Lightning Damage at My Garage

Quote of the Day

When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

Baltasar Gracian, Spanish philosopher  on how to give advice.

Burn Residue
During a major storm two weeks ago with 80 mile per hour winds (129 kph) and heavy rain,  a lightning strike near my garage destroyed two TVs, a power adapter for my robot lawnmowers, a wireless router, two data switches, and my furnace's propane tank regulator and copper feedline. As an illustration of the damage, Figure 1 shows the residue left from my mower power adapter exploding. The light region inside the smudge is from my fingers wiping across the smudge to see how thick the film was. The film was removed using mineral spirits. A small burn mark is all that remains.

For those who wonder, I have all sorts of lightning protection on everything, including a dielectric separator between the propane tank and the furnace. This saved quite a bit my electrical equipment, but not everything.

I am in the process of fixing everything. Because the power adapter is so damaged and a number of my circuit breakers tripping, I am guessing the surge came in through the garage power system. My cabin also suffered some damage because its electrical system is connected to the garage over a 120 foot (37 meter) cable.

Figure 2 shows the blown-up power adapter. I found the cover 13 feet (4 meters) away in the woods. The copper feed line to my propane tank was turned black and it developed a major leak, which allowed all the propane to escape into the soil. The smell of the odorant in the propane (ethyl mercaptan) is noticeable from the soil. I included a 1-2-3 block in Figures 1 and 2 for a size reference.

Figure 2: Blown Power Adapter.

Figure 2: Blown Power Adapter.

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2 Responses to Lightning Damage at My Garage

  1. Ronan Mandra says:

    Wow, I'm glad no one was hurt.

    • mathscinotes says:

      Hi Ronan,

      It was quite the lightning strike. I am still finding things the lightning damaged. For example, my fireplace has a Bluetooth module (seems everything has Bluetooth) that was blown and I had to replace it. I did not know it was blown at the time I wrote the post. It was so warm at the time of the lightning strike that I never thought of trying the fireplace. The air temperature dropped in the 40s this weekend and I tried the fireplace and found it did not work.

      I am going to look into a lightning rod system. They are kind of pricey, but cheaper than the amount of money I just paid to fix everything.

      I hope you are well.


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