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Indirect lightning damage

Started by JJM, 09/04/2013 08:24AM
Posted 09/04/2013 08:24AM Opening Post
Had an odd occurrence with the network gear in my observatory. A tiny thunderstorm (little more than an isolated black cloud) passed by last week an we had one bolt of lightning that struck nearby. I didn't see exactly where the bolt hit, but the flash and boom were almost simultaneous, so it was probably within a few hundred feet. There was no obvious damage to anything in the house and later in the evening I checked the observatory. everything powered up and seemed to be OK. All the gear is behind a UPS and I assumed it had done its job to limit any surges. The cables to the observatory building are underground and the network line is standard cat-5 in PVC conduit.

A few days later I started an observing session. The network switch box looked like it was working OK, but there was no connection to the router. When I opened it up here is what it looked like inside. Lightning (EMP?) had put enough power into a cable that it literally blew a hole in one of the chips on the PC board. The main router and other equipment on the network are not damaged. Weird stuff. 8O

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JJM's attachment for post 57752

Jim McSheehy
Posted 09/04/2013 09:31AM #1
Yep, sure looks like something let the smoke outta that chip.

Often surge damage will simply cause a transistor or other device in an IC to become near dead short. Once that happens, the unit's power supply will provide enough juice to create the heat that causes the volcano. Either way, it won't work any more.