Electric plugs on an adapter

5 Questions Asked About DB Board Protection

We have all heard about surge protection and DB Board Protection – yet many of us are a little unsure how this works and what there is to know about DB Board Protection. 


Here are five common questions asked about DB Board Protection 

When we install surge arresters in our DB Board in the office – does this mean that there will not be any damage? 

When DB surge arrestors are installed you will no doubt dramatically decrease the risk of damage to your electronic devices, although this does not mean that your sensitive equipment is completely safe. 

Should the supply of power dramatically increase (say, to 250 Volts) will the surge arresters protect all my office equipment? 

The answer is sadly no as the DB surge arresters are designed to protect against high energy surges but not as regulators for surges and spikes 

Explaining the differences between Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 Surge Protection 

Type 1 and Type 2 surge arresters are installed underneath the incoming breakers. Type 1 surge protection is usually installed when there is a lightning bolt installed on a roof of a building. Type 2 is usually installed when there is no lightning bolt on the roof of a building. Type 3 is installed when the loads are sensitive to surges – such as computers and other electronic equipment 

If the Surge Arrester is disconnected – can this be re-set? 

The surge arrester, once disconnected will have to be replaced altogether and cannot be re-set 

Can I install 2 Surge Arresters and if so, will they increase surge protection? 

Installing 2 surge arresters won’t make any difference whatsoever to handling surges 

Distribution Board surge protection plays an important role in the world of commerce, and profitability depends largely on the competencies of many high-tech devices and systems. For effective protection you need to invest in a surge protector of at least 600 to 700 joules and higher – obviously, the higher, the more effective. The clamping voltage is what triggers the surge protector. 


Lightning in the dark sky

Protecting your Business from Lightning in South Africa

Before lightning strikes an object, it is referred to as being a “step leader”. This stepped leader is almost invisible and has a low current of about 200 amps. It reaches from the charge centre in the cloud towards its mirror image with the strike moving from one cloud to another, then towards earth. 

This step leader travels on an average of 50 metres in a microsecond, pauses for 49 microseconds then jumps, often branching out from the original step leader to numerous jumps. The farthest ends of the step leader could be as potent as the charge centre itself. As these branches reach earth, a strong voltage is gained between the step leader’s end and any object on earth. The gradient becomes intense and the air above the object on earth becomes ionized, breaking up the air, and if the object is pointed it breaks down sooner (this is often the case with lightning rods). 

The energy from the charge in the cloud is established into the conductive channel until the electrons in the cloud cannot keep up with the discharge leading up to a massive earth strike and small branches discharging back to the main strike. Lightning is a source of continuous current and will develop whatever voltage is necessary to overcome the resistance of the struck object. Series path inductance or cloud electron migration will sooner or later stop the lightning current. 

Lightning strikes are DC and the usual current waveshape of the strike includes a speedy time leading up to peak current flow; it is this characteristic that creates mayhem with your electronics. 

PHD presents real surge and lightning protection offering advice and an expert team of engineers together with cutting edge technology to ensure your electronic equipment is protected from instabilities and surges. Surge and lightning protection have been created to ensure your business and electronics within the work environment are protected using state-of-the-art technology. 

South Africa has a high incidence of lightning strikes – it is, therefore, advisable to ensure your electronic equipment is protected from surges and strikes and not take unnecessary risks. For this, you can get surge protectors to ensure that you do not lose your valuables. You can also learn more about when to use surge protectors

modified sine wave inverters

Explaining Modified Sine Wave Inverters

Pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters convert 12V DC from batteries into AC (alternating current) power available from wall outlets 

Producing a modified sine wave is a far simpler process than creating a pure sine wave, which boils down to a modified sine wave inverter being a lot cheaper. The trade-off is that some electronics just don’t work properly or may even be damaged if they are not powered by a pure sine wave. For peace of mind, it is advisable to do your homework well before investing in either. 

Modified Sine Wave Inverters 

The polarity switches from positive to negative abruptly in modified sine wave inverters. Simple inverters make square waves and the polarity is then flipped backwards and forwards.  

As a rule of thumb, with modified sine wave inverters, there is always the worry that electronic devices could be damaged. The best way moving forward is by doing as much research as possible when investing in any type of sine wave inverters. 

When using modified sine wave inverters, the two devices that have the most potential of being damaged are delicate medical equipment and AC motors. 

All other electronic devices are unlikely to be damaged by applying modified sine wave inverters, although a pure sine wave inverter is safer when applied to a broader range of devices. Usually, the cost of pure sine wave inverters is not necessarily worth the investment. 

