A lightning arrester is a device installed on a building or structure to protect against lightning strikes. It works by diverting the electrical current from a lightning strike away from the building and into the ground.
This helps to prevent damage to the building and keeps the people inside safe. Lightning arresters can be installed on residential and commercial properties and are commonly found in homes, schools, and hospitals. There are several types of lightning arresters.
What are the types of lightning arresters?
1. Surge Diverter
A surge diverter is a lightning arrester that diverts the surge or transient voltage to the ground.
2. Arresters with Gapped Silicon-Carbide
This type of arrester uses a gapped silicon-carbide element to provide protection against lightning strikes. They are typically used on high-voltage power transmission lines and substations.
3. Metal-Oxide Varistor (MOV) Arresters
A MOV arrester uses a metal-oxide varistor, which is a semiconductor device that changes its resistance in response to changes in voltage. MOV arresters are often used in medium-voltage power distribution systems.
4. Gas Discharge Tube (GDT) Arresters
A GDT arrester uses a gas-filled tube that conducts current during a lightning strike. They are often used in high-voltage power transmission systems and can also be used as a protection for communication lines.
5. Hybrid Arresters
Hybrid arresters are a combination of different types of arresters such as a combination of surge diverters and GDT arresters, or MOV arresters and GDT arresters. They are often used in power systems where more than one type of protection is needed.
6. Station Class Arresters
Station class arresters are designed for use in electric power substations and are typically rated for high voltage and high current.
7. Distribution Class Arresters
Distribution class arresters are designed for electric power distribution systems and are typically rated for lower voltage and current than station class arresters.
How does a lightning arrester work?
The basic function of a lightning arrester is to provide a low-resistance path for the current from a lightning strike to flow through, diverting it away from the protected equipment.
The spark gap is the first point of contact for the lightning strike, acting as a trigger to initiate the arrester’s operation. When a lightning strike occurs, the high voltage and current surge is directed through the spark gap and into the arrestor elements. The arrestor elements safely dissipate the energy from the lightning strike, preventing it from reaching the protected equipment.
One of the most common types of lightning arrester is the metal oxide varistor (MOV) arrester. MOV arresters use a non-linear resistance element to dissipate the energy from a lightning strike. When a lightning strike occurs, the MOV arrester’s resistance drops, allowing the current to flow through it and into the earth, where it is safely dissipated.
Another type of lightning arrester is the gas discharge tube (GDT) arrester. When a lightning strike occurs, the high voltage and current surge ionize the gas in the GDT, creating a low-resistance path for the current to flow through. The ionized gas then safely dissipates the energy from the lightning strike.
Benefits of using a lightning arrester
Protection against property damage
One of the most obvious benefits of using a lightning arrester is that it can help to protect your property from damage caused by lightning strikes. Lightning can cause significant damage to buildings and structures, including fires, electrical damage, and structural damage.
Safety for Occupants
Another important benefit of using a lightning arrester is that it can help to ensure the safety of those inside the building or structure. Lightning strikes can cause serious injuries or even death, and a lightning arrester can help to prevent this by diverting the electrical current away from the building.
Installing a lightning arrester is a cost-effective way to protect your property and ensure the safety of those inside. The cost of repairing damage caused by a lightning strike can be significant, and in some cases, it can be much more expensive than installing a lightning arrester. Additionally, a lightning arrester can help to prevent damage to expensive equipment and machinery, saving you even more money in the long run.
Minimizing Insurance Premium
By installing a lightning arrester, the insurance company sees that you have taken an extra step to protect your property which will minimize the premium of your insurance policy.
Easy to Maintain
Lightning arresters are relatively easy to maintain and do not require much upkeep. They should be checked periodically to ensure that they are working properly, but otherwise, they can be left alone to do their job.
How to install a lightning arrester?
- Pre-installation Planning: Before installing lightning arresters, it is important to conduct a thorough site survey. This will help to identify the areas where lightning is most likely to strike and will also help to determine the type and number of arresters that will be required. It is also important to consider the location of the electrical equipment that will be protected by the arresters.
- Installation Process: The installation process for lightning arresters will vary depending on the type of arrester and the location where it is being installed. However, there are some general steps that will be followed in most cases.
- Mounting: Once the grounding has been completed, the arresters will be mounted in their designated locations. This will typically involve attaching the arresters to poles or other structures using bolts or other hardware.
