Raycap News

Lightning Protectors

One of the common questions that is asked regarding the systems that create functionality as well as protection within industries like telecommunications as well as green energy production is “what are lightning protectors?” A lightning protector is a device which is placed at critical junctures within a technical system in order to provide electrical protection for downstream equipment.  The protection that is provided is against the associated electrical surge that follows a lightning strike.  The idea is to prevent an electrical surge from being able to move along and through power lines or communication cables which connect and expose any connected computerized or data processing equipment that is located there or elsewhere along a path connected by cables or in the same metal structure.  For example, in a cellular tower the top area that is exposed would serve as the “end unit,” being in a direct line to the elements. This area would be not only exposed but also isolated from other equipment by its design.  In order for the best communication options to be provided to cellular customers, the tower must be positioned not only as the tallest structure within a range of distance but also in an unobstructed area.  Do to these factors as well as the additional complications of the towers themselves being made primarily of metal, they are natural attractants for lightning strikes during inclement weather.  Most of these towers will be have what is called “distributed base station” architectures, whereby the radio heads are located at the top of the tower, ie: “remote radio head” (RRH), and a “base band unit” will be connected will be connected at the bottom and through cables underground to another base station.  The lightning strike to the RRH will generally create a surge that will travel along the connection lines and ultimately and at the BBU.  This translates to the very framework of the tower and its strategic positioning working against the profitability of the company that owns it.  The damage that occurs as a result of the lightning strike itself is not isolated to the top, but instead also damages equipment further away.  Through strategically positioned surge protection devices acting as lightning protectors, it is possible to salvage the equipment located everywhere within that tower except at the strike point (if the tower itself is struck).  The lightning protection devices are elements that are designed to completely interrupt the flow of the electrical surge from device to device when electricity reaches above a specific amount.  These devices will stop the overvoltage from damaging the equipment in the system, but once that short high duration surge is over they will come back online and continue to protect the site without needing to be replaced.  This unique protection allows for the equipment to be protected without taking the system down or offline while repairs or maintenance can occur. These improved surge protection devices, which are not only more robust but also more technically advanced than anything previously seen, enable better customer satisfaction at the same time that they are conserving operating expenditures.  By keeping systems online for longer timeframes, customer satisfaction is increased.  And by reducing the amount of ongoing expenditures that would normally be allocated to the repair of equipment, prices increases to customers due to ongoing maintenance costs can be avoided.  The inclusion of lightning protectors within systems like these is moving the world forward by improving nearly every type of business they can be factored into.