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atomicnewbie

Thunderstorms

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Once upon a time, there was a really bad thunderstorm in the area I was living in. The next day, most electrical appliances such as the computer, modem, cordless phones, etc that were connected to the house electricity stopped working. I guess they fried. Is there any way to ensure the safety of your computer (one of the most valuable items in the house) when lightning strikes?

 

It just came up on my mind because upon hearing tonight's fireworks I mistook them for a thunderstorm.

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yea well theres nothing that you can't re download except now that I think about it all my uni assignments would get erased to hmm...

 

its funny though I have been waiting for like 3 years for a computer of mine to die from being left in but our microwaves always blow up from surges for some reason.

Edited by nesquick

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We supply decent surge protectors with our systems, but always tell customers that they're no guarantee. The only way to be completely sure is as CyberGlitch suggests, unplug them.

 

Its amazing how many people don't consider backing things up until after problems arise. :-)

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Its amazing how many people don't consider backing things up until after problems arise. :-)

normally I am pretty good as of until recently I had a 1TB primary drive with a 1.5TB backup drive split into 3 partitions however if it was fried data recovery would be neigh impossible.

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So, any recommendations for surge protectors? Are we talking about something we can get from dicksmith or something that has to be industrial grade to do the job? I'm under the assumption that "good quality" to you means more like "uber quality" to me, the average joe.

This is just incase I can't make it to the plug quick enough in the middle of the night or while I'm out, other rare circumstances, etc.

Edited by atomicnewbie

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surge protector is only there for when I'm not home, otherwise I unplug, both the power and the cable.

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Surge protectors are usually useless against lightning strikes.

 

Unplugging is the only safe way...........don't forget the internet either.

It's an easy way in via the phone line or cable. Bring on the fibre!

 

I've only lost PSU's, lan cards and mother boards........never got to fry any drives yet.

 

Had lightning hit a tree outside the front of the house.......took out a PSU and the lan card on the computer in the nearest room (10 metres away).

Also fried an eight port switch near me at the back of the house.

 

I reckon it was from the static charge rather than any direct voltage.

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Surge protectors are usually useless against lightning strikes.

 

Unplugging is the only safe way...........don't forget the internet either.

It's an easy way in via the phone line or cable. Bring on the fibre!

 

I've only lost PSU's, lan cards and mother boards........never got to fry any drives yet.

 

Had lightning hit a tree outside the front of the house.......took out a PSU and the lan card on the computer in the nearest room (10 metres away).

Also fried an eight port switch near me at the back of the house.

 

I reckon it was from the static charge rather than any direct voltage.

This

A surge protector will do jack shit for a decent strike.

Unplugging everything including phone is the only way to be sure.Just turning off the powerpoint is also not enough.

 

For me it was a nearby power pole strike, yet the surge came down the phone line fried my ISDN modem and all the USB ports on the PC.

 

Also destroyed 3 ceramic fuses and an isolation switch on the fuse board in the dairy and blew an electric fencer off the wall.

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For me it was a nearby power pole strike, yet the surge came down the phone line fried my ISDN modem and all the USB ports on the PC.

 

Also destroyed 3 ceramic fuses and an isolation switch on the fuse board in the dairy and blew an electric fencer off the wall.

lol I like fireworks displays :P

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For me it was a nearby power pole strike, yet the surge came down the phone line fried my ISDN modem and all the USB ports on the PC.

 

Also destroyed 3 ceramic fuses and an isolation switch on the fuse board in the dairy and blew an electric fencer off the wall.

That's happened to me a few times also, the only way to avoid it is to unplug everything in plenty of time.

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I have no idea how houses are grounded in Oz, but in the USA I lived in thunderstorm alley, in south central Wisconsin. Every summer evening before it started to cool off, we'd get heat lightning. Later on, every summer evening as the temperature changes (from 35-40C to a balmy 20-25C) it would generate huge thunderstorms. Something to do with all the lakes and rivers evaporating, which also contributed to the usual 90%+ humidity. Wisconsin has 10,000 lakes in it, and is surrounded by the great lakes, so there's a lot of moisture in the air at all times. Our TV antenna was directly earthed, and took a direct lightning hit almost every year. With the old USA wiring, that meant everything plugged in fried, from the TV to the toaster. Around 1970 we rewired with the newer surge protectors in the fuse box (which then became a breaker box), and on each outlet (which then had a fused breaker as well), very few things ever fried again from direct strikes, but occasionally the PC or TV would still be destroyed (melted even). So I sure wouldn't say that a good (expensive) surge protector system is worthless in lightning strikes, but its still no guarantee.

