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RE: [wuhu_software_group] Re: Is serial port fried?

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  • M. A.P
    I had a neutral go out many years ago - due to no apparent reason - 1/2 my house worked - the other side was dead (US based /w 2 phases) - power company
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 28, 2008
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      I had a neutral go out many years ago - due to no apparent reason - 1/2 my house worked - the other side was dead (US based /w 2 phases) - power company promptly came out and ran a bare wire to my neighbor (as a temp fix), they then came out a week later to dig-up the transformer and add a good neutral. Home was just 2 years old.
       
      -Mike



      To: wuhu_software_group@yahoogroups.com
      From: jjantti2@...
      Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 10:04:24 +0000
      Subject: [wuhu_software_group] Re: Is serial port fried?

      Steve,

      A sudden Groung Potential Rise (GPR) due to lightning strike at close
      proximity can cause the serial port to get fried. With LaCrosse units,
      that have no protective circuitry or common ground path (due to its
      design) is very prone to inductive spike from a nearby lightning. All
      that inductive energy needs to travel to ground and when a LaCrosse
      station comes into question, the spike's travel path will be through
      the console, towards the serial interface. Since LaCrosse hasn't
      grounded the serial plug on either end (it's plastic all the way) the
      spike will flow through the pins to the FIFO-chip on the board and
      although those voltage jumps inside the console dissipate the energy
      somewhat, the voltage on the FIFO-chip can still rise to hundreds of
      volts upto several kilovolts.

      For comparison, 1/4 miles = 0.25 miles, wihch equals a rough 400
      meters in metric. It's quite near, since converting the metric value
      to a lightning's "flash-to-bang" -sequence, it's a flash and a second
      or so later, the bang. It has to be a cloud-to-ground discharge and
      depending on the lightning's polarity and the strike power on the
      discharge path, it can destroy any equipment that has poor grounding
      or, like things with LaCrosse, has long wires and most of them are looped.

      That lost Neutral issue sounds very creepy, if the lights go on
      someplace else when you flick the switch or lights would go on whe you
      used a vacuum.

      I would have been very worried if that would have happened in one
      these oldest of houses I know of that still utilize the older
      grounding method, where the ground wire is bridged with Neutral wire.
      Here in Finland, there's a possibility to plug the appliance "the
      wrong way round". Normally this is not an issue, but on these old
      houses, should Neutral be globally lost, all those appliances plugged
      "the wrong way" would have electricity flowing on the chassis....
      Sounds dangerous, huh? :-6

      Best Regards,
      Juha
      Weather Station Operator
      Station FinWX HELKan-1
      Helsinki, Finland
      CW4473 / IUUSIMAA2

