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Old 04-03-2016, 11:55   #16
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Originally Posted by Bulawayo View Post
We were struck by lightning in 1995 - and lost some, not all, of our electronics. The insurance resolved that. As a result we bought one of the Canadian made 'upside down toilet brushes' made of S/S that was meant for electricity poles. We take it from boat to boat - and have not been struck since, despite often having the tallest mast.
I was wondering what you were speaking of so I looked it up

https://www.lbagroup.com/products/li...ts-dissipators

Thanks
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:10   #17
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

According to our friends at the local USCG station, portable electronics in the oven are usually safe. On the advice of their electronics wizard, we installed a masthead dissipater, in our case a Lightning Master, which significantly lessens the likelihood of a strike (a boat less than 50 meters from us was struck at sea, while we were unscathed despite a taller rig).
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Old 04-03-2016, 13:03   #18
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

After a lightening strike even the main compass is suspect. They have been known to get significantly remagnetized and be off by huge amounts. Theres no electronics onboard that can be considered reliable after a strike. Many fail over the following months. Using a faraday cage like the oven does seem to help in practice, but it is all a crap shoot after a hit.
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Old 04-03-2016, 19:15   #19
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

Assuming the boat is struck by lightning - all electronics in the boat will usually get fried unless they are in a faraday cage (or the oven f.eks).

Our rescue vessel was hit years ago and the only thing that got fried was the antenna and the bilge pump fuse. Did not affect the radar, or the depth sounder or the radio. Replaced one fuse and we were good to go. When the vessel was hit, there was lightning in pouring rain and the fiberglass antenna was burning like a candle on a cake. Very funny to see... Roger
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Old 05-03-2016, 05:25   #20
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

In a prior life I used to be a semiconductor manufacturing equipment field engineer, I specialized in ion implant.
Near the end of that career path I found myself working for Intersil on a line of radiation hardened chips. These were used almost exclusively for NASA and DOD to survive EMP of different types. The way they were made the architecture was oversized and actually made on two wafers sandwiched together to create the shield. This has the side effect of being much larger physically and much slower than normal chips not to mention hundreds of times more expensive.
Not sure that technology would ever find its way into consumer electronics, not that we can afford at least.


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Old 05-03-2016, 05:57   #21
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Assuming the boat is struck by lightning - all electronics in the boat will usually get fried unless they are in a faraday cage (or the oven f.eks).

Our rescue vessel was hit years ago and the only thing that got fried was the antenna and the bilge pump fuse. Did not affect the radar, or the depth sounder or the radio. Replaced one fuse and we were good to go. When the vessel was hit, there was lightning in pouring rain and the fiberglass antenna was burning like a candle on a cake. Very funny to see... Roger
PS Forgot... Yes we had to do a complete check of everything and yes we had to replace the antenna.

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Old 06-03-2016, 05:41   #22
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I have sent an inquiry concerning the matter to the Technical Dept at ACR Electronics and will post the response. FWIW I have seen boats that were hit by lightening, including one two slips away from us in 2008, where not all of the electronics were toasted. If it happened to us, I would definitely want the EPIRB tested to ensure it's working when/if needed.
Regarding the foregoing, the following is the response I received from ACR:

Quote:
If you do a self-test on the unit as per the owner’s manual and it passes, the unit should be ok. These beacons are not subjected to EMP tests and specifications so if you are in any way not confident about it’s full functionality, you are more than welcome to send it in for a full factory test to confirm that it is good to go. If you want to do that, please complete the attached [form attached] and send it back to me. We shall then issue a RMA number for the shipment to ACR.

Regards

Nicolaas Buckle
Technical Support Manager
ACR Electronics, Inc.
Mr. Buckle can be reached at:

T:+1 (954) 862-2155
F:+1 (954) 983-5087
C:+1 (954) 205-9748
nicolaas.buckle@acrartex.com
www.ACRARTEX.com
5757 Ravenswood Road
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:59   #23
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Regarding the foregoing, the following is the response I received from ACR:

Mr. Buckle can be reached at:

T:+1 (954) 862-2155
F:+1 (954) 983-5087
C:+1 (954) 205-9748
nicolaas.buckle@acrartex.com
www.ACRARTEX.com
5757 Ravenswood Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Very interesting. Thanks for obtaining this.


