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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    Question Lightening and PC's
    Anyone live in thunder and lightening country..??

    I know that lightening can take out electrical appliances such as TV's and PC's...

    But has anyone ever had a PC taken out by lightening...???

    Does it fry the hard-drive...???

    If it only fries everything else but the hard-drive... no problem...
    I can replace it all... but the info on the hard-drive cannot be replaced....

    The reason I am asking is that I just moved to lightening country... and we had a big storm last night and I saw sparks flying out of the electrical outlet where I have my PC... LOL... it didn't get the PC but made me start thinking... I know when a lightening storm is coming I unplug my PC and TV's... But just in case it does get the PC sometime when I am away... does it fry the hard-drive....????

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    "Does it fry the hard-drive" Since hard-drives use magnetic fields, I think so.
    I'm no expert, but I think there are some things you can do to protect yourself, a lightning rod, or a PC battery backup to help isolate your PC from the lighting strike.

  3. #3
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    Use a good surge protector and shut off during storms. Yes, it can fry a hard drive. But if the computer is off, it should just stop at frying the power supply.
    Deborah Carney
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  4. #4
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    I dont live in lightening country --however I was once upon a time told to spend the money on a good surge protector to protect my PC. 90 $smackers$ and 12 years later I've never had an issue with my PC being damaged by power surge or the like..

    but what the hell do I know about the hardware

    Does anyone know.. would a good surge protector protect in this case??

    GBM

  5. #5
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Thanks Deb you answered my question while I was posting it

  6. #6
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    Does anyone know.. would a good surge protector protect in this case??
    I haven't had the experience of a direct hit, but have had a near miss. And I have had the power go out in the whole house but the computer on the surge protector stayed on and survived the surge. Then I quickly saved what I was working on and powered down!!!!!!
    Deborah Carney
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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Lightning country and surge protectors aside. Do yourself a favor and PLAN on your hard drive pushing up daisies at some point.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Does anyone here have any experience with online secure backup companies?

    Im thinking they might not be a bad idea at 5-10 bucks a month. All kinds of things can go wrong w/computers. What if you get burglarized & someone steals it etc.???

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info...

    I do plan on my hard-drive pushing up daisies.. I have the real important stuff backed up on my server... but it would be a PITA to replace all the "little stuff"...

    I have a surge protector and the outlet my computer stuff is plugged into is on it's own breaker... but the lightening last night hit right behind my "office" and sparks were coming out of the OTHER outlet that is on another breaker.... it was cool... LMAO....

    I grabbed a metal rod and ran outside but it was already gone...

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    simcat...
    Yea I guess it's not just lightening that can take out a pc.. LOL

    The only real important thing on my pc is my website data and a few registration documents. So I have that all backed up on my server in a zip file... just in case..
    everything else is just programs, games and stuff I can re-install...

    That may be an idea if you are on your own server...

  11. #11
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    AddHandler, I have everything backed up on a couple of external hard drives AND the most important stuff burned to cd/dvd. I've had enough hard drives bite the dust that I tend to over do. But backing up online is not something I would do for long term... servers are really just hard drives.... and I am anal about not having my stuff online at an "online backup" service. I want my stuff where I am in control of it.
    Deborah Carney
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  12. #12
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    just get an APC surge protector they cost 20 bucks but they give you an up to 50,000 dollar gurantee. No need for batt backup unless you want some time to save work.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
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    There is not anything that can save your PC from a direct lightening hit, if it's a bad enough one your PC dose not even have to be on. It will fry it if it is plugged into the wall. Sometimes I unplug mine from the wall, it's the only way to be totally safe. As for serges, you can get a serge protector put on your electrical panel, and I also run my PC through 3 serge protectors before it gets to my PC. Don't buy cheap serge protectors.

    As far as what gets fried, that depends on how hard you get hit. Sometimes it's only the power supply, but if it's bad enough everything will be lost.
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  14. #14
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    Lightening fried my power supply once, but thankfully, no other damage.

