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Lightning Detector – Helping Early Detection of Lightning and Storms for Protection

The lightning detectors that are used to detect and provide early warning against lightning from thunderstorms are of three basic types, which include the ground based system with the multiple antenna arrangement, mobile systems that employ direction as well as sense antenna and the space based detection systems.


Lightning Detector - Providing Vital Early Warnings

The essential function of a lightning detector is to provide warning against incoming lightning strikes, which may provide adequate time for escape or protection. The basic concept that is used to detect the lightning from thunderstorms is by direction finding through triangulation method and estimating distance by computing the frequency of the signals emitted from the lightning. A large number of detectors form a network that can detect and transmit the position and expected occurrence of lightning to other stations well in advance. However a lightning detector of any of the three types has certain limitation, which makes accurate prediction of lightning difficult in a real time scenario.

Lightning Protection System - Principles of Operation

A lightning protection system works on the principle of finding the range by analyzing the signals emitted and direction finding by either triangulation method, which involves inputs from different stations to provide an accurate estimate or by employing radio frequency methods. The modern systems can provide accurate estimates irrespective of the time of the day and on a continuous and real time basis without any data gaps. This advantage translates into useful warning, which can be used by affected people to adopt protective measures in time. This type of accurate and early lightning protection system is vital for the electric grids, which can be accordingly switched off, the air traffic control which can divert aircraft that are likely to be affected and all kinds of power sensitive manufacturing and processing industries which can be turned off in the expected period.

Lightning Rods - Essential Components

The basic function of the lightning rods is to provide a low resistance path to the incoming enormous current of the lightning, so that it can be conducted easily to the ground without causing any damage to the building or structure on which it is placed. The advantage of placing these rods on top of the buildings is that they will ensure that a lightning approaching nearby will get attracted towards them and thereby be safely conducted to the earth. The rod is essentially a single component though presently having a network of similar conductors to enhance the safety factor is being widely used in most places. However, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1749 the rod still remains the most widely used protection system across the world.

Written by Troy Nelson

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