If it is storming do you guys turn off your pins or unplug?

Started 1 year ago by mojozone in forum All PinballAll Pinball.


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If it is storming do you guys turn off your pins or unplug?


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  • Started 1 year ago by mojozone
  • 38 Pinsiders participating in this thread.
  • Latest reply from APOLLO_13

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    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Is it safer to unplug them, or does it even matter. Should they be in a surge protector, or does that even matter? What do you guy do or do you have any type of protection from lightening?


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    If there is a bad lightning storm, I have totally unplugged mine before. Only done it a couple times...worth the hassle...


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    when evr lightning I turn off and unplug. not worth the risk to me...


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    It's a pain, but I always unplug my pins when not playing.
    Just not worth the risk.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    If you get a really close strike, the only thing that will save you is having them unplugged. That goes for anything. Surge protectors are for normal power surges, not lighting strike surges (despite what the protector may claim).


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I usually unplug them if I know I won't be playing for a few days. Just in case- storm or no storm...


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Out of curiousity though and for the sake of discussion, what would you fry board wise if you had a lightning strike and the pin(s) was plugged in? All boards, or would it likely only make it so far before internal fusing would stop the spread?

    Guessing all boards, but thought I'd ask since I know as much about the electronics as I know about speaking Japanese.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I have mine plugged into a surge protector, and I still DO unplug/not play when the weather sucks.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I unplug min when they are not being used and especially when I go on vacation. Better safe than sorry.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I keep mine plugged in and play during intense storms. In the back of my head I'm hoping a lightening strike hitting my pinball machine while playing it will suddenly bestow me super powers and transform me into a pinball god.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    My gameroom is a totally separate building. I always shut the main breakers off in bad weather or long away trips. Power surges are a killer on electronics. I learned the hard way many years ago when lightning hit a power pole and took out many home electronics. Insurance paid nothing. Only good thing was the Sony Wega was still under warranty and the guy came to the home and put in a new control board.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Nibbles said:

    Out of curiousity though and for the sake of discussion, what would you fry board wise if you had a lightning strike and the pin(s) was plugged in?

    You have no idea what will and won't survive. There are tons of stories of stuff plugged into the same circuit and one thing will completely fry and something else will be fine. We had a lightning strike hit the radio tower outside a field office and what it damaged and didn't damage seemed random. If you have anything you really value, unplug it. It is a PITA, but it is really the safest bet.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I turn off and unplug to be absolutely safe.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I unplug any time there is lightning... not just the pins but other high $ electronics too.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I don't unplug them at all...too much trouble and really no benefit to me. I have all of my pins on surge protectors, which should stop power surges and not allow any damage to the pins. If your house takes a direct lightning strike, your pins will be the least of your worries....there will likely be no house left after the fire anyway.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I have a surge protector connected to my breaker box. You can get them at any home improvement store


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    My Black Hole pin (as well as vid games) always remains unplugged unless I am playing it.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    PinCrush said:

    I unplug any time there is lightning... not just the pins but other high $ electronics too.

    ditto


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    PinCrush said:

    I unplug any time there is lightning... not just the pins but other high $ electronics too.

    Double ditto. If you want to save it-unplug it. Might be a pain be the only way to true pin salvation. wink wink nod nod


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Definitely would, good thing we don't see too much lightning out west.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Put a lightning rod on your house and help drain the sky of all that lousy static electricity.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I dunno, sounds like this type of thing is a very rare event. I never unplug them and if there is a surge hopefully the varistor will do the trick. Only know one person who has had some lightning damage to machines.

    Wouldn't you have to unplug your appliances and every other electrical device in the house?


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I unplug, then go and fly a kite.


    BVM

    Retired Pinsider
    1 year, 12 months ago
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    ALWAYS unplug!


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Hmmm, never really thought to unplug. I have surge suppressors on all my pins. Wouldn't that be good? I don't unplug my TVs?


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    If I'm home I do, too much money sitting in pinball machines not to take that precaution.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    A surge protector will not protect you against a close lightning stike. If you think it will you might learn the hard way. Always unplug


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I unplug during storms.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Unplug. Just turning them off won't do anything during a strike.


    Atomicboy

    Pinball guru
    5,511,400 2
    1 year, 12 months ago
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    stangbat said:

    If you get a really close strike, the only thing that will save you is having them unplugged. That goes for anything.

    Ditto. Super annoying with the amount I have, but it's needed. I am at the highest spot in my city, so we get close hits alll the time thunder storms.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    There's different levels if surge protection. Many high end surge protectors warranty things that are plugged into them against lightening strikes. Nothing is 100% lightening proof though. It will jump across open switches and blown fuses looking for the fastest easiest path to ground. Unplugging is the only sure fire way to protect your pins. I don't bother with unplugging though. My pins are on surge protectors warrantied for up to $40,000 and my insurance covers lightening strikes. I not going to worry myself about something that has a 1 in 1 billion chance of happening. If I get hit the worst that's going to happen is I get all new boards and I'm down a few days till I get new ones. There's other things with much better odds to worry about.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Surge protector's and the warranty they offer are a joke....Neither work. The so called insurance that the protector companies offer are so tied up in the small print you'll never successfully make a claim. And if you do, guess what. The surge protector company will subjugate it back to your home owner's policy carrier.

    Next....Your surge protector is actually WORSE than having the appliance plugged directly into the wall. Here's why. Lightning seeks the shortest path to ground. Unless your surge protector is connected to EARTH ground at the pin, then guess what? Your surge protectors use MOVs to shunt the surge to your EQUIPMENT ground conductor. That's the little copper wire in your outlet box that goes back to your breaker panel. So, the MOV will shunt the surge to the equipment ground and the lightning will travel its merry way back to your breaker box and then to earth ground. Along the way, it will fry anything connected to that equipment ground which means every outlet between your pin outlet and the breaker box.

    No offense, but point of use surge protectors are the biggest snake oil scandal going. Please, please educate yourself on surge protection and dump those protectors. You will NEVER get a successful insurance claim from them and they will damage more equipment than protect what you have plugged into them.

    The ONLY safe method against lightning is to unplug the pin. Second to that is a whole house surge protector installed in your panel box and tied to EARTH ground at that point. Be sure your cable/SAT and phone lines are properly grounded too at the point of entry into the home.


    Atomicboy

    Pinball guru
    5,511,400 2
    1 year, 12 months ago
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    robertmee said:

    Surge protector's and the warranty they offer are a joke....Neither work. The so called insurance that the protector companies offer are so tied up in the small print you'll never successfully make a claim. And if you do, guess what. The surge protector company will subjugate it back to your home owner's policy carrier.

    Very correct, however, the word is "sobrogate" You can claim, but you might as well by doing it on your home policy, as that is where it will be going.

    robertmee said:

    Next....Your surge protector is actually WORSE than having the appliance plugged directly into the wall. Here's why. Lightning seeks the shortest path to ground. Unless your surge protector is connected to EARTH ground at the pin, then guess what? Your surge protectors use MOVs to shunt the surge to your EQUIPMENT ground conductor. That's the little copper wire in your outlet box that goes back to your breaker panel. So, the MOV will shunt the surge to the equipment ground and the lightning will travel its merry way back to your breaker box and then to earth ground. Along the way, it will fry anything connected to that equipment ground which means every outlet between your pin outlet and the breaker box.

    I don't understand this... how is the surge bar not connected to earth ground? It plugs into the receptacle’s ground, which should be a true ground. Any over amping should trip the internal breaker prior to reaching anything past that circuit, for anything within a certain range above what the breaker can handle, anything like a lightning strike will just destroy anything attached either way.

    I have had lightning hit close to my house 4 years ago. It wasn't super close, but it took out my in-ground sprinkler system control panel, and tripped the surge protector on my home PC. The only damages PC thing was the speaker system, however, on closer inspection, this was plugged into one of the non-surge protected receptacles it had, so in fact, it worked right for something it could handle.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    You guys are paranoid. I have 20 pins, 12 xbox 360, ps3, jvc theater projector, 3 60" kuro tvs, and about 30 pcs in my house always plugged in. I can't be bothered unplugging everything at the slightest drop of rain. I've been fine for years. Not at all worried.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    stangbat said:

    You have no idea what will and won't survive

    My parents had a lightning strike hit their phone line once. Fried just the internal dial-up modem on the computer.. stopped there. All the other phones were fine and the rest of the computer was fine, but the modem was trashed. Yes, it was a long time ago, when people actually had dial-up modems.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    mystic said:

    stangbat said:You have no idea what will and won't survive
    My parents had a lightning strike hit their phone line once. Fried just the internal dial-up modem on the computer.. stopped there. All the other phones were fine and the rest of the computer was fine, but the modem was trashed. Yes, it was a long time ago, when people actually had dial-up modems.

    The strike came over the phone line not the power line. Note that power lines are grounded better and every breaker panel should have a ground post. Phone lines are not grounded as well and often not grounded at all.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I saved about $75 on my electricty bill be unplugging everything in my house when not in use. Its just smart.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    PinFan4Life said:

    I don't unplug them at all...too much trouble and really no benefit to me. I have all of my pins on surge protectors, which should stop power surges and not allow any damage to the pins. If your house takes a direct lightning strike, your pins will be the least of your worries....there will likely be no house left after the fire anyway.

    Not so. As an electrician, I have gone to many houses over the years to do estimates of damages, and help with insurance write ups after a lightning strike. I honestly can't recall the last time a house actually burnt down around here due to a strike. It'll go in and burn a path of appliance destruction and then leave through the ground rods, water main, or re-bar electrode in the footing, but the house is fine.

    I've actually seen burn marks on the face of the drywall where the lightning has followed the romex, but the house itself was fine because the voltage eventually dissipated. Even crazy hits like this many times produce no fire, just wiring damage. A more indirect hit usually does little more than knock out a few appliances on it's way through.

    As many have said though, those surge arrestors/suppressors are pretty worthless...so is turning off your breakers. The only real way to save something from getting damaged/destroyed is unplugging it ( ....assuming your place doesn't actually end up burning down).


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Good info MGE, I used to unplug then bought high end surge protectors thinking I was OK leaving them plugged in. I guess I will go back to unplugging again.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    If we get a bad storm, we unplug all tvs and other electronics. The pins are unplugged everyday as habit.

    Thanks for pointing out that surge protectors are worthless against lightning. At least you can plug in multiple items on them.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    mojozone said:

    Is it safer to unplug them, or does it even matter.

    It's safest to unplug them, but I don't.

    Though, I live in Cali and we don't get those type of storms very often, so I never unplug mine.

    Unless it's really a bad surge, being off is OK; but you guys back east have way worse weather than we do.

    Only you can tell by what's happened in the past with power surges how bad they might be.

    Robert


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    Atomicboy said:

    I don't understand this... how is the surge bar not connected to earth ground? It plugs into the receptacle’s ground, which should be a true ground. Any over amping should trip the internal breaker prior to reaching anything past that circuit, for anything within a certain range above what the breaker can handle, anything like a lightning strike will just destroy anything attached either way.

    To understand, you have to distinguish between Earth ground and Equipment ground. Earth ground is just that...The ground rod that's buried in your yard. From there, a solid copper conductor goes to your panel box. The distance is kept short for a reason. From your breaker panel, all the romex cables that go out to your outlets, appliances, etc. carry a bare copper conductor but at this point it is referred to as equipment ground. It is no longer directly connected to Earth ground except at the ground bar on your panel box.

    So, on those point of use surge protectors, they use Metal-Oxide Varisistors (MOVs) to shunt high surges to the equipment ground. The MOV is kind of like a switch. It sends the high surge from the normal current carrying wires (your load wire and your neutral) to the equipment ground bare copper wire in the outlet. That's fine for transient surges as the path back to the panel box and then subsequently to earth ground is capable of dissipating that short spike of energy. With a lightning strike, if the MOV survives and doesn't incinerate, all that energy is put to the equipment ground conductor in your outlet box. As you know lightning is seeking earth ground. So that energy travels along that copper conductor back to your panel box and then to earth ground via the ground rod. Problem is, your outlet is not point to point to your panel box. To save money, electricians usually put 6 to 8 outlets on a single breaker. So they take that copper conductor to the first box, wire nut it to the next box, then the next box and so on. So, now that copper equipment ground is carrying that lightning surge through all your boxes and anything plugged into them on the way back to the breaker panel.

    As for the breaker, there is no breaker on the ground wire. The breaker is only on the load wire. That lightning surge isn't going to trip any breaker which operates on time/temperature as it's travelling along the ground...remember, the MOV did it's job and sent it there.

    Oh, and PS.....Guess what happens to a MOV when it does work on a regular transient surge (say your washing machine motor shorts out)? It dies forever and forever never to work again. Think your surge strip notifies you of this....Nope, 90 times out of a hundred it does not, even the 'high end' variety.


    1 year, 12 months ago
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    I have insurance but I still unplug all the high end... even if they do cover it, I wouldn't be able to play till I fixed it, or had it fixed... if it blows boards or even just the xfrm it's cash I could use for something else, like another pin... and if they did pay, like I said I'd be pinless till it was repaired.
    and I won't even mention the rate hike... then again I'm not one to drive my car till I sell it without ever changing the oil. think of it as preventive maint. on your pins to unplug.



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