Syratec – Our Story

Jim Cavanaugh - Syratec

Here’s The Nutshell Version If You’re In A Hurry

My name is Jim Cavanaugh and I’m the founder of Syratec. Our specialty is electrical power protection products, but our real mission is peace of mind. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that the products you buy from us will reliably protect your electronic equipment.

During my three decade career in power protection I have seen a lot of frustration, damage, downtime, and lost data as a result of power problems. Most, if not all of these problems could have been prevented with the right protection products. But how do you know which products are right? Unfortunately, there is very little regulation in the industry, which means many products, especially at the consumer/retail level, are sold using unsubstantiated marketing claims – failing to protect your equipment when needed. Joule ratings for surge protectors would be an example of how some manufacturers magnificently “distort” the truth.

With this in mind, we only select products that have been thoughtfully designed, extensively tested, and proven to perform. And we stand behind our products with strong warranties and a passion for customer service.

Feel free to get in touch with me directly if you have a problem or a question.

Here’s The Long-Winded Version If You Have A Lot Of Time On Your Hands

It doesn’t matter whether you’re protecting a large data center with thousands of servers or a single gaming PC, you want the peace of mind knowing that your electronics are safe when the power goes haywire. And take it from me, at some point, the power will go haywire!

Common causes of electrical disturbances include lightning, ice storms, high winds, trees falling on power lines, car-pole crashes, grid switching, electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference. Even the squirrels are out to get us!

Surprisingly, according to a study by the Electric Power Research Institute, as many as 80% of all power disturbances originate inside the home or business. Among the biggest culprits are electrical devices with motors and/or compressors that cycle on and off throughout the day. These include heating and air conditioning systems, refrigerators, washing machines, pumps, fans and the like. Household appliances like vacuum cleaners and blenders, and power tools like saws, sanders and drills are another common cause of electrical disturbances. (Source: FirstEnergy Corp. website)

Squirrel

My Expensive Lesson

In the early 1990s I learned a very expensive lesson about electrical power protection. I was the branch manager of a photocopier company and we were trying to sell multiple copy machines to a law firm. The firm insisted on a trial period which meant we had to install the equipment and let them use it for several days before they would actually make the purchase. Within hours of installation the copiers began to malfunction and our technician was unable to fix the problems. We were told to come and pick up the copiers. We had lost a quarter million dollar sale.

I learned later that the reason our copiers had malfunctioned was because of dirty power in the building. My competitor who won the deal had installed power protection devices with their copiers; ensuring their equipment would not be affected by the dirty power. The most embarrassing part is that I should have know better. Here’s why.

The Good Ol’ Days

I began my career in 1980 as a field engineer servicing 3M copiers. It was in that role that I first saw the damage that electrical disturbances can cause to electronic equipment. Up until the mid-80s equipment failures caused by power issues were pretty rare. The machines were mechanical, with big motors and chains and gears; not very sensitive to fluctuations in power.

But by the mid-80s, copiers were being introduced with microprocessor electronics (computer chips). This made them smaller, faster and less expensive – and supposedly more reliable. But all of a sudden I began to notice they would break down even more often, and function in peculiar ways – like making copies without anyone pressing the print button! It was as if they had minds of their own. We began to calls these strange behaviors “phantom” problems because they were very hard to troubleshoot.

A Ghost In The Machine

Before too long it was discovered that power issues were causing the “phantom” problems in our copiers. It turned out these new “electronic” machines did not tolerate the variations in electricity that are commonplace in office buildings and homes. Electrical power is not clean and consistent. There are frequent spikes, noise, transients and other gremlins. Historically these disturbances had no adverse effect on conventional equipment like lights, motors and heaters. But it turns out they can wreak havoc on computerized devices. To me it was both frustrating and intriguing. A ghost in the machine.

So you can now understand why I should have known better about the law offices. It was a huge mistake to install those systems without power protection.

Following the law firm disaster I was convinced that power protection for copiers would evolve into a huge business (I was right). So I went to work for a fledgling company that specialized in the technology. That was 1993 and the company was Electronic Systems Protection (ESP). www.espsurgex.com

At the time ESP was a small start-up that had recently developed and patented a significant advance in power protection. Resources were limited so they focused on a single target market: you guessed it – the office automation industry (copiers and printers). Copiers and printers were a logical market because 1) they are expensive and 2) they are susceptible to downtime from power problems. It was being proven that ESP technology significantly improved copier performance and as a result many copier manufacturers began to endorse and use ESP devices on their equipment.

I started with ESP as the northeast region manager based in upstate New York. I was later promoted to Vice President and moved to North Carolina to work at corporate HQ. There I learned a LOT about the design and manufacturing of power protection products. In particular, when testing some competitive products, I saw firsthand the awful results of using inferior components and poor circuit design. We had a well-equipped testing lab with the ability to stress product designs beyond their limits and we blew a lot of stuff to smithereens!

ESP experienced great success over the years and continues to produce what is widely considered the best selling, best performing surge protector in the world. When I first got started with ESP it was a tiny company. But as a result of great technology, and hard work by a dedicated team, they were acquired in early 2016 by Ametek www.ametek.com, a global manufacturer of electronic instruments, for 130 million dollars!

In 2003 I left ESP and started Syratec. Syratec is now a strategic partner with ESP and the exclusive online vendor for their products. The Next Gen and enVision models in particular are light years ahead of the competition and an incredible power protection value.

At the time I left ESP they were totally dedicated to one market: copiers, with one primary product: the Digital QC surge protector. I was interested in expanding into new markets and offering a wider variety of power solutions. I saw growing market opportunities for battery backup, voltage regulation and isolation transformers.

Syratec is a power quality solutions company. A one stop source for preventing and resolving power problems. I hand-pick the products that we sell and I think that you will find our products to be a tremendous value. After thirty years I still continually study product technology and design. We field test and we lab test. I visit the factories where the products are made. I talk to the engineers that invent them and I talk to the people that build them. Most importantly, almost everyday, I talk to our customers – the people like you who keep us in business.

  • We have large customers (the Army, major universities, oil pipelines and the like) who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect millions of dollars of mission-critical systems. Many of these customers are charged with safeguarding our national infrastructure or conducting intensive scientific research. Our products ensure they never go offline.
  • We have mid-sized customers who spend thousands to protect copiers, lab equipment, industrial machines or marine navigation systems. These are the businesses that keep our economy thriving. Our products help them to serve their customers better and to be more profitable.
  • And we have many smaller customers who spend a hundred, or two hundred dollars to protect their home electronics. Our products keep their lights on, games running, and their music and movies playing. I like to think we add a little bit to their happiness. Or at least prevent the frustration of having their TV melt down in the middle of their favorite movie or gaming rig go up in smoke in the middle of a boss fight! 🙂

Thanks for reading our story. We appreciate you being here and greatly value your business.