Lightening strike neaby -- some damage

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We had a near lightening strike that sent a surge though the power lines. Not sure where the hit was, but I did have some damage.
My wife called me at work after a thunderstorm and said she saw a big red ball in the driveway and then some of the lights went out. The doorbell rang and would not stop ringing. I told her to take a wire off the chimes and they stopped, but a breaker was tripped and would not reset. The bell button has a diode in it and that may have taken the hit.
When I got home, I took the two wires off of the breaker and it still did not reset so I replaced the breaker. One of the circuits was OK, the other had a short and tripped the breaker. Since it was not getting dark and it was still raining, the hunt would wait a day. Next day, I went out to the (detached) garage and found an X-10 module I use to control an outdoor light was blown apart and burnt. The plastic cover was gone, the insides were soot covered. I'm wondering if the jolt came in that way or out, it was the furthest away from the electric panel.
I'm going to replace the receptacle it was plugged into also. I've not pulled that out yet, but I'm not taking any chances. Once replaced. I'll hook the wire back to the breaker.
Losses were: HD TV, Surround sound receiver, X-10 module, computer router, doorbell.
The good news is: I now have a 47" TV with far better picture than my 5 year old 32" and a better sound system. More stuff is on surge protectors too.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote: ...

Out of curiousity, is there a lightning arrester on service entrance? They can help before get to the individual protectors.
In TN some years ago, took nearly everything in the house behind a friends including dislodging about half of the brick veneer off rear of two-story mini-McMansion...it's pretty amazing what it can do, indeed.
--
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dpb wrote:

Good idea in high risk areas particularly.

The brick must have been a direct strike to the house. That will teach them to build a McMansion.... Protection requires lightning rods (now called air terminals).
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Initial cost is about $150, then a $6 monthly charge. Over the years I'm still ahead, but. . . . .
OTOH, I'd not have a new big screen TV for a while without the lightening.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Huh???
Sounds like some type of contract scam. Just buy and install the ~$75 suppresser and be done with it. I have a Square D "SurgeBreaker" in my QO panel, I believe it cost $60 or so.
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wrote:

What's the $6 charge for?
Good a time as any to ask if this is what I want when I get around to it- http://www.apelectric.com/Intermatic-IG1240RC-1-phase-surge-protector-p/ig1240rc.htm
5yr warranty- 400Amp or less panel- $10,000 warranty $149 delivered

There's your silver lining- I think I'll put it off until something gets my 10yr old TV.<g>
Jim
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Profit for the electric company as far as I can see.

http://www.apelectric.com/Intermatic-IG1240RC-1-phase-surge-protector-p/ig1240rc.htm
That looks reasonable.
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why is there a monthly charge? are they insuring it and your household goods?
BTW,you also can get strikes entering your house thru the phone/data and cable lines. those need surge protection too.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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I've got all my electronic stuff on surge protectors and APC's. Don't like the idea of a whole house protector as I've seen them get knocked out and then you are at the mercy of getting in an electrician. Also power company is reticent to take any blame even when it is their fault because they saved money in tree trimming. And, with a $500 insurance deductible plus value proration, insurance company is a PITA too.
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I know they don't work well enough every time but . I had my whole house lightning protectors blown out of there box, nothing else was harmed. I hate to think of the damage that would have been done if I hadn't had them
Jimmie
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Like the smaller point of use surge protectors can't also be overcome by a surge? I'd rather have the first line of defense be a 50K amp capable one than a much smaller rated strip type protector. They are good as a second line of defense and to keep all wires clamped to the same level, ie AC, cable TV, phone, etc. But they are no match for a big one at the panel.

