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Steve48
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:08 pm    Post subject: Lightning problem fixed Reply with quote Back to top

I'm not having a problem right now, but I thought the group might be interested in my experience. Last night we had a severe thunderstorm here in Orlando (lightning capital of the world). We got a close hit before I could get things off line and my internet service went down (modem couldn't connect). I waited until morning and called my ISP when it didn't come back. The problem was at his end and it was fixed by the time I got home from work. That's when I found that my phone still didn't work.

My RTP300 had internet connectivity and the phone light was lit, but I had no dial tone, the phone was dead as a doornail, and I didn't have line voltage on the phone system. Disconnected from house wiring and plugged a phone into the RTP. Same story. Plugged the phone into the other phone port on the RTP and I got line voltage, a live phone, and the standard "you may be plugged into the wrong port" message.

Naturally I tried all the normal re-booting and hard reset things, but it was pretty clear that one phone port on the RTP was fried. I called Vonage using the 888 250 1799 number and got a customer service rep within a few seconds. She listened to the problem and transferred me to technical support. I was on hold for 5 minutes and then got Rick. He actually listened to my description of the symptoms, checked everything from his end, and agreed that we should try the other phone port. A few more minutes and everything was working. We talked on the Vonage line and made sure that all was well.

The total repair time was about 20 minutes. Clearly customer service isn't always as bad as we often hear. Of course I'll need another adapter if I ever want 2 phone lines.

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Steve Gray
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VonageTPA
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Joined: Jul 11, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Now the trick is to figure out how & why your adapter got fried. With a properly-designed and functioning grounding system, all but a VERY close / direct hit of lightning should cause no damage to the electrical and electronics within a building. Check you grounding systems. I'm willing to bet a beer that you either have multiple grounds or a bad (weak) single ground. Is your cable TV line grounded at all? If it is grounded, does the CATV grounding block go to its own grounding rod or is it bonded to the building's electrical gronud? Do you have CATV surge protection at: the service entrance? the point-of-use? and are all of your telephones on surge protection if they're not line-powered?

I've only had one lightning-caused failure in 12+ years of broadcast engineering and it was caused by a bolt of lightning hitting the actual elements of the antenna on the TV tower. The antenna was a melted mess, found in the parking lot below the tower, the feedline was trashed (holes blown through it by the lightning), and the tower lighting system was destroyed. The surge protection on feedline and the RF transfer switch inside were also destroyed beyond recognition. *BUT* this was a direct lightning hit to a 195' broadcast tower. For what the average house will ever see, even in Florida, lightning damage should be avoidable.

_________________
ISP: Varies depending where I'm at.
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Router: IPCop 1.4.10
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Total calls since Jul 24, 2005: 4,794 calls
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Steve48
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

All good questions and points. I'll be looking it over this weekend.

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Steve Gray
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bg4
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Joined: Aug 04, 2005
Posts: 164
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

There are now at least three reports of RTP300 going DOA or at least port one by way of lightning or power surge.

I have traveled to Orlando dozens of times and the thunderstorm I experienced here on Long Island the other night was as intense as anything you get there but without the light show.

Least in my case my modem, two routers and a slingbox were not affected at all but RTP300 goes DOA.

Others have experienced same. Why would this be happening and how can it be avoided?

_________________
Bob-Long Island NY
Vonage Customer since August 8, 2005
ISP: Optimum Online
Router Motorola VT2442
Setup: SB4200>VT2442>Linksys WRT54G v2.2 (running WRT) wifi enabled-port 1 to switch>two PC's-
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Steve48
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

bg4 wrote:
There are now at least three reports of RTP300 going DOA or at least port one by way of lightning or power surge.

I have traveled to Orlando dozens of times and the thunderstorm I experienced here on Long Island the other night was as intense as anything you get there but without the light show.

Least in my case my modem, two routers and a slingbox were not affected at all but RTP300 goes DOA.

Others have experienced same. Why would this be happening and how can it be avoided?


I don't know, but I'll be looking at the things suggested by VonageTPA. The Vonage technician, Rick, indicated that he's been seeing a lot a lightning damage lately. I don't recall that he specified RTP300s.

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Steve Gray
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

bg4 wrote:
Least in my case my modem, two routers and a slingbox were not affected at all but RTP300 goes DOA.

Others have experienced same. Why would this be happening and how can it be avoided?


'tis the season for thunderstorms, which means lightning damage i. Took 2 nasty surges here this week, but the power rack relays disengaged each time here and the surge protectors did their jobs as well. There's been several threads on the forum about grounding, and I'd suggest reading through them, as they cover the why & how.

Here's a good one with links to others:
http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic7742.html

The simplest solution: if you want to totally avoid (at least as best as possible) this type of damage, don't use your house's wiring and keep all AC-powered phones connected to the same circuit & a GOOD surge protector that the Vonage adapter is connected to. If you want to use your house's wiring or add more phones powered by different AC circuits, then it's time to start reading up on surge protection and grounding. Most people here have their Vonage adapter on the same network as their PCs... Using the household wiring without proper grounding really puts your PC at risk as well as your Vonage adapter & phones, fax machines, alarm systems, etc.

_________________
ISP: Varies depending where I'm at.
Vonage: Linksys RTP300
Router: IPCop 1.4.10
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Total calls since Jul 24, 2005: 4,794 calls
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tarnet
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I had this same problem (lightning storm frying a phone port on the RTP300) last month. I call Vonage tech support and they indeed switched my service over to Phone2 which worked around the problem. Well, just this weekend the Phone2 port went bad (another lightning storm, albeit not near as violent as last month's). I called Vonage tech support, went through the whole process of them reconfiguring, no dial-tone, them asking me to reboot (4 times in 20 minutes) with still no fix. I can understand that they have to follow general troubleshooting scripts as standard tech support process dictates, but I also shared with them that I had a phone port tester I picked up from Radio Shack years ago that now showed both RTP300 ports as dead and they still had me go through whole reconfigure process and acted shocked when my ports didn't work. I finally got someone to start thinking about replacing my device but then came back and said she couldn't because I was literally 9 days past my year anniversary and hence out of warranty. I explained that I consider the dead phone ports as the same issue and felt that they didn't fix it the first time, only worked around the real problem by switching to another port. She forwarded me to Advanced Tech Support. As soon as someone came on the line, I got disconnected. I'm trying again...another day.
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Steve48
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

That's really weird. I also had a second incident (described here ). Fortunately, my unit was still in warrantee and I got quite good support from tier 1.

If you can't get decent phone support (try 888 250 1799 and ask for tier 2), try the forum Vonage contact page here. We're told that that gets you support that's a cut way above the normal Email support.

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Steve Gray
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OldSnipe
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Posts: 249
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Lightning Strike Reply with quote Back to top

We had a lightning strike here in Bend Oregon on 3 July that knocked the substation off line for a few hours. When power came back my modem would not boot. The local cable company offered me a DOCSIS 2 modem for 1/2 price. Installed it and everything is well. The modem was the original modem I bought in 1999 when I went to cable internet. Probably it was just tired? Summer lightning storms are common here in Central Oregon. I have only crude surge protection feeding my computers and boxes.

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dcabot
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:36 am    Post subject: avoiding lightning fries Reply with quote Back to top

I had the same problem with my equipment. I went through three boxes in one year. I isolated it to the cable modem. The lightning wasn't damaging anything by the Vonage equipment, but it was coming through the cable modem. Once I put on a lightning arrestor on the cable (in Nicaragua it's optional) my problems were solved.

I've seen other cases with my friends where lightning didn't damage the cable modem, but came through it and damaged equipment on the other side of it.
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