How to Stop Destruction Caused by Lightning ?

Safeguard Your COMPUTERS and Assets from DESTRUCTION by Lightning?

INTRODUCTION

This is the LIGHTNING SEASON, hence the term ‘BAK MAHA AKUNU’. Although the Phenomenon of Lightning has been under investigation since Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electricity in 1749, today it is even a bigger threat to our electronic dominated society. Destruction caused by lightning can cost us tens of millions and even life. Loss of data/software caused by lightning surges could even be beyond repair or replacement. According to French expert P.G.Laurent, it is a phenomenon that “One cannot resist without danger, but which is easily lead if one lets it have its way. It possesses millions of volts, capable of shattering obstacles, but flows meekly through small-diameter conductors…”

Even as far as scientists are concerned, despite vast development in technology, lightning retains many of its mysteries and there is remarkable lack of knowledge on potential destruction, losses or proper protection among the public and even among some of the suppliers. Although, in expert hands, lightning flows meekly through a small conductor, in wrong hands (or without proper protection) it can devastate buildings, equipment, data and even life.

Although absolute protection is not attainable, a cost-effective protection can be designed according to the requirement of the organization or the individual. More comprehensive the Protection System become, better the protection cover you get and higher the initial cost. Therefore usually a middle ground is sought depending on your risk factor. Before making a decision you should take into account your budget and the cost of protectors compared to the cost of potential destruction which should also include cost of recovering data. At a glance it may not be an easy task but if you know where your risks are and what you need to protect, then making a decisions is not that difficult.

Therefore, if you need to protect your buildings equipments and data, not to mention the lives of your loved ones properly, do not leave it to ‘others’ learn about lightning yourself.

COST OF DESTRUCTION

Cost of damages that you never knew you paid for;

  • When our computers and other electronics fail, we usually attribute them to ‘hardware problems’. According to International Copper Association in London ‘75% of all computer failures are caused by power quality problems’. i.e. Most electronic failures are not due to ‘hardware problems’ and therefore up to 75% of replacement and repair costs can be prevented.
  • Electrical & electronic equipment are designed to operate on clean power. When they are fed with ‘contaminated’ power, equipment can get damaged and more often subjected to degradation i.e. a ‘pre-mature death’. Failures due to degradation are incorrectly construed to be failures due to hardware problems and as such the cause of the problem is usually not resolved.
  • Most such failures are due to SURGES and therefore, proper surge protection can save you a great deal of money.
  • You have known the Costs of replacement of equipment and Costs of repairs. Now check out the costs you’ve never accounted for;
    1. Premature ageing of equipment
    2. Cost of down time
    3. Production loses
    4. Cost of recovering lost data
    5. Delays in getting spares, repairs etc
    6. Waste on manpower to attend to the above losses
    7. Idling staff waiting for repairs etc
    8. Customer goodwill lost due to above

MOSTLY UNKNOWN BUT IMPORTANT  INFORMATION

 

  1. *As we said in the above most computer and electronic failures that you would have experienced in the past may NOT be due to ‘hardware problems’ but due to surges and other such power quality problems. Surges are a major cause and account for a large proportion of such failures and can be prevented.
  2. Electrical & electronic equipment are designed to operate on clean power. When they get ‘contaminated’ power, equipment can get damaged and more often subjected to degradatione. a ‘pre-mature death’. Failures due to degradation are incorrectly construed to be failures due to hardware problems and as such the cause of the problem is usually not resolved.
  3. Even florescent lighting can produce a transient that can damage your computer.
  4. Lightning strikes miles away from your home can induce a surge in your electrical system and destroy your television, computers and other electronics.
  5. To be Effective, protectors must be installed in accordance with proper standards. Few important points to consider:
  6. Protected and unprotected cables must be kept well apart to limit ‘coupling’.
  7. Use a suitable lightning rod (simple Franklin Rod or Early Streamer Emission(ESE) type covering large areas) to cover the whole area/ buildings Grounding conductor must be capable of handling very high currents. Note- 25mm x 2mm copper tape is the minimum according to most standards. An appropriate method of earthing should be used to comply with standards. Maintaining a minimum earth resistance enhances protection. All earthing systems must be interconnected.

PROPER  EARTHING IS ESSENTIAL

Earthing of lightning current is as important as capturing it. The huge lightning current captured by the lightning rod must be discharged to ground through a safe media. If such a media is not available, lightning discharge can destroy anything in its’ way. Therefore, a good earthing system must be implemented along with the lightning rod.
Earthing mechanism comprises of the down conductor, test points and a suitable earthing system. Down conductor interconnects the lightning rod on the roof- top and the earthing system. Therefore it must be capable of repeated handling of thousands of Amperes for many years. Poor quality copper contains Oxygen (copper made out of recycled metal) that is liberated during a lightning discharge & promotes corrosion and decay of conductors used in earthing. That is the very reason, why a Copper conductor of a good brand must be selected.
There are 3 common types of earthing systems; In-line earthing systems, Crow-foot earthing system, Triangular Earthing system.
A suitable earthing system must be selected, considering the space, availability, cost etc.

SIMPLE SOLUTION OR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION

If you have an expensive installation with high value equipment or irreplaceable data where your risk factor is high, you are well advised not to ‘do-it-yourself’ but to hire a ‘reliable company’ which has specialized in power protection systems to design and install a system to suit your needs. Most companies offer free proposals. A comprehensive solution will require several stages of protection that is defined in IEEE 62.4. It defines three protection zones A (Equipment level), B (Secondary level) and C (Primary level) and protectors should comply with the requirements of each type of zone.

However, if you are a user with few computers or electronics, you may prefer a straight forward economically easy to install (perhaps by yourself) solution.

If you need professional help contact us through www.clarionsrilanka.lk