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  1. #1
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    Lightning hit now house not grounded

    we just finished our house - 8 month project - and have been living in it for about 2 weeks. a couple of days ago lightning hit our house. the ceiling fan in my office pretty much exploded and now won't spin. no big deal, 2k to replace.

    the bigger problem is now we get shocked all over the house just like an ungrounded Thai house. washing machine, PCs, and even the metal bracket holding the AC outside. the house has 3-prong plugs and grounded wires throughout.

    i am a good handyman, but electrical is not one of my areas of expertise. any armchair analysis of what problem i should go looking for?

    thx!

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    Go and look at your earth spike in the ground

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    Make sure every thing is grounded

    You might have 3 pronged recepticals but is there a ground wire behind?
    When you got the big bang, some or most of the wiring has shorted through.
    You will need to check the connections to all appliances and also inside the appliances for burnt wiring.

    I am surprised that there are not many lightning rods here in LOS.
    Also where the ground rod is, make sure the ground is damp it will dissipate the charge better.

    KCC
    Moved back to LOS, living in Issan

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkspirate
    Lightning hit now house not grounded
    This is exactly what happened to me. Including the ceiling fan. http://teakdoor.com/construction-in-...he-shower.html (Static electric shock off the shower.)
    I've had umpteen electricians look at the wiring and they can find no logical reason for this. I current-ly, excuse the pun, have the local electricity board on the job and they are stumped also. The guy doing the checking has now gone away to get a machine that tests the earthing. My earth rod is 1.8m and is new, as I replaced it in the belief that to be the problem.
    I'll let you know the outcome of the Earth test.
    Death is natures way of telling you to slow down.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiCanCummins
    I am surprised that there are not many lightning rods here in LOS.
    There are. Even in the rural areas you will see them mounted on government buildings, temples, electricity poles etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pkspirate
    i am a good handyman, but electrical is not one of my areas of expertise.
    Best advice.... find a building company with a falang owner / manager who speaks your language and look for the bigger "western" soloution.
    Death is very permanent, eletricution would not be one of the more pleasant ways for you or your family to go
    Unfortunately, the Thai obligation / warranty on this stuff seems only to last as long as you can see the "tradesman" riding is scooter down the Soi.

    We had a similar problem (about 2 years ago) which was resolved by re-earthing (sticking in and wiring up copper rods) in 6 new locations - main fuse box, pool pump room, laundry, hot water heaters etc.,
    Never a problem since.


    Quote Originally Posted by KiCanCummins
    You might have 3 pronged recepticals but is there a ground wire behind?
    And you know it when your expensive laptop gives off a little tingle every time you touch it!!

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    Failure either to connect sockets and appliances to the ground seems to be a common problem. Also, an inadequate ground rod is, I am told, common. I'd think about replacing the breaker box too.

    The urgent thing to do, in addition to checking grounding, is to get a lightning conductor on the roof with its own ground.

    Good luck!

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    thanks guys i clearly need to get some more experienced monkeys out here to check the wiring...

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    Pirate.... If you got struck by lightning, there may be damage such as hot wires fused to ground wires somewhere as that could be causing your problems. Get a competent electrician to check out the whole place as you really don't know where the damage may be. I would check out each outlet to ensure the three lines are what they should be. I used to do lightning analysis and mitigation for aircraft and have seen cases where lightning completely disintegrated half inch thick copper conductors. 1.5mm2 or 2.5mm2 wires in your home don't stand much of a chance with a good stroke. The extremely high voltage potentials can also cause a lot of arcing through the insulation with latent carbon paths afterwards. Good luck getting it resolved there.
    Press On Regardless

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    ok i did some investigation. our house is on the back of the wifes' parents property. they only have a 5amp meter on a small pole. when we built our house we ordered a new pole and 30amp meter.

    the meter came first and they put it on the old pole. the old pole was grounded. then the new pole got installed and they moved the ground wire to the new pole. however they haven't yet moved our meter to the new pole.

    so we have a shiny new grounded pole, and our house and the rents house is still on the old ungrounded pole.