The upshot, I think, is that they don't know whether or not their EPIRBs will survive a lightning strike, and don't test or certify them, and that there are no standards. Great.

I guess a PLB in cookie tin in the oven with the handheld GPS would be a smart thing. Great that Carsten asked this question; something I guess many of us have never thought about.
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Old 06-03-2016, 15:57   #24
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Very interesting. Thanks for obtaining this.


The upshot, I think, is that they don't know whether or not their EPIRBs will survive a lightning strike, and don't test or certify them, and that there are no standards. Great.

I guess a PLB in cookie tin in the oven with the handheld GPS would be a smart thing. Great that Carsten asked this question; something I guess many of us have never thought about.
+1 maybe I need to look at a faraday cage inside the grab bag... Add satphone, handheld vhf, GPS, epirb.

Thanks for bringing this up.
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Old 06-03-2016, 16:11   #25
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe pretty much all the composite has a metal mesh in it, sort of making it metal from a lightning perspective, most aircraft of course have to be certified for lightning, little ones and Ag etc. being the one that aren't.
But I had the same questions you have, the aircraft is subjected to the same or similar EMP that a boat is, so why isn't most everything fried?
I worked for a large defense contractor at one time that built aircraft electronics and they were all hardened against EMP. One of the engineers told me it was more for lightning protection than nuclear detonation.
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Old 06-03-2016, 16:24   #26
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

I was struck twice commercial fishing and took no known damage to equipment. I had a tall mast with a proper lightning rod and heavy copper going down to a 3'x5' brass ground plate - wood boat. Mechanical diesels.
Electronics included then current VHF & SSB, Radar, an old tube AM radio, a WWII Loran A (lots of tubes), Wood-Freeman autopilot.
I did have some rigging melted.
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Old 16-03-2016, 11:48   #27
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
......
The upshot, I think, is that they don't know whether or not their EPIRBs will survive a lightning strike, and don't test or certify them, and that there are no standards. Great.

...
I wonder how would you test an equipment against lightening strike?
Can you easily (or at all) produce such voltages and currents in a lab?
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Old 16-03-2016, 12:04   #28
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

"Can you easily (or at all) produce such voltages and currents in a lab? "


Heheh. Just ask Igor to run them up the tower with a wet kite string.(G)


Compared to CERN, a million or so volts is chump change. Compared to your local radio repair shop...it is impossible, unobtainable, and radically dangerous. Lethal.


This is almost as (semi)absurd as asking whether you can make an EPIRB that is "EMP proof" and then asking if that can be tested. The engineers will tell you sure. The accountants will tell you they ain't gonna pay for it.
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Old 16-03-2016, 15:04   #29
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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"Can you easily (or at all) produce such voltages and currents in a lab? "


Heheh. Just ask Igor to run them up the tower with a wet kite string.(G)


Compared to CERN, a million or so volts is chump change. Compared to your local radio repair shop...it is impossible, unobtainable, and radically dangerous. Lethal.


This is almost as (semi)absurd as asking whether you can make an EPIRB that is "EMP proof" and then asking if that can be tested. The engineers will tell you sure. The accountants will tell you they ain't gonna pay for it.
Exactly...
And CERN, while producing high voltages at about the same range as a lightening, it is far from using the sort of currents involved in a natural lightening firework display (30,000 to 100,000 Amp).
And in 2008 CERN itself was damaged due to a thunderstorm...
So the question of validating EPIRBs against a lightening stroke is not realistic.
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Old 23-03-2016, 15:18   #30
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Re: Lightning Strike - EPIRB etc

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I wonder how would you test an equipment against lightening strike?
Can you easily (or at all) produce such voltages and currents in a lab?
They won't survive a single device test so we don't test them. We, engineers, use multiple redundancy at the higher system level to provide a degraded capability when sub systems or components are lost.

The question is probably better reframed as 'how can we shield our safety critical systems during a lightning strike?'

Lightning ground path and isolation of components from the likely ground path will help. Having redundancy will also help.



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