Electrical Storm

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  #1  
Old 08-08-06, 01:56 PM
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Electrical Storm

I have a question for someone savvy about the effects of a passing electrical storm. We had a rather violent thunderstorm pass over the house yesterday and it resulted in the following. The power went on and off three times in rapid succession then stayed on, all of my battery operated only smoke alarms went off at the same time and emitted blue arcing, my battery operated grandfather clock had its programming scrambled as well as my battery operaed thermostat. My question is, could a local lightning strike create a large enough static discharge as to effect all of those battery operated devices exactly at the same time? My son also received a decent static type shock from a light switch during the same period as well.

Thanks

Leslie
 
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Old 08-08-06, 01:58 PM
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I suspect that a power surge occurred.
 
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Old 08-08-06, 05:08 PM
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I agree,, Power surge,, and I have always been under the assumption that when the power goes off and on 3 times in quick succession,, a fault has occured,, and is trying to clear itself before shutting down completely,, Confirm that Racraft?
 
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Old 08-08-06, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
I suspect that a power surge occurred.
But would a power surge cause the "battery operated" (i.e. not connected to the power grid) devices to act this way?
 
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Old 08-08-06, 07:15 PM
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About 25 years ago we had a near miss lightning strike. It was so close that the power surge wiped out over $3,000 in appliances etc. The energy field was so strong that it wiped out the transistors in a radio scanner which was sitting on a desk - UNPLUGGED.
Fastest I ever got out of bed.
 
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Old 08-08-06, 07:18 PM
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Any interference with the power grid can cause a power surge to a residence or a brownout. Neither are good for electronics.

The problem with the smoke alarms and other battery operated devices is that they run off a lower voltage. A power surge going through the transformer could generate a higher voltage than the electronics want to see, causing either temporary or permanent damage.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Any interference with the power grid can cause a power surge to a residence or a brownout. Neither are good for electronics.

The problem with the smoke alarms and other battery operated devices is that they run off a lower voltage. A power surge going through the transformer could generate a higher voltage than the electronics want to see, causing either temporary or permanent damage.
if its 100% battery powered like the items the OP mentioned say a smoke dector powred only by a 9 volt or a wall clock powred by a couple of aa how is a surge through the power grid going to affect them ?

no transformer involved

sounds like a ball lightning hit to the house to me
 
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Old 08-09-06, 06:05 AM
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could a local lightning strike create a large enough static discharge as to effect all of those battery operated devices exactly at the same time?

In a word, yes.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by goldstar
could a local lightning strike create a large enough static discharge as to effect all of those battery operated devices exactly at the same time?

In a word, yes.
That was my exact thoughts. I don't believe it had anything to do with an internal power surge through the electrical service (although that probably happened at the same time).
 
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Old 08-09-06, 06:09 AM
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Sorry, I seemed to have missed the part about these being battery operated only.

The problem would not be static electricity.

The problem would be em radiation. "em" stands for electromagnetic. Everything electric (including battery operated devices) produces em radiation. An electric strike and an electric storm produce em radiation.

I would suspect that the em radiation caused this undesirable behavior.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 07:26 AM
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yep what racraft said EMP electro magnetic pulse.Any thing that has a computer or computer chip will be damaged.Why do you think they say don't put magnets near a computer.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 08:21 AM
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The magnet vs computer is more of a problem with the hard drive or monitor than the chips. A CRT monitor may need degaussing after contact with a magnet. The computer actually has a rather strong permanent magnet in the hard drive.

Static, while defined as the sound of EMR or electrical discharges emanating from a receiver, is also a simple layman term for EMR.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 11:50 AM
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I have never seen what you discribe, it could be possible. I have seen stranger things with lightning.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 12:52 PM
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EMP depending on how strong it is will ruin anything that has a computer in it.Including cars so they won't start.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 02:38 PM
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Did a little digging on lighning.
Temperature is 50,000 degrees F.
Voltage about 300 million volts
Amperage averages 30,000 amps but can run from 10,000 to 200,000 amps.
Diameter of lightning bolt 1 inch.

A direct hit and you - or whatever it hits is toast.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 02:51 PM
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A direct hit and you - or whatever it hits is toast.
that would have been my thought too , but lots of peaple survive direct hits , some have evan surrvived multiple hits .

there was a good show on PBS awhile back documenting this
 
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