View Full Version : Lightning does it again

26-07-2004, 15:38:17
Man, it sucks living in an "Old" neighborhood.

We had a nice squall come through on Sunday. There was a lightning hit that apparently fried out the phones along my street, fried out a few electrical devices, and cooked my ethernet connection on my laptop. Now, I'm going to have to use one of those laptop cards to connect to my cable modem. Amazingly enough, the cable modem is alright (last time stuff fried similarly, the cable modem's down link died).

The fun thing is that I have a couple of different laptop ethernet cards... but neither one has drivers for Windows XP. Too old. Putting them on the laptop, it states it HAS to go out to the internet to find the drivers so it can access the internet. Back to the old "Error: No Keyboard Found. Press any key to continue...".

Fun fun fun.

I'd rather it was my cable modem that had fried. Easier to replace. Pretty soon, I'm going to have to bite the bullet, spend several hours copying off the HD in the laptop, and go see if Circuit City will honor their TAP service contract these days. If they do, it will be "re" install applications for a few weeks. Bleah.

27-07-2004, 12:27:08
Isn't there some kind of surge suppressor you could use to prevent that? That's got to be better than your current fry and replace method.

My folks live in a rural area - their surge suppressor gets fried once or twice a year, but the computer never suffers. they lost a phone once too - but it wasn't run through a suppressor at the time.

27-07-2004, 12:42:33
The good suppressors will handle most, but NOTHING will protect you from a direct hit. If there are big storms in the area I unplug my computer and modem connection

27-07-2004, 14:53:28
Is there any particular reason you can't just go buy a new ethernet card? They practically give them away.

27-07-2004, 15:47:33
He said laptop$$$. Usually integrated into the motherboard$$$$ or a pcmcia card$$

The Mad Monk
27-07-2004, 15:49:28
Tie overhand knots in all your cables -- especially power cables.

27-07-2004, 19:21:08
Originally posted by zmama
He said laptop$$$. Usually integrated into the motherboard$$$$ or a pcmcia card$$

Don't get all fancy with me. He said he already had a couple, but they were just too old. Was it a sin to assume they weren't integrated? :hmm: :cry: :beer: :shoot: :smoke:

27-07-2004, 19:35:27
But a 'puter jeenyus like you shoulda known ;)

27-07-2004, 19:53:34
Actually, it was on surge protectors.

The phone line is ran through 3 surge protectors. Most strikes, I lose the outermost one. Strong strikes, I lose them all. This time, I didn't lose a single one, but the phone itself was fried out. Go figure.

The laptop is okay. Other then losing it's built in ethernet port. Well, I haven't tried the built-in modem or firewire that are part of the block, so they may have been fried as well (but I only use the phone when my broadband is down, and never used firewire so no loss there). My phone service is yet to be restored to my address, although the telephone company is hoping to get to us by end of servicing time (4 pm) today.

Lightning is just too weird. There's a surge protector between the outside world and my cable modem. And that surge protector is fine (no blown fuses).

The squall itself was a minor issue. For strong storms, I'll unplug my computer (and phone). For minor pop-ups that only rumble a few times, I generally don't bother. To really protect against lightning damage where I live, I'd have to leave the computer unplugged from January through November, and I'm just too damn lazy to keep plugging it back up to use it for a few hours, and then unplug it. So, replacing 2 to 6 surge protectors a year is just a normal price of protecting my electric devices.

A PCMCIA Ethernet card isn't going to break my bank account. Although I do worry about heat buildup. When I was using a Wi-Fi card so I could move my laptop around the house without running cable, I'd get about 2 hours of Wi-Fi card usage before the machine over-heated. I haven't had that problem with other PCMCIA cards (including heavy spin usage on my 5 Gig HD PCMCIA). So I guess I'll have to cross my fingers and see how things work out.

Anyways, this was really just a venting/amazement thread. I'm always amazed when a lightning hit fries out stufff in the middle of the line, but doesn't touch stuff further or closer. It's definately serious chaos. :D

The Mad Monk
27-07-2004, 20:33:47
I'm serious about the overhand knots.

Something about the surge doubling back on itself causing a magnetic flux that stops it cold.

