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Thunderstorm and dead ethernet port.

Long story short:

I took my machine apart on Saturday night for some work and a reformat, and left it running overnight downloading updates and other stuff. I completely forgot to put the LAN cable back in the power strip. I have such bad luck that I woke up mid Sunday in the middle of a massive thunderstorm, and right as I was getting out of bed lightning strikes and I hear a cracking/popping sound around my machine, along with a house-wide voltage drop. My DSL modem got fried, doesn't work. Fortunately, my machine is in one piece and works fine, except for the Ethernet port in which the LAN cable was plugged into from the DSL modem. :(

The ethernet port is now permanently lit up with both a yellow and an orange light. They remain lit up even after I power down my machine. They only turn off if I flip the PSU switch to shut down current flow to my motherboard. Given my motherboard's manual doesn't have a code for when those two lights are on, I'm guessing that ethernet port is dead and gone for good? It's not showing up on the device manager anymore and plugging a LAN cable in there doesn't do anything. I know this is probably a very dumb and obvious question, but I sort of figured if the port was dead it shouldn't even be displaying those lights.

Interestingly enough, my second machine which was also plugged to the same modem and whose LAN cable is significantly shorter than my main machine's one and isn't plugged into a powerstrip suffered no damage at all.
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  1. Selakah said:
    I know this is probably a very dumb and obvious question, but I sort of figured if the port was dead it shouldn't even be displaying those lights.

    Interestingly enough, my second machine which was also plugged to the same modem and whose LAN cable is significantly shorter than my main machine's one and isn't plugged into a powerstrip suffered no damage at all.



    [#0005ff]I suspect those lights will be shining brightly through the landfill tip on top of it for several centuries to come with all the voltage it swallowed. I had a fax MODEM that did the same twelve years ago and I reckon the lights are still on to this day.

    Your's is dead, I'm afraid but a new one of the PCI slot variety is quite inexpensive.
    [/#000ff]
  2. Saga Lout said:
    [#0005ff]I suspect those lights will be shining brightly through the landfill tip on top of it for several centuries to come with all the voltage it swallowed. I had a fax MODEM that did the same twelve years ago and I reckon the lights are still on to this day.

    Your's is dead, I'm afraid but a new one of the PCI slot variety is quite inexpensive.
    [/#000ff]



    That made me chuckle. Thanks. Fortunately, I still got another ethernet port on my mobo.

    Out of curiosity: since I can't leave in the middle of work to go home to unplug my LAN cable and power cables in case a thunderstorm brews up, what would be a good solution for surge protection on my remaining ethernet port and my system in general? Maybe UPS? I'm running with an enthusiast-level system and after today's scare, I'm very, very thankful nothing more than a single ethernet port died, otherwise I'd have slit my wrists after all the money I've poured on my machine.
  3. Best answer
    Selakah said:
    That made me chuckle. Thanks. Fortunately, I still got another ethernet port on my mobo.

    Out of curiosity: since I can't leave in the middle of work to go home to unplug my LAN cable and power cables in case a thunderstorm brews up, what would be a good solution for surge protection on my remaining ethernet port and my system in general? Maybe UPS? I'm running with an enthusiast-level system and after today's scare, I'm very, very thankful nothing more than a single ethernet port died, otherwise I'd have slit my wrists after all the money I've poured on my machine.


    I wish had some comforting words on this one but somehow I doubt that even an anti-surge adapter on the MODEM and?or Router would be able to cut in sufficiently quickly to prevent a recurrence if, lightening does strike twice in the same place. I had surge adapters installed all round when my old fax MODEM went West - South in the States, I believe. The only other affected items were a couple of lightbulbs, the microwave oven and strangely, the central heating programmer which was actually blown off the wall and that was years before wireless started to be used in heating systems.

    I think you just have to hope there's life in the old adage and it could be years before you're affected again unless you live in one of those belts where it happens all the time.

  4. Plugging all your items into a UPS would provide them all with backup power until either the battery dies on it, or the power comes back on to your house. I'm not sure if they actually protect from massive surges like yours. I've had a simple 2$ surge protector/power strip save me a few times. But I don't think I've ever experienced anything like you have had first hand. Do a little research on google about UPS's protecting from power surges to see if they can or do. If so then that would be your best bet, you get surge protection with back up power if and when the power does cut out again.
  5. A decent surge protector will also have protected for RJ11 and RJ45, so you can not only protect the power coming into the modem/computer but also the phoneline coming into the modem and the network cable coming from the modem to the computer.

    That should all but remove the chance of a surge hitting your computer at all.
  6. Kewlx25 said:
    A decent surge protector will also have protected for RJ11 and RJ45, so you can not only protect the power coming into the modem/computer but also the phoneline coming into the modem and the network cable coming from the modem to the computer.

    That should all but remove the chance of a surge hitting your computer at all.


    That's more or less what I'm looking for. I could care less if the DSL modem gets fried; a quick call to my ISP will get me a new modem the next day at no cost where I live. What I care about is the two computers attached to the modem. Like I mentioned above, it was dumb luck; I woke up in the middle of the thunderstorm JUST in time for lightning to hit my phoneline and blow up my DSL modem and 1 ethernet port in one of my machines before I could physically unplug the modem (which I always do during serious thunderstorms).

    Both my machines are connected to power strips, and so is the DSL modem. However, the phone line cable goes straight into m DSL and from there into both my machines. Would it make sense to have the phone cable that feeds the DSL modem go through a power strip first, and then have both LAN cables go through power strips first before reaching the ethernet ports? Would that slow down my Internet connection in any way? More importantly, would using that sort of double layer protection help reduce the chances a lightning strike could manage to travel all the way down to one of my computers? Like I said before, I don't care if the actual modem dies so long as it doesn't reach my machines. :(
  7. Surge protection is all well and good but you didn't suffer from a surge - you suffered from a lightning strike. A UPS setup, unless it costs an awful lot of money, only gives you just about long enough to perform an orderly shutdown in a power cut so unless you're at the computer all day and every day, it's next to useless. Move on from this - you qwere lucky and maybe your MODEM and the NIC were the sacrificial lambs that saved the life of your motherboard.

  8. Best answer selected by Selakah.
  9. When I finally stop renting and get a house, I plan on using a whole house surge protection like they use for datacenters. They only cost ~$150-$250.

    When you look at stats for these things, they don't talk about surges, they talk about soaking lightning strikes. They're meant for datacenters that must run 24/7.

    Personally, I'd go the whole-house+surge-protection+UPS route

    The only issue with these protectors is you can't just put them anywhere. They require being in ~10' of the ground. I don't mean the 3rd plug ground, I mean where your ground touches earth.
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