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Old 07-08-2015, 05:13 PM   #1
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LIGHTNING ROD(s) on your Airstream... yet?

George Telford: Cars are safe because they pretty much form a faraday cage (the metal body) diverts the power around you, it is not because the tyres are rubber (tyres stop being an insulation material at the kind of voltage and current we are talking about here, they tend to melt and blow out if the vehicle is struck by lightning) Another example of the lack of normal insulation think tree's, wood is a great insulator against a few thousand volts, but when lightning hits a tree, it might as well be made of copper.

For an Idea of the power we are talking about here consider a spark Jump it takes aprox 5000 Volts to Jump 3mm, How high is the cloud ?

Clad in alloy sheet and you will have a farady cage, you have a chance of surviving.


Now, lets get this straight. The occupants are "safe" as a lightning strike is diverted around them because of the "Faraday Cage".

Faraday Cage: Wikipedia- ... best understood as an approximation to an ideal hollow conductor. Automobile and Airplane passengers compartments are essentially Faraday Cages, protecting passengers from electric charges, such as lightning.

Safe from Lightning in an Airstream?- 07-18-2003 maggieairstream (Air Forums)

Myself and another Airstream owner were humoring ourselves over the idea of installing lightning rods on the tops of our trailers believing this had never been discussed on the Airstream Forums. My home has lightning rods and they are grounded. The discussion began "why should I install lightning rods to attract a bolt of lightning in the first place."

I began to research any history of an Airstream being hit directly with a lightning bolt. None to be found on a Google search. At one time aluminum was used as a substitute for copper in some home wiring. It worked, but at the bolted connections aluminum wire eventually proved, unsatisfactory.

Plenty of trees can be found being struck by lightning and the tree falling onto some object, if it be an automobile or trailer in the way of the fall.

One "test car" intentionally directed an equivalent lightning bolt caused only the rear windshield wiper to one wipe when turned on...

With thousands of lightning strikes from storms in the Denver area, it seems a golfer has the greatest risk of a lightning strike around here. Or hikers climbing a 14,000 foot mountain above tree line. This is reported in the local papers most every year of pets and people being stuck by a bolt from a "mostly clear day or a thunderstorm".

With the "Faraday Cage" effect, at least the occupants are safe... unless you are inside a Some Other Brand made of a non conductive material like... fiber glass.

I do have a "lightning rod" installed by Airstream on my 2014. My radio antenna. If I really want to feel safe, I can drop my four stabilizing pads as grounds.

One post on another website thread: "My brother's car was struck on his way to work one morning and the car stopped running, but started right back up. After work, when went to his car, all 4 tires were flat". Hmmm. Maybe needed an excuse for replacing the tires?

Has anyone since 2002 heard of ANY TRAILER being struck by lightning?

By a lightning strike, not a falling tree struck by lightning onto a trailer. My best advice... do not camp in Florida, as Florida is the lightning capitol of the USA.

If you want to be struck in Colorado, carry a pair of metal walking poles above tree line to get the message. Other than that... I see no reason to worry.

Human Bean
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:29 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Yep, you may fry some modern electronics, and the high current may cause some metal damage, but the metal shell will shield the occupants. Unless you're lucky enough to be stepping into the trailer when hit, then all bets are off.
Whole trailer instantly charged to a gazillion volts, but little to no potential between itself and itself(let me introduce myself to myself ), current will flow to ground, through; the air on bottom, the front jack post, stabilizers, whatever it finds easiest at the moment.
I won't take any jabs at Florida.

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Old 07-08-2015, 06:20 PM   #3
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
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I remember ours getting zapped by lightning. Other than it being extremely loud inside, it was pretty much a non-event.
We had an SOB trailer that was struck, and it wiped out all the appliances and electronics in it.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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