Lightning Strike - Immediate and Delayed Effects

Firstly,contrary to the popular saying, lightning does strike twice at different times, in the same place.

We had a large (70’ approx.) Sycamore tree hit by lightning in 2012 and then it was hit again 3-days ago! Ironically, although the tree was leafing out, it looked sickly and I had it scheduled for removal next week. However, following the strike, I had the job done yesterday.

In 2012, various items in the house containing integrated circuits were toasted, but the total replacement costs were under our $1K deductible. Now, we're having a similar, but different experience.

For example, the Marantz Pre-Pro (AV 8001) in the Home Theater room is not recognizing any HDMI cables plugged into it. It does power on. Text is seen on its display (that's where I'm reading No HDMI). I've powered it off -- unplugged it from the mains, disconnected & reconnected HDMI cables -- still no HDMI ports are recognized. My next step would be to reset the microprocessor. If problems persist, I suppose I should call the unit damaged and inform the insurance company of same.

I have yet to determine whether my PC based digital playback chain in the 2-channel room has been affected and if so, how badly. My Mac mini isn’t seeing the external HD (Hard Drive). The HD is an internal that’s inserted into a dock which then connects to the DAC via Firewire. I’ve determined that the HD works in another dock, so the HD works, I just don’t yet know whether it’s the dock, the Mac mini or ???

BTW, the Marantz Pre-Pro was connected to our LAN via an Ethernet cable to our AT&T Uverse Gateway (modem if you will) and 2 out of its 4 ports were fried. My PC's (hard-wired) network adapter is also toast, but everything else in the PC works fine. That's fortunate, because the 2012 strike took out that PC's motherboard & CPU, but I was able to use its power supply & video card when I rebuilt the PC. Hopefully a very inexpensive add-on network adapter card will replace the on-the-motherboard fried adapter, making the PC fully functional.

Additionally, while the DC powered beater bar connected to the Whole House Central Vac worked for a few minutes, it stopped. This suggests that the AC to DC converter may have been affected by the lightning strike.

Certainly, one of the areas that the strike obviously affected was the A/C –D/C powered in-ground lawn sprinkler controller in the garage. Its hinged cover was blown about 6’ away from its wall-mounted case. Plus the interior of the case is quite blackened!

With that said, we have an electrician scheduled to replace a GFI breaker (in the breaker box) that can’t be reset, and we will have him do a look-see at the rest of the electrical system. However, I’m wondering about the long term effects of a surge such as this on the many other audio components I have in both my 2-channel and HT systems? I have electrostatic speakers in both rooms, so they were obviously plugged into AC outlets. Additionally, I have Synergistic Research cabling with several individual wall-warts for each cable pair.

Moreover, in total, my electronics contain over 50 individual tubes. Although after a brief test, with the exception of the aforementioned DAC, the pre-amp, monoblocks, and Soundlab speakers are functional, I wonder if the tube’s lives may be shortened.

Has anyone else had similar a similar experience of a non-direct lightning strike, or understand what obvious and not so obvious (delayed) effects on audio/visual equipment may be a result and how best to deal with one’s homeowner’s insurance regarding the present and perhaps delayed issues?
MRBM, I have 3 TV's with HDMI inputs that do not work and am forced to used the component input. And the TV's are at 2 separate houses. Not sure if it is a result of lightning or power surge. Fortunately I have not had a problem with my main HT setup which has a pioneer elite.

The inputs must be more sensitive than the others? Frustrating...
Tubes are usually very resistant to power surges and spikes; that's one reason the Soviets still used them in military gear until recently (maybe the Russians still do?). Solid state, on the other hand, has NO sense of humor.

I had a nearby lightning strike a couple years back that took out my garage door opener, the display on my wife's treadmill, and the subwoofer amp on my living room system (the circuit board had several caps and diodes blown to bits!). My main system, which was protected by a PSAudio Powerplant, was fine.
This thread raises an important question about the wisdom of using surge protectors. The comments in another thread, and possibly even more threads, seem to line up behind the notion of plugging one's amp directly into the AC wall socket. Many have complained that inserting power conditioners, regenerators and surge protectors between the AC wall socket and the amp adversely affect the sonic performance of the amp. So what's the answer?

Maybe the smart move is to simply use a device that acts as a surge protector for the other components and "pull the plug" on the amp when not in use. Oh ... and never use the rig during a lightening storm. This is more a question ... rather than a statement.


