Lightning Strike = Bad Thing

A word of advice — don’t get struck by lightning.

As I wrote on October 27th, Folbot suffered a really strong lightning strike during a very violent electrical storm.

Very quickly we discovered that all our phone equipment was fried, the data routers were shot, and many of our computers had been turned into doorstops. We learned that the electrical surge was so strong that it even ran the charge back out our phone lines to the central phone operations center and fried our circuits there!

And we are still discovering damage the lightning caused.  A printer here, a data port there. “Hey, why isn’t the scale talking to the shipping computer?” “Why isn’t the heat working?” “Was my hair always so frizzy?”

No, that's not me.

The good news is that we’ve had a lot of great help — thanks Lee, Ralph, UPS, the HVAC guys and all the others who got us back up and running.

So, next time a thunder storm comes your way, just say, “no thanks.”

David A.

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3 thoughts on “Lightning Strike = Bad Thing

  1. I take it surge protectors did exactly squat if the damages were that bad? I have wondered how much protection they would actually provide in a case like this, now that I live in a high-lightning area.

  2. That is a very good question. One everyone with a computer should ask.

    Surge protectors are something you should all have. Get good ones and put them on all your computer controlled appliances. They WILL protect your stuff from the average thunder storm.

    They will more than likely NOT protect you from a near hit – under a quarter mile. A close hit is so powerful that very little will survive. Dave mentioned one UPS that self-sacrificed to protect its equipment. There’s no guarantee. It’s the luck of the draw.

    You need surge protectors for ordinary storms. I lost a network switch port because a CAT5 cable running up our back porch was unprotected. That was from a minor storm a couple miles away.

    Get surge protectors but understand that nothing will help a situation like happened at the Folbot factory. Nothing short of complete disconnection will protect in that case.

  3. As Flatwater noted, we did have a hefty surge protector on some of the equipment. It got fried and the ports where it got connected to other things were lost too — but the computers, etc., survived. A serious surge protector was on the phone equipment and did little (although it seems unscathed).

    As an aside, the computer I use is a laptop. Every night for three years I have taken it home… except the night the storm struck. How’s that for timing?

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