Lightning Strikes

Unfortunately for many in the Hunter valley there have been many quite severe storms, most including lightning. Lightning had knocked out power to some parts of the valley, but it also is often the cause of damage to electronics when they cause power surges.

Usually in storms I try to play it safe by powering down and switching off (or unplugging) at the wall anything that could be damaged and I can do without. This for me usually means doing this for my computers, TV and anything else I’m not using. Stuff like my ADSL modem I normally leave on so I can use my tablet or laptop on the WLAN.

Unfortunately my ADSL modem is exactly what got hit in a lightning strike recently. I have all my sensitive electronics connected to surge protectors so some may find it surprising anything got damaged, but there are good reasons something like this can happen.

Surge protectors are great for protecting your equipment, but they aren’t perfect. For starters they all have a limited amount of energy that they can absorb, anything more and a surge will still get through destroying the protection circuit in the process. In my case today I don’t think the surge came from the mains power supply. Other devices on the same power board didn’t fail, and most of my modem still functions.

I thought the surge may have come from the phone line, but I’m unsure because of the damage caused. Basically any ethernet ports that were connected to the modem have been damaged and no longer function. This includes the ports on the modem. In total two ports on the modem, an ethernet card and a port on my switch have failed.

Luckily I have some spare network cards to replace the broken one, and my switch and modem work well enough to continue using until I can replace them. In the future I may have to also disconnect ethernet cables.

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