Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Safeguarding a modem during thunderstorms


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 graviton

graviton

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:24 PM

A few years ago, a bolt of lightning struck the telephone lines right near my house and destroyed my modem (I have DSL from Verizon).  I was told by the tech support that there was no way of preventing such events by attaching some sort of protective device to the modem.

 

So, I have two questions: 1)Is it true that there's nothing I can attach to my modem to prevent it from being damaged by lightning striking the telephone lines near me?

 

2)Assuming that there is nothing I can attach, and that the only recourse involves the modem itself, what do I have to do to insure that no damage is done?  Is it enough to turn off my modem?  Or do I have to detach the telephone line from the modem also?  I assume there's no need to disconnect the modem from the electrical system, am I right?

 

                                                                                                                                              graviton



BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 rotor123

rotor123

  • Moderator
  • 8,093 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 03 June 2013 - 09:11 PM

Turning off the modem provides no protection against a surge on the phone line.

However I never worried about it back in the days when I ran Dial up or DSL. Having seen equipment damaged by a power surge. I do remove the power from  my computer and external drives when I'm not using them. I flip the switch on the power strip to off.

 

My Brother learned the hard way. Now when he hears the first rumbles of thunder he shuts down and flips off the power strip too.

 

With DSL when You unplug the phone line how long will it take your setup to connect again. Unplugging the phone line is the only sure way to protect against surges.

 

Wish I could give You better help.

Roger


Fortune Cookie says: Fortune not Found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

Sent from my All-In-One Desktop. Perfect for Internet, Not for heavy usage or gaming however.

How Does a computer get Infected? http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/2520/how-did-i-get-infected/
Forum Rules,    The BC Welcome Guide

167 @ June 2015


#3 graviton

graviton
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 03 June 2013 - 09:31 PM

rotor123 you alarmed me by something you casually mentioned.  Your words: "Having seen equipment damaged by a power surge. I do remove the power from  my computer and external drives when I'm not using them. I flip the switch on the power strip to off."

 

I thought surge protectors are adequate to guard a computer against electrical surges, so I haven't been disconnecting my computer during thunderstorms.  Am I wrong?

 

As for how long it takes to get my modem up and working again when I reconnect it and turn it back on-- less than a minute.  But the reason I was hoping for an alternative to turning off/ unplugging my modem is that of course I can't connect to the internet for the whole time there are thunderstorms in the area, which could easily be an hour or two.  And that also means I can't make phone calls, since I exclusively use Google phone.

 

 

 



#4 rotor123

rotor123

  • Moderator
  • 8,093 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:05 PM

Hi,

I also shut off the computer when I don't need it, It only takes 20 or 30 seconds to boot to a usable state. I look at it this way, Why use the electricity and put the wear and tear on the moving parts? Mine are set to not sleep or any suspend. They stay active while on.

 

Surge protectors, You need to know how they work. This is a good place to start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surge_protector

 

They can absorb so much surge, and once that has been absorbed they provide no further protection.

 

The best Ones ($$) Have warning lights that will show if the outlet is wired properly. Improper wiring or no ground and no protection. They will also alert you when they are worn out with a warning light.

 

Also a strike close enough can send enough surge through the wires to overload the best surge protector and still damage equipment.

 

In the old days after Severe Thunderstorms we could count on selling a couple of dial up modems to replace damaged ones.

Also Quite often we would also sell replacement power supplies.

 

After a surge ate my Brothers 19" monitor he finally listened to me and now removes the power for storms.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Fortune Cookie says: Fortune not Found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

Sent from my All-In-One Desktop. Perfect for Internet, Not for heavy usage or gaming however.

How Does a computer get Infected? http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/2520/how-did-i-get-infected/
Forum Rules,    The BC Welcome Guide

167 @ June 2015


#5 graviton

graviton
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the info rotor123.  It's really not a hardship to disconnect my computer from the grid for the duration of a thunderstorm since I'll almost always have ample battery power to tide me over.  But it's awful to think I'll forever be at the mercy of those storms in terms of my phone lines/ internet connection--I guess there's some theoretical obstacle to providing even a modicum of protection for the modem, say, the equivalent of the surge protector for electrical devices--which of course I understand from your posts is by no means guaranteed protection though it does at least LESSEN THE ODDS of a disaster for your electrical equipment.



