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Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Old 05-21-19, 01:00 PM
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Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Okay, this is a weird one.

My house (or very near it) was struck by lightning last night. It damaged my furnace and bricked my cheap Sony Blu-Ray player, but no other appliances seem to have been damaged.

I did, however, lose my internet connection. I was using my iPad at the time of the strike. It will connect to my router, but gives a "no internet connection". I then tried my cheap laptop, which was powered on at the time, with the lid down. I also couldn't connect to the internet with it. Also, my DirecTV DVR was connected to my router, too, and it is unable to access. At first, I thought the lightning had fried it because it had a black screen after the strike, but I unplugged it and it booted right back up, but with no internet access.

So I figured that the lightning had done something to my router, modem, or something else on my physical internet.

So then, I tried to connect to the internet with a different computer (which was off during the strike) and it connected fine. (It's the one I'm using right now.)

So every device I had that was powered on and connected to my router is now either dead (blu-ray player) or unable to access the internet (iPad, laptop, DVR). The iPad and laptop can see my router and log in, just not go online. The DVR and blu-ray player were plugged into electricity and the router via cables. The laptop and iPad were not plugged in to anything (neither wifi or electricity), only logged into my wifi. I tried to re-enter my wifi password on my iPad and did a hard reboot (hold Power and Home) but nothing changed.

Can lightning damage devices over a wifi signal? I have never heard of this happening. I can understand lightning damaging wired things like my blu-ray player and DVR, but the the iPad and laptop were connected only to wifi -- not plugged into the wall or anything else.

Anyone have any idea what's going on here?

I'll take my iPad and laptop to a place with public wifi later today and see if they can get online there.



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Old 05-21-19, 01:45 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Yep, those devices can get overloaded as well. Remember these are all low voltage, so it takes very little to do actual damage to them. SO even if you think they work okay, their circuits may no longer be working as well as they should. I'm guessing since you don't have any physical damage to your house, that it wasn't directly hit.

Consider yourself lucky, I had my house directly struck by lightning Memorial Day 4 years ago. It screwed up way more than yours did it seems, including repairing the roof and siding where it hit the house. Best thing to do ifs file a claim with your homeowners insurance and have an electrician test everything out. It's the only way to make sure everything is running fine. But anything that acts wonky like the router, modem, etc, I'd replace those.

For those items like the iPad and laptop, if it still turns on okay, I'd take it to a Starbucks or something and try and connect the wifi there and see if it works.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:10 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Originally Posted by E Unit View Post
Yep, those devices can get overloaded as well. Remember these are all low voltage, so it takes very little to do actual damage to them.
But over wifi, when a device is not plugged in? I would be surprised. Now, I can believe a device getting damaged when plugged in, even if it's powered off at the time. I guess you'll know for sure when you try to connect at a public place. Good luck.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:27 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

^That's why they tell you not to use a cellphone or wireless phone on a landline during a lightning storm.


Did you power off/on the modem and router?

For the cheap laptop, do you have a network jack you can hardwire to either the router, and if that doesn't work try the modem? You can also try powering down, remove battery, remove/reseat the RAM, replace battery/AC and try again.

iPad, hard reboot? Does it have celluar data? If so, try using it as a hotspot and see if any of the affected devices can connect to it. Or if you have a cellphone that can be hotspot, try connecting your devices to your phone?

Maybe try "forget network" and reconnect?

It's odd that 3 devices are affected, so I'm kind of leaning to a problem with your router (even though 1 connected).
Modems are very susceptible to strikes because the cables are in the ground.

If none of that works, put it in a bag of rice!
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Old 05-21-19, 05:04 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

UPDATE:

Yeah, I’ve unplugged my modem and router several times. That’s always the first thing I do when my net access goes on the blink.

I did get my “cheap laptop” to go online. I went into manage known wifi networks, deleted my home wifi network, then reconnected and re-entered my password and logged back in. Got online.

