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How to protect electronic devices from lightning - SmrityComputer

How to protect electronic devices from lightning

  • Update Time : Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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protect electronic devices from lightning
protect electronic devices from lightning

Rain is one of the blessings of nature, but with this boon, some dangers also come. Every year during the monsoon season, our country gets a lot of rain and thunderstorms. Lightning is one of the horrors of infinite power during light rains and storms. Due to climate change, the levels of sulfur and nitrogen in the air have increased and so lightning strikes are happening frequently. There are more than 100 lightning strikes per second worldwide. This number is about 3.6 trillion per year.

Bangladesh is located in the region prone to lightning. Recently, the amount of damage caused by lightning in the country is increasing. Every year, various types of valuable household electronic devices including TVs, refrigerators, computers, mobile phones, ovens, network devices, etc. technology products are being damaged by lightning in urban or rural areas. Many of us have lost our TVs, computers, routers, network switches, etc. as a result of this disaster. So we have to suffer and put pressure on our wallets.

Many do not understand the reason of this destruction. Lightning is the sum of the electrical charges accumulated in a cloud. It is so strong that it breaks the di-electric insulation property of the air and hits the ground or a high place.

There is no way to stop or prevent lightning because it is caused naturally. However, it is possible to reduce or control the loss or damage due to lightning. This requires public awareness. If you know some strategies and be careful, you can protect your technology products from lightning.

Here are some precautionary suggestions on how to protect your electronic devices such as- television, computer, mobile phone, router, refrigerator, etc. from lightning and thunder:

1. Protective measures for Television (TV): 

Many televisions are damaged every year due to lightning. The dish line is connected to the television. As a result, if lightning strikes in any area, many TVs in that area are affected and damaged through the dish line. Many people use TV cards in their computers. This can also easily damage the TV card during lightning as there is a dish line connection and many times the graphics card is also lost. Coaxial Cable is used to create a Satellite connection. Through this, the dish line comes to all our homes. It is directly connected to the TV. So there is only one way to avoid this and that is to keep the Coaxial Cables disconnected and away from the TV during rain before the lightning starts.  

2. Protective measures for Refrigerator (Fridge): 

It is often seen that the power goes up and down in the house, especially on stormy days, this tendency increases a lot. This can damage the fridge. It is possible to get rid of this problem easily by using stabilizers. The stabilizer protects the fridge by controlling voltage fluctuations. If you don’t have a stabilizer, just disconnect the power supply of the fridge if you notice a storm. When the storm stops, just connect it and turn on the fridge.

3. Protective measures for Router:

Router devices are mostly affected by lightning. If you get a glimpse of lightning, you should not only turn off the power supply of the router but also keep the LAN cable of the internet connection disconnected from the router. If optical fiber cable is used in internet connection then the risk of lightning damage is less. Because all these cables do not use metal wires.

4. Mobile phone charging alert:

Refrain from charging mobile phones during storms. Because there is a risk of an accident from charging mobile phones during the thunderstorm. Try to charge the phone before or after the storm.

5. Protective measures for Computer and Network devices:

It is better to use computer stabilizer like a fridge. Besides, if you get an indication of lightning, turn off the computer switch. Be sure to switch off the computer before going out to avoid unwanted damage. However, you must be careful also not to connect the charger to the laptop during storms. Thus the risk of damage due to lightning can be avoided.

Many of our homes now have an internet connection with CAT6 cable. For the same reason network switch, router, LAN card, and computer are destroyed respectively during the lightning. In this case, the way to save the devices is to keep the LAN cable open.

Since it is not possible to keep the cable open all the time, the damage can be reduced by applying the following methods:

a) 3-6 Feet earthing rod: 3-6 Feet earthing rod should be built in the ground and connected to the LAN cable, network switch, router, and computer. If there is a small amount of lightning, there is less chance of damage in this process. Many homes do not have earthing lines and some lazy electricians connect earthing lines to the negative of electricity so that there is a possibility of damage. You can also use LAN Surge Protector and it does a lot of work.

b) Modified LAN Cable: LAN cable has 6 wires of which 4 wires (1,2,3,6) work for data exchange, the remaining 4 (4,5,7,8) work for grounding/saving PoE (Power over Ethernet). Many times it also causes damage, so it is better not to connect these (4,5,7,8) pins during RJ45 cable punch. 4 pins are not connected to RJ45 cable/LAN cable in some cheap TP-Link router these days. In the case of Router to PC connection, using this cable can be somewhat risk-free.

