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Thread: lightning and computers

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Univ. of FL. is still experimenting with lightning strikes and power lines. They concluded that underground was worse then overhead. Could be that the cost of replacing underground costs more.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    trhe only real protection for a lighting strick is to turn them off and unplug them routers too. we lost 2 routers one computer and a well pump

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    I used to work in an independent computer shop in an area prone to thunderstorms and lightning on the Galveston Bay side of Houston. Every time a thunderstorm came through we knew we would be inundated with repairs the next day. I'm not saying lightning can't hurt a computer through the power lines; that wold defy logic. What I do know is that I never saw a computer that was damaged through the electrical cables. The point if entry on every one I saw was a phone line. Yes, this was over 20 years ago before broadband was commonplace.

    I remember one medical office that had a single computer on a modem and the entire office was on a coax peer-to-peer network. The lightning entered the modem and burned it up. Every computer in the office had something damaged but they were all repairable. One had a BB sized chunk blown out of the video chip but video was all on accessory boards back then. None of the computers needed a new motherboard.

    When I had dialup Internet I mounted a phone wall jack where it was easy to access and I unplugged the phone line when I wasn't using it. The same would apply today to broadband appliances. If you have storms coming in disconnect the incoming cable or phone line. IMO that is more important than whether the computer is off or on. That said, even if it's off it's vulnerable if the AC line cord is plugged into an outlet.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Definitely - Disconnect the phone line (whether it's DSL or regular land line), Cable TV / 'Net cable, and power completely. If you HAVE to be on, at least use a laptop on 802.11 (and expect to regularly have to replace the switch/firewall/router if you stay on the 'Net.)

    I have about 50-100 dead modems from the old Pentium 1 Laptop from when I lived out in the sticks, only got 22k or so (and it wasn't duplexed, before anyone mentions that) - Was halfway up a hill and lightning would strike at the top of the hill. Every time it'd hit we'd lose power, and pretty often we'd lose phone, if not there would be so much hum on the line that if I tried to ask the Telco to fix it they'd ask me to call back from another line. And they'd argue that there wasn't a problem, then a few hours later show up to repair it -rolls eyes-

    I live in suburbia now, it has problems, definitely, but my 'Net speed is FAST. And I unplug if I have warning at all; Never lost hardware here to lightning.

  5. #25
    Boolit Man Newboy's Avatar
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    You can buy a TripLite power conditioner to protect your stuff. They will pay if you lose anything connected.

    I have them on some stuff now. Refrigerator, freezer, stereo, computer.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  6. #26
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    its called fused cutouts and lightning arrestors. Every transformer in the country has them. Like Rick said NOTHING is going to protect you against a full blown lightning strike. Ive seen it blow underground power lines right out of the ground, blow meters right off the wall and turn transformers into trash. Surge protectors protect against small surges in power. Lightning can have one billion volts. Biggest power lines in the country are 750,000. BIG DIFFERENCE! If you think a knot in a power cord will protect against that then my tshirt should protect me against a direct hit from a tank. Even a 138,000 volt surge would jump across the 12 inch gap in an open cutout fuse on a rural distribution transformer set up. Lightning is so powerful it jumps the gap from the clouds all the way to the ground! Lightning arrestors on distribution poles feed to ground through #6 solid wire. 138k lightning arrestors feed to ground through #2 copper. To be able to bleed the power of lighting to ground from a direct hit on a power pole would require wire bigger then the pole itself. think of that when you look at your little surge protector. PLEASE don't tie loose knots in your cords. All it will do is start fires.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsizemore View Post
    If the power company knew this "trick" none of us would have a problem.
    Last edited by Lloyd Smale; 07-05-2018 at 08:01 AM.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  7. #27
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    i like the walmart 100 d dollar computers so when something happens i just throw it away. i used to put them together myself buying just the right mother board prosser and memory . just got tired of doing it and everyone i knew wanting me to fix there's so just went with the walmart ones they work great no muss no fuss.

  8. #28
    Boolit Man
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    We live out in the sticks at end of power line. We built house in 2001, with in 3 months lightning exploded the top of that pole with the transformer on it. Every new appliance in the new house with a board blew out. Power co. Offered a device installed under meter, cost $5.00 per month. If lightning goes thru it and stuff is burnt inside house, anything that’s plugged in, this co. Will replace. They give you about 3-4 surge protectors with unit to install on tv and computers. You cant stop lightning, its hit pole 3 more times, they paid for everything each time. $5.00 per month is cheap insurance. They have to send that devise off to confirm juice went thru, each time has come back with check to pay for all damage. I pay for that device rather than a welfare light.

  9. #29
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    Whole house surge protectors you mount in the meter box or in the main panel(preferable outside in the meter box) will take a hit and shunt it to ground. Might still lose electronics in the house but you won't have a fire from wires exploding...

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    This shows a lightning bolt hitting a creek or small river - BOOM. That's not somewhere I'd want to be swimming in!

    Hossfly - "welfare light"? I'm isolated enough to not have heard that term yet.

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Sheesh View Post
    This shows a lightning bolt hitting a creek or small river - BOOM. That's not somewhere I'd want to be swimming in!

    Hossfly - "welfare light"? I'm isolated enough to not have heard that term yet.
    Lightning is very powerful, but it is not what happened in that video...
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/li...iking-a-river/

  12. #32
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    Mary I was a lineman and put in my own power set up while at work. I put the standard lightning arrestor with the cutout on the pole and we had some surge protectors on the shelf at work that were meant to be put on the 120/240 side of the transformer. I put one there and put another in my meter socket. Figured what the heck they were free and nobody used them. I once asked one of the electrical engineers why they bought them. He laughed and said someone put on a good demonstation using a demo board powered by a 5000 volt transformer. He said they put some up and where they did take direct hits from lightning they didn't do a thing but make a bang when they blew (pretty violently) he told me to leave the one on the pole because it wasn't hurting anything but to take the one out of the meter socket because it could actually hurt someone when it blew. He said theres no such thing as a something that will absorb a full on lightning strike. Said there nothing but a false sense of security.

    A surge protector is designed to blow AFTER to much current passes and trips it. It will absorb a surge of amperage like when you open your main and close it back in and all the things plugged into the protector try to start at the same time but NOT a hit of lightning. Like I said I went to a home once on a trouble call that took a direct hit to the pole by there house. It blew the arrestor on the pole. Blew the top off the transformer and blew the underground power going to the house right out of the ground for a 20 foot stretch and melted it in a number of places burning through the insulation trying to find ground and blew the meter and meter box right off the house. If you think a 30 dollar surge protector is going to help with something like that then a Kevlar vest should be adequate protection from a 5 inch naval gun.

    Maybe a lighting hit 30 miles away from your house if your utility doesn't have there fuses coordinated properly and it somehow gets by two or three fuse locations and has a couple hundred grounded poles that in combination have enough of a path to ground to bleed most of it off and you only see a 20 volt spike in power for milliseconds and you have one good enough to react that quickly. there is nothing that man has invented that will reliably put a billion volts to ground instantaneously. And surely nothing that isn't 20 times the size of your meter box or entrance panel.

    take a look sometime at the size of a lightning arrestor in a sub station. there as big as a man and ive seem them blown to pieces so small that youd need a vacuum cleaner to pick them up. Mount one up in your meter box and it MIGHT take a shot of lighting to ground but it would blow a hole in the side of your house a truck could drive through. People that haven't seen proof just don't understand how powerful lightning is. Think about it. A billion volts and 200,000 amps!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaryB View Post
    Whole house surge protectors you mount in the meter box or in the main panel(preferable outside in the meter box) will take a hit and shunt it to ground. Might still lose electronics in the house but you won't have a fire from wires exploding...
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    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.
    The least expense and the best protection is to tie your power cord in a figure eight knot.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    Mary I was a lineman and put in my own power set up while at work. I put the standard lightning arrestor with the cutout on the pole and we had some surge protectors on the shelf at work that were meant to be put on the 120/240 side of the transformer. I put one there and put another in my meter socket. Figured what the heck they were free and nobody used them. I once asked one of the electrical engineers why they bought them. He laughed and said someone put on a good demonstation using a demo board powered by a 5000 volt transformer. He said they put some up and where they did take direct hits from lightning they didn't do a thing but make a bang when they blew (pretty violently) he told me to leave the one on the pole because it wasn't hurting anything but to take the one out of the meter socket because it could actually hurt someone when it blew. He said theres no such thing as a something that will absorb a full on lightning strike. Said there nothing but a false sense of security.

    A surge protector is designed to blow AFTER to much current passes and trips it. It will absorb a surge of amperage like when you open your main and close it back in and all the things plugged into the protector try to start at the same time but NOT a hit of lightning. Like I said I went to a home once on a trouble call that took a direct hit to the pole by there house. It blew the arrestor on the pole. Blew the top off the transformer and blew the underground power going to the house right out of the ground for a 20 foot stretch and melted it in a number of places burning through the insulation trying to find ground and blew the meter and meter box right off the house. If you think a 30 dollar surge protector is going to help with something like that then a Kevlar vest should be adequate protection from a 5 inch naval gun.

    Maybe a lighting hit 30 miles away from your house if your utility doesn't have there fuses coordinated properly and it somehow gets by two or three fuse locations and has a couple hundred grounded poles that in combination have enough of a path to ground to bleed most of it off and you only see a 20 volt spike in power for milliseconds and you have one good enough to react that quickly. there is nothing that man has invented that will reliably put a billion volts to ground instantaneously. And surely nothing that isn't 20 times the size of your meter box or entrance panel.

    take a look sometime at the size of a lightning arrestor in a sub station. there as big as a man and ive seem them blown to pieces so small that youd need a vacuum cleaner to pick them up. Mount one up in your meter box and it MIGHT take a shot of lighting to ground but it would blow a hole in the side of your house a truck could drive through. People that haven't seen proof just don't understand how powerful lightning is. Think about it. A billion volts and 200,000 amps!

    Modern suppressers go dead short, not open. And it is for the near miss more than the direct hit. Say the tree in the yard takes a hit... the splash over hits the service to the house...and they activate in 4ms...

  15. #35
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    power company arrestors do not go full ground. they have discs inside of them that overvoltage bleeds across and goes to ground. they are in parallel with the power line not in series. they will bleed small overcurrents to ground without blowing and shorting to ground. But they will often blow open though with a direct hit or near direct hit of lightning. Your not going to get an arrestor let alone the 6 solid copper wire that goes to ground to hold up to a full on or even a close hit of lightning. they have to have the ability to blow or that 6 solid wire stapled to the pole going to a ground rod would kill someone even close if it (and obviously it cant) stand up to even near the voltage of a lightning strike. Look at one once. Look at that 6 solid wire coming down the pole with a piece of plastic molding on it at ground level and tell me if you want to be near it when a billion volts try to go down it. Ive probably changed out a couple hundred blown lightning arrestors in my career. You are right that the ones you plug into in your house are protection against small surges of power. Don't expect them to protect your home against a hit right in your yard though and don't hold any illusions that there going to help a direct hit of lightning. Still the best cure for protecting your electronics and electrical devices from lightning is the same thing your dad did. UNPLUG IT till the storm is over. That doesn't mean hitting the little switch on your surge protector strip either. that means UNPLUG it from the wall. Like I said theres nothing made by man that you can buy for your house that will protect against a 10,000 volts let alone a billion.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    we got hit july 4 took out phone lines and modem. we are switching to a satellite service they are coming tomorrow to hook us up. centerylink has a repair order for the end of the month. .

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrassMagnet View Post
    The least expense and the best protection is to tie your power cord in a figure eight knot.
    Where in earth does this "knot" info come from?????????????? Why would a knot in a power cord stop a billion volts of static electricity? Please furnish proof and links.

    Oh, I forgot, in some parts of the country, you can "cut down" on your electric usage by tying knots in the power cords to s--l---o----w down the electrons!

    HA.....ha!

    banger

  18. #38
    Boolit Man
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    Mr Sheesh, A welfare light, on utility pole, power co. Maintains it and you pay on monthly light bill. Like a street light in city.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Hossfly, aah, TY! I hadn't seen the term before.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    power company arrestors do not go full ground. they have discs inside of them that overvoltage bleeds across and goes to ground. they are in parallel with the power line not in series. they will bleed small overcurrents to ground without blowing and shorting to ground. But they will often blow open though with a direct hit or near direct hit of lightning. Your not going to get an arrestor let alone the 6 solid copper wire that goes to ground to hold up to a full on or even a close hit of lightning. they have to have the ability to blow or that 6 solid wire stapled to the pole going to a ground rod would kill someone even close if it (and obviously it cant) stand up to even near the voltage of a lightning strike. Look at one once. Look at that 6 solid wire coming down the pole with a piece of plastic molding on it at ground level and tell me if you want to be near it when a billion volts try to go down it. Ive probably changed out a couple hundred blown lightning arrestors in my career. You are right that the ones you plug into in your house are protection against small surges of power. Don't expect them to protect your home against a hit right in your yard though and don't hold any illusions that there going to help a direct hit of lightning. Still the best cure for protecting your electronics and electrical devices from lightning is the same thing your dad did. UNPLUG IT till the storm is over. That doesn't mean hitting the little switch on your surge protector strip either. that means UNPLUG it from the wall. Like I said theres nothing made by man that you can buy for your house that will protect against a 10,000 volts let alone a billion.
    I don't use power company arrestors. I use EMP/military grade arrestors that I installed myself. I took a direct hit on one of my ham towers recently. No damage in the house from the AC lines. Some damage to a shortwave receiver that had a short 30' wire antenna connected. Splash over off the tower exploded a roof panel on the observatory. I have multiple ground rods in an X pattern that dissipated the hit. 2 antenna arrestors had to be replaced, and others had to have the arc plug replaced because it went dead short like it is supposed to. Tower is 30' from my service entrance.

    The exposed bar in the roof panel is the aluminum frame. Inside had a hole burned where it jumped to the telescope pier that is 6' tall and grounded. That was from the splash over from the tower hit.


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