#6 dpunisher

dpunisher

  • BC Advisor
  • 2,234 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South TX
  • Local time:07:12 PM

Posted 04 June 2013 - 11:58 AM

rotor123 pretty much laid it out. 

 

I can remember 10 years ago when a fair amount of people still had dialup (rural populace) I had 10-15 calls a year for toasted modems and motherboards.  It has fallen almost to nothing (1-2/year) since broadband has become the norm.  I can say easily that telephone lines are 10 times more problematic than powerlines for causing damage to electronics.  Internal modems plus lightning= lot's of motherboards.

 

The only way to 100% protect your equipment in a thunderstorm is to disconnect it.  That's it.

 

I have had several DSL modems apart before (bad capacitors, thanks Motorola) and they do have rudimentary surge suppression hardware( a MOV and capacitors).  Problem is they aren't made to take multiple hits, no suppressor is.  MOVs go bad over time and lose their effectiveness, just like capacitors.

 

You might run your telephone line through a surge suppressor, but no telling what that does to the DSL signal.  Double check any suppressor to make sure it is DSL compatible.


I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#7 GreenGiant117

GreenGiant117

  • Members
  • 294 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:08 AM

Surge protectors and/or UPS's more times than not will protect from voltage spikes/surges on the power lines.

Nowadays you can actually get network isolation surge protectors, they shouldnt slow anything down, or bottleneck the network in the sligthest but they will provide protection from surges on the Ethernet lines.



#8 graviton

graviton
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:37 AM

GreenGiant117, may I ask you for some clarification?

 

The "network isolation surge protectors" you're talking about won't protect the modem, is that correct?  So I'd still have to disconnect that during a thunderstorm.



#9 GreenGiant117

GreenGiant117

  • Members
  • 294 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:46 AM

well they have both ones with Ethernet and ones with Coax connections, they should all be direct pass throughs with the surge protection.

 

So yea that would still protect the modem, though unless you have your own modem that you bought your internet provider shouldnt charge you for a new one based on lightening strikes to the cable/internet lines



#10 graviton

graviton
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

Let me ask you this GreenGiant117:  I have an ordinary telephone line leading to my modem.  Then I connect my modem to my computer with an ethernet cable.  So I would attach your "network isolation surge protector" to the ordinary phone line and then connect the surge protector to my modem with an ordinary phone line? (There's only one jack on my modem for an ethernet cable, and I use that to connect the modem to my computer.)

 

By the way, what are some brands you would recommend for the "network isolation surge protector"?

 

You're right that my DSL provider furnished me with a new modem for free after the lightning strike, but the problem was it took days to arrive and in the interim I was without internet service.



#11 GreenGiant117

GreenGiant117

  • Members
  • 294 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

They have ethernet, RJ11 (phone) and coax, I would recommend either Belkin or APC, depending on number of plugs youre looking at somewhere between 25-40 bucks



#12 rotor123

rotor123

  • Moderator
  • 8,093 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:24 AM

 Hi, You said

You're right that my DSL provider furnished me with a new modem for free after the lightning strike, but the problem was it took days to arrive and in the interim I was without internet service.

 

 

Last year after Sandy hit. I was without power for almost two weeks. Once the Library got power back, My Brother and I were able to go there and use their computers or Use the Wifi for Internet.

 

Free Internet is one of their services. Maybe Your Library has such a service too?

 

Roger


Fortune Cookie says: Fortune not Found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

Sent from my All-In-One Desktop. Perfect for Internet, Not for heavy usage or gaming however.

How Does a computer get Infected? http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/2520/how-did-i-get-infected/
Forum Rules,    The BC Welcome Guide

167 @ June 2015


#13 graviton

graviton
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:08:12 PM

Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:30 AM

Rotor123, now that I think of it, I actually did go to my local library to get internet service in the immediate aftermath of my modem's death—but only so I could follow the excruciatingly slow progress of my new modem as it meandered from the service provider to me.

 

As for using the library's internet connection for other purposes—mock me, if you will, rotor123, but unless I'm dressed in my rattiest clothes, with my feet up and a box of Frosted Flakes at my side, with at least a half dozen of the flakes inevitably finding their way to the floor—and yes, as childish as it is, I eat them dry, straight out of the box, just as I have since age five!--- I JUST CAN'T ENJOY MY INTERNET SURFING!!

 

And even I, as boorish as I sometimes am, realize you can't behave this way in a public library!!!!

 

I know this doesn't speak well of me, rotor123, but there you have it!!

 






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users