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A Really Stupid Question About Lightning

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Hi All,

As usual, I'm doing a "coin flip" as to where to even put this question, as it is so dumb, but it's been driving me nuts!.

I've been told by some folks to turn off and unplug the computer when it is lightning outside, I've been told by others, that if I have a Surge Suppressor (which I do, priced just under the battery-back-up ones, so it should be a good one) not to worry about lightning.

Just how sensitive are these idiot boxes?? We've never been hit by lightning (thankfully) but MI is supposably second in US for lightning strikes, after Florida. Does one have to be actually hit by lightning for damage to the computer, or does lightning just have to be close? I play the "happy medium" and just turn off the computer during thunderstorms, but the kids don't. As they say, "we don't turn anything else off, quit being paraniod, Mom!"

What do you folks recommend?

Thanks,

Liz

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Well, computers, from what I've heard, are extremely sensitive. If you notice, harddrives, video cards, CPUs, etc., are packed in static-free bags to protect them. During a lightning storm, if your power surges, your computer is vulnerable. However, surge protectors and other such devices should protect your computer; however, some people like to unplug them anyway to stay safe.

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Whats the point of just turning them off? Your computer can get fried on or off.

Plus, they can still get fried by phone lines. (so, if you have 56k be sure to run the phone line through the SP)

Also, your surge "protector" might not even work. It's to my understanding that they only protect you so many time before they need to be replaced.

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A good surge protector carries a guarentee for thousands of $$$. And will kick off power when a surge happens. Unfortunatly, it doesn't protect against "brownouts" or power cutoffs. Now that causes a hard shut down of the machine. And that's not good for the HDD, it causes the heads to crash on the disk like and old turntable on a record. (remember those kids?)

I shut off my computer, and just switch off the surge protector. But if anything is plugged in at all a nearby strike can fry lots of stuff. I even have my TV on a SP....

Better safe then sorry. A HDD can only take so many hard shutdowns before you get too many bad sectors. This can be the reason for programs going bad, and unusable, because you've damaged a part of the dirve that held it.

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if you know ahead of time that the weather will be horrid, then unplug the system. if you leave the house, make sure the pc is turned off.

if you leave the house and before so doing, you find out what the weather will be, unplug the system then too.

even the very best UPS systems can take a hit from the electrical system in the house in severe storms. try your best to be prepared with back up cd's of whatever programs you want to save.

i personally live on the side of danger.

i shut off the pc when not in use, or i'm out. i unplug nothing in severe storms. why...? so i can blame the wife for not reminding me to do so, then i got a good excuse to build another pc. haven't been building pc's in a while, and i need a good excuse to start up again.

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I unplug my computer, monitor and modem if there is a chance of a storm and I'm leaving the house. If I'm on the computer I shut down and unplug everything at the first sound of thunder. I do this even though I have a decent UPS. I never cared for those so called surge protectors. I've worked on many computers that have been fried that were plugged into them. My UPS was purchased for one reason and that is due to the many power surges in my area due to sudden summer and nasty winter storms.

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My 2 cents.

A surge protector is good for one good surge, then it's a power strip.

I work for a small wireless ISP, I know that network carks are VERY sensitive to electricity in the area.

If you don't have the money for a new system err on the side of safety...onplug anything coming from the outside.

Mike

Edited by mikex

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I also agree with Mikex

Unplug it completely

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surge protectors are false security..unplug the computer and the modem..also move the plugs at least a foot from the outlet..

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The old folks always said:

Don't talk on the phone during electric storms.

Don't stand near windows during an electric storm.

Don't bathe during an electric storm.

and my favorite.

Don't run outside with a metal rod over you head cursing to the heavans.

Mike

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Well, concensus says that paranoia is good with these gadgets!

Thanks for all the responses! I think I'll continue to "disconnect" when it's lightning outside.

I was skeptical with the surge protectors, especially with trying to redeem the warranty if needed--I bet the manufacturer can always find a way to blame the consumer (Ever try to go after a housepaint warranty? Don't waste your time.)

