#FridayHacks: How to protect your electronic devices from lighting strikes

With many Zimbabweans being displaced by floods and the trending Cyclone Dineo, one of their major worries is taking care of their electronic gadgets. Its still raining out there, and lightning keeps people on their toes wondering what will happen to their devices if it strikes. 

Lightning can destroy sensitive electronic appliances even if it does not directly hit your house and this is one point that should grossly be remembered by each individual.

By David Zvina

Lightning strikes at power lines can send a surge of electricity down the wires and into your appliances. Household appliances running on 120-volt alternating current can handle momentary voltage surges up to 169 volts, but surges beyond that point cause damage. Lightning-induced surges can spike to several hundred volts.

There are various ways of protecting Your devices from lightning strikes but here we shall only dwell on the three main ways of lighting security .

A surge protector, also called a surge suppressor, diverts the excess energy to ground. the device can be found in electronic shops around the state. it is of great importance to note that surge protectors can protect from lighting strikes that are of  a less intensity

Consumers should focus on two specifications of any surge protector: at what voltage it ”clamps down,” or opens a bypass for excess power, and at what voltage it loses its ability to protect.

It is important for Consumers to focus on two specifications of any surge protector: at what voltage it ”clamps down,” or opens a bypass for excess power, and at what voltage it loses its ability to protect.

Another important piece of technology that can safeguard your device from lighting strikes is the lighting rode.

If lightning strikes, the system attempts to carry the harmful electrical current away from the structure and safely to ground. The system has the ability to handle the enormous electrical current associated with the strike. If the strike contacts a material that is not a good conductor, the material will suffer massive heat damage.

The lightning-rod system is an excellent conductor and thus allows the current to flow to ground without causing any heat damage.

   The best, and cheapest, way to protect your stereo, television, computer, or any electronic appliance is to unplug all power, telephone (modem), and         antenna connections during a thunderstorms

Bottom line: if your electronic device , laptop or television is plugged in ,it is far less likely to be subject to electrical damage during a lightning storm. Unless lightning strikes the device itself, or the general space where it’s sitting, the chances of it being damaged are next to nothing.

As much as we hate giving up our electronics during a storm, unplugging them is the absolute best method of protecting them against surges or lightning strikes. For laptop users, take a particularly aggressive lightning storm as an opportunity to calibrate the battery by allowing it to run down, waiting five hours, and plugging it back in.

This is good for the battery, and much safer than leaving it in to charge while lightning is striking.

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