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Engineered with your business in mind | SurgeX

The Origin

SurgeX technology was originally invented to ensure the electric field used during gel electrophoresis remained constant. Electrophoresis is the movement of charged molecules like DNA and RNA in a fluid or gel under the influence of an electric field. It is a method for separation and analysis of macromolecules and their fragments, based on their size and charge.

Molecules are separated by applying an electric current through a gel containing the molecules so they start moving through the matrix of the gel towards the positive pole. The power supply takes the standard alternating-current electricity available from a wall outlet and converts it into the one way, direct-current needed to set up an electrical field across the gel. The applied electric field must be uniform for electrophoresis to deliver accurate results. If there is any disruption to the electrical field, the movement of the molecules are affected and the results of the study are invalid.

The Problem

In 1989, scientists in New Jersey were consistently having issues with the electrical field in their electrophoresis tests. They were wasting valuable time and money as many of their tests were producing failed results. They concluded that the electricity coming from the wall outlet was most likely the source of the problem. In desperation, they contacted an engineer to help them get their equipment, testing, and studies back on track.

The engineer they chose began his career developing ground tracking equipment for the first satellite at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Later, he worked on proposals for the forerunner of the Strategic Defense Initiative, where interception of incoming missiles was the goal. He quickly discovered that the electricity in their facility was unreliable and that the surge suppressor and uninterruptible power supply being used did little to rectify the flaw. He learned that the basis of the protection being used was a metal oxide varistor (MOV), an inexpensive component which will eventually fail in normal service. The MOVs allowed excessive let-through surge energy to the connected equipment, degraded over time, offered poor electronic noise filtration, and shunted surge energy to the ground creating safety ground wire contamination.

The Solution

To resolve the problem, he took on the challenge to reinvent the surge suppressor by developing a Series Mode® protection circuit which could safeguard against standard and worst-case electrical anomalies. The technology acted first as a low pass filter to block the high-frequency m(HF) components of electrical surges. The remaining low-frequency (LF) surge energy is diverted into a bank of capacitors where it is stored for the duration of the event and then slowly discharged back across the incoming hot and neutral conductors without involving any connection to the equipment ground to ensure a uniform power supply. It did not incorporate MOVs or sacrificial components of any kind, effectively guaranteeing an unlimited service life without the requirement for testing and/or periodic maintenance.  The scientists adopted the Series Mode technology and they quickly discovered it solved their troubles. 

Introduction to the AV Industry

A friend of the engineer who worked in the AV industry, and an engineer himself, was intrigued by the technology. He knew inconsistent power quality was an issue in the industry and that the current surge suppression technology being used incorporated MOVs that shunted energy to the ground. He also recognized that the act of shunting the surge to ground pollutes the ground with energy that often enters the sound or video system. This was causing equipment disruption, malfunctions, error-codes, reboots, and downtime that degraded performance and increased dealer costs. The Series Mode surge protection technology looked like the perfect solution to alleviate these issues because it overcame all the limitations of MOV shunt-mode devices – it did not have a finite lifetime, its performance did not degrade with time, and it did not pollute the ground.

He acquired the rights to the technology and introduced SurgeX to the AV industry in 1995. The breakthrough product brought to the market was called the SA-15. It guaranteed pure and consistent power for digital displays and quickly stood out as a unique option to ensure optimal equipment performance and reduce service calls.

Raising the Stakes

In 2005, SurgeX upped the ante by introducing Advanced Series Mode® (ASM) surge elimination technology. ASM improved on the original technology by incorporating a reactor with two opposing air core inductors to slow surge current down to a trickle. Any residual energy leaving the inductors is eliminated by a clamping board. It removes all surge energy, allows zero let-through voltage to reach connected equipment, the ground or building wiring, and produces no common-mode disturbances. Its zero let-through technology stops all surge energy, up to 6,000 volts, without producing harmful ground contamination. ASM is a patented technology that is vastly superior to anything else in the market. It provides the most reliable protection available to reduce equipment lockups, reboots, malfunction, downtime and service calls. 

SurgeX offers additional technologies, such as catastrophic over/under voltage shutdown to safeguard against sustained over and under voltage events, inrush current elimination to prevent equipment from blowing circuit breakers or harming their internal components, and impedance tolerant EMI/RFI filtration that virtually eliminates normal and common mode noise.

360° of Protection

Throughout its history, SurgeX has been a power quality innovator and is the only manufacturer that provides unique solutions that benefit the AV industry. Its suite of complete power protection and conditioning solutions include power management software, standalone and rack-mount equipment, sequencing, branch circuits, and sidecars. SurgeX solutions are unmatched in the marketplace and give AV businesses the insurance needed to stay up and running.