 

I don't mean to suggest that I'm an expert on the subject, nor that surge protectors will guarantee anything, but I've seen them make a drastic difference on occasions, both the very expensive type and the cheap electronics store types.

 

In SA, lightning isn't a major concern to us as we rarely get anything close to (what I consider) a thunderstorm. However we have more brownouts in a year than I'd have imagined possible. I think I saw 2 in the USA over 40 years, but we average 1 per month here regardless of the time of year. Not a problem when the power goes out, as a rule. But when the power comes back on appliances tend to fry, light bulbs burst, light switches no longer work properly, etc.. We've had 2 fairly modern houses here (the first was 25 years old and this one is 7 years old) and got the same results in both. Neither has fused electrical outlets, but both had breaker boxes. We've lost more computer components than I care to count from brownouts. And in that case, a relatively cheap ($15 or so) surge protector from your local electronics store can make a huge difference. Since using surge protectors, we've had very few components die after a brownout. But again, it does still happen occasionally.

 

We run a server which runs 24/7, and my own computer is on 24/7 as well. The rest of our systems are shut down most nights but we can have up to 10 systems running during the day. The surge protectors are mainly there for when we're not around to unplug things during a brownout, and frankly, after seeing what lights and other electrical switches and appliances do when the power comes back on, the last thing I want to be touching is a plug when that happens. I feel a bit more comfortable just turning off a fused switch. :-)

Edited by darklife41

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Sometimes, lightning arrestors are installed (different to surge protectors) but these are often too slow working to save sensitive equipment.

 

Houses in Aus are supposed to have an earth stake but a lot of old houses are earthed through the copper water pipes.

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If you're paranoid, unplugging is the only way. There are many ways a lightning strike can cause problems, direct hit is probably the worst case.

 

In thunderstorms, there is a lot of static charges -- this is what generates the lightning strikes after all. CMOS devices are typically sensitive to static electricity, so they can be easily damaged just due to the charged nature of the atmosphere.

 

If I see a severe storm coming though, I worry more about the radios than anything else... I unplug my antennas, as they are up high, and quite large, thus tempting targets for lightning. The TV antenna I usually don't worry about -- I should, but I'm lazy, and hate TV anyway. Our mains power and telephone lines are via underground cable, which provides a certain level of capacitance to an incoming lightning strike -- helpful in mitigating the risk a little, and we have a small amount of protection on the systems. We've also got Mt. Coot-tha in close proximity -- a far more tempting target I'd imagine.

 

That said, I'm often lazy and leave the cables for everything plugged in when I shouldn't... so I guess my turn will come one of these days.

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Most of our Bigpond Cable is underground but we still lose the occasional modem because the last 20 metres to a house attachment may be aerial.

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The best option is to unplug or an even better option is to spend $100+ on a surge protector that comes with the warranty of $50,000 etc. Then you know you're safe. Money can't deal with lost documents though

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dude

 

unplugging is better than insurance. insurance claims can take months, even longer if you need to find receipts.

 

Surge protectors aren't the same as lightning arrestors.

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True but it is an option. Also, what about when you're not home, you can't unplug it magically over the internet lol :)

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Hmm... a little wierd that this comes up, as there was a storm here in Tamworth the other day. As I was at work, I couldn't unplug the PC, as I'd normally do. Long story short, surge protector did nothing so I have my spare PSU and motherboard in my PC atm

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Hmm... a little wierd that this comes up, as there was a storm here in Tamworth the other day. As I was at work, I couldn't unplug the PC, as I'd normally do. Long story short, surge protector did nothing so I have my spare PSU and motherboard in my PC atm

Thanks.

They might listen to real anecdotes rather than me.

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By sp@rky

"The best option is to unplug or an even better option is to spend $100+ on a surge protector that comes with the warranty of $50,000 etc. Then you know you're safe. Money can't deal with lost documents though"

 

Mate, have a good read of those warranty's, they are pretty much worthless.

 

Unplug everything!

 

It's the only way to be sure.

 

No device is going to give 100% protection from lightning strikes, far from it.

Edited by datafast69

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