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so what type of power event causes this?

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Yesterday I got a rude awakening at 4am when the UPS in my bedroom started beeping. so far I have identified the following symptoms:

  • 4 different breakers were tripped
  • 2 GFCI devices tripped on two different circuits
  • 2 LED lights on two different circuits burned out and blew the covers off (retrofit LED Downlight)
  • one (old) UPS stopped working

I have a "strikestop" whole home protector and its LED is still lit


any ideas? haunted house?

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Without having a detailed diagram of the house circuit and drilling it down to the specific broken appliances/devices and where they are in the circuit, we can only speculate about what happened.


My money is on overvoltage (not a spike). If it were a spike, the whole-house surge suppression would've tripped. 


APC has a nice write-up covering all types of power problems here: https://download.schneider-electric.com/files?p_Doc_Ref=SPD_VAVR-5WKLPK_EN



Overvoltage conditions can create high current draw and cause the unnecessary tripping of downstream circuit breakers, as well as overheating and putting stress on equipment.


You can check with your neighbors if they encountered broken appliances and/or tripped breakers. If they did, the problem is likely to have come from the utility and not from within your home.


Does your surviving UPS keep logs of what happened that might give you a clue? My UPS keeps a log with a timestamp of the reason why it switched to batteries (ie. self-test, low input voltage, transient events, blackouts, etc.)

Edited by oj88
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issues were all over the map - gfci trip downstairs out of main box, gfci trip out of attic sub-panel, 4 breakers tripped in main box, lights in different circuits in main box. (I didn't record which breakers as I was in a hurry to get the noise level down etc.) I don't talk to the neighbors :( and the power company is clueless.


good idea for the logs. according to apcupsd.events there was a 7-second loss of power as seen at the attic sub-panel. I'm not sure if the software fully discloses everything a APC SMT3000 would say, though. I do know that most power losses are followed by surges, I guess I will just blame it on Duke.


shrugging it off and hoping it doesn't happen again...

Edited by nrf
provided ups data
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so finding an additional source of data, I just have to chart it... this is why I believe most home UPSes just need enough battery time to be able to shut stuff down in the event of a long duration outage; it doesn't take much time for most glitches to failover/recover but they are long enough to cause aggravation if you don't believe in UPSes...



Edited by nrf
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  • 3 weeks later...

ok this time I witnessed it in person - lightning storm, 22 second outage, then BOOM - 4 blown out LCD downlights, 3 tripped breakers and a tripped gfci in the main box, 3 tripped in-wall GFCIs, and two tripped A/C GFCIs. Strikestop still says 'ok'. electric company says it must be working if the light is on and perhaps something in my house drew a lot of current while the voltage was ramping up to normal. no admission of a surge being related to the power hit.


given I've had strikestop for nearly 15 years (first one replaced after 10 on principle) I have to think something has changed of late as this is the second incident in recent history. should I maybe check my ground bonding for the house? any other ideas? I'm thinking of either ditching the strikestop I already paid for and replacing it with something I install myself, or perhaps using some power monitor / logging device to prove actual surges, neither are inexpensive options but I"m getting tired of replacing the LED lights and the disruptions.


any thoughts?

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sure. if I had that kind of money I would put in a MG set. current theory: all the failed LEDs were of a certain model. suppose they are too cheap to deal with the slow ramp of voltage or the level of overvoltage during the response time of the whole-house, and shorted out. the shorting would trip the breakers. still not certain why GFCIs would trip all over the house though.

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  • 2 months later...

Assuming that your GFCI's are similar to ours an unbalanced load will cause a trip (they are basically a solenoid) so my guess was the lightning strike hit the ground close enough to cause current in the earth wire and wham, unbalanced circuit 

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