(Topic ID: 57432)

Should I unplug games during thunder storms?


By The_Director

7 years ago



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  • 64 posts
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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by mbwalker
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    There are 64 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 7 years ago
    Quoted from Betelgeuse:

    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.

    Considering the past 2 weeks we have had around here I feel better just leaving them unplugged. Not sure how they are at your place but we got huge storms for nearly a week straight, flash floods and all...

    #52 7 years ago
    Quoted from Syco54645:

    Considering the past 2 weeks we have had around here I feel better just leaving them unplugged. Not sure how they are at your place but we got huge storms for nearly a week straight, flash floods and all...

    Yes, this has been one of the stormiest summers on the east coast I can remember. We've had weeks and weeks of rain/storms. Really sucks...

    #53 7 years ago

    The topic of how many pins can you run of a 15 or 20 amp circuit has been well debated in other threads. Personally, I don't turn all of my pins on at once, so it has not been an issue for me.

    Yes, an extension cord will add additional resistance, but if you have one that is only the minimum length needed, not a 100' length and you get one that is 12 gauge (the largest wire size you would typically see in a residential home for outlets) you should not see much line loss. Issues with conductivity at the plug ends from old outlets and cords is a different story.

    5 years later
    #54 2 years ago

    Bumping this thread as I was nearly hit by lightning the other day. Was just finishing mowing the lawn before a storm rolled in and was in the driveway cleaning the mower. Out of nowhere it was like a flash bulb went off in my face and the craziest loudest electrical clap of thunder. Sounded like it was 5ft from me.
    Turns out lightning struck my neighbors house 40ft from where I was standing. Nearly shit my pants.

    It shorted out all his electronics in his house.
    Needless to say, I ran down and unplugged all my games.
    Now that these storms seem to roll through every night, I'm paranoid as hell.

    #55 2 years ago

    No and no

    #56 2 years ago

    I hated unplugging and plugging machines back in. So, I decided to make it fun, bought a new tool, and now it isn't so bad!

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    #57 2 years ago

    I just check the varistor once every so often, or add another in parallel.
    bought a pinbot from a guy and that thing was fried.

    I have all my games on surge protecting outlets as well.
    amazon.com link »

    Even if you have a game on a surge protector it doesn't make a difference if the varistor is fried.

    Usually they have little LED's in them let you know if the device is still working.

    #58 2 years ago

    Many decades ago I worked in an electronics repair shop and would occasionally get damaged electronics in from a lightning strike. At that voltage - it has a mind of its own w/respect to where it goes. Crazy what gets completely vaporized and at the same time - completely skips other circuits w/o harm.

    A direct hit is impossible to survive, but I did install high quality whole house surge protectors in the electrical box in the garage and the sub box in the basement. Won't stop the impossible, but at least there is a large 'line of defense', along with higher quality suppressors at outlets - not just for the pins, but everything else.

    As others pointed out, there's also plenty of alternate ways into the house - phone line, cable, antenna, even the power for a well pump is a possible path. Just not a simple or inexpensive solution out there. Perhaps a rider on insurance is a possibility. While I can unplug the pins, I can't unplug everything, so I just try my best.

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    #59 2 years ago

    Yes, it is good to unplug them during thunderstorms.
    If you know you are not going to play your machines for a while, you may want to just go ahead and unplug them even if it is not storming outside at the moment. Lightning strike could happen when you are not home.

    Here is a good vid of lightning strikes.

    #60 2 years ago
    Quoted from heme:

    I just check the varistor once every so often, or add another in parallel.
    bought a pinbot from a guy and that thing was fried.
    I have all my games on surge protecting outlets as well.
    amazon.com link »
    Even if you have a game on a surge protector it doesn't make a difference if the varistor is fried.
    Usually they have little LED's in them let you know if the device is still working.

    Point of use surge protectors are useless and false security for lightning strikes. Might keep your washing machine from damaging your pin but that's about it. You need a short direct bond to earth ground for any lightning arrester device to have a chance.

    2 weeks later
    #61 2 years ago
    Quoted from robertmee:

    Point of use surge protectors are useless and false security for lightning strikes. Might keep your washing machine from damaging your pin but that's about it. You need a short direct bond to earth ground for any lightning arrester device to have a chance.

    more then likely if you get a direct strike to your power it won't matter unless you have a bunch of those varistors tied in parallel, even then IDK. I think they are mainly there for residual surges. Maybe if something happened down the line non-direct strike that still affected your grid or like you said if someone started a vacuum cleaner on the same circuit as your games.

    Yes I agree that not being tied back to earth ground is stupid. If you ever see a game or piece of equipment without a ground prong it'll play fine, but your playing Russian roulette with your game and your safety as well.

    #62 2 years ago
    Quoted from heme:

    ...Yes I agree that not being tied back to earth ground is stupid...

    I might be opening up a can of worms because it can get complicated real easy, but the if the varistor fires, then the differential voltage is what important. But (and this is sort of the opening up the 'can of worms' part that can get complicated), the differential voltage would likely have to be the same on all the lines...including the ant, ground, hot, neutral, hdmi, internet, etc. connected to the TV, pin, whatever - and I realize that's impossible. Even if you have a short ground path, it is still very inductive back to earth. A uS pulse won't see a low impedance regardless. Some surge protectors have varistors between all the lines, just not to ground. A combination EMI filter/surge suppressor might be a better solution since it can provide a high impedance to the transient, but with a direct hit, it won't do much good. And I doubt the ones built into the cheapie surge suppressors are very effective.

    I don't disagree with your comment, but I doubt very many residential houses have a low Z path to ground. I probably have a good 4-5' of wire going to earth ground from the breaker box even with my setup. About the the only way to ensure a low Z path would be to have a ground rod at every pin.

    I have to deal with something similar in my line of work - but it's geared more towards bleeding static electricity off an antenna line - so not quite the same as a lightning strike.

    Surge protection is not an easy thing to achieve! There's been some studies on towers - I imagine they get nailed a fair amount of time.

    #63 2 years ago

    No

    #64 2 years ago

    Adding to my comments...and for those interested, some info concerning varistors (covering differential vs. common mode) and another regarding protection/testing methods.

    Varistors: https://www.littelfuse.com/~/media/electronics/product_catalogs/littelfuse_varistor_catalog.pdf.pdf

    Testing methods: https://www.phoenixcontact.com/assets/downloads_ed/global/web_dwl_promotion/5131327_TT_Basics_EN.pdf

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