Surge arresters and lightning arresters do similar work. In both cases, when there is a lightning strike, the excess current is conducted safely down to the earth. Since this can happen at any place in the electronic, telecommunication, telegraph, or electrical network, one must provide the proper safety all over the place where you have such installations.

Need for protection

The over voltage transients might cause damage to the sensitive electronic and electrical equipment. But, the surge protectors will ensure that these surges are not allowed inside the domestic lines where you have appliances and equipment. These surge protectors and lightning arresters are placed at the point where the electricity lines enter the domestic areas. This way you get maximum protection against lightning strikes.

Construction of the arresters

The action of these devices is as follows. A gap is introduced in the circuit leading to the domestic lines. These gaps are usually air gaps but sometimes one has a semiconductor such as zinc oxide or silicon carbide. In addition, one might have several gaps to ensure there is no current flowing from the normal supply line. The ordinary supply voltage does not have the potential to cross this gap. In this case, the current flows ordinarily through the wires in the domestic circuit.

Working method

When there is a huge voltage surge current, the air gap is crossed. If there is gas, it is ionised so that it becomes conducting. The current now flows directly to the earth and does not enter the domestic circuit.

Surge protector and lightning arresters

The difference between the surge protectors and the lightning conductors is that the surge protectors do not protect you from direct, lightning strikes. The lightning conductor does that work. The surge protector protects us from the transient voltage that occurs due to inductive effect. The lightning strikes the ground near the conductor.

Effect of lightning

When it does this, there is huge surge introduced in the wires. This surge travels through the wire to its end where usually you have electrical equipment. In breaking the circuit, the surge protectors help to prevent the current from entering the domestic circuit.

When the lightning strikes several thousands of kilovolts of current occurs. The surges are not as huge as the lightning strikes but they are big. They are capable of damaging the electrical equipment and even causing serious injury to the people operating the machines at that time.

Surge suppressors

Surge protectors go by another name – transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSS). You can have different types of surge protectors as shown below.

  1. Neutral protection arrester
  2. Common valve station arrester

Other than these you can also have low voltage surge arresters, line magnetic blow valve arrester, distribution arrester, DC valve type arrester, and more. By choosing the proper type of insulation you get better protection. For doing this, you compare the energy criterion of the insulators. For bypassing the surge to the ground effectively, the impulse ratio has to be low.

By giving adequate safety through the use of surge protectors and lightning arresters, one is able to prevent damage to property and loss of lives. Be sure that the grounding provided is enough to withstand the surges in your area.