LOL, Antonio, blame the wife......I plan on blaming the kids if the idiot box gets fried :thumbsup: Haven't seen you around in a "month of Sundays", glad you checked in!

"Don't run outside with a metal rod over you head cursing to the heavans" Describing golfers, Mike? :D

Liz

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The old folks always said:

Don't talk on the phone during electric storms.

Don't stand near windows during an electric storm.

Don't bathe during an electric storm.

and my favorite.

Don't run outside with a metal rod over you head cursing to the heavans.

Mike

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I just watched a MythBusters episode on this the other day. I don't know how many of you have heard of that show, but its where a couple of Hollywood special effects guru's, take common myths and put them to the test.....very funny show so catch it if you can.

Anyway, they proved (to a certain degree) that it is possible for lightning to go thru phone lines and plumbing fixtures, and strike the person.

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i know from experience here in ireland, that the telephone system acts like a massive conductor, and everybody here plugs out everything unless its something big, like a cooker or a fridge.

so if you defy what everybody else does well the electricity only has one place to go, YOUR PC! We have had kettle elements go pop in a thunderstorm.

A few things that do matter is how close you are to the storm, how big it is, how much of the energy gets released as light and sound energy, vs being collected by the telephone lines.

I once had a brown out on a surge, okay fine, then boom power back on, then boom power back off, only thing that would of saved me from adding 112KB of bad sectors to my hdd would of been a UPS.

Here in ireland we have a 240volt system, so everything is "earthed" which is basicaly a 3rd pin in the plug that connects to a big metal rod outside and releases the energy into the ground, but none the less i wouldnt take a bath or stand near radiators. Or anything thats large and metalic during a thunder storm.

The other thing is that surge protectors only have a certain amount of amp's before its rendered useless. The one i have is at 13,000amp's, but if the load fault is 13,001 and everything is fried then the makers of the surge protector wont pay out. Also if your surge has a protector on a phone line, like mine again ;), it has a specific amp rating, mine is 3,000 and if your really posh, you have one for antena surge, like mine heh, which goes up to 30,000 amps, or if your super rich, it has surge for your surround sound sytem like mine (heh, just kidding i cant afford that much for a surge), thats another amp rating, so just be carefull on rating vs ampage you get. So, best advise is, if its not important plug it out, and that surges are only for that moment that you say "oh crap i forgot"...

Pierce

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i know from experience here in ireland, that the telephone system acts like a massive conductor, and everybody here plugs out everything unless its something big, like a cooker or a fridge.

so if you defy what everybody else does well the electricity only has one place to go, YOUR PC! We have had kettle elements go pop in a thunderstorm.

A few things that do matter is how close you are to the storm, how big it is, how much of the energy gets released as light and sound energy, vs being collected by the telephone lines.

I once had a brown out on a surge, okay fine, then boom power back on, then boom power back off, only thing that would of saved me from adding 112KB of bad sectors to my hdd would of been a UPS.

Here in ireland we have a 240volt system, so everything is "earthed" which is basicaly a 3rd pin in the plug that connects to a big metal rod outside and releases the energy into the ground, but none the less i wouldnt take a bath or stand near radiators. Or anything thats large and metalic during a thunder storm.

The other thing is that surge protectors only have a certain amount of amp's before its rendered useless. The one i have is at 13,000amp's, but if the load fault is 13,001 and everything is fried then the makers of the surge protector wont pay out. Also if your surge has a protector on a phone line, like mine again ;), it has a specific amp rating, mine is 3,000 and if your really posh, you have one for antena surge, like mine heh, which goes up to 30,000 amps, or if your super rich, it has surge for your surround sound sytem like mine (heh, just kidding i cant afford that much for a surge), thats another amp rating, so just be carefull on rating vs ampage you get. So, best advise is, if its not important plug it out, and that surges are only for that moment that you say "oh crap i forgot"...

Pierce

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is the case with all surge protectors; once they hit a certain amp level, it can't do much. But, we can only hope that it doesn't reach that high. It probably won't reach that high unless the power converter on the power lines don't mess up....

