Surge protector

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#21
COLORADO
58,810 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Many power strips look alike. Some are surge protectors some not.
Surge protectors are on the list of prohibited/banned items for Princess.
Just because you were not called on it for however many cruises you brought it onboard does not make it allowable.
It's banned and it's a fire hazard. End of story.
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Keith
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#22
San Jose, Calif
1,769 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by pthjudy
This may sound stupid, but how do you know if your power strip has a surge protector? Mine is not like that real expensive one I bought for my computer or giant TV.
For a US compatible device, the easiest way to tell is if it only has two flat prongs. A surge protector requires the third round prong to do it's job. For three prong devices, it should state clearly that it is a surge protector. There will be some description on the label on the back that it will protect up to a certain amount of current. It will have a rating in Joules of energy, as well as the maximum voltage it can take from a power spike.
#23
Palmdale, Ca
33,162 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by Colo Cruiser
Many power strips look alike. Some are surge protectors some not.
Surge protectors are on the list of prohibited/banned items for Princess.
Just because you were not called on it for however many cruises you brought it onboard does not make it allowable.
It's banned and it's a fire hazard. End of story.


Bob
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#24
Southern Cal/Maui No Ka Oi
18,294 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by easyboy
Once brought a Belkin power strip on my carry-on but was not flagged. Learned here it has surge protection and don't bring it anymore.
Originally posted by Thrak
Units with surge protection such as this one are NOT ALLOWED:


Get something LIKE THIS and you will be FINE:

That's the surge protected Belkin device I used until learning from a career ship chief engineer (chengkp75) who regularly posts on this forum about the dangers of them.

Originally posted by chengkp75
Inexpensive power strips are generally fine. Those with on/off switches are fine. If the packaging or the fine print on the back mentions things like "joules of protection" or "clamping voltages", then it is surge protected. If these are not mentioned, then it won't be.

There is also a lot of mis-direction with regards to multi-USB chargers. Many manufacturers claim their devices are surge protected, when in fact they are "voltage regulated". If the multi-USB charger does not have a 3-pin plug (no ground pin), then it is not surge protected, since a surge protector needs a path to ground, not relying on the "neutral". Hopefully, yuccaman can help me with this, this is based on as much information from the manufacturers as I can get a hold of.

I tend to harp on this subject because I have fought shipboard fires, and have trained crew in fire prevention, and the last thing I want to see is a general fire on a cruise ship, so if I can train the passengers in fire prevention as well, we are all ahead of the game.
Unlike the chief, I've only had shipboard firefighting training when in the USN but it's nothing you'd want to risk happening.

The Princess safety letter states: "The use of extension cords fitted with surge protection devices are prohibited in staterooms".

And based on the chief's information the same danger exists with all surge protected devices. Whether anyone has been able to use them isn't the point, they're hazardous & should not be used.
#25
583 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Astro Flyer
That's the surge protected Belkin device I used until learning from a career ship chief engineer (chengkp75) who regularly posts on this forum about the dangers of them.



Unlike the chief, I've only had shipboard firefighting training when in the USN but it's nothing you'd want to risk happening.

The Princess safety letter states: "The use of extension cords fitted with surge protection devices are prohibited in staterooms".

And based on the chief's information the same danger exists with all surge protected devices. Whether anyone has been able to use them isn't the point, they're hazardous & should not be used.
Ok. Just checked my power strip. It does say surge suppressor so I will no longer bring. My options would be that "outlet to go" thingy or a regular skinny extension cord. Of the 38 cruises I've been on, the only line that had sufficient outlets was Oceania. With a CPAP, sound machine, clock (just bought a battery because ship electric surges play havoc with electric clocks), hair dryer and curling iron, only two or three outlets could be a problem. And I'm not talking about charging two phones, two iPads and a Kindle. Would feel very guilty if my actions caused even a small fire.
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#26
Southern Cal/Maui No Ka Oi
18,294 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by pthjudy
Ok. Just checked my power strip. It does say surge suppressor so I will no longer bring.

Would feel very guilty if my actions caused even a small fire.
Thanks to your question hopefully more passengers are now aware of the hazards that surge protected devices create.
#27
COLORADO
58,810 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by pthjudy
Ok. Just checked my power strip. It does say surge suppressor so I will no longer bring. My options would be that "outlet to go" thingy or a regular skinny extension cord. Of the 38 cruises I've been on, the only line that had sufficient outlets was Oceania. With a CPAP, sound machine, clock (just bought a battery because ship electric surges play havoc with electric clocks), hair dryer and curling iron, only two or three outlets could be a problem. And I'm not talking about charging two phones, two iPads and a Kindle. Would feel very guilty if my actions caused even a small fire.

