1. #1
    Dreadlord teebo's Avatar
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    We had a really bad power surge today. Electronics broken.

    Little story ahead. I want to know if electronics can be easily fixed after a power surge.

    I live in a old farm house so the wiring might be a bit outdated although I think it was redone in the past 20 years. We also had a bad storm the other day and I think it burnt out the protector in out box that sits outside ( I dont know what its called). Today the power in the house was fluctuating really erratically. After a few minuets of wondering what was going on I called the power company to get a guy over here. Right after that I noticed a smell and heard a pop. I rushed up stairs to find my power surge smoking and my direct tv box poping. I turned off the breakers and waited for the guy to show up. After he left I was able to turn my power back on and do some damage control. I found out that my main computer was fine, so far. I did get really really low fps in games. But the surge protector was melted thru. Then I checked out my TV, Xbox and htpc that was plugged directly into the wall. The same outlet that had the direct tv box that was poping. None of them work. Insurance will take care of the broken things but Im wondering if these thing can be repaired. I would think that it is come sort of fuse like in a ac/dc plug but what do I know.
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  2. #2
    Probably not. If they're overvolted then they are basically dead. It's always good to have an UPS-plug in or what ever it is that protects your electronics from power surges.

  3. #3
    Elemental Lord Masark's Avatar
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    It might just have cooked the power supply and not damaged the rest of the computer, but the odds of that aren't real great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikko View Post
    Probably not. If they're overvolted then they are basically dead. It's always good to have an UPS-plug in or what ever it is that protects your electronics from power surges.
    Given that it melted a surge protector, it's unlikely a UPS would have helped much.

    In closing, the lesson here is if you've got a massive storm barreling down, air gap anything important.

  4. #4
    The pop you heard and smell you smelt was probably accompanied by the dreaded blue smoke. I'm not sure exactly what causes it (transistors frying or something like that?), but I do know that it is bad. Generally speaking, it is not repairable unless you really know what you're doing (i.e. you know how to solder on new transistors).

    The good news is: it is probably covered by home owners insurance, assuming you have it. A bolt of lightning struck my parent's house and fried a TV and a treadmill, both of which the insurance company paid to replace (after a deductible).

  5. #5
    Elemental Lord Masark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteworthynerd View Post
    The pop you heard and smell you smelt was probably accompanied by the dreaded blue smoke. I'm not sure exactly what causes it (transistors frying or something like that?), but I do know that it is bad.
    The smoke is caused by part of the IC die being literally vaporized by the intense localized heat caused by the overvoltage/overcurrent.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by teebo View Post
    I want to know if electronics can be easily fixed after a power surge.
    We routinely repaired damaged electronics that works for many more years without incident. Usually, it is only one or two damaged parts. Yes, damage due to overvoltages are often that limited. But then we know this stuff. Have the necessary equipment. And do it, number one, to learn why that failure happened.

    It is not cost effective to repair most damaged items. Since finding someone who knows how may be all but impossible and too expensive.

    But you should have learned a scary lesson. Number one is that surge protector. So grossly undersized as to almost burn down the house.

    View its spec numbers. Maybe hundreds of joules. Then view spec numbers for a UPS. UPS joules are typically less. Why then would anyone recommend a UPS that has even smaller than grossly undersized protection? Another lesson. Many do not bother to first learn the numbers and basic concepts. You almost learned what they do not know the hard way.

    Another completely different device, ironically also called a protector, would have done more. But we cannot say more without details.

    Most failures leave no visual indication. Your damaged items are easier because damaged parts can be visually identified. With those facts, then more useful information might be learned. More important than fixing anything is learning from the experience. That melted power strip should have your and everyone else's attention since those are a rare but too common source of a house fire. And do not claim to protect from typically destructive surges. What would have happened if your were not home?

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