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Lightning Strike Protection


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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-21, 21:51

I'm getting my 90 year old mom to watch the Marvel films, in order.

On Sunday night we started up on Age of Ultron, admittedly not one of the most fun episodes.

So about halfway through she got sleepy and we picked up where we left off on Monday Night.

A thunderstorm moved in as the film reached the main action of the third app.

Suddenly, Thor dropped a lightning bolt onto our patio, right behind where we were sitting.

Once I finished shouting I began evaluating what had been damaged.

The router could not connect to the internet, I had to reset a breaker for a dead power outlet, and the little television we'd been watching would not power up.

2 days later the tech arrived and spent several hours tracking down the problem, which turned out to be in a box at the telephone pole and a box on the side of the house.

In addition to the tabletop Sony television the destruction included a 5 port network switch, a larger switch in another part of the house, a 3-way HDMI splitter, and one of the DVR units in the cable system.

The great news is that the technician (Tim) was a rock star - polite, informative, diligent with sorting out the problem, helpful in moving us from a vintage modem to something more modern, and ensuring that things were set properly in the box up the road.

I feel that we got lucky with the limited damage incurred from the strike, but am now interested in reviewing all of my surge protection, and need to figure out the best way to cover data cable inputs as well, since that's an obvious route of ingress for a surge



...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2021-07-22, 11:02

Sounds like you should move someplace where there isn't any lightning.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-22, 11:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
Sounds like you should move someplace where there isn't any lightning.


I have been shopping for the best way to surge-proof everything important, including ethernet runs.

Amazed that some friends have money left over for action figures and toys, with all these home needs.

Zowee.

...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
  quote
pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-07-22, 12:26

I realize I'm going to curse myself - and lose everything on the next thunderstorm - but the stuff I have my Mac, wifi router, speakers and backup hard drive plugged into is a slightly bulky 8-10(?) port protector mounted to the back of my desk.

Here's the cool part: it's the surge protector/outlet I bought in February 1994 at Microcenter in Orange County, CA on the day I bought my first Mac (Quadra 610).

27 years and, while I tend to shut down/unplug everything during really bad lightning storms, there have been dozens and dozens of times over the decades where I haven't, and - knock on wood - all is well. There have been moments where something came on suddenly and some really good, loud (and close) hits occurred before I could do anything, and I've never lost anything.

It's old, beige, yellowed. I've never cleaned it. At any one time, 3-5 of the outlets are in use/plugged in, and there are a few open/available to me. I have to get down on the floor, on my back and slide under my desk (like you're working on a car) to plug/unplug anything because of how I have it mounted. But that happens maybe once every 3-4 years, if that.

But it has served me through seven Macs, various hard drives, 2-3 AirPort products, JBL Creature speakers and a couple of inkjets...SoCal, northern Virginia, Nashville and my current home. It's the only thing I've ever had, and connected everything to, since early 1994.

I'm just up the road from you, so we know the kind of weather each of us get. I totally know how springtime in the South can be.

I can crawl under and give you the name if the above is enticing, solid-enough testimony.

I know the specific model is long gone, but maybe the company is a good one?
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-22, 13:17



I'll look it up on the Antiques Roadshow

When one of our offices closed up I was given an APC surge protector and battery backup. I need to see if it can accommodate data lines.

From what I'm learning, some data surge protectors use a gas tube to discharge the surge... kind of wild.

My point in sharing this experience was to hear how other folks handle surge protection, and to say "hey, don't forget about that nasty telephone shock you heard about growing up"!


...
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-07-22, 15:07

I've not had one in my house but this is basically what I was recommended in Va Beach before moving there: Whole-House Surge Protectors
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-22, 18:58

Would that protect the telephone line and home network?


...
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2021-07-23, 01:51

Wait... a whole house surge protector can be bought for 50 bucks retail, and these aren't part of the building code?

What is wrong with North America?
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-07-23, 12:24

Drew,
it won't fix the surge through your network cables, but that didn't come from the lighting directly. That came from a component on your network getting fried and passing the voltage though the network cables. Unless you happen to have network cables running outside that were hit by a strike, which I suspect isn't the case since you didn't mention burning building and such.

Suppressing the surge at the panel will REALLY limit anything beyond that. POTS lines on the other hand, those run on poles and such and should have a suppressor inline. You can get those or buy power strips with them integrated.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Katan
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2021-07-23, 12:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Wait... a whole house surge protector can be bought for 50 bucks retail, and these aren't part of the building code?

What is wrong with North America?
You got about 4-5 hours and a big cup of your favorite beverage?
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-23, 15:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
Drew,
it won't fix the surge through your network cables, but that didn't come from the lighting directly...
I think I understand what you're saying, but to be sure, the strike came in via the telephone line, ran up into the main gateway modem, which is connected to other devices around the building via hardwired ethernet cables - so aren't I correct in thinking I need a surge arrestor in front of each network switch?


Edit: none of the other electrical components in the system show signs of damage (so far)


...

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-07-23, 19:05

So focus on a good suppressor for your POTS connection. That can be handled with just the power strip that includes it. This would then also have you plug the gateway and other components into that strip.

I'd still look at the whole house suppressor, but minimally one for the telephone line and components there.

Edit: didn't you say your TV fried? That is one of those components isn't it?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.

Last edited by turtle : 2021-07-23 at 20:04.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-07-24, 04:34

Definitely a whole-house, they’re stupid cheap and easy.

Whole-house POTS and/or cable would be required too, really, the power surge UPS units aren’t really robust enough for a direct strike. Divert where it enters the house, I’ve seen big grounding straps to ground spikes used… normal voltages stay inside, no degradation of signal. Once it rises enough to jump the insulation, it finds a ready ground and uses it.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2021-07-25, 05:27

From a wiring perspective I finally understood that there's no way to ground the signal wires coming in from the street. We have an AT&T product that comes in through the fricking twisted pair, not coaxial cable.

Can't mess with that before it gets to the gateway unit, for fear of borking the signal.

The fact that EVERY network switch in the house got zapped tells me that I need to install an APC power strip with built-in surge arrestor with Ethernet ports in every location with a switch, just ahead of the switch.

Is this the wrong walkaway?

...
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