Electrical Question

I normally disconnect my power cords from the wall on my amps when not home or not using. I now have a amp where access to the outlet is not easily accessable. I assume the local amp on/off switch will protect from power surges etc., but what about lightning strikes ? . Will the on/off switch protect the amp ? . Can lightning "jump" the switch and cause damage ? ...... I do not like to use power conditioners/surge protectors with my amps....
I would think it would be OK. If you have a dedicated line, you could always shut the power off at the breaker when you are away.

I have only had minor lightning damage once; and it came in through the outside antenna wire and damaged the RF section of a FM tuner. Was repairable..

It also is possible to get surge protection for the whole house. Talk to your electric company.
As far as I know the only way you are 100% sure that you will be OK is pulling all plugs from the wall. As Sugar has advised look into getting the main box protected as an all encompassing solution.
Lightning strikes are probably less frequent than localized transformer problems on your local power poles transformers.

I tree once hit a pole in my neighborhood. It destroyed the services at several houses and fried many gadgets(computers, etc.)

The person who owned the tree paid for all of the damage through her insurance.
Ask Lee Trevino. If lightning can strike a tree and then jump or arch to the person standing several feet away, it should be pretty safe to assume a lightning strike can easily jump the switch inside the amp and cause serious damage or explosion.

Kinda' funny, I saw a picture recently of a mattress torn apart and charred because lightning went thru the roof, attic, ceiling straight down to the mattress where nobody was sleeping. It looked like a grenade exploded inside the mattress. I guess nothing is safe when it comes to lightning as it always depends on it's intensity.

Some electrical companies offer as an option a whole-house surge protection mechanism. These may or may not work, but if you have one and your things are damaged by lightning, they typically reimburse for $10k to $20k of the damages.

Kinda' like an insurance policy and I do not believe these protectors affect sonics. I had one installed 4 years ago for $5 per month.

A few years back I was working with somebody whose house was on a hilltop. His chimney was struck by lighting and exploded. Half of the appliances and electronics in his house needed to be replaced as a result. He had the whole-house surge protector installed. And the electrical company reimbursed him for all damages.

So at least we know the insurance part of the whole-house surge protection system works.

Check out the www.brickwall.com website. These guys are very helpful.
A 75 foot blue spruce tree 50 feet from my house was struck The tree exploded!

Electricity came under the ground, throwing 100 pound stones of a wall 50 feet, and broke the corner of the house foundation. Every fuse in the house was blown, but not a single breaker opened. TVs, VCRs, Microwave, computer surge protector, TV cable distribution amp, computer modem card and refrigerator control panel were blown. There was no damage to the fuse-protected audio gear, but my FM tuner station memory was scambled, and had to be reprogrammed!

Insurance bought new of everything.

Switches have NO effect on lightning surges. At one time (before the power company updated their equipment) all our lights would flicker, and sometimes the bulbs would blow during lightning storms.
Forget about surge protectors if lightening strikes between the pole line transformer and the wiring to your house! David Blair (Custom Power Cord) told me of a revealing experience. He had a piece of gear plugged into the power outlet, but the internal fuses were removed. The next morning, after a violent electrical storm, he found that lightening had hit something nearby. The piece of gear WAS FRIED; the lightening surge had jumped the gap between the two sides of the EMPTY fuse holders. If there is lightening activity in your area, UNPLUG YOUR EQUIPMENT. I will unplug my gear when the strikes approach one mile away (5 second delay between the flash and thunder).
Lightning can come in through the hot, neutral or ground lines of your AC. As such, pulling the breaker open will not negate your potential for lightning damage. Unplugging from the walls will. This is not to say that you would be covered 100% though, as you could still suffer problems from the EM field of a very near lightning strike.

As a side note, electricity will flow to wherever it can. Just because you pull a fuse on the hot side of the circuit ( opening the circuit ) doesn't mean that the voltage surge won't flow in through the ground or neutral and try to complete the circuit. In many cases, it is not the high voltage passing through the component that does the damage, it is the sudden collapse of the field as the voltage is removed from the circuit. Sean

PS... If there is enough voltage / current to arc from a few miles in the sky down to Earth level, what is a few more feet, inches or millimeters across a fuse, breaker or disconnected wire ???