Your system struck by lightning? What did you learn?


I'm really curious to learn from anyone who has suffered a lightning strike.  Did you use surge suppression? What survived? What did not? Were your neighbors worse or better off?

Anyone pay for the electrical service's monthly surge suppression in the meter?
erik_squires
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Unplug during storms.
I have whole house surge protection and my power conditioners have surge protection, however when we get real bad storms with lots of lightning I unplug my 2 systems
Synology HD.  PIA, it has the OPSYS on it.  Put it on a sacrificial. Good enough.
I had a ground-fault catastrophe.  It destroyed every SS piece of equipment that was hooked up (two cd-players, a sub ... [along with the oven fan; the coax cable for internet melted]).  Tube equipment SEEMED unaffected, but a blown capacitor showed up later in the summer in one of my amps--I assume that's what caused it.    I also had a lightning strike years ago that took out my VHS (not anything in my sound system).   What struck me as odd is in neither case did a circuit breaker blow; and in none of the burnt out equipment did the fuses blow.  Maybe someone w/ more expertise than I have can explain why not? (I didn't really expect a tiny fuse would stop a lightning bolt that had already travelled five miles to my house, but I wouldn't have expected it to survive either.)

Yes; have been stuck twice and had power surges/dips from heck (those can fry electronics too). 

Whole house surge protection is in. Inexpensive to do all things considered. 

Robust power conditioner in use.

Unplugging when away or when thunder is around is standard procedure around here. 


What struck me as odd is in neither case did a circuit breaker blow; and in none of the burnt out equipment did the fuses blow. Maybe someone w/ more expertise than I have can explain why not?

Speed, and current. You can fry solid state equipment with microamps. Just have to have the high voltage there for a microsecond, and poof.

The fuses and circuit breakers never have time to respond.

Fuses don't respond to voltage. 

To give you an idea, I used to work in a place that assembled solid state audio gear, most of it op amp based, and a certain manufacturer's parts, perhaps Fairchild?  (1980's)  was super susceptible to static during assembly.  The little zap that a human could apply, sometimes unnoticeable, was not enough to harm the technician, anymore than say rubbing your shoes across carpet and zapping an unsuspecting family member.

The fuses however don't go until there's enough current to melt the metal inside them.
@jdane 

Your situation reminds me of lightning strike incedents I had. 

1. My Levinson no.39 CDP was damaged while connected to a satellite decoder by SPdif coax cable, to play the digital music channel stations. Very expensive repair required upgrade to a no.390S.

2. My 'extra view" decoder connected to main decoder for' heart-beat' by coax, was blown, though not the main decoder. But Levinson no.36 DAC connected to DVD player by RCA cables for sound and RGB cable for picture was damaged, though not the TV conneted by HDMI Cable to the decoder and neither the DVD player!

3. My 'extra view' decoder blown again connected by coax cable to LNB on satellite dish (one coax goes to satellite dish and one goes to the main decoder for 'heart-beat' transmission). This time the LNB on the satellite dish got blown, the decoder digital HDMI Cable output got blown, the TV HDMI Cable input no. 1 got blown, the BluRay player conncted by HDMI Cable cable to TV blown. 

All this to me clearly indicates, that by very close lightning strikes, the strong magnetic field created, lifts the ground in the cable shielding for split seconds by so much voltage, that practically all equipment connected by coaxial as well as HDMI Cable will be affected and at least partially damaged. 
The connected BluRay player is a total 60-70 meters! away from the damaged satellite dish LNB, and the lifted ground connection still destroyed the HDMI Cable connected side of the player. 
Though it now still can play CDs via optical TOSLINK feeding into my Levison DAC! 

I'm not sure at all, if I had disconnected the decoder power supply, which is a 'wall-wart' 12 Volt power supply, connected to the 220 Volt house supply, would have prevented these recuring disasters.?!? 😕😭🙄
The lightning strike will tell, as now I disconnect the power to the decoder, when ever we have thunderstorms in the offing. 

None of these issues so far ever have been caused by the power mains 220Volt supply, as there seems a pretty go lightning protection provided by the municipal power supply.
This, during lighting, often causes intermediate power drips followed by pretty fast power resets. 
Sorry for the long winded story 🙏
Michélle 🇿🇦 
Lightning hit gutter and roof. Big flash and a bang. Smelled burning. Called fire dept. Lost $2600 refrigerator, modem and router, coffee maker, clock radio, a few LED bulbs and 2 breakers. A fuse blew in phono preamp. No other damage. No whole-house surge protectors. 
After losing a couple of satellite receivers in a row after mere wind storms,
I definitely recommend that all outdoor antennas be surge protected. 
Satellite receivers can blow from static discharge of air blowing across reflector.

These devices are hard to guard properly.  You need a surge/grounding block on the outside, plus a ground isolator on the inside, which has to have power, since you also block DC. The external house ground often causes ground loops internally, which is why I think installers don't bother.
CMOS chips were very susceptible to static, since even small amount of momentary current (in order of 30mA) could create a "Latch-up" where totem pole output (NMOS+PMOS) would become SCR-like structure.  Latch-up would draw current and temperature would eventually kill the chip (matter of minute).   Todays MOS ICs are designed with greater immunity to latch-up, but my first instinct when something is not responding after static zap, would be to turn the power off (to "un-latch").

