Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin'!
Last night we had one of our remote pops get a pretty direct lightning hit. We get stuff damaged by lightning from time to time, but this was an interesting one. We had a power metering device, UPS, cisco 26xx, PM3, remote power manager, hub, and two Alvarion radio links. The building owner checked to make sure there were no fires, and one of our staff went there and unplugged things till morning. I figured it was all toast and grabbed some spare equipment on the way to work. First things... One antenna on the tower had a hole blown in it and melted metal was visible. Indoors, the radios spot-welded themselves to the rack shelf they were on. This was inches from the PM3. Most of the fuses in the telco T1 smartjacks were toasted and they had to replace cards in a T1 repeater as well, and they had to replace a bunch of gas tube arrestors. Neighbors lost phone lines. I'm glad I was not there, even though I think lightning is damn cool to observe. The power meter was totally smoked but still working. We won't reuse it. The shelf the radios were on has scorch marks on it and on it's rack ears. The PM3 racks ear screws were scorched. The UPS had scorch marks on it's rack ear holes. The hub got a few bad ports out of the deal. The electric outlet was scorched. Nastiness in all the possible electrical paths. Yes, our coax had arrestors on it. We took things back to the office and tested. The PM3 is fine, except for some black marks as in the picture. It's taking calls now, less than 24 hours later. The Cisco, UPS, and remote power manager are all fine. We put new radios, coax & antennae, new hub, and new power meter and are back in business. We're still using the same rack and shelf with character-rich scars on it now. I think having everything bolted to a rack provided a good common ground for the equipment and prevented each piece of gear from toasting the next piece in line because they were all bolted together. The pm3 is basically a faraday cage inside of a faraday cage, so it managed well, but I'm still suprised it didn't ruin an ethernet or T1 ports. The cisco had a straight ethernet cable to a radio and still survived suprisingly.