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View Robert's profile

Strange issue with power surges

by Robert
posted 09-11-2018 05:14 PM


13 replies so far

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

2581 posts in 2650 days


#1 posted 09-11-2018 05:26 PM

I’m not an electrician but it sure sounds like something is still grounding out. Maybe some wire insulation was partially melted or got nicked and intermittently is shorting things out? Or maybe lightning does strike twice or 4 times (sorry had to put that in there) ;+)

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

955 posts in 1796 days


#2 posted 09-11-2018 07:34 PM

If you have been hit by lightning and had damaged/tripped equipment; might want to have electrician inspect the system, especially ground probes and ground wiring. A lightning strike to a house has been known to melt ground wiring or damage connection points, especially on older structures. In areas with certain soil types, ground electrodes can also degrade over time. Damaged building ground can very be dangerous.

Due the metal shop building feed circuit having issues, and recent tree removal (karma does not care about silly pine trees!); wonder if you have required separate earth ground at the out building and sub-panel (and if it is bonded and working)?

Competent electrician can also do a site survey and determine if need lightning protection on a building. Building code requires very metal roof building needs to perform a lightning risk assessment per NFPA 780 (some reference materials here). IMHO – every metal roof building needs to have lightning protection.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1243 posts in 741 days


#3 posted 09-11-2018 07:52 PM

I’d be wondering if others using the same internet service are seeing the spikes.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

642 posts in 2251 days


#4 posted 09-11-2018 08:04 PM

I unplug my tools this time of year in fla. Big lighting storms daily. Electrician said the best method is to unplug. You have other good advice above, I would call an electrician and have them test the ground for the system.

-- Petey

View Robert's profile

Robert

3317 posts in 1783 days


#5 posted 09-11-2018 08:05 PM

Blaster – its got nothing to do with the internet service, its a spike getting into the wifi in the barn feeding back to the main modem in the house. We already have determined that.

Cap’n K – The electric service to the barn/shop was put in 3 years ago. Separate transformer to shop. The electrician is a friend of mine he does very good work I can see 1 ground rod, but I’m pretty sure code here calls for 2 eight feet apart.

When I get home from work, I’m gonna take a look around, I figure somehow that voltage spike had to get into the circuit to pop the breaker. I know the outlet the router was plugged into does not feed off the subpanel.

None of the other breakers in the panel we tripped.

If lightning is going to hit again I sure don’t want a fire.

One thing I have thought about is the cat5 cable is zip tied to metal conduit & I think that’s probably a no-no. If a voltage spike goes to ground it will go thru the conduit, too and bleed in into the Cat5 cable. Sound right?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 792 days


#6 posted 09-11-2018 08:35 PM


One thing I have thought about is the cat5 cable is zip tied to metal conduit & I think that s probably a no-no. If a voltage spike goes to ground it will go thru the conduit, too and bleed in into the Cat5 cable. Sound right?

- rwe2156

How long have you had this set up? I’m a Network Engineer and if I saw this set up I’d be doing a double take. I know that it’s against code in most places to run CAT cables in the same conduit as it can produce some nasty shocks. However, I wouldn’t say this is the cause of the issue as this would cause your breaker to trip as soon as you reset it. Has you friend taken a look at this?

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

955 posts in 1796 days


#7 posted 09-11-2018 09:44 PM

You have 2 transformers, losing routers?
Wow, Deja vu.
I had similar problem losing internet routers in my sisters house, when single cat5 line was run underground between metal pole barn and house. With 2 separate power sources, there will be difference in ground potential, and ends up the network wires are trying to equalize the potential (poof go the routers!). Using a power line monitor on where router PS was plugged in and also noticed the network line was acting like an antenna and picking up static interference during electrical storms.

One solution was to pull a new heavy duty CAT6 tray cable with shield thru conduit and terminate shield at transmitting location in house. Do not bond the network cable shield on both ends, or it will become a bonding line, trying to equalize ground voltages (DAMHIK). With shielded cable next router lasted over a year, till next major storm hit the buildings.

My final fix required switching to a wireless extender solution. Used a dedicated 5g modem inside house at wall nearest barn, and commercial outdoor rated 5g wireless router mounted on outside of building. The outdoor POE wireless hardware was not something you find everywhere, and is not cheap. The speeds are not as fast as cable, but by using a high end dual channel 5g router in house and dual channel extender was able to get good speeds (can easily stream 2 HD movies at same time). If distance is too large for 5G, there are outdoor 2.4GHz systems that can reach 1500ft, and faster cellular band access points that can cover miles.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Robert's profile

Robert

3317 posts in 1783 days


#8 posted 09-11-2018 09:57 PM



How long have you had this set up? I m a Network Engineer and if I saw this set up I d be doing a double take. I know that it s against code in most places to run CAT cables in the same conduit as it can produce some nasty shocks. However, I wouldn t say this is the cause of the issue as this would cause your breaker to trip as soon as you reset it. Has you friend taken a look at this?

