Today was not a good day. Not the end of it, anyway.
For the second time in my life, I experienced for-real lightning damage. The first time was years ago in CT when a strike knocked out the TV set in the living room. This time it was worse. It wasn't totally bad, but it cost me money.
I look outside and I see a storm coming. No big deal, or so I thought. The storm cell passed right over my apartment building, there was a flash and the instant that happened a super-loud CRACK happened, and I heard it not only outside but inside my apartment, right next to my wireless router.
The damage it caused is nothing short of weird, and just goes to show how screwed up lightning really is.
Cablemodem: Fried. No lights. Dead to the world.
Wireless router: Nearly dead and too damaged to be usable. While I did have it plugged into a UPS with adequate surge/spike protection, that didn't help because it got knocked out from electricity either going through the network cable or in the air that the antennas "caught" and killed the router.
USB Controller and network card: Dead, and this is the weirdest one of them all. My PC survived. CPU, RAM, drives and whatnot are all fine. But the built-in network card was shot and the USB controller was also fried. There must have been just enough charge going through the wire to kill the USB controller and the NIC.
Concerning the cablemodem, I called up Brighthouse and they told me to go exchange my modem for another at the nearest local office. I did, and it worked (which is why I'm able to type this up now). No charge, no hassle. Brighthouse is cool like that.
I ran to CompUSA and bought a TRENDnet TEW-652BRP wireless router and a cheap network card. The router was 20 bucks and the card 13 bucks. Amazingly, the TRENDnet pushes out a way better wireless signal than my Linksys ever did.
As for the USB controller, I didn't determine that had kicked the bucket until I got back from my emergency computer shopping, so tomorrow I will run to CompUSA again and buy a USB card so I can connect all my USB crap again.
Oh, and the strike also caused a fluorescent tube bulb in my kitchen to knock out as well, so I'll have to buy one of those things. It's one of the smaller "kitchen size" tubes that runs around 15 bucks or so.
As far as I know, nothing else was damaged by the strike. Right now I'm using my netbook to type up this bloggo with. While I could still use my PC, I had to swap out my USB keyboard and USB mouse with an old-ass PS/2 mouse and old-ass PS/2 keyboard that I keep lying around just for emergency purposes such as what happened with the strike. They work, but hurt my hands because they're not ergo-friendly at all.
This could have been a whole lot worse, so I guess I should consider myself fortunate that it didn't cost me more.
What I've learned
- A UPS with surge/spike protection is not enough to save a wireless router.
- On-board USB controllers can be knocked out while the rest of your motherboard will still work a-okay.
- Radio Shack does not carry NICs anymore (I did go there first before CompUSA).
- When a storm is coming, UNPLUG EVERYTHING.
It's the last point I learned more than anything else. I knew the storm was coming and thought what I had would protect my stuff. And to be honest, it should have - but it didn't. Even with all the surge/spike stuff I have (which is more than just the UPS), that lightning found ways to knock out stuff I didn't think was possible.
I shan't underestimate lightning again. 🙂