Lightning rods are commonly used on telecom or radio towers, but are they best for protecting expensive electronic equipment? Richard Tarney, Executive Vice President and Chief Consultant of Mega Lightning Protection doesn’t think so.
It’s stating the obvious, but lightning rods are designed to attract lightning, he explained to Inside Towers.
They were meant to provide fire protection to barns and other structures that don’t house delicate electronics.
When lightning hits a tower lightning rod, large currents of energy race incredibly close to sensitive electronic equipment on their way to the ground. “It might not blow out equipment, but it has an effect,” Tarney says.
The team at Mega Lightning Protection treats lightning differently and they’ve been doing so for over 40 years. Unlike a lightning rod, their brush systems are designed to greatly reduce the odds of a lightning strike in the first place.
A Mega Lightning Protection brush contains up to 12,000 non-conductive, stainless steel points that are woven through a stainless steel core. Each brush point continuously ionizes the air around it. The ionization dissipates the electrical energy that builds up in a storm. This reduces the likelihood the conditions needed for a lightning strike will occur in the vicinity of the brush array.
“I wish I could say I could prevent all lightning strikes with our system, but I can’t. No one can,” said Tarney. “But we’ve done thousands of installations on AM and FM radio towers, telecommunications towers, hospitals, and even nuclear facilities and we’ve never had a complaint. And if by chance one of our devices is hit, it’s able to withstand the strike with no outage.”
Each Mega Lightning Protection installation is customized to the tower based on height, tower type, and equipment, Tarney explains. And the passive system has several benefits:
- The system requires no wiring–it’s practically maintenance free;
- The brushes are easy to reconfigure as tower equipment changes, so the system is adaptable for long term use;
- The brushes are lightweight. No rigging is required and just one person can do the installation;
- The brushes have virtually no wind loads based on testing, which minimizes effects on tower load; and,
- The brush point design prevents ice or snow accumulation, which also results in negligible effects on the tower load.
Tarney and his team are proud of their track record of satisfied and repeat customers over the past four decades. They look forward to the opportunity to help protect your tower equipment. “You can rest easy the next time storms and static arrive,” said Tarney.
Mega Lightning Protection is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has installations all over the United States, as well as in Canada, South America, and Africa. Visit Mega Lightning Protection at https://megalightningprotection.com/.
By Kristen Stelzer for Inside Towers
July 17, 2019