I came home today and tried to turning on my computer (no prior usage for 10 hours) I heard a click and nothing happened. I noticed the lights on the motherboard turned off too (the ones indicating power) along with that my two tvs, phone, cable box, and xbox all dont work. Thinking it was just a surge I checked the breakers, turn em off and on. Nothing! I took my external HDD and plug it into my other PC upstairs and it started clicking and screeching so I unplugged it. I also took my pc to other outlets around and house and it didnt get power or turn on.
A power surge through the electricity sockets should have tripped the breakers, so you would have found them in the off position when you got home. Is there a common connection between all those components? Might have been a lightning strike that hit an outside cable (e.g. telephone line, which happens to me too often) and then damaged anything connected to it. Remember to look for any common electrical connection between all those devices. As for that HDD, sounds like you've lost it. I hope you have backups.
Did the tv's, cable box, phones and xbox come back on? If not then you probably had a lightening strike. I agree the PS is probably gone. If it functioned properly, it gave up it's life protecting the other components. The external hard controller is also most likely sleeping with the fishes. If you live in a high storm risk area you might want to consider a lightening abatement system for the house. I do and I have what used to be called lightening rods on the peaks of the house grounded to earth. It is a professionally installed system and it works. A lightening strike can enter the house wiring and by pass the breaker panel. I also recommend a good quality UPS/line protection device (I use APC products). I have never heard it recommended to plug a surge protector into another one. Piggy backing them can cause them not to work properly.
Is there any problem with wall --> surge protector --> UPS --> computer? Would that give the UPS a slightly better chance of surviving?
Yes, there is a very large problem with that setup.
It is never suggested to plug an UPS into a surge protector.
I would also highly suggest that people do not plug their PSU power cable directly into an UPS (or their monitor power cable, etc).
UPS are meant to intake dirty power and exhaust dirty power.
The power they exhaust tends to be less dirty than what they take in, but it isn't pure and clean power either.
If you go Wall --> Surge Protector --> UPS --> Computer then your surge protector will try to provide clean power to the UPS which the UPS doesn't want ideally and it will cause the UPS to function less effectively.
The PSU will change dirty power to clean power itself, however, it works better if it does not have to.
It is always recommended to plug a computer directly into a surge protector. Not just because you want to protect from surges, but also because the surge protector can help clean the power before the PSU has to do the rest of the cleaning.
Considering that PSUs can cost $ 100+ and surge protectors are like $10, the surge protectors are kinda like insurance. You pay the $10 so you don't have to pay the $100 later, or at least to minimize the likelihood of having to do so.
Anyway, I would highly suggest that if anyone is plugging in an UPS and a Surge protector that they do it the way I originally outlined.
- Edit - I forgot to mention a certain point and in so doing I think I may have neglected to answer an important question. To remedy that... You do not need to protect an UPS from power surges. Every UPS worth using should have the ability to shut itself down if it detects a power surge occurring. Additionally, an UPS also functions like insurance, protecting what is behind it from bad things. The idea is not to insure the $70 UPS, the idea is to insure the $500+ computer sitting behind it (or in my case two computers sitting behind it, one of which is extremely important for the family business and the other the one in my signature which isn't cheap and is built for gaming). If the UPS gets killed by a power surge and your other stuff still works, then it did its job faithfully and fell on the sword so you don't have to. Just buy another UPS if that happens and be thankful that it wasn't your computer instead.
Take a look here. These APC products are what I have used for many years. The offer very solid surge protection, battery back up to give you time to do a clean shut down if the power goes off and a degree of line conditioning depending on model. (http://www.apc.com/site/Solutions/index.cfm/solutions/h...)
Also they have a very friendly phone support if you want to ask a person a question.