Lightning strike screwed up my USR courier! help please!

0 views
Skip to first unread message

Matt

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 4:17:19 PM4/20/02
to
yesterday, lightning hit near my house where i keep my USR external courier
v.everything permantely connected. I had it hooked up the phone line surge
protector as well as power surge protector on my strategic power strip.
Except later i found out that i had wired the In and out phone lines
backwards (i was thinking of outgoing rather than incoming). so the manual
said it would decrease protection if it did that, which i did. So, when i
try to connect it won't get a dialtone now. If i have it hooked it up to the
surge protector, when i push the voice/data switch i hear nothing. (normally
you hear a dialtone). when i hook the modem up directly to the wall jack,
and push the voice/data button, i hear a bunch of static. Yes, the lines are
fine now- i am using the modem in my laptop to connect and i hear a normal
dial tone with a phone. So obviously my modem got screwed. Next question -
what exactly happened (electronically). I opened it up but couldn't see
anything. This is the fifth modem that i have blown and i am pissed off,
especially seeing how this thing cost $350. Next question, how do i go about
fixing it? is it a relatively easy problem to fix. It's not under warranty
so i would have to pay to fix it. How much would USR charge to repair the
modem (their support is only M-F), could somebody local do it? I'm sure this
is a common problem and anybody that has exprienced this before, please help
me out and give me some advice on what to do next.

thanks,
matt


Tony Cruz

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 3:19:59 PM4/20/02
to
Matt <side...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3cc1a5d8$0$58...@fountain.mindlink.net...

> yesterday, lightning hit near my house where i keep my USR external
courier
> v.everything permantely connected. I had it hooked up the phone line surge
> protector as well as power surge protector on my strategic power strip.
> Except later i found out that i had wired the In and out phone lines
> backwards (i was thinking of outgoing rather than incoming). so the manual
> said it would decrease protection if it did that, which i did. So, when i

Specifically, you go from mediocre protection to virtually zero protection
by
doing what you did, so don't feel too guilty. :-)

> try to connect it won't get a dialtone now. If i have it hooked it up to
the
> surge protector, when i push the voice/data switch i hear nothing.
(normally
> you hear a dialtone). when i hook the modem up directly to the wall jack,
> and push the voice/data button, i hear a bunch of static. Yes, the lines
are
> fine now- i am using the modem in my laptop to connect and i hear a normal
> dial tone with a phone. So obviously my modem got screwed. Next question -
> what exactly happened (electronically). I opened it up but couldn't see

What happened electroncally was un-dramatic enough that it didn't cause
damage through any device's packages. A good QC lab could remove the
tops of some of the ICs and see very obvious damage to one or more
chips themselves using a reflected light inspection microscope. More to
your
question, one or more tiny connections literally melted within one or more
ICs causing opens and/or shorts. In your case, electrically catastrophic,
but
mechanically, a non-event contained within the device envelope. (Been
there.)

> anything. This is the fifth modem that i have blown and i am pissed off,
> especially seeing how this thing cost $350. Next question, how do i go
about

If this modem cost you $350, one of two things is true:

1) Someone screwed you worse than a direct lightning hit.
2) This modem was purchased so long ago, you got more than your money's
worth. :-)

> fixing it? is it a relatively easy problem to fix. It's not under warranty
> so i would have to pay to fix it. How much would USR charge to repair the
> modem (their support is only M-F), could somebody local do it? I'm sure
this

Cheapest way to fix it is to place it in a special container out on your
front curb
the night before garbage collection is due. Then, get yourself a new
[external]
modem, such as a USR 005686-03 or better. Shouldn't put you out much more
than $100.00 or so. OBTW, your external modem protected your serial port
and
everything after it by blowing first. You should consider yourself lucky.
I have an
external for that very reason.

BEFORE installing the new modem, de-install the old modem software.

> is a common problem and anybody that has exprienced this before, please
help
> me out and give me some advice on what to do next.

I have a Zoom device called a "demon dialer". I have surge protection out
the
yin-yang, both on the phone lines as well as the mains. If I dare to use it
for a
summer, I'll replace the main chip come winter
[for $75 no less since it's a discontinued item]. Since it was originally a
Heathkit
version, I keep it now for posterity but hardly ever connect it any more.
Bottom line: All telephonic devices vary in their vulnerability to
lightning.
Surge protection will give you SOME semblance of security,
but ONLY in those cases where you take a hit from a lightning strike
a mile or more away, give or take.

