What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭

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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Nonsense. We've always known the cause of lightning: it's Zeus. :D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    you sure it isn't an alien weapon?:cry:
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    NOPE it's Thor! :cool:

    Looking in Wikipedia,

    In Norse mythology, Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms.....
    the cause of lightning: it's Zeus. :D

    He (Zeus) is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology.:cry:
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,740 admin
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    SUVs:

    Effect/Cause/who cares.

    -Bill :p
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    WOW! That's quote the lightening strike! And the vehicle keeps right on going!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,740 admin
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Here is a "Top Gear" (BBC automotive TV program) where they went to a German high voltage test lap and hit a VW Golf with 800,000 volts:

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    looks like in Bills first link the 'bolt' goes over to the other car, on the right. Smashing!
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    i don't see the bolt hitting the car in bill's video as we don't know if it didn't strike the street instead.

    in the other video he referred to oklahoma's storm valley. i think he is thinking of tornado alley and it's far bigger than a valley.;)
    i wonder if they'd let him try while turning the radio on or off or tuning the stations and even raising or lowering the window to see if he's ok. most don't foresee a lightning strike, especially while in a car so we are more apt to play the radio or put up the window due to it starting to rain. most have their arms out an open window if it's not too hot and lightning can hit miles away before it is even ready to rain. these are circumstances we do face while driving and i know i wouldn't want to do it under a for certain strike of high voltage.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Wow! Awesome videos!
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    This is a lightning caused transformer explosion chain reaction.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5rbueQHZx8
    http://www.jimonlight.com/2011/05/13/nighttime-transformer-explosions-in-fort-worth-texas/
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Out here we worry about these.

    A few years ago I was hit in my pick up! About $2k damage.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    nsaspook,
    that's some great video. makes you wonder why they didn't have fuses inline so that such a chain reaction does not occur. i bet the substation suffered a bit of damage too.

    mangas,
    i remember you telling me of the agaves getting hit, but you never mentioned your truck getting hit. what was damaged on the truck and what was the experience like from your prospective? any burns to you, tingles, etc.?
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    niel wrote: »
    nsaspook,
    that's some great video. makes you wonder why they didn't have fuses inline so that such a chain reaction does not occur. i bet the substation suffered a bit of damage too.

    I think that the lightning hit something that caused massive half-cycle saturation from waveform distortions in the transformers that made the normal reactive power stored in the cores into to "real" power and heat. The actual current levels feed to the transformers would not increase much but the AC excitation current would increase by a factor of several hundred instead of being passed to the secondary coil.

    That was a pretty and costly light show, just think about what a "real" Super-EMP weapon would do, every HV transformer in every city near the blast would be glowing.


    http://www.futurescience.com/emp/ferc_Meta-R-321.pdf
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    I was driving through the mountains in a fierce lightening storm. Large ponderosa bordering the forest service road. Golden flash of light inside the cab blinded me for an instant followed by a boom!

    Dash lights immediately came on, engine quit and I swerved with a flat tire. Got out to change the tire and saw the left front had about 10 holes in it. Went around the other side of the truck (tire iron in hand) and saw the antenna was nearly welded to the roof where there was a 6 inch deep charred dent.

    Had it towed to a garage where the sherriff came over to see for himself. Fried the truck's electronics. Our theory at the time was a nail in the tire may have contributed when the lightening was looking for a place to strike. Who knows. Needless to say my two passengers were a hoot n' hollerin' over that one. Can't figure out why nobody was hurt. The insurance company didn't believe me at first.

    Everytime I'm out on horseback during electrical storms, I really pay attention. Over the years lots of cowboys and horses have been hit this way in our neck of the woods.

    I clear any agave bloom that's anywhere near the array. . .
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,740 admin
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    I don't think a 1" nail in the tire really made a difference after the bolt when through 1 mile of air.

    Lightning does weird and wonderful things. Many times, lighting flows on the very surface of a conductive object. However, if the "best" path at that moment was from the metal wheel to the pavement through a 1/2" of rubber--so be it.

    The SUV lightning strike movie above--I was pretty surprised because there were metal (I presume) light poles pretty close by--and yet the lighting chose the much closer to the ground SUV.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Much more likely to flash over the outside of the wet (or dry) tire to ground than through the tire itself, or ignore the tires altogether and just jump the remaining inches from anywhere under the vehicle. And if a direct hit - - why the reported delay between blinding flash and hearing the boom?
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    The surrounding flash was outside the truck but it sure felt like it was in the cab. The crack of lightening was almost simaltaneous. That's the way I remember it all anyway.

