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rascal60

join:2012-08-08
Kanata, ON

1 edit

[Ultra/Lite] Serious Equipment Damage- ungrounded Rogers Cable?

While I was away, an electrical event caused damage to several pieces of equipment, including a laptop, receiver, and xbox360. The value of damaged equipment is about $1400. I am still trying to work out a full explanation for this but consider the following:

-a thunder storm occurred at some time during the period in which damage happened.
- all damaged equipment was disconnected from wall AC
- damaged laptop and xbox 360 were connected to a 10/100 router via cat5 cable, and router was connected to a Rogers cable modem
- damaged home theatre receiver and PS3 were connected together via HDMI with xbox 360
- Rogers' cable modem and router were live and not damaged. A reset occurred on the modem around the time of the storm.
- there was no ground wire on the Rogers cable inside the house. Rogers technicians had done some prior troubleshooting and did not install a ground wire.
- HD TV was connected to the cable (analog) and to HDMI with receiver but appears undamaged.
- Two other computers on cat 5 (longer reach) were undamaged.

I suspect that an electrical surge on the cable and its lack of a ground wire is the sole cause of the damage. It is unclear why the modem and router are undamaged. Both are on AC/DC adapters so perhaps they have some ground isolation and float with the cable. Any suggestions ?

Addendum:

Thanks to those making helpful comments!

There was no evidence of a direct lightning strike on the house or nearby cable. No equipment showed any obvious physical signs of damage (burning, melts etc). I take this to be some sort of elevated voltage event but enough to cause arcing.

Xbox would not turn on but power supply ok
Receiver showed damage to logic/control
Laptop ok except for 10/100 and wireless network i/f
PS3 lost hdmi and all sound.

And yes, should have disconnected the modem & router, but was in a hurry to catch a plane and forgot it.

AC events are frequent in my area, and also have a lengthy trail of dissatisfaction with Rogers signal issues. Within the last year, the cable trunking to the box on the street has been replaced. Problems with high speed line dropping continued. If Rogers had a program of "goodwill" for compensating customers who experience losses I might pursue this, but I dont think that the word "goodwill" is even in that company's vocabulary.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4

Re: [Ultra/Lite] Serious Equipment Damage- ungrounded Rogers Cab

A single grounding rod does dick all for a direct lightning strike. You're really barking up the wrong tree on this.


sbrook
Premium,Mod
join:2001-12-14
Ottawa
kudos:13
reply to rascal60
If the cable modem and router were undamaged, then it is most unlikely that cable would have done this.


headscratch

@videotron.ca
reply to rascal60
It's just really odd that everything in your house is unplugged except for a modem. Odd.


Agreed

@videotron.ca
reply to rascal60
It's possible. Yes.

Grounding is part of the install. Yes.

No ground = defective install.

If this is indeed the case, yes, Rogers is and should be at fault for a defective install.

So, umm, do you always unplug every little thing in your house when you are away? Can't say I see that often.

Good luck proving the electrical outlets were not the problem, or could never have been a problem. I guess you could always contract a master electrician + an electrical engineer to write up a report for you though.

However, a faulty install is negligence on Rogers part. So, in my opinion, some karma my be on your side here if you show negligence/defectiveness of installation and Code.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
He can try his luck going after Rogers for not grounding the cable line, but he most likely won't get anywhere. Regardless of the grounding issue, they would be by no means liable for the damage to equipment because a) a single grounding point is in itself sufficient to prevent lightning damage. The only sure-fire way is to unplug *everything* including coax and b) the modem and the router are undamaged. A lightning strike or surge on the coax line would have fried the modem and/or router before anything else.

