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Old 07-17-2012, 07:53 AM   #1
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Lightning Strike

I heard about the lightning striking an RV in NY. Wanted to know if anyone else has had a similar experience. Anything to do for this?
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:01 AM   #2
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My neighbor in Naples Fl. has his coach take a hit of static lightning and after he changed his shorts said the only thing fried was his Microwave. Climbed on top and there was minor black burn mark next to the vent on top. He had a good surge protector also. Coach was a Fleetwood Dream
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:30 AM   #3
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We were at a campground in IN and lightning struck very close by (not a direct hit). The Progressive EMS/surge protector sacrificed itself and protected our stuff. We had to reset channels on televisions but that was all. Had we not had the surge protector attached, I am convinced it would have been a whole lot worse.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:57 PM   #4
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It was a dark and stormy night in Texas one night. Severe thunderstorm. Lonely highway. Struck by static bolt to my private car. The flash was instant,brilliant, I thought the heavens were after me. All I saw was brilliant blue and green light I think. I pulled car off roadway quickly, regained my composure and realized it was a hit on my car, hood area. Carberator area. Since I was dead, no need to pray I thought. I have to be buried someplace. I became aware my heart was pounding well. Sure glad that light wasn't a head on train but I wondered for several seconds what the-----
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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As you found out a car is really good protection in a lightening strike (It is a metal cage that takes the charge around you, not through you) but it sure messes up the .... Well,, you know the joke of the stewardess who dumped a cup of hot coffee in the captain's lap as he was making an announcement.. He goes back on the PA to apologize, "You should see the front of my trousers" To which someone back in the plane "You should see the back of mine".

Same with the lightening and the car..

Some folks talk about the insulating value of tires.. I'd say you know how much good they do.. (not a bit) right.

RV's often being made more of fiberglass.. Not such good protection, but still. Neither is a wooden house.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:03 PM   #6
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Lightening, as you know, finds its own path to ground. That can be any path across, through, around, or anywhere it wants to go. The hood of the car may not have been the strike point, but an exit point, or even a passing point. At that voltage, everything is a conductor, it is just that some are poorer conductors than others.

I don't believe that there is a whole lot one can do in an RV. Having something like the Progressive Industries protection will sure save some, if not all, of the equipment in the MH for any residual transient spikes. However, if the pedestal takes a direct hit - no guarantees.

JMHO
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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Wayne nailed it.

A couple of years ago we had a tree hit 75' from the house, the conduit with our main power passed about 15' from the trunk. By the time the spike got to the house it zapped everything that wasn't protected including an old desktop. The thing that got me was it then traveled over 350' and fried the gate controller in one direction and 100' another direction (both through underground, grounded conduit) and fried the fluorescent lighting in the barn.

We now have a whole house surge protector but it's no guarantee.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:01 PM   #8
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True, surge protection is not a guarantee. I have been hit three times in stick houses. The last one hit a pine tree just outside the window of my computer room. I was sitting just inside the window at the desk. It took out lots of stuff including electronics that were not even plugged in! I now have whole house and USP/Surge on everything electronic.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:46 AM   #9
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When it hit the radio tower about 100 yards from the fartest corner of the Northville District State Police HQ where I worked and fried half a power supply (The only damage in the tower "Dog house" was 1/2 of a 3-stage power converter (Battery charger) was .... Never seen again) the surge traveled under ground conduit to the power panel on the other end of the building from where I worked and blew copper out the breaker onto the door, it followed wires inside the building and put on a fireworks show right over my head. Took out all the electronics in the office for a period, most rebooted just fine on their own and fried one computer... that was not even turned on at the time (This vintage box took 8" floppies so you know how old it was).

Ton of fun.

But all it fried was the converter mentioned above.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #10
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My Buddy had lightning strike his swing set, shot across to his house slab and went thru the cables in his slab. He was stirring his coffee, in front of his coffee maker and all he remembers is a white flash shoot out of his coffee maker. His wife found him twitching and moaning on the floor. It blew his a/c power box 100 feet away, in a neighbors yard.
It blew up/burned out every electrical item in house. He was lucky to be alive
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
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I found this: Four children escape injury when RV catches fire after being hit by lightning in Gardiner campground - DailyFreeman.com

Scary. :(
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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Ideally, a good surge protector is wired into the electrical system (usually at the breaker panel) and is designed to take a big hit, which blows the unit but breaks the path and protects the electrical stuff downstream.

One of my companies used to sell large commercial surge and lightning protection systems. We once had a large furniture store in Florida take a direct hit on the post outside their main breaker boxes. It was the first day of a BIG 4 day Labor Day weekend sale, the store was packed from all their big bucks advertising, and they were hysterical. It blew our units off the boxes and shut everything down, but 30 mins later after the tech removed the pieces of the blown units and restored power, the ONLY thing damaged was two flourescent bulbs in the breaker room! They proceeded to have a HUGE sale, and wrote a glowing testimonial!

You can open up almost any surge protector and see that many of them are just a series of capacitors which act similarly to fuses ... they blow up when overloaded and cut the electrical circuit. They can be expensive, and you may be reluctant to spend the bucks for multiple plug-ins. If you are the handyman type, a good and cheap back-up to your main surge suppressors is to buy some big capacitors from a supplier (Radio Shack?) and wire them in at the outlet location where you have your sensitive equipment plugged in. If a spike comes down the line or manages to jump past your main suppressor(s), these capacitors will blow, again breaking the circuit and protecting the equipment. Just remember, once hit, you have to go in and remove the blown one and put in a new one, just like a fuse. Some people take a hit, then try to power up their equipment, it won't start, and they think it got fried - when in fact the circuit is just still broken.

Anytime you are plugged in to a pedestal you are hooked in to a large grid, and if someone else takes a hit, even if it is waaaaay across the CG or out on a power transformer down the block, that hit will travel through the grid and down the power line taking out additional locations until it has finally dissipated. It can jump from a protected power line over to a metal conduit or water pipe, bypass the protection, then jump back on to the power line and fry your stuff.

Also remember, Lightning is not the only source of killer surges. Something as simple as a neighbor using a faulty power tool ... Or a nearby business that draws a lot of power, then shuts down at a certain time (like a shopping center that closes at 10pm) can send a big surge back down the line.

You want your main protection on your line as close to the source of your power as possible - i.e. your incoming power panel - then back-up protection at an inside panel and/or at the individual outlets. As several posters already stated, there are no guarantees ...
Quote:
...It took out lots of stuff including electronics that were not even plugged in!...
but surges look for the easiest pathway, and if you are well-protected, it may/should pass you and jump on the neighbor!

Hopefully, kind of like fire extinguishers ... you may never need it, but you can never have too much surge protection.

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Old 07-20-2012, 12:32 PM   #13
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Haven't experiences in RV, but had a strike that took out phone fuses on house, jumped to electrical and blew out the first of two surge protectors saving computer.
Question is what good is household surge protection at panel of lightning roaming through internal wiring?
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMacy View Post
Haven't experiences in RV, but had a strike that took out phone fuses on house, jumped to electrical and blew out the first of two surge protectors saving computer.
Question is what good is household surge protection at panel of lightning roaming through internal wiring?
If it took out the phone fuses, it probably came in down the phone line, and protection at the panel would not have helped. That is why many plug-in surge protector strips also have one or more phone jacks in them, so you can run from the wall to the strip, then to the phone, which catches any surges entering through the phone/fax lines.

Most surges come down the line into the panel, from causes or lightning strikes outside on the transformers, etc. Often in older homes (or CGs) they still have the old lead pipes for outside water spigots. A hit on a nearby tree or lightpole can jump over to the lead piping and bypass entry through the panel box. A pole or tree very close by can also take a hit, like "floridaflash" below said, and jump not only to your wiring, but directly to your equipment - as he found out when it blew up stuff not even plugged in.

That is why multiple layers of protection are recommended, to give you the best chance of escaping damage. As you saw, Macy, one protector might not have saved you, but having two in the line stopped it and saved the computer.

For expensive equipment and electronics, more is better!

Kathryn
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