Bizarro Lightning Damage

Last Thursday night/Friday morning we had some pretty powerful storm cells come through the area. I heard the next morning that at one point 85,000 people were without power overnight and that only 10,000 of them had been restored. I woke up around 1AM when one of the cells was passing and there was so much lightning back-to-back that it looked like fireworks going off or a paparazzi mob surrounding my house (as they often do).

The next morning the Internet/DSL connection appeared to be down. My best (quick) efforts to revive it were fruitless. Then I got a call from my wife a few hours later with some interesting news — she was noticing that only some of the computers couldn’t connect – not all of them. When I got home from work I started tracing through the system and discovered that the main hub/switch had gotten toasted, but a smaller secondary one was fine (which accounted for the small population of working systems). The Airport base station that serves as the router between DSL and home network was also flaky (periodically dropping connections). A quick trip to Best Buy after dinner got us re-switched and a new Airport Extreme in place.

The next outage uncovered was the strangest of all. The front speaker channels in the AV amplifier had gotten toasted — so a Dolby 5.1 DVD would only play out of the center, sub-woofer and back speaker channels. Fortunately, the AV unit allowed for 4 front speakers, so we were able to move over to the other speaker outputs without having to buy an entirely new unit.

This morning I discovered one of the iMacs shutting down spontaneously. After combing through the log files I unearthed this message: AppleSMU — shutdown cause = -122 . After some forensic work on the apple support site I found a note that indicated that a shutdown -122 is typically power related (source is fluctuation too much so the unit shuts down defensively). So, it looks like the UPS that the iMac is plugged into took the brunt of the surge, but is now unstable as a result and in need of replacement. It’s been an expensive weekend and I haven’t even bought anything new 🙂

I guess the good news out of this is that the relatively inexpensive hubs took the hit, rather than the considerably more expensive computers and PVRs. I’ll count myself lucky.

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