If you ask your room Steward......Princess has extension cords and sometimes spare multi plugs to loan.
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Princess Elite Member
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#28
San Jose, Calif
1,769 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by pthjudy
Ok. Just checked my power strip. It does say surge suppressor so I will no longer bring. .....
Thank you for being a responsible cruiser.

A few years ago I read about a cruise ship that had a block of cabins loose power due to someone using a surge protector that malfunctioned. While fortunately no fire occurred, the damage was severe enough to the wiring that several of the cabins, including the one the device was used in, had to have the wiring replaced. I don't remember which cruise line it was, or where it happened, but I do remember learning about the risks these devices have. I have since been careful not to bring such a device on board. Happy that you are now one of the informed and will act accordingly on that information.
#29
Diamond Bar, CA
808 Posts
Joined Sep 2015
Originally posted by pthjudy
Ok. Just checked my power strip. It does say surge suppressor so I will no longer bring. My options would be that "outlet to go" thingy or a regular skinny extension cord. Of the 38 cruises I've been on, the only line that had sufficient outlets was Oceania. With a CPAP, sound machine, clock (just bought a battery because ship electric surges play havoc with electric clocks), hair dryer and curling iron, only two or three outlets could be a problem. And I'm not talking about charging two phones, two iPads and a Kindle. Would feel very guilty if my actions caused even a small fire.
Judy, we use this device to charge telephones/iPads/cameras.

https://www.amazon.com/Photive-Deskt...TF8&s=wireless

We sail on Princess a lot. We plug this into the wall socket behind the TV screen then plug the USB connector for the various devices into it. Then everything is out of the way--up on the TV shelf--while being charged. We then have one of those things (lets call it a socket expander) that Thrak posted plugged into the socket near the desk. It gives you four sockets. You can plug your extension cord into it, run it over to your CPAP system and leave it there for the duration of your cruise. You will have three sockets available at the desk to plug in other things.
#30
Boca Raton, FL
2,124 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
What about an old fashioned multi-plug thingy?

The kind you can buy at any hardware store. It just plugs into the wall - doesn't have a cord at all and turns one outlet into three. Does anybody remember that kind? Is that a no-no?

I need something for my fan and cell phone (don't need a multi USB charger).
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#31
16,217 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by Astro Flyer
That's the surge protected Belkin device I used until learning from a career ship chief engineer (chengkp75) who regularly posts on this forum about the dangers of them.
That's the Belkin that thrak posted a photo of, that I brought before.
Didn't bring it anymore after also reading chengkp75's post..
#32
Southern Cal/Maui No Ka Oi
18,294 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by easyboy
That's the Belkin that thrak posted a photo of, that I brought before.

Didn't bring it anymore after also reading chengkp75's post..
Me too.
#33
COLORADO
58,810 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by metairiegal
What about an old fashioned multi-plug thingy?

The kind you can buy at any hardware store. It just plugs into the wall - doesn't have a cord at all and turns one outlet into three. Does anybody remember that kind? Is that a no-no?

I need something for my fan and cell phone (don't need a multi USB charger).

Something like this is fine. It's extra pugs only.

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Princess Elite Member
57 Princess Cruises



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#34
583 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Astro Flyer
Thanks to your question hopefully more passengers are now aware of the hazards that surge protected devices create.
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
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Cruising since 1966 (Home Lines Oceanic). Along the way we have cruised Princess 19 times, Royal Caribbean 7 times, Disney 3 times, Home Lines 2 times, Celebrity 2 times, Oceania 3 times, America Hawaii Cruises 1 time, and Azamara 1 time.
#35
SoCal
9,629 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by pthjudy
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
I'm not totally sure of why, but I think it's because the surge protection requires "grounding". And a ship isn't grounded, like a building on land.
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#36
Spring Hill, FL
16 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
Originally posted by pthjudy
I actually had Royal Caribbean provide us with a long extension cord and distilled water for the CPAP. I have that same request with Princess on our February cruise on the Star. (I did get it back after the cruise.)


I too let RC know I would need distilled water (simply emailed gust services)... they emailed me back within a few days and assured me is have water and an extension cord in our cabin. #GreatService


Sent from my iPad using Forums
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Spring Hill, Florida



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#37
Southern Cal/Maui No Ka Oi
18,294 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by pthjudy
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
I think that nearly all of us, including me, presumed a surge protected device was an additional safety step.