Also, when you were talking about "earthed" power lines, and not to sound like a smart aleck ( :lol::lol::lol: ) I believe the correct term is "grounded".

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ground, earth... same diff... I think the UK with it's 220 system is more at risk because they run a heavy wire to carry that current. It is cheaper and more efficent to run 3-phase 220. I don't know if they have/use GFI's like we are coded for... But no matter, if lightening strikes nearby, only an unplugged system will survive.

I still feel the worst thing for your system is hard crashes caused by an interruption of the power. A UPS at that point is the safety hardware. A smart UPS that will shut off your machine correctly is the answer, in case you are not around before it's battery runs out.

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ground, earth... same diff... I think the UK with it's 220 system is more at risk because they run a heavy wire to carry that current. It is cheaper and more efficent to run 3-phase 220.  I don't know if they have/use GFI's like we are coded for...  But no matter, if lightening strikes nearby, only an unplugged system will survive.

I still feel the worst thing for your system is hard crashes caused by an interruption of the power. A UPS at that point is the safety hardware. A smart UPS that will shut off your machine correctly is the answer, in case you are not around before it's battery runs out.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, but those cost a fortunes..... :lol::lol:

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You're right, Murtu! Which is why I have the "level down" from the battery backup surge protectors. I'm too darned cheap (although they are less expensive than a new computer, aren't they?!). Hopefully someone will figure out a less expensive way to make the "good ones" (oh, Macmarauder.....you're an inventor.....here's an idea.....I'll need to pm him this! :thumbsup: )

Liz

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murtu your right the proper term is grounded, but "earthed" is also used cassualy too. They use an "earth" wire in the socket and not a "grounded" wire, in my personal opinion i believe the term should be "earthed" as grounded could be refering to planes?!? hehe :P

Pierce

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murtu your right the proper term is grounded, but "earthed" is also used  cassualy too. They use an "earth" wire in the socket and not a "grounded" wire, in my personal opinion i believe the term should be "earthed" as grounded could be refering to planes?!? hehe :P

Pierce

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was just trying to jog your memory! I correct a person once and the whole forum is after me! :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:.

Grounded planes....hehehe....

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or being grounded by a parent heh, but thanks for jogging the ole memory, most of it has been replaced with FreeBSD stuff and cpanel, and all that crap hehe

/me watches as information falls out his left ear as its pushed into his right ear

Pierce

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I lost several parts on a computer last winter due to a brown out causing a surge. Surge protector didn't do anything

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Out in the sticks, where I live, we're highly susceptible to brown-outs, surges, and power failures.

My UPS has saved my computer several times.

What I like best is the software it uses, in case of power failure, to Save your work, close all programs, and then power down the computer.

I have it set to a 5min. delay, which if I'm at the computer, is plenty of time for me to close everything and power down.

Otherwise, it takes care of everything.

If I abort shutdown I've got 25-35 min. of battery power.

Definitely worth every bit, of the $80 I spent for it.

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Hi All,

As usual, I'm doing a "coin flip" as to where to even put this question, as it is so dumb, but it's been driving me nuts!.

I've been told by some folks to turn off and unplug the computer when it is lightning outside, I've been told by others, that if I have a Surge Suppressor (which I do, priced just under the battery-back-up ones, so it should be a good one) not to worry about lightning.

Just how sensitive are these idiot boxes??  We've never been hit by lightning (thankfully) but MI is supposably second in US for lightning strikes, after Florida.  Does one have to be actually hit by lightning for damage to the computer, or does lightning just have to be close?  I play the "happy medium" and just turn off the computer during thunderstorms, but the kids don't.  As they say, "we don't turn anything else off, quit being paraniod, Mom!"

What do you folks recommend?

Thanks,

Liz

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

0-O i know somones knows house was hit by lightening and everything was fried XD 5TVs DVD players and other stuff by the computers were fine 0_o they were off i think but its odd that the Computers were fine after 5TVs were completly fried, Anyways when its storming i dont turn off anything untill my power goes off lol.....

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