View Full Version : Grounding and lighting storms, oh my

06-07-2009, 11:23 PM
So we had a lighting storm a few days ago. I am reasonably sure it fried my TV. I pulled the back case off and there is a black charred mark on the circuit board going around a capacitor into a black chip that I assume if for one of the the CCFLs.

I live in a older, rented house built in the early 20's so all of the outlets are of the two-prong ungrounded, variety. I installed three prong adapters into them that screw into the socket, which, in theory should ground them.

I tested them with one of those little circuit checkers from home depot that has three lights that light up in different patterns. It tells me that every outlet is an open ground. Bad news.

Is there anything I can do to protect the rest of my stuff? My TV was plugged into a surge protector but it still died (presumably because the surge protector wasn't adequately grounded).


Edit: And I am renting, so I cant go and make all the outlets better.

06-08-2009, 12:21 AM
I'm not sure about where you live, but I thought that grounded power points are necessary in Australia. Contact your local council and find out. If it is necessary to have ground, contact your landlord.

06-08-2009, 12:54 AM
Quality surge suppressors are going to stop it either MOV or Gas (gas being the best if you're concerned about lightning strikes, gas can quickly recover and be ready for several hits in a row which is common).

Typically a lightning strike through a television will hop around a board and take a goodly number of components with it. When I was a kid, I lived in lightning country and repaired many lightning-struck televisions, radios, etc...

Get a real surge suppressor is my advice - one rated for lightning protection. Look into a quality APC. If your ground is bad, it won't even engage the load, and will warn you of the problem. If you're really concerned, look into Point of Entry protection - I like Siemans. That will require an electrician to install it.

I question that a lightning strike would take a single device and not everything else in the house. It'll jump around a panel like you wouldn't believe. It's already lept hundreds or even thousands of feet. The half a foot in your electrical panel is a big fat nothing. Personally - I'd look for other culprits, especially if you have bad grounding. Microwave? Electric range? Electric clothes dryer? Noisey motors - maybe an HVAC unit?

06-08-2009, 01:55 AM
Thanks Adrenalynn,

It wasn't a direct hit, but it was somewhere in the city. I had unplugged the computer but forgot about the surge protector with the TV.

So during the day, the power flickered on and off a number of times. Sometimes staying off for a few seconds.

Maybe it wasn't the lighting, but it was awfully coincidental.

My main question, is knowing that the ground is bad or non-existent, is there anything I can install that will still offer protection? As I understand surge protectors, they are supposed to dump excess electricity to ground. So is there anything that will work? I dont really want to install something permanent like point of entry protection, because I am renting. But getting my TV toasted is no fun.

Also, anyone know how much it runs to get a TV repaired? Its an older Scepter LCD. It stays on for a few seconds but there is a dark band across the middle of the screen. Then it turns off the video after a few seconds (sound still plays). The TV repair places all seem sketchy around here though...

And Noodle, its required for new homes, but old homes don't need to be upgraded I don't think.