The shame of this all is that if what he is being said is true, leaving the modem plugged into the electrical outlet may have provided sufficient ground to prevent anything more than the modem from being damaged. Leaving the coax connected while removing the electrical plug is beyond foolish.


chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
reply to rascal60
bad install and the cable sold be grounded somehow and plunging them in a surge protector is a good idea two one saved my Xbox 360 from lighting one time.

scubascythan

join:2005-05-14
reply to rascal60
said by rascal60:

-a thunder storm occurred at some time during the period in which damage happened.
- all damaged equipment was disconnected from wall AC

So either you 1) disconnected ALL those equipment while you were away other than your modem+router.

Or 2) you had all that equipment on surge protectors and believe that is considered 'disconnected from the wall AC'.

If it is 2), cheap surge protectors don't protect you from large spikes. This isn't Roger's fault. You got unlucky.

If it is 1), good luck proving you disconnected all those.


Stalker42

join:2008-01-10
hohoho
reply to rascal60
Same thing happend to me my computer was damaged ( beyond rapair ) during a lightning strike but the modem was not

I had the computer/modem/TV/Home phone unplugged during the storm

The Rogers tech that was here told me that the technician who was origionally here did not ground the cable outside

he said thats a common mistake.

I eventually replaced my computer Bought a UPS Backup and usuing the old computer as a foot rest.


anon user

@teksavvy.com
wait so you think lightning hit the cable line -> jumped to the ethernet (broke xbox) -> then jumped to hdmi (broke HT receiver)

if your house didn't burn down from this, all of the plastic in these devices should be puddles of melted plastic.

In my knowledge, the ground wire only helps with static electricity on the line. It might only help in the smallest of surges.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
said by anon user :

In my knowledge, the ground wire only helps with static electricity on the line. It might only help in the smallest of surges.

Bingo. They're useless for direct lightning hits. If the cable wire gets hit it's going to destroy everything along its path regardless of whether it's connecting to a grounding rod or not.


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to scubascythan
said by scubascythan:

Or 2) you had all that equipment on surge protectors and believe that is considered 'disconnected from the wall AC'.

If it is 2), cheap surge protectors don't protect you from large spikes. This isn't Roger's fault. You got unlucky.

That's not necessarily true at all.

This happened to me years back:

I once had all my equipment on an industrial UPC. building got hit by lightening and everything that had contact with my Bell landline got fried.

So is it possible? Yes, of course. Is it a faulty and negligent install (per what was stated)? Yes.

But it's odd that the modem and router didn't get taken out.

said by Gone:

He can try his luck going after Rogers for not grounding the cable line, but he most likely won't get anywhere.

Then why have codes at all? Negligence is negligence, regardless which company thinks they have carte blanche and immunity for all laws in this world.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
said by hm :

Then why have codes at all? Negligence is negligence, regardless which company thinks they have carte blanche and immunity for all laws in this world.

Oh, I have no doubt that Rogers will immediately send someone out to ground the cable line if the OP requested that they do so, but he won't get a dime for any of the equipment that got toasted. There are simply too many variables to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the ungrounded cable line was directly at fault for the loss.

Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that anything you can buy at a store won't protect you from a direct lightning strike. One should remember that air is one of the strongest insoluators available and lightning has already travelled several - sometimes hundreds - of kilometres through it. A dinky little "surge suppressor" isn't going to stop lightning from proceeding past it.


anon user

@teksavvy.com
Trying to prove something like this is why there is home insurance. Make sure you are covered for things like this. Maybe $300 a year, and if you have a mortgage, its required anyway.

rascal60

join:2012-08-08
Kanata, ON
reply to Stalker42
Did Rogers provide any compensation, or was it deny and obfuscate?

westom

join:2009-03-15
kudos:1
said by rascal60:

Did Rogers provide any compensation, or was it deny and obfuscate?

Bottom line - you are responsible for the one earth ground that makes surges irrelevant. It must be a single point ground.

Principles are quite simple. A lightning strike far down the street to AC mains is a direct strike incoming to every household appliance. Are all appliances damaged? Of course not. To have damage means both an incoming and another completely different outgoing path. First a surge is flowing through that appliance (including open switches). Something (typically one part) in that path fails much later.

Once that surge is permitted inside, then nothing can avert a destructive hunt for earth. Every wire inside every incoming cable must connect low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground. Yes, every word has important electrical consequences. If a wire is not earthed directly (ie cable TV, satellite dish), then it must be earthed, just as short, via a 'whole house' protector (ie telephone, AC electric).

What is the most commonly damaged part? On the outgoing path. Many see that damaged part. Then mistakenly assume that was the incoming path. Another example of why so many make bogus recommendations because they did not first learn over 100 years of well proven science.

Was an unearthed cable the reason for damage? Or was the cable actually earthed by some unintentional ground? Maybe that was in the incoming path. But the most commonly struck wire and incoming path is AC electric. AC electric wires even protect the cable from lightning.

Now, did you provide the 'always required' single point earth ground - the most critical component in every protection system? Does every incoming AC wire connect low impedance (ie connecting wire has no sharp bends or splices) to that single point earth ground? If not, then damage was directly traceable to a human mistake. And yes, low impedance is another critically important concept.

Protection is always about where energy dissipated. Either harmlessly outside so that it never enters a building. Or during a hunt for earth destructively via appliances - because it was all but invited to go hunting. Only you make that choice. Either you have installed earthing that both meets and exceed National Electrical Code requirements. Or superior protection that comes inside every appliance was your only protection.

A destructive surge occurs maybe once every seven years. A number that can vary significantly even within the same town. Do nothing and have no damage to any appliance for another six years. Because existing protection makes most all surges irrelevant. But the informed homeowners learn from their mistake. Upgrade the earthing. And install a 'whole house' protector at the service entrance. Either at the meter or in the breaker box. So that superior protection already inside every appliance is not overwhelmed.

Again, you are responsible for providing the best earth ground. They are only responsible for connecting to it. You are responsible for maintaining that connection.


disagree

@videotron.ca
reply to Stalker42
said by Stalker42:

he said thats a common mistake.

If it's common, then this is a common Rogers training fault, and negligence on their end.

I know here with videotron, and I've had a couple of installs, they don't over-look this. They even have to strain-relief the cable loop it in a certain fashion for rain to drip away and so forth. Then at any time they have an inspector who will come to your door to check the work performed and verify ever little detail (such as strain-relief). Any and all faults discovered will go against a tech.

Is it common? No, not at all. However, it might be common for this Rogers company only due to negligent training, negligent requirements, and zero quality or inspections to code.

It is not common. It is negligent.


hm

@videotron.ca
reply to westom
said by westom:

They are only responsible for connecting to it.

Which is the point here. You wrote a nice story, BUT, Rogers did not connect to it and perform their obligations to code. The rest is all gravy.

As a person further up stated, "this is common for Rogers not to ground".

aereolis

join:2003-06-12
Brampton, ON
said by hm :

said by westom:

They are only responsible for connecting to it.

Which is the point here. You wrote a nice story, BUT, Rogers did not connect to it and perform their obligations to code. The rest is all gravy.

As a person further up stated, "this is common for Rogers not to ground".

Not really, it's uncommon. As it happens, reasons for houses being ungrounded usually are
1. because the hydro company opened the meter, removed the grounding bracket and left it ungrounded (the newest ground brackets don't have this problem anymore and meters can be opened without having to disconnect the ground)
2. hydro meter relocated and cable never re-grounded
3. cold water pipe disconnected or relocated and never re-grounded
4. having the cable grounded actually caused problems with the cable system. i.e. hum or other issues which means that it needed to be disconnected for the rogers services to function normally
5. the length of a ground wire is >40% the length of the drop hence making the grounds useless so none was run or one was run and the existing ground is useless
6. neglegence on rogers' technicians
7. pex piping inside and technicians not knowing and grounded to a cold water pipe
8. grounded inside the house to a cold water pipe - but - disconnected inside the house behind drywall and can not be viewed hence assumed it is grounded

There are a few more i'm sure - special circumstances but these are the major reasons.
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