Btw, I'd pull out what remains of my hair if I experienced what happened to the OP describes. Mrmb ... hope everything works out ok. Sorry to read about your bad luck.
That is exactly what I have done for years. I use Shunyata and QRT conditioning devices on source components and preamp. Never had a problem and I live in thunderstorm prone Midwest.
I was struck by lightning twice(no joke) but I was a nut before then so I never noticed any lasting effect.
Schubert, before you were struck by lightning can we assume you were a big Elvis fan?
We have dicey juice where I live, and thunderstorms only add to the problem.

I'm plugging my amp into a Shunyata Triton, with no discernible effect on sound. My level of comfort doing that is ten-fold over going straight to the wall.

Still, when storms are in the area or could threaten if I'm out of the house, the system gets unplugged. Why chance it? We did get a strong strike in the lot next door. Fried our cable feed.
Thank you for this informative and interesting post. You've motivated me to review my set up and to check with my insurance company. I was fortunate to acquire some reference quality Spectral,MIT & Goldmund gear that I could no longer afford to replace and would obviously dearly miss. I wish I had some experience of value to you, but I don't.Best wishes in getting everything right again. PS your mention of the ground fault breaker has me wondering if there would be additional protection in having ground fault protecting wall outlets-like those in the bathroom-for our equipment? PPS. Just put on a CD of Beethoven piano sonatas, volume 9 of a boxed set by Anne Oland (who I'd never heard of)and I'm finding it a very enjoyable visit with Beethoven. Cheers.
Geoff, no I was into Peggy Lee , Sarah Vaughn,Carmen McCrae .Dind't know the REAL Big Three, Bach, Brahms and Schubert, even existed.
I was in late teens when Rock started , have always disliked it.
Schubert, I promise, your secret is safe with me. I like Harry Belafonte, what's up with that?
"Schubert": I've heard it said that "sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't". Does that about size up your situation, before and after the 2-strikes? Joking aside, after our recent (in another A-gon post) discussion about your namesake, you're anything but nuts and if your are, you're my kind of nuts!

Seriously, while watching a Nova (I believe) show about lightning, a park ranger was struck multiple times (may have been 6 or 7), with no apparent lasting effects. But "Schubert", he probably wasn't a nut before the strikes...grin....

To paraphrase the Moody Blues: Isn't lightning strange....Indeed, after going through 2 near misses -- i.e. not a direct strike to the house, but hit the same tree -- the items affected and why, are really strange!

In the first strike, more circuit breakers were affected, but I was able to manually reset all and less equipment damage occurred. Previously, with the exception of a PC monitor, nothing in my audio or home theater rooms were affected.

Both times, a surge came through the phone/coax lines, frying Ethernet ports on the U-verse RG (Residential Gateway), but didn’t affect the TV side of the RG. Via ethernet cable, the RG was wired to my PC which, previously, lost either or both its Motherboard and CPU, but didn’t affect the PSU or video card. This time, the PC’s NIC network adapter was fried, but all else is running. A $30+ add-on card from fixed the NIC issue. Moreover, this time, the PC was running when the strike hit! The picture on the monitor was sight to behold, but with no lasting effects.

This time, my wife was in her sewing room within several yards of the tree. Upon hearing the 3 separate, but almost simultaneous thundering (pun intended) reports, she let out a scream (only this time, I wasn’t tickling her fancy). She had her high-end computer-controlled sewing machine powered up along with two other machines connected, but none suffered any damage. Moreover her room was adjacent to the audio room, but closer to the strike.

Since my initial email, I’ve confirmed that I lost a Mac mini, a USB DAC, a Blu-Ray player and as previously mentioned, the Marantz Pre-Pro.
The security system tests ok, but one of the wall mounted sensors isn’t working. Plus, the home intercom is toast.

When the electrician arrives next week, something else may be found, but no other lasting effects have been discovered. However, I will be asking about ways to inhibit the effects of a near strike. Obviously, nothing will stifle a direct hit!
I was grounded both times as I was setting up Army Commo Antennas when hit, otherwise I would be dead.
Lot of people like HB, sold about 50 million records.
I never did, though I have a lot of respect for him as a person.
I would say after effect of getting hit by lighting ,for me anyway, was a whole lot of "Thank you Jesus" .