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Author Topic: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)  (Read 812 times)

Weaver

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Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« on: March 09, 2017, 01:24:33 PM »

Very near miss around 06:40 yesterday, with many lightning strikes. One of my three modems was killed. I have plenty of spares on hand. Poor greyhound was shaking like a leaf and panting with terror because of the thunder, out of his dog-bed and trying to hide his head under the table by my bedside. Meanwhile our old lurcher, Caileag showed no concern at all, as usual. Strange how they're so different. (Her name is pronounced /ˈkhalak/. The i and e here are silent. They are part of a consonant encoding system (escape codes, but used on either side of a consonant) that indicates the sound of an adjacent consonant, in this case meaning that the sound of the l is /l/ as in "lid" as pronounced in Southern England English, not as sometimes produced in certain words in the English of Lancashire and some parts of Lowland Scotland. Using an h (silent) after a consonant is another escape code. I feel better now nurse. Sorry about that.)

Three levels of mains protection including a UPS successfully protected kit from the mains and from the attempts at assassination by the electricity board who were either mucking about turning things off and on again rapidly, or letting the supply flicker much later in at one point during the repairs. Note to self: need to check the health of these units. Will I be able to see indications of failure from the state of lamps on the units?

Mrs Weaver tells me there are no leds showing on the DLink DSL-320B-Z1 on line 3. Need to swap it out tomorrow then. I never realised that there was a problem until I looked at clueless.aa.net.uk (Andrews and Arnold’s control and status server) early this morning and noticed that the line was showing as down ever since the outage. Mrs Weaver forgot to tell me. So I had unknowingly been running at 2/3 of normal speed all evening, and still am now, if fact. Ran a copper line test on that line early this morning, which failed, "battery contact", it's more than the modem. Emailed AA about it. Mrs. Weaver has binned the modem for me, will ask her to dig around in the office for a new unit later on when she has a few minutes free. AA's Shaun came back to me and asked if I could unplug everything from two lines - #1 as well as #3, because #1 showed the same copper line test fail error before the strike as it happens. Presumably AA and possibly BT want the kit removed so they can run some tests with less chance of red herringness, but usually the basic AA (using BT) copper line tests are just done with modems live. Both lines are now modemless so for the moment I am down to just the one remaining line, so running at 1/3 of normal speed.

Power was off from 11:30 to 18:00, apart from a brief period switched back on around 12:50. I was asleep for the whole daytime and missed most of the outage, until I woke up, eventually realised that the mains was off and then promptly fell asleep again. Mrs Weaver tells me that she didn't put the generator on in order to conserve petrol, not knowing how long the outage might be. Mrs Weaver tells me that the southern end of The Island was off the mains. The board managed somehow to get through to her on her mobile phone and warned her that the maintenance outage might go over night and said they would bring us generators if so. So they were brilliant. I am a ‘priority customer’ because Mrs Weaver has registered me as such.

Men were working on poles to the north of the house where the mains supply from Broadford crosses the high moor. Four Landrovers in attendance. Some neighbours lost their kit, hopefully just modem/routers. The feeble local long-range wireless altnet ‘SkyeNet’ (has no one seen Arnie?) in the village went down, so my neighbour reports. Hope for my neighbour's sake it won't be down for ages as it has been on other occasions.

I suspect that once again the local mobile phone network basestation network failed. Service returned to normal at 13:00 though, including full 3G. Usually we do lose service entirely after a strike, which is unforgivable imho. This means no backup internet. This time though Mrs Weaver did manage to get "one bar" - enough for a voice call - when sitting in a window, but no usable internet. Maybe it was even down to 2G, that is, if her iPhone will even allow 2G - I can't remember how I set her iPhone up. Her 3G iPad presumably doesn't speak 2G, and in any case it most likely wouldn't work downstairs in the wrong parts of the house because of the ultra-thick stone walls which are between four and six ft. thick.

I've probably said this before. Apologies. Presuming that the basestation is down yet again just because of the lack of mains, not because of either damage or because some protection system tripped and requires manual intervention, where’s the basestation’s back up system, monster fat ups plus diesel generator? I think that the govt should legislate to force the network operators to get their act together, because this is an emergency service, especially up here, because of the geography, low areal density of land-lines and the fact that people at sea and on the hills get into trouble and need help. This is ever more true as increasing numbers of people ditch landlines, which can function during a mains outage. Due to the low population density, people may not be able to get help via a nearby landline.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 01:30:29 PM by Weaver »
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2017, 01:33:21 PM »

I am supposed to see a new consultant this afternoon at Broadford Hospital, five miles away, but I’m too ill to go today, seeing as I can only just about make it to the adjacent bathroom. I'm feeling sick, am so dizzy and my neck is being squeezed. It’s ironic, if that’s even the correct word, being too ill to go and see the doctor. Having run out of one of my anti-nausea drugs doesn't help at all either. Any way, I begged Mrs Weaver to contact whomever, out of politeness, so that someone else can have my slot, as I do hate to stand people up.
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burakkucat

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 04:15:17 PM »

You do seem to be having a "right time of it", in more ways than one.  :o

I wonder if Beattie Bellman would consider fitting gas-discharge tubes to the three lines, just before they enter your premises? I am referring to proper gas-discharge tubes of the sort that are used to protect the exchange equipment. So a good, low impedance, protective earth would be required.