Thankfully the chief has educated us on why that isn't true even though few of us, including me, fully understand the mechanics involved on a ship.

Kudos to you for asking this question which even though we may not fully understand the reasons why we do understand that it's a risk not working taking.
#38
COLORADO
58,810 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by pthjudy
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
Originally posted by Shmoo here
I'm not totally sure of why, but I think it's because the surge protection requires "grounding". And a ship isn't grounded, like a building on land.

Ships electrical system is different than land based systems.
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Keith
Princess Elite Member
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USNS HARKNESS T-AGS 32

#39
San Jose, Calif
1,769 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by pthjudy
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
Originally posted by Shmoo here
I'm not totally sure of why, but I think it's because the surge protection requires "grounding". And a ship isn't grounded, like a building on land.
Originally posted by Colo Cruiser
Ships electrical system is different than land based systems.
Here are quotes by chengkp75 copied from a recent tread on a similar topic: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2509223

Actually, finding an earth ground on a ship is easier than in your home. Touch any wall, floor, or wall stud in your house, with a wire and you will have an extremely poor ground. Touch any metal surface on a ship and you will have a 100% ground. The sea is just as much "ground" or "earth" in electrical terms as the dirt in your yard. And steel is a good conductor of electricity. In fact, the vast abundance of an "earth ground" on a ship is why the wiring is different. If the neutral wire was at the same potential as the ground wire (like it is in your home), you could not easily measure when equipment developed a ground, and therefore, you would not detect current flowing in the steel hull. Since ships are not strictly steel, when you put two dissimilar metals in sea water and pass electrical current through them, you get electrolysis, or the wasting away of one of the metals. Since steel is the least noble of the metals used in shipbuilding, it is what will waste away, causing leaks in the hull or piping.

Therefore, the ship's electrical system is separated from the ground in the hull so that any current flowing in the ground can be noticed, located, and repaired. The ground point on ships is the neutral point of the Y-wound generators, to provide the safety needed to prevent electrocution should equipment fail.

The problem with surge protectors at sea is not that there isn't a ground (there is), but that since the ground is separate, a ground anywhere else onboard can subject the MOV semi-conductors in the surge protector to reverse voltage (opposite to what it was designed for), which can cause the MOV's to fail in thermal overload causing a fire.


The differentiation between a "ground" and an "earth ground" is a US idiom. Most of the world uses the term "earthing" for any grounding system. And "grounding" a piece of equipment or appliance doesn't do much good unless that grounding is tied back to an "earth grounding".

A land based "earth ground" uses ground rods and metal pipes to bypass electrical insulators like soil, clay, sand, to get to firm bedrock and the universal potential of the earth. Sea water is a sufficiently good conductor that it operates like the ground rods and pipes, and is virtually at the same potential as the earth itself anyway. This is why when a ship is struck by lightning, I've never been electrocuted while standing on a steel deck and touching a steel bulkhead, and why none of the electrical equipment onboard is damaged. The charge flows through the hull to the seawater, and thence to ground.
#40
Maine
11,007 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by pthjudy
Funny how I always believed a surge protector helped protect against surges that could damage a device as well as to protect your home to prevent fire from overload. The fact that it could cause a fire rather than protect against one requires more knowledge about the mechanics of a large cruise ship than I possess.
In addition to the quote from one of my previous thousand posts about surge protectors that SantaFeFan posted, just know that none of the ship's multitude of electronics are protected by surge protectors, because lightning doesn't enter the ship's electrical system at all, unlike your home where one of the power conductors (neutral) is connected to the ground conductor, and will transmit voltage back to your electronics. Also, power surges at home are caused when pole transformers blow out, sending spikes of 10,000 volts to your electronics. Ships don't have these types of transformers, and also don't step power down from 10k to 220 (what actually comes into your house) in one step. They have one transformer from 10k to 480 volts, then another from 480 to 220 volts, and finally one from 220 to 110 volts, so all of these transformers would have to blow out at the same time to cause a voltage spike of 10k volts to your cabin on the ship.

Also, just for information, a surge protector will not "protect your home to prevent fire from overload". A surge protector senses overly high voltage, which can cause a fire due to overheating of the plastic in your electronics if they see the high voltage, but a surge protector does nothing for "overload" or high current. Only a circuit breaker will protect the house's wiring from overheating from too high a current.