Question about grounding (lightning/surge protection) (1 Viewer)

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dfecarter

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 14, 2006
461
25
Connecticut
Hi about a month or two ago I was the "victim" of an lightening storm and power loss.
6 weeks later and about $125 poorer I have restored my 8 ft. c-band system and it's components.
Although I'll never know whether the culprit was the power loss and restoration and accompanying surge or the lightening it's self. I did have a ground wire, dish in to ground beneath the dish/mount.
My LNB stopped working, I lost my primary circuit board inside of my ASC1. Interestingly enough, from the same event, I lost an HDMI port on a tv, and HDMI port in cable tv box and a HDMI signal spliter. All not directly connected to the FTA dish. I May have also lost one of the distribution coaxial cables out at the dish, I just haven't tested this completely.
My dish is in my backyard about 60 feet from the house.
I was just wondering what measures people take to safeguard their dish and components, especially this time of the year?
Unplugging?
Surge protectors?
in-line surge protectors?
grounding of the distribution wires in addition to the dish?
others?

I live in CT and have heard that the state's code calls for the use of a dish ground, whereas Mass. is the opposite.

Thanks!
 
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FTA4PA

Satellite Guys Family
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 13, 2013
4,982
2,849
Central Pennsylvania
Hi about a month or two ago I was the "victim" of an lightening storm and power loss.
6 weeks later and about $125 poorer I have restored my 8 ft. c-band system and it's components.
Although I'll never know whether the culprit was the power loss and restoration and accompanying surge or the lightening it's self. I did have a ground wire, dish in to ground beneath the dish/mount.
My LNB stopped working, I lost my primary circuit board inside of my ASC1. Interestingly enough, from the same event, I lost an HDMI port on a tv, and HDMI port in cable tv box and a HDMI signal spliter. All not directly connected to the FTA dish. I May have also lost one of the distribution coaxial cables out at the dish, I just haven't tested this completely.
My dish is in my backyard about 60 feet from the house.
I was just wondering what measures people take to safeguard their dish and components, especially this time of the year?
Unplugging?
Surge protectors?
in-line surge protectors?
grounding of the distribution wires in addition to the dish?
others?

I live in CT and have heard that the state's code calls for the use of a dish ground, whereas Mass. is the opposite.

Thanks!
I feel your pain. We got zapped by lightning a year or so (maybe longer?) too and lost some equipment. This happened even though with the coax was grounded before it enters the house so ever since I always attempt to disconnect all dish and antenna coax leads from the equipment in the house whenever bad storms will be in the area. That is if there is time of course. I've had storms sneak up on me and I'm not grabbing that coax once the lightning is flying. :eek: I also unplug the dish mover so that lightning can't follow the control/motor wires inside to find a ground. Best practice is to bond your dish(es) to the house ground outside to avoid voltage potential (more here). Lightning is tricky and even if you do everything right you can still receive damage from a strike. The idea is to do everything you can to minimize the damage if you do.
 
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harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,676
2,737
Salem, OR
If something took out your cable box, I'd be looking at the cable box side. Are we to assume that the cable box was the active input on the switch at the time of the strike?

There really isn't much you can do about lightning outside of making sure your dish itself is well grounded and even at that, it may make it a more attractive target for lightning.

Lightning is more something you have to be prepared for and if its upon you, you unplug as much as you can.

Putting everything on a quality (read: not necessarily stupid expensive) surge supressors or UPSes is a start. Don't run satellite cables through it unless it is rated for satellite cables.
 
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Cham

VE4GLS
Pub Member / Supporter
Dec 19, 2008
2,346
925
Boonies
I've been hit here too. Lightning hit a light up on my tower, surge came into the house on that circuit which was the same one my main PC was plugged into. Took out the UPS; had a network surge protector in the ups but the surge likely came into the computer via UPS and network cable, spread to the router and took it out, as well as anything connected to it including at least two NICs in other computers, and power supplies, wifi a/p, and ISP's radio.

When the lightning hit, I had just unscrewed the antenna cable off of the TV and was heading over to undo the ham radio antennas. Then everything went white.
Could sure smell the ozone after that! Lucky I wasn't holding one of those cables when it hit. There had been a couple distant rumblings so I sure wasn't expecting one to hit so close I suppose...

The light had no grounded third wire, I suspect that's why it got hit. All my antennas including a long wire for the ham radio setup was unscathed. These runs were grounded and/or went through lightning protection. The tower is also grounded by several 10' rods below the cement block bonded to the tower legs , installed before the cement was poured. None of the radios were damaged other than the PTT circuit on an automated beacon transciever that was connected through a TNC to the computer.

