Power Surge Damage

Can a power surge damage any of your equipment even though the equipment is not powered on? What pieces are most and least susceptible to power surge damage in the audio chain?
Are tube components more easily damaged than SS?

I've taken surge protection out of my system and am using an Audience AR1P connected to a BPT PPC strip via a Lessloss cord.

Do you simply just unplug the AR1P from the wall during potential thunderstorms?


Some components have standby modes or other design provisions which result in some of their circuitry always being powered up, as long as they are connected to ac. Also, anything that can be turned on with a remote control would have some circuitry always powered, so that it can respond to commands from the remote.

Also, if the power or lightning surge is sufficiently strong, it could conceivably jump across a component's power switch.

Solid state components are more susceptible to damage than tube components, not vice versa. Although keep in mind that modern tube components often contain considerable amounts of solid state circuitry in addition to the tube circuitry.

Yes, I would definitely unplug from the wall during potential thunderstorms.

-- Al
Lightening can even jump across open circuit breakers, so always unplug. It's the best insurance, in fact, except for isolation transformers with derived grounds, it's the ONLY insurance.
The Audience aR1p is a surge protector. Read whats on the website. "The aR1p Adept Response provides surge suppression up to 20,000 amps. Whereas surge suppression devices like the ubiquitous MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) are sacrificial devices and wear out over time, the aR1p surge suppression does not deteriorate. We have also found that MOV devices introduce grudge to audio and video signal. The surge suppression in the aR1p is entirely silent."

Here is the link http://www.audience-av.com/conditioners/ar1p_desc.php
Unplug,unplug,unplug please unplug.I learned this the hard way!!
Back when I repaired high-end audio for a living, a single lightning storm would easily pay my mortgage and car payments for a month . . . here are a few not-so-obvious observations from those years:

- Lightning damage doesn't always show up immediatlely after a storm . . . its common for semiconductor junctions to become damaged, and then outright fail after a little bit more use. CMOS components seem to exhibit this behavior the most.

- A unit's suceptibility to lightning damage is heavily influenced by lots of extremely subtle aspects of its design, especially its internal routing and size of ground traces and connections. Well-designed stuff simply breaks less, including from lightning.

- It's actually possible for equipment to be damaged by lightning even without being plugged into power, or having any connections made to it whatsoever. I personally had the electronics in an unplugged MIG-welder destroyed in this fashion - a cloud-to-cloud strike directly above my house induced a current in its large transformer core purely from the EMP field. So there are of course many situations where even a theoretically perfect surge suppressor will do absolutely no good.

In my opinion, the two best defences against lightning damage are:

- Making sure the household wiring is in good shape, and everything is up to modern standards and codes. Not necessarily in an audiophile-overkill sense, but if you have an older home with questionable workmanship in wiring from many revisions, or your system includes multiple wall outlets, multiple circuits, extension cords, and/or cheater plugs . . . or your home's electrical panel is stuffed full of doubled-up breakers and has poor grounding . . . chances are that you're more suceptible than average.

- Get a good homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, with generous replacement-value lightning-damage coverage on your electronics. Because in the end, when mankind goes up against Nature . . . we're bound to lose eventually.
surge suppression up to 20,000 amps.
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
The "surge" that most surge protection devices are designed to stop is the modest fluctuation in the power generated by your power company or, for example, the surge created when your power kicks back on after a unexpected power failure. I would be highly skeptical of any device that you plug your equipment into that claims to protect your gear from the 1 million plus volts that can be produced by lightning. I unplug my gear whenever the potential for storms is in the forecast, which is often here in the South this time of year. And, I have good insurance.
Thanks for all the responses. It seems that after a recent thunderstorm where we did lose electricity temporarily 3 times my system now sounds different. I did not know that the AR1P had any surge suppression whatsoever....good to know.

Now I'm just not sure what may have sustained any damage. My Rogue 90 amp, Eastern Minimax preamp or Music Hall 25 1+ mods cdp. Can my Vandersteen speakers sustain surge damage? Or has the summer heat just set in and everyone is using their AC a lot more grunging up the power. What I do know is that my system was dialed in perfectly up to about a week ago. Now it has less bass and a harder midrange, there's less magic happening.
Unplugging when lightning threatens is the safest thing you can do to protect your system.

I rewired my house with Square D's top of the line commercial system at the meter with a 200-amp switch for the house and a 100-amp switch for the AV system. A dedicated armored cooked and cryo'd 00 awg cable runs 85 feet from the 100-amp switch to a dedicated Square D QO panel with 5 dedicated armored cooked and cryo'd 10 awg cable runs to cooked and cryo'd Hubble hospital grade outlets. The meter has its own surge protector, the QO panel has Square D's top of the line surge protector for lightning prone areas and each outlet connects to a Transparent PowerIsolator that supposedly clamp surges in pico-seconds instead of nano-seconds.

Still, I unplug.
Yes, summer grunge and humidity could be changing your sound. Also if you are getting a dip in voltage, a PS Audio Power Plant Premier will keep your system grunge free during the summer and also provide superior surge protection. Lots of good deals here on A-gon.
I have a Linn Kudos Tuner and a Magnum Dynalab indoor outdoor antenna that I only use indoors. You also have to disconnect it even if you unplug the system. The antenna in the Tuner is enough to draw lightening even if it is a near miss. So, if you live in Florida or any places that get lots of lightening, unplug the system and unhook the antenna, even if it is indoors.