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Old 11-01-2011, 08:57   #16
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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
If you are at sea, NO. If it hits anywhere near your boat, nothing will, (except putting all electronics powered off in a faraday cage, (I.E. unplugged microwave oven, wrapped in metal foil, etc...), The TV already has a lot of shielding inside because of the RF, so if unplugged should be fine.
So then would it make some sense to design a faraday cage around the cluster of instruments you have (nav desk, helm)? Really am thinking outside the box here, but if there is a practical way of protecting $1000's of dollars of equipment, perhaps we should explore that.

Or is this thought not practical?

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Old 11-01-2011, 09:08   #17
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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
So then would it make some sense to design a faraday cage around the cluster of instruments you have (nav desk, helm)? ...
For a permanently installed Faraday cage to work, all of the enclosed electronics would have to be completely disconnected (antennas, senders, and power cables, etc); and the access/wiring holes/apertures electrically sealed/closed.
I've installed just such a cage on a flybridge sportfisher; but doubt that the owner/operator properly disconnected everything, when at risk of lightning, or during his absences.

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Old 11-01-2011, 11:17   #18

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avb, "practical" is a personal and objective call.

EMP from a lightning strike is a lesser concern than being in the path itself. Ham radio operators often follow the path of using a 'bulkhead' connector in the wall or window of their home, and all wires that come in from the outside (i.e. antenna cables) can be unplugged at the bulkhead and then moved to an external ground connection, so any strike travels through the cable and then down to ground--not inside to the equipment. You could certainly do the same thing at the mast, fit every cable with a disconnect and make up a second set of connections that take them directly to the lightning ground at the mast. (Presumably to the keel it is stepped on or over.)

Disconnecting at the rear of the instruments isn't quite as effective as that still leaves wires to conduct power around inside the boat, and lighting has been known to jump any way it pleases from one to another.

You could also install lighting protection (i.e. from Polyphaser) at the mast, which would take at least some strikes. They have white papers on the topic and are a leading supplier to folks who cannot afford to disconect during storms, like broadcast stations.

As to a Faraday cage...IF your instruments were all in one location, you could certainly fabricate a rear shield for the location, and a removable front cover. Bulkhead the cables with one disconnect block of some type, secure the front cover (with conductive fingers all around it) whenever you weren't using the insturments, and how practical that is, is up to you.

Stowing the handhelds (GPS, VHF, etc.) in a metal oven or microwave cabinet, or large metal cookie tin, is probably more practical but of course, won't protect the hardwired stuff.

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