  15. #15
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I've seen a few lightning hits on equipment before. The components that are most at risk are those that are connected to the wall in some way - so power cords, telephone cables and network cables can be an issue.

    In the case of a strike on the power line, the most likely thing to blow would be the power supply which will offer some protection for the rest of the system. Even if the drive electronics get fried, then data recovery is usually possible by replacing the electronics with one from an identical hard drive.

    But to be honest.. a surge supressor and some sort of backup system is always going to be your best bet. These things are relatively cheap.
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  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    I live in the lightning capitol of the world-Tampa Bay. I've seen and heard of lots of strikes on computers. A battery backup is better.

    I've never heard of anyone losing a hard drive, but I'm sure it's possible just not common. Hard drives die for many more reasons than lightning in my experience. Back that sucker up. Computers can be replaced but hours of work and software that you have set up just the way you want, will take forever to recreate. I've always liked those midnight auto backups my self.

    Like someone said, plan on that hard drive dieing sometime.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I use a surge protector and unplug the computer during lightening storms. Our lightning occurs during late afternnoons and evenings. Luckily I'm a morning person. But one time I was working in ACAD on a set of house plans that needed to be finished and plotted in one hour. The client was driving up from Denver to pick up his plans. At noon a bolt of lightning came from a nearly clear blue sky and I had a power surge. The hardware was protected, but the software and active files can be affected by a minor surge that the surge protector does not stop.

    I sat there for two and a half hours watching yellow lines zip across the screen. The file was completely destroyed. The ACAD program had developed annoying glitches. Now I have a timed auto backup add-on that saves files at five minute intervals.
    ~Ernie

  18. #18
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    lightning goes where it wants to. if nothing else, an indirect hit could still weld a relay contact inside your modem, causing wierd connection problems.

    a tree limb hitting and bouncing off a power line could send a series of surges into your computer that could cause your hard drive to start and stop rapidly. this is not good for said drive's longevity.

  19. #19
    OOOPS just realized was an old POST, LOL GethsemeneRose's Avatar
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    A few years ago I was working for a Distribution Company (Lobsters) I had been in charge of the three computers we used from the time I started working there (not really IT just more competent than the other two office staff) anyway I had recently Surge Supressed the whole place but missed one phone line. A bolt of ligtning hit the building and this one was HUGE it fried out three Motors used to pump water to the lobster tanks, 5 air conditioning units, AND it found ONE unsupressed phone line going into a computer all the computers were networked and it fried them all. That morning I went to a local computer shop whos owner I knew I sat in the back room and tore the computers apart I out of the three computers I salvaged enough parts to build one and a half I then bought some new parts and within a few hours had three working computers. The Hard drives were GOOD in all of them.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
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    Lightning is looking for a path to ground, and it will get there using any and every path possible. Which is why systems with lightning rods tend to draw the lightning to the rod and than down the path to ground.

    Im an electrician in my day job, and I have ran service on everything from major strikes to very minor surges. Example of a major strike; a direct hit on a service cable that was attached to a chimney, part of the chimney was gone along with almost everything that was plugged into a wall socket. We had a minor hit ourselves last summer that took out the power supply on my wifes computer even though it was not on and had a surge protector. Most likely that lightning strike happened further away and just sent a voltage spike into our line.

    Having said that, lightning can be just like a tornado, hit one building and leave the next one standing, it is a mystery. Why did it only take out my wifes computer which had a surge protector and did not take out any of our other electronics, some of which did not have surge protection? For some reason that spike picked that path to ground through the electrical system.

    Bottom line is, the more protection the better. But the only true protection is to unplug it from the any outside connection. Electrical, telephone, cable, if its not an option you can have a lightning rod system installed (which is expensive), have a surge protector installed directly on your electrical panel and use multiple surge protectors on your computer. Be sure to surge protect all external lines coming in to your system.
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