Lightning Strikes, Bullet Dodged

Discussion in 'Home Theater Lounge' started by Ken McDaniel, May 16, 2007.

  1. Ken McDaniel

    Ken McDaniel Active Member War Zone Member

    Saturday we had a pretty wicked thunderstorm. Lights flickered and there were several close strikes. Just to give you all an idea, one above-ground line services the entire street. When one of has problems, we all have problems. Here's the body count for the evening (10 residences):

    1. Two plasma TV's over 42".
    2. One 57" CRT HDTV.
    3. Two PC's.
    4. Three cable modems.
    5. Two wireless routers.
    6. One Xbox.

    What was the body count at the McDaniel house? Zero. Neighbors to the left and right of me suffered casualties, but we managed to get through unscathed. My neighbors were astounded given that I have more electronics than anyone on the street.

    The difference? Every item I own has surge protection of some variety from the big expensive Monster Power center to the kids' 11" television. Even the line going into the cable modem runs through a $10 Belkin suppressor.

    None of the above items had any protection. Two of the three TV's as well as the Xbox were turned off. Of course, when the lightning gets close, I always shut down the expensive stuff.

    Yeah! :D
  2. Alfer

    Alfer New Member

    You were a damn lucky man !
  3. Troy Seufert

    Troy Seufert New Member

  4. cjd

    cjd New Member

    What sucks is it's now time to replace all those surge protectors. :) Sure is a lot cheaper than replacing the gear though!

    Lightning does not give two whiskers whether your gear is on or off, only if it is plugged in. Off can blow just as easily, and perhaps more easily.

  5. Shane

    Shane Active Member

    I feel their pain.
  6. ArtieK

    ArtieK New Member

    Is that true? My Netgear router got fried and the other gear on that surge protector didn't, computer, modem SoftKey, switch. Should I replace the protector?

    Good for you Ken!
  7. Alfer

    Alfer New Member

    I'd snag a couple of these (or the higher end ones)...As much as many hate them, they really stand by these particular products..I know first hand after seeing how well they treated a friend who lost her equipment in a direct hit lightnening storm. Monster shipped her a free new bar and wrote her a check for her equipment...minimal paperwork..mainly a phone call to them and a fax showing repair estimates for the equipment (if required).

  8. brianca

    brianca New Member

    I was talking to someone the other day about how I haven't so much as heard thunder since moving to hawaii. Anyone know why the weather systems here don't carry lightning?
  9. Buzz Goddard

    Buzz Goddard New Member

    A whole-house surge protector is also a good idea as there are many devices (think kitchen appliances, washer/dryer, alarm clocks etc) that probably aren't on surge suppressors.
    Of course if lightning actually hits, well, all bets are off, but as Ken experienced there are lot's of near hits and it appears he was well protected.
    I am not big on cheap power strips.
    They can actually be a culprit. This one was in the house of a custom installer...
  10. Michael M

    Michael M Active Member

    I have an excellent surge protector....I unplug everything. ;) It's not that I don't think my surge protectors won't work, I just don't want the hassle of having to replace everything.
  11. cjd

    cjd New Member

    So, there is no "yes" or "no" answer to this.

    You have to understand the vector any voltage spike (which is all lightning really is...) takes to really know.

    It can travel through phone lines, network cables, power cables. It is more likely to travel through phone lines and network devices since they're often not earthed. So, my first guess on your router is that the vector was through an internet connection (DSL? Cable?) to modem to router...

    If you don't have these connections through a surge protector, you probably have no need to replace your surge protector, unless it is to acquire one that includes network/phone. ;)

    Ultimately though, it may come down to the manufacturer. High end surge protection can (supposedly) handle more hits, but I don't know the limits. But, those companies usually offer good support for questions like that. I think Monster's stuff is supposed to be pretty good in this respect. APC and some of the other computer vendors too. Support, I mean. Their cheaper products may still be a "one use only" item, but they can probably at least assist. I use a lot of APC's product and have had very good luck with it.

  12. Ken McDaniel

    Ken McDaniel Active Member War Zone Member

    Did a quick troubleshoot with Monster over the phone and all is well. The only surge protector I'm replacing is the one covering the PC/cable modem/router/office TV. Found out a couple of the neighbors had limits on their insurance policies. One guy had $20,000 of electronics coverage on his renter's policy but is only allowed $2,000 per item at depreciated value. He lost a $3K 50" plasma. They've offered him a $1,200 payout.

    I'm carrying $100,000 of renter's coverage with no item limits and actual replacement value including damage due to flooding/ lightning/ tornados/ surges etc... If I lost my TV I would receive back my investment: $3,500. Know your policy.
  13. Shane

    Shane Active Member

    If you are unplugging everything make sure your cable and your phone lines are unplugged otherwise lightning and surge has an entry path.
  14. Eric

    Eric Active Member

    Well, the time I spend in the Pacific, I saw a couple of pretty big storm systems. No lightning in them either. Weird, never really thought about it. Maybe it's just because there's not enough land mass to regularly build up the necessary voltage differential to cause a strike.

    Maybe if a hurricane comes through (which supposedly does happen occasionally) you'll see some.
  15. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    I don't care for the cheap plastic strips either. About 10 years ago, the local news had a story about a house that burned down when the varistor in one of them caught fire after a surge, and the plastic melted and took the house with it. The local fire dept. had the same ones in their own equipment room, and they replaced them with metal cased ones. About two days later, while reading the morning paper, I heard the distinct sound of an electric arc, followed by the smell of burned component. Tracked it to my own plastic cased supressor strip, and a similar event had taken place. At least mine didn't burn. But all of mine are metal cased now. But those are getting harder to find unfortunately.

    Have had Panamax 5500's on the main system for several years now. Lost one when the power came back after an outage, but everything downstream of it lived. And Panamax sent me a new unit free, via the dealer, with no hassle, when I turned the dead one back to the dealer.
  16. Dan S.

    Dan S. New Member

    I purchased the Monster Power HTPS7000 Signature Series surge protector and power filter a few years ago and have never regretted it. I know it's overkill(I think at least) but I feel much better having that big box between the wall and my gear. A few times last year we were watching movies at my house while there was a storm going on. The 7000 shut everything down about 5-6 seconds before the power went out in my house and brought it all back up about 10 seconds after it came back on. Truly impressed me that it 'knew' to guard my stuff before I was even aware of anything happening.

    Congrats Ken, I guess it shows you've been doing the smart thing all along by protecting your gear.
  17. Mike Parent

    Mike Parent New Member

    And a partridge in a pear treeeeee....


    Anyways I have an RCA power protection strip ($20,000 guarantee) between my power and my HTT gear. Protects the phone and cable entry points also.

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