Eish! Lightning Strike

From the Eish! Department This folks is what lightning does to computer chips when it gets hold of it…

This is in fact the network card controller chip that is on my motherboard.

The wife and I were sitting in the lounge listening to the soft rain in the back ground when all of a sudden…


I jumped up from the chair (partly because of fright) to see what the lightning had struck.  On entering my study I saw that my Ubuntu PC was rebooting…phew at least it was still “working”.

A quick glance at my ADSL router at it seemed to “look” alright.

My network switch however – DLink DES-1008D – was not in such a good shape.  Unplugging the network cable left the Connection light still shining. I unplugged the power and then tried again…same symptoms…sigh…

Now to check the PC more throughly. No network connectity from the onboard network card… On opening the box I noticed that the controller chip featured above had blown. The rest “seemed” fine…A quick scratch thru my “parts bin” and I found an old Intel 100Mbps PCI network card that I put into the machine to restore network connectivity – can’t be without internet for to long…

Amazingly it seems that lightning had struck the Telkom line, entered the ADSL modem/router, passed straight thru (without damaging it), hit my DLink switch (blew it) and then took out the onboard network card.  Thankfully nothing else was plugged into the network at that time, and the Playstations were on wireless…

Time to contact the insurance company and find out it they will cover it… At least the damages were not as bad as what they could have been…Eish!

MadMike posted at 2011-1-24 Category: Eish!

2 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #1Timon @ 2011-1-26 14:31 Reply

    I have seen this a few times. I dont think the lighting hit the ADSL. In all cases where I have seen it it has been on the longest network cable conencted to the router. normally blows that port of the router as well as the NIC .

  2. #2Charlie @ 2014-10-20 00:00 Reply

    I pulled apart a power supply that had lightning damage, the lightning was attracted to the 5V standby supply and finally went to ground. normally lightning first sends a streamer (you can see them in high speed video of lightning) searching for a path to ground once it found it the rest of the current soon follows. However in this case, and acknowledging comment #1 it would seem that the longest cable resonates (like an antenna) at the lowest frequency and would take more energy in priority over the others.
    In thinking about it, I attempted to think of a solution should it happen to somebody more than once: It is purchase a short (1m or 2m) earthed network cable and an extension adapter (this will only work if the computer socket will connect to earth), the grounded cable would act as a capacitor coupling and absorb some of the pulse picked up by the cable. Obviously only necessary on the longest one and it will not protect against streamers. the only problem then is the ADSL side could be vunerable so the same might need to be done on that end (and an earth wire added)


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