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Im working in a hog barn that is 4000 sq ft. They keep getting struck by lightning and losing expansive electronic controllers. The manufacturer had me install surge protectors on the individual controllers, but they have not taken care of the problem. I believe the bldg is taking the strikes and the surge is getting to the controllers through the communication wires going out to the equipment from the controller. Ive suggested lightning rods but the farmer is not convinced this will help either. He is losing thousands of dollars with every lightning storm we get and so far no one localy has been able to help. Any suggestions would be great. Oh yeah the bldg sits in the middle of an open field 500 ft from anything.
 

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Same thinking here. That is what the lightning rods do.
 

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The home I'm working on right now has a complete lightning rod system and electronic control system (lighting, mechanical,control). The electrician was replacing the surge protectors because just about every lightning storm knocks the system out. This is on a 40,000 sq. ft. home so it's not a small system by any means. I'll let you know how he makes out but he didn't sound too sure it was going to work. We'll see.
 

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Lightning is weird stuff, when I was a kid had one neighbor got their TV picture tube cracked by it, another neighbor had lightnings balls roll across the floor. Weird.

As far as lightning rods I wonder if they dont actually attract lightning. maybe this building is sitting on a iron rich rock structure? Maybe there is no fix.
 

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Do all the electronics in the home blow up too, or just the protection devices?
 

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Do all the electronics in the home blow up too, or just the protection devices?
The protection devices have been in there for a while, so he's figuring they're smoked. The system doesn't "blow up" but a shlt ton of the devices need to be replaced and others need resetting.
You working on Bill Gates home? 40k?
nope, I wish I could drop names but at this level they demand privacy above all else. I can tell you that this is only their summer home.:shutup:
 

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nope, I wish I could drop names but at this level they demand privacy above all else. I can tell you that this is only their summer home.:shutup:
It gets strange working in the stratosphere. I've been there once. Widow of a guy that owned the worlds largest Ferrari collection, 250 of them.

I just googled largest collection, 15 it says. I dont know, she was a grocery chain inheritor that married up.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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As far as lightning rods I wonder if they dont actually attract lightning.
Absolutely not. Their entire design and purpose is to "leak" an accumulated static charge off before the potential becomes large enough to support a full-out lightning strike. Their efficacy has been thoroughly proven both theoretically and empirically.

What leads to the conjecture that they might attract lightning is that some areas are indeed more prone than others to such a build-up of charges. Because of that, the installation of lightning rods there is much more prevalent than in other areas. However, they are not a panacea; therefore even though they may accomplish their purpose most of the time, you will still see a higher incidence of hits in such areas.
 

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I hear ya, they're a household name and they value trust above all else. I guess when you have that much money it tends to make people paranoid for good reason.

Sorry for the drift B&C

It gets strange working in the stratosphere. I've been there once. Widow of a guy that owned the worlds largest Ferrari collection, 250 of them.

I just googled largest collection, 15 it says. I dont know, she was a grocery chain inheritor that married up.
 

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Absolutely not. Their entire design and purpose is to "leak" an accumulated static charge off before the potential becomes large enough to support a full-out lightning strike. Their efficacy has been thoroughly proven both theoretically and empirically.

What leads to the conjecture that they might attract lightning is that some areas are indeed more prone than others to such a build-up of charges. Because of that, the installation of lightning rods there is much more prevalent than in other areas. However, they are not a panacea; therefore even though they may accomplish their purpose most of the time, you will still see a higher incidence of hits in such areas.
They must have had a major problem, because they have them on just about every one of the 12 buildings on the property. They must work.
They caught my eye cause I've never seen one where I live or any other house I've worked on.
 

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Lightening rods work on wood structures, I don't believe a metal barn needs anything but a connection to a few strategically placed ground rods.

Here's a picture taken last summer, lightening struck our barn about 2am, scared me so bad I almost peed the bed. Turned out it just melted the tip of the rod.
 

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Absolutely not. Their entire design and purpose is to "leak" an accumulated static charge off before the potential becomes large enough to support a full-out lightning strike. Their efficacy has been thoroughly proven both theoretically and empirically.

What leads to the conjecture that they might attract lightning is that some areas are indeed more prone than others to such a build-up of charges. Because of that, the installation of lightning rods there is much more prevalent than in other areas. However, they are not a panacea; therefore even though they may accomplish their purpose most of the time, you will still see a higher incidence of hits in such areas.
Really though wouldnt an electrical charge seek the path of least resistance? A lightning rod might be just that and attracting all the nuances of extremely high voltage. Doing a google doesnt seem to provide straight answers.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Really though wouldnt an electrical charge seek the path of least resistance?
Absolutely; got it in one! :thumbsup:

When the potential between earth and atmosphere gets high enough, absolutely nothing made by man is going to stop nature's desire to re-establish equilibrium. The higher the potential, the higher the level of disastrous current flow there's going to be when that equalization finally takes place.

Lightning rods have a very fine-pointed tip. A point source like that enables "arcing" at a much lower potential than a considerably more blunt surface like the roof of a barn. I'll backpedal a bit here and admit that lightning rods do attract discharges--however, because of the point source, it normally occurs at such a low potential that you never even see them.

Where lightning rods fail is when the buildup of potential is so rapid that the low-level discharges can't keep up with the overall buildup of charges. That's relatively rare and could probably be made a non-issue if you were to load up the entire area with enough rods to make it look like a porcupine on steroids, but there are practical limits.

And... you tend to see them mostly on barns because usually they are the highest structures in the area, and therefore the closest discharge point for the atmospheric charge.
 

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B&C, have you looked at the possibility of ground strikes entering the house through other means? We lost everything except the dvd player when a nearby strike entered through an old tv cable that had a bad splice. The cable was underground and we know the lightning entered that way because the cable was fried.

Start by looking at what is tied in with the components that get fried. Pretend you are a bolt of lightning and think about what all the paths are that you could use to get there. Look for old tv cables, wiring from an improperly grounded well or effluent pump (even unused ones), could also be wiring for electric fences, exterior lighting including lv lights, wiring to ancillary structures tied to the main power source, or any other ungrounded wire that comes in.

Tough one; at least its only stuff that's gets toasted. :sad:
 

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Contact Walter Helder with Helder Engineering b.v. in Heeze, NL. He probably makes some of the controls and has been active in the US market for years.
 

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I am thinking you might want to try to isolate the controllers from system ground. Possibly drive some ground rods somewhere outside & bring it in to the building at the shortest point & tie your controller grounds to that..........
 

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I don't think your problem will be easy or cost friendly to fix. There are several companies that offer lighting strike solutions. The one that does strike protection for NASA in Florida is probably the most respected. These use a solution called Terrastat I believe. I think the company is Alltec. I don't think though that it would be affordable to secure their services. Or any other service from a high profile lightning protection company. You might however be able to gain some insight on how to approach your problem by looking at their technical advice or libraries online. Google search (I know you don't want to hear that) might just put you in the right direction. Something like 'lightning strike solutions' or similar. I can tell you this.... ground rods whether supplementary or supplemental and single point lightning protection using electodes on the rooftop ain't gonna solve nothin....;) this is old technology long discovered to be less than effective.
My guess is your building (hog warehouse...:jester:) is producing a high level of attractive charge (+) at many points or a single point that lightning streamers/steps (-) look for to complete the discharge/equalizing cycle they so disperately need.

Best I can do...and I am by no means a lightning expert just like reading about the stuff and why it seems to pick certain buildings over others.
 
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