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Author Topic: bus struck by lighting  (Read 2004 times)
pete81eaglefanasty
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« on: June 15, 2006, 08:10:37 AM »

i was just wondering if any body else had their bus struck by lighting like i did two years ago.i'm still replacing things. like a lot of the electronics stuff.


      pete
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gumpy
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 08:15:17 AM »

Not directly.

Was in a campground in Billings, MT last year and the campground transformer got struck. Took out 2/3 of the campground electric.

My inverter overloaded due to having the A/C on at the time. It errored and shutdown. No harm done.

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Hartley
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2006, 01:55:05 PM »

Living here in Florida I have seen it bounce across a fence to one of my buses then on across to a light pole.
didn't do much damage to nearby bus I lived in. I think I lost a Tv and computer router but not much else.

A while back I had a computer in the shop that belonged to a customer. He worked for the power company
and had a problem. so while the computer was on my bench a lightning strike hit the power pole at his house.
The bucket truch was parked between the house and pole. The lightning jumped from the pole, Blew the tires
out on the truck, fried all electrics, jumped to the roof of the house and blew an 8 foot hole in the garage roof.

When done he was lucky the computer wasn't at home. Cause everything else got toasted.

I like all metal bus roofs, With good grounding and surge system most things will survive.
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NCbob
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 04:27:26 PM »

What would be your recommendation for a bus with a 50 A service to protect the system from a nearby lightning strike, Dave?

NCbob
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JackConrad
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 04:35:49 PM »

One way is to unplug the bus and run off inverter or generator during thunder/lightning storm. OK, so this is LOW TECH, it works!  Jack
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niles500
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 04:49:00 PM »

Down here in Fla - lightning capitol of the US - Code requires a lightning arrestor - FWIW
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 05:18:16 PM »

What would be your recommendation for a bus with a 50 A service to protect the system from a nearby lightning strike, Dave?

NCbob

Basically what Jack said... No kidding..

The problem with lightning is where the jolt comes from. A jolt can come from the EMP pulse which is picked up by wiring which would mean that even if you had protection on every wire you still could have damage to sensitive items.

Then you have those bouncing bolts that hit stuff and travel along fences, wires, trees and many things that you wouldn't expect with a huge fireworks display but little physical damage that are more like surface charges and dissipate quckly. Those are really scary but damage to electronics can happen if not immediately directly but on a delay of seconds or months. We called that cascade failure. Damage is not apparent but once the seed of failure is started stuff will just quit working later. ( The insurance companies hate these too! )

The greatest problems here are line surges and bad grounds, mixed up neutrals and ground-neutral bonds from the power companies.
Power companies don't run a neutral line all the way back to the generator plant. They depend on the static resistance of all of those ground rods on each power pole to make that part of the current loop. They say it adds up.....NOT!

So, Most of the standard APC and other good brands of outlet surge protectors do a pretty good job as long as you have the primary lines protected with surge suppressors rated not more than 3 times the line voltage. You local building codes may say to clamp at 6,000 volts on a 220 line.... For you RV or smaller more sensitive systems you need a much lower rated clamp voltage so that for the few fractions of a second that line voltage spikes the protector sacrifices itself by clamping down and basically shorting the line long enough fro the feed breaker to trip out and disconnect.

Having a Good chassis ground from your onboard power panel and a good ground on the box that you get power from is critical. If in doubt you might want to carry or install your own copper ground rod along side where you park. Probably should be at least 8 feet into the ground if possible.

Don't be fooled by hooking to water pipes and chain link fence posts or even that silly little #8 copper wire from your
power panel to a 1/2" ground rod....Just not enough

There are so many options for surge arrestors, supressors and things like that around that it makes the choice difficult.
I have used APC stuff for years It works and very rarely have I lost any computer to line surge with APC products.
For radio towers and computer rooms we used "PolyPhasor" protection stuff. Warning, If it says china on it be vary careful
unless the company is one that specializes in suppression technology. There are imitators and look-alikes but they are cheap
and don't work.

There are also things called "Static Dissipators" that are like the ones used on aircraft wings. Kind of like a carbon filament
shaft with a bushy brush end on it. These and variations of them are used on buildings around the perimeter of the rooflines
to disssipate the ground static charge before it can build enough energy to jump into the air. Might also look like a kind
of radial antenna on top of a cell tower, tv tower or even high tension pole.