The light was a 25ft 25 light Christmas light string attached to a star. Inspection after the fact; there was no insulation left on the light string or extension cord, and most of the lights were either blown out or black inside. The circuit breaker was badly burnt for that circuit, and some of the wiring anf the offending outlet had to be replaced.

Do as much as you practically can as far as grounding goes. At least then you have done all you can (within reason) to mitigate lightning damage.

There's no Christmas light on my tower anymore. I got the memo!!
 

Comptech

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 26, 2006
2,784
2,032
Travelers Rest SC
My only problem I have here with lightning is my OTA amp. The only one that works is a CM7778 mid range amp. With everything bonded to the house ground I have never lost anything other than those amps. Just toasted another one Monday night. I go through 3 or 4 a year. Wish I could find another amp comparable that could take the static charge better.
 

Comptech

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 26, 2006
2,784
2,032
Travelers Rest SC
Cham I feel your hurt. When I lived in Florida a bolt hit a queen palm in my front yard, I had a post lamp at the end of the driveway. When it struck the tree it found that lamp, same as you, a two wire, blew it to pieces and looked like someone took a ditch witch and dug a 30 trench to that lamp post in my front yard!
 

dfecarter

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 14, 2006
461
25
Connecticut
So if I unplug the fta receiver and positioner from the wall (power) but leave the coaxials connected - what are the odds that I could still experience a power surge or voltage irregularity , that could damage equipment? That would travel through the distribution wiring.
So use a quality surge protector and try to tap in to my existing house lightning rode aka ground?
Would this sort of in-line surge protector serve a purpose?
Siemens FirstSurge Coaxial Cable Protection Device-FSCATV - The Home Depot
 

Cham

VE4GLS
Pub Member / Supporter
Dec 19, 2008
2,346
925
Boonies
Yes, you can install those at the cable entry location (just before the cable enters your house) as per electrical code. Idea is not to allow discharge to enter your house. Bond to electrical ground, usually near your panel where mains enter. I admit not using them here, but I have never had a hit through the FTA/TV antenna cables... so far. Hasn't been much lightning up here this year, maybe one storm so far, but it's been a very dry summer!
Only way to 99% make sure against lightning damage is to unplug all your equipment and hide it under the bed... :)
 

Titanium

AI6US
Lifetime Supporter
May 23, 2013
7,210
8,167
Meadow Vista, Northern California
If the STB and positioner are unplugged from AC with the coax, control and AV distribution wires still connected, the discharge may just travel further into the system and take out connected gear (TV, audio system, LAN, etc.).

In the peak of C-band era, there was an inline switch that would disconnect coax,sensor and control wires from the dish and route to ground. Didn't see many on the West Coast, but they were quite popular in regions with frequent lightning activity. Maybe another member remembers the product name?
 
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panth1

Member
May 30, 2013
10
9
Florida
I use a US Electronics SurgeSat-Guard for my actuator and sensor wires. I believe I read someone mention it here before so I decided to try it out. Google and you can find where to buy.

Never had it "tested" by mother nature and hope not to.

If I know some really bad weather is coming, I unplug the mover, receivers, coax, and unscrew power/sensor wires.
 
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PBSer

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 20, 2013
54
15
Texas
Here's a summary of my experience with surge suppressors:
Seemingly, scorch-blackened path to the ground soil on a utility pole from lightning-"crash" two poles away with a utility transformer knocked out on that same pole

Consequences:
1. Non-fried; but made a main panel inop.
2. Inoped a pc motherboard on 1250 joules suppression.
3. Inoped a radio receiver on another circuit with no suppression.
4. Inoped a satellite receiver with no suppression.

This Spring the utility company cycled power ON and OFF numerous times during final restoration of power.

Consequence:
The second sat receiver with 825 joules suppression and 22.5kA max surge protection from that time on now locks up.

Nowadays, I'd get 1300+ joules (maybe much more), 50+ kA protection at outlets (one reference recommends 50 to 100kA). I now have a whole-home 50kA, and outlet suppressors (as I keep going up in scale). On another building I had a whole-home, first-main panel suppressor installed, 3300 joules, 80kA (one reference recommends 200-300kA)
 
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Corrado

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 2, 2007
2,382
270
Hudson Valley Region, NY
I had a experience last week that was really a first for me. A thunderstorm had been in the forecast for days here in my area last week with a seemingly low probability and diminishing percentage after sunset. I decided to get the tractor out and mow the lawn before it would get dark. I had just finished and put the machine away and out of nowhere, lightning hit nearby.

