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Lightning - does it really make TVs blow up?


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Old 29-11-2010, 19:29
Josquius
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Ever since I was a kid my mother has made a big fuss of turning off the TV asap whenever she saw lightning as supposidly it would strike and make the TV explode...
Old wives tail or does it happen?
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:35
Andy2
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It doesn't matter whether the TV is on or off, a close strike will almosr certainly damage your TV, telephone, modem etc.
I used to be a TV engineer and usually if there had been a strike anywhere close, all that streets TV's would need repair (usually the tuner had been fried).
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:35
slade1
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Yes it can happen and has done quite a lot of times.
If lighting strikes the aerial or closeby the strike can go down the cable and into the back of the tv.... Bang!!
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:39
SJ_Mental
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About 5 years ago it hit my satellite dish, Killed my sky box and turned the tv picture green. Unfortunately it also travelled down the telephone cable and fused the wires for all the local houses :S
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:39
rjb101
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Nope, can happen. Many moons ago my then Neighbours house got struck by ball lightning - scary stuff - and my TV exploded, the house wiring blew out of the plaster and my central Heating controls vaporised, well the electrics inside did.

My Neighbours were Jehovah's witnesses, so they must have been doubly shook up.....

My now wife had her ariel hit by lightning a while ago. Her TV didn't work after ether.
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:51
Silver Light
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I remember us always making sure we took the aerial out of the back of the TV so it wouldn't explode. I think perhaps it was the old aerials on top of houses that 'attracted' lightening.
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Old 29-11-2010, 19:59
No-One
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About 10 years ago a house near me got struck by lightning. The next day parts of the tv that was in their bedroom were found in the garden

The house had to be completely demolished and rebuilt from scratch
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Old 29-11-2010, 20:33
Josquius
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So it makes no difference if its on or off?
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Old 29-11-2010, 20:39
ScottishWoody
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I remember the phone blowing up during a thunderstorm when I was a kid.
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Old 29-11-2010, 21:04
boolaa
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Earlier this year we were in the middle of a huge thunderstorm and I'd unplugged everything (so I thought!). The was an almighty bang and flash of light IN our kitchen and all the power went off in the street
When the power came back on a little while late everything was ok but for our router which I'd forgotten to unplug from the phone line...it wouldn't connect to the internet, the lights weren't working properly and, more worrying, it smelt of slight burning!
We quickly unplugged it and popped out for a new one which worked fine.
Moral of the story is: Unplug EVERYTHING...even unplug the phone/router in a thunderstorm
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Old 29-11-2010, 21:05
boolaa
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So it makes no difference if its on or off?
Not at all, what you need to do is UNPLUG it so that the lightning can't physically shoot down the wire and blow up your TV!
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Old 29-11-2010, 21:08
billlythekid
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On 24 October 1991, one resident of Chicago Heights, IL was comfortably sleeping in bed when....KABOOM. Lightning struck, traveled through a cable television line into the house, struck the bed, which then caught fire. The person was treated for shock (not the electrical kind).
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Old 29-11-2010, 21:54
_ben
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My Neighbours were Jehovah's witnesses, so they must have been doubly shook up.....
Poor buggers - as if witnessing the Jehovah incident wasn't bad enough, then this happens to them.
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Old 29-11-2010, 22:01
blueblade
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Ever since I was a kid my mother has made a big fuss of turning off the TV asap whenever she saw lightning as supposidly it would strike and make the TV explode...
Old wives tail or does it happen?
If you have an external aerial, and the lightning hits the aerial, which it often does, than it will subsequently travel down the coaxial cable, straight into the back of your TV, and blow it up ~ demolish it totally, often starting a fire in the process. Same applies to satellite dishes, although they may be marginally less vulnerable than roof aerials. Similarly, if it strikes underground electrical cabling, it will have the same effect.

So not only should you switch off all appliances in a thunderstorm, but in addition, remove plugs from sockets and especially external aerials.
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Old 29-11-2010, 23:31
Sara Webb
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Dear God. Having read this thread, I am now totally paranoid. I had thought all this was a myth!
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Old 29-11-2010, 23:54
TheDonk
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I remember us always making sure we took the aerial out of the back of the TV so it wouldn't explode. I think perhaps it was the old aerials on top of houses that 'attracted' lightening.
You say that like they are no longer around?
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Old 30-11-2010, 02:04
Josquius
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Remove all plugs...wow that sounds excessive and a lot worse than I thought it was. I'm worried now.
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Old 30-11-2010, 02:53
Si_Crewe
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Thing is, lightning will be attracted to the highest metal object it can find.

Unless you happen to have a string of xmas lights all over the roof of your house the chances are that your TV aerial or dish will be the highest metal object around so it's your aerial lead that really needs unplugging.

You should only disconnect the mains from an electrical appliance AFTER you've ensured that there's no other means for lightning to be conducted into it.
I mean, if you are worried about lightning but, for some reason, you can't unplug the aerial cable from your dish then you shouldn't unplug the box from the mains.
British plugs have an Earth wire and leaving the item plugged in will, at least, provide a path to conduct lighting to Earth.
It WILL fry your appliance but at least the charge should go to Earth rather than arcing to other items and, maybe, zapping you.

Obviously it's better to disconnect the aerial lead AND mains lead to protect an item properly but if, for some reason, you can't disconnect the aerial lead, then you should really leave it plugged in as well.
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Old 30-11-2010, 03:47
diablo
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You can get surge protectors which supposedly protect against lightning, some have aerial circuits built in.

E.g. - Belkin surge protector

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belkin-Surge.../dp/B00008XYJK

I have them throughout the house, though curiously not for my old TV in the front lounge.
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Old 30-11-2010, 04:13
cjsmummy
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A couple of years ago a socket that my laptop was plugged into blew up during a thunder storm, the laptop miraculously survived, but the modem and phone line went haywire.
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Old 30-11-2010, 05:37
Phil 2804
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Ever since I was a kid my mother has made a big fuss of turning off the TV asap whenever she saw lightning as supposidly it would strike and make the TV explode...
Old wives tail or does it happen?
I can tell you first hand that a lightning strike to your home will definitely destroy the inside of your TV. As for causing it too explode, well there are different types of lightning. Positive and negative.

A positive lightning strike would certainly cause extensive damage to a house and its contents.
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