The other things that need to be checked are the NTE5s. One or more of them might be slightly fried, internally.
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 04:32:14 PM »

Ah. Could do with some replacement NTE5s possibly. How would I get BT to test them and swap them out for me? I should have asked AA about the NTE5 belonging to the dead modem. Will the NTE5s be either good or noticeably not?

Do these gas discharge tubes corrupt or attenuate your DSL signal I wonder?

The stupid lightning alert device failed to warn me because it had gone to sleep on the job, for some reason. I think its default is some sort of idiotic power saving mode, even when on mains which is bonkers, and iirc you have to hit some buttons to make it sane and put it into the right state. But the right state maybe isn't persistent, memory fails me here, and the device may forget its state when power is lost, so in that case we would have to remember to sort it out again each time.
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nallar

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2017, 04:42:37 PM »

A good GDT should be equivalent to having nothing at all connected when not exceeding the breakdown voltage. It is technically a slight capacitance, but low enough to be hard to measure.

I just tested some GDTs ( http://docs-europe.electrocomponents.com/webdocs/1246/0900766b812467df.pdf ) I had lying around and can not measure their capacitance with my own equipment. Capacitance reader reads nothing, MTester multiple component tester reads "No part, unknown part or damaged part". The datasheet says <1 pF (picofarad).
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2017, 04:47:15 PM »

Actually, there's nothing illegal about it if I get a volunteer to have a peek in the NTE5 to look for damage, but I can't picture it, wondering whether someone would be able to see enough to be able to check.

Two neighbours just came into my bedroom and stole my fridge. Both ladies have dead routers, but no dead computers thank god though, they were probably protected by an air gap anyway. One neighbour has a knackered line by the sound of it, unless it's just her NTE5 or micro-filter, since she has swapped her router for a different one and still no good. She is on the wireless SkyeNet (down) as well as having a now-dead DSL line (BTW). In the case of the other neighbour, I don't know if her line is stuffed too.
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burakkucat

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 04:48:10 PM »

Ah. Could do with some replacement NTE5s possibly. How would I get BT to test them and swap them out for me? I should have asked AA about the NTE5 belonging to the dead modem. Will the NTE5s be either good or noticeably not?

Difficult to say. Even if they are not charred back and nasty looking, with a distinct pong in the atmosphere, there could still be over-voltage damage to the resistive-capacitive shunt across the pair.

Quote
Do these gas discharge tubes corrupt or attenuate your DSL signal I wonder?

Yes, there will be a small amount of attenuation. As to how that equates to synchronisation speed degradation would be difficult to say.

Quote
The stupid lightning alert device failed to warn me because it had gone to sleep on the job, for some reason.

I remember you purchasing it (a couple of years ago?) and there was something quirky with its mode of operation. We have discussed it previously, somewhere in the forum.
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burakkucat

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 04:59:45 PM »

Actually, there's nothing illegal about it if I get a volunteer to have a peek in the NTE5 to look for damage, but I can't picture it, wondering whether someone would be able to see enough to be able to check.

You are just that too far away for me to book a home visit by Walter's Wheelbarrow;)  Perhaps Mrs Weaver would be prepared to undo the four screws x3, have a sniff of the internal gubbins and take a clear photograph of each, so that we can remotely inspect them for you?

Quote
Two neighbours just came into my bedroom and stole my fridge.

The mind boggles! I'm not sure if you intended to type the above or it was a combination of your medication and predictive typing?  :-\

Quote
Both ladies have dead routers, but no dead computers thank god though, they were probably protected by an air gap anyway. One neighbour has a knackered line by the sound of it, unless it's just her NTE5 or micro-filter, since she has swapped her router for a different one and still no good. She is on the wireless SkyeNet (down) as well as having a now-dead DSL line (BTW). In the case of the other neighbour, I don't know if her line is stuffed too.

Clearly a major event has occurred. In a way, it might be advantageous if the multi-pair cable from Heaste to the Broadford exchange has been comprehensively pyrolysed . . . as Beattie Bellman may then decide to replace it with a fibre-feed!
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2017, 12:23:24 AM »

> Two neighbours just came into my bedroom and stole my fridge

Apparently it did happen, in Mrs Weaver's world as well as in mine. I neglected to ask the ladies why they were taking the fridge away. Mrs Weaver later revealed it was because she has a smaller one for me and the large original one is required elsewhere. The two ladies were the muscle required. I was too involved in the lightning discussion to ask them the obvious question, and they either assumed that I knew the purpose for their visit or else the prospect of hernias was occupying their minds.

