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Do you unplug during thunderstorms?
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dzp111
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Jul 26, 2009, 05:30 PM
 
I do have a power bar with surge protector, but whenever a storm hits, particularly electrical ones, I unplug my MacBook. I urge my friends to do the same.

Am I being paranoid?
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finboy
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Jul 26, 2009, 05:41 PM
 
I don't unplug the power, but we're on a newer power grid and it isn't a big deal.

I ALWAYS leave phone lines unplugged into modems unless I'm on. They have to be physically disconnected or you run the risk of losing your machine in even the smallest thunderstorm. I've seen dozens of these personally. I've even seen it go through surge protectors, or down a serial cable to the motherboard or expansion card. Unplug phone lines.

If I lived on an older power line, or one that was isolated, I wouldn't leave stuff plugged in. My parents and grandparents used to go through a microwave or fridge every few years b/c of that. And a couple of computers now and again too.
     
turtle777
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Jul 26, 2009, 05:47 PM
 
I got good surge protection for both power, and my cable connection.

I leave it always on.

-t
     
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Jul 26, 2009, 06:05 PM
 
Pft no. I mean, I probably should, but everything's on surge protectors and it's boring to sit in a house with nothing on during a storm.
     
besson3c
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Jul 26, 2009, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
I don't unplug the power, but we're on a newer power grid and it isn't a big deal.

I ALWAYS leave phone lines unplugged into modems unless I'm on. They have to be physically disconnected or you run the risk of losing your machine in even the smallest thunderstorm. I've seen dozens of these personally. I've even seen it go through surge protectors, or down a serial cable to the motherboard or expansion card. Unplug phone lines.

If I lived on an older power line, or one that was isolated, I wouldn't leave stuff plugged in. My parents and grandparents used to go through a microwave or fridge every few years b/c of that. And a couple of computers now and again too.
Why not just get one of those cheap APC surge protectors that protect phone lines and offer insurance? Those have saved my butt several times, and I've never had one fail.

Any stories of claiming insurance on equipment through a company like APC?
     
dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 06:13 PM
 
Well it's become a habit for me now. Major storm going on as I type. But you know what? It gives me the opportunity to re-calibrate my battery.

: )
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Jul 26, 2009, 06:40 PM
 
Only during really intense ones. With a laptop it's not a big deal.
     
mduell
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Jul 26, 2009, 06:50 PM
 
No. What am I going to do, drive home from work every day and unplug for a few hours?

I've got a decent UPS (APC) and I assume it will take the punishment and leave the rest of my equipment unmolested.
     
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Jul 26, 2009, 07:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Pft no. I mean, I probably should, but everything's on surge protectors and it's boring to sit in a house with nothing on during a storm.
Bingo! Are you kidding me? I've got wunderground and various other radars up to watch the cell move through. I'm running back and forth between the machine and the outdoors to see what's going on. Some of my best stuff here has been drafted under the looming darkness of a wall cloud.

This reminds me though, I'm entirely at the mercy of some surge protectors as I don't think we've renewed our whole-house protection through the power company.
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Jul 26, 2009, 07:59 PM
 
Applecare does not cover it. So, I unplug the Macbook but leave Verizon's gear on the surge protector.
     
ghporter
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Jul 26, 2009, 08:07 PM
 
Get a high quality UPS. APC and TrippLite make some of the best UPSs in the world AND back them with great warranties that cover connected equipment. I have computers, printers (except the laser), monitors, my TV and stereo equipment, and even my cordless phone base station/answering machine on UPSs. I depended on surge suppressors once, and then, without warning, a lightning bolt out of a nearly clear sky hit a light pole two houses down and blew up a LOT of my equipment. Since then, it's ALL on UPSs.

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Jul 26, 2009, 08:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Pft no. I mean, I probably should, but everything's on surge protectors and it's boring to sit in a house with nothing on during a storm.
It's never boring when we have nothing on.
     
dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 08:26 PM
 
I have to ask; does an electrical surge occur during the blackout (lightning strike) or does it occur when the electricity kicks back on?
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ghporter
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Jul 26, 2009, 08:36 PM
 
The surge can happen at any time, whether it's from lightning or other causes. And when the power comes back on, issues elsewhere on the grid can cause a surge as well.

Another note: at least 99.999% of surge suppressors are ONE HIT devices. The component that handles the surge, a "metal oxide varisistor," or MOV, does its thing by PERMANENTLY shorting. A less-than-lethal surge will significantly weaken an MOV and lessen your protection. If ANYTHING has happened in the way of a surge or spike, replace your suppressors. This is NOT true of UPSs. They convert incoming AC power into DC and then create a "synthetic AC" waveform for their outputs. If a surge comes into an UPS, the rectifier handles it by turning it into a higher DC voltage than the typical AC input, and the user never notices it. UPSs can take multiple, very strong hits without having a problem.

