Lightning Strike, TiVo Wired Ethernet Fail

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Steve-O, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Steve-O

    Steve-O Member

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    Jul 1, 2011
    We had a hell of a thunderstorm a few nights ago. One lightning strike seemed to hit the telephone pole right across the street. I love a good thunderstorm, but that made me jump out of my seat. I think it may have fried some Ethernet stuff in my house, and I could use a little help with troubleshooting.

    In my living room is a 5-port Linksys switch. Connected to that are a TiVo Bolt, a television, and a Blu-Ray player. Both the Bolt and TV have wi-fi.

    I don't remember if the Ethernet jack on the Bolt had lights, but nothing illuminates when I plug in a cable, and neither do the corresponding lights on the switch. Switching to a new Ethernet cable didn't change anything. The Bolt has failed over to wi-fi, and trying manually to turn wired Ethernet on even after a known-good cable has been swapped in, fails to connect.

    It's a little bit different with the TV. When I jack it in to the Linksys, the corresponding lights DO illuminate. A message pops up on the TV

    Connecting the TV to the switch, lights illuminate, and a message pops up on the screen: Wired network detected. A wheel spins for half a minute, and then, probably failing to obtain an address, the screen messages: No wired network connection.

    The house is wired for Ethernet. The Linksys in plugged in to an Ethernet jack that runs to a 24-port Linksys switch in the garage, but the corresponding lights on the 5-port switch don't illuminate. Of special note, on the 24-port switch, lights are on for only three ports: to the nearby router, to the nearby external hard drive enclosure (all in the garage), and one other port, which I would guess is to my home PC, which is in a room right above the garage. Everything that's failing on the Ethernet is on the other side of the house: the stuff in the living room, as well as a Roamio in the master bedroom and a Mini in the guest bedroom. No lights are on, on the switch, for those.

    The Roamio in the master bedroom last downloaded program data on 8/1, and is about to run out. I have switched the Mini to wireless, but that has not been reliable.

    I probably need to get a connection tester, but I am looking for a logic to troubleshoot with. Sorry for the long post. Please help me!
     
  2. lafos

    lafos Well-Known Member

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    Nov 7, 2004
    Sioux Falls, SD
    If you carry your Linksys switch, Bolt or Roamio to the garage and connect it to the switch there, does it work?

    An ethernet tester is about 10 bucks, and worth every penny. I had one when re-tasking cat 5 ethernet cable from phone to network, and one set of wires is bad. Multiple connectors on it and it failed the connection.
     
  3. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

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    Dec 9, 2015
    When you get this straightened out I strongly suggest a UPS on your TiVo that will protect power, ethernet, and coax.

    You will also want to protect the TV so the HDMI cable from the TV can't take out the TiVo.

    With the cabling/ethernet system you have consider that an equipment damaging hit can come down ANY unprotected cable so you might want to map out all your cabling/equipment and take steps to protect EVERYTHING that is connected to the outside world and interconnected in the house.
     
  4. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    May 15, 2002
    First, a UPS does not really provide protection against surges. Most consumer level UPSes have minimal surge protection. Get a good surge protector instead, there are plenty of reviews online.

    Second, very often the Ethernet ports of these surge protectors aren't very good. Or they'll limit the maximum speed. So be sure to read the reviews before purchasing one.

    Third, when lightning hits that close, nothing will protect you from damage. This is why we have an emergency fund and/or homeowner's insurance.

    I've seen countless devices where the Ethernet port is damaged after a surge on the power line. The OP has to assume that all his equipment's Ethernet ports are bad, so he shouldn't be using any of that to test if the cables are still good. Fortunately, the cables are usually still good after an event like this. But as a first step, I would toss out that router/switch and buy a new one.
     
  5. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

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    M 30+ years of experience with UPS units and surge/spikes/static hits has taught me differently.

    Depends on the design and quality of the UPS. You get what you pay for.

    I won't get into a debate with you regarding what and how well different quality levels of UPS unit protect but here's ONE reason for using a quality UPS...

    UPS units from reputable manufacturers include insurance, that costs the purchaser NOTHING, that covers electronics damaged while plugged into those UPS units and I've seen that insurance pay my clients many times over a few decades.

