Lightning fried my computer

I was using my computer when a bolt of lightning struck near our building. :smack:
(the accompanying thunder sounded like a nuclear blast)
The buildings security monitors were burned out and other neighbors lost TV sets. What I want to know is weather or not I can fix it. That is, I would like to know if I have to replace the whole mother board and /or processor, memory, hard drive and all, or is it just a case perhaps of replacing one or two things. BTW, It is (was) a Pentium II, 266 MHZ with 256 megs of memory. Thanks for any suggestions.

You can fix it if you want, but if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, it’d probably be cheaper to get a “new” one with same specs rather than having a shop replace your motherboard (which is probably the issue)

If you ARE comfy with the computer innards, you’ll want to go in and disconnect everything, remove all the cards, and get it down to just the mb and cpu and see if you get any power. If not, you’re probably wanting a new computer. If so, put in your memory and try powering up. Then add pieces one at a time until you find out what’s causing your system not to boot up. Then replace that part.

Still, old as that system is, if you just want to keep the same specs, get a used system and transfer your hard drive to the new computer.

It could be anything really. However, you most probably just lost the power supply and/or motherboard. With a system that old, the parts won’t be very expensive but it will take time to fix if you do it yourself. The most practical thing to do really is to buy a new (or secondhand) computer and put the hard drive from your old computer into the new one. That will let you have all of your data back and that is usually the most important thing.

If a computer is plugged in, but not turned on, is there still a risk of this type of thing happening during an electrical storm?

Your primary concern would be getting the power supply out, since it is almost certainly trashed. I would advise against powering up with a damaged PSU. It can fail more, and damage the rest of the system, if it isn’t already damaged.

The motherboard and processor may have survived… it is impossible to tell without testing. I would automatically assume the board is fried. I’d second the strip everything out and try powering up… check to see which fans are spinning, if the internal speaker is beeping, primarily. I would keep the hard drive containing your data outside of the system entirely, in case it survived intact.

It would probably be best just to replace the system. Buying replacement parts would probably cost as much or more as buying a low end modern computer, and you won’t be worrying about a slightly broken system.

Oh yeah.

Well, you should always have any computer plugged in to a decent power supply (not a cheapo K-Mart one), so it shouldn’t matter. :slight_smile:


That’s a surge suppressor, not a power supply. Other than that, I agree. :slight_smile:

Get a new computer anyways. Have insurace pay for it.


That too. Straight Doping should not be done towards the end of the day. :slight_smile:

The sad thing is, I always manage to say “power supply” instead of “surge protector”… I think it comes from “power strip.”

** Max Carnage ** wrote

I have no problems mucking around inside my machine, that’s how it came to be, I built it out of old computers. I don’t necessarily want to keep the same specs, I just don’t have any money for a new one. I know am getting power because when I switch it on, the power pack fan turns on as do the LEDs on the CD drive and key board, but the screen remains black and there is no Power up BEEP. Another problem is that all its stuff is on board, so I can’t really pull stuff out of it, except the video card and sound card which I replaced as the on board ones stank. I will give this a shot. BTW ** Max Carnage ** that is a great user name, sounds like one of the guys from Commander Groin and his pain patrol action figure set.

** Zagadka ** wrote

That is something I hadn’t thought of, THANKS!
** Zagadka ** wrote

'Tis to laugh! I have a very good surge protector that I brought with me from the states, to bad none of the outlets in my apartment are grounded.
(Welcome to south America)

Dude, sorry 'bout that. I didn’t mean it.

** X~Slayer(ALE) ** wrote

Insurance? What’s that?

Does the computer outright not turn on? You didn’t really describe what happens.

So this is an offer to pay Janx’s increased insurance premiums? (It’s also a PII so might well be below the deductible.)

Seriously, do not start by testing the MB and PS. Take another known working computer and swap in components for the damaged one, one at a time. Hard drive, CD drive, memory, etc. Test, if you can, the CPU on another machine. If all goes well up to that point, then try testing the MB with a good PS (but one you don’t mind sacrificing).

Sounds like your board is fried… BIOS just isn’t loading. I’m kinda surprised that the power supply (as opposed to surge protector… I’m a putz) is still functional.

I don’t suppose you have another system laying around, or you could test a lot of this real easily. Hm.

If you are able to, I’d test your board with a different power supply, and failing that, see what you can salvage.

lol OK, that explains a lot. :wink:

Um… install a grounded outlet and run a ground line to a pipe?


I got nothin’

When I lived in a dumpy old house in Virginia, I used to unplug my system entirely when a storm was a’brewin. Watching some of those is as entertaining and beautiful as anything online (to this Californian, anyway). :slight_smile:

Even if it’s unplugged from the power, lightning can travel thru the phone lines and zap your modem/mobo if the cord is still connected there.

I used to install computers in factories and industrial areas where the power was awful (fluctuations) and there were towers nearby that got hit by lightning frequently.

First to go were the serial and parallel ports, though they would work intermittently and gradually fail completely. I saw this many times.
Video would get fried.
Memory is probably gone. CMOS might be fixable.
Disks could be okay, but might not last long. Copy them if they ever work again.

Most likely scenario – it’s dead. Lightning is really wicked!
EVERYTHING has to be on good surge suppressors – printers, monitor, modem, cable, network, everything. Even so, 95% of surge supressors won’t stop lightning if it strikes really close and you get the full brunt of it.

Sorry for the bad news.

I do agree with ftg’s suggestion to take out components one at a time to test. It’s the best systematic way of testing – reduce unkown variables one by one until it works. Then add components back in one at a time and test.

But, if the power regulation inside is damaged, you may be putting new components at risk of high voltage overload (in theory).

The fact that the lightning struck so close by coupled with the fact that the power supply appears to be OK leads me to think that there’s a good chance the computer was damaged by the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the lightning and not necessarily from a spike that came in through the power or phone lines. EMP’s from nearby lightning strikes can easily generate enough voltage to destroy CMOS transistors (the ones used in almost all modern “chips”). You may end up having to replace nearly everything in the machine, but you won’t know for sure until you’ve tested each component separately.