- Connecting: The final step in the installation process is to connect the arresters to the electrical equipment they are designed to protect. This typically involves running wires from the arresters to the equipment and connecting them using terminals or other connectors.
- Testing and Maintenance: After the installation of lightning arresters is complete, it is important to test them to ensure that they are working properly. This typically involves running a series of voltage tests and measuring the current flowing through the arresters. This will typically involve checking the grounding, cleaning the arresters, and replacing any parts that are worn or damaged.
What is the main difference between a lightning arrester and a surge arrester?
The main difference between a lightning arrester and a surge arrester is that a lightning arrester is designed to protect against high-energy lightning strikes, while a surge arrester is designed to protect against lower-energy transients such as power line surges.
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How do you maintain your lightning arrester?
Proper maintenance of lightning arresters is crucial in ensuring their proper functioning and prolonging their lifespan.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain your lightning arrester is to regularly inspect it for signs of damage or wear. This includes checking for cracks, burns, or other signs of physical damage, as well as checking for proper grounding and connections.
Keep them clean
Another important aspect of maintaining lightning arresters is keeping them clean. Dust, dirt, and other debris can accumulate on the arresters over time, which can impede their performance. Be sure to clean the arresters regularly and take care not to damage them during the cleaning process.
Keep an eye on the internal parts of the arrester.
If you notice any signs of wear and tear, such as discoloration or charring, it’s important to replace the internal parts as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the internal parts of the arrester are designed to absorb the energy from a lightning strike, so that they will degrade over time.
Monitor the arrester’s performance over time
Additionally, it is important to monitor the arrester’s performance over time. This can be done through regular testing and monitoring the arrester’s voltage and current levels. This will allow you to identify any issues early on and address them before they cause damage to your equipment.
Finally, it is important to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and testing your specific lightning arrester. These recommendations will consider the unique characteristics of your system and the environment in which it is used and will help ensure that your arrester is functioning properly and protecting your equipment.
Maintaining your lightning arrester is an important part of protecting your electrical system from damage. Regular inspections, cleaning, and monitoring, along with following the manufacturer’s recommendations, will help ensure that your arrester is functioning properly and providing the protection your equipment needs.
How do you choose the right lightning arrester for your equipment?
Choosing the right lightning arrester for your specific application can be a complex task, as there are many factors to consider.
The first step in choosing the suitable lightning arrester is determining the level of protection required for your specific application. This will depend on the type of equipment that will be protected, as well as the environment in which the equipment will be used. For example, equipment that is used in a high-lightning area will require a higher level of protection than equipment that is used in a low-lightning area.
The next step is to determine the voltage level of the system that will be protected. Lightning arresters are available in a wide range of voltage ratings, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for your specific application. The voltage rating of the arrester should be at least equal to the highest voltage present in the system.
In conclusion, lightning arresters are an essential component of electrical safety systems and play a critical role in protecting electrical equipment and structures from damage caused by lightning strikes. There are several types of lightning arresters available, each with their unique characteristics and applications. It is important to consult with a qualified professional to ensure that the arresters are properly installed and maintained in order to minimize the risk of damage or injury.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Why do we need lightning arresters?
Lightning can cause power surges that can damage or destroy electrical equipment, and without protection, the equipment may have to be replaced at significant cost.
- Can lightning arresters be used for both AC and DC systems?
Lightning arresters can be used for both AC and DC systems, but the design and components may be different depending on the system.
- Are lightning arresters required by code?
It depends on the specific building code and electrical code of your area. Most codes require lightning protection for certain types of buildings and structures, such as hospitals, schools, and high-rise buildings. It is important to consult with a qualified electrician or engineer to ensure that you’re building or structure is following local codes and regulations.
- How to maintain a lightning arrester?
To maintain a lightning arrester, one should conduct regular visual inspections, check for proper grounding, and test the arrester to ensure it is functioning correctly. Any defects or damage should be repaired or replaced immediately to ensure the continued protection of the equipment.
- What are the components of a lightning arrester?
The components of a lightning arrester include a spark gap, arrestor elements, and a grounding system.
- How to select a lightning arrester for a specific application?
To select a lightning arrester for a specific application, one must consider factors such as the voltage and current rating of the system, the type of equipment being protected, and the environment in which the equipment will be operating.
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