Lightning Protect

Transient Protection Technology

Susceptibility / Immunity

Equipment with external connections is susceptible to electrical damage from a variety of energy sources. These electrical connections provide a path for excess energy to damage sensitive circuits.

Electronic components are inherently vulnerable to damage from man made and natural high voltage and/or high energy sources, such as electrostatic discharge, lightning, and nuclear electromagnetic pulses. As higher density and higher speed devices are introduced, silicon feature size decreases. The level of voltage and energy required to destroy components also decreases.

The choice to protect equipment involves many parameters.This table shows some typical driving forces.

Protection Driving Force

Typical Examples


Cost of downtime, cost of repair

Personal Safety

Equipment operators during exposure


Police, fire, military, intrusion systems

Customer Requirements

Commercial and military standards

The Electromagnetic Environment

The electrical characteristics of some typical sources of transients are shown below.

Electrical Source

Typical Number/Year

Electrical Energy

Energy Frequency (Hz)

Unique Risk Factors




10k - 1M

Geographic Location

Electro-Static Discharge


Very low


Handling of product

Power Line Faults


Very high


Power wiring practices

Nuclear Electro-Magnetic Pulse




Global Politics

Lightning energy can couple into a wiring system on coax, power, and ground conductors, and through building structural members as shown in the diagram. Lightning current usually flows simultaneously into grounding systems, through the coaxial port protector, and in the power and grounding wiring system. Predicting the origin of the transient and the current flow paths can be very difficult.

Therefore, effective protectors must stop transients originating from either side of the protector. It is also important that all conductive connections share a common ground to achieve effective transient protection. Remember, for complete protection of equipment all power and other wiring interfaces must be protected


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