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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking Machines > Tormach Personal CNC Mill > Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers
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  1. #1
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    Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Where I live lightening strikes are pretty common – probably a couple near strikes per year. As such I have surge protectors everywhere plus a whole house unit.

    Anyway the last strike got into my Ethernet cabling taking out things both in the house & workshop. So in the workshop it got my network switch, PC, & both controllers for my PCNC 1100 & 15L Slant Pro. It also blew-out the MESA 7i92H card in the lathe.

    Anyway, I got everything repaired & now have surge protectors installed across my network too. The cable between the house & workshop has one on each end.



    The strike blew a chunk out of this chip on the 7I92H board:


  2. #2
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    ...the damage may have come from your ISP side of things(Modem/DSL/etc) and being hardwired to each machine via CAT5 should be opto/wireless isolated. There is a way to go wireless many different ways with cheap older wireless Dlink or Linksys routers from ebay. If, you know a little about Networking...check out dd-wrt website to upgrade old routers.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by machinehop5 View Post
    ...the damage may have come from your ISP side of things(Modem/DSL/etc)
    Good point. In my case I have a fixed wireless provider. Being out in the sticks there are only POT lines running around so I'm limited to fixed wireless or satellite.

    Yeah, I'm a fan of dd-wrt too.

    So I got both my controllers working again by using an USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter since it was only the onboard LAN ports that were damaged on the motherboard. My workshop PC was a total loss. My Netgear switch was replaced under their lifetime warranty - they didn't seem to care what caused the failure. I had 4 of these switches that got fried & they replaced them all.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    I'm not in my shop all the time, so when I leave I throw the breakers and unplug. Most of my machines and readouts are on plug ins, even the 3 phase. It can be a pain but plugs are the safest. Check the salvage yards for 3 ph plugs. If you have kids around defiantly safeguard the machines.

    Dave

  5. #5
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Be careful to maintain/check all the surge protectors monthly!
    It's a chore, but the MOVs in those things burn out with use, and after a while they will stop providing protection.
    If you're in a spike-ey area, you may have to replace them with some frequency. Although a whole-house unit should do "enough" to help the plug-in units last longer.

    Worst case, you can put the entire house on a 1:1 phase converter :-) That adds 10% to your electricity bill right there, though.

  6. #6
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Same thing happened to my house about 5 years ago. Took out just about all the electronics and appliances in the house. Anything that was connected via Ethernet blew too. Surge protection and UPS didn’t help either. A over a dozen servo/stepper drives and power supplies died.

    Some electronics that were not even plugged in died too and not sure how that happened. Had a bunch of expensive Copley servo drives that was sitting in a box. They don’t power up correctly. Firmware probably got corrupted. No way to fix them either.

    Couldn’t even get into the house since I didn’t have a front door key on me at the time. I use the garage door opener and that died too.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Yeah, I’m thinking when the lightening is close enough the EMP from it is enough to pop many things you would think are safe.

  8. #8
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Some electronics that were not even plugged in died too and not sure how that happened.
    Sounds like an EMP! Must have been a real doozy of a lightning strike!
    Every piece of wire is a small electromagnet/antenna. It just doesn't know it yet.
    When there is a magnetic field that's strong, and fluctuating, enough, that wire will generate a voltage, and that voltage will want to go somewhere, which tends to be "whatever components are connected to that piece of wire" -- plugged-in doesn't matter at that point, as the power comes literally from the magnetic field in the air.

    Robust electronics have protection on all important wires and rails, but cheaper stuff has less of it, higher-performance stuff has less of it (because the capacitance ends up getting in the way of high data rates!) and you can't put a Zener on EVERYTHING. (Unless you're sending it into space or something.)

    Really robust facilities also puts a full Faraday cage around it -- you might even be close already, if you have closely spaced concrete rebar walls, floors, and ceilings...

  9. #9
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    Re: Lightening Strike Fried My Controllers

    Back in the days when it made economical sense, I used to repair TV's for friends. One day a co-worker brought me one that he owned, and had had a near miss lightening strike, the lightening did not hit his house.

    The TV was one of the one's built in the transition years as solid state took over from tubes. This one had essentially a "motherboard" inhabited by tubes, and a few transistors. When I first looked it over, I didn't see any obvious damage, such as burns. Then I realized that every copper trace was gone from the motherboard. There were no circuit runs left at all. That one went to the dump. Lol
    Terry

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