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Guest Joan

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I know there is an electric outlet in the roomette Superliner car. I have also read that sometimes it is hard to plug in some chargers because of its position, so to bring an extension cord or power strip. My question is ...is the outlet grounded? That is, shall I bring a two prong or three prong extender ?? I think it is best also to have a surge protector for my laptop ??? Thanks for the help.
 

gswager

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It's three pronged outlet. Most of the outlets are in recessed, so you'll definitely need a surge protector that will reached in the recessed outlet. The electrical current is not stable, so surge protector is strongly recommended.
 
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A trip to Home Depot today revealed that surge protectors protect against different levels of surges measured by something in numbers. One additional number on each package was how much $ value of equipment was protected. Someone, in a more recent post said that they used a 12 inch (cord) power strip and then plugged a surge protecter into it. Those at the HD looked like they were combined power strips and surge protecters. The selection was big. Anyway, tell me what to use on Amtrak and why.
 

Green Maned Lion

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Power strips are almost always surge protectors. You could buy the kind of surge protector I have on my computer- a big helluva brick with a battery in it, if thats what you mean, but I can't imagine what it would accomplish. I have it to protect my MacPro and all I have invested in both the equipment and, especially, the data. Because it has a battery, the surge is non-existant, although it doesn't serve as a back up because I have twin monitors plugged into it. But I think you'd be best by a standard $10 powerstrip.
 

Eris

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In a roomette, any power strip with minimal level of surge protection will do for charging or powering things with batteries. If you're bringing a desktop computer or an external hard drive or some other non-battery electronics, that's where you'd want higher protection, perhaps including battery backup. As a guess, you're not bringing those things (and who'd want to lug 'em?). When we go in a family bedroom I bring my power strip that has a 10' cord, so it can reach from the poorly located outlet across to the bunks and the seats or wherever we need it for cell phone/pda charging, laptop computer, portable dvd player. But in a roomette, a 4' cord will be more than adequate.
 
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Not true. To be a surge suppressor the device must have a UL 1449 listing. UL 1449 has rating classes to determine the suppression level. A typical level is 330V. Most power strips are not UL listed, but rather are "temporary power taps."

Look on the back of any device. It will either say UL 1449 or "temporary power tap." It is not a surge suppressor without a UL 1440 rating.

Power strips are almost always surge protectors. You could buy the kind of surge protector I have on my computer- a big helluva brick with a battery in it, if thats what you mean, but I can't imagine what it would accomplish. I have it to protect my MacPro and all I have invested in both the equipment and, especially, the data. Because it has a battery, the surge is non-existant, although it doesn't serve as a back up because I have twin monitors plugged into it. But I think you'd be best by a standard $10 powerstrip.
 
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So, given the selection at Home Depot, which one would you buy to use with your laptop on Amtrak?
 

GG-1

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So, given the selection at Home Depot, which one would you buy to use with your laptop on Amtrak?
None, I would use at minimum a power protection from a company like APC available from your computer supplier. Because of the nature of Generation and Distribution of the power there will be spikes and sags. A small protector is good to charge cell phone, laptop, camera batteries. Having extra external drives, is when I would use a UPS (batery) backup.
 

PRR 60

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You do not need a surge suppressor for using a laptop on a train. A surge suppressor is designed to protect against high voltage spikes that can occur on commercial power systems in a lightning storm or even with utility line faults. It is intended to keep your device safe if a fractional second surge of several thousand volts suddenly comes into your home (and that can and does happen). Surge suppressors do nothing with the type of moderate voltage or frequency fluctuations that can occur with train or airliner power systems. Those types of fluctuations make no difference to the operation of the device when powered through an AC adaptor. Your adaptor converts the power to DC and moderate fluctuations in voltage and frequency on the high side will not affect the voltage on the low side to any detrimental degree.

So do what virtually everyone does. Simply plug the device in on the train. You are putting your laptop in much greater danger when it is plugged into the receptacle at the Club Acela lounge than when it is plugged in on a Superliner.
 

opaque

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If you don't need them with laptops why do they specifically sell them for laptops?
 

Green Maned Lion

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1) I could fill an encyclopedia with the number of devices people readily buy and companies manufacture for which there is no real use.

2) That being said, laptop power surge protectors make sense, what PRR is saying, and is correct in doing so, is that the closed-circut system in a Superliner does not spike enough to warrant one.
 