    And most homeowner's insurance has a high enough delectable that claiming a TiVo or an ethernet switch isn't cost effective plus there's the rate increase you'll enjoy at policy renewal for filing that claim.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  6. Steve-O

    Steve-O Member

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    Jul 1, 2011
    Would you believe I have a UPS that's not plugged in right now - but when it was, it was protecting my home PC - the one wired Ethernet device on my network that was NOT damaged.

    I have an unused 16-port switch I could use to replace the 24-port jobbie in the garage if need be. I've had a nagging thought that buying a new 5-port switch to replace the one in my TV cabinet would be a good move. Also, my Ethernet cable tester was delivered today.

    But after all that, if the LAN ports on my two wired Ethernet-connected TiVo's and TV are damaged, I'll just have to carry on using them wirelessly. There's no warranty repair for either TiVo, having upgraded the HDD's in both.
     
  7. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

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    Another vote for UPS units.

    I've seen a lot of electronic equipment protected by first tier UPS units in over 30 years and have seen UPS company provided insurance stand behind damage to protected equipment and pay in EVERY case.
     
  8. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    Good surge protectors also have the same insurance. Plus, you're supposed to change out the surge protection once every three years. If your UPS doesn't have replaceable surge protection, that means you're supposed to buy a new UPS once every three years. For some reason, UPS manufacturers always forget to mention that....

    I now test equipment for EFT (EN61000-4-4) and surges (EN61000-4-5) as part of the Radio Equipment Directive (i.e. CE mark), and I can tell you that UPSes provide inferior protection when compared to surge protectors. They do provide some protection, as does the built-in surge protection required of all electronic equipment. But my company has equipment installed in India, and the devices using surge protectors are hanging in there while the ones on UPSes keep coming back damaged every six months.

    Nothing protects from a lightning strike. The UPS is way too slow to react to it, and surge protection won't work because the lightning will simply arc over it. Surge protection is designed to block 2 or 4 kV surges, but lightning is measured in GV.
     
  9. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    1,809
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    May 15, 2002
    The UPS was not protecting against lightning. Lightning damage is random. So is mere surge damage. What's weird is usually the surged device looks undamaged, but everything connected to its Ethernet port gets damaged. The switch, the other devices plugged into the switch, etc. I've had this happen three separate times conducting surge tests on various products (I've had to construct my own Ethernet surge protection for the test support equipment and I now use USB-to-Ethernet adapters on the test support equipment). It's entirely possible that the lightning entered through your PC and caused damage to all the other devices connected to it. Electricity is funny like that.

    At this point, you should also replace all surge protectors and UPSes in your house too. Who knows what shape they're in at this point.
     
  10. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

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    Dec 9, 2015
    We agree that NO UPS OR SURGE-SPIKE PROTECTION WILL BE EFFECTIVE WITH A PROXIMITY LIGHTNING STRIKE much like no commonly available affordable bullet proof vest I'm aware of will protect one from a high powered rifle @ 5 feet.

    Insurance is like a warranty. It doesn't promise that there will never be damage (or failure) it promises that the end user won't go into their pocket to cover the damage. Reputable UPS and surge-spike protection companies offer this insurance at no charge. That is the only REAL WORLD protection afforded with a proximity lightning strike and it is not PROTECTION... merely compensation for a monetary loss. What's wrong with that?

    As I've said before in numerous threads in banter with you, I recommend a quality UPS, with AVR, for a DVR to protect the hard drives from brown outs an drops and voltage fluctuations which hard drive DETEST. As I understand your position you do not.

    I've also recommended quality surge-spike units from reputable companies for other than DVR electronics.

    I agree that both UPS and surge-spike protectors should be examined and tested after being hit. Some higher quality units have LEDs that indicate that protection is operating properly.

    Where we disagree is your recommendation not to use a UPS on a DVR. Over decades I've never had a hard drive failure in a device on a quality UPS so I'll continue using first tier UPS units on hard drive electronics and quality surge-spike protection elsewhere not wanting to invite a different result.

    I support your decision not to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018

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