Avoid using modified sine wave inverters on these devices: 

  • Electrical devices that use thyristors should only be used with pure sine wave inverters such as photocopier machines and printers 
  • Electrical devices that use silicon-controlled rectifiers will most probably not work with modified sine wave inverters 
  • Lighting using electronic ballasts such as fluorescent lights should not use modified sine wave inverters 

Use these devices with modified sine wave inverters: 

  • Devices that are not sensitive 
  • Electronic equipment that don’t have AC motors 
  • Usually, devices that use rectifiers that change AC into DC are safe 
  • Some laptops are safe – read the manufacturer’s instructions 

Moving forward, it is always best to do your homework thoroughly before investing in a modified or pure sine wave inverter. 


Pine Sine Inverters under a shade

Explaining Pure Sine Wave Inverters

It is time to think about pure sine wave inverters when you require efficiency. A pure sine wave inverter offers two things – these include the powering of devices effectively by using alternating current input without having to correct it first and offering power to devices that experience interference (radios are a perfect example). 

It is essential to know that there are real differences between sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters as this will avoid confusion and problems arising. 

Ask yourself these questions regarding pure sine wave inverters: 

  • Does the device use a motor? 
  • Is your device delicate and is it used for medical purposes? 
  • Can the device in question be powered by a DC adapter and does it use a rectifier? 

If your device uses a motor and is delicate, particularly if it is medical equipment, chances are that you will need to invest in a pure sine wave inverter, but if your device is powered by a DC adapter and uses a rectifier, then chances are high that you won’t need to invest in a pure sine wave inverter. 

In most instances, a modified sine wave inverter will apply to most devices and circumstances but be aware that there will be some instances where modified sine wave inverters could damage your devices or not be adequate.  

The most common devices that use pure sine wave inverters will be your usual AC motors such as compressors, microwaves, AC motors amongst others. Pure sine wave inverters will work in most applications although they might not always be as effective which could cause them to overheat and could damage sensitive electronics. 

For businesses that have the budget for investing in the future of installations and to have peace of mind, investing in a pure sine wave inverter would prove to be a good investment. 

The inverter will work perfectly in applications even where the need for a pure sine wave inverter is not necessary. 


People carrying cut out boards with trees in the background

Energy Conservation in the Workplace

One of the most important things when running a business is to ensure that you juggle the costs successfully as these will impact on your bottom line. Saving costs on energy is certainly something that has an impact on your business costs. 

Saving energy is the responsibility of everyone in the office. Employees need to make their contributions wherever they can to assist in making a dent in energy bills. It is not the sole responsibility of the business owner. 

Saving energy costs in the workplace is a no-brainer – here are several ways to conserve energy in your work environment: 

  • Update all outdated appliances – if you cannot do so because of budget constraints, consider leasing your expensive office equipment including laptops and all appliances 
  • It is a smart idea to get an energy audit 
  • Everyone is responsible for energy conservation – starting an energy email and newsletter will make everyone more aware of where energy needs to be saved 
  • The lighting in your office could be guzzling energy. When last did you update the office lighting? Wherever possible, use natural light in the office 
  • Select a single individual to oversee energy; it is never too late to start an employee energy committee 
  • Unplugging appliances and machines when not in use saves energy – vampire or phantom appliances refer to energy consumed even when the device is not being used. Switch off and remove the plug from the wall whenever possible. Chargers for computers and cellphones are a perfect example of vampire appliances 
  • Everyone loves to be rewarded for work well done – use the rewards system to spoil your team when electricity is saved. Use the money for something fun, or save towards an awesome end-of-year function where everyone can relax and let their hair down 

Energy conservation in the workplace is possible – if everyone does even one small thing towards saving power, the results will be impressive. 


Explaining Victron Inverters

Inverters are devices that convert electricity from direct current (DC) into AC, which is alternating current. With the correct transformers, AC can be any voltage. Inverters extract power from batteries to supply devices when the power goes out. 

In most instances, car batteries and marine batteries can supply enough power for up to an hour even when engines are switched off. The amount of power will always be dependent on the condition and the age of the battery. The amount of power will also depend on how demanding the equipment is that is being operated by the inverter. 

Victron Inverters are manufactured by Victron Energy in the Netherlands. This world-class manufacturing company is the forerunner in the manufacturing of power conversion equipment and has been doing so since 1975. Suffice to say, Victron supplies equipment globally presenting reliable off the grid inverters and chargers plus a broad spectrum of affordable, high-quality controllers. 

