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lightening damage and how to protect?

JimS

Active Member
Recently built a detached garage about 250 ft from the house and ran several runs of cat5 cable to it.  One for network, one for security alarm bus, one for phone or whatever else. Had a really strong storm Saturday night with 4" of rain and some really close lightening.  Killed a number of things on the network - a couple routers, a silicon dust network TV tuner, not sure what else as I am still checking things out.  Didn't get the vonage box or the main uverse box, the wired PCs, or the main wireless router so it could have been a lot worse.  Think it might have gotten in via a vehicle sensor at the garage wired to a raspberry pi board at the house or the sprinkler controller, also a pi.  The alarm bus and ethernet between buildings wasn't hooked up yet.
 
A couple outside motion sensor lights quit working - haven't check if it is the LED bulbs or the fixture.  Not hooked to the network, just power.
 
So now thinking of ways to harden things.  Have had the sprinkler system and everything but the detached building stuff for years with no issues. 
 
I can make the Pi boards wireless which would break the connections between long outside runs and the network.  Only remaining connection would be power.
 
Could make the ethernet run between building wireless on the shop end.  Or either end really - might make sense to isolate the cable at the house end as I have more equipment there to protect.  I have some camera traffic so wireless may be a limitation although now just one 3 MP camera.  Have seen some ethernet surge protectors.
 
Not sure what to do about the Caddx alarm bus. 
 
Might also put a whole house electric panel protector in.  I have two panels off the meter base at the house and a subpanel in the garage.  Thinking one at each building. 
 
Any suggestions?
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
Fibre Optics to the outbuilding?
 
I have a few 100baseT converters for sale cheap but you would have to get a conduit for fibre between connections.
 
I have my workshop building connected via an old ASUS router that can use AiMesh between my main router and the old one via 5GHz WiFi.
 
You could get a mesh router system and isolate the building connections. The new WiFi 6 systems will connect at up to 4800 Mbps between newer routers now. That's faster than any wired Ethernet.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
I had a similar experience after installing Cat6 between buildings and lost a cable TV box and an ethernet switch in an electrical storm.
 
The Cat6 cable was already installed and I didn't want to replace it with fiber so I installed Ditek surge suppressors in each building and haven't had a problem since. That was over 5 years ago. I shared my experience here at the time so you should be able to find it here in these forums.
 
https://www.diteksurgeprotection.com/
 
Mike.
 

JimS

Active Member
LarrylLix said:
Fibre Optics to the outbuilding?
 
I have a few 100baseT converters for sale cheap but you would have to get a conduit for fibre between connections.
 
I have my workshop building connected via an old ASUS router that can use AiMesh between my main router and the old one via 5GHz WiFi.
 
You could get a mesh router system and isolate the building connections. The new WiFi 6 systems will connect at up to 4800 Mbps between newer routers now. That's faster than any wired Ethernet.
Have conduit so could pull in fiber but looking at all options at this point.
 
Not clear on your other suggestions.  It's too far from the house (250') for a good wifi connection without special equipment.  I had considered bringing the ethernet into the building on one end or the other to an access point, then use a wifi bridge to get to wired.  That way there is only one piece of equipment hooked to the wire between buildings and it isn't hooked to all the other stuff so should be much more immune.  Is that roughly what you are suggesting?
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Point to point WiFi has definitely improved in recent years.  Ubiquiti makes some decent stuff for this (but I've not used any of those, just their other access points and switches).

Fiber to wired Ethernet adapters have never been all that expensive.  What kills you on fiber is the installation.  The need for proper fiber terminating and boxes adds to the expense.  Upside though is it's generally a once-and-done cost.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
JimS said:
Have conduit so could pull in fiber but looking at all options at this point.
 
Not clear on your other suggestions.  It's too far from the house (250') for a good wifi connection without special equipment.  I had considered bringing the ethernet into the building on one end or the other to an access point, then use a wifi bridge to get to wired.  That way there is only one piece of equipment hooked to the wire between buildings and it isn't hooked to all the other stuff so should be much more immune.  Is that roughly what you are suggesting?
No. I was suggesting a WiFi mesh router system that doesn't rely on wired connections but 250 feet may be too far apart. You could use a WiFi dish for a beamed signal at the out building possibly and make it work.
 
