begging for lightning to give it the death kiss.

What to do indeed?

This is going to be short . . . .

The PV ProtectNet from APC is the perfect addition for a power conditioner that does not already have coverage of the coax line from either your cable TV service or your DSS dish.

The PV is no bigger than a coax splitter with the obvious gold plated in/out F connections and a ground wire.  This ground wire must be bound to ground either at the wall outlet or the power conditioner itself.  My GC120 conveniently provides such a ground screw connection at the back.  In the event of a surge, the PV simply shunts the catastrophe to ground.

The PV carries a lifetime warranty and comes with a nice short 12" coax jumper cable made from RG-6U which facilitates installation.

Yabba dabba doo . . .

That's all folks.  I told you this would be short.  I'm not going to invest a few thousand dollars for test gear to second guess APC's published spec.  Their website contains enough technical white papers about ratings and testing to satisfy the skeptic.  Cable TV doesn't provide the best signal in the world to begin with, so the insertion loss is invisible, and even if it weren't, the peace of mind would be worth it.  In our system, we actually found that reception of some channels improved!  We believe this is because the PV is providing localized grounding of the coax's shield.  The inclusion of the PV in a DSS system should make absolutely no difference at all in the picture and sound.

Protect you investment.  Don't leave the data lines open!

- Brian Florian -

Reference equipment:

Paradigm Reference Studio/40 and Studio/CC speakers 
Paradigm Mini-Monitor speakers 
Velodyne CT-150 powered subwoofer 
Smart Theater Systems 2X150VT amplifier 
Rotel RB-985 5 channel THX amplifier 
Anthem AVM-20 Surround Sound Processor
Yamaha RX-V795a processor/receiver 
Toshiba 2108 DVD player 
Yamaha CDC-695 CD player 
Nordost Blue Heaven, Moonglow, and S-Optix cable 
Sony KV-27S36 Trinitron TV 
Smart Theater Systems GC120 AC Line Purifier

Related to the article above, we recommend the following:

Cable Primer
IEEE 1394 Nature of Equipment Reviews
The Digital Link What we Hear
High Fidelity Accuracy, Distortion, and the Audiophile

Copyright 2002 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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