HDMI Best practise installation guidelines and recommendations

Electronic equipment (including HDMI Equipment) is designed to operate in a electrically stable environment. Electrical spikes from power outlets are common when power is cut to your main power line and restored. Electrical spikes are also caused by nearby thunderstorms or proximity lightning that may hit a power line running to your home. Telephone lines and power lines can experience voltage surges simply from the electromagnetic energy created by the energy from a nearby or direct strike. These spikes may not affect your equipment immediately, but does reduce the lifetime on your electronic equipment. Larger devices such as LCD, Blu-ray players and other sources connecting directly to the 220v socket features built-in surge suppressors on the power supply to handle small electrical spikes and are connected to the earth connections as well via a 3-pin plug ensuring these spikes can be send to ground / earth. Due to the small design of HDMI Equipment, surge suppressors are not built-in and external spike / surge protection or regulated power is needed to protect your equipment and ensure the maximum lifetime of a device.

Four Key Areas should be protected against Electrical and lightning surges

HDMI Surge Protection (To protect upstream HDMI equipment from HDMI sources overvoltage on equipment startup or non-clean power shutdown e.g where power have dropped) – http://www.hdcabling.co.za/hdmi-surge-protection-with-hdmi-equalizer-inline-extender-function-hdmi-compliant-p-457.html

Electrical Surge protection Plugs (To protect against electrical spikes) - http://www.hdcabling.co.za/surge-protection-plug-south-african-type-p-314.html

LNB Surge Protection (To protect against power surges from HDPVR provided to LNB / some near lightning strikes may also be protected which induces electrical transients) – http://www.hdcabling.co.za/inline-surge-protector-suppressor-spike-coaxial-cable-satellite-adapter-p-475.html

Shielded CAT6e Cabling (If using HDMI Extenders / Baluns over CAT5e/CAT6e, STP cabling can be grounded to units casing to send spikes to earth) – http://www.hdcabling.co.za/meter-roll-cat6e-full-copper-ethernet-cable-shielded-solid-core-with-braiding-1gbs-gray-p-415.html

Uninterruptible Power supply (We do not sell UPS products, but can be purchased from any large retail store such as Makro, Game etc) – Recommended for installations and high elevation areas for lightning and surges and also to protect your broadband ADSL router RJ11 plugs against surges from ADSL lines. This will enable better protection than electrical surge plugs.

Note that items rarely get damaged due to overheating since it can sustain ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees. If installed in a closed cabinet without ventilation the product will overheat and damage which is not replaceable by warranty provided. Products are mostly damaged via HDMI port upstream surges which damage all HDMI products cascaded or it can be damaged by electrical surges. For protection on HDMI equipment or any other electronics equipment please see the recommended products.

Spike / Surge protection plugs are MANDATORY when installing HDMI Equipment on all areas where it is connected to the 220v power outlet. A surge may enter from another room where spike protection is not used and damage all equipment within the HDMI distribution network since all equipment are connected and transmits a 5 volt signal between HDMI devices within the network. A UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) is highly recommended and should have the features as mentioned below to ensure a regulated voltage supply to your equipment. We don not want to give you the impression that your electronic equipment is an electrical accident waiting to happen. But for most of us, our electronic equipment are the most fragile electrical equipment in the home, and among the most sensitive in the workplace. Protecting our investments in hardware makes good sense, and a UPS is the best way to go. 

How to choose a UPS (Uninterruptible power supply)

There are three types of UPSs available - Offline or Standby Units, Line-Interactive units and Online / Continuous units. Offline and Line-interactive units are cheaper than Online units, but does not offer maximum protection against electrical surges and spikes.

Offline or standby units (not recommended) - Think of these UPS devices as sleeping watchdogs, ready to spring to attention when the alarm goes off. An offline or standby unit consists of a large battery, an inverter, and a switch. The unit is offline during periods of successful AC supply to the computer. However, when the power sharply increases beyond allowable limits, or when it fails, the offline UPS senses this change and switches the computer over to the backup battery power. The inverter takes the battery DC (direct current) flow and changes it into AC, which is standard for computer use (and that of most appliances). 

These UPS units are inexpensive, and they also supply power continuously for the shortest period of time, sometimes for as little as five or 10 minutes. At that point, they must go back offline and recharge. Note that the battery in an offline UPS unit takes a brief amount of time to come online; however, this is measured in milliseconds and doesn not interrupt work.

Line-interactive units (can be considered if active voltage regulation on unit) - As with offline units, the battery in a line-interactive UPS only comes online when the unit senses power failure, spikes (which last for fractions of a second), or surges (which last for longer periods of time). However, these UPS devices add some attractive features to the standard offline design. On the negative side, they can provide a boost to voltage during power sags, which can cause memory malfunctions, overvoltage which damages equipment, computer lockups, and data loss. If the brief power sag becomes a longer event, called a brownout, the strain on your equipment could eventually lead to hardware failure. Because it is not feasible for many electronic consumers to turn off / unplug their equipment and wait out a string of daily heat waves with their attendant brownouts, line interactive UPS devices can be a real boon.