I still have the book that mentioned it...somewhere.

27-07-2004, 21:16:30
I've only heard that as a tech myth. I prefer not to "knot" cords on purpose. Although, if there is any real basis to it...

27-07-2004, 22:12:41
I have a Netgear MA111 USB 802.11b adapter, and it gets warm after extended use, but seems to handle it well enough. The one thing it doesn't like is frequent plugging and unplugging. But with the device hanging outside the machine, maybe it would be less of a heat problem.

28-07-2004, 08:34:39
there's a difference between 'warm' and 'lighting strike' I think.

Scabrous Birdseed
28-07-2004, 08:48:07
Have Americans heard of "lightning rods"?

The Mad Monk
28-07-2004, 08:50:58
Do Swedes understand the limitations of "lightning rods"?

28-07-2004, 09:57:06
Do "lightning rods" care what Americans or Swedes think about them?

Resource Consumer
28-07-2004, 10:28:06
Who is Lightning Rod?

28-07-2004, 17:14:48
I don't see how a pickup truck would help, but you never know with those Swedes:


28-07-2004, 18:20:24

Turns out my laptop's ethernet is fine. It's the cable modem downlink that's fried. Which is the same as before.

I picked up a DLink PCMCIA Ethernet card for $29.99 at Best Buy. Took it home, called up my ISP to have them swap my authorized MAC address to its MAC. Installed the sucker. Rebooted modem and laptop a couple of times... and nothing. Swapped out ethernet cables (just in case it was the cable), rebooted modem and laptop... and still nothing. Got a bit ticked off at wasting time and at the ISP, so I broke out my "How to trouble shoot ethernet problems" notes from when I used to do hardware and hardware support, and went digging.

10 minutes later, I've ascertained that both the new PCMCIA ethernet card is good and my laptop's onboard ethernet port is good, I'm really swearing at my ISP. Their troubleshooting instructions will ALWAYS determine that the problem is "Your computer's ethernet". Bastards. Well, I shouldn't be surprised. In the majority of cases, they own the modem, and they don't want to waste their money replacing perfectly good equipment, after all.

So, it will be off to Best Buy to get yet another cable modem. I am averaging 1 new cable modem every 18 months now. Still cheaper then renting from the ISP though!

28-07-2004, 18:27:25
On lightning rods...

Installing a lightning rod on my house wouldn't do any good for the strikes that occur 1/4 mile away, and fry the telephone, cable, and electrical circuits of the neighbor... and whatever is plugged into those circuits.

It's an OLD neighborhood. It doesn't have adequate lightning bridges like new neighborhoods have. I need to move if I want it to take a strike withing 100 feet of my house to fry the circuits. I just hate moving. It's still cheaper to replace the surge protectors and the odd electric device then to find a new place and move. Plus, my home's location is very convenient for the city I live in. Quick and easy access to everything in town... which is saying something for a town designed on the same motto as Texas or LA...

29-07-2004, 08:37:42
Lookie! I'm posting from home! :D

Replacing the cable modem was all it took. The new modem is an updated version of the old one... and they've totally rearranged the LEDs on the the thing, so I'm totally lost over the "idiot" info it's trying to display now. Oh well. ;)

No longer Trippin
31-07-2004, 05:32:03
The knot idea is a myth sadly. Tie ten knots on a cable, test it. Compare it to the test before. The impedence will be the same or so very near it that you'll see it is unjustifiable. Read an article a long while back that explains several major reasons why it doesn't work despite the fact that it looks like it easily should. Written by someone who knew a damned lot about electricity, that's for sure. I need my cable length anyhow.

DS: LA? If you mean down here, which motto? Build everything in the middle of nowhere so it is somewhere. Run the streets in every screwed up way, and place the one ways at the worst spots generally in the wrong direction to. Time the red lights to the green lights for ultimate traffic jam effectiveness. Build the road, just not the accessways. Or It's a pothole, not a pond.

We have quite a few. I only know texas sprawls the hell out which causes traffic nightmares... it happens down here becaues of horrible layout. Horrible horrible layout.

