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Prying Eyes: MoCA adapter's death by lightning strike

04 Mar 2016  | Brian Dipert

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Another autumn brought another round of lightning-zapped electronics equipment. I spoke with a neighbour who witnessed the lightning bolt first-hand (he was walking his dog in the neighbourhood at the time). He indicated that he saw it "jump" horizontally from one cloud to another, versus striking the ground, thereby confirming my suspicion that an air-radiated EMP (versus a ground-transmitted spike) was the root cause of the gear's demise. In this particular case, I suspect that the EMP coupled to the coax cable run at the exterior of the house, traveling from there to an Actiontec ECB2200 MoCA adapter, which it promptly fried.

On a hunch, I checked out the MoCA adapters in both guest bedrooms. The ECB2500C adapter in one bedroom was still "up," as was its ECB2500C companion in the furnace room. But the power LED on the ECB2200 in the other bedroom was lazily blinking (it should be steady), with no other LEDs illuminated at all. The room was also filled with a faint smell of burning silicon, and when I power-cycled the ECB2200, its power LED no longer illuminated, either.

Let's begin by perusing the adapter's outsides:





along with a closeup of the power adapter specs:




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