(Topic ID: 57432)

Should I unplug games during thunder storms?


By The_Director

6 years ago



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  • 64 posts
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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by mbwalker
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    There are 64 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 6 years ago

    Is this a good practice or even worthwhile? I never play the games during a storm and have all my games plugged into high dollar warranty backed surge protectors. I know the games themselves are built with some protection like the MOV and being very well grounded, but just wondered what you guy's thoughts were on it. Even thinking of one of my games taking a direct hit is enough to make me feel ill.

    #2 6 years ago

    If you get hits in your area, I'd unplug or get a lightening/surge protector.

    LTG : )

    #3 6 years ago

    I lost an Asteroids a decade ago when T-storms hit me. And it was on a surge suppressor...

    #4 6 years ago

    Here's a link to a chat we just had a little while back about this....

    http://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/surge-protectors

    #5 6 years ago

    It's worth the extra effort to unplug them to be cautious, especially if gives you added piece of mind.

    #6 6 years ago

    My electric supplier is NYSEG and for 350.00 they sell you a surge protected power meter. If you lose anything from spikes or surges it is covered by them.

    #7 6 years ago

    Just came across this thread again at the same time as I am hearing thunder outside, so unplugged one of my pins and double checked that the others were unplugged.
    Thunderstorms are a common occurence in summertime in south Louisiana.

    #8 6 years ago

    Yes.

    #9 6 years ago

    Yeah, I keep mine unplugged even when not at home. Such little effort for such big piece-of-mind.

    #10 6 years ago

    Aren't the games safe so long as the outlets are properly grounded?

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    Aren't the games safe so long as the outlets are properly grounded?

    No, lightning problems can take out boards.

    I vote for unplugging the machines during lightning storms.

    #12 6 years ago

    That's a resounding yes on unplugging the games. Lightning is not to be underestimated. Surge Protector or not, lighting will win every time.

    #13 6 years ago

    There is one UPS that is used in datacenters to assist with power conditioning which coupled with the breakers in your house wouldn't really require you to unplug games.

    I use APC AP7830's. Expensive as hell but are meant specifically to condition power not just surpress.

    #14 6 years ago

    Being from the lightning capitol of the USA (central Florida) I can tell you
    surge protectors don't always do the job. Unplug ALL valuable electronics.
    Steve

    #15 6 years ago

    All of mine are on heavy duty surge protectors which stay unplugged when not in use......I don't trust them. Takes 5 sec to plug a row of games in and I sleep well at night during storms

    #16 6 years ago

    I unplug the power strip that my games are connected to every time I'm done playing my machines. I don't want to chance it at all!

    #17 6 years ago

    Always turned off at the breaker...takes less than 5 seconds to flip them all on

    #18 6 years ago

    I unplug them. I figure what is more a pain in the arse, taking a few minutes to unplug/plug games in or messing with a bunch of repairs.
    I had a TV and computer go in a storm once. The computer was on a surge protector and the surge protector and computer lost. My neighbor got it worse then me 2 tvs and 3 computers.
    I just don't trust surge protectors anymore, the safest thing is to unplug.

    #19 6 years ago
    Quoted from fiberdude120:

    My electric supplier is NYSEG and for 350.00 they sell you a surge protected power meter. If you lose anything from spikes or surges it is covered by them.

    Read the fine print....What happens when that lightning strike enters via the TV or Phone cable company media (unless you are all fiber), goes into a cable box, and then out the electrical connection seeking ground and subsequently frying everything along the way?

    Not saying you aren't covered, but I'd be very surprised if there isn't a clause concerning you proving it was via the electrical service and not some other point of entry.

    In the end, the ONLY safe deterrent to lightning strike is unplugging the appliance.

    #20 6 years ago

    Anyone ever consider installing lightning rods?

    #21 6 years ago

    Add a poll I would like to see what everyone thinks

    #22 6 years ago

    Probably a dumb question, but is keeping the breaker off as good as unplugging the machines?

    #23 6 years ago
    Quoted from RTR:

    Probably a dumb question, but is keeping the breaker off as good as unplugging the machines?

    No....Lightning can easily jump the gap between the open contacts of a breaker.

    #24 6 years ago
    Quoted from Monster_Bash:

    Always turned off at the breaker...take less than 5 seconds to flip them all on

    Quoted from RTR:

    Probably a dumb question, but is keeping the breaker off as good as unplugging the machines?

    Turning the breaker off isn't going to help. It only takes like 10,000 volts to jump a one inch air gap. Lightning is a hell of a lot more than that, and the small gap in the breaker contacts is going to do nothing to stop a hit.

    #25 6 years ago
    Quoted from robertmee:

    No....Lightning can easily jump the gap between the open contacts of a breaker.

    You beat me to it, Robert. I left to answer the phone before I finished typing.

    #26 6 years ago

    Interesting...
    15 years of collecting and 2 lightning hits..one of which took out darn near everything plugged into a wall. All the pins and vids survived shut off at the breaker...along with the neon signs...stereo..and TV.

    Ironically the TV and the stereo system up stairs...that was plugged into a $50+ surge strip didn't make it...neither did the strip

    Guess I've been getting lucky

    Quoted from MattElder:

    Turning the breaker off isn't going to help. It only takes like 10,000 volts to jump a one inch air gap. Lightning is a hell of a lot more than that, and the small gap in the breaker contacts is going to do nothing to stop a hit.

    #27 6 years ago

    Surge protectors are a waste of money, my house has been hit twice by lightning and they did nothing and they did not cover anything, neither did my insurance company. I always unplug to be safe.
    Just my opinion, Bob

    #28 6 years ago

    I hear that. The one major lightning hit I had...everything but the dishwasher and a little shitty alarm clock bought it...including the furnace. Some where on strips...most were not.

    At the time I had about 10 pins and at least 10 vids that where shut off at the breakers...not a problem with any. In fact I still have all but 2 of the pins...

    Quoted from beepnutz:

    Surge protectors are a waste of money, my house has been hit twice by lightning and they did nothing and they did not cover anything, neither did my insurance company. I always unplug to be safe.
    Just my opinion, Bob

    #30 6 years ago
    Quoted from Monster_Bash:

    Interesting...
    15 years of collecting and 2 lightning hits..one of which took out darn near everything plugged into a wall. All the pins and vids survived shut off at the breaker...along with the neon signs...stereo..and TV.

    Ironically the TV and the stereo system up stairs...that was plugged into a $50+ surge strip didn't make it...neither did the strip

    Guess I've been getting lucky

    Yeah, sometimes there's no rhyme nor reason to what it takes out.

    One thing worth noting....not all strikes are direct hits, so you might pick up some stray voltage from a nearby hit, and not see the full effect. Something small like that *might possibly* be stopped by a breaker being turned off, but don't ever count on it. Being an electrician I've seen A LOT of lightning damage, and bottom line, if you want to be sure stuff is safe, unplug it. A direct hit has the potential to fry anything unless it's unplugged. You take away the path to your precious things and you know they're safe....unless your house burns down from the lightning.

    #31 6 years ago

    I don't even know why this is a question unless your pins are so close together that it takes 10 minutes versus 30 seconds. Even if that is the case, why even take the chance?

    The risk/reward for this makes it an easy call. (Less of a minute of time versus 10k plus value of pins.)

    Put it this way- by the time you have read all the opinions on this in the thread, the games could have been unplugged and you would have no worries.

    #32 6 years ago

    I unplug em, doesn't cost anything.

    #33 6 years ago

    We're in the middle of a thunderstorm right now and my 8 y.o. Just came running out of his room and asked me if I had the pinball machines unplugged.

    #34 6 years ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    Anyone ever consider installing lightning rods?

    you would think they help a good percentage of the time, but there not really reliable, i had a house get drilled up in flagstaff az and there was all sorts of metle, and a 60 foot tree just feet away, but it just blew a hole in the eve on the corner of the house.

    #35 6 years ago
    Quoted from davewtf:

    We're in the middle of a thunderstorm right now and my 8 y.o. Just came running out of his room and asked me if I had the pinball machines unplugged.

    Smart 8 year old!

    #36 6 years ago

    Thanks for all the responses! I figured this was the case and I have been unplugging the games when they are not in use just to be safe, but didn't know if the expensive surge protectors cut it or not -- looks like they don't.

    I have to crawl under two sets of machines to unplug and plug back in which is a little bit of a pain, but not nearly as much as if I had tons of $$ worth of machines screwed up, so I'll keep up the unplugging habit.

    #37 6 years ago
    Quoted from The_Director:

    I have to crawl under two sets of machines to unplug and plug back in which is a little bit of a pain, but not nearly as much as if I had tons of $$ worth of machines screwed up, so I'll keep up the unplugging habit.

    My thoughts exactly! I lost a Track and Field to lightning in my condo a few years back. Now, all games are unplugged when not in use.

    #38 6 years ago
    Quoted from tomaszb1:

    Smart 8 year old!