    I don't understand the science behind lightening. The damage was on both sides of the vehicle. Not somehting I'd recommend to anybody.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b19_1268795779

    The Science Of Lightning

    The up-bolts are really cool.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    Much more likely to flash over the outside of the wet (or dry) tire to ground than through the tire itself, or ignore the tires altogether and just jump the remaining inches from anywhere under the vehicle. And if a direct hit - - why the reported delay between blinding flash and hearing the boom?

    yes i agree with wayne even though lightning does do what it wants to and it's possible it did it on its own, but normally it will not try to go through a tire which is a highly resistive thing. the presence of a nail in it lowers the resistive path from the rim to the pavement through the tire. even the steel in the radial tires is insulated from the pavement, but a nail puncture breaches the insulative barrier of the tire. it, no doubt, super heated the nail causing the immediate blow out. the lightning will also super heat the air it goes through and cause the tire to explode and if it did it on its own as bill indicated, the tire would not have blown out, but literally exploded. the damages would be a clue as to which way it happened, but the bottom line is he was minus a tire.:grr

    mangas,
    your system is well grounded and the agaves nearby will most likely detract a lightning strike to the pvs thereby sending the lightning to ground elsewhere. of course there still will be a large emp event in any case. i don't remember if you went with something like an spd (surge protection device) or not, but i would highly recommend one at the input to the controller. if you have the deltas then get some made by midnite solar to replace them.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    And if a direct hit - - why the reported delay between blinding flash and hearing the boom?


    Three possibilities come to mind:

    1. The blinding flash was from one fairly low power lightning strike while the sound was from a higher power strike at some distance.
    2. The ear and the eye have different response times to the brain and the nearly simultaneous sound is just perceived as being after the flash.
    3. Some of the light came from the pre-cursor arcs which were at some distance, but still were seen by the brain as being the leading edge of the flash which reached blinding intensity when the main current flow actually started. The sound came from the peak current "real" strike only.

    And, of course there is always 4. Witnesses are unreliable and are used to hearing the strike some time after seeing it, so they remember it that way.

    I welcome other suggestions.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    i vote #3, but it could be #5-he misspoke.
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Hi Niel,

    Yea, probably #3. It did a real number on the tire though. Looked someone hit the sidewall a few times with a sharp screwdriver. Burn't a pretty good patch in the roof too.
    I had an agave hit ten years ago about 200 feet from the house which looked like roman candle going off.

    I don't have line surge protectors in the solar mechanical room nor the house. Guess I'll have to have one installed. Good advice.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    nsaspook wrote: »
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b19_1268795779

    The Science Of Lightning

    The up-bolts are really cool.

    Great Post !!
    Was good to watch over dinner..

    VT
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    Number of years ago my Uncle was out working his fields on his farm tractor, when a thunderstorm came up. He headed for home, but the return was up over a small hill we call "Old Baldy". As he was topping the hill, he became aware of a strange hissing sound, loud enough to be heard over the diesel engine. This was immediately followed by a huge flash & BOOM! He had no idea what the hissing sound was, until I explained it and how he had come extremely close to being a conducting lightening rod!
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    BB. wrote: »
    ...The SUV lightning strike movie above--I was pretty surprised because there were metal (I presume) light poles pretty close by--and yet the lighting chose the much closer to the ground SUV.

    -Bill

    A year ago I experienced a "blue sky" strike where the lightning bolt travelled about 10 miles horizontally from a storm before striking a tree nearby. Height has little to do with it, contrary to popular belief.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    Number of years ago my Uncle was out working his fields on his farm tractor, when a thunderstorm came up. He headed for home, but the return was up over a small hill we call "Old Baldy". As he was topping the hill, he became aware of a strange hissing sound, loud enough to be heard over the diesel engine. This was immediately followed by a huge flash & BOOM! He had no idea what the hissing sound was, until I explained it and how he had come extremely close to being a conducting lightening rod!

    I experienced that sound about 12 years ago, coming from the downspouts of my apartment building just before it was hit. Sound of the leaders arcing upward from the ground. Your uncle was very lucky.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    techntrek wrote: »
    A year ago I experienced a "blue sky" strike where the lightning bolt travelled about 10 miles horizontally from a storm before striking a tree nearby. Height has little to do with it, contrary to popular belief.

    you have that right as i used to have an apartment deep in a narrow valley and the pole just 100ft away was hit. i believe that was when i first got to try using an inverter. it was a small tripplite modsine (actually square wave) and boy did it have an audible 60hz buzz. the hills to either side went up about another 500ft in elevation with plenty of higher trees, telly poles, houses, and even railroad tracks, but it opted for something low in elevation surrounded by higher things.

    do make no mistake as it usually goes for something higher up. higher up is usually the lowest path of resistance. i have had lightning strike within 200ft of me 4 times in my life.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 985 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -

    "do make no mistake as it usually goes for something higher up. higher up is usually the lowest path of resistance"

    How tall are you Neil?;)

    Ralph
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What causes lightning? Seems we still don't know - -
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    "do make no mistake as it usually goes for something higher up. higher up is usually the lowest path of resistance"

    How tall are you Neil?;)

    Ralph

    i never said it was me the lightning was after as i was indoors each time, but twice the lightning did enter where i was. once was through an old aluminum 5/8 wave cb antenna i had as a teen that it jumped the end of the disconnected cable and went into an electric outlet about 5ft away. another time it entered the place i was renting at the time (on top of a hill and not the one in the valley) as it hit the pole right outside and it came in via the electrical wires blowing out my tv power supply and a few other minor items. the pole i mentioned in the valley you already know of and the last one was where i grew up at also and was a tree directly across the street.

    i'm not that tall, but even the height challenged wouldn't want to be out in an electrical storm so this guy was smart and stayed indoors each time.:D note that 50% of the time it entered the house proving lightning does what it wants to.:cry:
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