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Old 15-10-2005, 22:59   #16
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The best lightening insulator????, Park up next to a boat with a much taller mast than yours. It may not be foolproof, but you ain't going to do better. Unless you have a compleatly plastic boat including mast a rigging.


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Old 15-10-2005, 23:34   #17
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You might consider quick disconnects on your electronics. Seperating the components from the antenna, and the power connection will help. Aside from that, Wheels has the best solution. There are allot of lightning protection components out there, but the nature of lightning can allow it to jump those connections. Although electricity will take the path of least resistance, that does not meant that it will not jump between conductors. A schooner we considered buying had been struck on the fore mast. The previous owner showed us where the lightning bounced around the interior and left burns. The boat and the mast were wood. The strike happened on a mooring surrounded by taller boats. (Oh well, so much for that idea). The owner, who was on board at the time told quite a story of the experience.

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Old 16-10-2005, 07:45   #18
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Quick disconnects for electronics?

Sorry but I have no expertise to add here- only questions (not unusual for me )and one anecdote; but Kai Nui is the second person to suggest quick disconnects for electronics. I assume this is so that lightning or an electromagnetic pulse that is travelling through a wire that powers the gizmo does not travel to the gizmo that one is trying to protect. (or am I assuming incorrectly?) My dumb question #1 is: What are quick disconnects? (Please stop reading here if you are easily bored ) And, because most of my gizmos are hardwired into their energy receiving circuits, (dumb question #2) how would I retrofit all or some of the gizmos on my boat that have internal electronic circuits with these quick disconnects from the wires that power said gizmo? I think that the only gizmo that is not hardwired is the radar/chartplotter display at the helm. A list of some of the gizmos that indeed have electronic circuits in them include the obvious like VHF & SSB radio, radar, autopilot, wind instruments and displays, TV, air conditioner/heat exchanger and battery charger. Not only is there the SSB radio but there is the tuner for it and a modem. Oh yes, and even the antennae for the TV which sits atop the mast is electronic. I am probably leaving some items out that have electronic circuits but that is enough for starters. Considering all these gizmos and the fact that a high percentage of electrical storms occur while I am asleep or off the boat, (OK here comes another question) what is the practicality of disconnecting the gizmos from their wires, especially when their own internal circuits are vulnerable to strong pulses whether wired into the boat system or not? BEWARE ANECDOTE FOLLOWS: My boat got lightning damaged (electomagnetic pulse) once. The boat that got the direct hit was about 50 yards away and all nearby boats (sail and power) sustained some damage to varying degrees. I won't detail all the gizmos that sustained damage but I received damage to various things, even one of the circuits on the breaker board was fried (really melted). And one of the wires in the radar cable was damaged which prevented a signal from getting to the display. There are ten wires in my Raymarine radar cable and one is a shielded cable with an internal wire about the diameter of a hair. This wire itself was damaged. It seemed like some of the items were damaged by power surges coming into the gizmo from a wire but that some of the damage occurred to the gizmo internally whether or not it was wired (but who really knows?) And while I am wondering and pondering, I have heard that some folks will put some of their handheld radios & GPS units into the oven during an electrial storm. I guess they think this makes a Faraday Cage???? But in light of what I read from real knowledgable folks like Rick, Chris and Gord, I am about as confused now as before and am not really sure. Ain't lightning weird!!
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Old 16-10-2005, 10:22   #19
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I don’t usually recommend “disconnects”, as they often lead to high resistance connections. Here’s an example:
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Old 16-10-2005, 11:00   #20
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Let me clarify a bit. Some options are power cords that can be unplugged from the back of the set, or good quality inline connecters. (Not the spade connecters on the link) Possibly a jones plug or something similar. Antenna connecters include a number of options aside from the PL259 type connectors. Unplugging the electronics will exclude them from the circuit. Granted, there is still a possibility that they will be damaged, but it improves your odds. A simple disconnect for yur power sources to the nav station electronics is a knife switch, Quick to disconnect, and a solid disconnection. For antennas, you can put in a switch, allowing the antenna to be switched into an open circuit. In fact, this can be set up to switch the radio into a dummy load so you can tune up off the air. This is the prefered setup anyway. The down side is the ground is still common on this setup with most commercial switches, Seperating out the ground will give you even more protection.
Hope this helps
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Old 16-10-2005, 18:07   #21
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no protection

From an amature's point of view, there is no protection from lightening. Several years ago, our pump in the well quit working. I called for a technician. When he removed the pump from the well, it was seized. He attributed the damage to lightening. Neither I, nor any of my neighbors knew of lightening strikes anywhere in the area. The pump was taken by the insurance company and they paid the claim without hesitation. The pumps of seven of our neighbors failed within a few weeks of eachother.
My second encounter with lightening was in Montauk, NY during a vicious storm. The sport fisher in front of me at the pier was struck by lightening (down riggers were hit) and all the electronics were fried. We, being only feet away, sustained no damage.
Insurance, plain and simple.

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Old 17-10-2005, 20:42   #22
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Actually I think Rick in his last post summarizes it all.

Protect the people. It may be the only thing in the end that you can actually protect against lightning or at least come closer. Your gear is screwed in a direct hit - period. People can be too.

It's like the age old problem of trying to turn off the bedroom light and getting back into bed before the light goes out. You can't beat the speed of electricty. Lightning brings to bear current, magnetic field, and heat. Any one of them can kill or damge alone, but they all may be brought to bear at one point too.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 17-10-2005, 20:52   #23
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Now that we have given you answers for a dozen questions you DIDN'T ask, I would suggest you keep the handheld unit in a non conductive case, such as a Pelican. That is about all you can do. Any shielding would have to be conductive, and would more likely make the problem worse. A good plastic case with non conductive insulation will probably keep it safe. Unfortunately, when lightning strikes a boat, it is like a bird in a glass house. It will hit everything that cunducts until it finds a path out.
As for the oven suggestion, I think the emf around anything in the oven would destroy it if it was electronic. Have not tried it though. I would love to see photos
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Old 22-11-2009, 21:23   #24
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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
But a two knowen situations occured that have since made them have to rethink this. It seems a lightening strike may not always go to the highest point or best conductor. The other situation was that of a Woman being struck by lightening. She was in a Stadium packed with people and she was 1/3rd of the way down the seating stands. No one can work out to this day as to why she wore the strike and not someone standing up the top, nor anyone standing around her.
I know this is an old thread/post, but I didn't see anyone answer the "why she wore the strike".
I have a theory.

She was lying.
About what I don't know, but I understand this can happen.

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Old 24-11-2009, 07:39   #25
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Uhhh... Hows about you unplug your microwave oven and stick your garmin 76 inside??? Be sure to take it out b4 you add the next batch of popcorn.

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