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Old 06-16-2008, 10:51 AM   #15
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I'm guessing the previous discussions involved the use of a standard copper lightning rod and subsequent cable that was directly tied between the above mentioned rod and a ground post and/or the campgrounds metalic fresh water plumbing (If available)?
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:28 PM   #16
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The grounding at most campgrounds is usually at a bare minimum, especially the older ones, it is good advice to raise the jacks and unplug shore power during a storm. Don't forget to disconnect the cable tv too, because thats where you most likely get it. Their systems are nowhere near as well grounded as the power company.
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:54 AM   #17
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Lightning will most likely strike the tallest object. Try to park in the vicinity of a nice tall utility pole or tree </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think there are several problems with this. Lightning doesn't always hit the tallest object and tall objects can break apart if hit.

From the data I have seen, the greatest risk to RV's is from stuff that falls like tree limbs or other debris.

As for the electrical equipment, the problem is circulating currents. This is why there should only be one good earth ground at the service entrance for an RV park and why you don't want extra grounds spread around here and there. (this is also code) - this is also why you should crouch on your feet rather than lie down if caught in the open during a storm.

A lightning strike can induce significant surges in even short wiring runs and the only protection against such things is to disconnect equipment - unplug the power, disconnect any antennas, and remove any other connections to other devices.

As for insulation against lightning - forget it. Any electrical spark that can jump hundreds of feet isn't going to be bothered by any insulation you can manage in an RV context.

You are safest inside your RV because a lightning hit will likely run around the outside and not through it. Of course, in severe storms, especially tornado weather, it is best to find a more substantial storm shelter.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:33 PM   #18
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Quote by Bryanl;As for the electrical equipment, the problem is circulating currents. This is why there should only be one good earth ground at the service entrance for an RV park and why you don't want extra grounds spread around here and there. (this is also code)

Sorry, it is not against code to add additional grounding electrodes, it is against code to connect them to the neutral if it is not in the service disconnecting means, but you can connect them to the equipment ground anywhere. You are required to install them at remote buildings such as the bath house, if its feed from a main distribution point, as well as any other outbuilding. At the outbuilding or such the grounding electrode is connected to the equipment ground bar NOT the neutral bar. The neutral is to be insulated at this point. Please read article 250 in the NEC. The only time the equipment ground has current on it is when there is a fault in the electrical system such as a short or leakage to ground due to a defective utilization device or conductor.
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:13 PM   #19
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Your best bet is like several suggested. Buy a Progresive Surge Guard and hard wire it. Find a safe place in a bad storm and get out of the MH. Make sure you bring in the slides and awnings and etc. I would not leave home with out a surge guard. s/Toby
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:36 AM   #20
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Toby:
Knebrdr

Your best bet is like several suggested. Buy a Progresive Surge Guard and hard wire it. Find a safe place in a bad storm and get out of the MH. Make sure you bring in the slides and awnings and etc. I would not leave home with out a surge guard. s/Toby </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

One of the safest places during an electrical storm is in a vehicle. Either a car or a motorhome.

A Surge Guard will not protect your coach from a direct electrical strike.



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Old 06-18-2008, 08:25 AM   #21
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BryanL:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Lightning will most likely strike the tallest object. Try to park in the vicinity of a nice tall utility pole or tree </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think there are several problems with this. Lightning doesn't always hit the tallest object and tall objects can break apart if hit.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It is true that lightning will not always hit the tallest object in an area, in fact it is the electrical charge of the ground that attracts it. But if an area of ground is charged to attract the lightning it will hit the tallest object in that area. These tall objects provide a cone of protection if you will to surrounding lower objects. The cone is about 15 degrees in a circle around and off the top of this tallest object.

The problem is this is only where the lightning strikes, not where the energy goes. So if you are standing under a tree within the 15 degrees you will not be hit by the bolt. But the electrical energy will travel down the trunk of the tree looking for that oppositely charged ground and the least path of resistance maybe through you.
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Old 06-18-2008, 02:16 PM   #22
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Sorry, it is not against code to add additional grounding electrodes, it is against code to connect them to the neutral </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I always like how far some folks will go to find fault. Yes indeedy, caveats, cautions, and liability disclaimers are needed, references cited, and conditions and considerations carefully described. We'd have no room for any reasonable discussion if that was necessary anytime anyone tried to simplify a complex subject for common consumption.

And then we get the other fault finding going into the physics of lightning. Gheesh! Can we work on point and not on obfuscation?

One point is that adding grounds for an RV camp is not usually a good idea. One reason is that it isn't likely to make any difference in lightning paths. Another is that it can stimulate current loops that can be hazardous. Another is that you can stimulate ground loops and imbalances in the electrical power grid (long list of appropriate cCCC etc needed as per objection).

One point is that trying to insulate from lightning is likely not worth the effort. One reason is that any electrical charge that can find its way across a lot of atmosphere won't have any problem with whatever insulation you can put in its way. Another is that there are better ways to stay safe from lightning.

One point is that the primary hazard is not lightning but rather debris impact. The reason is because tree limbs breaking and such are fairly common in severe storms as well as from lightning strikes.

See also

RV University

Virginia Emergency page on Lightning

Here's one from skywatchers that has some tips as well as a rundown on the physics.

Lightning and Recreational Vehicles ( RVs ) is a PDF with some good stuff

You can follow links on these pages or do your own search.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:33 PM   #23
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Sorry if I stepped on some toes, but if the park service is the only good grounding point, and lightning hits the other end of the park, instead of reducing the amount of damage by going to a closer ground it will travel throughout the park back to the service wreaking havoc all along the way. Nothing will stop a direct hit, you just want to dissipate it as quickly as possible.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:06 PM   #24
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You mentioned to undo your cable wire if you have it connected --- also undo your phone line if you have it at the campground. Couple of years ago, we had a lightening strike two houses down from our stick house and the lightening came in through the phone line -- took our all of the phones on the line.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:23 PM   #25
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I didn't mention phone line, due to most RV'ers use cell phones any more. But you are correct, lightning will come thru the phone lines too. Just finished changing out a bunch of electronics on a house that had lightning come in through the phone line and knocked out two satellite receivers, One ceiling fan, all of the under cabinet lighting in the kitchen, ten of the house automation switches, and burgular alarm. Most of which could have been avoided by properly grounding the phone line protector module. It was grounded to the electrical panel, which was not properly grounded. The electrician did not install a grounding electrode system at the house, but out at the service which was 100 feet away on another building.
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