Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

I'm going to set up a my little off grid 12VDC (three, 205 watt panel) system. In the instuctions for the charge controller it says to "put lightning surge protection on in line to charge controller", thats it. I can't find really anything online about DC surge protectors. What do I use? Do I really need lightning surge protection? Is a fuse or breaker going to work just the same? The only thing I can find is:

"DELTA LIGHTNING ARRESTOR for Solar Panel Systems & DC Wind Generators - LA 302DC"

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELTA-LIGHTNING-ARRESTOR-Solar-Panel-Systems-DC-Wind-Generators-302DC-/360401322160?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e997c0b0

Is this what I use? If people really use lightning surge protectors on their systems why can't I find any? If anyone knows something cheap to use let me know..

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    try one of midnite solar's surge suppressors,
    http://search.store.yahoo.net/wind-sun/cgi-bin/nsearch?unique=e61a8&catalog=wind-sun

    this is not necessary for the operations of solar power, but it is more of a safety thing not only for the equipment, but for you too. now there has been many threads in which we have talked about this, but understand that in a nutshell that there aren't any guarantees when it comes to lightning. it is good to increase your odds though. in any case properly grounding everything is important and required for the use of these surge suppressors.
  • YostFMXYostFMX Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    Thanks for the fast reply, I love this forum, always fast :-). So what % of people would you say use surge protectors? Like 50/50? I just don't want to fry my controller. the cheapest midnite solar's surge suppressors were $93, thats way too much for me, like 3/4 of the cost of my charge controller! Is there is anyway to make a cheap one or anything? Oh and what size wire do you use for grounding? Is it the same as in a DC wire charts? And is a larger ground wire size going to help with lightning strikes, that is make the lightning take the ground wire line, or does the power just surge everywhere when it hits?
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?
    YostFMX wrote: »
    If anyone knows something cheap to use let me know..

    The problem with cheap is that cheap may not work as good (or at all) as more expensive.

    Some cheap ones just barely work at all so you gotta be careful.

    boB
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,642 admin
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    Some late night reading material:
    BB. wrote: »
    A couple threads about Lightning:

    Off Grid Grounding Technique?
    Another Question, this time about Lightning

    Note, the above are discussions, not a do A, B, and C--and you will be "safe". There probably is no such thing with lightning. Several different techniques are discussed--and a few of those posters even have experience with lightning. :cool:

    And our host's consolidated FAQ page:

    www.windsun.com
    Lightning Protection for PV Systems

    From other past posts here, Windsun (admin/owner of NAWS), he said that most of lighting induced failures he saw were in the Inverters' AC output section.

    Towards the end of this thread is a very nice discussion of proper generator grounding.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • YostFMXYostFMX Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    Thanks for the info. It sorta made my head spin :confused: but form would I could tell if I ground good I should be fine living in SoCal Desert, not too much lightning. And my whole system cost less than $2000 so if I do get hit its not a huge deal. One more question about grounding. I have a metal roof on my house and detacted garage/workshop (solar panels on the garage). Do I need to run a ground wire from the roof on my house to a ground rod? or what happens if lightning hits my house roof with out a ground wire? anything? (The panels are on the garage)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,642 admin
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    No lightning expert, but from what I have seen for government buildings, even metal roofs have dedicated lightning rods and cabling (saw this in a few national parks that have lots of lightning).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • YostFMXYostFMX Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar - Controller Lightning Surge Protection? What is it?

    Attachment not found.

    The house and garage (while building). The garage has a flat roof.
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