The same thing still applies if you have a plug-in surge protector or APC. Almost all these companies are not very good at paying out claims.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

In a post to harry I commented on 2 papers from Francois Martzloff, who was the surge expert at the US-NIST. The "big one" is 10,000A coming in on service wires. There simply is no reasonable probability of a larger surge. It is based on a 100,000A strike to a utility pole behind a house.
With that 10,000A surge and no service panel suppressor Martzloff looked at the energy dissipation at a MOV on branch circuits of 30 ft and longer. The maximum was 35 Joules. In 13 of 15 cases it was 1 Joule or less. That is well within the ratings of plug-in suppressors I have seen.
As I wrote in the post to harry, the reason for the small energy is that at about 6kV there is arc-over from hot bus to enclosure. After the arc is established the voltage is in the hundreds of volts. That dumps most of the energy to earth. And the second reason is that surge currents are relatively high frequency and the impedance of the branch circuit greatly limits the current that can reach a plug-in suppressor.
Surprisingly, the largest energy dissipation at the MOV was not even from the "big one". It was for surge currents below 5,000A. That was because the MOV at the end of the branch circuit clamps the voltage at the source and prevented arc-over at the source. Higher surge currents drove the voltage at the source to arc-over, which resulted in very low energy dissipation at the MOV.
So plug-in suppressors take a much smaller hit that one would expect. With very short branch circuits the hit may be larger, but suppressors with very high ratings are readily available for not a lot of money. One of the plug-in suppressors I am using is a major brand and cost about $25. It has ratings of 590J and 30,000A per MOV, 1770J and 90,000A total. The rating of 30,000A is higher than the current that can occur at the service - there is no possibility of that much current at the suppressor. The rating just goes along with the high energy ratings. The suppressor has a connected equipment warranty - the manufacturer doesn't think there is much probability of failure.
I think plug-in suppressors are quite likely to survive the "big one". But I certainly agree that a service panel suppressor is a real good idea, particularly where there is significant risk.
Martzloff has also written "in fact, the major cause of [surge suppressor] failures is a temporary overvoltage, rather than an unusually large surge". TOV is, for instance, a distribution wire dropping onto the wires that go to your house. (Someone here (Nate?) had that happen to them.)
And in the NIST guide Martzloff suggests that most equipment damage is likely caused by high voltage between power and phone or cable wires, a problem not solved by a service panel suppressor.
--
bud--

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bud-- wrote:

I've probably repaired 50 or so pinball machines that the symptom is after the lightning, it blows the breaker. The MOV is melted together. Most of the machines had no further damage. I forget the joules but radio shack had little ones and big ones. The equipment usually had the smaller ones but I only carried the larger ones for replacement. Some of the newer machines have the main fuse before the MOV, where it should be! Then there were others that didn't realize the breaker was tripped and after resetting it, the machine came to life. Many times the MOV was blown in half, and still there was no more damage. I'm talking some pretty sensitive electronics too. Probably a lot more sophisticated than most people think.
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Tony wrote:

Normal failure mode for a MOV is to start conducting at lower voltages until it conducts on normal voltage and goes into thermal runaway and essentially shorts.
I used to have a homemade plug-in surge suppressor made with MOVs. I retired it because it didn't have good protection from failing MOVs. Since 1998, UL has required thermal disconnects for failing MOVs in UL1449 listed surge suppressors.
For a pinball machine I would want a fuse upstream from the MOV and electronics (like you said). If the MOV fails the fuse blows (if properly designed), the machine is disconnected, and you can't just reset a breaker.
--
bud--

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Wise to have surge protectors.
where do you live? I'm in central Florida,the lightning capital of the US. We've had a couple of heavy storms the last two days,lightning was pretty bad.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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.NE corner of CT. Not extreme, but we've had a few hits nearby over the years.
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Michael Jackson may have had a lightening strike, you had a lightning strike.
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Michael Jackson may have had a lightening strike, you had a lightning strike. *********************************** Right, and he had more damage. I knew that did not look right after I hit send.
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== The extreme explosive sound when lightning struck my house six years ago was something to experience. The base of my cordless phone was destroyed, a surge protector in the computer room was destroyed (the computer was okay except for the modem), a small surge protected plug tap was damaged and the sparks blew out of for a foot or so and the smell of burnt bakelite or whatever it was made of permeated the kitchen. Other than that, everything else was okay although later on that summer the transformer on the service pole started to smoke and short out and had to be replaced so it most likely was damaged from the same storm. ==
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Ed I suggest that you check your grounding electrode system. Make sure that your clamps are tight as well as the panel connections. If you don't have a ground rod, get one or two installed.
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