Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

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Ozo
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Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by Ozo » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:05 pm

When lightning strikes near by, and it has been doing that a lot lately(Florida), my surge protector shuts down my computer. I shut it down now when the Thunderstorms approach, Question is, can shutting the power off when the computer is running hurt the computer?

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by trytip » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:08 pm

it will only hurt if you are in the middle of updating kernels or critical files. it can also corrupt your hard drive if it's in the middle of copying large files. you can look into a Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) battery backup which will give you enough time to finish what you're doing and give you proper shutdown procedures
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by Ozo » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:10 pm

Another question I have is why it does that . Does lightning nearby actually cause a surge of electricity strong enough to damage a computer if no surge protection is provided?

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by Snafu » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:47 pm

Does lightning nearby actually cause a surge of electricity strong enough to damage a computer if no surge protection is provided?
Yes it most certainly can, and not only computers. The circuit boards controlling my fridge and washing machine were once fried by a nearby lightening strike during a thunderstorm. I've always had surge protection for my computer and entertainment equipment but until this happened had never thought about other appliances needing it too.
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by catweazel » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:03 pm

Snafu wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:47 pm
Yes it most certainly can, and not only computers. The circuit boards controlling my fridge and washing machine were once fried by a nearby lightening strike during a thunderstorm. I've always had surge protection for my computer and entertainment equipment but until this happened had never thought about other appliances needing it too.
Completely OT:

I was watching a storm from the safety of my dining room when the room suddenly ionised and there was a dead silence followed by a loud hum. A lightning bolt hit a tree not 20m away. Two magpies got fried and fell to the ground, quite dead.
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by lsemmens » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:03 am

I worked in telecoms in Darwin during the late 70s and 80s. FYI Darwin has the highest number of "thunder days" of any Capital City in the world. We would be frequently cleaning up after a lightning strike. Our fault despatch team worked overtime every day during the "wet season" just to keep up with the problems. A surge protector is essential for protecting your equipment. I've seen black strips on the wall where the telephone cable was. If it trips, then it has saved you a lot more expense. If it constantly trips and there is no apparent storm activity then you must then look for a possible alternate reason unless, of course, the protector is faulty. A power trip might cause loss of data as trytrip has indicated it might even still fry some componentry that may not be evident for some time. If you cannot afford to lose any data, then a UPS is essential.

BE WARNED! Any protection is only as good as its weakest component. You should always purchase protection from a reputable power conditioner retailer. The cheap things on the shelf at you local supermarket are only as good as your insurance policy. Which, BTW, may cover storm damage.

I have had a small "brick" attached to my home computer for "centuries". Lighting hit the air conditioner unit of the building next door. One of my kids was playing a computer game (Back in the days of DOS), Another was watching TV at the time. Another was playing an early SEGA (pre mega drive days) also plugged into a TV. Kid playing sega got a mild electric shock, other TV stopped working, and Computer shook its head and re-started. When I got home all I had to do was replace a couple of light globes and replaced a fuse in the TV. The Church on the other side lost a lot more. All that my surge protector was directly connected to was the computer. I was lucky.
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by SimonMallin » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:21 pm

We had a major thunderstorm roll through here a couple hours ago. I went and unplugged the stereo after looking at the weather graphic showing about 100 lightning strikes from the oncoming storm https://www.streamer-electric.com/produ ... protection
Unplugging, while not always practical, is a sure way to defeat lightning damage.

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by cliffcoggin » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:36 pm

I bought a UPS some months ago because I get frequent power cuts during storms and I was not convinced surge protectors were entirely reliable. It wasn't cheap at about £85 but today it proved its worth when the power failed while I was amending my personal account spreadsheets and ---- nothing happened. The computer continued running without hesitation allowing me to save the file, back it up to a memory stick, and then gracefully turn off the machine. No damage to the machine and no time wasted repairing corrupted files.

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by all41 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:29 pm

You can have an electrician install a surge device at your meter or in your breaker panel.
This is the best location because of proximity to the power utility ground system.
Mine is about the size and shape of a hockey-puck.

Surge suppressors have sacrificial elements and will provide less and less protection as they
absorb voltage spikes.

Even though I also have battery backup units with built in surge protection, and insurance coverage, I still unplug when electrical
storms approach.

Power line voltage will often overshoot when power returns after utility line failures
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by swan350 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:42 pm

Greetings,

As an Amateur Radio Operator, or HAM operator if you prefer, I am concerned more than most people when it comes to lighting protection. After all, people like me have antennas just begging for a strike. However, that does not mean that non-hams should not concern themselves. Some interesting links with methods of protection. As always, consult your local electrical code as well.

