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electrical storm & CPAP
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Paptillian Offline

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Post: #1
electrical storm & CPAP
There's a nice lightning storm here tonight and I'm having some trouble falling asleep with all the bright flashes. Laying in bed with my tablet and wondering: how safe are CPAP users from electrical shocks? Thinking-about

I've witnessed a piece of computer equipment (a WiFi router) get fried before. Nothing dramatic, it just went up in smoke. Could've been a bad ground in the house wiring, but that got me thinking: how many CPAP users know they have a good ground?

Is a surge protector needed? Would that help? Is it the job of the device's power brick to divert instantaneous power surges?

Fun things to think about while hooked up to my heated tubing... Big Grin
07-23-2013 02:04 AM
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Sevensox Offline

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Post: #2
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
Hi Paptillian
Good thought. We have a whole house surge protector on our house so don't worry much about storms and such.
Another thing to think of is that all the connections from your machine to you is plastic. So it won't conduct much. A lighting strike would certainly wake you up and probably blow up your machine. That is why I keep mine on a small step stool below the level of the bed.
Lee
07-23-2013 10:00 AM
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DreamDiver Offline

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Post: #3
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
Your power brick is not designed to arrest lightning discharge. A good surge protector is an important part of your CPAP gear, even when you travel. I use one with a six-foot cord and six outlets.

dreamdiver.org
07-23-2013 10:26 AM
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Paptillian Offline

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Machine: S9 AutoSet
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Post: #4
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
(07-23-2013 10:00 AM)Sevensox Wrote:  Hi Paptillian
Another thing to think of is that all the connections from your machine to you is plastic. So it won't conduct much.

Indeed, they are plastic. My heated hose though has wires throughout and within inches of my face.

Does anyone know if water vapor can conduct with sufficiently high voltage? If air can arc, then why not water vapor...

(07-23-2013 10:26 AM)DreamDiver Wrote:  Your power brick is not designed to arrest lightning discharge. A good surge protector is an important part of your CPAP gear, even when you travel. I use one with a six-foot cord and six outlets.

I have mine on a surge protector as well, but am curious why they aren't mentioned in the equipment manual. I guess a damaged flow generator equates to an additional sale!

I assumed maybe they had protection built into the power brick being a medical device and all (liability?), but doesn't sound like it.
07-23-2013 11:17 AM
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trish6hundred Online

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Post: #5
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
I have always used a serge protector with my CPAP machine, and I just assumed that the power brick didn't have protection in it.

trish6hundred
07-23-2013 06:38 PM
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EzDzIt Offline

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Post: #6
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
I use a small UPS which has surge protected ports, this should absorb any transient voltage spikes but also keep my machine running in case of a power outage. Nice thing is it starts to beep when the power goes out, which wakes me up so that I'm aware there is a power failure.
07-24-2013 09:43 PM
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OMyMyOHellYes Offline

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Post: #7
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
(07-24-2013 09:43 PM)EzDzIt Wrote:  I use a small UPS which has surge protected ports, this should absorb any transient voltage spikes but also keep my machine running in case of a power outage. Nice thing is it starts to beep when the power goes out, which wakes me up so that I'm aware there is a power failure.

My CPAP quits blowing when the power goes out, which wakes me up so that I'm aware there is a power failure. At least until I can haul out the IntelliPap and hook it up directly to a battery and go back to sleep.

OMyMy
07-24-2013 10:07 PM
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archangle Offline
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Post: #8
RE: electrical storm & CPAP
(07-23-2013 10:26 AM)DreamDiver Wrote:  Your power brick is not designed to arrest lightning discharge. A good surge protector is an important part of your CPAP gear, even when you travel. I use one with a six-foot cord and six outlets.

Actually, your power brick is almost certainly designed to help protect you from surges on the power line, whether they come from lightning or other sources. Look at all the safety agency markings on the back of the brick.

However, sometimes lighting will get through any kind of protection you have. The more surge protection you have, the better.

Also, if the power brick stops a surge, it may well "give its life in the process" and burn up some "sacrificial" element in the power supply.

A surge/lightning protector improves the odds the power supply and machine will survive.

Even if you have a whole house protector, put one right at the CPAP machine. It's an extra level of protection and a nearby strike can inductively couple and put a voltage on the wiring within your house. Or some surge may still get through your whole house protector.

If there is enough lighting in the area, I'll turn off the switch on the power strip. Not 100% protection, but improves the odds. Or I'll unplug it for even better odds.

If I'm sleeping and the lightning isn't enough to keep me awake, I'll usually just not worry about it.

Your biggest protection is the insulating gap between you and the CPAP machine. A heated hose reduces this gap, but you've still got a pretty good gap. Also, unless you're touching some other electrical device, you're fairly well insulated from ground while sleeping. Even if the voltage got through the CPAP machine to you, it still has to find a path to ground. Your bed is probably a fairly good insulator.

You're really unlikely to get shocked by lightning through a CPAP. However, lightning can always decide to bypass the house wiring come through the window and strike you directly. Proper equipment design simply improves the odds.

Get the free SleepyHead software here.
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Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
07-25-2013 04:34 AM
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