The Victron MultiPlus Inverter 

The MultiPlus Vectron Inverter is a multifunctional device as one can deduce from the name. The inverter plus charger is packaged in an elegant format with numerous features such as a true sine wave inverter, hybrid Power Assist technology, adaptable charging and numerous system integration additions and features. 

The MultiPlus comes complete with the unique PowerAssist feature which will stop overloading AC loads – these include shore power connections and generators. The battery charging will be adjusted automatically and reduced, thus preventing overloading. Second levels are designed to augment the generator output or shore-side supply with power that has been extracted from the battery. 

Another feature of the MultiPlus is the UPS function (Uninterrupted AC Power). When power from the grid fails, or when the generator power from the shore is disconnected, the inverter will be activated automatically, supplying any loads that are connected.  

All electronics – especially sensitive devices, will not be affected in any way whatsoever as the inverter’s switch over time is a couple of milliseconds.   

For higher power needs, up to six MultiPlus units can be run simultaneously. 

Hand on the switch

Prevention Against Direct Lightning Surges

Lightning is nature’s power unleashed that can cause untold damage, and although it is a global occurrence, it is not equally distributed geographically. 

There are, however, numerous preventative measures that can be taken to avoid damage, especially to sensitive and costly electronic equipment in the work environment. 

The important of lightning protection cannot be stressed sufficiently as it needs to protect against disruptive and destructive results. 

Protection of power lines 

Perhaps the most common occurrence of damage is to electrical equipment as a direct result of strikes to the power supply. A spike or surge that enters via the power lines can damage all electronics connected to the electricity supply. 

It is important to use a surge diverter located inside the mains switchboard to avoid damage. 

Surge diverters to earth the major part of the energy from a spike or surge at the entry point to a building is all-important. 

Surge diverters will reduce spikes and surges that enter electronic equipment, but damage can still be done to electronic devices that are sensitive. This is the reason why it is imperative to install surge filters for every device to avoid damage. 

Surge protectors can be installed in DB boards or can be free-standing units with flexible leads that can be plugged into power outlets. Surge protectors in the DB board are inexpensive as numerous devices can be connected to the power simultaneously. (numerous PCs can be plugged in at once) 

It is important to note that the protection of power lines won’t automatically prevent surges from entering electronics and signal cables and data cables. Power line protection does not prevent damage to computer configurations and can cause extensive damage should a lightning surge enter cabling systems connected to devices. 

Telephone cables are not immune to lightning surges either and if PCs are connected to a modem these can also be destroyed. It is important to ensure that all cables, devices and networks have the necessary protection from strikes. 

Remember that electronic equipment should be protected from both ends of a cable and not one end only. 


hand holding an electric cable

5 Ways To Protect Your Business From Lightning Surges

At PHD we have come up with numerous surge protection options for your business that will ensure your electronics and other devices are protected during debilitating lightning strikes we are subjected to in South Africa. 

Five smart things you can do to ensure your electronics are taken care of during surges 

  • The PHD Surge Adapter is a Multi-Plug “Loop Through” device which is also a surge protector – this is an all-in-one device which can easily be configured in a workspace environment (it comes in a Loop Chain pattern) 


  • The PHD Telephone and Mains Surge Protection Unit is great when protecting any electronics that are connected to your telephone configuration in the workplace 


  • The DB Board Surge Protector is essential for the profitability of your business which plays an important role in the competence and dependability of numerous technologically advanced electronic devices in the office environment. The dependability of sensitive electronic equipment could be adversely affected by the increase of inferior quality power supply from the grid which is so often over-surged or under-surged. Protect your DB Board against lightning surges in a country where lightning has a high incidence of strikes and the power is unstable 


  • Voltage Surge Arrestors are mounted on the DB Board in an office building and are often the first protection against lightning strikes and other voltage surges. The idea is to steer the high voltage away from any sensitive electronics and devices that could be damaged during surges 


  • Black Box Conditioner and Filter Plug Surge Protectors are high-performance devices designed specifically for the protection of any sensitive electronic equipment against instabilities and surges on the main lines. These units are available in a range of designs which include one to five standard sockets or Powerite sockets. Additionally, the unit can come with graded filtration where two or more sockets are necessary. The guarded filtration will prevent background noise from the equipment plugged into PHDs Black Box. (A good example is a laser printer that could be noisy) 

Get protection from PHD Powerhouse for your electric fence, electric gates, intercom systems and more – lightning strikes are a real issue with South Africa experiencing high incidence of strikes per annum.