I was completely caught off guard since the sky was at least 75% blue with only a few clouds. While mowing, I never heard it coming and the rather normal looking sky didn't appear threatening in the least. Now I understand how people on watercraft and golf courses get struck.

In the following minutes there were many lightning strikes from the partly cloudy sky. After I experienced a catastrophic lightning strike here in July 2007, I disconnect all satellite and related TV equipment. This now includes all my amateur radio equipment whenever a storm is forecast when I'm not going to be home.
 

dfecarter

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 14, 2006
461
25
Connecticut
I use a US Electronics SurgeSat-Guard for my actuator and sensor wires. I believe I read someone mention it here before so I decided to try it out. Google and you can find where to buy.

Never had it "tested" by mother nature and hope not to.

If I know some really bad weather is coming, I unplug the mover, receivers, coax, and unscrew power/sensor wires.

I see one on ebay now for 12 bucks!
So you run a separate jumper wires for your motor and sensor wires - from the surge protector to your positioner?
 

zack

SatelliteGuys Family
Sep 22, 2009
114
31
texas
Hi about a month or two ago I was the "victim" of an lightening storm and power loss.
6 weeks later and about $125 poorer I have restored my 8 ft. c-band system and it's components.
Although I'll never know whether the culprit was the power loss and restoration and accompanying surge or the lightening it's self. I did have a ground wire, dish in to ground beneath the dish/mount.
My LNB stopped working, I lost my primary circuit board inside of my ASC1. Interestingly enough, from the same event, I lost an HDMI port on a tv, and HDMI port in cable tv box and a HDMI signal spliter. All not directly connected to the FTA dish. I May have also lost one of the distribution coaxial cables out at the dish, I just haven't tested this completely.
My dish is in my backyard about 60 feet from the house.
I was just wondering what measures people take to safeguard their dish and components, especially this time of the year?
Unplugging?
Surge protectors?
in-line surge protectors?
grounding of the distribution wires in addition to the dish?
others?

I live in CT and have heard that the state's code calls for the use of a dish ground, whereas Mass. is the opposite.

Thanks!
I do nothing, and the last time I lost an LNB was almost 20 years ago! Dish is not grounded. Coax cable not grounded. No surge protector. I believe this is do to improvements by TXU, my electric provider!
 

dl76

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 9, 2013
215
127
South Carolina
My 10 foot grounded to ground rod on meter. Got hit 4 months ago. Came thru dish then linkbox then hdmi port on samsung 50 inch. Lost that one hdmi port on tv. Did not blow the linkbox. Found memory board for tv for 25 bucks. In fleabay. Back working again.
 

panth1

Member
May 30, 2013
10
9
Florida
I see one on ebay now for 12 bucks!
So you run a separate jumper wires for your motor and sensor wires - from the surge protector to your positioner?

Yes. It also has ground terminals. You will need a small flat head screw driver to turn the screws. I am using 16 gauge wire and they fit snug. Not sure if 14 would be too big but will be close. Might have to split the wire between each side of the screw if using stranded.


Also forgot to add, I installed a few of these coax surge protectors out at the dish and in my inside coax distribution panel.

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PBSer

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 20, 2013
54
15
Texas
I won't vouch for the suppression, l have one that hasn't been lightning hit-tested yet--and I mostly turn its switch off when thunder is heard-- but; this has about the highest home-office outlet joules: Belkin BE108200-06. ~$20. Similiar, but with coax suppression is BE108230-06 www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000IF9QW0 A Belkin page on counterfeits Genuine Belkin says "ships from and sold by Amazon.com", are genuine products. The Belkin site specs the 200 at 3550 joules (which is on the 200 I have), the 230 at 3000 joules (not what the Amazon description states).

I tried a bit to find a joules-application protection chart, again, but didn't find one. Supposedly, the protection level for non-immediate ON devices, the most digitally sensitive (receivers, tv, receivers) is:
~2000J- <3000J=very good protection
3000+= best protection
 

PBSer

SatelliteGuys Family
Oct 20, 2013
54
15
Texas
I do nothing, and the last time I lost an LNB was almost 20 years ago! Dish is not grounded. Coax cable not grounded. No surge protector. I believe this is do to improvements by TXU, my electric provider!
I was informed by an American Electric Power (AEP) technician that came to my area that their transformers have built-in surge protection. But, the last lightening hit I had I think was right on the transformer pole of another electric distributor, before I changed to AEP as a distributor, that may or may not have had a built-in surge protector.
 
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