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Lightning Storm


Scott Ferguson
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Last Monday's lightning storm that caused a lot of damage throughout the region caused some problems in my home. Relatively speaking it was pretty minor compared to what happened to many people, but I'm giving this warning to let you know some potential problems that can happen to you.

A lightning bolt struck VERY near to our home. There was no structural damage but one of my wife's business computers went totally dead, my computer had the built-in ethernet board fried (took out the internet access), our internet router was damaged, and our Dish network satellite receiver got messed up. My wife's computer is still under warranty so that won't cost anything, a new ethernet adapter for the Mac was $29, Dish Network already sent out a new receiver and I had an extra ethernet hub to work around the damaged ports. Everyone of the damaged devices was connected to a (cheap) surge protector and was turned on at the time of the storm. We had just started shutting everything down when we got hit. We never lost power, and none of the surge protectors even tripped.

I did have 2 circuit breaker shut off, not trip, just went to the off position, and had 2 GFCI outlets trip. One of those was where my freezer in the garage was plugged into and we did not notice it till the next day when we found thawed meat in the freezer.

We always shut off our appliances during a storm but had never come close, as far as I know, to having any problems before so I wasn't in a hurry this time. I was lucky, things could have been MUCH worse, but it's still been a big inconvenience. Next time there's a storm, I'm shutting things off quickly and I'm investing in some higher quality surge protectors.

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Last Monday's lightening storm that caused a lot of damage throughout the region caused some problems in my home. Relatively speaking it was pretty minor compared to what happened to many people, but I'm giving this warning to let you know some potential problems that can happen to you.

 

Most suppressors use a MOV (metal oxide varisitor). This is a clamping device - the higher the voltage the more clamping it provides. Eventually, it takes a surge that destroys the MOV and it no longer provides any protection at all. Unfortunately, most surge suppressors don't let you know the MOV is no longer functioning - hence giving the user a false sense of protection. I prefer to see a UPS on all computer equipment, with the exception of printers which draw too much current for it to be feasible. I've seen an APC UPS take a 4,000 volt surge and protect the equipment - fried the UPS but it did it's job. Just my opinion - probably worth what it cost :).

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