One of the vexed topics of engineering is how to minimize the damage from lightning and surges. As part of a regular series of presentations which I do on various topics, please click here to access the full set of slides relating to this presentation.

Dear Colleagues,

One of the vexed topics of engineering is how to minimize the damage from lightning and surges. As part of a regular series of presentations which I do on various topics, please click here to access the full set of slides relating to this presentation.

A few Key Points

A few points that I would make that there are a considerable number of myths out there on the subject such as:

  • Lightning never strikes twice – well; it hits the Empire State building about 25 times per year.
  • Rubber (tyres) on my car will insulate me from lightning – if it has traveled some kms through space; it is unlikely to swerve around your car because you have rubber tyres.
  • You should never touch someone who has been hit by lightning – it is perfectly safe although they will obviously need immediate medical care.
  • First strikes from lightning can be predicted – this is misleading advertising.
  • New High Tech types of lightning rods can control lightning – again, misleading advertising. Give me the evidence.

Lots of Misleading Information about Lightning and Surges

There is considerable misleading information about lightning and surge protection but one area which can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the future with your control system is this: Always try and use fiber optic cable for your data communications (for connecting your components together). Fiber optic cable not only eliminates electrical surges caused by lightning but also doesn’t have any problems from EMC/EMI (perhaps caused by nearby copper cables) interference.

Yours in engineering learning,

Steve

Mackay’s Musings – 5th May’15 #563
125, 273 readers – www.idc-online.com/blogs/stevemackay