My ASUS routers automatically use a wired Ethernet connection if one is found. If one is not found they use a third band to communicate. The 5Ghz band, using WiFi 6 now communicates at up to 4800Mbps.
 
https://www.amazon.com/RT-AX92U-Pack-Performance-Tri-Band-Routers/dp/B07RBBX5ZW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1XMK1UPS5AO5V&dchild=1&keywords=ax92u+2+pack&qid=1597070387&sprefix=ax92u%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-2
 
These models do not have external antennae connectors, so another model would likely be better if a focused antenna is required for that distance.
 

pete_c

Guru
Killed a number of things on the network - a couple routers, a silicon dust network TV tuner, not sure what else as I am still checking things out.
 
Lightning always follows quickiest path and typically the quickiest path is difficult to find.
 
Mike above suggested the Ditek's for the run from the house to the garage.  This would be the least expensive fix depending on your ROI.  
 
Lightning protection at the source of your power / network with good grounding is often suggested.  
 
A few years ago helped an old friend who had lightning damage after a storm.  This took out TV's and Internet boxes and a couple of kitchen appliances.
 
Looking outside he had the local cable company connect to an old RG6 TV antenna cable coming in from the attic via a roof vent and he had no surge protection in the electrical panel.  The lightning caused bulbs to burst in his finished basement.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
JimS said:
JimS, on 10 Aug 2020 - 09:49, said:

Have conduit so could pull in fiber but looking at all options at this point.
When I pulled the cables through my conduit I added a nylon cord that I thought would allow me to add a cable at a later date. I was wrong. The cables and cord got all tangled and I needed to remove all cables in order to add one or two more.

Mike.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
mikefamig said:
When I pulled the cables through my conduit I added a nylon cord that I thought would allow me to add a cable at a later date. I was wrong. The cables and cord got all tangled and it I needed to remove all cables in order to add one or two more.
Same.  The only time it ever worked for me was with a 2" conduit that had only two CAT5 and a coax cable in it.  Think hair braid and you'll grasp how the cord gets twisted up among the cables.
 

ano

Senior Member
Wireless is the way to go, at least for internet. Optoisolators seem like a good idea at first, and they work fine for isolating a few hundred volts, but these devices, which usually are maybe 1/2 inch in length, aren't going to do much from a lightning strike. And with wireless, make sure your using good voltage protection on the power supply, or the wireless part won't be of much help.  
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
ano said:
Wireless is the way to go, at least for internet. Optoisolators seem like a good idea at first, and they work fine for isolating a few hundred volts, but these devices, which usually are maybe 1/2 inch in length, aren't going to do much from a lightning strike. And with wireless, make sure your using good voltage protection on the power supply, or the wireless part won't be of much help.  
What sort of wireless will work at 200' through walls and with all of the potential interference in a garage when you are working. I have a similar situation and had no luck with wireless. I had to add a second access point wireless transmitter in the detached garage just to get wifi music around the yard while I'm mowing.
 
Mike.

EDIT - I should add that the wireless AP in the garage is connected to the gateway in the house by a buried Cat6 cable.
 

JimS

Active Member
ano said:
Wireless is the way to go, at least for internet. Optoisolators seem like a good idea at first, and they work fine for isolating a few hundred volts, but these devices, which usually are maybe 1/2 inch in length, aren't going to do much from a lightning strike. And with wireless, make sure your using good voltage protection on the power supply, or the wireless part won't be of much help.  
I agree that wireless or optical fiber gives the best isolation - practically unlimited.  But optos are good for a lot more than a few hundred volts.  I design products with them and there are lots of them UL rated for 2500 VAC and higher.
 

JimS

Active Member
Ditek looks good and has a large product offering covering various kinds of cables.  For ethernet it looks like this is appropriate.  I don't need POE for this on but it appears POE is covered by default.
 
https://www.diteksurgeprotection.com/products/network-protection/198-dtk-mrjpoe
 
 
will look at them for some other lines too.  Ran a line for possible POTs but phone is covered by VOIP.  Have alarm bus and will have to check into appropriate protector for that.
 
For ethernet this looks like a reasonable alternative.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GBLFFNK/
 
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