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Roamio Plus lightning damaged. Fix or not?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by rboutin2, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. rboutin2

    rboutin2 New Member

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    Oct 26, 2011
    Would it be worth it to put a $49.99 power supply board into it? Or is it too likely that some other components were damaged along with the power board? The power supply board and case underneath it have big black marks where the surge arced across. I am not planning on keeping it if it gets fixed. Most likey going to sell it to family or on ebay. Insurance has already paid for a new one. I am only concerned with other components being damaged because my gaming pc got hit too, but only the motherboard was fried, everything else in the pc is perfectly fine.
     

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  2. eboydog

    eboydog Just TiVo'ing.....

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    Chances are just the power supply blew, you will only know by fixing it and seeing what happens. From lighting surge issues I have had its usually the HDMI port that goes on the mainboard since that's usually the only other inter connected part.
     
  3. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    Lightning Damage? I would trash it.
     
  4. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    I actually did some extensive examinations of TiVos with internal power supplies, and took note of how the surge/transient protection was designed to shunt it to the case (note the screws that go through the outer edge of the power supply, which have a tab on the top, using the screws as the connection to case).

    It was always clear to me that the ground on a TiVo is the coax shield. If the coax grounding is poor/absent, the case becomes a floating neutral.

    If the screws are not in tight, the protection circuitry is rendered ineffective (note the green insulating coating on what should be bare and in contact with the metal around the screw hole). Earlier power supplies never had that green coating (while some did, but NEVER covering that pad), and it looks like somebody in power supply design coated something that should have been bare. If that screw was not tight, then that soot on the case is an arc, due to a design defect. If the screw was tight, the soot is just blast-off from a trace blowing-out, or an arc between traces (which should not happen).

    I'd like to see more. I wish I could actually examine it and test the components.

    If all the side screws of the power supply were tight, and the coax ground was good, the good news should be that the surge didn't pass through the HDMI ground drain, into other connected devices.

    If the coax ground was not good enough, and/or the power supply didn't have a good case connection, it's probable that every device connected to the TiVo, got a hit of that. Anything you have that survived, may have suffered damage that isn't apparent now, but has shortened the life of it.

    If somehow possible, I'd like to examine this TiVo, and try to see if that soot marks the extent of how far the transient/surge got, check for design flaws, and scope-out components to see what other parts of the TiVo were killed, damaged, or survived.

    I find the survey of what was "fried" and what was "fine" to be interesting, and have some theories about how only the board of the gaming PC was killed. Did the gaming PC have any sort of card that had a coax connection, or a connection to the same TV via HDMI?

    Care to take more pictures, and fill in some blanks? It's possible a power supply might bring it back. I wouldn't have any worries about trying one in fear of blowing up the one you try (if designed as power supplies are supposed to be). I only have base-Roamios now, which have external wall-wart power-supplies. So, I can't pop open a Plus/Pro and look at one.

    @eboydog: You missed the coax as being where the current (joules) should have shunted to, which should have kept it out of the HDMI ground (if everything was designed properly, and all connections and grounds were proper and adequate).
     
  5. eboydog

    eboydog Just TiVo'ing.....

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    No One, yes I forgot.about The coax despite talking to eBay seller a few weeks ago about a bad Roamio they were selling that was damaged by lighting, their TiVo lost its tuners.
     
  6. rboutin2

    rboutin2 New Member

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    Oct 26, 2011
    the tivo was in my bedroom, connected via hdmi to my tv, which also got fried. TV was connected to a stereo with an RCA to 3.5mm aux cable, to the aux input, the stereo also got fried. The other things that got fried were the alarm clock and tuning adapter. All of these were connected on the same surge protector. I have no ground on the outlets that the surge protector was plugged into (old house, NOT knob and tube, but just before grounds were required).

    The cable wasnt working after, and in the box outside, charter had to replace all the splitters, as they were toast. They were grounded however.

    My gaming pc in the living room, only the motherboard got taken out. PSU, ram, hd, cpu, graphics card all ok.

    My router and modem, and the blower control board also got taken out. they were in a "closet" area between kitchen and living room.

    All that being said, the main reason I am considering replacing the PS in the tivo is cuz all that was wrong with my pc was the mobo. BUT there was minimal damage in that room. The bedroom where the tivo was took out damn near every electronic in there. So i have my doubts a PS is gna fix it. I ordered a new power supply board for the Samsung TV for $10 figured I'll see if that fixes it. But now Im thinking possibly the surge went through the HDMI from the tivo into the tv.
     
