What is the effect of lightning on equipment?

I have a PS Audio SACD player and DSD DAC which I leave powered up but on stand-by all the time. After lightening storms, sometimes the functions have become scrambled, but thankfully returned after switching off and on .
I am concerned that permanent damage may occur one day, especially as I have been told that some people have had their entire systems destroyed under similar circumstances. A mains ‘short’ circuit breaker is installed, and I mostly have wall outlet surge protection, but I have been told that this may not be suffficient. Please help.

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Welcome to our little corner of the world community!


Hey heatherdoug…welcome to the fun!!

If you haven’t a whole house surge suppressor…highly recommend
getting one installed. This will go a long way in preventing damage
to your home and gear.

PS Audio regenerators have a very good surge protection with very
good clamping let through voltage control as well as joule surge capacity.

Regenerators along with whole house surge while not immune to direct lightning
hits…do however go a long way to protecting our home and equipment…

When lightning storms occur…I unplug my P15 thus shutting down all
my gear.

Hope this somehow helps…

Best wishes


Welcome @heatherdoug to PS Audio community. I too unplug things at risk during storms. As an extra precaution, I added storm and lightning coverage to my home contents policy.

Welcome to the PSA community. I think you will enjoy it here.
Regarding lightning strike protection. I recommend you engage a local licensed electrician and have whole house surge suppressors installed at your distribution panel. Typically these are MOVs installed upstream of the distribution panel. For specifics a local qualified electrician is your best bet.

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I have my rig plugged into my Furman line stabilizer. I don’t mess around with lighting storms. I power down the system with a single flip of a switch when I see a super-cell on approach on radar. Ditto if the forecast is for thunderstorms when I’m away from my pad. It isn’t worth the risk.


Not knocking the Furman, but if you make the effort to turn off the switch you may as well unplug it. It will depend on what else is connected to your system, such as ethernet/cable interface. Also, while extreme, if you experience a brown-out or black-out you may wish to isolate from the grid by opening he main feed breaker to your distribution panel. Depending on the cause of the problem and the restoration method there can be some severe surges on the power grid. Insurance on your system for these types of faults is great to have, but with the supply chain issues, repairing or replacing a component in a reasonable time frame can be difficult.

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Where do you live? do you have a lot of lightning events?
If so, as noted by @Serhan, enhanced insurance could prove useful!


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If having severe lightening in your area, I would suggest disconnecting high value equipment from electrical service and even disconnecting incoming ethernet cabling to modem. Overall I have been fortunate, but many years ago in Phoenix an electrical storm fried a TV on cable service. I no longer live in Phoenix, but after moving, also had an issue with hot tub motherboard controller being fried from electrical surge. I then had an Enviromental Potentials whole home surge unit installed on my service box. Regardless of surge protection for the home, a nearby direct strike could be devastating.


As several have already stated, the best surge arrestor known to man is a large air gap…the one between your outlet and the plug from your equipment. The only fool-proof protection against large surges is to have your gear unplugged when lightening is a possibility.

MOV-based devices are pretty effective, but it’s important to understand that the MOV’s themselves have a finite lifespan based on the number of surges, and magnitude of those surges, that they’ve had to clamp. There’s really no way to know that an MOV is near it’s end of useful life until it gets there and fails. As long as the MOV sacrifices it’s life to protect the life of the downstream equipment, all is good.

If possible, multiple layers of protection are better than a single layer, meaning that if you put in whole-house surge protection, it’s still a good idea to have another layer of surge protection at the point where your most vulnerable devices (stereo gear) are powered. A PowerPlant is ideal, but something like the Dectet is also a great choice. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where lightening is very infrequent, so I don’t have whole-house protection, but I use a P20 for most of my gear, and everything else is connected via a Dectet.

In the UK we have British Standards, for risk assessment, general principles, damage to property and damage to electrical systems. shop.bsigroup.com/products/protection-against-lightning-risk-management/standard

There are also European standards www.en-standard.eu/bs-en-62305-2-2012-protection-against-lightning-risk-management/

So I wouldn’t ask an audiophile, I’d ask a fully qualified electrician.

Whole house protection is most beneficial when one is unavailable to manually isolate components. MOVs have their limitations, especially life cycle span. Stacking them could be beneficial as in whole house protection supplemented by application specific protection. I am not sure of PS Audio’s Regenerator and Dectet ratings for surge suppression. If one is concerned with the potential for surge induced component protection they may wish to contact PS Audio regarding their component capabilities to determine if supplemental protection could be beneficial… Obviously insurance can take the financial bite out of surge induced failure. Then it comes down to negotiating reimbursement with the insurer and current supply side limitations regarding timely replacement. From what I recall, for the continental USA, Florida reigned regarding lightning strike personal injusry and Texas for overall strikes:

Lightning Strikes by State

From P15 online specs

Energy Dissipation 2440J 3670J
Peak Current Surge 144,000A 84,000A
Max Surge Voltage 6,000V 6,000V
Clamp Level 330V 800V

For a complete view just scroll along…

Hope this clarifies…

Best wishes all

Homeowners insurance with replacement cost is the best protection.
Had a CD player fried by a power surge caused by a lightning strike, and since that model was no available, they paid for the newer replacement model.

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I related the story of a tv fried years ago. I did file insurance for it. Earlier in the same year I had a family staying with me as they found a new home; they had just moved to the state. When I came back from work, I found a sliding glass door had mysteriously shattered–guessing one of the young boys may have been involved. I had filed on that one. The insurance paid for both, but after paying for the tv, the company cancelled my insurance. I had never claimed on home insurance other than these two. My learned lesson from this was to make sure a claim is really worthwhile and hopefully, not repetitive. If they had not cancelled, most probably my rates would have gone up. With high dollar pay outs for the insurance industry for fires, etc., I suspect the industry could be less tolerant for multiple claims. Insurance, whatever the type, to me is a necessary evil and can be very beneficial, but rates and insurability are subject to the insurance industry perceived risk with you. That was a rude lesson for me.


If you are worried about the effects of a lightning strike, I agree that an insurance policy, specifically covering your expensive components is your best course of action, followed by unplugging everything.
A direct lightning hit will make your connected components unrecognizable.

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As a side note - if like me you unplug everything during a big storm, be sure to unplug the Router/internet/CAT cables. It is easy to think that is all about the AC connections, but lightning likes CAT cables. They’re an easy route.


It is also a good idea to have your invoices and photos for all of your equipment including cables.


I was specifically thinking in terms of stacking devices, especially when coordinating with whole home protection. BTW, thank-you for posting information from their brochure.

Yep… very important to be able to show your Insurance Adjuster a receipt for that $2,800 fuse! :blush: