Reducing False Lightning Strike Tip

When I first set up my Air I was getting a few false lightning strokes indications a few times a week. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it because it was so random and the false strokes never corresponded to anything that I could figure out. No motors running (AC, fans, etc) at the time. The only thing I could think of was my water heater was located about 6’ away and maybe somehow that was doing it even though it was an electric water heater and had no kind of “spark” when it started.

To try and solve it I decided to move the Air about 3’ from where it was located (my options to position it is very limited). Low and behold that little bit of a move has almost eliminated the problem. I now only get maybe one a week.

So, if you have that problem even just repositioning the Air a short distance can make a big difference.

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If I’m correct the Air uses E field detection for lightning. This system is very sensitive and can easily be triggered by nearby electric (-tronique) gear like electric fences, a lawnmower
As said Hankster above, moving it around even a little can solve it, the basic rule = as far away as possible from those sources and at least 1.5m above ground.
My first experience wasn’t to good as the Air module started to send me false positives every x minutes … In my case the culprits were the batteries (1.5 V Li ion batteries from Kentli using a little microchip to reduce voltage from nominal 3.7 to 1.5V). Once I replaced them with the recommended batteries … problem solved.

Yesterday I had a thunderstorm passing near the house and I could cross check the Air module with my 2 other specialised detectors and I can say, in my case anyway, it detected pretty well the strokes nearby (got alerts ranging 35 to 11 km, that was the closest impact on my other detectors indeed).

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I had an experience with getting 85% ratio of lightning disturber. That was confusing until David emailed me with a detailed explanation of what the Air was seeing. I did have a couple of false lightning reports but absolutely no lightning since installation.

I’m looking forward to Spring when there actually is lightning so I can continue testing and finish writing code.

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That’s helpful. I just installed my Sky today and had a ghost lightning strike. It is located within 10 feet of the of a 110V hot water heater, two large battery banks, a large battery charger, two 12-volt compressors and a propane line solenoid. May have to find another spot, though not too many choices given it is on a boat.

Did you mean AIR and not SKY, as the AIR contains the lightning sensor?

Yes, I did indeed mean AIR.

Would a piezo ignition system or piezo lighter on a stove or Barbeque give a False reading if near by?

Interesting, I get a handful of false positives a day and I’d say I’m about 8-9 feet from my hot water heater.

I’m very limited in where I can place my AIR but I’ll see if I can move it a few more feet away from the heater this weekend.

Even moving it up or down a few feet can make a difference. I had the same
problem, it is only about 4’ from my water heater. I raised the Air up
about 3’ and it cut down the false strikes about 90%.

A piezo lighter can definitely cause a false lighting strike, though it usually needs to be fairly close. We use a similar piezo device for testing the lightning sensor. If you’re getting too many false positives, there are two simple things to try: (1) rotate the AIR 90 degrees - and if that fails to curtail the falsies, (2) move the AIR laterally.

Good to know. I really need to test my code and that will work great.

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That you as this is the one the I could not work out.

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I could not get the piezo lighter to trigger a strike so I went with something a little more powerful. I used one of my Canon external flash units.
20180128_173255

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Hi. So I was getting several false lightning strikes a day and wondered what is the cause and wanted to deal with it.
I live in a block of flats and have a balcony 1.5 x 3 m2 where the AIR is mounted.
I also have roller shutters mounted on each window. So I discovered that roller shutters’ motors (made by Nice) are the main reason that I’m getting false strikes. Now I have a problem, because Air is already far away from the roller shutters and I have no more distant places where I could move AIR. I still get false strikes few times a day.
Is there a way to deal with that? I was wondering if there is a way to make some screens on roller shutters’ motors.

If they are using DC motors, can you add a capacitor to each motor???

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/4640/capacitors-and-motors#4647

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Great idea @vreihen ! Maybe a 100 nf ceramic cap would do the trick. Rated at least two times the motor voltage.

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Hi @vreihen and @dan.gealt these are 230V motors, I need to check what type the power module is. It’s nice idea and definitely worth to try. I should have somewhere appropriate capactitors. I will let you know the results once I try it.

Also try to turn the Air (not the hub, nice catch Gary) in steps of 90° and move it up and down some, sometimes just a few little centimetres make a difference with those highly sensitive e-field antenna’s

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BE CAREFUL!!! The bypass capacitor should work on DC motors. If the motors are 230v AC I would not try a bypass capacitor on them!

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Hang about. I don’t understand how moving the Hub will stop the Air from detecting false lightning. Will you please elaborate?

Gary

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