I’ve tried about everything I could with my iPad, and no dice. Did a hard reboot. Told it to forget my wifi network, re-entered the password, but still no internet. It picks up my wifi network, logs in, but gives “No internet connection.” My iPad is wifi only, no cellular.

I can connect the iPad to the internet on public wifi; I’m on typing this right now on my iPad from a Mickey D’s. I’ll try again when I get home.

I think it might have janked my router. Since it bricked the blu-ray player (which was connected to it by a cable), and blacked out the DVR (also by a cable) and nothing else, I think a surge might have gone through my it.

Might need to get into contact with my ISP. And DirecTV. And my insurance company.
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Old 05-21-19, 05:06 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

And I don’t think the rice trick will work. I wasn’t out in the rain.
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Old 05-21-19, 05:32 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Do you have a multifrequency router?

​​​​ 2.4 and 5 GHz? Are you connected to the same with all of them (and if auto-select is enabled, disabled it?)
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Old 05-21-19, 09:20 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

No clue. It's a Cisco Linksys WRT54G2 V1.5. I've had it for about ten years (got it from my ISP when they set me up).

My new (cheap) computer is a Windows 10 and it's connected at 2.4 GHz.

Can't tell my what my older Windows 7 laptop and iPad connect at.

Setting up routers and networks is a big blindspot for me. I've never really done it.
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Old 05-22-19, 03:41 AM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Very strange. I didn't know it was possible to fry devices via wifi. Lightning is scary shit in more ways than one.

This is why I physically unplug my router and cable modem from the wall AC outlet every night before going to bed, and also why I completely unplug every device in the house, save the refrigerator when I'm away for any length of time (days or longer). The furnace, garage door opener, etc, I have to actually switch the breaker off at the electrical junction box, as you can't just unplug the furnace or its thermostat.

Also, doing this unplug shuffle actually saves a lot of power (= $$$, at 52 cents per kilotwatt hour). Even at only 15 watts, something like a router or cable modem traditionally powered on 24/7 costs a LOT to operate at those rates. Reducing that time to 8 hours a day or so that I might actualy USE those devices is a no-brainer. Even devices still plugged in on "standby" add up to probably hundreds of dollars per year in an average house -- devices that are "off" but in reality -- in aggregate -- still draw and waste a lot of power.
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Old 05-22-19, 08:33 AM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

I just power our home with manual bicycle power. It’s healthier and 1/5 the cost!
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Old 05-22-19, 10:10 AM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
No clue. It's a Cisco Linksys WRT54G2 V1.5. I've had it for about ten years (got it from my ISP when they set me up).

My new (cheap) computer is a Windows 10 and it's connected at 2.4 GHz.

Can't tell my what my older Windows 7 laptop and iPad connect at.

Setting up routers and networks is a big blindspot for me. I've never really done it.
It's a Wireless BG so no 5GHz mode. iPads are kind of touchy sometimes and the power surge may of damaged your router to a minor extent.

I would say do a factory reset on your Wireless Router but you'd have to re-set it up, and if it's a blackhole for ya that may be a problem.

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
Very strange. I didn't know it was possible to fry devices via wifi.
Pretty sure you can't unless the item itself was struck by lightning.
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Old 05-23-19, 12:11 AM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Buy a new router. That one is so old, you need to get something more modern anyway.
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Old 05-24-19, 05:54 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Yes, I think you can get an 802.11n router for cheap... around $20, and it'll be much faster than your old 802.11g router. 802.11ac routers are much more expensive, and a questionable purchase unless you have 300+ mbps internet.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:07 PM
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Re: Lightning struck my house... this is weird...

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
It's a Wireless BG so no 5GHz mode. iPads are kind of touchy sometimes and the power surge may of damaged your router to a minor extent.

I would say do a factory reset on your Wireless Router but you'd have to re-set it up, and if it's a blackhole for ya that may be a problem.
Check if you can backup your router settings before doing a factory reset.
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