Black Sunday at the Brantley home theater

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Brantley, Apr 2, 2002.

  1. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Here in Mobile, March 31 was known as Black Sunday in my house. At about 11 a.m., a fast-developing line of thunderstorms moved through the area. Quicker than I could move to unplug components, lightning struck very close. I don't know what exactly was struck, but the sound was very loud. I was in my computer room attempting to power down my PowerMac before all hell broke lose, but I was too late. I had turned off everything in the theater, but I had not yet unplugged anything. My wife was upstairs trying to get gear disconnected from the AC. I could actually feel electricity in the air when it hit. Near as I can tell, the jolt of energy entered my multiple AV systems and computer network on both power and phone lines, and it may also have entered via the cable and satellite lines. All the satellite gear is toast.
    Among the items damaged or completely disabled are two computers and a printer, two AV receivers (including my new Yamaha RX-V3000), my Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD recorder, three DirecTV satellite receivers (including two with Tivo capability, which are in short supply now), Sharp VCR, Sony 13-inch TV, RCA 46-inch TV and my telephones. Maybe more was damaged, but I'm still running diagnostics on everything. (I can't start my lawn mowers, either, but that was true on the day before lightning stuck. [​IMG] )
    Some things were plugged into surge protectors and UPS's. It didn't matter. The phone and cable lines did not have surge protection, but they will when I rebuild my setups. On one computer, which was surge protected and on a UPS, the surge seemed to come through the AV cables which connected the computer to a toasted AV receiver. It knocked out the Mac's sound subsystem on the motherboard, so that seems the likely scenario.
    I have full replacement coverage with Allstate, with a $1,000 deductible. I called my agent first thing Monday morning to start a claim, but I'm still waiting for a claims adjuster to call me and find out what got damaged or destroyed. I assume he will come to my house and check things out. I wish he would hurry up and call (on second day of waiting for him), because I want to get the ball rolling.
    I've never filed an insurance claim for anything, ever. So I don't know fully what to respect, although I did read some of the other threads on her about lightning strikes. It seems people have had both good and bad luck with insrance companies.
    Wish me luck. I am very sad. [​IMG]
    If Allstate wants me to get repair estimates on everything, I am going to be very busy for a long time.
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Not much can save you from a near hit, I'm afraid... short of physically disconnecting everything.

    My brother's tree was struck a few years ago and the jolt passed through the ground wire and into the cable tv line and took out his TV and receiver.

    My block was hit last year and came through the phone line to take out my computer modem. And interestingly switched my hall light switch from off to on. I saw it.. sparks flew out of the switch. Lightning can do wierd things.

    Sorry about your losses.
     
  3. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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    Wow, that stinks! I hope it all works out with you insurance.

    -Andre F
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    With replacement cost insurance coverage the insurance company may wish to replace some of the gear rather than pay cash for it. Typically you are tntitled to equipment of "like kind and quality".
    But you should make a list of attributes the gear must have, such as the TV with flat screen and 1080i input that is not downconverted to 810 scan lines when displaying 16:9, and DVD player with 3-2 pulldown sensing and optimizing and 5.1 optical sound, PC video card with such and such scaling capability and 72 Hz refresh, etc. etc. After all you chose the components because they had certain attributes.
    If you still have the backup diskettes and CD's, you don't have to buy new software to go with new PC's. You can even re-use your existing Windows 98 or XP or whatever.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  5. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    UGH! Sorry to hear that, Mike! My fear of this happening to me prompted me to pay Alabama Power $10 extra a month for protection against this. They install ground fault interrupts/surge protection on all your cable, telephone and power lines and insure up to $10,000 in the event that lightning takes out your gear. Between my home theater and my two computers, I figured the $10 a month was money well spent.
    So I guess this is the wrong time to invite you over to check out the SVS 20-39CS+, eh? [​IMG]
     
  6. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Allan, good point. My receiver is the RX-V3000, but the current model is the RX-V3200. However, I don't want that one because it lacks two features important to me -- the Yamaha front effects channels and a seventh AV source inputs. So that'd be an example where the current "equivalent" in the product line would not suit me.
    I am rather annoyed that I have yet to speak to a claims person. He is supposed to call me in the morning, on the fourth day after my claim. Geez... I haven't even gotten to tell the insurance company what got hit.
    Jeremy, that $10 a month with the power company sounds like something I should look into! I'd love to hear your new subwoofer, just say when. My own subwoofer plans are on hold for now, for obvious reasons. [​IMG]
     
  7. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    I had a similar thing happen the year I moved into my house. My LAN hum was not isolated and neither was my cable modem. All my AV gear was isolated but I blew all my NICs, one computer was really crisped (there were neat holes BLOWN out of the CPU, and North Bridge/chipset). One TV was shot (I took it apart afterwards, the tuner assembley took the hit) and near as I can tell the cable actually generated a huge induction pulse...

    I feel for you, but your insurance should replace most of the equipment. My fried computer was an old Pentium 100 that got replaced with a PII 450. So you do get to "upgrade" if old equipment is not readily avaialble.
     
  8. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Lance, thanks. Sorry for the delay in response.... got no computer at home right now because of the hit. My insurance company wants repair estimates on everything over $200, so the computers and many of the AV components are in the shop.

    I'll have to get someone to come to my house and get the RPTV, and now I've discovered the dishwasher was hit as well.

    I'm definitely hoping the computers are toast, because it is almost time for an upgrade! It'd be great if the RPTV isn't repairable, too, but I don't know about that. We'll see.
     
  9. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mike, we know you have a lot on your plate in replacing and retooling your system; g'luck.
    It seems I have been researching and posting recently on surge suppression, and it would be instructive for us to see what you come up with for this issue to future-proof your house and/or system.
    See my discussion in the Tweaking board Here.
    You'll note several recommendations for BRICKWALL. That's fine, but it would appear one also has to add downstream another surge protector that includes coax and telwire terminals. In a single-box format, I see the new Panamax Max5100 has these terminals (2 coax, 1 telwire) in a 10-outlet plug configutation.
    When you get there, let us know your path.
    bill
     

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