  7. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    Ok, that certainly paints a clearer picture. Surge protectors without a ground connection are sometimes worse than no surge strip at all, when lightning strikes. Everything had to find an alternate path for the joules involved. Consider yourself lucky that your house didn't burn down, and consider having a few discrete runs of grounded romex to where your valuable devices are located. I had to do that in my first home (jerks that sold it to me installed ground-plug outlets on old cloth wrapped no-ground wiring).

    I hired an electrician to do one room, and carefully watched how he did it (like pulling the baseboards, and notching the studs, then metal plate over the notch, and baseboard back on). I then bought a book from Home Depot on home wiring, read-up on the codes, and did the whole house. I even built-up enough skill and knowledge to replace the outdated breaker panel, and under-rated jumper between the meter and the breaker box.

    I wound up with a few bedroom outlets that I couldn't get to, so I used a GFCI outlet at the last outlet with a ground wire, and labeled the plates on the ground-lug outlets downstream as non-grounded, GFCI-protected. At the time (12 years ago), that was OK by the code for where I lived.

    I passed the electrical inspection with flying colors, other than being told I needed to add pins to breakers that fed circuits using an extra hot wire (red), with a shared neutral, to make one breaker pull the other off (because of the shared neutral). I never did home wiring before then, just electronics inside things. I'm still proud of that project. It's not something that just anybody is up to doing.

    If all your splitters were taken-out, forget the TiVo, or anything else on the coax. It all got hit, even if some survived. I'm curious what path the strike took to only kill the mainboard of your computer. It didn't make it through the power supply, only to kill the board. It had to come in through some other way, to the best of my knowledge. My best guess is through your ethernet cable.

    Your guess that it traversed over the HDMI cable is spot-on. The only path it had to ground was through your cable ground, and all the interconnections probably carried some of it, even though the cable was grounded. In several ways, your described situation was the perfect storm of connections, just waiting for that bolt to come. At least the house is still there. I hope you took a little liberty with the insurance and didn't just get the value of what was killed instantly. It's likely everything in your house got damaged, and won't last. I got hit by a transient once and had a shop write me up a letter explaining the hidden damages to what still worked. The insurance carrier covered all of it, and it was the right thing to do. No fraud in that, and everything that survived, didn't last long after that. Some insurers will insist on taking in everything they pay for, so you can't make another claim later-on, with the same pre-damaged devices/appliances/etc.
     
  8. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    It's a lightning strike. The easiest course of action is to get reimbursed by the insurance and trash everything that was affected. It's not worth the risk of having problems down the road.

    Fortunately I have never had this issue. But I would be trashing anything that I thought was affected. I wouldn't risk running any of the affected equipment.
     
  9. rboutin2

    rboutin2 New Member

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    Oct 26, 2011
    we've been slowly remodeling the house, room by room, and been putting in new electrical as we go. Kitchen, laundry room and bathroom are all new wiring and ground, etc. All up to code. The living room, main floor bedroom and the whole upstairs are all old wiring still.

    So nooneuknow, with your background with this stuff, do you think if i put a new PS board in the tivo, it would work again? Or should I just salvage the 1tb hard drive and use it for a backup drive in my pc? I already have a new roamio plus. It would be nice to fix this one for $50 and sell it on ebay, and come out a little ahead. But only if it is likely to work again.
     
  10. telemark

    telemark New Member

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    It would be fairer to just list it as-is / for parts.

    If you repair it first, you'll get more money, but you're more likely to get a return if there's ever a problem you didn't notice.

    Could you tell across the house, did surge protectors end up helping?
     
  11. rboutin2

    rboutin2 New Member

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    Oct 26, 2011
    Surge protectors don't do a thing when they aren't grounded. That's how surge protectors work, they send the excess down the ground wire. Everything was on surge protectors.
     
  12. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    When, exactly, did this event happen?

    For starters, I suggest that you not discard, or otherwise get rid of anything related to the strike just yet (even what myself, or others, advise you to). The insurance carrier might decide they want it. Even if they don't, you might need it if/when you have more problems later on, as proof of (a great many things).

