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if it looks or sounds bad i pull the plug on everything. as long as i'm home of course.
 

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Surge protectors are most effective when they are installed at the main power feed for the building you are in. I have a whole house surge arrester on the 250volt, 125amp main feed to my house.


Surge protectors only protect from power surges is the problem. Telephone lines, cable feeds, broadband connections, and rooftop antennas all need lightning protection where they enter your house (with the exception of fiber optic feeds). Simply unplugging the power does not protect from surges from other connections.


Lots of A/V gear has transformer type power supplies and even plastic chassis and plastic enclosures. These are less susceptable to power surge problems than A/V gear from the days of "big iron".


What I did is I made sure that surge arresters were installed on the cable, the telephone, and the electric feed, all which enter the house near the main ground of the house (a large rod pounded 8' down into the ground). For my rooftop antenna I installed a second ground rod at the bottom of the chimney and used a grounded feedthrough block for the coaxial cable. I don't unplug anything, don't use surge arresters on my A/V gear or HDTVs or computers, never had a problem.
 

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I unplug the plasma, that is all.


Then again, I have a whole house surge arrestor in the main distribution panel. I have gas discharge tubes on the cable and on the phone lines at the point of entry.


Still another gas discharge tube on the Ethernet immediately after the DSL modem before the WAN port of the router.


Several years ago I lost a lot of equipment. NICs, power supplies, switch ports, phones etc....from a lightning storm. FWIW I have lost xbox power supplies while they were sitting on a consumer grade surge protector / ups. So I have little faith in them. Still, I use them for power dip ride through for the Sage box, and the ReadyNAS.
 

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No surge protector will stop a direct lightning hit to the house. Surge protectors are for when the strike is down the road and come in the power/cable/antenna lines. proper grounding is essential to getting the most out of any surge protector. I can't tell you how many surge protectors are installed in older homes with ungrounded wiring. No electrical ground to the surge protector basically renders it useless.
 

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Lightning is a totally unpredictable and variable natural phenomenon and there is no affordable way for the average homeowner to protect equipment from it. You just reduce the odds of damage with a few simple steps and hope for the best. But if a large lightning strike occurs near your house you will probably take damage - and must of the damaging currents will travel through the earth as the massive static charge bleeds away and the average voltage of GROUND drops from a megavolt or so down to a zero voltage potential. Grounding equipment can help or hinder the damage, but I like to have the discharge happen at the house perimeter whenever possible.


In the military if we wanted to protect radio equipment and cost was no object, we pounded ground rods every 12" around the perimeter of a building, then chemically treated the ground to enhance conductance, then connected all the ground rods together with 1" copper braids, hoping to divert ground-conducted currents around the building. Lightning damage was reduced but not eliminated.


Now to answer your question. I NEVER UNPLUG ANYTHING because the power cable is the most robust ground conductor for most equipment. Then I use isolation transformers on all my signal lines (telephone, cable, DSS, roof antenna) to make sure the power cord is the ONLY ground connection. Then I hope for the best.


Edit: I forgot to mention I have a grounded galvanized metal roof (fake shake appearance) and stucco with metal mesh in it for walls - pretty good shielding against lightning INDUCED currents (i.e. the transformer effect).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpf /forum/post/17054077


So to get back to my original question...


How many of you unplug your equipment when a thunderstorm comes through?

i never have. i think i was on the computer playing a game once and i turned it off, but did not unplug.
 

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Three months ago, lightning struck our neighbors tree and found its way into his Comcast cable line, our Comcast line and the neighbor's line on the other side. Our Comcast box was fried, the surge then went through the HDMI line and fried my new Onkyo receiver and from there took out the PS3 and my TV.


From now on, I unplug EVERYTHING when thunderstorms arrive.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpf /forum/post/17050164


Do you unplug the gear in you Home Theater (when you can), or do you just watch the storm pass through on the local TV station's Radar loop?

I live near Orlando and don't unplug. I usually turn off my surge suppressor/filter (Newpoint Theater Director) when my stuff is not in use. I'm sure a direct hit may jump the switch but it makes me feel better.
 
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