    i am not sure if this is what increased our chances of a lightning hit, but it does look like it is the reason why the lightning hit didn't redirect into the ground. i relayed the message to my wife, who called the governor and a bunch of other people. should be resolved today lol

    i still need to find a lightning rod -- and it seems from the comments we should have some secondary grounding wires?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    Pirate.... If you got struck by lightning, there may be damage such as hot wires fused to ground wires somewhere as that could be causing your problems. Get a competent electrician to check out the whole place as you really don't know where the damage may be. I would check out each outlet to ensure the three lines are what they should be. I used to do lightning analysis and mitigation for aircraft and have seen cases where lightning completely disintegrated half inch thick copper conductors. 1.5mm2 or 2.5mm2 wires in your home don't stand much of a chance with a good stroke. The extremely high voltage potentials can also cause a lot of arcing through the insulation with latent carbon paths afterwards. Good luck getting it resolved there.
    ya thanks for that. we got a guy scheduled to come out tomorrow and look around. will probably cost a couple grand of my drinking money lol

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    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Like me 'pkpirate', I think you've had a power-surge, not a direct strike. I lost a ceiling fan, the fan in my refrigerator and the motherboard in my computer. All the electricians I've had look at my wiring have failed to find the source of the problem. I think I'm on my 6th electrician now. Most have turned around and recommended a complete re-wire. I think that's extreme, as it may not be the house electrics at all, but an appliance that's plugged in. But in saying that the earth should still do it's job , but isn't.

  13. #13
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    Pirate... If you do put in lightning rods, here are some hints.

    -Put them on all four corners of your house.
    -Use as heavy gauge conductor as you can afford.
    -Use no bends in the wire as it goes down to the ground rod. (Straight run.)
    -Couple the wire to the lightning rod and ground rod in parallel for at least 30 cm. -Use at least two mechanical couplers in connecting to rods.
    -Use ground rods at least 2 meters in length.

    Lightning is very unpredictable, and one of the reasons for that is that the rise time of the current pulse is so fast. Any inductance in the line (caused by any bends) will cause it to take a more direct path to earth. There is one case of a fire watcher in Idaho USA that got killed. He was sitting in the center of the lookout on an insulated chair during a storm. The lookout cabin had lightning rods on all four corners of the lookout as well as on the peak of the 4-sided roof. There were 4 ground lines of 3/8 inch copper going down to ground from all corners, and the ceiling had a matrix of the same conductors. Essentially, the guy was sitting inside of a copper wire cage. The lightning hit the center peak rod and rather than traveling down the 30 degree roof slope conductor to the corner ground lines, it went right down the center of the shack kiling the guy.

    There is really no guarantee you can completely protect your house as the energies involved are so immense, but the above are what we are doing on our place. That and running the electrical lines underground from an outside grounded box, and using multiple separate grounds in the house. None of the lightning rods will have any direct connection to electrical system earths. Lightning is pretty amazing!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    Pirate... If you do put in lightning rods, here are some hints.

    -Put them on all four corners of your house.
    -Use as heavy gauge conductor as you can afford.
    -Use no bends in the wire as it goes down to the ground rod. (Straight run.)
    -Couple the wire to the lightning rod and ground rod in parallel for at least 30 cm. -Use at least two mechanical couplers in connecting to rods.
    -Use ground rods at least 2 meters in length.
    lol that fire watcher story is intense.

    thanks for the lightning rod details. i want to do something like that for sure because i think the huge steel roof under our ceramic tiles is a big lightning rod.

    what do you use as the rod? did you find an actual rod here in TH? any pictures would be awesome

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkspirate View Post
    lol that fire watcher story is intense.

    thanks for the lightning rod details. i want to do something like that for sure because i think the huge steel roof under our ceramic tiles is a big lightning rod.

    what do you use as the rod? did you find an actual rod here in TH? any pictures would be awesome
    Yep, a great bed time story! I maintained Shorty Peak for several years and spent a few restless nights up there during storms. I've got quite a few lightning stories and all of them leave your jaw hanging regarding the energies that are there.

    Regarding the rods, there are real lightning rods with several "attach points" available in Thailand, but I am not sure how well they are made. We're just using ground rod "stuck up in the air."

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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer
    Use as heavy gauge conductor as you can afford.
    An there in lies the answer to one Asia's biggest construction theft problem - cable theft!!
    A 20m section of live wire went missing in our soi a few weeks ago!!

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Johnny Longprong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer
    Lightning is pretty amazing!
    Direct hits usually cause some damage. It is often the return stroke, where the accumulated charge in the earth comes, back up through the earthing system that ties the knot.
    I use copper strap to a multi point earth stake array joined together with strap. I lead this away from the house to the most moist area on the property.
    If you have dry or rocky ground try digging big wide holes and fill them with kitty litter. This will retain moisture and present a bigger area for dissipation of current.

