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Thread: lightning and computers

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy shaper's Avatar
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    lightning and computers

    We have had some big storms roll through here lately. Trees down because of the high winds. More rain than we should get for a normal year. But what got me was the lightning. It killed two computers, two routers, one old screen, and one signal extender. Took a computer to the shop in Fort Payne Alabama. Best shop around here. He gave me the bad news about the mother board and offered a used computer. He knows I do not want windows 10. And it takes about three days to upload windows 7. So he tells me about a program he puts in a computer with 10 and it lets me use it just like 7. If I don't like it just bring it back. Well, I do like it. It runs just as if it was 7. So I bought 2 of the used computers with the program loaded. Not one problem yet.
    I have come to believe honey bees are more important to this world than I am.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    Sound like you need a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) with surge protection. I've got an APC unit that not only provides surge protection but also 10-15 minutes of back-up power (to save data and shut down running programs) in case electrical service goes down.

    https://www.officedepot.com/a/produc...650VA-Battery/

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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy shaper's Avatar
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    Yeah I have one of those. Well not the exact same. It's one that is put in banks.
    I have come to believe honey bees are more important to this world than I am.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    UPS/surge protectors will help so long as it is not a direct hit. The clamping voltage is reached too fast in a direct hit for them to do much good, but on the bright side of it, direct hits are rare, so a UPS and surge protector are still good insurance, and some of the manufacturers even offer coverage above your insurance. You can also get a whole house surge arrestor from your power company, but again, it is not much help from a direct hit, but will definitely help protect your equipment from many hits.

    Also, keep an eye on other electronic equipment for a few days. Sometimes a hit will cause an issue that does not manifest itself for a few days...or even longer.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Had the same type of thing take out my new upright freezer with the digital controls in the door. It, too, had a mother board type controller that would have cost more to replace than a new freezer. I now have a white, insulated gun cabinet. GF

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Twice this year I've had damage from lightening. Both times it took over week to discover the extent, and it was less than the deductible. I have an old APC unit in line to protect my PC equipment and wide screen.
    Figuring the third hit will be worse, I'm seeking more protection. Anyone know what I should look for? Who supplies the whole house units discussed? Expecting to find many worthless gadgets, what do I avoid? This area was prone to lightening strikes until a tall steeple and church was built across the street. It now takes a hit in most every bad storm.
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  7. #7
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    This may be a stupid question ..

    would daisy chaining UPS's do any good
    in other words have one plugged to the wall outlet then another one plugged to the protected outlet on the first UPS..
    All your equipment then plugged to the 2nd UPS ?
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    Most surges are good for 1 or 2 surges at best IMHO When you hear the thunder shut the stuff down is the best.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Surge protectors and UPS’s are OK for MINOR line voltage fluctuations, brown-outs, and short outages. NOT lightning!!!!

    Best protection for lightning is to turn the computer, router, printers, monitors competely off by UNPLUGING them completely!!!!!! Just turning off the power switch is no good....modern electronics (including most/all computers) are still ON even though the power supply switch is OFF. How do you thing remote controllers for TV and stuff work when the power is “OFF”!!!!!!

    Plug everything into power strips and just flip the switch during storms. It will save you a lot of money! A direct strike could even jump the strip’s power switch!!!!! UPS’s will not protect you from lightning at all. They just burn up too!

    You do NOT mess with lightning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ALL our power lines here are underground and I still do that.


    Bangerjim

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    This may be a stupid question ..

    would daisy chaining UPS's do any good
    in other words have one plugged to the wall outlet then another one plugged to the protected outlet on the first UPS..
    All your equipment then plugged to the 2nd UPS ?
    Just buy a simple power strip, plug all your computer “stuff” into it, and plug it into the UPS. Then during a storm turn the strip power switch OFF. Only thing you will loose is possibley the UPS then.

    Bangerjim

  11. #11
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    If you have DSL your damage probably rode in on the phone line! When I was doing electronic repair it was the number one source of lightning damaged motherboards.

    Pull the plugs! I did last night and it probably saved me from damage... had a LOT of close hits. Had so much lightning the air stunk of ozone.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Even with power strips it is best to unplug. The very small gap in a switch is no match for lightning.
    Trying to use a switch that is rated for 300V max to stop many thousands of volts just doesn't work.
    Look up you tube videos of high voltage switches operating, then think about ramping up that voltage.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCM View Post
    Even with power strips it is best to unplug. The very small gap in a switch is no match for lightning.
    Trying to use a switch that is rated for 300V max to stop many thousands of volts just doesn't work.
    Look up you tube videos of high voltage switches operating, then think about ramping up that voltage.
    Like I said in my post above........Lightning CAN jump the small gap in a power switch. What is on the other side of the switch (PC to cable router or DSL router) can creat the path to draw the lightning ACROSS the switch.

    YES........best bet is UNPLUG completely at the wall!!!!! Especially if you live in an area with above power lines and lots of historical lightning strikes.

    Bangerjim

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    This may be a stupid question ..

    would daisy chaining UPS's do any good
    in other words have one plugged to the wall outlet then another one plugged to the protected outlet on the first UPS..
    All your equipment then plugged to the 2nd UPS ?
    There are surely people who know more that I about how surge protectors work. I was told or read that they CANNOT BE DAISY CHAINED. As soon as you plug one into the other it defeats the circuitry that does the protecting. ALSO. when the little light starts flickering the are going bad. When the light goes out the surge protection NO LONGER WORKS. They still work fine as power strips. But you cannot daisy chain even a bad one into a good one.
    We don't have much problem with lightening here so I get the ones that have dead lights and use them for power strips ...I get them for about a buck apiece.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master






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    had a power surge take out my dish receiver, ruin the wire and even the dish itself. the dish company came and replaced it all and told me they sold a surge protector for 40 bucks and would replace anything hurt by a surge that is plugged into it. So I bought one and have my tv, dvd player, dish receiver and computer plugged into it. I guess the trick will be if something happens getting them to actually pay!
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a APC UPS and I put a loose knot in power cord. It will blow out cord first

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master






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    Loose knot in the power cord wont do a thing. Not unless it will blow apart in milliseconds. by the time it will melt apart the surge is already done its damage. your also risking fire danger. If a copper cord does melt and blow out its throwing molten copper everywhere.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    A UPS does nothing more than give you a little bit of time to shut down your computer gracefully before possible damage and loss of unsaved data. There is no UPS made that can stand a full blown lightning strike. As previous members have stated, the best defense is to unplug everything.
    gmsharps

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by evoevil View Post
    I have a APC UPS and I put a loose knot in power cord. It will blow out cord first
    If the power company knew this "trick" none of us would have a problem.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I had lightning strike hit a tree in the back yard. It blew down the tree and into the ground exciting the buried power line that ran to my garage. The juice flowed around the power lines and not through them and blew out every incandescent bulb in the house, and my computer power supply. The noise was LOUD! and the coatings from the inside of the lightbulbs was floating all through the house like a fine snowfall. The lights were all off, they still shattered.
    Afterwards I replaced the power supply and lightbulbs, had the place checked by an electrician and found the only other damage was to the three way switch to the garage.
    No surge protector could take that.

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