31-07-2004, 07:14:29
LA meant Los Angeles... sprawl, sprawl, and more sprawl. That's the motto here. Land being cheap and all... ;)

No longer Trippin
01-08-2004, 08:45:09
Land is cheap here as well. Money to grease local politicians and the Corp to allow you to drain the 1-2 feet of seasonal water from your land isn't as it is a fucking wildlife refugue (in the middle of the damned city, yeah, I'm sure there are plenty of species worthwhile in a glorified puddle :rolleyes: ).

02-08-2004, 05:03:09
Well, we don't have to drain most of the land here abouts. Just dodge the occasional tornado. ;)

No longer Trippin
02-08-2004, 08:49:00
We have those as well. :) Though only in a very small area other than when a hurrcane comes through and whips some up. It's rather odd really as the area isn't much bigger than the town it hits. It's either the town or near it, no other places have that problem. That one area is hit yearly and every year new idiots from the city moving to the suburbs (well past that IMO by far) build it right back up and it gets blow down again. Idiots.

02-08-2004, 22:29:04
Sounds like a good area to go stalking tornadoes, then. If its yearly and the same area. Get a couple of doppler trucks down there to gather more data and whatnot. ;)

No longer Trippin
03-08-2004, 05:34:26
Not anymore. I haven't heard of one in probably 3 to 5 years minus a hurricane perhaps. That's also about the time that it started being hot as all hell for longer than usual and what little bit of "winter" we had hasn't shown back up since. The upside to global warming while being 7 feet below sea level? :)

03-08-2004, 19:23:53
Humm... well, the latest science says that Global Warning has zero to do with Man... it's purely a function of energy recieved from our Sun... which has been heating up.

The Radical Greenies claim it's purely Man putting up nasty GH gases, but all serious measurements to date show that there would be more GH gases being put into the atmosphere if we weren't here. How about that?

Whats that tell us? No one has a clue about what's really going on, as usual. ;)

Try not to drown. Should we send you a life preserver for your birthday? Or just another inflatable love doll, I mean, personal skiff? ;)

No longer Trippin
04-08-2004, 04:19:37
Science, for all it cost, it doesn't tell us shit, yet everyone advocates spending more money. Well if 20 million got nothing, I'm guessing another 20 million will produce the same results.

LOL. No thanks DS, I'm on the 5th floor. Besides, I'm sure you need to by yourself another one after the last tornado took "her" away. :)

04-08-2004, 16:51:02
Just to get in on a thread I know next to nothing about.

I was under the impression that these problems were a solely US thing. Never had surge problems here or any stuff like that. OK a major problem (or union strike :)) can take the whole power supply out, but that's it.

Never could understand who it was that paid good money for those surge protected mains distribution boxes.

Now maybe it's the area I've just move into, but the lightning storm we had recently, momentarily took out the mains ! Off, then on again in less than a second. No frying problem, but it restarted the PC and lost me all I'd just spent ages composing :(.

So I'm still unsure of the surge stuff, but I may think about a cheap UPS if that occurs again. Damn incompetant electric companies, unable to supply the juice consistently such that one has to cover for them.

OK you can carry on now :)

04-08-2004, 16:52:59
If the sun is causing us problems by heating up, shouldn't we be trying to compensate, rather than adding to the problem and encouraging a run-away scenario ?

04-08-2004, 21:01:54
Trip, who are you kidding? I'm holding out for the Sony Loving Gamer's Companion model! Should be out around 2012. ;)

Gary, power surges from lightning hits can happen anywhere. Just areas that see more storms tend to have more trouble with them. Gee, I wonder why? ;)

And as for Global Warming/Cooling... the problem is that no one really has even an inkling of a clue. The reason is that there is just so many variables, and the Sun-Earth system is so large, that it is beyond possible to model it even simplicit realistically for more then a few days. So projections into what things will be like in 10 years or 50 years or 1000 years are just out of the question. And even a good Sun-Earth system would still be too simple to stay realistic, as the other planets in our star system effect our weather (by effecting our orbit), as do our neighboring stars. Although its relatively easy to model their gravitional effects on Earth's orbit, it's never done to keep the model "simple" until they get the model down enough that they feel confortable with adding those back in to "fine tune" the model.