Lightning Strike....

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by SolomonMan, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    All,
    Just recently bought a new home out in the "sticks" and had a very limited supply of my home electronics setup yet (luckily) when we experienced a significant lightning strike during a late night storm.

    The house shook,lights went out, UPC backup Screeched/Alarmed etc. When it was over two breakers were flipped in the house main panel and a few GFCI plugs in the kitchen were tripped.

    Fast forward to the next morning...looks like my fairly new NetGear AC 1750 R6300 router, a Bed room 32 inch Vizio TV, and a Samsung Blue Ray player is no longer working. Luckily two new computers, which were off but on UPC units, seem like they are fine. The electronics in question no longer power on.

    So I am in need of some advice on the following (Have light electronic experience (Ohms law, soldering skills, two college level classes);

    1) What is the best way to protect the house\electronics from similar surges in the future. I am a Software Engineer and I have teenage kids so the electronics (computers, tablets, phones) are numerous. Is there maybe a whole house solution? The house even though built in 1900 was rewired (stud gutted/re-drywalled) in 1995 and a modern 200 amp system installed.(new breakers, wire, plugs,etc).

    OK, now for repairing the items....

    2) In trying to keep the internet withdraw to a minimum in my home (kids) I tried to troubleshoot before work the Router. Upon pulling out my multi-meter it appears the router power supply was not affected (Voltage correct). I opened the unit nothing appears fried....Suggestions on repairing? The unit was like $60-80 range....should I let it sit unplugged for a while (try later) or just toss it?

    3) On the TV, I guessing its the power supply...from my previous experience (3 successful repairs) its usually capacitor problems in the supplies or invertor boards...but my guess in this scenario its probably the TV power supply (internal board). Maybe we will get lucky enough its a fuse (LOL).

    4) The blue ray, which was a cheap bedroom samsung (<$70 ) does not power on like the other items. Anyone have any experience with those?...Things to look for?

    Thanks for the help,
    Chris
     
  2. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,058
    3,820
    The best, cheapest and easiest thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent. Some policies of not require a deductible for lightning a strikes. Get everything replaced. Done.

    A good grounding rod is key. It will be near your meter with a fat grounding wire from fusebox to the rod. Also, dry sandy soils and rocky hills have poor grounding to earth. Check your soil when you plant a shrub or anything similar. Grounding helps for near-by strikes and line surges but less help for a direct strike. I don't know if anything that will protect a direct strike. You might want to check which sub circuits tripped and which devices were on each sub circuit to understand what worked and why some devices survived and some did not.

    I wouldn't waste money on a DVD player, TV or router. They are all disposable. Buying replacement boards will be more headache than it is worth. Replacing individual components on pcb with a soldering pencil is a lost cause - have you seen the components on a router pcb?
     
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  3. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    367
    317
    I think you'll have your work cut out for you. Check your sprinkler controls and valves, one strike at a families home here burnt everything up in the home.

    When it hits usually if I'm not mistaken comes in on the Neutral leg, a fuse won't stop a good hit. It'll jump it.

    kv
     
  4. BobaMosfet

    Active Member

    Jul 1, 2009
    109
    11
    The cheapest, best way to protect your electronics (NAS,TVs, Game consoles, computers, routers, monitors): A UPS. Not only do these protect from surges, they protect from under-voltages and losses. Home Owner's insurance is not as reliable or as cost-effective over all as a UPS. They pay for themselves with the first hit. I live in a major metropolitan area-- and we get hit every single morning, and sometimes during the day. Usually at least once during any electric storm.

    One good UPS, in the 1200to1500VA range will hold up many things in proximity for at least 15 minutes-- enough time to shut them down if it looks like an extended outtage is coming. As for printers, electronic drum kits, keyboards, amps-- or other heavy things-- a standard UL-listed Surge-protecting power-strip. They don't need -stay on- support, but do need protected against spikes.

    I probably have close to 20 UPSes in my home-- they protect all my bench electronics gear (o-scope, etc), computers, routers, TVs, stereo equipment, etc. And what they cost, is far cheaper than home or any other insurance will cost over the same length of useful life-- and you have no disruption to your ability to function. And batteries are dirt cheap these days.

    IMHO
     
  5. MrSoftware

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2013
    502
    124
    Anything expensive (computers, fancy TV, etc..) should be plugged into a UPS with surge suppression.

    For the whole house in general; here in FL the power company sells a device that attaches at the power meter, where the mains enter the house, that in theory will protect the entire house from lightning surges. I've never used one and don't know how well they work, but check if your local power company offers the same thing.
     
  6. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    2,909
    2,169
    I'm with GopherT. The first thing is to have a good ground rod system with single point grounding to that system of all wiring entering or leaving the house like power, solar, cable TV or Internet, TV antennas or Sat dishes with inline discharge units on those cables. A whole house surge protector in the main electrical panel to shunt energy from the power legs to that ground is a good idea with good outlet or UPS based surge protectors on valuable electronics.

