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Old 05-15-2015, 02:45 PM   #1
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Lightning strike nearby

Last week we were camped in NC and a lightning storm came thru about 5pm. My 50a TRC surge protector was on the job.
We had a loud/ close lightning strike, power went out and I smelled burning electronics.
We heard a loud chattering sound from the Surge protector and the lights indicated power was on. I unplugged the unit and checked voltage on both 50a legs as ok.
Plugged back in w/o the 34750 and all was well, other than the microwave was fried.
I sent the unit to TRC today. Also priced a new MW.
More to come...
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:25 PM   #2
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We just recently had the TRC 50amp surge protection installed in our Precept. Hope we don't have to try ours out this way. LOL
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:43 AM   #3
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TRC should be replacing the microwave too..
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:26 PM   #4
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We boondock 100% at our own campsite. The power is off when we aren't there. If we are there and a storm comes, naturally I would turn off and unplug the generator, but should i turn off the battery to the trailer as well?
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by gypsmjim View Post
We boondock 100% at our own campsite. The power is off when we aren't there. If we are there and a storm comes, naturally I would turn off and unplug the generator, but should i turn off the battery to the trailer as well?
In my opinion completely unplugging from shore power during a known severe electrical storm is the best response.

There is so much power in a lightning strike that when one actually hits the power system there is little technology that can completely suppress the voltage spikes. Power system design relies on grounded sky wires and other technology to help reduce the likelihood of a strike because designers realize that once the strike happens the available power can just be too great to handle.

It would be impractical (impossible?) for an in-line plug-in surge protector to be designed heavy enough to suppress a strike which hits close on a power system. The RV suppressor units can help to prevent reasonable voltage spikes and surges. It is naive to think that one will survive a powerful close strike let alone suppress it. It is best to unplug to isolate yourself from the shore power. Thinking that you get total protection from any in-line suppression system brings placebo effect to mind.

I would not be concerned at all with using the RV 12 VDC electrics during an electrical storm. It will do nothing to encourage or discourage a lightning strike. If your RV ever actually gets struck by lightning you will have much bigger issues than worrying about the 12 VDC system survival. The same applies to an on-board AC generator as relates to use when unplugged from the pedestal.

Personally I would disconnect from the shore power pedestal and just go into 12 VDC operation mode to maintain a relatively normal life.

FWIW. vic

P.S. - Physically disconnecting the plug is what I'm suggesting. Just turning off the main pedestal breaker still leaves a spark gap between the circuit breaker contacts which could be bridged with a close strike on the power system.
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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X2 on unplug from the grid if lightening is expected and don't mess with the 12VDC system. Keeping the battery connected will help damp out spikes in the 12V system from a nearby strike. Again, fried electrics will be the least of your worries if your RV suffers a hit strong enough to overload the battery.
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsmjim View Post
We boondock 100% at our own campsite. The power is off when we aren't there. If we are there and a storm comes, naturally I would turn off and unplug the generator, but should i turn off the battery to the trailer as well?
Why? If you are on shore power lightening can hit a power line miles away and travel through the power lines to your rig .. if it hit your generator your rig would probably be fried anyway because that many volts that close would transfer to you..
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Why? If you are on shore power lightening can hit a power line miles away and travel through the power lines to your rig .. if it hit your generator your rig would probably be fried anyway because that many volts that close would transfer to you..
No power poles. All I have is a genny.
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:42 PM   #9
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No power poles. All I have is a genny.
If you are not connected to the grid then statistically there's no more danger to your trailer if you operate your generator and use your 12 vdc power system during a lightning storm.

The only real concern would be if there is a strike very close by which puts your trailer within a strong emf field. In that situation your equipment might be a little more susceptible to solid state component damage from gradient voltages, but that damage can happen even if the equipment is not energized at the time of an extremely close strike.

Operating your generator or 12 vdc system of itself will not attract lightning to your location. A high mounted solar array or high antenna might increase the risk, but those set up different conditions than just operating a stand alone trailer power system.

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Old 05-18-2015, 01:09 PM   #10
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Lightning and RV's (good read)

It is that time of the year again and here is National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI) paper on RV's and Lightning. Well worth the read.

We always disconnect the shore power and pull up the TT's stabilizers (less metal on the ground), and our tongue jack is up about 10" on the plastic spacers.... but when you stop to think about it here is a bolt of lightning coming down 10K+ feet from the clouds and the 6" gap between the tire rims and the ground, and the 10" gap between the tongue jack and the ground do not seem like much...

Oh, as far as a generator goes if it is metal cased and sitting on the ground the TT/RV is also grounded... not good during the electrical storm

Just my thoughts,

Don
Attached Files
File Type: pdf LIGHTNING - ELECTRICAL & RV's.pdf (131.9 KB, 22 views)
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