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  1. #1
    Joined
    Dec 2004
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    New Zealand
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    138

    Exclamation Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    Hi all - Something I never expected would ever happen to me happened this past weekend. Lightning struck our house and crispy fried my computer and modem! Luckily everything is covered by insurance and all I needed to replace was the motherboard, power supply and the modem. I had only just upgraded the week before too! I have surge protection but obviously it wasnt sufficient protection from taking a direct hit by a lightening bolt. There was a massive loud BANG and a bright flash in my room and I swear I felt a thump in my chest (probably the shockwave or something). All of our paintings on the wall were tilted after the impact!

    Moral of the story is: ALWAYS turn off and unplug your PC during a thunderstorm, it just aint worth it!

    Anyways, on to my question. The service technician who evaluated the component damage for the insurance claim determined the CPU, Video Card, RAM, sound card were all fine and in working order. My question is, even though these components are working fine now, could the lightning strike have degraded their lifespan or would they have just stopped working all together had they been affected?
    Last edited by mr_zen256; 07-23-2007 at 09:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Joined
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    Tampa, FL
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    50
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    Exclamation Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    No idea, but as I live in the lightning capital of the US I will be more diligent in turning my computer off during a storm. Thanks for the reminder and hope you get your computer running efficiently soon. So, all your data is fine on your hard drives?
    Skaarj-laptop:Asus G750JW-NH71,Win8.1,Corei7-4700HQ,12GB DDR3 RAM,Nvidia GTX 765M 2GB,Realtek HD,TSST CDDVDW SN-208DN,WDC 750GB HD...
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  3. #3
    Joined
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    New Zealand
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    138

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    At first glance all of the data appears to be intact. I'm going to run a few stress tests and see how the computer holds up. I put the computer back together again last night, ran 3dmark and it scored around the same level as before the strike. I havent done a full hard drive diagnostic yet but I will do that when I get home from work. All in all I think I came out of it pretty lucky considering the damage could have been a lot worse!

  4. #4
    Joined
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    mtl,canada
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    36
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    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    hmm....i got nice protection and live in a building so....well if it strieks directly nothing can withstand it lol. good your other paerts are still ok. i wouldnt trust them tough

    add a couple 120mm fans overhead to drop temps by 10+ celsiusD.S.C-12(2)-disclaimer : whatever u do with your hardware/software is your
    responsibility, which i dont hold if u break anything

    GRAB here OcBible v1.55 and Guidemania v1.21
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  5. #5
    Joined
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    New Zealand
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    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    i wouldnt trust them tough
    Yeah, I have to say it is wearing on my nerves a bit.

    I guess I will know for sure when I put it through an intensive gaming marathon this weekend (providing weather permits! ) *Fingers crossed!*

  6. #6
    Joined
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Age
    70
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    237

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    Anyways, on to my question. The service technician who evaluated the component damage for the insurance claim determined the CPU, Video Card, RAM, sound card were all fine and in working order. My question is, even though these components are working fine now, could the lightning strike have degraded their lifespan or would they have just stopped working all together had they been affected?
    Others here are much more qualified than me to answer your question but I can tell you from my limited experience with ESD that most likely you have some "walking wounded" components (ram, video card, etc) from the lightning event you encountered. Lightning and ESD are both forms of electricity, which is always trying to get to ground.

    You very likely have some latent (walking wounded) damage to other working components. You most likely will not be able to see it right off but as time goes by there is a good chance that some of these components will fail because of the unseen damage caused by the lightning.

    These parts might have suffered partial ESD damage and contains latent defects. Although a signal passes successfully through it after the lightning event, the stresses of regular use will cause a premature and unwanted field failure. This condition cannot normally be detected.

    The service technician who evaluated the component damage cannot see the potential damaged caused to the very small electronic gates in these components and he can only say for sure that they are working now...but that does not mean that failure will not occurr in a few days/weeks, etc.

    I don't know how your insurance company will deal with this but a quick documented assessment by a EE might get them to understand that it's a real issue that the other components should be replaced as well.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    Joined
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    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    Quote Originally Posted by megatonone View Post
    Others here are much more qualified than me to answer your question
    theyre flattered

    seriously. its possible it shortened the lifespan of whats remaining by 80-90% . wouldnt surprise me at all.

    add a couple 120mm fans overhead to drop temps by 10+ celsiusD.S.C-12(2)-disclaimer : whatever u do with your hardware/software is your
    responsibility, which i dont hold if u break anything

    GRAB here OcBible v1.55 and Guidemania v1.21
    scary pooch?pooch#1taking ball from dogpooch pulln on ropeme on board after 2 years
    of no board
    http://gonny.se/ <-cool lady http://www.mediafire.com/?8dmg21ms1vx
    IN MEMORY OF HOW BM WAS TREATED HERE...

