Thunderstruck (Lighting Fried Microwave & Almost Her)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
This happened about a week and a half ago. I'm living in a 14' travel trailer with all metal exterior and the door is metal too.
It was thundering up a storm. Errr, storming and thundering. It was raining and there was lightning. I went out to do something or other and the kitten got out behind me, so I scooped her up from the wet and the dark and just as I started to open the door there was a flash of lightning - not really that close but not all that far off either - and the cat and I got zapped big time. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but my microwave doesn't work anymore - the timer goes and the clock works but it doesn't microwave anymore. Maybe a fuse. Maybe if I get industrious I'll unbury it and try to see. It also fried my cordless phone - I think it fried the base because the handset still worked until the battery ran down, I didn't realize it wasn't recharging for 5 days, when I went to use the phone and it was dead. There were little black zap marks on the contacts where the phone plugs into the base.
Whatever it was didn't set off the alarms on the UPS. It did alarm the cat (and me) rather extensively, however.
I guess its a good thing I use old skids as a "front porch/walkway" in front of the camper so I wasn't standing directly on the wet ground. Nobody actually got fried (except apparently the microwave).
Apparently you don't have to be at ground zero to get struck by lightning.
Now my brother wants me to take a piece of copper wire and affix it to the bumper of the camper and then tie it in to the ground wire on the pole (the camper is right up next to the power pole).
So my question is:
(1) Is this safe?
(2) Will it actually DO anything?
-- Sojourner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 2001
Yes, the copper wire will ground your trailer, but be sure to use a heavy (#3 gauge at least)wire. A 6' ground stake would be a better idea. You can buy this at any hardware store. This won't protect your telephone or microwave, but it should keep you and the cat from getting zapped again. (The lightning possibly hit the power pole you're next to, which sent the surge which zapped everything.)
-- Gail & Lee (email@example.com), July 01, 2001.
that may help a lightning strike from attacking your electrical appliances next time but also be aware that it will make your trailer more attractive to a direct hit of lightning. What lightning is looking for is the path of least resistance to ground. I would think that somewhere in your electrical system the metal of your trailer is already grounded, it should be anyway. What would help is an actual lightning rod which you could make from copper grounding rod and fairly thick gauge wire. Find the highest spot you can in the vicinity of your trailer to put it. A good surge protector on your power line leading into the trailer would give you protection also.
-- nobody (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 2001.
I don't think it came in on the power lines, but maybe it did. I know it didn't hit the power pole though, because the flash was well behind me and the power pole was not 15' away from me, in front of me and to the left. It did NOT set off the alarm on the UPS, which I would have expected it to do if there was a surge strong enough to take out other electrical equipment. I probably ought to get a new one, just in case it did take a hit. Once they've been hit once they're not reliable anymore.
I don't see how the trailer could be grounded - its setting up on rubber wheels and jackstands that are on pieces of wood to help distribute the weight so they don't sink right into the ground. There's no path to ground, or at least not a very good one.
The tallest thing in my general vicinity IS the power pole. You dont mean for me to put a lightning rod on that do you?
I will be REALLY REALLY glad when I can move into the house. I just might put this thing to the torch then ... >:D
-- Sojourner (email@example.com), July 01, 2001.
I don't know what kind of 120v electrical system you're running but if your trailer was already wired for it, I would think they grounded the chassis and trailer metal to it. Therefore your trailer metal would be grounded through the ground wire in your 120 power line but like you said, that's not a very good one. It is a good idea to ground it as much as possible but this will also make it more attractive to a direct hit if you don't add some other precautions along with it. Top of the power pole is a good place to put a lightning rod and I've seen quite a few done that way but of course it's not the safest thing in the world to do that without the right equipment especially if you can't shut the line down first.
-- nobody (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 2001.
LOL! Well I can tell from the subtitle somebody added to this thread name that the moderators really do read these messages!
-- Sojourner (email@example.com), July 01, 2001.
Being truthfully located in "the lighting capital of the world" Central Florida; I have had three clost calls so far these last 52 years. The one thing I noticed about them all was a riseing of the hair on the back of my neck just prior to the strike. Upon speaking with a meterologist he stated that lighting was first invited to the ground by negtative ions traveling up ward to creat a path for the positive ones to come down. I firmly believe that these ions are what made my hair stand up; so now at the first sign of rising hair I exit, stage left, at a high rate of speed.
There was a case of a couple walking along the beach here about 10 years ago where the man got hit by lighting without a cloud in the sky, so I guess it pays to play nice with others....
-- mitch hearn (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 2001.