PRR 60

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If you don't need them with laptops why do they specifically sell them for laptops?
They are useful when connected to commercial power which can have high voltage spikes. That is what a surge suppressor does, it clips voltage so that a sudden rise to 5000V for 10 cycles will not kill your machine.
A suppressor does not regulate voltage in the sense that it would take a drop to say 95 volts or a surge to 130V and bring it back to 115V. That is the risk faced on a train or a plane. With laptops powered through an adaptor, that kind of variation is not a problem. So, a laptop in your home or office plugged into a wall socket should be protected by a surge suppressor. That is even true when travelling in a hotel or airport (even though I simply plug in the machine and do not carry a suppressor). But, without the high voltage spike risk of commercial power systems, I have never heard of a compelling reason to use a suppressor on a train or plane. It does not do anything.
 

AlanB

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If you don't need them with laptops why do they specifically sell them for laptops?
Well many, although probably not all, are marketed towards laptop users because they are small and/or light weight, something prized by those toting laptops around.
 

opaque

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Ahhh, I see surge protection for normal power supplies but no need on Amtrak.

I was just told something different before :)
 

wayman

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If you don't need them with laptops why do they specifically sell them for laptops?
They are useful when connected to commercial power which can have high voltage spikes. That is what a surge suppressor does, it clips voltage so that a sudden rise to 5000V for 10 cycles will not kill your machine.
A suppressor does not regulate voltage in the sense that it would take a drop to say 95 volts or a surge to 130V and bring it back to 115V. That is the risk faced on a train or a plane. With laptops powered through an adaptor, that kind of variation is not a problem. So, a laptop in your home or office plugged into a wall socket should be protected by a surge suppressor. That is even true when travelling in a hotel or airport (even though I simply plug in the machine and do not carry a suppressor). But, without the high voltage spike risk of commercial power systems, I have never heard of a compelling reason to use a suppressor on a train or plane. It does not do anything.
Though if your Superliner car is struck by lightning, you might have a problem with your laptop power adaptor.

Then again, if your Superliner car is struck by lightning, you probably have far more important things to worry about!
 

Green Maned Lion

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Probably not. I'd imagine the train is quite capable of grounding the electricty right through the tracks.
 

PerRock

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Hrmm I'll remember that next time I go on a superliner....get a surge suppressor so I can plug myself in....

peter
 
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It does not take "several thousand volts" for a surge suppressor to be effective. UL 1449 has clamping voltages that start at 330V. So any surge above 330V will be effectively eliminated by a surge suppressor rated at UL 1449 330V. In fact, there are 6 additional clamping levels before you even get to 1000V. So surge suppressors are indeed effective against all kinds of spikes, not just catastrophic ones.

You do not need a surge suppressor for using a laptop on a train. A surge suppressor is designed to protect against high voltage spikes that can occur on commercial power systems in a lightning storm or even with utility line faults. It is intended to keep your device safe if a fractional second surge of several thousand volts suddenly comes into your home (and that can and does happen). Surge suppressors do nothing with the type of moderate voltage or frequency fluctuations that can occur with train or airliner power systems. Those types of fluctuations make no difference to the operation of the device when powered through an AC adaptor. Your adaptor converts the power to DC and moderate fluctuations in voltage and frequency on the high side will not affect the voltage on the low side to any detrimental degree.
So do what virtually everyone does. Simply plug the device in on the train. You are putting your laptop in much greater danger when it is plugged into the receptacle at the Club Acela lounge than when it is plugged in on a Superliner.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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The original poster does talk about a superliner, so I assume that this discussion is about trains with diesels, but I'd assume that on the northeast corridor, the power feeding the train is probably vulerable to all the same problems normal utility power in a building is vulnerable to.
 

PRR 60

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The original poster does talk about a superliner, so I assume that this discussion is about trains with diesels, but I'd assume that on the northeast corridor, the power feeding the train is probably vulerable to all the same problems normal utility power in a building is vulnerable to.
Not much more vulnerable than the non-electrified power. The high voltage power supplied to the catenary is closely controlled and would trip off with any significant source variation (witness the NEC power failure of a few years ago). The entire system from the 132kV transmission on down, including the power units (motors and Acela power cars), is lightning protected. There is virtually no chance of a major spike getting into the train power system which is post transformation, rectification, and inversion. Ride Acela and check out the users of laptops and other electronics on the train. Virtually all are just plugged in and there are no stories that I have heard of damage to equipment.
I have no argument with someone who wishes to use a surge suppressor on a train. It will not hurt anything, except to to give you one more gadget to lug around. My point is that the risks protected by a suppressor are not credible on a train and the issues that train power has are not mitigated by the use of a suppressor and are not a risk to laptop users. If using a suppressor makes you more comfortable, be my guest. But if you simply plug in using your AC adaptor, you can do so with no fear that your laptop will get fried.
 
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"original poster does talk about a superliner"

Does it make any difference with Viewliners?
 

Green Maned Lion

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As far as I know, there aren't any Amtrak trains combining electric locos and Superliner trainsets. They may not be able to fit under the catenary in certain places. The relevance was the power source, not the car.
 
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