Over the years there have been a lot of new ideas for lightning
protection. In the end it has always been the standard lightning rods that
Now if it was tornados, I would suggest moving a trailer park up wind.
"The only house that I have even work on that had been hit was a total
electrically. It had lightning rods, and surge protectors installed by
utility. They had an iron clad guarantee if you had this stuff
was hired to rip out the drywall and completely rewire the home. All of
copper pipes were fused so the plumber was jack hammering up the
well. All of the stucco had to be removed cause all of the staples
the lath to the studs had dissolved and the outside looked like chicken
I am pretty sure that a bull dozer and starting over from scratch would
have been all that much more expensive. "
Oh no! I bet you're gonna hear a rant from w_tom on this one. Let me
get you ready: This is a human failure! No proper earth ground!
Can't happen if the protection was done right. On and on.
BTW, I believe you. Lightening rods and surge protectors are great and
reduce risk a lot, but nothing is 100% effective.
IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine - January 01, 2000
I believe that this article covers the review. It was some time ago so
I may be wrong. The NFPA has recently declined to include a project on
lightning protection using these devices based on the standards council
having not been presented with evidence by the proponents of the project
that would demonstrate that there is a sound scientific basis for this
new technology. Even it's proponents can not offer any clear evidence
of superior performance in comparison to Faraday cage approaches.
Those were interesting articles but they deal with minimizing the effect
of an actual strike. I'm concerned with avoiding strikes in the first
place by keeping charges from building up in the area. This is what
lightning rods do and their effectiveness has been demonstrated for many
The reason that lightning rods work is as I said, the electric field is
concentrated around sharp points -- all the equipotentials in the field
are packed together. This means there is a large voltage difference in
a short space. So, if there is a breakdown, this is where it will
happen, but again, lightning rods are used to provide static protection.
Prior to a breakdown, this will be the "path of least resistence".
If you doubt the fields being concentrated at sharp points, you could
repeat hours of agony I suffered in an EE lab years ago. We had to plot
fields around various shapes using "Teladeltos" (resistive)paper and
silver paint for conductors. A pin connected to a volt meter allowed
measuring the voltage at a point. Hundreds of readings were needed and
lots of slide rule work to produce a graph paper plot of the
equipotentials. I threw out my field theory books decades ago;
otherwise, I would cite chapter and verse.
w_tom - You are confused.
I'm not recommending any device. The OP asked for comments about
lightning protection, and I said - quoting now:
"Whether you buy this technology or not, I'm sure seeing a lot of it
installed on commercial and high-end residential housing in the Tampa
I don't have a clue whether this technology is any good or not. I would
be interested in any published information affirming or disputing the
performance of this system. But please, no personal opinions. Let's
see some published documentation by industry-recognized agencies or
Exactly. The purpose of lightning rods is to REPEL lightning, not attract
Sometimes things go wrong and the lightning does hit a lightning rod (the
"Drunken Thor" hypothesis). That's why you want a big-ass conductor straight
to earth, otherwise you could use #14 for the necessary static electricity
Lighting rods are not meant to repel lightning!
As the other poster siad, lightning rods are there to give it what it
wants, a safe way to get to ground thats not through you or your house.
Some people thinik that if you also provide many many sharp points that
will conduct a small current over a period of time, the discharge can
be made to occur gradually instead of as a bolt. Maybe, maybe not.
At BEST this MIGHT reduce the probability of a bolt but it sure isn't
anything you can count on, so why bother.
The concept of Early Streamer Emission devices to repel or
avoid a lightning strike is again properly criticized with a
gusto that the scam deserves.
The newsgroups rec.radio.amateur.antenna includes many
whose professional experience is this topic. Posted in that
newsgroup on 3 Mar 2005 in "lighting replusion?" is this from
Now this question. If air terminals to repel lightning is
so obviously based in snake oil, then why were so many here
still avidly promoting that myth? At what point do people
first seek facts before posting myths? That is the bottom
line question that applies *topmost* to this particular
thread. So many promoted a myth; doing so convincingly
without any numbers and any basic facts. No numbers should
have been enough for everyone to dispute their claims. How is
it that such myth purveyors could promote this ESE lie and
almost get away with it? This question is directed at the
same people who also believed lies about 'weapons of mass
destruction'. This topmost question asks why do so many
people, as demonstrated in this thread, blindly believe lies
that obviously have no scientific or logical basis?
For some, this question should be a wake up call. ESE
devices - to repel lightning - is so wrong that some here
should have major questions about their own personal
You have plead your case well and I am still going to look into your
recommendation on Monday. It is interesting how many posts there have been
but only one recommendation....yours....thanks again...Ross
Read the citations from nfpa.org with care. First, ESE
claims even in those citations are completely rejected:
Second, no facts nor experimental evidence demonstrate that
ESE devices accomplish anything. NFPA781 was roundly
rejected. ESE is promoted only on myth as even an NFPA report
notes. Elsewhere, one ESE device was even made using
radioactive materials (Americanium) to *prevent* lightning.
Then when lightning strikes that device (as it so often does
in field studies), we now have a radioactive area? What kind
of protection is that? Protection promoted only on myth that
lighting can be eliminated.
