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Thread: Lightning Detector

  1. #1
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    Lightning Detector

    Just starting to think about upgrading my weather station a bit and was thinking a lightning detector would be nice to add.

    Came across this one. The price seems right but I think installing it into my Linux box might be an issue?

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails lightingdetector.jpg  
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  2. #2
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    Does that plug into a USB port, or is it firewire?

    Maybe use it to cut into a live wire? Then you'd think you'd detected lightning!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    Oh boy that is funny Brent. But you bringing this subject up makes me think our wives need to be happy we live so far apart. This is a subject i was involved in way back in time in SA. Due to the unbelievable lightining that takes place in the Johannesburg area in SA (altitude 6000feet above sea level) lightening was a serious issue to be dealt with in electronic designs. Especially telecontrol systems that i was involved in at one stage.

    Good news was US developed Transzorbs they amazing little devices.

    But I tried to look up the company that used to do the system i am thinking of and dont look like they around in that form anymore.

    Here is a crowd i came across just for interest sake. This now might be something i look to add to my weather station.....oh yeah that is when i finally get that project on to a computer as opposed to console.
    http://www.boltek.com/default.html


    Could be real interesting adding in a card and some software. Let us know what you do.
    cheers

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Maybe use it to cut into a live wire? Then you'd think you'd detected lightning!
    Naw...

    I think the instructions say the operator should wait until he expects a storm. When the sky turns completely black, he's supposed to find a hill, preferably without trees, and stand at the top, holding the instrument straight up in the air!

    Sadly, the tool only helps detect the *first* lightning strike. After that one, the operator often has trouble counting...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Here is a crowd i came across just for interest sake. This now might be something i look to add to my weather station.....oh yeah that is when i finally get that project on to a computer as opposed to console.
    http://www.boltek.com/default.html
    Yeah, Boltek are about the only game in town for that kind of thing, at anything remotely close to a reasonable price. There are some DIY designs out there to look at too. Haven't made my mind up yet. Heard some thunder yesterday, which is what got me thinking about it.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    This is a subject i was involved in way back in time in SA. Due to the unbelievable lightining that takes place in the Johannesburg area in SA (altitude 6000feet above sea level) lightening was a serious issue to be dealt with in electronic designs. Especially telecontrol systems that i was involved in at one stage.

    Good news was US developed Transzorbs they amazing little devices.

    But I tried to look up the company that used to do the system i am thinking of and dont look like they around in that form anymore.
    Are these what you were thinking of? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transie...pression_diode
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  7. #7
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    I think the description is wrong...that's a lightning 'deflector' not detector...it's used to redirect the lightning bolts by cutting them, which opens new pathways that were previously locked... AKA Bolt cutters
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Are these what you were thinking of? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transie...pression_diode
    Yeah Brent they are amazing. They are like a very high wattage zener diode if you know what that is.

    The general approach i know of to protect telecom line inputs would be a couple of high impedance resistors inline on each line followed by a transzorb from each line to ground and between the lines followed by gas arrestors in the same config.

    The circuit works by the transzorb clamping the very fast leading edge of the lightning charge giving the gas arrestor time to fire (they slow relatively speaking) then the gas arrestor takes over and discharges the pulse provided you got big enough ones and the pulse is short. Dont know if you know what i am refering to anyhow a couple of ptcs will also help only thing is repeatability. Ptcs have a unpredicable failure mode. Not the transzorb.

    Anyhow story goes that these devices were originally developed to protect electronic circuitry from an emp discharge like would occur in a nuclear war.

    I heard the Russians answer to this was to rather minaturise the old thermionic valve or vaccum tube. They are not affected by emp. I dunno how much of this was cold war mumbo jumbo and how much was truth.

    One interesting fact though is that an emp pulse would knock out most of our communication systems today. You can be sure with the price of these devices that the commercial stuff definitely does not have these devices on things like the busses that are all over many communicating devices. They do nothing active so as a purchaser one does not even know they are there or not even when they do work you would not know. So when the value engineering boys get hold of something and they team up with the marketing characters by by goes reliability of product. Seen it first hand in competition i had.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 05-14-2011 at 08:48 PM.
    cheers

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