    However, we are probably talking about 2 different things being household earthing and lightning protection. The secret with both is to ensure that current has the easiest and quickest way to earth, and stays there. I don't combine the two systems and touch wood it works OK.

  18. #18
    ENT
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    Most wiring in Asia is composed of positive and negative wires and no earth wire.

    Eatrh wires are often added as an after-thought, being connected usually to individual electrical units and power swith- board.

    The internal building wiring is of only a two wire system in most cases I have seen in Asia.

    Wiring everything up using correct gauge 3-wire insulated cable is the only fail proof easily installed wiring method.

    Correct size fuses fitted to wiring gauged appropriate to anticipated loads in use are needed.
    A main fuse on the inlet cable of the fuse box along with a load activated trip switch protects the system from power surge from source or lightning strike.

    One main earth wire to a strap and earth spike into damp receptive ground, best at the shady side of the building, will ensure that any excessive overload as in a short circuit, will earth.

    Providing all electrical wiring contacts are correctly fastened, no little bits of wire sticking out or lying around, and no water or dust enters the plug points or electrical outlets, there will be no problem from any of the wiring done using this method.

    If short circuits occur in this scenario, either

    a) the earth spike is not grounding (low moisture in soil, normally)
    or
    b)an appliance connected to the system is malfunctioning and causing the short.
    The appropriate socket and fuse will indicate the point of the problem.

    Fuses of appropriate amperages at the power outlets safeguards against power failure through the system when an electrical item fuses.

    Bushman's guide to good wiring.

    Good luck
    Last edited by ENT; 17-09-2011 at 07:37 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    Most wiring in Asia is composed of positive and negative wires and no earth wire. Eatrh wires are often added as an after-thought, being connected usually to individual electrical units and power swith- board. The internal building wiring is of only a two wire system in most cases I have seen in Asia.
    irrelevant reply. you did not read the thread but i thank you for the effort.

    our house was completed a couple of weeks ago and every wire, plug, switch, A/C, and breaker box is 3-wire. it was grounded when we moved in. the problem is that Thai electric removed our ground wire when they installed our new power pole about a week ago. see above.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Custard View Post
    A 20m section of live wire went missing in our soi a few weeks ago!!
    that is so crazy haha

    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer View Post
    Regarding the rods, there are real lightning rods with several "attach points" available in Thailand, but I am not sure how well they are made. We're just using ground rod "stuck up in the air."
    ya i will see if we can find something like that. i noticed that all the cell towers have lightning rods, so perhaps i will build a tower next to the house.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Longprong View Post
    I use copper strap to a multi point earth stake array joined together with strap. I lead this away from the house to the most moist area on the property.
    If you have dry or rocky ground try digging big wide holes and fill them with kitty litter. This will retain moisture and present a bigger area for dissipation of current.
    very nice plan for a ground i wonder if the chickens will like standing on the wet earth when lightning hits it tho haha

  21. #21
    ENT
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    More my view rather than a reply to your post mate.
    No offence taken or implied.
    If a Thai walked in on a 3 wire plan, more than likely he'd get confused.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post
    More my view rather than a reply to your post mate.
    No offence taken or implied.
    If a Thai walked in on a 3 wire plan, more than likely he'd get confused.
    after more reflection thats what i figured was your intention. probably good infos to have on this thread in case there's a farang that doesn't know the country isn't grounded.

  23. #23
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    ^ Cheers mate.

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    20. ok i had to hit 20 posts so i can reply to a nice guy who wrote me a pm about lightning rods pesky forum rules lol

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    When you get shocked all over, that really seems to be a fault between mains and earth, as mentioned in a post above. You will first need to disconnect all equipment and test the house wiring. If that is Okay, the fault is in one of the connected units (laundry machine, water heater etc.). If the fault is in the house wriring, you can as a beginning check all outlets and switches and all visual installtions. Check (meassure) each fuse-cirquit separate. Worst case may be (some) rewiring.

    A proper earth - and your installation should have it's own internal earth - is a connection to three long spikes, best if placed like corners in a triangle (Delta). The same for lightning system. Each lightning rod should have its own wire straight to a ground with three spikes.

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