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fireemsracer 07-20-2005 01:59 AM

Lightning safe"r" home?
 
I am new so please forgive me if this has been talked about before. I recently bought a 50" plasma television for a home theater in my basement and even with a $275.00 Monster Cable surge protector it sustained lightning damage on its first day home, thankfully it was covered under warenty. My question is, how can I make my house or at least the electronics in it less likely to sustain damage from lightning strikes? I was certain the power strip would do it. I am a new home owner with little to no experience with anything electrical. Please help me out. Thanks, Zak

Teetorbilt 07-21-2005 01:27 AM

My power company offers a surge/lightning strike/insurance pkg for less than $6.00 a month. Ol'#2's company offers a protector for a fixed amount plus installation. I live in the lightning capitol of the US and went with the power company. To date, I've lost 2 refrigerators, 1 workstation and 1 dishwasher in 3 yrs to one source or another. It doesn't take Einstein to do the math.

Neil_K 08-08-2005 08:26 PM

You've got to protect *everything*. You can surge protect everything, but if the strike comes in over your cable line, it can fry every device attached to your TV - vcr, stereo, dvd player, etc. A strong bolt will find a way to travel across devices - especially via coaxial cable and telephone wires.

I worked for a place once that got struck by lightning - it came in thru one computer's modem line and the power traveled out the network card to the hub that connected it to the other computers - it fried the entire computer that took the direct hit, but also blew out the hub and eight network cards - one in each of the other computers on the network. The others were on surge protectors, but the hits came from behind! Just an example of a good hit.

Precision 08-11-2005 10:25 PM

Fire, you have took all the preventitive steps you can do by adding good surge protectors. Theonly other thing you can do is disconnect the power and Coax conections which is hard to do at times.

Sportbilly 08-14-2005 11:53 PM

Square D make a product called Surgebreaker Plus, it connects to a two pole breaker, I think, and protects your whole house, plus it has connections for both phone and cable to protect all points of entry. The boards are replaceable separately, should one sustain damage.

A bit pricey, but worth it, IMHO, they can run $400 at supply houses if you can find one.

Of course, it never hurts to have supplimentary protection at the outlet for expensive items, JIC.

Teetorbilt 08-15-2005 11:49 PM

It has been my experience that lightning goes wherever it pleases in a direct strike. I have never seen it go back up but have seen it go horizontal for some distance when other grounds were nearby.
In 40+ years of observing it, I have come to this conclusion. It goes wherever it wants to go. Lightning rods can provide a path that it may choose not to follow and at the same time attract it. It's a bizarre energy.

BigA 08-19-2005 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teetorbilt
It has been my experience that lightning goes wherever it pleases in a direct strike. I have never seen it go back up but have seen it go horizontal for some distance when other grounds were nearby.
In 40+ years of observing it, I have come to this conclusion. It goes wherever it wants to go. Lightning rods can provide a path that it may choose not to follow and at the same time attract it. It's a bizarre energy.

a little off the subject, but an interesting discussion:

That is because Lightning is NOT trying to get to ground per se. Lightning obeys the rules of any other form of electricity and will always move from a point of higher electrical potential to a point of lower electrical potential. (often described as jumping from a collection of "POSITIVELY" particles to a collection of "NEGATIVELY" charged particles.) Now, generally the point of lowest electrical potential is somewhere on the ground (or something touching the ground), but not always. It can often be from one cloud to another or in rare cases, from ground UP to a cloud. The reason you have observed it "skip" some closer ground on its way to another spot farther away is because that happens to be where the charges are at that particular moment.

Lightning rods, at least the ones on residential homes are NOT designed to attract lightning at all - and if they did the tiny cables are not anywhere near enough to dissipate all that energy. They are in fact, designed to PREVENT lightning, hopefully by dissipating charges into the air and preventing the buildup of charges that leads to lightning. Do they work? Sort of - they lessen the possibility of your house getting struck by lightning, but they do not guarantee anything.

There ARE lightning rods that ARE designed to attract lightning, but they are the enormous ones that sit on top of skyscrapers with huge cables running down to the ground. These actually do a pretty good job of protecting the tall buildings.

Teetorbilt 08-19-2005 11:00 PM

Big A, I happened to be by, very near by, one of those big cables that you referred to. There were 6 of them on a smokestack, big copper suckers and star shaped in cross-section. It was close enough to feel.

As a cruising sailor and fishing captain, the workings of lightning have always been in the forefront of my mind. To date, I have no explaination. I have collected data from hundreds of boats that were hit but have nothing conclusive.

The stuff just goes where it will.


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