Disastrous Thunderbolt!

Aaargh! Our computer was kaput for about two and a half weeks! How frustrating!

It happened around 8.15 pm on March 27 during a heavy downpour and thunderstorm. Without warning, a thunderbolt hit our home and tripped the Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB) causing total darkness. John switched it back and electricity resumed.

However, 3 hours later when I wanted to use my computer, I was surprised that it could be powered on but could not start-up at all. It was fine when I last used in the evening though. So, we carted the iMac to the Machines Service Centre for repairs the next day but was told to bring it back again on Monday as the centre is closed during the weekends and operates only during the weekdays.

Humph! So disappointing! This 20-inch iMac is so very heavy for 2 senior citizens to carry! What do you think we did to lighten our load? We decided to buy a hand-truck or 2-wheeled handcart to assist us. Our whole weekend was spent sourcing for it futilely but thank God when Monday came, we were able to buy one at a hardware shop nearby for RM70/=. Besides, this is a blessing in disguise as the handcart will be very handy for relocating our larger potted plants around the garden now that both of us are experiencing back pains. Yippee! :)

What was wrong with the iMac? The technician told me that the video card and the logic board have to be replaced and these components have to be ordered from Singapore. Fortunately, it is covered by the AppleCare Protection Plan which we paid for RM609/= with an extended warranty for 2 years. Otherwise, a logic board replacement would have cost me RM2,300/=. Long story short, our iMac was repaired with relevant parts replaced for free and we brought it home 2 weeks later.

Our computer is working but internet was inaccessible showing the status of the built-in ethernet as not connected. So, we consulted our elder son, David who confirmed that our modem was spoilt too. A new Aztech ADSL2/2+ wireless modem router (DSL605EW) was quickly purchased for RM145/= at Low Yat Plaza. Finally, all’s well! Praise The Lord!

The big question is – was our iMac rendered unserviceable by the bolt of lightning or was it a coincidence? Frankly, we are not positively sure. But, the technician did disclose that many iMac machines were sent in for repairs during these last 2-3 weeks of rainy weather.

Nevertheless, it is unbelievable for a non-technical person like me that a thunderbolt with unnerving lightning flashes could knocked out our iMac and modem simultaneously even though these equipments were already shut down and powered off a few hours before the hit. We suspect that it must have traveled via the telephone cable connected to the modem and then via the ethernet cable connecting the modem to the iMac.

Whatever, I’ve learnt a lesson and am not taking any more risk. From now on, when my iMac is shut down and powered off together with the modem, the following steps will be taken to disconnect the power completely:
1) unplug the power cord of the iMac by pulling the plug out of the power outlet;
2) disconnect the ethernet cable from the ethernet port of the modem, to disconnect linkage to the iMac.

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4 Responses to “Disastrous Thunderbolt!”

  1. Kaden Hayes Says:

    ehternet cables are still the ones that i use for my home networking applications *.,

  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Kaden,
    We no longer use the ethernet cable after another knockout on our iMac by lightning in early March this year. Now we’re using wireless connection as advised by our elder son who’s using the same and able to continue working on his iMac even during thunderstorms and lightning without any mishap.

  3. Michael Says:

    I hope you invested in a surge protector at this point!

    Monster brand surge protectors offer coaxial input and output on top of regular power cords which protect your electronics from destructive power surges. Some may even offer ethernet ports to protect your computer, but I feel that having your modem and imac power cables as well as the coaxial cable or telephone line plugged into the surge protector, you’d be fine.

  4. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for your kind advice, Michael. I do use a surge protector but have found out that it’s not foolproof either. Hence, during heavy downpour, I’ll just shut down my iMac, unplug its power cable and the telephone connection to the modem to be doubly sure…not taking any more risk as my iMac is no longer under warranty.

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