That is about ESE myths. Now about standard protection as
defined by NFPA 780. Those grossly overpriced and ineffective
ESE devices are promoted very profitably using myths. They
don't even bother to do any scientific research - as is
repeatedly noted in the science community. Their purpose is
only to enrich their manufacturers. Since their 'science' was
roundly rejected, then ESE manufacturers are conducting war on
all other 'valid' standards. Intent is to muddy the waters
because their own products are nothing more than grossly
overpriced lightning rods.
First, NFPA only questioned a revised NFPA 780 and not the
Who is pushing motions to have NFPA 780 withdrawn? The ESE
industry whose products were roundly rejected by the NFPA on
scientific principle and who repeatedly voted to approve NFPA
780 before their product (NFPA 781) was rejected. NFPA 780 is
being challenged because ESE manufacturers are muddying the
waters - including a lawsuit whose only intent was to bankrupt
the non-profit NFPA. Yes - selling these ESE devices without
any scientific merit is that profitable.
To further muddy the waters, ESE promoters made accusations
that the Council specifically responded to with this comment:
As a result of a request for further information, a well
respected panel later confirmed:
More specifically, a request for facts from the NFPA found
Slam dunk - with nothing left to question. Read their report
as cited by Travis at:
In short, one underlying theory in NFPA 780 was challenged -
by people from an industry whose product has no credibility,
as demonstrated by how quickly NFPA 781 was rejected. As a
result of a Byran Report, but again, the science behind NFPA
780 was roundly endorsed. IOW a slap directly into the face
of ESE promoters who attempt to sell their ineffective product
by questioning other well proven technologies.
NFPA was working towards a better revision of NFPA 780 -
that recommends Franklin air terminals. They are not
rejecting the technology behind standard and well proven
lightning protection. But they want a better NFPA 780. This
is contrary to what was implied by Travis' post - that NFPA is
rejecting or questioning Franklin lightning rod technology.
That is not the case. Since ineffective ESE sales are so
profitable, then Heary Bros, et al will do anything to even
undermine good science. They will do anything to promote
their well proven ineffective product including a lawsuit
against the NFPA. Even in Travis's citation - ESE technology,
in layman's terms, is a scam.
This is most important - the original point. ESE devices
have zero credibility when science replaces myth. No personal
opinions cited. That is well proven science. So well proven
repeatedly that anyone who claims lightning protection to
eliminate lightning should have either his personal
credibility or his motives questioned. Yes, those who promote
ESE technology will do anything to confuse the consumer.
Promoting their myths and doing no science is that profitable.
Travis Jordan wrote:
It is an outright lie - as demonstrated by the wholesale
rejection of NFPA 781 - that repelling lightning is effective
or accomplished. Even Travis's own citation eliminates any
reason to say otherwise:
William Plummer mistakes near field analysis (around a sharp
point) with far field analysis. As also demonstrated in
analysis of antennas, parameters change significance as
distances from that pointed rod increase. William Plummer has
assumed that a field adjacent to a sharp point is also how the
field works tens of meters or kilometers from that point.
Above citation provided by Travis even notes this. Sharp rods
do not work for lightning - far field analysis - as they do
only inches from the point - near field analysis.
To eliminate lightning, that electromagnetic field one inch
from the sharp point must be same tens of meters from that
point. It is not. Lightning rods and ESE devices do not
As stated quite bluntly in an above IEEE paper from Dr
Every citation in this discussion keeps returning to the
same fact. A recommendation for ESE type devices - to
eliminate air charges and therefore eliminate lightning - is
bogus and not even supported by one responsible citation.
decisively, and scientifically rejected. Lightning rods
provide a superior electric connection to earth. Lightning is
going to occur. It cannot be avoided. Protection - as so
many scientists repeatedly note and as so many scam artists
try to confuse - is about connecting that lightning to earth
so that it does not take other, destructive paths.
True, nothing is 100% effective. Automobile brakes also
fail. But how often does brake failure occur from anything
other than human failure? For all practical purposes,
automobile brakes fail due to human failure.
Utilities spend $thousands extra to massively expand their
earthing systems so that even the rarest of lightning will not
be destructive. A simple earthing system for less than $100
can make the building 98% effective. Some then spend
$thousands more to make the earthing well over 99% effective.
Most will never see a 200,000 amp lightning bolt in their
lifetime. Therefore even a good earthing system would be a
massive improvement in protection. But the best facilities
are earthed so that even the 200,000 amp transient will not be
destructive. Then when failure does happen, the human
immediately looks for his mistakes - humans being the source
of most failures.
You forgot to mention that NFPA rejected conventional lightning rod
systems as well, since there has been no scientific or technical
validation of them, either.
The Panel Report noted that detailed documentation of lightning
protection system operations or failures is lacking for lightning
protection systems of all types. It pointed to recent experiments
questioning the effectiveness of the primary type of air terminal
used on most NFPA 780 lightning protection systems (i.e., the
traditional pointed tipped Franklin rod). The Report concluded
It appears to the Panel that the NFPA 780 document does not meet the
NFPA criteria for a standard since the recommended lightning
protection system has never been scientifically or technically validated
and the Franklin rod air terminals have not been validated in field
tests under thunder storm conditions (Bryan Panel Report at Page 28).
Following up... the NFPA later reissued NFPA 780 after being presented
with industry evidence of the "value" of lightning rod systems. At the
same time they added several of the features of ESE systems (such as the
taller terminal) to the 2004 standard.
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