Wanna see a radio after a direct lighting strike?

Not taken with the best camera, but here are a few quick shots of a radio with a stinger antenna that took a direct lightning strike:



Just thought you all might be interested. The client equipment inside was not damaged through the ethernet, by the way. The computer took a hit, but the wireless router in between was fine.

You might want to pour a little gravy over it, I think it’s done!

Yeah, kinda sad. I like mine rare. :lol:

It’s just alittle burnt…It’s still good, it’s still good! :slight_smile:

I wish I had a picture of one of ours from years ago that took a direct hit. Blew it into a bunch of peieces and it put a hole in the guys roof !!


I think you should send that back to Motorola for warranty repair. :wink:

paulchops wrote:
I wish I had a picture of one of ours from years ago that took a direct hit. Blew it into a bunch of peieces and it put a hole in the guys roof !!


That's what I would expect from a DIRECT HIT!

CVS, are you sure that's a direct hit? You must get some whimpy lightening where you live! :D

It was within about 3 feet of a lightning rod, it could have been just a finger of lightning off the main bolt, but there was no marking at all on the rod itself.

Who knows. It’s like I tell people who ask how effective the surge protectors are. “We do our best, but if lightning wants it, lightning will take it.” Maybe it was feeling generous that day.

Yeah, we always tell people that if the radio itself actually gets hit, there is basically nothing anyone can do. Most lightening protection is to divert the lightening from actually hitting the equipment, and/or grounding and discharging static electricity in the air, and redirecting voltage so as to not take it into the house.

But we live in a high lightening area, and we see a lot of houses with very fancy lightening protection equipment installed, and boy, when the house gets a direct hit, it insane.

I actually run a custom electronic installation company (A/V, home theaters, etc.). We just had to replace about 25K worth of equipment in a client’s house. Surge came through phone, satellite, etc. even though we had protection in place. And this was not in one room. It kind of went through the whole house. They actually took 2 direct hits in the same day! Basically when you get a hole in the roof, you are in trouble! :wink:


Do you think one of those Whole House Surge Suppressor would have helped in that case (You know the ones that get installed at the Hydro Panel it’s self)?

It would have taken the brunt of the hit in that case.

Frothingdog.ca wrote:

Do you think one of those Whole House Surge Suppressor would have helped in that case (You know the ones that get installed at the Hydro Panel it's self)?

It would have taken the brunt of the hit in that case.

IMHO, NO! Those things are meant to stop the surge from traveling through the existing wiring system in the house, being electrical or low voltage, etc. As far as Canopy radios are concerned (or satellite dishes, etc.) there is nothing you can do about a DIRECT hit. Best you can do is to create more "attractive" targets near the equipment so as to hopefully divert the strike.

About 15 years ago my sisters house got hit, and EVERYTHING on that corner of the house got toasted, including all the wiring inside the walls of the house on that corner and ANY equipment that was plugged in on that corner. They had to open up all the walls through all 3 floors and replace all electrical and low voltage wiring that basically melted!


Sorry I was referring to the part about the people losing 25K woth of equipment. In that situation do you think the WHSS would have helped?

I guess it would depend on where the surge is coming from. If it’s a hit to a hydro pole near by I would think the WHSS would help. However it the Lightening hit the house directly the WHSS wouldn’t do jack-s**t.

Curtis, I’m very interested in knowing about what could be done.

Looking at the photo, the unit was hit on the antenna entry and what looks to be the Ethernet side.

Was the antenna grounded?
Was the data cable STP ( Shielded Twisted Pair )?
Was the Surge Protector grounded?
What type of ruff does the house has ( Singles or Metal )?
Where was the radio installed?
If they where all grouded, Did they had a single point ground,where the antenna, surge protector, shield of the cable and electric ground bounded to the same single point of entry earth?
The power supply, was it an old linear type ( Heavy transformer ) or the new switching type ( not very heavy)

I’m learning about lightning hits, you see Cellular towers, Carriers repeaters, get direct hits very often and this type of problem does not happen if the grounding system is good!
I’ve seen installation where the Microwaves go wall to wall and all that needs to be done is reset the breakers, I’ve also seen where one needs to change boards and other stuff, but the the whole thing.

Please see if you can answer the questions, it’s very important for me.

Antenna was a stinger, so no grounding…

Cable was not shielded, this was a client install and we only use shielded on AP/BH installations.

Surge protector was grounded.

Standard shingled roof.

Radio was installed at the peak of the gable end on the facia using an arm much like the ones used for mounting satellite dishes. There was a lightning rod on the house about 3 feet down from the radio, and about 6
inches higher. It appeared to be untouched. The grounding was at the single point of the 300SS.

Older linear power supply, also dead. The Linksys WRT-54GL it was plugged into was undamaged.

One point: A tower, if well grounded, is it’s own lightning rod. There is generally no massive metal structure to attract lightning (or shunt it into a good ground ring) at the end user installation point. So it stands to reason that you need to expect a lightning strike and go to extreme measures to avoid damage from it in cases where you’re installed on a tower.

The real question to me is this: Where is the point of diminishing returns for how much extra time and expense to put into each installation? We are diligent about grounding, but we do not use STP on the clients. We’ve been operating in Central Illinois for nearly 8 years as a wireless ISP, for 2 1/2 using Canopy, and we’ve had probably 6 or 8 lightning strikes. We’re no Kansas for storms, but we’re not that far off from it either.

At some point you have to accept that a direct lightning strike on the equipment is going to eat it, no matter what you try to do.

So come on everyone: where are you spending your time and money on lighting protection?


I agree 100%.

Now looks like the 300SS did what it was design to do, Stop the surge.
In this case, it looks like the lightning hit the antenna. The shortest path to ground was the UTP cable, Brown pair and it discharged fully in the SS300. On it’s way the SM was a peace of resistance, destroying everything in it.

Now, looking at the case:

If the SM was installed with shielded cable, then it would of had more probability of surviving.
If the antenna was grounded, it would then ground the electronics in the SM ( It has a great shield ), this gives more probability for surviving, funny part about this, in a integrated SM900 Motorola has a grounding lug in it, but they don’t mention grounding the antenna on the SM connectorized.

Again, you are correct, protecting to much the SM would probably cost more than the unit itself and the probability in this case is 1 hit every year. I would do the same, little protection or none at the SM.

ON the BS or AP then it pays, spending more than what the units cost on a good grounding system. We are a small company, we have about 15 mountain sites type of installations and we have all type of protections, it pays off at the end, just avoiding the downtime.

I’m in Dominican Republic, Caribbean, in summer it get very ugly, I now have 9 years in the business and summer is now very different from what it was, my hair starts falling off.

http://motorola.canopywireless.com/fp/d ... 9bc766f5ed

Motorola's suggested SOP is to ground the SMMB and keep the SM mounted below the tip of the SMMB so that the lightning current flows through the mounting bracket and ground lead rather than through the SM and Cat-5.

This is a good document. I like what I see.

But, Curtis said “There was a lightning rod on the house about 3 feet down from the radio, and about 6 inches higher.” I will assume the rod was grounded!

In the document provided, in that case, the antenna would be grounded, connected to the SMMB in a 900 connectorized version, but the stinger will not!

In a distribution site, I would still use shielded cable, ground the pole, antenna, and area of installation.
In reality I have the AP inside, ground the coaxial line outside ( Heliax 1/2"), surge protect it inside ( Polyphaser) , groud it again, install it in a grounded pipe or tube, shielded STP cable to the SS300 then it goes to a industrial type Din rail switch (Hirschmann RS20) or the CMM.