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Equipment Discussions >> Observatories

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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Grounding Rods?
      #6139164 - 10/15/13 02:15 PM

Do folks put in grounding rods?

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6139181 - 10/15/13 02:25 PM

I sort of did. I installed a whole off-grid solar electrical system too, and I needed to use something for a ground. So I have some copper pipe buried that serves as my ground.

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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6139185 - 10/15/13 02:26 PM

Steve,hello. If you are speaking about lightning rods, I have read on here about individuals that have and others that haven't.I am sure there will be someone that comes along that will inform you either way.
I am not quite finished with my build as you may already know, so I have not decided whether I will put one up or not.
If you have a separate main electrical panel coming into the OBS then I would definitely put in a separate grounding wire.

Edited by tim57064 (10/15/13 02:29 PM)


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Alex McConahay
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/11/08

Loc: Moreno Valley, CA
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6139229 - 10/15/13 02:48 PM

I believe in this and in all such quesitons related to electricity, you should consult the local building codes rather than our buddies on CN.......I don't know what CN will say, but we were required to have them on our 110 volt service.

Alex


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Aquarist
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/27/12

Loc: Illinois
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #6139278 - 10/15/13 03:16 PM

Our code does not require them but my electrician is putting them in.

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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6139369 - 10/15/13 04:05 PM

It's a good thing to do. My observatory is in a particularly lighting prone location during the monsoon season. To properly protect my structure I needed a 30' pole.



While there are those that think this makes you more susceptible to a strike, it does not. The rods on my home are no more that 12' apart as they really only protect within a 6' radius. This is why you need so many of them on a roof. The height protects my entire structure. It is visible in that specific direction, however, what you can't see is that there are tall trees looking out the same direction. If push comes to shove, I know where it is and I will simply map it out and plan for stopping and starting around it during my exposures.


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Orion58
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/28/11

Loc: Southern Wisconsin
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Alex McConahay]
      #6139657 - 10/15/13 07:17 PM

Quote:

I believe in this and in all such quesitons related to electricity, you should consult the local building codes rather than our buddies on CN.......I don't know what CN will say, but we were required to have them on our 110 volt service.

Alex




Good advice - our building code required them.


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Christopher EricksonModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Orion58]
      #6144100 - 10/18/13 01:22 AM

I would suggest seeking the advice of a local professional electrical or telecommunications engineer that is familiar with your local weather patterns and your ground chemistry.

Your average electrician knows about building codes and standard electrical grounding but they aren't trained in enhanced lightning protection for sensitive electronics and equipment. Telecommunications engineers are.


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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #6249916 - 12/12/13 09:16 PM

Some codes are lax. Good grounding is never a mistake.

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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: TCW]
      #6256757 - 12/16/13 06:21 PM

A year or so ago, a CN member name Chris Ericson, who builds remote location comms sites for a living, posted a link to more info about lightning protection and grounding than any of us will likely ever need, I'll try to find his link, but you might search it out, too....one of us will find it.....

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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: roscoe]
      #6256758 - 12/16/13 06:23 PM

This isn't Chris's post, but has lots of info:

http://www.arksky.org/surge.htm


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Christopher EricksonModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: roscoe]
      #6259447 - 12/18/13 04:33 AM

The advice on that arksky.org web page is anecdotal at best and dangerous at worst. And completely bereft of any professional sources whatsoever.

Here is the old grounding thread that you were referring to:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5405992/page...

There are three distinct types of grounding and each serves a different purpose.

1. Electrical grounding. Safety provisions in power distribution.
2. Signal grounding. Ground planes and references for reliable signal propagation.
3. Lightning protection grounding. Safely shunting lightning energy around people, equipment and facilities.

If your goal is for lightning protection, don't get confused by the other two.

I hope this helps.