>
> thanks,
> matt
>
>

Hope this helps a bit.

--

In HIS Service,

Tony Cruz (W8OKX - ex WN2OKX, WA2OKX, CT1EGV)
GOD BLESS AMERICA!


Gary Tait

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 6:08:00 PM4/20/02
to

Matt <side...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3cc1a5d8$0$58...@fountain.mindlink.net...

You will have to check, with instruments, the components in the
phone interface. Probably either protection fuses, or the hook SSR.


w_tom

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 6:36:51 PM4/20/02
to
First, surge protection is earth ground. Those surge protectors were too far
to earth the surge. Therefore they only distributes the surge to all other
wires, providing the surge with more paths to find earth, destructively, through
you modem. Surge protection is earth ground. A surge protector only connects a
surge from one wire to all others. With no short earth ground connection, a
surge protector can even contribute to damage of the appliance.

Second, destructive surges must have an incoming and outgoing path through a
damaged appliance; else no damage. So what was that path? The phone line, if
properly installed, already has effective surge protection connected less than
10 feet to earth - if the homeowner has not compromised that connection. But AC
electric typically has no such protection. Destructive surges enter via AC
electric. Since not shunted to earth at the service entrance, an AC electric
line surge seeks ground, destructively, through some appliance. One good path
is via motherboard and modem to phone line ground. Incoming on AC electric.
Outgoing on phone line. Typically, the modem is damaged in the DAA section.

Start there to repair a modem. Easier if you have an oscilloscope to trace
phone line signals. Fuses typically are not damaged by such surges. Check for
failed semiconductors.

Third, surge protection has been well understood and effectively installed
since the 1930s. Plug-in surge protectors routinely violate those proven
principals. Most critical component of a surge protection 'system' is earth
ground. Effective surge protectors discuss this most critical 'system'
component extensively. Those plug-in surge protectors never mention earthing.
Why? Maybe because you would ask some embarrassing questions? A surge
protector is only as effective as its earth ground. A solution begins with a
'whole house' surge protector connected less than 10 feet to central earth
ground. All incoming utilities connect to central earth ground either directly
or through a surge protector. Phone lines, as previously noted, typically have
that 'whole house' protection. Incoming CATV and satellite dish wires also
require that critical, less than ten foot, connection to central earth ground.

Existing plug-in surge protectors provided no protection. Explained is but
one reason why. The surge path through a modem's DAA defines where to located
damaged components. 'Whole house' surge protection has been the proven 'system'
since the 1930s. Residential AC electric 'whole house' protection starts at
about $1 per protected appliance. The most critical component of any effective
surge protection 'system' is central earth ground. Earth ground is fundamental
to defining effective and ineffective surge protectors.

Matt

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 9:53:41 PM4/20/02
to
so you're saying the modem was blown through the AC? that doesn't make sense
or else other components would have been harmed. It had to be through the
phone lines since the only devices i have ever lost in my house have been
modems (5 of them). What would you suggest as the most effective way to
protect the phone lines from surges other than the phone surge protectors (i
still don't know if mine would have worked because i had it wired
backwards).

thanks


Matt

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 9:57:20 PM4/20/02
to
thanks, it looks like i will have to get another one. i wish the cable
company would stop lying to me and hook up cable modem service. for the time
being, what do you suggest i do to prevent any more fried modems (what do i
need to do to run a permanetly connected modem safely throughout the
summer).

thanks


Tony Cruz

unread,
Apr 20, 2002, 11:38:37 PM4/20/02
to
w_tom <w_t...@usa.net> wrote in message news:3CC1ED82...@usa.net...

Check all vacuum tubes as well using a good, transconductance tube tester.

Franc Zabkar

unread,
Apr 21, 2002, 6:06:21 AM4/21/02
to
On Sat, 20 Apr 2002 21:53:41 -0400, "Matt" <side...@yahoo.com> put
finger to keyboard and composed:

>so you're saying the modem was blown through the AC? that doesn't make sense
>or else other components would have been harmed. It had to be through the
>phone lines since the only devices i have ever lost in my house have been

>modems (5 of them)...

I was originally a skeptic until my friend's house suffered a direct
strike. I analysed the damage and posted my results here:

Lightning strike damage report
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&selm=3c127fb2.3326501%40news.dingoblue.net.au

On a previous occasion another strike caused the following damage, at
the same house:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3b522d5a.241230%40news.dingoblue.net.au&output=gplain


-- Franc Zabkar

Please remove one 'g' from my address when replying by email.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages