USB Port Problems - Lightning to Blame?

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Packrat, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. Packrat

    Packrat Guest

    I recently bought a new Canon digital camera (A630), and the night I first
    installed the software everything seemed to be working great. But the next
    day when I went to connect the camera, Windows would no longer recognize it.
    When I turn the camera on, Windows does play that little sound effect
    signaling a USB device is connected, but it will give any visual indication
    nor will the Canon software start like it should. In fact, it will not
    recognize or communicate with the camera at all. I tried uninstalling and
    reinstalling the Canon software but this made no difference.
    I tried the camera on two different PCs and it worked fine, so this rules
    out the camera as the cause of the problem. What's more, my PC will still
    communicate just fine with my old digital camera, an older USB 1.1-type
    device of a different brand (Fuji).
    I'm even suspecting something as serious as the motherboard itself, and
    here's why: about a month ago my PC was damaged in a thunderstorm. I had it
    connected in the basement but plugged in to a 2-prong (non-grounded) outlet;
    during the storm, a loud "SNAP" was heard coming from the basement (the
    computer was plugged in but a power strip was turned off), and afterwards
    the computer would no longer work - just a blank screen and a series of
    error beeps. I took it to the nearest shop where they determined the video
    card was toast - when they plugged another card in, the computer seemed to
    boot to Windows and work fine. So I brought it home, ordered another card,
    and when it arrived a week later I installed it and powered up - and this
    time the PC would not boot to Windows at all; it indicated that the hard
    drive was not formatted. Fearing the worst, I took it back to the shop where
    they determined that the hard drives active partition had been deleted,
    though the data was still there. With the partition set back to active, the
    drive could be accessed again but the Windows installation was badly
    corrupted, and the only option was to reformat and start from scratch.
    Up until now my PC has appeared to work fine, but I've been fearing that
    more weird problems like this would show up sooner or later. My fear is that
    there is still underlying damage from the thunderstorm, either in the form
    of a damaged hard drive or motherboard itself. I probably just should have
    considered the PC a write-off and replaced the whole thing.
    What should I do at this point? Replace the hard drive? Replace the
    motherboard? This whole ordeal is really starting to get me down - I just
    want my PC to get back to normal.
    BTW I now have everything plugged into a properly-grounded UPS, so
    hopefully no worries about any more lightning damage.
    Thanks very much for any advice.
    Packrat, Sep 2, 2007
    #1
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  2. Packrat

    jinxy Guest

    On Sep 2, 2:45 pm, "Packrat" <> wrote:
    > I recently bought a new Canon digital camera (A630), and the night I first
    > installed the software everything seemed to be working great. But the next
    > day when I went to connect the camera, Windows would no longer recognize it.
    > When I turn the camera on, Windows does play that little sound effect
    > signaling a USB device is connected, but it will give any visual indication
    > nor will the Canon software start like it should. In fact, it will not
    > recognize or communicate with the camera at all. I tried uninstalling and
    > reinstalling the Canon software but this made no difference.
    > I tried the camera on two different PCs and it worked fine, so this rules
    > out the camera as the cause of the problem. What's more, my PC will still
    > communicate just fine with my old digital camera, an older USB 1.1-type
    > device of a different brand (Fuji).
    > I'm even suspecting something as serious as the motherboard itself, and
    > here's why: about a month ago my PC was damaged in a thunderstorm. I had it
    > connected in the basement but plugged in to a 2-prong (non-grounded) outlet;
    > during the storm, a loud "SNAP" was heard coming from the basement (the
    > computer was plugged in but a power strip was turned off), and afterwards
    > the computer would no longer work - just a blank screen and a series of
    > error beeps. I took it to the nearest shop where they determined the video
    > card was toast - when they plugged another card in, the computer seemed to
    > boot to Windows and work fine. So I brought it home, ordered another card,
    > and when it arrived a week later I installed it and powered up - and this
    > time the PC would not boot to Windows at all; it indicated that the hard
    > drive was not formatted. Fearing the worst, I took it back to the shop where
    > they determined that the hard drives active partition had been deleted,
    > though the data was still there. With the partition set back to active, the
    > drive could be accessed again but the Windows installation was badly
    > corrupted, and the only option was to reformat and start from scratch.
    > Up until now my PC has appeared to work fine, but I've been fearing that
    > more weird problems like this would show up sooner or later. My fear is that
    > there is still underlying damage from the thunderstorm, either in the form
    > of a damaged hard drive or motherboard itself. I probably just should have
    > considered the PC a write-off and replaced the whole thing.
    > What should I do at this point? Replace the hard drive? Replace the
    > motherboard? This whole ordeal is really starting to get me down - I just
    > want my PC to get back to normal.
    > BTW I now have everything plugged into a properly-grounded UPS, so
    > hopefully no worries about any more lightning damage.
    > Thanks very much for any advice.


    Have you tried going to the control panel and clicking on scanners and
    cameras?
    Try that, and follow the prompts for [add an imaging device] It
    worked for me it might work for you too. Post back and let us know.
    -J
    jinxy, Sep 3, 2007
    #2
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  3. Packrat

    w_tom Guest

    If lightning harmed hardware, then the hard drive was not part of
    that failure. If you computer manufacturer is a more responsible,
    then it has provided comprehensive hardware diagnostics for free.
    Execute them.

    Did you verify everything in Device Manager? Did you review system
    (event) logs for failures that the system has known about for a long
    time?

    You are asking only for answers from the less technically informed.
    For example, that gibberish on the blue screen is only understood by
    better trained posters. You did not post important facts. Therefore
    the smarter posters can not reply with useful answers.

    Meanwhile, one part can cause all your problems. That is the power
    supply. IOW a computer can boot just fine and work most of the time
    when the power supply is 100% defective. Until you have confirmed
    that component with a meter, then you may be spinning wheels replacing
    parts that are not defective.

    In your case, important voltage numbers are required from any one of
    purple, orange, yellow, and red wires when computer is accessing as
    many peripherals as possible. Those numbers must exceed 3.23, 4.87,
    and 11.7 and are also posted here for further insight.

    Just the first things to do to actually solve the problem rather
    than wildly replace computer parts.

    That UPS may be grounded but it is not earthed. Big difference.
    UPS spec sheets do not even claim to provide the protection you have
    assumed. To be earthed, that UPS needs a dedicated wire to the
    earthing electrode that is less than 10 feet. Meanwhile a UPS
    typically connects AC mains directly to computer when not in battery
    backup mode. A direct connection? Where is the protection? Notice
    that protection claim also does not exist on its numeric spec sheet.

    You have no reason to be questioning the disk drive. But then that
    is what hardware diagnostics do - either from the computer
    manufacturer or (if computer manufacturer is not so responsible) from
    hard drive manufacturer. Don't replace things only on wild
    speculation.

    On Sep 4, 2:23 pm, "Packrat" <> wrote:
    > It took ages but I finally managed to get it working. I went into the
    > system devices in the Control Panel, and with the camera connected it would
    > show up as a "digital camera" (even though I couldn't access any photos on
    > it). I uninstalled that device, rebooted, and this time it recognized the
    > camera and installed the driver (again). So far it seems to be working, but
    > I still suspect an underlying fault in the hard drive causing things like
    > this to get corrupted.
    > This morning I'm seeing more signs of trouble; when I first powered up, it
    > would get to the Windows XP loading screen, flash a blue screen with a bunch
    > of gibberish, and then reset the PC. I booted into safe mode and got into
    > Windows, but was prompted for a driver that was now missing (and it would
    > not proceed without it). So I reset again and booted normally, and again
    > things seem to be back to normal - but for how long I'm not sure.
    > I'm wondering if I should just replace the hard drive as a precaution,
    > before it crashes altogether. I still say it was damaged by that lightning
    > strike.
    w_tom, Sep 4, 2007
    #3
  4. Packrat

    Packrat Guest

    It took ages but I finally managed to get it working. I went into the
    system devices in the Control Panel, and with the camera connected it would
    show up as a "digital camera" (even though I couldn't access any photos on
    it). I uninstalled that device, rebooted, and this time it recognized the
    camera and installed the driver (again). So far it seems to be working, but
    I still suspect an underlying fault in the hard drive causing things like
    this to get corrupted.
    This morning I'm seeing more signs of trouble; when I first powered up, it
    would get to the Windows XP loading screen, flash a blue screen with a bunch
    of gibberish, and then reset the PC. I booted into safe mode and got into
    Windows, but was prompted for a driver that was now missing (and it would
    not proceed without it). So I reset again and booted normally, and again
    things seem to be back to normal - but for how long I'm not sure.
    I'm wondering if I should just replace the hard drive as a precaution,
    before it crashes altogether. I still say it was damaged by that lightning
    strike.

    "jinxy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Sep 2, 2:45 pm, "Packrat" <> wrote:
    >> I recently bought a new Canon digital camera (A630), and the night I
    >> first
    >> installed the software everything seemed to be working great. But the
    >> next
    >> day when I went to connect the camera, Windows would no longer recognize
    >> it.
    >> When I turn the camera on, Windows does play that little sound effect
    >> signaling a USB device is connected, but it will give any visual
    >> indication
    >> nor will the Canon software start like it should. In fact, it will not
    >> recognize or communicate with the camera at all. I tried uninstalling and
    >> reinstalling the Canon software but this made no difference.
    >> I tried the camera on two different PCs and it worked fine, so this
    >> rules
    >> out the camera as the cause of the problem. What's more, my PC will still
    >> communicate just fine with my old digital camera, an older USB 1.1-type
    >> device of a different brand (Fuji).
    >> I'm even suspecting something as serious as the motherboard itself, and
    >> here's why: about a month ago my PC was damaged in a thunderstorm. I had
    >> it
    >> connected in the basement but plugged in to a 2-prong (non-grounded)
    >> outlet;
    >> during the storm, a loud "SNAP" was heard coming from the basement (the
    >> computer was plugged in but a power strip was turned off), and afterwards
    >> the computer would no longer work - just a blank screen and a series of
    >> error beeps. I took it to the nearest shop where they determined the
    >> video
    >> card was toast - when they plugged another card in, the computer seemed
    >> to
    >> boot to Windows and work fine. So I brought it home, ordered another
    >> card,
    >> and when it arrived a week later I installed it and powered up - and this
    >> time the PC would not boot to Windows at all; it indicated that the hard
    >> drive was not formatted. Fearing the worst, I took it back to the shop
    >> where
    >> they determined that the hard drives active partition had been deleted,
    >> though the data was still there. With the partition set back to active,
    >> the
    >> drive could be accessed again but the Windows installation was badly
    >> corrupted, and the only option was to reformat and start from scratch.
    >> Up until now my PC has appeared to work fine, but I've been fearing
    >> that
    >> more weird problems like this would show up sooner or later. My fear is
    >> that
    >> there is still underlying damage from the thunderstorm, either in the
    >> form
    >> of a damaged hard drive or motherboard itself. I probably just should
    >> have
    >> considered the PC a write-off and replaced the whole thing.
    >> What should I do at this point? Replace the hard drive? Replace the
    >> motherboard? This whole ordeal is really starting to get me down - I just
    >> want my PC to get back to normal.
    >> BTW I now have everything plugged into a properly-grounded UPS, so
    >> hopefully no worries about any more lightning damage.
    >> Thanks very much for any advice.

    >
    > Have you tried going to the control panel and clicking on scanners and
    > cameras?
    > Try that, and follow the prompts for [add an imaging device] It
    > worked for me it might work for you too. Post back and let us know.
    > -J
    >
    Packrat, Sep 4, 2007
    #4
  5. Packrat

    bud-- Guest

    w_tom wrote:

    >
    > That UPS may be grounded but it is not earthed. Big difference.
    > UPS spec sheets do not even claim to provide the protection you have
    > assumed. To be earthed, that UPS needs a dedicated wire to the
    > earthing electrode that is less than 10 feet.


    Excellent information on surges and surge protection from the IEEE is at:
    http://omegaps.com/Lightning Guide_FINALpublishedversion_May051.pdf
    And from the NIST at:
    http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/practiceguides/surgesfnl.pdf

    The IEEE guide explains plug-in suppressors work by CLAMPING the voltage
    on all wires (signal and power) to the common ground at the suppressor.
    Plug-in suppressors do not work primarily by earthing. The guide
    explains earthing occurs elsewhere. (Read the guide starting pdf page 40).

    Note that all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same
    plug-in suppressor, or interconnecting wires need to go through the
    suppressor. External connections, like phone, also need to go through
    the suppressor. Connecting all wiring through the suppressor prevents
    damaging voltages between power and signal wires. These multiport
    suppressors are described in both guides.


    > Meanwhile a UPS
    > typically connects AC mains directly to computer when not in battery
    > backup mode. A direct connection? Where is the protection? Notice
    > that protection claim also does not exist on its numeric spec sheet.


    I agree that the type of UPSs used in a home do not intrinsically
    provide any surge protection. The same protection built into a plug-in
    surge suppressor may or may not be built into a UPS. Look at the
    ratings. And any surge suppressor in the US should have a UL1449
    listing. A UPS can be plugged in to a plug-in suppressor.

    --
    bud--
    bud--, Sep 5, 2007
    #5
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