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Vonage Surge protection is not a panacea for power surges. They're totally useless without

Surge protection is not a panacea for power surges. They're totally useless without a properly working grounding system in place, and this applies to ALL wires which enter the facility. Lightning doesn't just magically happen and zap electronics - it has to be delivered to them and then has to exit them. I've taken *DIRECT* lightning hits to my building and haven't suffered any damage to my electronic equipment. We did lose 2 1200 amp 3-phase circuit breakers in the one incident (contacts actually welded in the on position by the lightning coming in from the utility), but no other damage downstream.
Here's one of the many strikes we've taken on, as seen by the security cams... If you go through it in slow motion, you will see distortion in the video signal as the lightning goes through the building's grounding system, but the lightning bypassed the equipment and went straight to ground, no damage:
Click here to watch hit47

I've also taken a direct hit my transmitting tower (125') and found he melted remains of the antenna in the parking lot below and all the plastic-cased surge protectors had exploded, but the equipment was fine. Oh yeah, add the light bulb on top of the tower as a casualty as well. The bulb was blown when we went to reinstall the replacement antenna. The beacon fixture was undamaged. I won't say that EVERY lightning strike can be avoided, nor will I say that it's 100% possible to protect against ALL lightning damage, but I can say from experience, if you're willing to learn about lightning, it can usually be diverted safely.

nesincg : You said you had a cable modem, check for proper grounding on it. Where it enters the house, it should go into a grounding block, which should also be tied to the house's (electrical) ground rod.

Picture of a typical coaxial grounding block:

If you want to investigate things a bit more the receptacle where you have your internet equipment connected, check voltage across hot & neutral and hot & ground. These should both show the same reading. Next, check voltage across neutral & ground. This should be 0 volts. If it's higher, there's an issue. If you're reading 0 volts (and only if you're reading 0v), check the ohms across neutral & ground. *BE CAREFUL, if there's voltage, don't proceed further. If it's not neutral & ground, you stand a good chance of blowing the meter or worse, injuring yourself* This should read very close to 0 ohms, a dead short, which makes sense if you think about it. Neutral & ground are supposed to be bonded together in the panel box. Likewise, check the voltage & resistance across the ground (shield) of the cable line & the ground wire of the power receptacle. These should also both read 0v / 0 ohms.

The old aluminum wiring that was popular in years gone by was notoriously bad about expanding & contracting and eventually working itself loose. If you know what you're doing, and ONLY if you know what you're doing, you might want to kill power to the house & tighten down the main lugs on the incoming power, neutral, and grounds... but again, ONLY if you know what you're doing. This type of repair can easily be lethal. It also might be against local building codes to pop open the breaker can.

->>Best bet is to call an electrician in if you are unsure of anything or you're seeing voltage on the neutral or ground wires or aren't seeing a dead short when you check the resistance between neutral & ground.

On your network interface box outside the house, you said there's no grounding whatsoever? There should be a box which looks like this outside the house:

Pop open the cover (including the telco only side) and you should see something like this:

The green blocks on the left are the surge protectors that the phone co used, note the green grounding wire from these. This wire should run to your electrical system's grounding rod. These serve to protect the phone co from homeowner screwups and to protect the homeowner's equipment from major surges. They're a good first-line defence, but by no means the only protection you should have.

How far of a gap was there between the old telco wires & your wires? A couple of inches should do it, 'though the more the better.

As far as surge protection goes, price isn't everything. At the same time, plan to spend some decent money on it. I believe my phone line only protectors were in the $50 range. I've probably spent ~$120 avg for each of my power surge protectors. In addition, there is also a voltage regulator on my studio's tech equipment power, so plenty of walls for surges to hit before reaching my equipment. Very cheap insurance for what I have in here. While I do have a separate insurance policy on my electronics, it'd be a major hassle to replace some of this stuff. Some of my studio equipment hasn't been made in 20+ years.

As far as which brands, I've had very good luck with Polyphaser, Panamax (RacMax for power, their Mod series for low voltage datacom, service entrance protectors on the main panel & subpanels), and Tripp-Lite (metal-encased only...their plastic stuff created a huge mess when it exploded), and Furman for voltage regulators. Invariably, I usually lose a phone line protector every few years, but Panamax ships me a new one each time. Surge protectors do have a finite life, and should be replaced every so often. I've gotten in the habit of replacing them about every 5 years, moving the old ones to less-important equipment (fridge, etc).
I'll mention that I do use APC SmartUPS and have a SU2200RMXLNET purring away, but it's used only for battery backup, not surge protection for two reasons 1) I'd much rather use a $120 protector as a sacraficial part than a $1,000 UPS, 2) I'm not entirely hot about APC's power protection stuff. Granted, I haven't used their stuff in awhile, but it just didn't seem as rugged to me. Eventually, this UPS will be retired and I'll be switching to a homebrew inverter/charger & battery combo. It'll cost a bit more than this UPS, but being able to run the entire room (with lights) for 6+ hrs on battery has a lot of appeal to me. But I digress..

Just remember, lightning is just like electricity, it will flow through the path of least resistance. Whether that path is your house, your grounding, your equipment, or yourself. It's in your (and your equipment's) best interest to prevent it from entering and getting it out as quickly as possible through desirable paths.

Read The Full Thread:

RT31P2 phone port dead after storm.

Problem: Ok, I can’t be the only person that lives in the southeast and is having
Living in the lightning capital of the western hemisphere, I've learned a thing
we had a storm up here in Ontario yesterday, major lightning show, I had unplugged
Well I can tell you we are currently getting CLOBBERED here in FL by a storm just
I just got off the phoen with Tech Support, only had to wait baout 5 mins too.. :)
Must be that Canuck voice transfer.... :-D Just kidding... Well if it was
You may be on to something. Can you explain in more detail? Is there a way to test?
Nesincg, where are you located?
"Real old house"... you might have the opposite problem of what you think it is..
JAX Talkin College Football Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Krystals and

VonageTPA posted "Surge protection is not a panacea for power surges. They're totally useless without" on 07/18/2005

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