Lightning Arrestor Installation

(A sampling of our lightning protection installations!)

Rodhini Lightning Protection Pricing Formula - see page bottom!

MISCONCEPTION

  • Copper must be better since aluminum is less expensive. 
  •  Wiring uses copper. So lightning arrester (arrestor) should be copper.

The science is that aluminum is equally good as copper for protection from lightning except for use underground. Both Aluminum and Copper are approved by Underwriters Laboratories USA) for use in lightning protection.

Our Minnalman LPS is a hybrid system that costs far less than and lasts just as long as a copper-only system. We also install all-copper. 

Protection from lightning

A properly installed lightning  protection system protects buildings and lives by channeling lightning strike energy in a safe and controlled manner to the earth termination network. Lightning protection system (LPS) has four parts:

  • Air terminals (lightning rods), also called lightning arresters, to intercept lightning
  • Down conductors to carry the discharge current
  • Equipotential bonding to prevent arc over to metallic objects near a down conductor
  • Earthing system to dissipate the current away from the protected structure

A Rodhini LPS is the same system and the same components used in the USA.

Air Terminals

Air terminals channel lightning strike current on to down conductors. There are two aspects to air terminals: (1) what kind they are and (2) where they are placed on a structure so that they will collectively protect the entire structure.

There are two kinds of air terminals used across the world:

  • Conventional, which is a simple highly conductive rod – made of copper or aluminum. It is called Franklin rod.
  • Non-conventional air terminals

Rodhini uses air terminals that are Franklin rods but with a slightly blunt tip as advocated by scientific research published in 2000, in the Journal of Geophysical Research, as having a greater chance of catching lightning strikes; these are now being increasingly used in the USA, Canada and China.

blunt air terminal, CU and AL

Non-conventional Air Terminals

The non-conventional are of two kinds – early streamer emission (ESE) air terminals and charge transfer systems (CTS). ESE emits a charge stream early – hence the name – when quiescent charge conditions are detected in the cloud above. In this manner it is claimed that such a terminal can preferentially connect with a charge streamer – called a leader – coming down from the cloud and thus protect a large area of the structure. International Standard IEC 62305 has not yet approved this due to not having  validation based on the physics.  However, many of the tallest buildings in the world have ESE terminals. These terminals are said to produce charges of tens of KV at their tips and produce leaders in the presence of leaders from the clouds. Assuming this to be true, it is difficult for cheaper installations to achieve this. Moreover, the battery charge needs to be maintained with solar attachment or otherwise. 

The supposed advantage of ESE air terminals is the coverage of a large area of the roof of a large building and its premises. However, the relatively high initial cost  and periodic maintenance  make ESE terminals impractical for homes and small buildings. Franklin rods are the best option in such cases. Moreover, Franklin rods generally require only an annual inspection for mechanical and electrical integrity. No battery failure to worry about!

CTS air terminals look like a crown of  thick needles atop a mast. Proponents of CTS air terminals claim that ‘corona’ current emitted from their arrays of sharp points can help to neutralize some of the charge in the cloud above and thus prevent a strike. But field studies have not corroborated the claims. IE 62305 has not recommended CTS air terminals.

Placement of Air Terminals

Having the right type of air terminal is not sufficient. They must have the right height and be placed on the right locations on the structure so as to protect every portion of the structure. RODHINI uses the well-known scientific method called the Rolling Sphere Method to compute the location and heights of the terminals. This is the same method used in NASA’s new strung-wire system – which is the same as a system with many Franklin rods – to protect launch pads .

Down Conductors

Down conductors pass on the strike current to the Earth Electrode System. They must have low resistance and low self-inductance at the frequency of the lightning current. They can touch the wall or metal parts so that the building and the conductor will be at the same potential and no harm will be done to the wall or other materials in contact with it.

Equipotential Bonding: High voltage current passing through the down conductor of an LPS can create large electric potentials as compared to objects adjacent to it. This disparity can cause side jumps of charge, popularly known as ‘side flashes.’ So all metal bodies within 6 feet of the down conductor are connected using bonding jumpers to the down conductor. The earthing for house wiring is to be connected to the earthing of LPS through an equipotential bond. Likewise the live electric wires are to be bonded to the LPS earth through a Surge Protector.

All-copper System: Rodhini uses round conductors that are either sold or woven. 20mmx3mm copper strip  is also used. Rodhini manfactures stranded CU conductor (see the stranded conductor next to the solid round conductor in the picture). Inquiries are welcome. 

