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How to Protect Your Gadgets from a Likely Power Surge This Sunday

Power surges can be dangerous for your gadgets. Use these measures to protect them from getting damaged.

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Tech and Auto
3 min read
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request for a show of unity against the coronavirus by turning off lights and lighting candles at 9 pm on Sunday, 5 April, has left users with doubts as to what happens to their gadgets at that time. Turning off the lights could theoretically lead to excess power in the grid, causing a surge.

While power companies are fairly confident that they can prevent the grid from collapsing, there is the possibility that the sudden excess grid voltage could cause a power surge.

A power surge can occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the power lines. This causes an increase in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet.

That's one part of it – possible high voltage availability when the lights go out, which could affect other connected gadgets. And then there's the sudden power demand when all the lights come back on. It's a demand and supply game.

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Power surges can be dangerous for your gadgets. Use these measures to protect them from getting damaged.
Power companies have calculated a reduction in demand of 12-13 GW of power.
Photo: PSOCL

Power companies have already factored in a load reduction of about 12-13 GW of power from the grid when the lights go out. And then a spike when the lights come back on, which could cause a fluctuation.

Common power fluctuation in households is when air conditioners turn on their compressors. They require a brief, sudden demand for power which requires a higher voltage. This is why when your air conditioner turns on its compressor, you may witness a brief flickering of lights in your home.

Something similar could happen on Sunday, 5 April at 9:09 pm when everyone switches on their lights at the same time after the show of unity in their balconies. If power demand is high enough, it can cause damage to appliances plugged into wall sockets.

So, how can you protect your gadgets and appliances from getting damaged by a power surge or drop?

Use Surge Protection Devices

A Surge Protection Device (SPD) is helpful for diverting power surges back to the ground. Certain inverters have surge protection enabled and if you have one lying around, now might be the time to start using it.

Another SPD can be a power strip that allows you to plug multiple devices in it at the same time. However, be careful because not all power strips have surge protection in them. Check the label before using it.

Ensure Wires are Grounded Properly

For SPDs to work, you must ensure that all wires and connections are grounded properly. This is so because SPDs don’t suppress surges, they only divert them to the ground. If the wires are not grounded properly, it makes using SPDs pointless.

Unplug Your Devices

If all else fails, just unplug all your devices. It is one of the most basic ways to protect them from a power surge. Do that a few minutes before 9 pm and plug them back a few minutes after 9.09 pm.

However, most fridges, fans, air conditioners and geysers are all likely to stay running during this time. If you have circuit breakers in the house, don't expect trouble with this equipment.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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