In the previous post, Lightning-pocalypse Saturday, I detailed the damage done to our electronics by a nearby lightning strike. There was a lot of carnage. Post-triage, here are my actions:
Dead cable modem: With no internet service other than my wife’s iPhone, I wondered where to go in Tulsa for a used cable modem. Then I thought of my friend Tim, whose hobby is hitting estate sales for electronics. He loaned me a couple of cable modems to try. I started with a 2001 vintage Motorola. As previously with the Linksys modem, I called Cox tech support, and they were helpful as always. The rep asked for the hardware address and serial number (found on the bottom of the device), registered them, and activated the modem from his side. It was even easier than the last time. The biggest immediate problem was solved Saturday afternoon.
Phone service: We use an an Ooma Telo (internet phone), so we lost the phones when the cable modem went out. I only had to reboot the Ooma device to restore service once the new cable modem was in. It worked, except the wireless phones showed a “line in use” message even after hanging up. When I hung up then tried to get a dial tone again, I got the phone-off-the-hook-somewhere beeps. I got out my 1980s plain, no-power phone. It worked perfectly with Ooma. I isolated the problem to an injured answering machine-base phone/remote phone set. Once it was removed, all was well. We still have three working phones.
Maimed AV (Audio/Video) Receiver: Our 2002 Denon receiver still responds to remote control, but there is no sound. My research suggests that the Digital Signal Processor is the likely culprit, but replacement parts aren’t available. My speakers still work with another amp, so looks like the receiver is toast. A used receiver from eBay is the way to go here. I found an exact replacement in mint condition for $150 total. But there are many other and newer choices available that could be cheaper, possibly by as much as $50 or more. However, receivers haven’t evolved that much since 2002, except in the useless features department. They are still complex and still have thick opaque manuals. (This CNET article crystallized my thinking on the subject: How to save the AV Receiver). Buying a different model would necessitate my researching each one to make sure it can do everything I need it to do before bidding on it. I can’t save enough $$ there to make it worth all the trouble (including a complex and different setup, and redoing every function on the Harmony remote), so I ordered the mint Denon duplicate on Sunday.
Maimed garage door opener: Appears the motor is toast, though the light still works. I’m not a handyman, so I called Overhead Door Monday. (Fixed on Tuesday; the Receiver Logic Board was fried, not the motor, which makes more sense in retrospect. Same day, happened to receive in the mail one of those Val-Pak coupons for $20 off service, so there is that.)
Dead Powerline adapter in the media room: Getting internet (and local network access) in that room depends on a Powerline adapter talking over the AC house wiring to its counterpart attached to the router, which is attached to the cable modem. The dead adapter also prevented me from remotely accessing the Windows PC in there (I had gotten rid of its bulky CRT monitor). From eBay, I ordered a pair of refurbished Netgear XAVB2101 adapters for $34. Should be here by Thursday.
Dead Roku 3: It wouldn’t power up. I still had a Roku LT, so it went back into service. But it won’t have anything to do until the receiver is replaced.
Maimed DVD recorder and Wii: Appears neither has video output. The DVD recorder isn’t really needed, since I now record shows with Windows Media Center. I had hacked the Wii and added an external hard drive for all its files and games. If it really is dead, I might buy a used one and set it up to use the hard drive. No rush. (They were still usable; see next post.)
X10 Module: Allows remote control of one of those Himalayan salt lamps in the Tiki room. (It looks like a molten lava rock when lit.) It’s plugged into an X10 Lamp Module so it can be turned on/off along with the rest of the lighting in there.) I assumed the module was the weak link. But two different modules didn’t turn it on, so I took the lamp apart and found the light bulb dead. Replaced the bulb, back in service.
That’s all I can do for now, other than label all the cords that plug into the receiver for easy switchover to the duplicate receiver (Done.) The den setup with TV, TiVo, and Roku will get us by until the replacements arrive.
This is all so weird that I am leaning more to the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) explanation, where current is induced in the components by radiated energy, rather than a surge from a direct hit on the power grid. A Facebook reader suggested calling PSO and Cox to check. I sent them both an email. I’ll post any interesting results. (Postscript: they both claimed no knowledge of any outage; CNK, as Southwestern Bell customer service reps used to abbreviate it.)
Regardless of the state of your home electronics, another way to get your movie entertainment this summer is the Admiral Twin Drive-In (see the photo at top). Read more about its history on this TTM page.