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dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 08:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Another note: at least 99.999% of surge suppressors are ONE HIT devices. The component that handles the surge, a "metal oxide varisistor," or MOV, does its thing by PERMANENTLY shorting. A less-than-lethal surge will significantly weaken an MOV and lessen your protection. If ANYTHING has happened in the way of a surge or spike, replace your suppressors. This is NOT true of UPSs. They convert incoming AC power into DC and then create a "synthetic AC" waveform for their outputs. If a surge comes into an UPS, the rectifier handles it by turning it into a higher DC voltage than the typical AC input, and the user never notices it. UPSs can take multiple, very strong hits without having a problem.
Man oh man, I wish that was in English.

: )
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turtle777
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
Man oh man, I wish that was in English.

: )
Well, here the short version:

Don't just get a surge protector, get a UPS.

-t
     
Phileas
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:22 PM
 
Like an idiot I didn't put our Time Capsule on a UPS. Plain forgot. With the result that earlier on today lightning hit close by and the damn thing got fried. Dead as a dodo. Nothing else got damaged, thankfully.

Had to run out and get a replacement, pay the idiot tax.
     
SSharon
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:23 PM
 
APC UPS sitting under my desk. I'm urging my dad to get one instead of just a surge protector for some new audio equipment he is buying.
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dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:28 PM
 
I might have missed it, but what does UPS stand for? And is it 100% full proof?
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SSharon
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
I might have missed it, but what does UPS stand for? And is it 100% full proof?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninter...e_power_supply
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dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:50 PM
 
Thanks for that SSharon. Seems a little bulky though. I can see its importance and usage with several computers/servers, but is it worth it for my MacBook? Or my friend's iMac?
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ghporter
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Jul 26, 2009, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
Thanks for that SSharon. Seems a little bulky though. I can see its importance and usage with several computers/servers, but is it worth it for my MacBook? Or my friend's iMac?
You can find an UPS that fits completely out of sight, so it's not bulky or unsightly. And YES, an ups is a very good idea for both your MacBook and especially for your friend's iMac. The iMac I'm typing on right now is powerd through a 500VA APC UPS.

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dzp111  (op)
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Jul 26, 2009, 10:00 PM
 
Thanks folks.

Will do.
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turtle777
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Jul 26, 2009, 10:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
And is it 100% full proof?
*snicker*

-t
     
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Jul 27, 2009, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
I do have a power bar with surge protector, but whenever a storm hits, particularly electrical ones, I unplug my MacBook. I urge my friends to do the same.

Am I being paranoid?
Nope.

If I'm at home (most of the time) I unplug Computers and big TV and I have surge etc protection too.

It's the best preventative measure there is and it doesn't cost anything.

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Jul 27, 2009, 11:02 PM
 
A surge protector or UPS is not going to save you from a direct lightning strike. Not that it's all that likely, but when a particularly intense storm rolls through with lots of cloud-to-ground lightning, I will definitely shut everything down AND unplug it all from the wall. I've heard first-hand accounts of lightning blowing wall sockets off the wall, & leaving burn marks around the house.

It will blow things up real good. Miniscule chance, horrendous consequences, so I lean towards safe, most of the time.

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Jul 27, 2009, 11:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Pft no. I mean, I probably should, but everything's on surge protectors and it's boring to sit in a house with nothing on during a storm.
That's why laptops have batteries.

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turtle777
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Jul 28, 2009, 12:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
That's why laptops have batteries.
But what about teh intarwebs ?

Or do you prefer dialup during thunderstorms ?

-t
     
CharlesS
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Jul 28, 2009, 02:23 AM
 
That's why laptops have WiFi.

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turtle777
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Jul 28, 2009, 02:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
That's why laptops have WiFi.


And where does the WiFi signal come from ?

Please don't say battery-operated router

-t
     
CharlesS
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Jul 28, 2009, 02:37 AM
 
In my case, it comes from a cheap, replaceable router that doesn't cost $2000 or have all my data on it.

Of course, it can also come from the neighbors if you want to be a purist about it.

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Jul 28, 2009, 02:49 AM
 
Actually whenever I'm at my parents they have a backup generator. It powers the routers back on, but I leave my laptop unplugged so I don't strain the generator so much.

If the cable is out though, then I'm not screwed either, because I have an iPhone, and I've possibly enabled tethering on it.
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Jul 28, 2009, 08:18 AM
 
My whole network is on a separate UPS-I have an Internet connection as long as my provider is still there. Wired, wireless, all of it.

