Lightning attack


On 17/07/2014 around 15z, during a thunderstorm,  a lighting bolt struck down very close to my station.

All the coaxial cables were disconnected from the rigs, but not the rotators.

The big spike, induced on the potentiometer’s wire of the rotator, propagated via the control box to the remote control then to the usb-232 adapter and the pc.

The rigs are ok, except for the usb port of TS-590S, but many objects needed repairs, this is the list of damages and the components being replaced.

  • G400 rotator control: input capacitor on the azimut pot line + first opamp (a TL082 is equivalent) – now OK
  • Remote control for G400: series voltage regulator shorts, then +12v goes to the whole circuit almost all components are broken: microcontroller 16F876 + input buffer LM358 + display HD44780 + regulator 7805 + PL2303 usb-232 adapter – W.I.P.
    EDIT 02/08:
    rebuilt with new pcbinstallato
  • CDE rotator control: only the fuse protecting the analog instrument has to be replaced – now OK
  • Remote control for CDE: same of G400 remote control, all IC are dead – W.I.P. low priority
  • Elevation system controller: dead but still not checked – low priority
    EDIT 06/08 microcontroller + optoisolator – now OK
  • Analog inclination meter: wrong reading out, still not checked – low priority
    EDIT 25/07: literally exploded, see below
  • tx/rx sequencer for 70cm: microcontroller 16F628, 1 broken i/o port – now OK
  • tx/rx sequencer for 6m: microcontroller 16F628, 1 broken i/o port – now OK
  • cw keyer: keying transistor shorted – now OK
  • 144 MHz mast LNA: appear shorted – still not checked, high priority
    EDIT 25/07: regulator 7805 and diode on the relay winding – now OK
  • 4 usb ports on the server and the workstation – R.I.P, now using a hub…
  • 1 usb pc keyboard dead, R.I.P.
  • Roofcam: seems dead: still not checked – low priority –> replaced March 2016
  • 12V 2A switching supply for the roofcam: replaced a shorted TL431 in the voltage sampler circuit – now OK
  • USB DVB-T receiver Pinnacle: rf input filter partially detached from the board USB data line shorted to gnd on the IC – R.I.P
  • USB port of TS-590: dead, not detected by the pc, no current flowing – medium priority
    EDIT 25/04/2016 fixed


This is a picture of the capacitor between the contacts 2 and 3 of the G400 rotator, it’s rated 50V, looking the burn I think the spike was about 300-500V and last about 1 second. For the future I want to install a relay that connect the azimut pot line only when the control box is switched on.

About the usb port of the TS-590S, fortunately it seems the only damaged part of the rig…bought only few weeks ago :-(
Looking the schematic there are some protection beyond the usb connector, I really hope they have done their job.


Updates will follow…
04/2016 Now it’s fixed! –>

EDIT 25/07:

The analog inclinometer visible here does not exist anymore…this is the bigger fragment that I have found



3 Responses to “Lightning attack”

  1. Did you fix the USB port on the TS-590S?

    • No, I opened the rig and removed the RSB12JS2 ESD protection diode, it was shorted to gnd, then measured the D+ D- resistance to gnd and both are at 0 Ohm. I think the usb hub USB2512 is faulty. Replaced also the 500mA SMT fuse. Now I’m using the COM port that’s still alive, restoring the usb it’s not a priority, but it’s one of the scheduled jobs.

    • Now I’ve fixed the port, check here

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