Power issues

xnoodle

Active Member
Jan 4, 2011
259
48
28
So, I have the problem of electronics getting fried during thunderstorms.

Latest thunderstorm killed the Ethernet port on my cable modem, a Ethernet port on one of my C6100 nodes, bricked my wireless router, and caused my Dell 2724 switch to hang.

All 4 devices are on different APC surge protectors/battery back up units.

Any ideas on what to do at this point?

Last year my wireless router got bricked and a Ethernet port on my desktop got fried. :mad:
 

Patrick

Administrator
Staff member
Dec 21, 2010
12,367
5,497
113
Move to California and see one thunderstorm every year or two :)

Would echo the above though. Are the surge protectors still working?
 

hagak

Member
Oct 22, 2012
90
4
8
If you house properly grounded? Surge Protectors do not really do anything if it does not have a good path to ground.
 

seang86s

Member
Feb 19, 2013
161
16
18
My parents live in an older home which went thru a major renovation back around 2006. One of the things they had done was a new electrical service to accomodate central AC (100 Amp to 200 Amp panel, new service, meter the works).

Anyway, when power utility came out to disconnect the service the lineman discovered the neutral cable was disconnected at the pole. It's been that way for years. The ground to the cold water pipe was what was completing the circuit. For years, my parents had issues with RF like interference on audio/video equipment and the occasional electronic device getting fried. Once the work was done and the service was restored properly, they never had an issue since.

Have your electrical service checked out.
 

TheBay

New Member
Feb 25, 2013
220
1
0
UK
Those extension leads with surge protectors are a waste of money and time, they do not and cannot work. Buy a line interactive APC Smart UPS
 

TangoWhiskey9

Active Member
Jun 28, 2013
402
59
28
We had an issue like this at home when the power company had a transformer blow. Caused a big fire at the neighbor's so we were lucky. I guess.
 

hagak

Member
Oct 22, 2012
90
4
8
My parents live in an older home which went thru a major renovation back around 2006. One of the things they had done was a new electrical service to accomodate central AC (100 Amp to 200 Amp panel, new service, meter the works).

Anyway, when power utility came out to disconnect the service the lineman discovered the neutral cable was disconnected at the pole. It's been that way for years. The ground to the cold water pipe was what was completing the circuit. For years, my parents had issues with RF like interference on audio/video equipment and the occasional electronic device getting fried. Once the work was done and the service was restored properly, they never had an issue since.

Have your electrical service checked out.
Seems odd that the neutral (actually GROUND) went back to the pole. Every power circuit in the US uses GROUND for the return path. This is normally handled by a very long ground rod or two driven into the earth near where the power enters the house. Only once it enters the house do you have what you call a Neutral only to differentiate it from the Safety Ground, which if you have just a single main breaker box both of these line are tied to the same ground block that is tied to the ground rods. Not having a good ground connection is a very bad thing, so make sure it is correct. Also you cable connection, telephone connection, etc should all have a tie to earth ground.
 

cactus

Moderator
Jan 25, 2011
830
75
28
CA
Seems odd that the neutral (actually GROUND) went back to the pole. Every power circuit in the US uses GROUND for the return path. This is normally handled by a very long ground rod or two driven into the earth near where the power enters the house. Only once it enters the house do you have what you call a Neutral only to differentiate it from the Safety Ground, which if you have just a single main breaker box both of these line are tied to the same ground block that is tied to the ground rods. Not having a good ground connection is a very bad thing, so make sure it is correct. Also you cable connection, telephone connection, etc should all have a tie to earth ground.
From my experience, which is CA only and split phase, all plugs have a neutral that goes back to the pole/transformer. There is also an Earth ground that is the copper rod in the ground that came with grounded plugs in the 80's some time.

For surge protection, you need a good Earth ground for the extra current to sink to. I would get a cheap three wire plug tester and make sure you have proper Earth ground and all your other wires are correct.

If you have cable TV/Internet, the shield should be grounded to a good Earth ground at building ingress/egress. This is the same with POTs lines.
 
Last edited:

hagak

Member
Oct 22, 2012
90
4
8
catcus, check you service panel closely. Do you not have the neutrals tied to the same bus bar as the grounds? If you do not then the safety ground would not work.
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
3,073
1,378
113
catcus, check you service panel closely. Do you not have the neutrals tied to the same bus bar as the grounds? If you do not then the safety ground would not work.
Just to be complete:

- at the main service panel (and only at the main service panel) the ground & common should be tied together.

- at any sub-panel the ground and common MUST remain separate.

Doing it any other way creates the possibility of ground loops that leave a "potential" (current) difference between ground and common. This will wreak havoc with noise sensitive equipment and - worse - can actually create dangerous shock hazards.
 

mrkrad

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,244
52
48
You can't assume ground is stable on a plug. That is why they run a busbar of 6 gauge to data closets.

I think an old boss crossed the + 110v to the ground at a breaker. imagine 50 APC's all on fire or smoking at the same time.. not pretty.

larger APC's have a ground point as well so you can ground everything down.

Funny thing - the thing that scares me is uverse. The device uses a 2 prong redundant power supply. With no ground and aerial cat3 that leaks water, it would be quite easy to throw some electricity down the line and a direct hit will burn right through most protection.


APC will pay for the damage if you can prove their gear was involved.
 

xnoodle

Active Member
Jan 4, 2011
259
48
28
Bought a ground tester, will test my outlets.

Network switch and C6100 are on different SUA750RM2U which are supposed to be line interactive.

Modem is on a dinky DL11VNT surge protector.

Router was on a low end 550VA device with no line interactive.

I have a UPS with line interactive in the same room as the modem/router, but it's on the other side. Will have to redo wiring. Gah.
 

mrkrad

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,244
52
48
my old router freaks out with (many power bricks tried) non-pure sine wave (or very close). aka even the sua750 - it's bizarre. I've tried many different brick manufacturers (5V 2amp) and it still flips its lid when self-test or loss of power happens.

and those cheapie units - they freak out and start beeping randomly when power swings up at the end of day (once in month)
 

TangoWhiskey9

Active Member
Jun 28, 2013
402
59
28
Funny thing - the thing that scares me is uverse. The device uses a 2 prong redundant power supply. With no ground and aerial cat3 that leaks water, it would be quite easy to throw some electricity down the line and a direct hit will burn right through most protection.
What's uverse? Is that like the AT&T DSL modem or something else you are referring to?