      --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "steve_03222"
      <steve_03222@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > Bob,
      > two of us on this list lost a serial port on the same day, within
      > minutes of each other in different parts of the country. Both were
      > most likely from distant lightning, not direct hits. I too have
      > researched this and if you have a direct hit, you are correct, no
      > amount of money is probably going to protect you from damage. It is
      > my understanding that this electro static discharge affects mainly
      > serial ports and from there and go into the rest of the computer. It
      > seems like it does not take much to make it happen. I now use the
      > surge protector and try to disconnect the hard wire and go wireless
      > when lightning is in the area. When my serial port fried, I had no
      > damage to any other component of my PWS.
      > Now if there are direct hit on any power lines in the area, that can
      > do many strange things. This is different as it is coming in from th
      > epoaer side. In one business I had, we took a direct hit on the
      > lines outside of my business, power did some flickering, but stayed
      > on. Well, this is when things got interesting. The lights went off
      > when someone turned on the vacuum, turn the lights off and something
      > else would turn on, pretty freaky. This happpened all over my
      > building. Turn out a neutral was lost during the hit, I am no
      > electrician, so I was told that bacically the electricity would flow
      > which ever way it wanted due to this. All I know is that I have
      > never turned off the lights before by turning on a vacuum. LOL
      >
      > Steve
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "RS Moreland"
      > <bobmoreland@ > wrote:
      > >
      > > Mr WUHU,
      > >
      > > Again, thanks for the input.
      > >
      > > I have ordered a usb to serial adaptor (the one recommended here)
      > > which I'll have Monday. I will order a pci com port serial card
      > today.
      > > One of the two will end this problem on this pc. Thanks for the
      > info
      > > on the serial card.
      > >
      > > Lighting protection seems to be a complex problem and the solutions
      > > are far and wide. Your hit sounds like a direct to ground type with
      > > high voltage traveling through/over the earth to your house and
      > > finding a path on your house electrical system. Depending on the
      > size
      > > of the current, you may or may not be able to suppress it. Mine, I
      > > think, was a static discharge. The lighting was said to be
      > horizontal.
      > > One neighbor lost a TV, another received a shock when he touched
      > the
      > > doorknob to his house.
      > > My system was pretty well isolated(I thought) but for the original
      > > cable for the rain bucket which was laying on the ground for 10
      > feet.
      > > It was the only cable I had not replaced with cat 5e so there was
      > no
      > > shielding.
      > >
      > > What to do to stop this from happening again? Don't know for sure
      > but
      > > I will operate wireless to the console and maybe add line
      > suppressors
      > > on the cables to the temp/hum sensor (travoids sp Ham radio
      > neighbor
      > > suggested this). This time all sensors are mounted on metal with
      > > ground rods to earth. Although the earth here has a higher
      > resistance
      > > than some areas and may not work that well. Also i have purchased a
      > > new pws than is all wireless which will stop current traveling from
      > > one component to another but can still be hit.
      > >
      > > I don't think there is a complete solution, even if money was no
      > > object so I'll all I reasonably can to avoid this again.
      > >
      > > Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.
      > >
      > > Thanks again.
      > >
      > > Regards, Bob
      > >
      > > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "wuhu_software"
      > > <wuhu_software@ > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Bob,
      > > >
      > > > Sorry to hear about your confirmation. You can buy new serial
      > cards
      > > > relatively cheaply (compared to the cost of a new station).
      > > >
      > > > Newegg.com is a good place to shop for a new port. I would stick
      > with
      > > > a name brand card like Adaptec as the cheaper cards may not
      > follow
      > > > the RS-232 spec of +/- 12VDC and instead output +/- 5VDC. This
      > can
      > > > cause problems with certain devices.
      > > >
      > > > The damaged serial ports seem to be a fairly common problem with
      > the
      > > > La Crosse units. The most typical situation is that the serial
      > port
      > > > is damaged but the console survives.
      > > >
      > > > When nearby lightning stuck within 50 yards of my house, I had
      > my
      > > > system protected by and inline surge supressor, the serial port
      > and
      > > > computer were spared from damage however it fried the circuitry
      > in
      > > > the console that handled the serial interface to the PC.
      > > >
      > > > So if you get the inline surge protection, it will likely
      > protect the
      > > > computer and damage the console as well. It is a bit of a catch-
      > 22.
      > > >
      > > > Since the potential risk to the computer outweighs the concern
      > to
      > > > spare the console, you might as well get one if you run wired
      > mode
      > > > again. Buy.com has a decent inline serial surge protector if you
      > are
      > > > in the market for one.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "RS Moreland"
      > > > <bobmoreland@ > wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > Greetings all,
      > > > >
      > > > > Just a followup to the com port issue.
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks Audun for the suggestion. I did as you said and no
      > typing was
