TechTalkz.com Logo Ask the Experts!

Go Back   TechTalkz.com Technology & Computer Troubleshooting Forums > Tech Support Archives > Hardware > Laptops

Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

Laptops

 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:52 PM   #1
nospam256K
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
(phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).

When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
unplug the phone line from the computer.

This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).

Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
overly/unneccesarily cautious?
 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:52 PM   #2
Ron Reaugh
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?


"nospam256K" <nospam256k***********> wrote in message
news:24a23015.0409201837.1b40dbcd@posting.google.c om...
> Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
> computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
> (phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>
> When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
> But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
> the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
> unplug the phone line from the computer.


Not dumb.

> This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
> suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
> power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>
> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
> overly/unneccesarily cautious?


I always do it too.


 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:52 PM   #3
John Popelish
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

nospam256K wrote:
>
> Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
> computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
> (phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>
> When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
> But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
> the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
> unplug the phone line from the computer.
>
> This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
> suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
> power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>
> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
> overly/unneccesarily cautious?


Your precautions are very sensible. Not only is the computer, modem
and power supply at risk, if you happen to be near a ground
connection, your body is at some risk, also.

However, there is a simple precaution you can take that makes it much
safer to use your computer during a rain storm. Get a filtered, surge
suppressed power strip that has both receptacles and phone line
sockets. The surge suppressers help limit the voltage peaks between
any of the incoming power lines, which protects the supply, but also
limits the peak voltage between the phone lines and the power ground,
protecting both the modem and you from anything but a very close
strike. I still wouldn't use it in the bath tub, though.

Here is an example of one without a low pass filter (just surge
suppressers):
http://www.connectxpress.com/product...4301&sku=29799
And a bigger unit that includes the RFI filter (that improves the
operation of the surge suppression a bit).
http://www.connectxpress.com/product...4301&sku=29798

I am not endorsing these particular products, just using them as
examples of what I am talking about.
--
John Popelish
 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:53 PM   #4
Odd Bob
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

In article <24a23015.0409201837.1b40dbcd@posting.google.com >,
nospam256k*********** says...
> Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
> computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
> (phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>
> When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
> But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
> the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
> unplug the phone line from the computer.
>


Very wise. A couple years back I had a modem fried by a nearby
lightning strike and I'm grateful that's all that was fried. These days
if I even think I hear thunder I pull all the plugs and go read a good
book. My suggestion, anyway...

-- Bob

> This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
> suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
> power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>
> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
> overly/unneccesarily cautious?
>

 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:53 PM   #5
Sporkman
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

The greatest danger is from your modem. Surges coming in through
telephone lines can do quite a bit of damage. In fact, I've had
desktops almost completely smoked via the modem. Fried the motherboard,
video, AND drives (both CD and HDD). Spared the RAM and the power
supply and not much else. And yes, it is absolutely certain that it was
through the telephone line, not through the power line. Surge
suppressors and uninterruptible power supplies MAY protect from
telephone line surges well enough, or they may not. After having a
computer smoked and having seen my neighbor's computer smoked in the
same way I stopped using internal modems altogether, but of course
external modems are seldom used with a laptop. Your computer power
supply will possibly protect your laptop well enough from power surges
with sacrificial diodes in the rectifier circuit, but it's a better bet
to unplug and run off the battery. I'm sure you don't want to even have
to buy a new AC supply for your laptop. Those can be expensive,
although Radio Shack carries AC supplies that MAY be enough for your
computer (mine actually requires more amperage than the RS model can
supply on startup, and if the battery is down the thing won't boot).

Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton
Watermark Design, LLC
www.h2omarkdesign.com

nospam256K wrote:
>
> Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
> computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
> (phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>
> When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
> But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
> the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
> unplug the phone line from the computer.
>
> This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
> suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
> power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>
> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
> overly/unneccesarily cautious?

 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:53 PM   #6
Bigbazza
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?


"Sporkman" <sporkedUNDERLINEagainMUNGE@bigfootDOT.com> wrote in message
news:414FA86C.E6EE30F@bigfootDOT.com...
> The greatest danger is from your modem. Surges coming in through
> telephone lines can do quite a bit of damage. In fact, I've had
> desktops almost completely smoked via the modem. Fried the motherboard,
> video, AND drives (both CD and HDD). Spared the RAM and the power
> supply and not much else. And yes, it is absolutely certain that it was
> through the telephone line, not through the power line. Surge
> suppressors and uninterruptible power supplies MAY protect from
> telephone line surges well enough, or they may not. After having a
> computer smoked and having seen my neighbor's computer smoked in the
> same way I stopped using internal modems altogether, but of course
> external modems are seldom used with a laptop. Your computer power
> supply will possibly protect your laptop well enough from power surges
> with sacrificial diodes in the rectifier circuit, but it's a better bet
> to unplug and run off the battery. I'm sure you don't want to even have
> to buy a new AC supply for your laptop. Those can be expensive,
> although Radio Shack carries AC supplies that MAY be enough for your
> computer (mine actually requires more amperage than the RS model can
> supply on startup, and if the battery is down the thing won't boot).
>
> Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton
> Watermark Design, LLC
> www.h2omarkdesign.com
>
> nospam256K wrote:
>>
>> Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
>> computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
>> (phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>>
>> When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
>> But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
>> the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
>> unplug the phone line from the computer.
>>
>> This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
>> suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
>> power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>>
>> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
>> overly/unneccesarily cautious?