    Thanks! He is pretty smart but i'll chalk this one up to a good memory as i told him about unplugging the games back when we got our first game a few years ago.

    #39 6 years ago

    unplug it all tha way.......

    #40 6 years ago
    Quoted from robertmee:

    No....Lightning can easily jump the gap between the open contacts of a breaker.

    1.21 gigawatts can do a lot of things.

    #41 6 years ago

    I have been collecting for 7 years and have had lightening strike issues 3 times. It's a major pain to unplug all my games as I have to crawl under some of them, so sometimes I am caught off guard. The first time, 2 pins had the varistors and fuses blown. Fortunately after replacing those parts they still worked fine. I started unplugging the games when a storm was rolling through, but that can get unpredictable. The last time I had unplugged everything except for one vid. The plug is a real pain to get to on this vid, so I pulled the transformer fuse. You guessed it, the surge jumped the gap where the fuse was and the varistor was blown. Breakers sure won't save you. It's a major pain for me.

    #42 6 years ago
    Quoted from BagAJellyDonuts:

    1.21 gigawatts can do a lot of things.

    what the hell is a gigawatt

    #43 6 years ago
    Quoted from BillP:

    what the hell is a gigawatt

    The wattage that it takes to send you back in time fOOL!

    #44 6 years ago

    What about a cheap surge protector on the wall and then going into a higher end one?

    The thought would be that the first surge would blow and if it made it through that the second layer would stop whatever was left?

    I'm in this boat as well but unplugging 30 machines is a pain in the ass. So I did wall mounted surge protectors going into a higher end cyberlink protector. Any thoughts on this?

    #45 6 years ago

    This is the answer. It says here that a bolt of lightning is going to strike the clock tower at precisely 10:04 p.m. next Saturday night! If... If we could somehow harness this lightning... channel it into the flux capacitor... it just might work

    #46 6 years ago
    Quoted from BillP:

    This is the answer. It says here that a bolt of lightning is going to strike the clock tower at precisely 10:04 p.m. next Saturday night! If... If we could somehow harness this lightning... channel it into the flux capacitor... it just might work

    This is true but I only have a tinfoil hat and a moped that goes 28 mph how am I gonna reach 88 mph? Oh and if it works I'm going back to 1999 and buying all the MM.

    #47 6 years ago
    Quoted from hank527:

    What about a cheap surge protector on the wall and then going into a higher end one?
    The thought would be that the first surge would blow and if it made it through that the second layer would stop whatever was left?
    I'm in this boat as well but unplugging 30 machines is a pain in the ass. So I did wall mounted surge protectors going into a higher end cyberlink protector. Any thoughts on this?

    Unfortunately, cheap protectors use MOV's for so called 'surge' protection. And 'surge' is such a misnomer. An MOV shunts high peaks in voltage somewhere, and it only does it once. Once it is hit, it no longer works, but you or your surge protector won't know that. They're really built for taking a spike out of minimal voltage like a dryer motor kicking on. Not 10,000 volts from a lightning strike. And guess where that MOV shunts the spike. To ground. Now, you're outlet is not directly connected to earth ground, but to ground via a bunch of romex cables in the walls with ground splices everywhere. So that MOV just sent the high voltage spike through all those grounds connected to all sorts of equipment before it finally reaches earth ground back at your distribution panel. You're almost better off, NOT having a cheap surge protector in use for lightning.

    The best you can do is unplug them. The next best is to install a whole house protector at your panel box with a short direct connection to earth ground. The worst is to use surge protector strips.

    #48 6 years ago

    If you are in an area that has a lot of lighting, why not install an outlet that is super easy to get at for unplugging. If that is not an easy option for you I would get a short, heavy duty extension cord (12 gauge wire) and treat that extension cord like your outlet and make sure it is in a convenient place.

    If you have to crawl under your pins to unplug them or unplug a bunch of plugs every time, you probably won't do it. Try to figure out a way that is the least number of plugs (one being preferred) to unplug in a very convenient outlet that is no effort to reach over and unplug.

    Personally I have a heavy duty cord that runs to a power strip that my pins are plugged into. That one cord is very convenient to plug and unplug.

    #49 6 years ago

    Ha! I *wish* I could plug all my games into one convenient outlet. I have found that any more than 3 or maybe 4 games running on a circuit is problematic for me and extension cords reduce the line voltage further.

    #50 6 years ago
    Quoted from tomaszb1:

    I unplug the power strip that my games are connected to every time I'm done playing my machines. I don't want to chance it at all!

    same here, so easy to do...

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