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Lightning keeps wiping our router and phone

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by pjo123, 26 Jul 2019.

  1. pjo123

    pjo123

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    I live in the east of England, and we get a lot of lightning in the summer. Twice in the past three years I've had my router zapped and had to replace it, since then, I always unplug the router from the phone line whenever I hear thunder approaching.

    Tuesday night, thunder started, I unplugged my router, a big lightning flash and it tripped my RCD, many neighbours had the same, the bolt split a tree in half about a mile away, my wife has a couple of clients near to the tree, one not only had her entire electrics fried (aerial, sky box etc), it also blew a safe out of her wall

    But it also killed my landline phone, a BT call blocking phone, the base has been fried. I've plugged another phone in and it works fine.

    OK, so if I'm home and it starts thundering, I need to unplug both my internet and my phone, but if I'm out, what then.

    My wife was talking to an electrician a few days ago about lightning strikes and he said our house is in a (large) triangle where every time there's thunder, his company gets a ton of call outs to various properties in that area.

    Is there anything I can realistically do (without paying a fortune) to protect my phone and router? Unplugging everything when lightning starts is one thing, but what if I'm away etc (wife needs answering phone for her business).

    Phone lines are all overhead cables. I have two 80CM sat dishes connected to my sat box, never ever had a problem with them, it just seems to be things connected to the phone line.

    Googling says the surge protectors claiming to protect from lightning, wont.

    any suggestions very welcome

    Thanks
     
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  3. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    A surge protected extension cable would be a good cheap first step you can get ones which protect both the mains and the telephone line. You could also look at having a TVSS installed in your consumer unit, but this will be more expensive.

    I believe you can get surge protection leads with something like a £1,000 guarantee for connected equipment.
     
  4. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    I wonder if these surge protectors only work once though and then need to be replaced. Worth a go.

    You can also get protectors for the mains in Come. Er. Again these need replacing.
     
  5. winston1

    winston1

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    A surge protected cable is unlikely to protect against a nearby lightning strike. Best bet is not to use an overhead cable. Do you have Virgin in your area? Their cables are underground.
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Even if they weren't (underground), they're surely fibre-optic (i.e. not electrically conductive), aren't they?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  7. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    How on earth did that happen - are you using voice recognition?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  8. JohnD

    JohnD

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    the Virgin cables which include fibre go to a nearby street cabinet, then connect to the subscribers over copper. A relatively short distance so quite fast. Depending on age there may be a multicore cable and a co-ax moulded together.

    The cabinets are earthed metal but have vast numbers of wires going into them.
     
  9. echoes

    echoes

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    Co-ax into premises I think.
     
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  11. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Yes, but surely not overhead copper/co-ax?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  12. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Protecting equipment from damage by lightning strikes is a black art.


    Even bringing phone service by underground cable to the house does not ensure protection of equipment. The damage is often the result of the local ground potential at the strike location being pulled up by several thousand volts above the surrounding ground potential. Incoming metallic services staying at the potential of the ground at their source resulting a very high potential difference across the phone line interface circuit.

    An example was a direct strike on the mast of a radio comms station, There was some scorching of cables on the mast but the radio station remained operational except that the data connections with a control room about 8 miles away were lost. The line transforners in the phone line interfaces in the modems had failed. The same type of damage that occured when, during post incident investigations of the failure, very high voltages were applied to the phone line connections of new modems..

    The phone lines ( Private Wires point to point copper pairs ) were at the potential of the Ground at the Control room

    0l12.jpg

    A U bend in a cable ( Aerial feeder or over head telelphone cable ) and an earthed metal plate will divert lightning energy down to Ground. In a severe strike the current will flash jump to the plate, it may not happen fast enough to protect the equipment but is is likely to reduce damage to interior of the building.

    0x45.jpg

    In early days of telephones one of these was fitted at the house to protect the telephone from lighting strikes



    0X41.jpg
     
    Last edited: 27 Jul 2019
  13. SpecialK

    SpecialK

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    On the top of the phone pole there should be a lightning wire - Make sure it goes all the way down to earth and is not damaged.
    We had it happen here too - One of the BT boxes in a neighbours property caught fire and we ended up with two fire engines in attendance!
     
  14. pjo123

    pjo123

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    Many thanks all

    I think unplugging is going to be the safest option, I will check the phone pole.

    A friend has Virgin, when the hospital was struck, he lived about 1/4 a mile away and he lost everything, big insurance claim
     
  15. DetlefSchmitz

    DetlefSchmitz

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    This is what you should expect with 1.21 GigaWatts...
     
  16. flameport

    flameport

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    Except when lightning strikes while unplugging.

    Same as that old nonsense about unplugging the TV aerial in a storm. Results in the person standing there holding the end of the lead, which goes directly to the lightning attractor on the roof.
     
  17. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    One of my customers houses was hit by lightning. It evaporated the tv aerial cable leaving just a scorch mark down the wall where the cable used to run. It also physically exploded the RCD (16th edition split load board) blew up the tv and telephone and set fire to her living room carpet. Several of her neighbours also had their telephones damaged as a result.
     
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