    Did anybody tell you what path the transient from the strike entered on (line or neutral, was it definitely the electric service line)? I doubt you were the only one that got spiked, regardless of where the strike hit (see if anybody else knows, and ask what they lost to it). Was this a direct strike on your home? Do you know where the strike occurred? There are a great many ways for a strike to travel across and what path(s) it will follow to find ground (earth ground). Even a strike to ground can travel and cause destruction above ground.

    Lets deal with a few things that have more to do with your own safety:

    1. Have the insurance pay for inspection of the whole home's wiring, breaker panel, and all outlets to determine if any of that was damaged. If they find damage caused by the strike, the insurance might pay to have your home rewired, and made safe, rather than risk a fire due to damaged wiring, plus the possibility of death. They would rather pay less now to avoid a fire, than pay more later. All utility companies should also come out and inspect their grounds, even if that utility did not get taken-out. Even your water-meter has a ground jumper between the meter inlet and outlet (which may have vaporized). IIRC, even natural gas has grounding requirements. Last, for this paragraph, is that you should familiarize yourself with the concepts of a single-point ground, done up to current code. Essentially, you should have a specific grounding rod, specifically placed, and all home grounds and utility ground should have a "home-run" connection to that single point, without any cheating by using water pipes, etc. Speaking of water pipes, any device inline to the pipes, like a water heater or water softener, should have a ground jumper across inlet and outlet (like the water meter would have).

    2. Unless your insurance will pay to have them analyzed, or the manufacturer will, discard every surge protector that was connected at the time. You want nothing to do with them, unless it is to autopsy them, or have them autopsied, something the protector manufacturer may be willing to do for free, and may even pay to have you send theirs back to them. Some of the better ones should have some protection without a true safety ground (neutral is technically a ground, while the separate ground is called a "safety ground"). Most breaker panels bind neutral and ground together, with only a few areas not allowing this (yet), and that bonded N+G then goes to that single-point ground rod.

    3. Most electronics (aside from ancient non-computerized major appliances), has a level of transient/surge protection built-in. It would be safe to assume that what you saw inside the TiVo, may have happened in everything else (especially since that WAS the surge protection circuit in your TiVo that blew). Just because something still works, does not mean it has any protection left, and is without damage. I've seen devices with much greater soot blasts than your TiVo somehow still work.

    4. For safety, if you try to repair anything, replace the entire power supply to insure you have re-established the electrical safety/surge portion of it.

    As far as selling anything that you repaired: Without FULL-disclosure of the equipment being repaired by yourself, and that the repairs are due to lightning damage, and you can not guarantee the product, you might as well just ask somebody to sue you. I will not help you with repair advice, if your goal is to sell, without FULL disclosure.

    I really need to know where the strike hit, and where the spike entered. That your computer power supply survived, along with the rest of it, less the mainboard, plus what else you have additionally disclosed, makes me wonder if the surge might have came in over the cable, and exited via the home wiring.

    Even if you have no landline service, there's a chance that the strike could come in through the phone wiring, or might have went through it.

    Usually, "electricity always takes the path of least resistance" as they say. This is not always 100% true, all of the time, in the context most see it in. Sometimes the path of "least resistance" is as many paths as it takes for the electricity to get through. A high energy (joules) event can't simply take a single path, when that path alone will vaporize, opening the path. In high energy situations, like this, the energy goes any path/number of paths, it can.

    I'm doubting that any device that had both an AC input, plus a coax connection (even an indirect one, like a router connected to a cable modem), will (fully) work with a power supply replacement. I'm betting every coax connected device has had the tuners destroyed. Either the path was AC to cable ground, or it was cable to AC neutral.

    You'll have to fill in more blanks before I can take this any further.

    Did you have any surge protectors that had your coax for your cable passing through coax protection ports? If you did, that could change a lot of future answers on this. If you didn't have one like that, I wonder if having one would/could have helped...
     
  13. telemark

    telemark New Member

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    What do you think of whole house surge supresors? (that wire to the breaker box)
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    semi-coastal NC

    When you say "ground wire", I assume you refer to the green or bare wire connected to the "3rd hole" of an outlet.


    The way surge protectors, if we're talking about Metal-Oxide Varistors, work is that they do not conduct at the regular and usual voltages applied across them, but suddenly turn into "short circuits" if that voltage increases above a certain point.


    Voltage is a difference in potential between two points.