- lumbering_on

It’s not in the conduit it is fastened to the outside and touches in several places.

I’ve had this setup for at least 4 years with no issues until 2 months ago.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 792 days


#9 posted 09-11-2018 10:47 PM

How long have you had this set up? I m a Network Engineer and if I saw this set up I d be doing a double take. I know that it s against code in most places to run CAT cables in the same conduit as it can produce some nasty shocks. However, I wouldn t say this is the cause of the issue as this would cause your breaker to trip as soon as you reset it. Has you friend taken a look at this?

- lumbering_on
It’s not in the conduit it is fastened to the outside and touches in several places.

I’ve had this setup for at least 4 years with no issues until 2 months ago.

- rwe2156

Ok, I misunderstood what you meant. Still it shouldn’t be tied to an electrical conduit since it can cause interference issues.It can also cause issues if there is a lightning strike, as you have the possibility of creating a circuit in that case.

That said, it wouldn’t be the cause of your breaker tripping as you would have figured it out from the melted insulation, or failing that, the fact you would have been blown back a few feet when you touched it.

View clin's profile

clin

1013 posts in 1298 days


#10 posted 09-11-2018 11:00 PM

Lightening strike + stuff not working right = electrical system damaged and tripped breaker

There’s a lot of possibilities and I think there is little point in speculating on what it is. Though I’d definitely check out the shop main wires in the conduit.

I think you need to have an electrician check all this out.

-- Clin

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

1162 posts in 1841 days


#11 posted 09-12-2018 12:22 AM

If all else fails, have you grounded the CAT5/6/7 cables and connectors? They do make shielded cables and connectors so they can all be grounded. I wired my entire home that way and never had any equipment get fried (knock on wood) and I’m in central florida.

View jacww's profile

jacww

35 posts in 1310 days


#12 posted 09-13-2018 02:10 AM

Improperly installed CAT5/6/7 (aka low voltage) copper cable between buildings is dangerous to people, buildings and equipment. And likely a code violation. I bet your insurance company would not like this installation.

I am amazed that in FL it took 4 years for you to experience some of the issues. It could have been worse.

I found a couple of similar questions on networking related forums. The answers reported that most codes require “low voltage” wire/cable to have appropriate and approved lightning protection where the wire/cable enters the building. The wire/cable acts like an antenna around lightning with potentially HUGE voltage potentials.

If a lightning strike is close, NOTHING will prevent damage. For lightning, “close” is hard to define.

The same issues and concerns about grounding were reported. A possible solution is to tie the two building grounds together.

I have 35+ plus years experience in Information Technology including networking with a large corporation. I have never installed copper between buildings myself but have worked with properly licensed network wiring contractors to get the job done correctly, safely and to code.

If it were me, the best DIY solution is to replace the copper with fiber optic cable. Get a couple of small Ethernet switches with SFP ports for fiber, and the appropriate length of fiber cable PRE-TERMINATED with the correct connector for the switches. Replace the copper with the fiber, plug in the switches DONE! It’s not that much different than running the copper…just safer.

Another DIY solution that may be a little cheaper is to use WiFi. Get a couple of dual band (2.4GHz and 5Ghz) wireless access points that can use one band as a point to point connection and the other band for building WiFi. Maybe a couple of directional antennas will be needed depending on the distance between the buildings. Oh, keep the antennas INSIDE or you still have lightning issues and need somebody to install proper lightning protection on the antennas.

Spend a few hundred dollars to protect your shop, your home, and your life.

TonyC

View Hammerthumb's profile

Hammerthumb

2921 posts in 2277 days


#13 posted 09-13-2018 06:25 AM

There is a good book about grounding and bonding from ARRL titled “Grounding and bonding for the radio amateur”. It is available in Kindle or other sources for about $10. It will explain exactly the issue you are having, and solutions for it.
Lightning is a bane for ham radio operators with expensive equipment attached to antennas high in the air. All principals to your issue apply.
The book was written by an engineer with decades of experience setting up mountain top radio systems for public service use. I think you would benefit from the small expense, as it applies to anything you have that runs on electricity.
Best of luck.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

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