I have whole house surge protector and good non-sacrificial protection in my Furman Elite 20PFi, but I still unplug during storms or when going on vacation.  There is no protection that can stop direct lightning hit - up to 100 megavolts and up to 30 kiloamperes (according to Wikipedia).
Wasn't struck by lightning, but a raccoon shorted out the incoming power to 220 volts.  The lights flickered and I immediately ran to shut off the house's main breaker.  Went back to the living room and smelled that something in the system fried.  Turned out it was the Monster Power Center I had many other things plugged into.  I got lucky because that was the only thing that was affected.  I bought a better model to replace the one that fried.
Hi Eric, We live on the side of a hill. 10 years age we were struck by lightening at 7:30 PM. I was walking down the stair when I heard a loud SNAP. The lights blinked. In that instant we lost both garage door operators, the telephones, the burglar alarm, the computers and both my Preamplifiers. Both were perpetually on. I went up into the attic and there was no sign of anything. The next day I went outside to find fragments of shingles on the ground out back and looking up on the very ridge of the roof about 10 shingles were standing straight up as if they were at attention. It cost the insurance company $16,000. I had replacement value insurance so I made out like a bandit. The Krell preamp was the most expensive single unit and was out of production. It had a scratchy volume pot that could not be replaced and Dan D'Agostino had no intention to fix it. It was a custom pot that was out of stock. He told me to get a pot from Radio Shack and mount it on top! I am absolutely not kidding! Got my first TacT unit and never looked back.
Sometimes nature looks after you:-)
It had a scratchy volume pot that could not be replaced and Dan D'Agostino
had no intention to fix it. It was a custom pot that was out of stock. He told me to get a pot from Radio Shack and mount it on top! I am absolutely not kidding!

That is the funniest thing I've read all year, thanks @mijostyn !
Not surprised. Anyone who puts their signature on a monster dial is not to be trusted.
When you get struck by lightning everything is TOAST.
Not everything. The amplifiers did fine. ESLs don't seem to care either.
I asked the insurance guy if there was anything I could do to prevent it and he said "pray." I do have a whole house surge protector now but I have no idea if it will work. I'll let everyone know the next time I get hit.
I am moving to a lightning prone area this month.  My electric service provider does not offer in-meter surge protection like some do, but I will be adding it to my service panel, and using Furman's near my gear.

Best,

E
@erik_squires  - So you're actually doing it, eh? Where did you decide to go?
Near the water between Savannah and Charleston.
I lived in Alabama for five years and they certainly have whopping thunder storms down there but, I didn't get hit until I moved to New Hampshire:-(
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just unplug when there is a storm brewing and if your going to be gone for days. my friend back in the 70's was sitting listening to music and his tv/fm antenna was struck and it took out his Pioneer turntable, Marantz receiver and Norman speakers

just unplug when there is a storm brewing and if your going to be gone for days. my friend back in the 70's was sitting listening to music and his tv/fm antenna was struck and it took out his Pioneer turntable, Marantz receiver and Norman speakers

Which is great if you know the event is coming, but what do you do about all your other appliances?

The combination of small surges that damage over time plus major appliance damage make whole house protection worthwhile.
I was struck twice by lightning twice in Vietnam as an Army Pathfinder  about 100 feet up a giant banyan tree  puting up radio antennas to tell incoming  Huey's if a
landing field was hot or not .
Good thing I always kept my hand on the wire I put  6 ft of   the antenna ground in .

Nothing like being grounded Shubert. 
When linesmen work on high tension lines, they don't attach themselves to the ground, they bond themselves to the high tension line!

Scary as f**** to me, but the physics is real.

Best,

E
@schubert, a genuine, heart felt thank you. 

This is a scary thread, but a wake-up call neverthless.

Has anyone here living in dense residential areas (think Boston, Chicago, New York, and such) had bad lightning experience?
Good thread.  You want to learn from others, not have it happen to you!  I decided to get serious about surge protection after a friend got hit by lightning and lost a bunch of gear.  It took a long time to sort out all the problems at their house.  We get a lot of lightning in our area.

So I got type II whole home surge protection installed on the main panel with a Siemens FS140 Pro.  Installed another Siemens on the subpanel feeding the stereo. The stereo is on Furman Elite gear.  Installed another type II on the subpanel feeding the theater.  The theater is on Zero Surge gear.  All the computers, network, and smaller listening set-ups are on Furman PST.

In a heavy storm, the best protection is to unplug.  Since the theater subpanel is dedicated, that is pretty easy just to flip the whole subpanel breaker instead of unplugging gear (there are 9 total circuits).  The theater has three separate dedicated lines, so those breakers can be flipped too for quick disconnect.  I assume this is a good strategy to flip the breakers?

I still worry about coax as a weak point in my protection. There are two feeds:
- I have an antenna in the attic. The coax line goes through its own Furman PST, then feeds into the SiliconDust HD HomeRun Connect TV Tuner (on a separate Furman PST), which then feeds ethernet to my network (through a CyberMax battery back-up surge protector).  I am considering putting the TV Tuner directly next to the antenna, then plugging that into an access point that has a wireless instead of ethernet backhaul to my network.  That way there wouldn't be a coax or ethernet connection, just the devices power on the Furman PST.  I could unplug the power in a storm and not have to worry about any coax/ethernet connections to the rest of my system.
- Cable internet. I tried running the cable coax through the CyberMax coax and ended up with connectivity issues.  Tried through Furman coax and had worse connectivity issues.  Seems Comcast/Xfinity really wants the coax plugged directly into the modem... Frustrating.  This is definitely a weak point, though at least it is all underground wiring.  And I run the modem's ethernet output through a CyberMax battery back-up surge protector.  And all the network gear power is plugged into the CyberMax which is plugged into a Furman PST.  I am not sure how to improve this.

I luckily don't have phone or satellite to worry about.