Round down conductors

Aluminum-copper System: Copper and aluminum are the metals to be used in lightning protection. Rodhini manufactures the aluminum components. Coupled with the copper underground, the total cost of the copper-aluminum LPS is about two-thirds of an all-copper system for houses and low-rise buildings. For highrises the cost is half that of copper. Rodhini is a pioneer in India in installing aluminum-copper LPS. Rodhini manufactures  AL stranded conductor for wholesale. Inquiries are welcome. 

Aluminum down conductor

Earth-Electrode System

This connects to the down conductor. Proper earthing is a must for the safe dispersal of the large amount of energy generated in a lightning-strike. Rodhini uses guidelines in IEC 62305 for earthing in different soil conditions. Accordingly, the system might be a single earth rod or multiple rods, earthing plates, meshes, earthing trench, or a combination of these to which the down conductor is connected.

Installation Standard

The LPS installation and its components follow the guidelines of  the lightning protection standard, IEC 62305.

Lightning Protection – a specialty discipline

IEC 62305 prescribes how to work with lightning to improve safety. LPS is not a do-it-yourself project. LPS should be installed by trained, experienced lightning protection specialists – the training of electricians does not include lightning protection system – in accordance with the national standard. 

Rodhini LPS Pricing Formula

Rodhini LPS Pricing Formula enables you to easily calculate LPS cost. This saves time because a fair price is obtained without having to negotiate price. 

LPS cost = Materials cost + Installation cost

Materials cost includes air terminals, down conductor, earth rods, steel pipes, pvc pipes, junction box, pit cover, and fittings. (Customer may choose to provide the materials. )

Installation cost includes initial testing of resistivity of earth beside the building or structure, LPS design, fabrication, engineering supervision,  on-site labor, use of machines, Argon welding, Exothermic welding, transportation of materials and workers to and from site, testing/commissioning, and 14-year warranty. Installation cost is 85% of materials cost if scaffolding or drop-platform is not needed; otherwise, installation cost may increase to 110%. 

Example 1A residential house that does not need scaffolding to erect air terminal on roof
Materials cost = 30000
Installation cost = 25500 (85% of Materials cost)
LPS cost = 30000 + 25500 = 55500 (plus GST)

Example 2A tall building that needs scaffolding to erect air terminal on roof
Materials cost = 60000
Installation cost = 51000 (85% of Materials cost)
Scaffolding =  15000 (25% of Materials cost)
Discount = 6000 (Assuming that the cost of scaffolding the particular building is only 9000, which includes depreciation of scaffolding, to-and-fro transportation of scaffolding, and labour of 4 man-days for erection and dismantling)

LPS cost
 = 60000 + 51000 +15000-6000
= 110000 (plus GST)
As copper price fluctuates daily, estimates are valid only for seven (7) days. 

How to get a Rodhini LPS

There are six (6) simple steps shown in red below.

  1. Contact Rodhini (see green link below). Call or SMS to 9495009933 or email to thomas@rodhini.com.
  2. Rodhini testing crew visits location and takes measurements to find the following:
    (A) Specific Resistance of the Earth,
    (B)  Number of air terminals, and
    (C) Length of conductor needed.
    Photos showing both roof and ground of the structure  are taken.  Photos of  structures or trees  close by are also taken.
    There is a testing charge of Rs 1300 for distance  of up to 60 kms from our (or installing affiliate’s) office. For distances above 60 kms, the charge is 1900. One-half of this testing charge is refunded if Rodhini installs the LPS. This charge ensures that customers are fair to Rodhini just as Rodhini is fair to customers.
  3. LPS is designed to address the three measurements in Step 2. Customer receives within three (3) days via SMS an estimate computed using the Rodhini LPS Pricing Formula.
  4. Upon verbal acceptance of the estimate , a printed official quote along with an Installation Agreement is presented to customer with a requirement of 50% deposit and work to start no later than 15 days or as agreed with customer.
  5. Upon Completion of installation, a Testing/Commissioning Report and 14-year Warranty is given to customer.
  6. Customer receives an invoice within seven (7) days. The invoice shows balance owed as per the Installation Agreement; GST is added. Customer pays the invoice amount within seven (7) days of receipt of invoice.

For Pricing of Surge Protection Devices, see bottom of Surge Protection page.

Take Charge!™

MInaret - Chakkuvally