Lightning strike causes light switch weirdness


Old 07-01-17, 02:07 PM
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Lightning strike causes light switch weirdness

A couple weeks ago a bolt of lightning struck a tree twenty feet from my front door. The lights went out for roughly 20 seconds.

The lightning traveled through an invisible fence buried wire and charred it's transformer in the garage that wasn't even plugged into the wall. It also followed the wire from that transformer into the unplugged control board and fried that as well.

Right near the unplugged Invsible fence control panel, my Rachio irrigation controller on the wall also had its control board fried. Separately, an audio amplifier in my attic driving ceiling speakers was fried.

Oddly, 2 @ 3-way light switches driving different exterior light fixtures are now displaying weird behavior. Basically, only 1 of the switches on each circuit dictate whether the light fixture is on or off.

The switches have worked for 30 years. Now they only sort of work.

Can anyone explain this behavior and how to fix the situation? I'm handy, but confused.


-Trevor in Austin
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Old 07-01-17, 04:07 PM
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The 1st thing the comes to mind is a simple reset. Make sure that all the fried control boards are disconnected. Then shut off each breaker & finally the main. Turn them on, main first & then the others, one by one.
Old 07-01-17, 04:08 PM
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Lightning is very strange and scary powerful. The voltage and current are so high that it can travel through air, soil, pipes and wires. Sometimes it doesn't take a straight path while other times it will jump from a wire if the wire makes a sharp bend.

In your case I would replace the faulty light switches.
Old 07-02-17, 05:20 PM
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I have good, but not completely understood news!

I replaced one of 3-way switches that appeared to no longer do anything.

Lo and behold that external light fixture once more works from both switches. Oddly, the other separately switched external light now also works properly from both of its switches.

As a point of information the other switch of the light circuit where I replaced a 3-way switch sits right next to one of the switches for that second external light switch that mysteriously has started working again.

I'm confused, but the good news is that as I have gotten old I have learned not to spend too much time trying to understand everything that plays out in your favor!

Thanks for your help. Happy 4th of July.

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