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Old 07-19-2008, 07:16 PM   #1
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Chalk up another benefit of having a steel front cabin structure on the Winnebago. I fully believe that this construction feature may have contributed significantly to our surviving a direct hit by lightning and being within 8 feet from where a lightning bolt struck our coach.

There are not very many people that disagree with me that the steel in the cab helped divert the majority of the lightning to the frame and ground. Although we did sustain some damage and our CB radio exploded and caught fire we feel confident in our belief that our Winnie took good care of us.

To read more about this visit the IRV2/GNR Meet and Greet thread at the top of the forum.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:16 PM   #2
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Chalk up another benefit of having a steel front cabin structure on the Winnebago. I fully believe that this construction feature may have contributed significantly to our surviving a direct hit by lightning and being within 8 feet from where a lightning bolt struck our coach.

There are not very many people that disagree with me that the steel in the cab helped divert the majority of the lightning to the frame and ground. Although we did sustain some damage and our CB radio exploded and caught fire we feel confident in our belief that our Winnie took good care of us.

To read more about this visit the IRV2/GNR Meet and Greet thread at the top of the forum.
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:49 PM   #3
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Just . . .WOW!!! Glad you 3 are all OK!

I can empathize, somewhat - a tree about 15' from our house took a hit a couple of months ago - but nothing like direct. Scary!!
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Old 07-20-2008, 05:50 PM   #4
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Were you driving when it happened? That's quite the experience. Glad you all are OK.

Tom
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:56 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fakrwee:
Were you driving when it happened? That's quite the experience. Glad you all are OK. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Tom, We were parked actually. I don't think I would have been able to handle an event like this at highway speeds.

Hello to everyone from the GNR in Forest City, IA. The opening ceremonies just concluded a little while ago culminating in a fire works display. == We passed on the fireworks display ==

Tomorrow is the iRV2 get together at the GNR. I am expecting to see over a hundred iRV2 people there. Can't wait!

Seminar D @ 3:00pm Monday 7/20.

There will be door prizes awarded and provided by RV Upgrades.com.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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That must have been some experience DriVer and am glad that you all are fine as the coach can be repaired.`
I do have a question though and that is didn't your Surge protector protect you?
Something else that confuses me is that I thought the rubber tires would insulate you from a hit although haven't figured that you were grounded through shore power.
Well at least you 3 are all OK. Enjoy the GNR and say hello to folks at office for me.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:16 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Tom-NC:
I do have a question though and that is didn't your Surge protector protect you? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>That question will for the moment remain unanswered because I don't have an answer for you. Lightning is a beast all of its own. It can do things that you just can't imagine however its prime directive is to seek a ground.

Lightning actually ran through the Surge Guard backward. I don't believe that an SG works backward. The resultant blow from the lightning destroyed the internal workings of the SG and actually fractured the case on both ends.

After all was said and done the SG did continue to pass pedestal power to the coach however when energized by the pedestal, there was no delay in applying power and that was the fault. There should be a 2 minute and 16 second delay before the power is applied.

The first item to be replaced as quickly as possible was to immediately go and buy a new 50A SG. That very next morning after I installed the SG another thunder storm came through the area.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Something else that confuses me is that I thought the rubber tires would insulate you from a hit although haven't figured that you were grounded through shore power. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Actually there isn't protection in a motorhome because the unit is grounded by the hydraulic jacks. All my jacks at that time were on plastic jack pads and plastic blocks. That said a million volts do not see the plastic blocks as an insulator. Regarding tires - forget about them being made out of rubber - tires are actually made out of some rubber and quite a bit of carbon. The tires therefore rather than being an insulator are actually a resistor. Resistors pass electricity if there are enough volts. Lightning provides a lot of volts.

The way that the lightening passed through our coach ultimately saw the bolts exit the motorhome through our shore power cord via the ground and bond to the pedestal. After the strike I found that the 2P-50A breaker in the panel had actually tripped.

Our transfer switch is also damaged as the generator will not pass power to the house.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Well at least you 3 are all OK. Enjoy the GNR and say hello to folks at office for me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Thank you! Colleen and I appreciate your concern.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:26 AM   #8
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Well said Mike...

My thoughts are if you get a direct hit like Mike and Colleen did, all bets are off as to what will be damaged and the Surge Guard is essentially a non-factor in protection. It *is* some protection for a lightning strike some distance away where high current is induced into the AC distribution wiring of the campground (or where ever.)

My friend Bill (Duner) has the right idea - he unplugs his shore power cord during thunderstorms. Like Mike said, you are still bonded to ground through the neutral and ground in shore power wiring - this would somewhat isolate the coach, but if the strike is powerful enough, it could jump the gap between earth and the coach through tires or jacks.

Lightning protection is a bit of an art and science. I haven't kept up with recent developments, but when we were boating, a popular device was something that looked like an upside down whisk broom mounted on top of the mast. The theory (and it probably was a proven theory) of operation is the device dissipates the ionized air to where it never can build up to the extent where it can conduct electricity (ionized air always precedes a strike.)
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:58 AM   #9
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This is an interesting thread, enhanced by the news that Mike and his lady (and pooch) are unhurt. Alot can be learned on this board, besides.....
.THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND, ROU.....rgr...
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:44 PM   #10
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More "Striking News" !

My neighbor has a full paint Horizon and is parked less than 10 feet from me. Today he happened to notice what he initially thought was grass or other debris on his coach however upon further investigation it appears that he has a hundred or so small impact craters in his full body paint.

What is remarkable about this is that they are all located toward the top of the box, side wall and rear of the slideout facing the area where the lightning struck. One would never expect to see missing paint chips in this type of pattern and no where else. It has been discussed although not proven that when the lightning bolt struck the Fire-Stik that the copper coils that are wound around the antenna shaft exploded much like a hand grenade. The damage presents in some cases like small circular impact craters while others present a crater which could be similar to a small piece of wire impacting at extremely high velocities.

I inspected my roof and in the immediate area around the antenna I found little or no damage to the base of the antenna. I was able to unscrew the bolt holding the mast to the base by hand. You would think that if the lightning passed completely through the antenna to ground that the base would be welded. Not so. Inspecting the antenna it clearly shows where the metal vaporized at the tip and at the base of the mast.

On my front cap there is fraction of an inch deep jagged crater almost 1/2 of an inch in length. Now I know there weren't any holes of this type on my roof. Of note as well were a few small holes along the front 18 or so inches of slide topper. I believe that the damage might be remedied with a coating of RTV if Winnebago Service deems it appropriate. I did not notice anything that would suggest a burn around the crater.

When walking back to the ladder after my inspection and picture shoot, I found small shards of plastic rubber-like pieces lying on the roof which appears to have comprised the original wrapping of the CB antenna.

I have also heard that a coach in row E1 close by suffered damage to their microwave. When ever they go to use the MW it pops a circuit breaker.
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