How about 'Cable Broadband ' delivery...Obviously a 'Telephone' is not
used..But cable is !...So do I need to turn my Cable Modem off as well ..or
not..?..

Bigbazza


 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:54 PM   #7
Todd Copeland
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

"Bigbazza" <Bigbazza@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:2rae3qF17i62pU1@uni-berlin.de...
> How about 'Cable Broadband ' delivery...Obviously a 'Telephone' is not
> used..But cable is !...So do I need to turn my Cable Modem off as well

...or
> not..?..


Turning it off would help. but _very_ little. Unplugging it would be the
correct thing to do. I"ve had more analog modems fried by lightning (4) then
cable modems (2) but you can see, it happens. Personally I don't bother with
unplugging the cable modem as Brighthouse really does not have a problem
replaceing them with no charge.


 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:54 PM   #8
Roger Johansson
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

"Bigbazza" <Bigbazza@nospam.com> wrote:

> How about 'Cable Broadband ' delivery...Obviously a 'Telephone' is not
> used..But cable is !...So do I need to turn my Cable Modem off as well
> ..or not..?..


If you live in a densely populated city and all these cables come through
underground cables there is very little risk for damage from lightning.

The high voltages from a lightning must then travel long distances
through underground cable systems, and the power is distributed among
thousands of end users connections.

There is probably also good protection systems in place to protect
against overvoltage conditions.

Earlier I lived in a small old house on top of a mountain, with
electricity and phone lines coming through the air, wires on poles.

Now that was a risky place to live at during lightning storms!

And there was often lightning hits even on clear days,
without any warning signals in the weather at all.

I have had my telephone practically explode a few feet from my head, and
I have had lots of equipment destroyed.
Mainly modems and tv sets but also other stuff.

Then I installed some protection components, spark gap devices, on both
the electricity and phone lines. Where the lines enter the house and
inside the house, close to the computer and tv set too. I also increased
the lightning protection for the house with lightning rods and lots of
wires in the ground around the house to absorb the power better.

That helped a lot, and I had no equipment destroyed for those 6 years
I lived there when I had the protection components installed.

Compared to my house on a mountain you are very well protected in a
densely populated city with underground cable systems for electricity,
phone lines, cable tv and cable internet.

A lot of people have a situation somewhere between these two extremes,
big city or mountain top, and may want to take necessary precautions.

The easiest way to add protection to vital equipment is to put all of it
on an extension cord with multiple outlets and add protection circuits to
that extension cord system. Make sure that both phone connection and
electricity connection are protected where they enter that extension cord
system.


--
Roger J.
 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:54 PM   #9
Code Developer
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?


"nospam256K" <nospam256k***********> wrote in message
news:24a23015.0409201837.1b40dbcd@posting.google.c om...

>
> Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
> overly/unneccesarily cautious?


No, very sensible!

About a year ago, we had a thunder storm where a bolt of lightening actually
struck our back garden. The PC in the office was protected by a UPS /
filter, but the DSL connection through the phone line and the external
modem/router weren't protected. The lightening fried the modem and the
network card in the PC! Fortunately the rest of the PC was ok.

Now, the PC is protected by a UPS, and the modem/router's phone connection
is filtered through a surge protection device.

Regards,
Shaun.


 
Unread 10-12-2007, 09:56 PM   #10
Alex Rodriguez
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Is it safe to use computer during lightning/thunder storm?

In article <24a23015.0409201837.1b40dbcd@posting.google.com >,
nospam256k*********** says...
>Here in New York City (Manhattan) where I live, I usually use a laptop
>computer running on an AC adapter, and get online via a dial-up modem
>(phone line plugged into computer's built-in modem).
>When it's merely raining outside, it's usually of no concern to me.
>But when there's lightning or thunder, I quickly get offline, turn off
>the computer, and literally unplug the AC adapter from the outlet, and
>unplug the phone line from the computer.
>This is done to avoid the possibility of the AC adapter or the modem
>suffering damage from a voltage spike carried through either the AC
>power line or the phone line (because of a lightning strike).
>Does all this sound sensible to you, or am I being
>overly/unneccesarily cautious?


Sounds sensible to me. You could also try getting a good surge protector.
Then you won't have to unplug everything. I would make sure that the phone
cable also runs through the surge protector or unplug it.
-----------------
Alex


 
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes



< Home - Windows Help - MS Office Help - Hardware Support >


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:55 AM.


vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO
Copyright © 2005-2013, TechTalkz.com. All Rights Reserved - Privacy Policy
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional