DC motor surge protection
July 13, 2010 10:57 AM   Subscribe

If I have an appliance that has a DC motor, should I unplug it during a storm if it's not on a surge protector? Why?
posted by Alpenglow to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
If it's not on I wouldn't worry about it. The reason people unplug electronics during a storm is because they are never really "off". But most DC motor appliances (blenders, mixers, fans, etc) are truly disconnected from the grid when they are off.
posted by sbutler at 11:02 AM on July 13, 2010

I would unplug it, on or off. Lightning is of such a high voltage that the gap between switch contacts is easily jumped. I unplug surge protectors as well - most really cannot handle a significant lightning surge, but then I'm a cautious fellow.
posted by tommyD at 11:36 AM on July 13, 2010

I'm going to go with "Probably not."

In my experience living in an area with significant power surge problems, most of the appliances we lost had electronics in them, not just DC motors. So a blender? Not that big of a deal, particularly if it's just the push-button mechanical kind. But anything with computing power, even if it's a microwave, can have its controller damaged to the point that it stops working.

Things we lost over the years:

- Too many cordless phones to count.
- A TV.
- A stereo.

None of these things was on a surge protector though. We never lost a computer, but that was always on one.

We never lost any of our simpler appliances either.

This may be anecdata, but if it were me, I wouldn't worry about it. Besides, most appliances with DC motors are cheap.
posted by valkyryn at 1:13 PM on July 13, 2010

A surge protector is not a lightning protector. They will increase the level of protection for the connected equipment, but only on a fairly narrow scale. Like when the power comes back on and the lights all flare. But lightning anywhere nearby will defeat them.

If you are worried about the thing getting fried, unplug it.

I would also mention that it is fairly rare for an appliance that plugs into the wall to have a DC motor. If it doesn't have batteries, it is probably an AC motor.
posted by gjc at 3:55 PM on July 13, 2010

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