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Lightning Detector - false strikes


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#1 messypotamia

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 01:21 AM

My 1-wire bus is working fine and decided to add lightning detection. Just got HB's current lightning detector. So I followed the comment on their website and mounted it in side a short piece of PVC pipe. Both ends of the pipe have a cap on them with a hole drilled thru; the top has a simple automotive telescoping antenna on it with the conductor attached to the ANT connection and the GND connection is attached to a ground pin on one of the structure's electrical outlets. Both the Cat5 and the gnd wire come thru the bottom cap's hole.

The building is an isolated metal roof/metal siding boathouse. There is no heavy industry, no broadcast antennas, no electrical fences, etc. around.

The PVC device isn't permanently mounted outside yet, it's laying horizontally just up in the plastic eaves under the roof.  While I realize that area is not optimum, I would expect that temporary placement to be electrically quiet and not causing false strike counts. I got 10 strike counts so far in a few hours yesterday. There isn't any lightning within hundreds of miles of northern Alabama today.

How critical is it that it be mounted outside, vertical, with its own independent ground driven into the earth (or in this case, a stationary boathouse on permanent piers, into the lake bottom under the boathouse's dock!)

I'd appreciate anyone's ideas on what might be causing this and how to correct it.

Thanks,

mp

PS apology this was posted accidentally in Hello World also, didn't realize HB posts go here ...



#2 pete_c

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 05:34 AM

Welcome to the Cocoontech forum messypotamia.

 

I have had a HB lightning sensor mounted on the roof for many years now.  Here too I have an extensive outdoor 1-wire network (including an old AAG weather station).  I have though switched over to getting my stuff from the Davis weather station over the last few years (both are on the roof).  My outdoor stuff / sensors all have unique runs of cable these days following a star topology going to a punch panel.

 

Works fine.  I do get small counts of lightning every day.  (even in the winter).  Sometimes only 4-5 counts.  When a storm approaches these counts go to the thousands (along with the counts per hour).  For the price and what it does it works just fine for me.

 

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My antenna is just a piece of copper inside of the pvc tube. 

 

I am using a shielded coaxial (2 wires) for it.  I have been told that installing the detector in the attic would work just as well.  The coaxial cable shielding is going to a earth ground stake before it goes into the home and inside of the home.

 

My old GPS antenna was on the roof.  My new one is in the attic and works well.  (over the years have moved many antennas from the outside to the inside of my attic which work just fine these days).

 

I also use NOAA satellite data with an antenna in the attic that looks like this:

 

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I haven't seen too many new weather threads relating to using this counter.

 

There are a few DIY lightning detectors, sensors and antenna designs out there as well.

 

If you want more accuracy relating to lightning detection you can go high end.

 

Reasonably priced is the Blitzortung.org lightning sensor device.  (it is sold as a kit). < $200 but you DIY the antenna build which is really reasonably done.  The higher end stuff is > $3000.00 USD.

 

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#3 RAL

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 10:22 AM

Hello and welcome to Cocoontech!

 

The ground pin on an electrical outlet is a poor substitute for earth ground. Although electrically, it is connected to earth ground back at the service entrance, it is often far from perfect.

 

A lightning detector needs a good, solid earth ground, such as a 6' to 8' rod driven into the ground close to the building.   You should also use a good, heavy wire (e.g. 14 gauge) to connect the detector to the ground rod.

 

That should help reduce the number of false strikes you see.



#4 LarrylLix

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 03:36 PM

If you actually get a lightning strike you will find none of the kit exists anymore.

 

You may only be detecting atmospheric disturbances with charged atmospheric sections passing the sensor. This is a common problem for Linesman working on electrical transmission lines up in the air and one of the reasons they ground lines on both sides of their work area. Yes induction from neighbouring lines is a problem but lots of metal in the air with extreme resistance to ground using HVac insulators has this problem you may be detecting. Probably a necessary evil.

 

The home ground system may also have house wiring induction in it as almost every cable has a ground wire encased with live wiring. As per RAL above I have to second that one.  With a direct lightning hit you may detect induction from neighbouring strikes but on your device you may only see smoke where it was before. Careful!

