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a lightning bolt behind my house could have done so much damage?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by karolpl2004, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. karolpl2004

    karolpl2004

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    so a few weeks back, a lightning bolt struck the utility pole behind my house. after this storm a few things around the house.. changed?
    - modem fried instantly (but router survived)
    - dish network dvr had problems starting up (had to restart it about 25 times before it turned on)
    - two of the 3 hdmi ports on one tv do not work anymore and the hdmi port on my tv fried as well (both tvs panasonics.. strange?) other tvs 2 sony and an insignia survived fine.
    - my new build rig does not start up immedietly. i have to turn it on and off a few times before it goes to bios and boots.

    thing is, all these electronics were hooked up to a properly grounded outlet, with a surge protector...
    is this possible? or just a coincidence that all this went bad?
  2. Wastedslayer

    Wastedslayer

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    By surge protector are we talking about GOOD, high quality ones? Or the 20$ Wally world special?
  3. JunkBear

    JunkBear

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    Surcharge could have pass through the cable wires and telephones wires since they all connected. Maybe with a surge protector equipped with cable and phone line protector but even then I'm not sure it fully protected.
  4. DF is BUSY

    DF is BUSY

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    that must have been a heck of a direct hit


    indeed, link to surge protector mentioned would be nice
  5. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Surge protectors don't really protect against lightning strikes.
  6. natr0n

    natr0n

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    Nothing can protect against lightning.

    Best advice is to unplug things when a big storm comes around.
  7. ShiBDiB

    ShiBDiB

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    Like has been said the only protection from a lightning strike is to unplug things. A surge protector will help with the fluctuations you might see in the summer when everyone has their ac's going off and on.. but not against the power of lightning
  8. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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    Unless you have a utility-provided surge protector mounted to your meter cap (even that would likely be insufficient, and doesn't stop other vectors like phone or cable lines), no consumer surge protector will survive a lightning strike. Lightning bolts are estimated to have a current anywhere from 30,000 to 120,000 Amperes and transfer at least 500 megajoules of energy, which renders a puny 2000 joule surge protector helpless even if subjected to a fraction of the energy.
    Sasqui says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  9. v12dock

    v12dock

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    Lighting strike do give off emp that could have possibly effected the devices
  10. karolpl2004

    karolpl2004

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    well that sucks.. time to get started on repairs..
  11. westom

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    Your protectors did exactly what they said they would do. Only protect from another type of surge that typically causes no damage. Many so believe advertising and hearsay as to become angry and nasty when that reality is explained. But you have a personal example that confirms even what manufacturer specification numbers said.

    A direct lightning strikes without damage is routine when proper protection is installed. A completely different device, also called a surge protector, would have averted that damage. But implementing it means relearning concepts that were originally taught in elementary school science.

    Some numbers. Lightning is typically 20,000 amps (extremely rare and rarely seen is lightning exceeding 100,000 amps). So a minimal 'whole house' protector is 50,000 amps. Because any protector that fails is ineffective protection. These devices come from more responsible manufacturers including Intermatic, General Electric, Polyphaser, Leviton, ABB, Ditek, Siemens, and Square D to name but a few. A Cutler-Hammer solution is found in Lowes and Home Depot. So electric companies will also rent one which installs behind their meter.

    But those are only protectors. Protectors never do protection. Protection is always defined by another number - where hundred of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. A protector is only a connecting device to what actually does the protection - single point earth ground. That protector is compromised if the connection to earth is not low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet'). Which explains why your existing protectors had no earth ground.

    Obvious are important factors for protection that were blatantly violated by your existing and ineffective protectors. So many important numbers say damage occurred. Protector is only a connecting device (similar to wire). So a minimal one is 50,000 amps. Those hundreds of thousands of joules could not be absorbed by near zero plug-in protectors (BTW APC now admits to fire threats created by grossly undersized protectors.) Hundreds of thousands of joules are absorbed by what defined protection - single point earth ground. A connection to earth ground must be low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet', no sharp wire bends, etc).

    Those numbers only define simple science and why your existing protectors were ineffective. Others who never learned effective solutions even conclude that protection from direct strikes is impossible - when it was routine even 100 years ago. The 'art' of protection is found in all four words of this expression: single point earth ground.
  12. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    I always wondered what the fine print said on one of those $10,000 surge protector device warrantees :laugh:
  13. karolpl2004

    karolpl2004

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    great job explaining it. well next time ill try to get home earlier from work to unplug all the stuff..
  14. bencrutz

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    surge protectors wont hold up against lightning strike. you need lightning arrester for that.
  15. westom

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    Point was and is proven in virtually every town: A direct lightning strikes without damage is routine when proper protection is installed. Even unplugging remains an unreliable solution. Furthermore, how does one disconnect a dishwasher, furnace, dimmer switches, clocks, refrigerator, and smoke detectors. If unplugging is needed for anything, the unplugging is needed for everything - including every GFCI. And must be done with less than seconds warning.

    Telco switching centers connect to every building in town. Therefore suffer about 100 surges with each storm. How often is your town without phone service for four days while they remains their $multi-million computer? Never? Because direct strikes without damage is routine only if effective protection is installed. Described in the previous post is a reason while that $multi-million computer is never unplugged - works during every storm without damage.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013

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