    If there's a "spike" on the "hot" wire (the black one) relative to the white wire, then an MOV connected across the black wire and the white wire will, once the spike rises above say 300 Volts or so, become conductive (much more so than the stuff plugged into the outlet) and most of the current pushed by the spike voltage will be short circuited by the MOV.


    No "ground wire" required.


    In real life a cheap outlet strip, if it has any surge protection at all, will have a single MOV connected between the black wire and the green or bare wire, so in that instance it will need to be plugged into a "grounded" outlet.

    A better quality surge protected strip will have 3 MOVs, one between black and white, one between black and green or bare, and one between white and green or bare.


    I do not refer to the white wire as the neutral, because in a 120V circuit, there is no neutral. The white wire carries all the current that the black one does.
     
  15. telemark

    telemark New Member

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    In single phase, the white wire is neutral (potential) compared to ground. I don't see why the fact it caries current is not conducive to referring to it as "neutral" .
     
  16. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    Please refrain from turning this thread into a hopelessly lost and war-ravaged thread on how AC works.

    In order to avoid that from happening, I'm not going to post any arguments. I'll just say that defining things the way you see it, which flies in the face of a standard practically the whole world accepts and uses, is not good practice.

    I've worked with AC power supplies from, and for, many countries, and the standard is L,N,G, (Line, Neutral, Ground), for what the terminals on the board are labeled.

    There are other names, like: Load/Live, Return, Earth. But that's as far as I go with this.
     
  17. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    I agree. Your post went up while I was typing my own post on his declaration. For some bizarre reason, he felt the need to say it "the way he sees it", which will only cause confusion. There is merit to his view, but why he felt compelled to post that the sky in his world is aquamarine, not blue, is beyond me.
     
  18. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow TiVo User Since 2007

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    Cox Cable...
    I've used them ever since I got hit by a transient myself. I would go with a commercial-grade one, not whatever the local big-box store has.

    Aside from getting a quality one, what is important to know about them is how critical it is that the conductors are cut down to only the length needed, are of adequate gauge, that there are no sharp bends (and minimal amount of bends), the wires to them should not be nicked/damaged, that they are connected as closely as possible to the points the service lines connect to the panel backplane rails, and that your single-point ground rod and conducting wire to it are both adequate.

    If the the spike/surge/transient enters from the utility electric, these will clamp/shunt enough to insure your home wiring isn't damaged, lower the risk of a fire, and will leave the rest up to secondary surge protection devices.

    None of them claim to be good enough to be the sole protection device. If you ever find one that makes that claim, run away if the company that makes it can't back up the claim.

    Most consumer electronics devices these days have adequate internal protection to handle what would be left to deal with after the primary whole home device.

    If the O.P.'s situation was truly entry by electric utility lines, such a device may have done the job, along with the L-N/N-L protection the good strips will provide without a ground. I doubt that the strips would have survived (would indicate no protection status) without a ground, since they'd have to absorb the energy without a ground, which is expected to be present. The better the strip, the more likely it would survive what a whole home protector let through.

    In some cases, usually with low to low-mid grade strips, the damage factor can be far worse than with no strips, due to lack of a ground to shunt the energy to, and roughly the same problems that can happen when daisy-chaining surge strips inline (the energy gets trapped, not in a safe way).

    @everybody else: I will not get caught up in a debate about daisy-chaining surge strips. If you've been "doing so for 20 years and have never had a problem", all I have to say is "good luck in the future, and make sure your insurance is adequate, and paid, in case you get a lightning strike near you".
     
  19. DougJohnson

    DougJohnson Member

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    The National Electrical Code disagrees.
    -- Doug
     
  20. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

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    CT
    That statement is true for any 120VAC circuit, but the word neutral refers to the fact that the white wire voltage is close to that of ground, the black wire is close to the 120VAC, many receptacles have a connection for the neutral wire (white) and the hot wire (black, or sometimes red if switched). Current and voltage to ground have little relationship. For a 240VAC circuit to meet code you need 4 wires, two hot, 1 neutral and one ground, in the old days many 240 volt appliances used no neutral, just two hot wires and the ground, if a small 120VAC light was used, the ground was used as the return path, today the neutral should be used for the return path. The neutral and ground should be connected at only one place, the first incoming panel box.
    Before I moved into my new home (17 years ago) I open the ground and neutral and found a connection still between them, I traced that connection to a wire staple that had cut the Romex cable, easy to fix not easy to find.
     

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