Many line-interactive UPS units also provide a degree of conditioning through active voltage regulation, which takes place even when the battery is offline. This smooths out the small, short peaks and valleys of electrical current that are essentially unnoticeable, but can shorten the life of computer components. In addition, some incorporate noise filters to prevent loss of data due to static. Prices are higher than for simple offline units, but the benefits are considerable, especially if you live in an area that experiences minor current fluctuation.

Online or continuous units (RECOMMENDED) - UPS distributors try to push online units because the devices can provide the best protection due to the fact they are permanently operative. Using what is called double conversion, the AC current from your regular power supplier converts to DC, charges the unit itself, then converts back to AC and is sent along to your electronic equipment. There is no startup or transfer time. This is what makes online and line-interactive UPS devices different. Quality features involving power boosting, frequency correction, and noise filtering, which were formerly the province of online UPS units, are showing up more and more on the line-interactive models.

The disadvantage of an online unit is its price. Online units are more expensive, costing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Still, if you need a continuous backup and best protection against electrical spikes, consider the online UPS.

Look for a high Joules rating : Technical explanations to one side, you wil get better protection from a UPS with a higher Joules rating. Most units fall between several hundred to more than 1,000 Joules. 

Recommended / Best Practice HDMI installation guidelines

- Power-off all equipment before changing hdmi cables or when installing new HDMI Distribution Equipment. Hot-Plugging (Plugging / unplugging cables) while equipment is powered can cause ESD damage.

- Ensure the Switched-Mode Power Supply (AC/DC Adapter) provided with HDMI equipment fits securely in a 2-way plug. Ensure the 3-way to 2-way plug adapter you use is not loose since wiggling or moving the AC/DC adapter around while powered can cause a voltage spike which will damage equipment.

- USE SURGE PROTECTION PLUGS! You do want to protect your expensive Home Theatre equipment from unstable voltage spikes so spend the extra R 250.00 for a decent spike protection adapter. Optionally to ensure a stable power supply to all your Home Theatre equipment invest in a UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) which will not set you back more than R 1000 to protect your investment to minimize unstable electrical currents & power drops to reduce electrical damage. Please check recommendations above.

- Ensure that cables are gently inserted while changing cables and do not force or twist cables while inserted into the hdmi socket on your LCD or distribution equipment. By twisting cables, the 19 pins inside the HDMI cable can bend and cause damage to the equipment hdmi ports.

- Ensure cables are not hanging from equipment and are neatly fastened using cable ties or any other way to prevent bending / damage on HDMI ports caused by hanging cables.

- UNPLUG your equipment when going away for long periods or when lightning strikes in the area. Nothing can protect your equipment against lightning strikes (Even Lightning arrestors in the electrical board, a UPS and surge protection will fail to protect your equipment if lightning strikes your home or business.

- Ensure installed HDMI Equipment has enough air flow when installed and do not mount it on top of other electronic or electrical equipment which generates heat, do not install it in a roof which does not have ventilation or any closed cabinet since it will overheat and damage the equipment. Maximum working temperature is 50 degrees celcius and if exceeded equipment chipsets will be damaged.

- Secure switches, extenders, splitters and any other HDMI distribution equipment to a flat vertical or horizontal surface to prevent physical damage and accidental movement of the HDMI Equipment which can bend cables and cause port damage. Velcro strips attached to the HDMI equipment and to the surface will secure it in place.

HDMI ports are susceptible to Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) damage. New generations of HDMI transceiver silicon are moving to smaller geometry manufacturing processes, making them even more susceptible to damage. At the same time, HDMI systems are becoming more prone to ESD events as customers hot plug digital camcorders and video game systems into digital televisions, and ports are mounted on the front side of TVs and DVD recorders. An ESD pulse can enter the system either through a direct strike at the HDMI port, through a cable, or through a DVI to HDMI adapter. These strikes can result in permanent damage to the system and expensive returns. An ESD strike can enter on any of the exposed pins and for this reason hot-plugging HDMI cables and equipment must be avoided since it will damage your equipment. We highly recommend surge protection plugs and a UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) on all HDMI equipment to minimize unstable electrical currents & power drops to reduce electrical damage.

Typical ESD Damage when hot plugging HDMI Cables and Equipment

Transients - they can be currents or voltages -- occur momentarily and fleetingly in response to a stimulus or change in the equilibrium of a circuit. Transients frequently occur when power is applied to or removed from a circuit, because of expanding or collapsing magnetic fields in inductors or the charging or discharging of capacitors - To keep this minimized keep your hdmi distribution equipment powered-on 24-hours a day and unplug them completely from the wall sockets when not used for long periods / when on holiday to prevent lighting damage and electrical surges. A UPS and surge protection will minimize transients that causes damage to your equipment.

Overvoltages, usually in the form of transients, can come from a variety of sources. Nearby lightning strikes, electrostatic discharges (ESDs) caused by people, and normal operation of electrical equipment can all create disruptive and potentially damaging transients.

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