In an age when the life cycles of technical products are measured in months, a Sola constant voltage transformer (CVT)manufactured nearly a half century ago is alive and kicking.

Tom McElroy, an EMC-RFI Consulting Engineer with Technical Solutions Inc., a Rosewell, Georgia based electromagnetic compliance consultancy, uses his Sola Model 20-13-150 CVT regularly to protect his sensitive testing equipment. "It's almost 50 years old yet it works better than most of the surge protectors on the market today. Nothing beats this rugged CVT when it comes to rejecting spikes and surges coming in over the AC mains."

McElroy specializes in finding ways to help his clients' products pass the required regulatory testing for Radiated and Conducted emissions for the FCC and European Union. While doing so, he trusts the Sola CVT to safeguard his equipment, including an expensive spectrum analyzer.

McElroy originally purchased the Sola CVT in the mid-1970s at a ham radio flea market. "I knew I was getting a good deal on a good piece of equipment, but I never thought it would last this long. I haven't babied it at all. It gets banged up and knocked around, yet the ferroresonant design keeps on acting like a big sponge soaking up everything but 110V, 60Hz."

Echoing the complaints of many technology buyers, McElroy said he is frustrated with the performance limitations of today's surge protectors, especially after lightning destroyed his Dell computer system. "The fact is, sometimes low-tech trumps high-tech."