"The Case of the Ressurrected PC"

OK, my knowledge of computers is pretty limited, as you people know, but I still think THIS is pretty weird:

Yesterday, there was a thunderstorm here. A lightning bolt struck near my house. My PC refused to start afterwards. Despite the fact that it was turned off at the time, and plugged to a surge protector. Also, nothing else -not even the PC’s add-ons, like the screen or printer- were affected. Heck, even the CD reader worked! But the main unit just wouldn’t start. (The only other thing that didn’t work was my phone, and I later figured out that it was because I had it connected to my PC; after I connected it directly to the phone line, it worked fine.)

I figured the bolt had created an electromagnetic pulse that had fried something in my motherboard. I was resigned to have to spend a hundred bucks getting it fixed, or maybe even having to save for months to buy a completely new one. But today, just for the heck of it, I turned my PC on… and it was OK!?!
Can anyone explain to me what happened, and whether I still have something to worry about?

Not sure why it suddenly turned on, but perhaps it just got too hot due to the lightning bolt and had to cool down?

Regardless, be wary of overheating your computer, make sure the fan works.

Well, Watson, when you tried to turn on the computer before, the power plug may have been lose. It is elementary to assume that a computer does not miraculously fix itself, and using this hypothesis we may draw a conclusion with a series of logical deductions which lead me to think that you must pay attention to everything when trying to fix a computer, especially the things you take for granted, like the power source.

To my knowledge, while a near strike from a thunderbolt can generate enough EM radiation to damage sensitive electronics I’ve never heard of a case where a PC magically fixed itself afterwards (but then again with PCs you never know). If I were to take a wild guess I would say its far more likely that your power supply has a built in surge detection to help prevent damage and that it simply prevented your PC from starting up because the incoming current was unsafe. Then again I could be way off, just be glad your PC works and don’t question the PC gods, you wouldn’t want to get on their bad side :eek:

It probably shut itself down at the power supply when the surge came having basically the same effect of hitting the power sypplys rocker switch while the PC s on. After resetting the power, unplugging the cord then plugging it back in it reset the power connecton and every thing was good.

Frame is referring to the wonderful “crowbar effect” of computing. It really works too, sometimes a hard reset is all the machine needs :slight_smile:

I could probably work out why it works, but im really too lazy to dig through my textbooks :stuck_out_tongue:

There was probably a strong positive or negative charge stored up in the power supply on your computer. What probably happened was that the power supply couldn’t get the charges to levels it need to power your computer, so it just sat there like a lump on a log until the charge disipated.

This actually happened to my brother during the power outage as well. In VERY SIMPLE TERMS, his power supply felt the surge coming and shut itelf (and the rest of the computer) down. There’s usually about a 50/50 chance that your supply will fry in the process… but you must of got lucky. Your supply probably just needed to “cool down” for a bit.

So PCs can shut themselves down in case of emergency? I didn’t know that. Well, that is certainly useful! I can’t believe I got GOOD luck for a change! I was already writing my “goodbye RPGC” speech… : )

BTW, is there some way to protect your computer from these effects? I’m afraid there’s more bad weather forecasted for my area in the coming days. Maybe if I COMPLETELY shut down the power?

Keeping your comp off and unplugged is probably the easiest and cheapest way to keep it safe from major surges. If you want to shell out some cash you could get an uninteruptable power supply, I’m pretty sure that they can block major surges, and they have a battery life, so you can get every thing shut down properly if the power goes out. I’m not sure about the cost, though. And mine at least weighs 40-50 pounds, and is currently serving as a paper weight until I decide to get it on my computer, and find the room.

Surge protectors and uninteruptible power supplies with surge protection specify appoximately how much of a surge they are designed to handle. If the surge protector was a bit on the weak side, it could have stopped most of the surge but enough could have gotten through to disrupt the power supply. Those power supplies have capacitors in them, so the charge disipating theory could work. To really lightning-proof your computer, unplug it and place it in a closed metal container, insulated on the inside so that if it is hit by lightning the electric current will flow around the outside of the container. Unplugging it is probably enough of a precaution to survive an indirect hit traveling through the electric lines.

Reminds me of a movie where a guy got a computer mind after messing up with a computer during a thunderstorm…

I had something similar happen to me when I upgraded my mobo… the comp refused to boot up, giving me a series of annoying beeps instead. I went to sleep, too frustrated to work on it further. Then when I woke up the next day, it worked just fine.

I think I might have a possessed power supply…

Unplugging any electronical unit (video, TV, comp) is the best way to protect them from lightning storms and blackouts (it can be dangerous for the set when electricity comes back if it’s plugged).

Don’t let the magic smoke out the 'putah. If you do… Well, bad stuff happens. :ah-ha!:

They don’t fix themselves, but they do cool down like everything else.

Probably an overheating.

Sorry to bother you guys again, but now my PC is having trouble logging on to the Net. I keep getting a “there was no dial tone” message, which I KNOW is wrong since my phone is working. It can’t be a coincidence that this happens after the lightning strike… I fear my modem is damaged. ( I did get to log on after many tries, as you can see.) Any advice?

I’m not a PC technician, but I bet a connection from the PC to the modem has been damaged… (like when any set does false contact).