      > > > > seen which confirms a dead com port. Little tricky getting the
      > paper
      > > > > clip to work but it did because I did not have any clips small
      > > > enough.
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks Mr. WUHU for the input. Yes, we both thought is was
      > dead put
      > > > I
      > > > > wanted a little confirmation. As you may recall when my rain
      > sensor
      > > > > dropped off the pws console and the console didn't send to the
      > > > > computer I was trying to figure what was broken and used
      > another
      > > > > computer to test with.
      > > > > It appears that the lighting traveled up the cable from the
      > rain
      > > > > sensor (it's working on the new console), damaged the temp/hum
      > > > sensor
      > > > > and on to the console (I was in wired mode), and now it seems
      > it
      > > > also
      > > > > got the com port on the computer.
      > > > >
      > > > > Lot of lessons to be learned with this lighting hit.
      > > > >
      > > > > Thanks all,
      > > > > Regards, Bob
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "fikkaud"
      > > > > <audun.fikke@ > wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Hi,
      > > > > > Just do a simple check like this.
      > > > > > All you need i a paperclip to short pin 2 and 3 on the
      > comport.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > 1) Shut down your computer and short pin 2 and 3 with a
      > paperclip
      > > > > > (google RS 232 pinout if it doesn't say pin numbers)
      > > > > > 3) Hyperterminal: make a connection with the comport in
      > question.
      > > > > > 4) Start typing, and anything you type should appear in the
      > > > terminal
      > > > > > window. If you see the typing your comport is OK.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Good Luck
      > > > > > Audun
      > > > > >
      > > > > > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "wuhu_software"
      > > > > > <wuhu_software@ > wrote:
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Bob,
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > The easiest way is to take a device that works on a
      > different
      > > > > > > computer and try it on the suspect port. It sounds like
      > you
      > > > have
      > > > > > > already done this. I would guess the port is fried.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Steve is correct, device manager does not have a mechanism
      > to
      > > > fully
      > > > > > > test the serial port so you cannot tell if the port is
      > damaged.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > There are small loop back plugs you can buy to test serial
      > > > ports.
      > > > > > You
      > > > > > > basically open up hyper-terminal and verify that what you
      > type
      > > > > > comes
      > > > > > > back to you.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > I strongly urge anyone running a La Crosse unit in wired
      > mode
      > > > to
      > > > > > > purchase the inline serial surge protector available at
      > > > buy.com.
      > > > > > This
      > > > > > > device can save your serial ports and even the motherboard.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > The way La Crosse has engineered these things is terrible.
      > Your
      > > > > > > serial lines are effectively run all the way up to the
      > wind
      > > > sensor,
      > > > > > > making your system VERY vulnerable to lightning.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > I was told by a lightning expert to avoid any excess
      > looping of
      > > > > > wire
      > > > > > > (like the excess telephone cord out at the remote thermo).
      > This
      > > > can
      > > > > > > apparently cause the wiring to act like an antenna. I do
      > not
      > > > know
      > > > > > > enough about the topic of electro-magnetic energy from
      > > > lightning so
      > > > > > I
      > > > > > > blindly take his advice.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > He also said, given the configuration of the La Crosse
      > models,
      > > > you
      > > > > > > could loose equipment from a stike up to 1/4 mile away.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > --- In wuhu_software_ group@yahoogroup s.com, "steve_03222"
      > > > > > > <steve_03222@ > wrote:
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > Not sure how to technically check the serial port, when
      > mine
      > > > was
      > > > > > > > fried, looking at device manager it said it was working
      > > > properly.
      > > > > > > > Steve
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > <bobmoreland@ > wrote:
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Greetings,
      > > > > > > > > I finally have my PWS up and running BUT the desktop
      > pc
      > > > cannot
      > > > > > get
      > > > > > > > > data from the weather station (WS2310).
      > > > > > > > > It worked fine when connected to the laptop but not
      > the
      > > > > > desktop.
      > > > > > > > > WUHU says "Sat Apr 26 12:16:42 2008 > Port COM1 re-
      > opened
      > > > > > > > > successfully, attempting to resume communications" .
      > > > > > > > > Then, Sat Apr 26 12:16:46 2008 > Failed to retrieve
      > weather
      > > > > > data
      > > > > > > > from
      > > > > > > > > console. Possible invalid/corrupt data detected.
      > > > > > > > > I did have lighting damage about a month ago and found
      > the
      > > > > > > > > thermo-hydro sensor and console had damage (I thought).
      > > > > > > > > The properties says that the port is functioning ok.
      > > > > > > > > So it looks like the com port is bad even though WUHU
      > says
      > > > it
      > > > > > > > opened
      > > > > > > > > the port and Win XP says its ok.
      > > > > > > > > It there a way to verify this port is not working or
      > > > damaged?
      > > > > > > > > Regards, Bob
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >




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