Mrs Weaver might be willing to dismantle the NTE5s, or maybe I could find another volunteer. She might growl at being asked, it's difficult to know. Her hands are quite bad, but she likes an excuse to use “Walter”, her electric screwdriver. (De Walt.) I have an electrician coming around to do some work outside in any event, so he can be employed if Mrs Weaver is unwilling.

I have asked AA if BTOR might come out and replace all three NTE5s. Don't know how it's supposed to work as I’m assuming I would have no chance of any joy contacting BTOR directly. (I have talked to OR in Twitter recently though, and they do reply at least.) The NTE5s have been in service for between five and fourteen years approx.

As for the multi-line outage, I had never thought of it that way. I still have two lines up, so perhaps the failure isn't sufficient to get the fibre link we all need. Surely there comes a point at which even the bean-counters wake up and think there has to be a better way than employing thousands of staff running round spinning plates trying to keep up with all of the failures, while the organisation is living with disgruntled customers who enjoy noise, crosstalk, attenuation and so on.

As for GDTs, one vote yes, small, the other vote zero badness. A figure of badness > 0 (or more realistically, some epsilon) rules out GDTs as I need all the speed that I can get, and the alternative is insurance plus spares. And I have finally got some serious insurance sorted out as Mrs Weaver has all networking kit included in her business kit cover, and I have spares of everything on hand, even a spare Firebrick. Must kick that stupid lightning thing though, caught slacking while on duty.
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burakkucat

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2017, 12:55:26 AM »

With the Laird's agreement, the local ladies shot-put and caber tossing team (when not otherwise engaged in removing fridges) could rock-drill and blast a duct route from the Broadford exchange to the north eastern boundary of Torr Gorm.

Once the duct is in place, Beattie Bellman could then be invited to site a Huawei SmartAX MA5603T equipped cabinet, to serve Heasta (is it "ta" or "te"? I'm never too sure.), on your boundary with the moor.  ;)
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 03:16:59 AM »

Sigh. Making me drool at the thought. If we drill underneath the ground, do we get away without having to crawl for the late Sir Iain Noble's widow's permission and the forfeiture of a vast pile of cash? (Was asking for ~£80k per acre for fearann land when I wanted to buy a tiny patch of ground many years ago.)

Here we go. The -te spelling is a bizarre attempt to use English-based spelling probably in an attempt to suggest taking the English word 'haste' (like 'haystack') as something that rhymes with the real or perceived phonetic reality. It is however offensive to the eye, as Gàidhlig orthography does not permit the pattern {aCe}, where C is one or more consonants, apart from in a couple of very strange exceptional case. The -ta spelling follows the correct rules of Gàidhlig spelling, and is my choice. Thank goodness the council now agrees with me and has my preferred spelling on the road sign at the entrance to the village. The name is of course Old Norse, not Gàidhlig but has been mangled by Gàidhlig speakers as Norse became completely lost in the area. There may be an extremely faint trace of a final vowel after the dental /t̪/, but native speakers might well perceive this as being null, a kind of release after the heavily dental /t̪/ (like Italian -tt-, if my extremely poor Italian is up to it).

Many other placenames show varying degrees of apocope and this is reflected in the spellings from {-stadh}, to {-sta} or even {-st} less frequently. The final element was ON staðr. The -r was lost, as it is in the modern continental Norse languages, but retained in the highly conservative Icelandic. Then the /ð/ ( > later ScG /ɣ/ spelled {dh} or {gh} in modern Gàidhlig spelling, the two sounds having fallen together, although many correctly etymologically-based conservative spellings still maintain a written distinction and still reflect the origin as a /ð/ ) possibly became lost in turn, and then the vowel which being unstressed and short is reduced to a /ə/ then also may be lost, or treated as a /t̪/-release. For examples of Norse names, we have Mangurstadh, with Mealasta almost right next door to it, and Garrabost, Carbost (the last two being quite possibly the same name, and if so it would be a case of the very same pronunciation from traditional speakers, with just different ideas by recorders).

I translate it as 'high stead(s)', exactly cognate of course. The stones of part of the old village are visible in the bracken up on the high moor above the house to the SW, on a sort of ledge, and this translation fits the reality well, unlike the other rather weak attempts often suggested without supporting evidence. The only houses that have been maintained in the village are the ones near the modern road, so this must reflect convenience of access in the early twentieth century. I have to admit that my knowledge of Germanic is very weak, so be warned.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 03:25:29 AM by Weaver »
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displaced

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2017, 07:46:02 AM »

(apologies for adding little of value, but wanted to quickly say that the above is exactly why I always enjoy reading a Weaver post!)
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burakkucat

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2017, 06:22:27 PM »

Many thanks for the above tutorial.  :)
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2017, 03:51:59 PM »

I sincerely apologise for the sermon, nurse pills please.

Displaced is too kind.
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Weaver

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Re: Lightning strike kills modem (yet again)
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2017, 04:01:37 PM »

Still have not given AA staff their requested chance to do line tests with no modems connected. I was asleep all throughout last night and until the early afternoon, so another day has been lost, and tomorrow is a Sunday.
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