 

Lightning rods are not designed to take direct lightning hits either. They are intended, with a characteristic sharp point, to bleed off charges in the immediate atmosphere and prevent charges building up in the sky until it can jump a kilometer and cause so much damage at that site.

 

The high  frequency (discharges ricochet by overshooting electrons back and forth), high voltage discharge for a lightning hit will not follow  sharp bends in a conductor or pass through a choke like a ferrous metal hole. If it finds an easier path that is straight it will take it usually.

 

Just some ideas when installing to protect yourself from an actual hit destroying so much of your equipment.


Edited by LarrylLix, 23 May 2015 - 03:39 PM.


#5 Work2Play

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 09:33 AM

PS apology this was posted accidentally in Hello World also, didn't realize HB posts go here ...

Posts have been merged so all answers will be in the same place.



#6 pete_c

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 10:32 PM

We had an interesting evening of lighting (some during the day). Had a couple of tornado watches and one warning tonight.  Interesting that they used mile markers on the interstates nearby to describe locations.

 

I have integrated my NOAA radio to the OmniPro II plus doing NOAA alert stuff with Homeseer reading the alert using a program called WeatherMX and currently testing Cumulus weather software / Davis stuff on an RPi2 which is working well.

 

The lightning peaks seen were pretty high and would coincide with the tornado activity stuff that happened.

 

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Five tornado touchdowns Monday night in Will, Kankakee, Lee, Grundy and LaSalle counties left behind heavy damage and knocked out power for thousands.

 

The most recent tornado touchdown was reported about 10:20 p.m. near Interstate 57 in Bourbonnais in Kankakee County, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado touched down 10 minutes earlier in Lakewood Shores, just southeast of Braidwood in southwest Will County, according to the weather service.

 

About 10 p.m. there was a confirmed report of a tornado touchdown in Coal City, according to the National Weather Service. The city also was hit by a tornado in November 2013.

 

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Never got too windy nor rainy (.01 inches of rain).

 

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#7 LarrylLix

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 03:00 PM

I had a lightning hit behind me last night. It seemed like about 50 feet behind me. I had the window wide open, my back to the wide open window and saw the lightning bolt reflection in my laptop screen as the sound and the feel of  the sound shock wave concussion hit me in the back, all at the same time. I thought I had been hit, screamed and frightened the crap out of my wife. :)

 

I figured for sure it must have hit my PV panels on my shop and, after closing the window (yeah that would help), went downstairs to check the inverters. No damage that I could tell. The neighbour's trees being about 100' tall looked intact??? I'll have to have a look for burns on the ground, later.



#8 pete_c

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 04:37 PM

Here while looking at the weather station look also at the patio furniture on the deck.  If the winds are over 40 MPH then typically the furniture get blown off the deck.  It doesn't go very far and I always find it.  It was only a one patio chair that got blown off the deck last night. 



#9 pete_c

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 07:16 PM

Here do a bit of storm watching / picture taking and following.  Locally here did the NOAA classes for certification.  I didn't like that all was happening in the dark last night. 

 

We did get a bit of sad news today relating to the storm.  My wife's friend parents retired and purchased a motor home and new vehicle to tow a month or two ago for their retirement touring around the country.  They started yesterday from Chicago and their first stop was some large campground west of Chicago.  Their daughter and new grand baby went to visit yesterday.  The campground called Woodhaven Lakes near Sublette, Illinois was leveled by a tornado yesterday which trashed their new motorhome and vehicle.  The tornado caused damage to every camper in the park. They did not get hurt.and took shelter in some cement bathroom / shower facility at the campground.



#10 OiJeffrey2

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:29 AM

Hi Just met Alex and Silber hi guys in Zermatt. One had a beautiful Virus, the other a Swoard. I have a Virus Lightning, and of course I am happy with it. I however need to have the feet on 60°/65° not to scrape the snow... the board is so small. Did anybody compare a Lightning with a Swoard? I must say, the Swoard looked terrific.... Thanks Simon




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