As much as I love a good thunder & lightning storm, that is way too close for comfort. I hope you're okay with so lasting affects.
Wishing you enough.
-- Dianne in Mass (email@example.com), July 01, 2001.
While I know nothing of how to prevent/protect in case of lightning I did have an experience that might be of interest to you. A few years ago I came home to a number of electrical items in my home either not working well or not working at all. After talking to a number of people the consensus of opinion was that I had experienced a "ground surge strike."
Near as I can recall, the explanation was that lightning struck in the area and the surge literally ran across the wet grass to my place and got into my electrical system and fried some things. I say 'some' because there was neither rhyme nor reason to what was damaged and what wasn't. Circuits didn't seem to matter as one thing on a circuit would be dead and another fine.
The most amazing part of this whole thing was that my homeowner's insurance covered all of this without so much as batting an eye! If anything, they were encouraging me to make sure I claimed any and every thing that might not be working 100% "just in case." Even talking to them about the fact that some things seemed fine while others were trashed didn't surprise them at all. I was told that things like I expeienced were not at all uncommom with lightning.
So, if you haven't already done so, file a claim with your homeowner's insurance carrier. Mine bought me everything from a satellite receiver to a little clock radio to replace ones damaged.
I hope this helps.
-- Gary in Indiana (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 01, 2001.
You were lucky or your guardian angel was working overtime. The cat was just on his first life. Eight more to go for him.
-- Wanda King (email@example.com), July 01, 2001.
YOu might be interested in LS@ESSI It stands for lightning strike and electrical shock survivors incorporated. Please don't just write this strike off as having no effect - I thought I'd gotten away with taking a 7200 volt electrical hit, and have found to my dismay and horror that the effects are far beyond what I expected. I have just been told I'm totally disabled and have to give up my farm.....
It's worth looking into and following if for no other reason than to be aware if you have any unusual physical manifestations, where they might be coming from. Please feel free to write to me if you want more information.
-- ANN cATS (anncats2@yAHOO.COM), July 01, 2001.
I've had lightning blow out the ENTIRE electrical transformer on the pole in front of my house once. My Tripplite ISOBAR completely MELTED inside, but my PC was safe. Tripplite replaced it free and had me send it off to their labs. And about 3 weeks ago, I had lightning hit a tree not 100 feet from my office, and it not only blew the tree in half, it blew a fuse on the transformer as well.
PSI (http://www.psihq.com) sells all sorts of surge protection for just about every device imaginable. I even had the pleasure of being in their lab one day and got to press the button a few times on a lightning simulator (that was cool!, but a story for another time), testing a phone line protector for my company. Which, BTW, I use on my own phone lines. It's the DLT 3S TCG and you'll have to ask for it, and it is pricy compared to what you'll get at Wally World or similar, but you get what you pay for.
Go to http://www.psihq.com/iread/strplai.htm for an article that explains more eloquently than I could how lightning can fry your stuff, even if it doesn't directly hit you.
-- Eric in TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 02, 2001.
There are two monitors for this forum. Dave Belanger is top dog, in much the same capacity he is as Publisher of Countryside and Small Stock Journal. I'm responsible for day-to-day housekeeping. That includes looking at, at least, the thread title and category it was placed in. My rule of thumb is if a thread title forces me to look at the contents to see what it is about, then it is subject to being supplemented, as your's was. Reason is the thread title should be self-explanatory so someone doesn't have to open it up just to see what it is about. On categories, where none is assigned, I do so. Where one is assigned, and, based on previous similar threads, another category seems appropriate I move it. I also create or change categories, normally seeking the advise of forum participants first.
So yes, someone who is monitoring the forum does look at each new thread.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), July 02, 2001.
Hey, I don't mind at all! I just thought it was funny. A much funnier title than I came up with on my own.
-- Sojourner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 02, 2001.
I feel for you in a big way. We got hit by lightning early Saturday morning, for the second time, this hit welded parts of our water pump together. This hit was also more expensive than the first - $850 for a new pump. The last time it did the same to us as to you. It fried the battery pack in my cordless phone. I got a new one at Radio Shack for $10. It also zapped my microwave, that was a year ago, and I just replaced it with one given to us. My advice is 1) Don't fool with your microwave, they are to dangerous to be messing with. Just replace it when you can. 2) Any time I see a storm coming I unplug all my appliances except my fridge, especially the microwave and phone. Take the advice of the people who are telling you how to ground your trailer. No matter what, it's best to keep yourself safe. And most important "pray for safekeeping!!"
-- Vickie in OK (email@example.com), July 03, 2001.