Complete overview of lightning

arresters (part 2)


Continued from article Complete overview of lightning arresters (part 1)

What is a surge arrester?
Surge arresters are devices that help prevent damage to apparatus due to high voltages. The
arrester provides a low-impedance path to ground for the current from a lightning strikeor
transient voltage and then restores to a normal operating conditions.
A surge arrester may be compared to a relief valve on a boiler or hot water heater. It will
release high pressure until a normal operating condition is reached. When the pressure is
returned to normal, the safety valve is ready for the next operation.
When a high voltage (greater than the normal line voltage) exists on the line, the arrester
immediately furnishes a path to ground and thus limits and drains off the excess voltage. The
arrester must provide this relief and then prevent any further flow of current to ground. The
arrester has two functions; it must provide a point in the circuit at which an over-voltage pulse
can pass to ground and second, to prevent any follow-up current from flowing to ground.


Causes of over voltages  Internal causes  External causes Internal causes Switching surge The overvoltages produced on the power system due to switching are known as switching surge. Direct stroke 2. Arcing ground The phenomenon of intermittent arc taking place in line to ground fault of a 3phase system with consequent production of transients is known as arcing ground. Insulation failure The most common case of insulation failure in a power system is the grounding of conductors (i. Top Types of lightning strokes 1. (2) Indirect stroke Indirect stroke results from the electro statically induced charges on the conductors due to the presence of charge clouds. under resonance .f is unity. Resonance It occurs in an electrical system when inductive reactance of the circuit becomes equal to capacitive reactance. the lightning discharge is directly from the cloud to the subject equipment. the current path may be over the insulator down the pole to the ground. From the line.e. Indirect stroke (1) Direct stroke In direct stroke. insulation failure between line and earth) which may cause overvoltage in the system. Top Harmful effects of lightning . the impedance of the circuit is equal to resistance of the circuit and the p.

Therefore these Type 1 surge protectors must be especially powerful to conduct this high energy impulse current. On occurrence of direct stroke on the station . . Limitations: It does not provide protection against the traveling waves which may reach the equipments in the station.screen provides a low resistance path by which lightning surges are conducted to ground.The traveling waves produced due to lightning will shatter the insulators. Overhead ground wires 3. In this situation IEC 61643-11 standards require the Class I test to be applied to surge protectors : this test is characterized by the injection of 10/350 μs impulse current in order to simulate the direct lightning strike consequence. Limitations:  It requires additional cost. especially when the building is equipped with external lightning protection system (LPS or lightning rod). It provides damping effect on any disturbance traveling along the lines as it acts as a short-circuited secondary. Lightning arresters (1) The Earthing screen The power station & sub-station can be protected against direct lightning strokes by providing earthing screens.  There is a possibility of its breaking and falling across the line conductors. Earthing screen 2. (3) Lightning Arresters It is a protective device which conducts the high voltage surge on the power system to ground. If the traveling waves hit the windings of a transformer or generator it may cause considerable damage. (2) Overhead ground wires It is the most effective way of providing protection to transmission lines against direct lightning strokes. The lightning arrester provides protection against surges. The earthing screen and ground wires fail to provide protection against traveling waves. Top AC Power Surge Arrester Type 1 Surge Protectors Type 1 surge protectors are designed to be installed where a direct lightning strike risk is high. thereby causing a short-circuit fault. Protection against lightning Different types of protective devices are: 1.

4. on installations without LPS (lightning rods). or close to sensitive terminals. both dry-type and liquid-filled.  These arrestors protect against both lightning and over-voltages. These protectors are tested following the Class II test from IEC61643-11 based on 8/20 μs impulse current injection. Secondary Class  Secondary class lightning arrestors are designed to protect most homes and businesses from lightning strikes. Advertisement Types of Lightning Arrestors according to Class 1. Secondary class arrestors offer the least amount of protection .  These arrestors are sometimes found on exposed lines that have direct connections to rotating machines. Intermediate Class  Like station class arrestors. in the main switchboard. intermediate class arrestors protect against surges from lightning and over-voltages. 2.  These arrestors are designed for use on equipment in the range of 1 to 20 mVA.  These arrestors are designed to protect equipment above the 20 mVA range. Station Class  Station class arrestors are typically used in electrical power stations or substations and other high voltage structures and areas. according to. when the electrical device has more current in the system than it is designed to handle.2/50 μs – 8/20 μs) following Class III test. transformers or other substation equipment. but are designed to be used in medium voltage equipment areas. Type 3 surge protectors In case of very sensitive or remote equipment. and are required by most electrical codes.Type 2 surge protectors Type 2 surge protectors are designed to be installed at the beginning of the installation. Type 3 SPDs are tested with a combination waveform (1.  These arrestors cause high voltage overages to ground. though they do not short all the over voltage from a surge.  These arrestors are found on equipment rated at 1000 kVA or less. an electrical power protection company. 3.. secondary stage of surge protectors is required : these low energy SPDs could be Type 2 or Type 3. such as electrical utility stations. Distribution Class  Distribution class arrestors are most commonly found on transformers. Inc. substations.

minimum rating for In) and specific conditions (i. differential mode. which conducts the high voltage surges on the power system to the ground.e. Top Working Principle of Lightning Arrester The earthing screen and ground wires can well protect the electrical system against direct lightning strokes but they fail to provide protection against traveling waves. or anything that has a microprocessor. and typically do not protect solid state technology. which differ in:  Type or test class (1 . In)  Protection level (Up)  Protection technology (varistors. Basic form of a surge diverter . 2 or 3)  Operating voltage (Uc)  AC network configuration (Single/3-Phase)  Discharge currents (Iimp. Fig below shows the basic form of a surge diverter. They are available in many versions. filter)  Features (redundancy.e. which may reach the terminal apparatus. A lightning arrester or a surge diverted is a protective device. Imax. gas tube-varistor. The surge protection selection must be done following the local electrical code requirements (i. remote signaling…). Top Choosing the right AC Power Surge Arrester AC power surge protectors is designed to cover all possible configurations in low voltage installations. high lightning density). which may reach the terminal apparatus. to electrical systems. The lightning arresters or surge diverters provide protection against such surges. The lightning arresters or surge diverts provide protection against such surges. plug-in. A lightning arrester or a surge diverted is a protective device. The earthing screen and ground wires can well protect the electrical system against direct lightning strokes but they fail to provide protection against traveling waves. which conducts the high voltage surges on the power system to the ground.

e. it conducts no current to earth or the gap is non-conducting 2. This is clear from the volt/amp characteristic of the resistor shown in Figure above. the resistor offers high resistance to make the gap non-conducting. The property of the non-linear resistance is that its resistance increases as the voltage (or current) increases and vice-versa. the lightning arrester is off the line i. the air insulation across the gap breaks down and an arc is formed providing a low resistance path for the surge to the ground.It consists of a spark gap in series with a non-linear resistor. The action of the lightning arrester or surge diverter is as under: 1. Under normal operation. After the surge is over. it gives the effect of short-circuit. One end of the diverter is connected to the terminal of the equipment to be protected and the other end is effectively grounded. 3. The length of the gap is so set that normal voltage is not enough to cause an arc but a dangerously high voltage will break down the air insulation and form an arc. As the gap sparks over due to over voltage. It is worthwhile to mention the function of non-linear resistor in the operation of arrester. the arc would be a short-circuit on the power system and may cause power-follow current in the arrester. the excess charge on the line due to the surge is harmlessly conducted through the arrester to the ground instead of being sent back over the line. In this way. . On the occurrence of over voltage. Since the characteristic of the resistor is to offer low resistance to high voltage (or current).