  8. #8
    Joined
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Southern Tier of NY
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    47
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    21,166

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    This year I have been having an unusually large amount of electrical storms here in the North East. I don't remember it being like this in past years. So far this spring/summer I have lost a router, DVD/VCR player and Gamecube power adapter to the storms. And we even had a close lightning strike to a tree about 30 feet from the house. In the middle of the night I heard a loud BOOM and made me jump out of bed. The tree has obvious damage. Ever since that strike I hear a popping sound through the speakers of my home theater receiver whenever I change a channel on the cable box or change chapters on a DVD or just about anything to do with the cable box or DVD. I have no idea what happened, where the problem lies and how to fix it. I've been meaning to start a thread about that here but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    I've learned 2 lessons from the storms:
    1) Surge protectors don't seem to work very well even when the strike isn't near your house
    2) Unplug EVERYTHING you value when a thunderstorm is coming
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  9. #9
    Joined
    Dec 2000
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    a galaxy far, far away...
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    3,689

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    I agree with Megatonone (and others). I don't think your PC should be evaluated component by component. Instead, you should simply be making a claim for your entire PC. The components that were left "working" should be considered "tainted" - i.e. were exposed to lightning strike but still may work.

    The only downside to that is that your insurance company may want the PC similar to the way you make a claim on a totaled car - I'm not sure.

    Honestly, I wouldn't mess with re-using such components unless you use them in a "el cheapo" rig for e-mail and surfing, not one where you're going to be adding expensive high-end components.

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  10. #10
    Joined
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    Texas
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    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    It's my understanding that nothing will protect you from a direct strike of lightning. If I ever did suffer lightning damage, the insurance that comes with my Belkin UPS would replace any lost computer equipment connected to it. A UPS offerers much better protection than any surge protector.

    A near strike is something else. That can be stopped by a good UPS, although the UPS itself may well be destroyed in the process

    I read where many Pros say that the UPS investment is the most important part of the money you spend on a computer and the least researched and understood by most buyers.

    I have friends that spend $1000 - $3000 bucks on their computer/Peripherals and buy a $9.95 surge protector and think they are well protected.

    Of course, you can always unplug everything when there's an electrical storm....if there's someone home to do it

  11. #11
    Joined
    Dec 2000
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    a galaxy far, far away...
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    3,689

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    I have friends that spend $1000 - $3000 bucks on their computer/Peripherals and buy a $9.95 surge protector and think they are well protected.

    Of course, you can always unplug everything when there's an electrical storm....if there's someone home to do it
    I finally got on board with the UPS thing but only because I have a vital business computer at home. Of course, the UPS is still sitting on the floor waiting to be plugged in but don't tell anyone! I actually tested it on a "non-vital" PC just to make sure it didn't blow up when I turned it on. It works great and I love the fact that it tells me the wattage-load of the items plugged into it. It's 1500VA so I can easily plug both my biz and gaming rigs into it.

    I've even heard of people "losing" the contents of their hard drives simply due to a power sag during a storm. People just don't realize how tenuous the whole power thing is and how easily they could lose hardware and data. There are probably more people with water-cooling than people who own UPSes.

    My video "tribute" to Armed Assault.

  12. #12
    Joined
    Mar 2003
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    Near São Paulo, Brazil
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    1,416

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    What UPS is this you're using, Chiles? Do you have a link for it?
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  13. #13
    Joined
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    138

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    The day after the lightning strike I made the mistake of purchasing a Thermaltake Purepower 560watt PSU to replace the one that got fried. As it turns out the PSU is an old generation from 2003 and only has one 12V rail rated at 22amps (Not particularly suited for a 8800gtx). Normally I research products before I buy them but with my modem fried I didnt have internet access at the time. When I check in the BIOS, the 12v rail is showing an average voltage of 11.85v.

    I had a 2-3 hour gaming session of Oblivion last night. Things were running smoothly until the game locked up. It eventually crashed to desktop saying the nv4_disp.dll had an error (video card I believe). I am wondering if it was the powersupply that caused the crash or damage from the lightning strike. Hard to tell with these things. I just ordered an Enermax 620W Liberty PSU ELT620AWT to replace the thermaltake. This one has two 12v rails rated at 22amps each and 2 dedicated PCI-e power dongles, so hopefully that will clear up any power issues. The vid card is brand new and still under warranty so if I have continued issues with it I will get it replaced.
    Last edited by mr_zen256; 07-24-2007 at 06:38 PM.

  14. #14
    Joined
    Mar 2004
    Location
    mtl,canada
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    36
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    37,301

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    actually the best investment is a belkin 20$ surge protector as many folks dont have/want to spend 100+ on a ups.. and for those who dont cheap out teh ups of course. stable current,better clocks,longer life of components..etc

    if u drained the psu its possible it got damaged as well lol. why teh liberty? read reviews bro. u shouldve gotten a nice enhance/silverstone. built like server units.

    add a couple 120mm fans overhead to drop temps by 10+ celsiusD.S.C-12(2)-disclaimer : whatever u do with your hardware/software is your
    responsibility, which i dont hold if u break anything

    GRAB here OcBible v1.55 and Guidemania v1.21
    scary pooch?pooch#1taking ball from dogpooch pulln on ropeme on board after 2 years
    of no board
    http://gonny.se/ <-cool lady http://www.mediafire.com/?8dmg21ms1vx
    IN MEMORY OF HOW BM WAS TREATED HERE...

  15. #15
    Joined
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    138

    Re: Lightning + Computer = BAD!

    why teh liberty?
    I read a few reviews on the Enermax ELT620AWT and they were actually very positive. I have had Enermax products in the past and they were very reliable so I figured I would stick with what I know.

    if u drained the psu its possible it got damaged as well lol
    I have never heard of that happening before.

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