lightning

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southernboys

Senior Member
Hey guys had a friend of mine call me last night. Seems that his computor cofeepot and an outdoor gfi all got zapped from lightning. I guess my question is this what does the lightning actually do is there a sudden surge on the grounded conductor which zaps the linear loads of this electronic stuff. Or is it something else thats going on? Also whereas I know there is no such thing as a fool proof lightning arrestor who makes the best surge protector in your opinion as always thanks
 

charlie b

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Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Re: lightning

The voltage from the hot leg to the cold leg of a receptacle outlet is 120 volts. The voltage from the cold leg to planet Earth is close to zero, since the neutral is connected to a ground rod somewhere near the service point. Therefore, the voltage from the hot side of an electronic appliance to planet Earth is about 120 volts. When lightning hits planet Earth, it essentially throws a bazillion or so electrons into the dirt. That changes the voltage at the ground rod, and raises the voltage at the hot side of the electronic appliance. Lightning does not have to pass through the appliance itself, in order to destroy the appliance. A hit anywhere near your house could do it.

I can't help you with lightning protection devices. They are outside my experience.
 

physis

Senior Member
Re: lightning

When lightning hits planet Earth, it essentially throws a bazillion or so electrons into the dirt. That changes the voltage at the ground rod, and raises the voltage at the hot side
I hadn't thought of it like that before. Thanks Charlie. I'm not so sure about this bazillion stuff though. :D
 

zog

Senior Member
Location
Charlotte, NC
Re: lightning

I though lightning was 1.21 gigawatts, which happens to be the exact amount of energy a flux capacitor requires for time travel.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Re: lightning

Actually, we should credit Marty for the line, "What the heck is a gigiwatt?" He says it right after the Doc's "Great Scott" line.
 

physis

Senior Member
Re: lightning

Wasn't there a big debate some decades back over whether giga should be pronounced gigga or jigga so that it can be settled once and for all?

At one time that was a huge number.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Re: lightning

My copy of the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms gives only the "hard g" sound (like the "g" in "good") in its pronunciation of "giga-."

But I say tom-A-to and you say tom-augh-to. let's call the whole thing off. :D
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Re: lightning

Been there. Done that. Went back and looked in my book. Noticed that my book had not changed. Gonna stick with my book. :D
 

william runkle

Senior Member
Location
Michigan
Re: lightning

southernboys was this residence on a single tranformer? that was the end of the distribution line? if so then the lightning could have struck miles away and rode the power line to the end. Have brought this theroy up to POCO and they agree and extra tranformer and security light would take the blunt of it but the expense is not worth it to the POCO.
 
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