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karambos 16th June 2002 02:00 PM

lightening strikes
Can anyone tell me how to protect my gear against lightening striking the house? thx

AudioFreak 16th June 2002 02:17 PM

If lightning strikes the house, it wont matter everything will probably die regardless of what you do. Even if things are not plugged in, they will die from the EM pulse that is generated. This effect can destroy all electronic equipment in about a 1/3 mile radius if the lightning bolt is large enough.

trwh 16th June 2002 03:23 PM

A surge protector may help. They're readily available in computer stores. They work by shorting any large voltage spikes to earth, and in doing so usually destroy themselves, but save the equipment. They employ heavier duty components than the simple metal oxide varistors that are usually found in power supplies, usually involving some sort of spark gap I think.

Anyway, they are definitely worth the money if they save your precious HI-FI, but as AudioFreak says, in the case of a _direct_ lightning strike, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Bill Fitzpatrick 16th June 2002 05:20 PM

How about a lightning rod to reduce the chances of lightning hitting the house in the first place?

subwo1 16th June 2002 05:47 PM

Like AudioFreak says, the EMP does a lot of damage in a lightning strike. My TV was destroyed by the direct strike, but other unrelated equipment was also destroyed.

If you have tall trees around try not to have anythng outside which can attract the strike or conduct the current inside the house during a strike.Then the trees may shunt the energy into the ground and keep it away from the house. In my case, the TV antenna was the culprit. I think your situation is worse if you do not have a wooded area nearby, as the trees could act as a shield. With or without nearby trees, I think the same approach can help. In the end, there may not really be much practical prevention you can do.

jackinnj 16th June 2002 06:35 PM

Suggest that you check out the past two issues of "QST" at your local library -- they had a two-part series of articles on lightning protection -- a problem for ham radio ops since our antenna's stick out there like a sore thumb.

mrfeedback 17th June 2002 04:24 PM

Acts of God !.
Err, unplug it when not in use.
There are very good modern protection devices available for fitting in the house meter box, however these are not infallible.
I have seen domestic gear splattered by strikes, and repaired plenty of big system retic gear that is covered in 5.1v Zeners, Varistors and Gas arrestors and grounded by dedicated earthing stakes that still gets splattered big time.

When in doubt, unplug it.

Regards, Eric.

UrSv 17th June 2002 04:48 PM

Obviously unplugginh is the safest thing when that kind of weather is on but on the other hand that kind of limits the usability of your system when is it.

Proper grounding in the building is key. Adding either ready-made spike protectors like gas discharge stuf (Comgap or the likes) is works for me. Haven't lost anything yet.

Living in an area (in Sweden) where the lightning strikes tens (if not hundreds) of times within a mile I must say (even after working with 50.000+ households for a security company where the stuf is connected to POST and line) I have never heard about anything not connected being killed (Well a pretty big lightning struck about 20 meters away from me 2 years ago and my mobile was still OK). ;O)


PS. Remember Line, telephone and antenna connections all bring the trouble in to your house. Disconnect all when needed...

AudioFreak 17th June 2002 05:00 PM

I know of someone who lost an entire computer network (about a dozen computers plus peripherals if i remember correctly) due to EMP when lightning struck nearby in their street .... all equipment was unplugged etc at the time .... if the strike is big enough, EMP is a real concern.

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