overbergerc
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 27 Apr 2012
Leaf Number: 016151
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Lightning Strike saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:35 pm

I've been encouraged to post the details of a direct lighting strike to the 240V SP feed to my garage (and house) while my 7 month old SL Leaf was plugged in to my EVSE 16A adapter. This occurred on the morning of January 29th at 5:00 am during an extremely rare mid winter thunderstorm here in SW Michigan (Kalamazoo). The strike hit the 8 gauge 4 conductor UV insulated overhead cable (about a 100' overhead run to the garage, grounded and circuit protected w/a 40A breaker at the primary panel in the house and a secondary panel in the garage (40A breaker) right where the cable ran through a ceramic insulator on the corner of the houses before it dropped to a weatherhead/conduit feed into the house. It split the insulation on the entire length of cable run to the garage. At the point of contact, it pushed all 4 insulated conductors away from each other to a distance of about 8". It appeared as if someone put a football in the middle of the cable and formed the 4 individual conductors around the football and removed the football. I'll attach a foto at a later date. No melting or burning at this point in the circuit. The only tripped breakers were the primary service feed to the house panel and a 120V circuit (1 side) downstream from the 240V garage breaker. No wire damage downstream from the distribution panel in the garage and the EVSE seems to be OK (green light).

Not so with all the cabled Ethernet (cat 5e) in the house, switches, routers, NAS, UPS, 2 TVs, DVD, BT transceivers, Vonage VOIP router, all ATT Uverse VIdOIP boxes, VidOIP router, X-10 system, garage door openers (2), VDSL ATT line, Coax RG cable (100Mb internet service), and the VDSL/Video over IP in the house....AND the Leaf. Probably more that I haven't found yet. The "spark" jumped across from the power line to the adjacent cat 5e and ATT DSL cable to feed into the home networks.

Stand by for chapter 2. The Leaf adventure is by far the most interesting part of this story. Needless to say, Cole Nissan in Kalamazoo has only sold 6 or so Leafs. They have 1 trained Leaf technician (who has been great.....thank you John !) You won't believe the parts horror story I have to tell. Most of the folks at this dealership have been great...but not all.

I need to go start Sunday dinner for the family. I'm the chef at our house !!

Many thanks to Phil and Mark for their advice so far. We are lucky to have them on this forum.


Chuck O
Last edited by overbergerc on Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TomT
Posts: 10523
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:09 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000360
Location: Foothills of Granada Hills, CA
Contact: Website

Re: Lightning Strite saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:40 pm

Actually, the damage you reported more likely was from EMP than a direct arc...

overbergerc wrote:Not so with all the cabled Ethernet (cat 5e) in the house, switches, routers, NAS, UPS, 2 TVs, DVD, BT transceivers, Vonage VOIP router, all ATT Uverse VIdOIP boxes, VidOIP router, X-10 system, garage door openers (2), VDSL ATT line, Coax RG cable (100Mb internet service), and the VDSL/Video over IP in the house....AND the Leaf. Probably more that I haven't found yet. The "spark" jumped across from the power line to the adjacent cat 5e and ATT DSL cable to feed into the home networks.
59,991 miles/12 bars/289 Gids/68.54 AHr/101% SOH/101.64% Hx 7May15 w/ new Lizard (barely made the warranty).
71,770 miles/12 bars/256 Gids/59.04 AHr/88% SOH/87.92% Hx 3Mar16 at lease return.

Now driving a 2017 Volt Premier. Model 3 reserved.

overbergerc
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 27 Apr 2012
Leaf Number: 016151
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Re: Lightning Strite saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:31 pm

Could be, however the charred insulation at that point in the cable (8/4 and the charred entry point in the cat5e and Tcom cable adjacent to the exit point) might indicate an "aggressive" EMP event. I'd call it SEMP..for Sparky Electromagnetic Pulse ;-)

Chuck

TomT wrote:Actually, the damage you reported more likely was from EMP than a direct arc...

overbergerc wrote:Not so with all the cabled Ethernet (cat 5e) in the house, switches, routers, NAS, UPS, 2 TVs, DVD, BT transceivers, Vonage VOIP router, all ATT Uverse VIdOIP boxes, VidOIP router, X-10 system, garage door openers (2), VDSL ATT line, Coax RG cable (100Mb internet service), and the VDSL/Video over IP in the house....AND the Leaf. Probably more that I haven't found yet. The "spark" jumped across from the power line to the adjacent cat 5e and ATT DSL cable to feed into the home networks.

User avatar
TomT
Posts: 10523
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:09 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Mar 2011
Leaf Number: 000360
Location: Foothills of Granada Hills, CA
Contact: Website

Re: Lightning Strite saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:48 pm

I like it!

Sorry for your problems though! Such an event is never easy!

overbergerc wrote:I'd call it SEMP..for Sparky Electromagnetic Pulse ;-)
Last edited by TomT on Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
59,991 miles/12 bars/289 Gids/68.54 AHr/101% SOH/101.64% Hx 7May15 w/ new Lizard (barely made the warranty).
71,770 miles/12 bars/256 Gids/59.04 AHr/88% SOH/87.92% Hx 3Mar16 at lease return.

Now driving a 2017 Volt Premier. Model 3 reserved.

overbergerc
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 27 Apr 2012
Leaf Number: 016151
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:15 pm

Wish I did. Now the car wants a "Battery Registration Upload" This a apparently an SD card that fits into a PCMCIA card adapter that does some magic to the VCM. The VCM and on-board charger have been replaced and the car will actually move..albeit only at 25MPH..so sad..All errors *had* cleared but 3 new ones have appeared, according to the tech. There are 2 separate cooling pump errors now as well as the "battery registration" error. I'm hoping this battery error is a theft prevention program that is preventing the car from moving too fast as not to allow the "thief" to get too far in his leaf with a stolen battery pack..huh...:^)

They have no clue what this SD card does, but they ordered one. I did get to see the PCMCIA <> SD card adapter..says Nissan in the label! I'm not confident.

They told me the VCM would have a 2 month delay in delivery as it is matched to the VIN. I managed to find one on-line at an LA Nissan dealer that had ordered one by mistake. Tracked this down through 3 Chicago area dealers and word of mouth. The parts manager in Kalamazoo told Nissan Leaf corporate customer service that I must have found a part from "UCLA" since I work at a university here in Kalamazoo (Western Michigan University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences). Apparently he felt since he could not find one via the Nissan Part Finder Network, that a lowly customer could not possibly have found one on his own and *assumed* I had found a black market or research part through my university contacts. Talk about a science fiction story!

They finally did a D2D parts transfer to get the part from...I think it's Dowler Nissan in LA, to Cole Nissan in Kalamazoo. Nissan engineering, through Leaf customer service, express shipped the OB charger to Cole (without prompting) Wednesday morning ahead of time. I really appreciated that.

BTW, I'm paying for all this service myself. No warranty for "acts of nature". I had to give Cole a CC number. They refused to even order parts without insurance coverage UP-FRONT ! My insurance comprehensive coverage is probably going to cover it. The VCM alone was 1500.00.

Gotta love it !! I have an Altima rental. It cost me 50.00 to fill it up with gas !!!! Yikes

19 days and counting !!!

Chuck O

adric22
Posts: 2488
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:40 pm
Delivery Date: 05 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 000768
Location: Fort Worth, TX

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:31 pm

Wow.. reminds me of a lightening strike I had a few years back. We had a buried ethernet cable going to a workshop in the back. Lightening hit a tree, but for some reason that ethernet cable became highly charged and fried just about every ethernet device in the house. the ethernet cables were melted into the jacks in the walls and the jacks in the hub. I had to cut the wires off the front of the hub and re-crimp them. Every PC and device in the house that uses ethernet was dead.

After that, I replaced the outdoor ethernet cable with fiber optic.

Sorry to hear about your Leaf too.. I've been unplugging the Leaf and Volt during thunderstorms.
2013 Blue Nissan Leaf SV
2012 Summit White Chevy Volt

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Stanton
Forum Supporter
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:56 am
Delivery Date: 01 Sep 2011
Leaf Number: 7458
Location: Plano, TX
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Re: Lightning Strike saga

Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:14 pm

adric22 wrote:Sorry to hear about your Leaf too.. I've been unplugging the Leaf and Volt during thunderstorms.


I have to admit I've been doing the same thing for awhile now (although I've been lucky enough to not have ANY lightning strike cause damage at my house).
2011 Blue Ocean SV w/floor mats & window tint
12v LiFePO4 battery & FIAMM 74100 horns
Wet Okole seat covers (front)
Tor's low-power heater mod
2013 sun visor
3G modem upgrade
L2 EVSE Upgrade
Battery Pack replaced (Rev E) @51 months and 41k miles

overbergerc
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 pm
Delivery Date: 27 Apr 2012
Leaf Number: 016151
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:50 pm

Looks like the battery registration card/code/procedure does indeed restrict the torque output of the traction motor if it's not registered. I'm hoping the SD card arrives tomorrow. Looks like the 2 coolant pumps are connected to the VCM buss AND GROUNDED, which is why they were "taken" by the lightning god. All devices in my house that were properly grounded AND connected to my fairly extensive home networks (data and video) were smoked..literally.

3200.00 plus labor so far. Pumps will probably be another 800 to 1K..plus more labor.

Fun!

TimLee
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:40 am
Delivery Date: 17 May 2011
Leaf Number: 2026
Location: Chattanooga, TN

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:39 pm

Good luck overbergerc, and appreciate the heads up on this risk.
Hard to see how the EVSE survived this lightning strike?
LEAF was charging, lots of stuff on the LEAF fried, but the EVSE survived?
Since the strike was to the overhead feed to the garage, even a utility supplied surge arrestor probably wouldn't have done much good.
Now I'll be watching the weather and trying to not be charging during thunderstorms!!!!
Prior to that the only storm damage I came close on was the freak wind storm that blew through this summer catching me and LEAF in the garden, with absolutely no warning.

Tim Lee
Chattanooga, TN

Man. Date: 03/10/11, VIN # 2026
Delivered 05-17-2011
Blue Ocean, 2011 SL-eTec

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drees
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Location: San Diego

Re: Lightning Strike saga

Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:18 am

An event like this will make one want to install proper lightning rods designed to safely dissipate direct lightning hits...

At least the only thing lost here is a bit of time and money!
'11 LEAF SL Powered By 3.24 kW Enphase Solar PV

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