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Jul 28, 2009, 09:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Pft no. I mean, I probably should, but everything's on surge protectors and it's boring to sit in a house with nothing on during a storm.
Reading books is so 19th century.
     
turtle777
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Jul 28, 2009, 10:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
My whole network is on a separate UPS-I have an Internet connection as long as my provider is still there. Wired, wireless, all of it.
That's how I do it as well.

-t
     
IceEnclosure
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Jul 28, 2009, 02:48 PM
 
My computer and related equipment is on a UPS. Saves my ass all the time in the summer when I've got three or four Photoshop docs open and the power decides to just go ~ poof ~

Cable is on a surge box. I pull my iMac's ethernet cable sometimes if the weather is real bad, and I go mobile on the macbook.

I'm a UPSer for life!
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IceEnclosure
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Jul 30, 2009, 12:12 AM
 
what can a brownout do for you? : \
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Jul 30, 2009, 07:32 AM
 
I have nothing. We have stable electricity where I live. The last power out was a few years ago.
Thunderstorms? Hmm, there could be a risk...maybe...?!
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turtle777
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Jul 30, 2009, 07:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
I have nothing. We have stable electricity where I live. The last power out was a few years ago.
Thunderstorms? Hmm, there could be a risk...maybe...?!
Yes, but smaller than in the US. The power grids in Germany are generally a bit better protected.

-t
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by IceEnclosure View Post
I pull my iMac's ethernet cable sometimes if the weather is real bad, and I go mobile on the macbook.
My broadband is DSL, and it goes through several stages of protection before it gets to the modem; I never need to pull an Ethernet cable from anything, and I've never pulled the phone line from the DSL modem either. I will sometimes pull out my MBP to surf during storms, but that's because I don't like dealing with the notifications I get when the UPS kicks in, and then monitoring how much time is left on the battery.

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Jul 30, 2009, 10:37 AM
 
The electric company in Manitoba is a crown corp (IE run by the government) I don't think I've ever had a single piece of kit fail because of a power surge. Granted I do have everything in my apartment hooked up through some surge protectors I bought for cheap when I was at best buy. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm kinda looking for an excuse to replace the ol MacBook I'd probably be looking for one after reading this post.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 11:34 AM
 
Salty, having a governmental agency run a utility is not a guarantee of quality. I lived in Austin for several years, and the city was the electric utility. Power sags and surges were not terribly common, but they happened. In San Antonio, "CPS Energy" (the CPS stands for "City Public Service") is the electric utility, and between above-ground distribution lines and huge usage spikes (it's going to be 104ºF today (that's 40ºC), power is an issue here. Of course it's quite possible that CPS Energy provides power to more people than Manitoba's provincial utility does, but that's beside the point.

Wait until some winter day when a big truck hits some ice and slides into the power pole that serves your building and then you may wonder about the wisdom of going just with surge suppressors.

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Salty
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Jul 30, 2009, 11:36 AM
 
But I can't run everything in my apartment on one APC? And I'm kinda poor. Haha, anyway I'm leaning toward buying one some time, probably if I get a Mac Pro or something. When I get my next Mac I'll probably do that.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 12:47 PM
 
My main computer equipment is all on UPSes. The secondary stuff is on surge suppressors (or else the surge suppressing-only plugs of UPSes). However, the main reason is so that I don't lose what I'm working on (or internet access) when the power goes out. Yes, I backup consistently, but losing 15 minutes of work is still damn annoying.

I have my stereo equipment only on surge suppressors, mainly because it's harder to fully support that stuff with UPSes. I need something like 12 amps to support the system.

It's just not feasible to drive back home for every thunderstorm to unplug everything, and like others have said, it's too annoying to do that anyway if you have a lot of equipment. I will admit it sometimes does worry me though.

P.S. I have thought of running Ethernet underground to my gazebo in the backyard, for an IP camera. However, that is even higher risk for a lightning strike. I could add a lightning suppressor, but those are expensive. So, right now I'm just running Powerline networking to the gazebo (for wireless internet access out there). The powerlines are still at risk for lightning strikes, but like I said I already have UPSes in the house.
     
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Jul 30, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
Generally, yes I do.
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Jul 30, 2009, 02:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNUK View Post
Nope.

If I'm at home (most of the time) I unplug Computers and big TV and I have surge etc protection too.

It's the best preventative measure there is and it doesn't cost anything.
Or, just switch the surge protectors OFF. That's why Tripplite puts a big honking switch on them, hoping you'll turn them off when not using them. Anything that draws power continuously (lasers, routers, desktops with network cards) can be made infinitely safer by switching off the UPS or SP if they aren't being used. Plus, you'll conserve power that way.
     
   
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