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Lightning damage w/ photos

Discussion in 'General Satellite Discussion' started by bobukcat, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. bobukcat

    bobukcat Hall Of Fame

    Dec 20, 2005
    We had a pretty good lightning strike near our house the week before Christmas. I wasn't home but my wife was and she said she dove to the floor when it happened it scared her so. I came home to find the following damage: one dead hopper (the fan wouldn't spin up), dead HDMI output from 2nd Hopper, one dead HDMI input on a TV, one dead HDMI input and output on my main AVR, two dead OTA Tuners for the Hoppers and both of my HDMI over Cat5 extenders were toast. All my components are plugged into surge suppressors and it also roasted one of them. Dish was great about replacing my Hoppers and OTA tuners, I worked around the other HDMI damage and replaced the extenders. This past weekend input 3 started failing on the Hoppers so I called the company that did the Dish install (per their request) and these pictures show what the tech found. I have no way of knowing where the lightning actually struck but as you can see it blew two holes in the downspout the cables are tied to. The tech replaced the LNB and Duo Node for good measure as well as the cable. I'm feeling very fortunate there wasn't more damage and that my wife, who was sitting directly on the other side of the exterior wall from this downspout wasn't hurt.

    Attached Files:

  2. Yoda-DBSguy

    Yoda-DBSguy Hall Of Fame

    Nov 4, 2006
    A Galaxy...
    Did your surge protector have cable/sat inputs and outputs? If so; although it won't stop a direct lightningh strike, you should be covered by the manufacturer. Most surge/spike protectors carry an ungodly amount of lifetime coverage (50k-1 million dollars) if your components get damaged due to a surge or spike via electrical, phone, ethernet, cable/sat line etc (depending on the model you purchased).

    I'd look for the receipt and call the manufacturer for any repair reimbursement or replacement necessary. Typ[ically all they need is some sort of documentation that the equipment failed diue to a spike, surge or strike from a repair facility or technician.

    Although it doesn't make much if any differance for your dish equipment (since they probably covered it for free, it should cover the other items you mentioned such as your tv, avr, cat 5 hdmi extender adapters, etc.....
  3. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Sorry to hear about your terrible experience.

    It only takes one of these experiences to teach folks a valuable lesson - lightning strikes can cause damage even when the happen miles away.

    A couple of years ago, there was a home hit by lightning 5 miles away from us. One side affect was a major power fluctuation at multiple power substations, which ultimately fried hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of TV's sat and cable receivers, AVR's, and even garage door openers.

    This was later confirmed by the power company. They indicated there was power-related damage reported by more than 600 customers from that single strike.

    Fortunately, we have power protection on all our valuable electronics in the home, as well as the garage door openers. No damage here whatsoever.

    (6) of our immediate neighbors alone had a total of 14 HDTVs, 4 AVR's, 5 sat/cable DVRs, and 3 garage door openers fried by the power surge created via the lightning strike 5 miles away.

    It's terrible to hear about these cases each year...but hopefully they spawn people being more prepared for the future.
  4. RasputinAXP

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

    Jan 23, 2008
    On our campus in 2001 we had a lightning strike near some of our dorms and lost about 15 or 20 3com switches. It was a freaking nightmare. Hit a tree and jumped all over from there.
  5. Hardin Thicke

    Hardin Thicke AllStar

    Jun 18, 2008
    The majority of damage occurs not from direct lightning strikes, but from a surge coming in from the utility service due to a strike down the road to a pole or to the single static wire that you often see at the very top of the utility lines running from pole to pole. It's there specifically to take the brunt of charge from a strike, but is tied to the same ground your house is connected to. Your picture of the hole in the rain gutter adjacent to the RG-6 is a graphic example of ground being at two different potentials. The shield of your RG-6 is grounded, right? Yet a major spark jumped from the RG-6 shield to the rain gutter which was somehow grounded; perhaps by burial or even laying on the wet lawn. I suspect that when the spike came in on the Neutral line, the service ground in your house was sitting at "normal" ground potential. When there are two different potentials, current flows, and in your case your entire house safety ground wire, the third prong on your outlets, as well as the neutral became a drain for the momentary spike on the service. With several thousand volts on the house wiring (maybe more), there is no "surge protector" which will offer protection. The voltage surge will easily jump across the protection circuitry just as it did from the coax to the rain gutter.

    All homes should have an earth ground rod installed at the service entrance by the meter (Some old homes may not). Unfortunately, one rod isn't nearly sufficient to dissipate a nerby lightning stirike. This is very obvious by the damage to the rain gutter. Unfortunately, that's all that's required by code. Additionally. these ground rods are not subject to inspection and often become loose and corroded. Multiple ground rods, spaced apart the distance of their length would help greatly in dissipating the charge before it enters your house, where one rod would saturate and cause the surge to seek other avenues of disappation, such as the grounded rain gutter. Also, your first line of defense after the service ground rod(s) should be a quality whole house surge arrestor installed at the breaker panel and which protects all possible service entrance combinations. eg. Line to Line, Each Line to Neutral, etc.

    If your dish itself was a victim of a close strike, it's an example of why the dish itself should have been directly earth grounded along with a ground block connector on the RG-6. If the dish has a ground rod(s) separate from the service rod(s), the two locations are required by code to be connected together by a minimum of #4 solid copper wire.. This allows the "Ground" network in and around your home to literally bounce up and back in a near uniform manner. It's not possible to prevent ground from rising above reference level during a lightning strike. But if the entire ground system in and around your home rises and falls simultaneously, minimal current will flow. No current flow, no damage. See "Single Point Ground" for more information. In addition to using this scheme at my home (I do so because I also have two large communication towers in my yard), I have my entire home theater, TV's, PC's, router, switches and DSL modem behind UPS units. This offers another line of defense. As a bonus, if power is suddenly lost, an orderly shutdown of the PC's will occur, and the DVR will remain up for a considerable period of time with no reboot required.

    Finally, if your home is subject to a direct strike, all bets are off. Even the most well thought out protection scheme can fail in the event that happens.
  6. BAHitman

    BAHitman Godfather

    Oct 23, 2007
    Austin Texas
    about 10 years ago, my dad lazily plugged his laptop into an outlet and forgot about it... the surge fried the laptop. the switch it was connected to (on surge protector) all ethernet ports connected to that switch (including the other switches, ruter, cable modem, and 4 of the other PC's lost their ethernet connection as well... from one careless non-surge protected device...
  7. raj2001

    raj2001 Icon/Supporter

    Nov 2, 2002
    I have ham radio towers and equipment in my house. I once had a strike, it was pretty much a direct strike on one of the towers but it shook the house really bad. Only fried one thing which was the computer interface port on one of my ham radios. I have an extensive grounding system with about 40 ground rods and a ring around the house.

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