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf

Though the three part series below does focus on protection of an amateur radio station, the same principals apply to any electronic piece of equipment.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 206056.pdf
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 207048.pdf
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 208053.pdf

Cheers!
Last edited by swan350 on Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by all41 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:48 pm

swan350 wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:42 pm
Greetings,

As an Amateur Radio Operator, or HAM operator if you prefer, I am concerned more than most people when it comes to lighting protection. After all, people like me have antennas just begging for a strike. However, that does not mean that non-hams should not concern themselves. Some interesting links with methods of protection. As always, consult your local electrical code as well.

http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.p

Though the three part series below do disucss protection and amateur radio station, the same principals apply to any electronic piece of equipment.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 206056.pdf
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 207048.pdf
http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technolo ... 208053.pdf

Cheers!
73 & Merry Christmas de K0ZZY

also +1 swan 350. I remember when
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by swan350 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:00 pm

[/quote]
73 & Merry Christmas de K0ZZY

also +1 swan 350. I remember when
[/quote]

:mrgreen: QSL! I need to QRT for 3937kc net now. 73 de AC6S :mrgreen:

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by MtnDewManiac » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:06 pm

Ozo wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:10 pm
Another question I have is why it does that . Does lightning nearby actually cause a surge of electricity strong enough to damage a computer if no surge protection is provided?
LOL. I live in a region that isn't known for regular, fierce thunderstorms. But we still get them now and then, like most places do. I have read that, in an average ground-to-cloud lightning strike, there is approximately 1,000,000,000 joules of energy, lol, so what do you think?

Lightning can easily jump a small air-gap. After all, it has already jumped one that's miles long.

I've seen a 10' circular patch of "bubbled" blacktop in the road that was attributed to a lighting strike.

When I was about eight years old or so, it hit very near (on? IDK) the front of our house, and - somehow - the storm window in our front living room window got broken simultaneously.

I don't know if it's true or not, but I was once told that garden variety surge suppressors don't protect against "direct" lightning strikes, only nearby ones.

YES, lightning can pooch electronic devices. And residential electrical system components, especially if there is some kind of issue already present (I'm thinking "poor/improper grounding setup," but there might be possibilities). And, of course, start FIRES.

We lost two televisions and our first microwave that day when I was a kid. Oddly, a little 9" Montgomery Wards "airline" television that happened to be both plugged in to the electrical outlet and connected to our local cable system survived without any damage whatsoever. Maybe tubes are more resistant to electrical issues than integrated circuits :lol: ?

To this day, Mom still rushes around unplugging practically every electrical device in her house when a thunderstorm rolls in.

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by Pierre » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:34 pm

Ozo - what should be checked - is that the Surge Protector is still working correctly,
or if it's is now faulty, as if you do have one of those 'surge protectors' then you should Replace it, if it does work / sacrifice itself..
- which is what it's supposed to do .. .
the better alternative, is to use an Mini Home UPS for your computer(s).
swan350 wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:42 pm
As an Amateur Radio Operator, or HAM operator if you prefer, I am concerned more than most people when it comes to lighting protection. After all, people like me have antennas just begging for a strike. However, that does not mean that non-hams should not concern themselves. Some interesting links with methods of protection. As always, consult your local electrical code as well.
one of the other HAMs that I'm in contact with, some years back - lost All of His Radio(s)
due to a direct strike to his tower.. he gave up the hobby, for some years.. now he's back with a new call-sign & new gear.
lsemmens wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:03 am
I worked in telecoms in Darwin during the late 70s and 80s. FYI Darwin has the highest number of "thunder days" of any Capital City in the world. We would be frequently cleaning up after a lightning strike. Our fault despatch team worked overtime every day during the "wet season" just to keep up with the problems.

~snip
likewise, I've seen some major damage to those Phone Lines, as an direct hit to the phone cable,
- - one of them took out around 400m of the house phone line, right back to the street,
as well as the computer & the fax machine & the wall phone & & blew the lid to the house junction box completely away.

as another side note:
- - last summer - there was a Lightning Hit to the property behind here,
and as a result of that myself & two other neighbours all lost our cordless phones & had to replace them.
but, not only that, my house also blew the air-conditioner & the solar inverter, too.
- - the insurance company did cover them, fortunately. ( nearly $3k in repairs )
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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by Schultz » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:11 am

If lightning tripped your surge protector, I'd buy a new one, that old one probably isn't any good anymore.

[I haven't read through all the posts here, so if this was already mentioned, sorry about that.]

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Re: Lightning Tripping my Surge Protector

Post by all41 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:36 am

Lightning generates a strong almost instantaneous magnetic field in the immediate area. Utility lines (power, telephone, cable tv, etc) are like huge antennas that pickup this pulse as a spike in voltage. This is the cause of most electronic failures associated with storms. Surge suppressors mitigate these spikes to a degree.
Sacrificial means that the more spikes that are absorbed the less protection that device offers going forward.
If you have a direct lightning strike to your local utility lines or to your house wiring you can kiss your surge suppressors goodbye--along with your connected electronics.
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