Ok you think I am nutz now right? NOT !!! Most lightnening bolts jump from the ground into the air to meet the downward
bolt and make the connection. This as explained to me once was because of a ground charge that builds up in response
to a high energy charge being in proximity, The two charges must meet somewhere, Hence the static buildup.

If you dissipate the ground charge over a larger area you minimize the chances of a static build up and sudden discharge.( aircraft 101 )
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WEC4104
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2006, 09:27:11 PM »

The following has nothing to do with lightning striking a bus, but it is MY bus thunderstorm story, if you care to read on...

My brother and I are pretty close, and he and I have driven my GMC 4104 coast to coast at one time. He is the only one I feel comfortable loaning the bus to, and ocaisionally he borrows her for a weekend.† His son is an avid soccer player, and although I really never followed the sport, I have to recognize that this kid is GOOD.† He will be a senior in High School this fall and is probably looking at a Div 1 college soccer scholarship.

A few years ago my brother & I took the bus to a weekend soccer tournament about 3 hours from where we live. The weather was crappy, the game times were spread out, and the bus became a nice social place for the parents to hang out† Grin
By the the second day of the tournament my nephew's team was doing great and they were scheduled to face a very strong team in the tournament championship.† Halfway through that game, it was tied 1-1, and the weather started threatening. Dark clouds rolled in, and thunder was rumbling in the distance.† It became worse as the game continued, and at one point, the refs halted the game and instructed everyone to clear the field.† There was no place to take cover other than heading to the vehicles in the parking lot.

As the other team headed toward various cars and SUVs, my brother & I caught the coach's attention and offered a suggestion. The entire soccer team piled on my 4104. While outside it poured buckets and lighting crashed, the coach barked instructions. Defensive corrections, new offensive plays, etc.† During this time, the other team was split up in 7 different cars. I looked on wondering if I would ever get the smell of 17 sweaty, grass stained kids out of my bus.

When the storm cleared, the game resumed and my nephew's team ended up winning the tournament with a 5-1 victory.† That day, six of the kids asked their parents drive home alone so they could ride back in the "team bus" with the trophy.† I have to admit, the kids weren't the only ones smiling on the trip home.

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RJ
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2006, 11:42:48 PM »


 That day, six of the kids asked their parents drive home alone so they could ride back in the "team bus" with the trophy.  I have to admit, the kids weren't the only ones smiling on the trip home.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is exactly why we're all involved in this crazy hobby!!

-- Russ
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RJ Long
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pete81eaglefanasty
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2006, 08:30:36 AM »

  let me tell you what i lost, and how it happen.
  the lighting hit the pole behind the garage and the roof of the bus. there is a strike mark on the side of the roof about the size of a silver dollar. melted the aluminum and look like a little mushroom. it got my 110 volt stereo, the lbm on the dish. the direct tv box. my king cruise control box on the motor. the tv, the color was all mess up half way down the screen,then it got my c b, we have a phone in the bus that plugs in the garage, it burn up the line all the way back to the garage, then into the house were it got my computer phone modem.and burn out the phone box outside the house. it burn the phone and answering mach in the bus. the power was off to the garage. but the bus was still plug in. the bus power cord runs under the front of my car to the garage. it burn out the alternator, and the ecm box. in the garage it got four fluorescent lights ballast. an 110 volt radio in the garage, + the autoformer voltage regulator power boost. and my electronic power coverter. 80 amp charger.
 i hope i remember it all, their was so much. it also got my neighbor's central air and his deep freezer. i know it could have been a lot worst,
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Hartley
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2006, 10:01:01 AM »

The only kind of surge or lightning arrestor that would have worked in that case was for the bus to
have been 3 states away....Smiley

Lightning does tend to take the scenic route looking for things to let the smoke out of.

I had to replace a bunch of equipment at a dairy once. Lightning hit the water tower, jumped to a tree, ran down
the tree to the roots, through the ground to a pvc conduit carrying network and phone wires to the milking barn and back to
the front office.

Fried the tree, Melted the cables, blew the outlets out in the office, fried 8 computers, went up the wires for the
remote keyboards and displays out in the que area and smoked everything out there.

The customer said this usually happened at least once every two years. Wanted me to protect the equipment
to prevent it from happening again.

I said No-Way and ran as fast as I could.......
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