c) Using fiber optic cable or Wifi receiver: Since fiber optic does not have any type of wire, so there is no possibility of coming any type of electricity from outside. As the fiber optic connection is not affordable for everyone, so it is better to use Wifi receiver on PC. Even if the router is damaged due to lightning, your computer can be saved by this.

d) Keeping the connection of the power line open: Many times the lightning affects the power line and the UPS. As a result, the Power Supply is lost. So keep the connection of the power line open during lightning.

e) Removing power sources: Unplug all the chords that attach the computer to the wall before the thunderstorm begins. Both power chords and modem chords need to be removed.

It is preferable to unplug all before the storm, but when the storm starts, you may not be close to your device. Don’t be worried, there are other preventative measures. Such as-

i) Using surge protectors:

Use a surge protector. It’s not to be mistaken with a power strip. A surge protector looks like a voluminous power strip.

If your home experiences a power spike, the spike is taken by the surge protector and moved away from the outlets and your device.

Note that even the best surge protectors cannot prevent the loss caused by a direct lightning strike. In the case of a disastrous storm, remove the surge protection to provide maximum security if you are at home. 

Make sure you’re buying a good surge protector. Look for the following features before buying it:

  • In the case of regular internet usage, an internet cable surge protector should be chosen.
  • Choose such kind of surge protector that provides complete protection to cover the loss of attached devices.

ii) Preventing data loss during outages:

Determine if your electronic set up requires an Uninterruptible Power Supply device, also known as a UPS device. Although surge protection devices protect against power surges, these UPS devices guard against outages. Power outages and dips, even if minimal, can cause hard or soft damage (such as data loss) to some devices-such as external hard drives or advanced telecommunication equipment.

If you have a home office or are constantly running operations on your devices, a UPS would be especially beneficial. Also, most UPS devices will protect your devices against power surges. Long-term data backups have to be done on a more opportunistic basis during thundery seasons. Do it properly before there is a chance of lightning to avoid the risk during the lightning period. 

Assessing damage to electronic equipment from storms:

I.         Consider whether damage is already occurred. If a lightning strike has left it in a threatening state that could result in electrical shock or fire. So even if your computer seems to work, you should still give it a check-up.

II.       If any of your telephones or other electronics show signs of damage, it’s wise to assume that your computer took a hit too.

III.   Unplug the computer and check the outside of the case for signs of smoke or burn   marks (especially around the power supply at the back).

IV.   Use your sense of smell. If your computer starts to smell acrid, there could be  invisible damage. 

N.B.: If you assume damage, take your device to a local repair shop to get a professional suggestion. You may recover your files.

6. Using Lightning-proof equipment:

On a stormy day, especially during a thunderstorm, there is a high risk of damage to electrical equipment. So, if possible, use lightning-proof equipment.

7. Ensuring earthing:

Earthing in the house must be ensured to protect the house and electrical parts in the case of lightning. There is a main line and a neutral line when taking an electrical connection in the house. This neutral line is buried in the ground with a rod or wire, which is called earthing. It is used to carry the high voltage of lightning safely to the ground after lightning. When excess voltage or current flows due to lightning, it comes down to the ground in a safe way through earthing. This saves many valuable devices from being damaged.

8. Using safety bulbed multi-plug:

Use good quality multi-plugs with safety bulbs. As a result, during high voltage or lightning, this safety bulb of the multi-plug burns out and the power connection is cut off. This protects electrical components from lightning strikes. Multi-plugs that control the flow of electricity in a self-control automatic system is best for use. Multi-plugs of various brands with safety bulbs are now available in the market.

9. Unplugging:

Unplug important devices of the home or office if you’re going away for a day or two in thundery seasons.

10. Closing doors and windows:

Keeping all the doors and windows of your house closed during lightning can sometimes lessen the damages of your electronic devices.  I believe this piece of article will be beneficial to everybody. Because all of us suffer from this issue. So if you appreciate this writing, please notify us in the comment box so that we can be inspired.

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2 responses to “How to protect electronic devices from lightning”

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