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rimcrazy
sage


Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Overgaard, AZ
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #6259603 - 12/18/13 08:24 AM

I posted my picture above about the lightning protection I got for my observatory. This was designed and installed by a professional licensed lightning contractor. He has, in fact, installed protection for numerous observation facilities within the state of AZ. While you cannot see it there is a grounding cable that is buried completely around the facility and the rod itself attaches to a large, properly designed, copper plate that is buried in the ground. The internal AC power panel has a protector circuit on is as do all of my internet connections to the building. My son actually built the tower, as we could build it cheaper than what my contractor could supply but on the top of the tower is their rod. As I mentioned, in my particular location, in the June, July, Aug time-frame we have a considerable number of thunderstorms with lots of lightning. In my particular case I figured it was simply not a question of IF I get hit, just WHEN. Your mileage will vary. You need to do what you think is most prudent in your case.

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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: rimcrazy]
      #6477779 - 04/20/14 06:16 PM

Our home in Anza, CA, was hit by lightning on Apr 18. The lightning struck the mast for our anemometer and weathervane and toasted all of the electronics associated with the weather station. I'm still picking up pieces of the wind equipment from around the property. We lost a variety of electronic devices in the house, including a couple of items of home theater gear. We no longer have Internet or TV. In the observatory, the Lodestar guider no longer works, but, oddly, the mount, QSI camera and computer appear to be perfectly OK. We found burn marks where the lightning arced across parts of a gate along a chain-link fence. I'm only able to post this because I'm temporarily in a wifi spot. I probably won't be able to return to this forum for a couple of days.

Edited by Calypte (04/20/14 06:19 PM)


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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Calypte]
      #6478144 - 04/20/14 09:57 PM

I had a similar experience with all kinds of expensive damage and I did not even have direct strike. I have replaced 4 well controllers over the last 9 years at $200 a pop along with computers, faxes, phone sytems, modems, routers and other stuff.

The EMP from strikes is murder.

Here is the site I ordered parts from - http://www.lightningrodparts.com/faq.html

Note that you should used braided wire, not stranded.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Aquarist]
      #6479436 - 04/21/14 04:01 PM

Quote:

Do folks put in grounding rods?




1 Installed ground rods along with a few other things.

2 Visited my insurance agent.

There are no guarantees with the first choice but there is with the second.

I'll take my chances with a deductible rather than all the speculation in all the lightning related threads in all the astro forums, and there are more ideas about lightning than there are grains of sand..... etc. etc. etc.


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Calypte]
      #6479790 - 04/21/14 07:20 PM

Quote:

Our home in Anza, CA, was hit by lightning on Apr 18. The lightning struck the mast for our anemometer and weathervane and toasted all of the electronics associated with the weather station. I'm still picking up pieces of the wind equipment from around the property. We lost a variety of electronic devices in the house, including a couple of items of home theater gear. We no longer have Internet or TV. In the observatory, the Lodestar guider no longer works, but, oddly, the mount, QSI camera and computer appear to be perfectly OK. We found burn marks where the lightning arced across parts of a gate along a chain-link fence. I'm only able to post this because I'm temporarily in a wifi spot. I probably won't be able to return to this forum for a couple of days.



QSI, Lodestar, & A-P mount appear to be OK. Two of the three USB ports on the computer no longer work. Keyspan USB-serial adapter is toast. It was plugged into a hub, which was plugged to the wall outlet. The gear that was plugged into a power strip survived. Gear plugged directly into AC outlets with wall-wart adapters took the hit.


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TCW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/05/13

Loc: The North 40
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Calypte]
      #6480016 - 04/21/14 09:28 PM

I have had a number of items fried that were not even plugged in! Nearby strikes also generate an EMP that can fry anything not in a Faraday cage. My insurance agent told me he would replace my well pump but that it would be added back onto my insurance bill!

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Raginar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: TCW]
      #6481002 - 04/22/14 11:25 AM

TCW, that's frustrating. What's the point of insurance if they take your money for years and then 'add it back' when you need them?

Sounds like it's time for a new insurance company/.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Grounding Rods? new [Re: Raginar]
      #6481301 - 04/22/14 02:00 PM

Quote:

TCW, that's frustrating. What's the point of insurance if they take your money for years and then 'add it back' when you need them?

Sounds like it's time for a new insurance company/.




That's the reason for a visit to your agent. There's a good chance he will know more about your insurance coverage than the members of an internet forum.

My insurance company had an appraiser photograph and document my house, workshop, observatory and other valuable items. I'm paying for additional coverage but at least I know what I am paying for and what I am covered for.


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