Author Options:

Best protection for computer... LIGHTNING Answered

I've heard of computers fried in electrical storms, even with a surge protector.
1) Is there a better way to protect it, short of unplugging? a friend mentioned connecting it thru a bus, and letting the bus act as a fuse. I'm not sure what he was really getting at.
2) What are the odds?
3) experiences + anecdotes?


So much to introduce. And so many bogus myths to implode.

2) Destructive surges are rare because electronic appliances are so robust. A destructive surge might occur once every seven years. A number that can vary even in a same town due to factors such as geology, underground pipelines, configuration of utility wires, etc. Even being atop a mountain can sometimes means less risk.

3) Your telco has a $multi-million computer connected to wires all over town. Makes little difference if those wires are overhead or underground. Due to those connections, a telco CO will suffer about 100 surges with each storm. How often is your town without service for four days while they replace their computer? Never? Correct. Because a solution proven by over 100 years of science and experience is used. It costs tens of times less money than any plug-in solution. What works cannot be understood without explaining why. Why starts with concepts taught in elementary school science and Ben Franklin. This proven solution means protection even from direct lightning strikes. Only myths and ignorance assumes nothing can protect from lightning.

Unplugging is a least reliable solution.

The proven solution will always answer one simple question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate? Any recommendation that cannot answer that question is probably a scam. Discover that most who make recommendations are reciting scams taught by advertising and hearsay.

1) A bus or fuse immediately identifies one as electrically naive. Honest answers also include numbers. Surges are done in microseconds. Fuse take milliseconds or second to blow. Hundreds of consecutive surges could pass through a fuse or bus before it even thinks about blowing.

Any solution that would stop a surge is also bogus. Will millimeters in a blown fuse or open switch stop what three miles of sky could not? Obviously not. We all know that. But forget what we know when myths encourage never asking why.

Again, the only proven solution (by telco COs, radio stations, mobile phone towers, munitions dumps, etc) is defined by "Where do hundreds of thousands of joules dissipate?" Obviously that cannot occur anywhere inside a house.

Since plug-in protector (or UPS) is so ineffective, then some assume nothing can protect from lightning. Rather than learn what was well proven even 100 years ago.

Surges seek earth ground. A surge far down the street on AC electric is incoming to every household appliance - powered on or off. Are all appliances damaged? Of course not. Return to elementary school science. What does lightning seek? Earth ground. Fewer appliances connect that cloud to earth and are damaged. Adjacent protectors can even give lightning more paths to find earth destructively via those appliances.

Either that surge is earthed BEFORE entering a building. Or you have ineffective protection (except for best protection already inside every appliance). Ineffective especially if spending $hundreds on miracle plug-in protectors or UPS. Again, the well proven solution found in every telco CO (switching center) says without doubt where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Only a 'whole house' solution does that.

Not yet discussed are major requirements that any layman can learn. But for now, your executive summary identifies many who knew none of this; instead were reciting hearsay and advertising. Don't believe urban myths quickly identified when they cannot answer this question. Where are hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly absorbed?

OK. So what parts need more explaining? You must have a boatload of questions.

If I feel that there is a risk of lightning striking the house, I go wireless.

I switch to a battery-powered device (usually a tablet), and connect by wifi. If there's a lightning strike, I might lose the router, but I won't lose the device.

it's much less of an issue for us, because so much is buried here.

You could have a professional electrician instal a lightning arrester.

Surge suppressors have different ratings. But if a lightning bolt hits your house's power line directly there is nothing you can do about it. But the chances of that are very slim. But if that happens your breaker/fuse box will trip as well. You just have to worry about the surges because of strikes further away. Between your fuse box, a surge suppressor and the fuse in your PSU you should be fine. Just get the highest rates supressor you can afford.