    [​IMG]

    A really close or direct strike can induce current flow directly into the house wiring from the intense electromagnetic field created from the electrical discharge. The countermeasures for that require heavy duty grounding and EM shielding but most of the lightning damage seen in homes is from Earth/Ground Potential Rise where there is an alternative current path to another earth ground point. If we eliminate the alternative current path with single point grounding all wiring in the house will rise to the same possibly high potential but no damaging current will flow because the net potential across electrical connections and ground will remain the same as normal. The lightning bolt discharge is similar to a constant current supply with an almost unlimited voltage range, during the discharge the voltage necessary to maintain charge flow into local ground resistance will be generated until it's dissipated in the earth.

    Polyphaser


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  7. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    3,791
    945
    A lightning rod twice the height of your house and about 1/2 that distance away, should be more attractive to a bolt than your roof.

    Will prevent a direct hit, but will not stop a surge from a local strike induced in your house wiring.
     
  8. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    When I was in the repair trade; lightning had very varied effects. Sometimes PCB tracks around the mains in had been vapourised and repairing those got it good as new - sometimes no visible damage, but numerous chips were fried. When Betamax went out of fashion I acquired a big box of tapes, so I went to the tip and got a player. While I was trying the tapes, there was a distant rumble of thunder and then the player was dead.

    In the days of analogue TV, we had a simple rule; a very weak snowy picture was a blown tuner front end transistor - a blank milky raster was a blown LO transistor.
     
  9. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    GopherT,
    Thanks for the response...
    We are Clay Soil....about one-two feet of good nutrient soil that is a dark clay (End Moraine of Glaciers that made Lake Erie).

    We have two rods ( believed to be Copper) pounded in the ground on the outside wall of the main fuse box (outside).

    The house is broken up in two large components.
    Old Farm home area - square house multiple stories with the other area being an new expansion area kitchen, bathroom, utility, and garage built on the side (kitchen is very large and were they hooked old into new. The expansion/gutting of the house was done after tornadoes hit the area in 1995.

    The two circuits and the GFCIs tripped were in very close proximity of the fuse box and in the new expansion area on the same side wall (Garage and kitchen). Also close to the driveway.

    I agree about the electronics...probably going to toss the router and Blue Ray unless letting it sit for a day or so and a try again does not correct the issue. The TV I might try to correct I have had some success with TVs but if its to complicated/$$ its trash time.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  10. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    No Sprinklers...but I do have well and septic....The Well Might be something to look into.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  11. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    Any suggestion on a UPS?

    I would probably by 5 at once...And probably increments of 3-5 there after.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  12. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1



    Kermit2,
    the house is about 30 feet tall with a metal roof (possibly original - Not sure- inspection said it was in fine shape).

    So you are saying a 60 foot rod about 15 ft away....?

    Thanks
    chris
     
  13. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,127
    3,048
    If you have a sump pump, check it out. They're usually the best grounded thing in a home and they get fried by lightning. You don't know anything is wrong until your basement is flooded.
     
  14. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    Thanks for the tip!

    I will check that ASAP.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  15. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    All,
    On a humorous side of things...I learned its national lightning awareness week;

    19th-25th.

    Thanks everyone,
    Chris
     
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  16. ian field

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 27, 2012
    4,415
    784
    The radio station I listen to only includes weather in the traffic and travel bulletins when there's severe weather warnings.

    Thursday they were very specific about heavy thunderstorms at 5pm - we had storm rain at 4pm, but no thunder. The thunder arrived between 6 - 7pm and was nothing much.
     
  17. SolomonMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    21
    1
    Storm started here sometime around 11pm-midnight...We were sleeping when the hit occurred.

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  18. MrSoftware

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2013
    502
    124
    Back when APC was almost the only brand in town, they were very solid. If you can find any of the old tan rectangular UPS's around (check ebay, like this one), they are ugly and simple, but the most reliable UPS's that I'm aware of. New batteries is all the usually need, and for the smaller units batteries are like $20-$25 on Amazon. They're fine for most household electronics. The larger ones are fine for computers too, if your computer happens to still have a serial port so it can auto-shutdown when the battery gets low. I've got one of these running my security cameras that is more than 20 years old, and it still works great. They look like this:

    [​IMG]

    At work we bought a batch of newer APC 1500's, about 10 of them at work. They were great when they were new, but slowly every one of them died. I suspect they were victims of the great capacitor plague. We've since replaced them with newer APC 1500's that have been better, but we did have 1 failure for no apparent reason. I think it boils down to, they don't make them like they used to, so for most basic uses, see if you can find some old ones. ;)
     
  19. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    2,909
    2,169
    A little info on lightning rods and how they 'really' work.

     
  20. MrSoftware

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2013
    502
    124
    Thanks, I learned something today!
     
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