Lightning dissipator or lightning rod?

  • May 15, 2014 12:43 PM
    Message # 1553269
    Deleted user

    Lightning Dissipator or lightning rod? Which is best?

    Lightning Dissipator or lightning rod? Which is best?
  • May 16, 2014 5:26 AM
    Reply # 1553571 on 1553269
    Deleted user
    That's a can of worms.  Ask 4 different Electrical Engineers and you'll get 4 different answers.  We have a dissipater on Abake.  We've had several lightning storms damage boats in our marina and have never had a problem (where is that piece of wood to knock on??).  And..  at roughly 62' above the waterline, our mast is the tallest pole in the area.  Maybe luck, but hoping we continue to be lucky.  Lots of info / opinions out there.  I suggest you do some reading.  Good luck.

  • May 18, 2014 11:08 AM
    Reply # 1554263 on 1553269
    Years ago I had a very experienced electrical repair man tell me about the dissipator, and why it works.  They had lots of problems with towers in areas where there were lightning strikes that needed repairs.  They started putting them on towers, and they greatly reduced the strikes. 

    Theory being, that when a lightning charge comes down, a matching charge goes up the tower, and when they find each other, the strike comes down the tower, and usually doing some damage.  With the dissipator, there are multiple small wires on the top of the tower, and the strike coming down cannot find the one coming up the tower with multiple very small wires on top, so consequently the one coming down strikes somewhere close by instead. 

    Now you know the rest of the story, for what it's worth.
  • May 18, 2014 11:12 AM
    Reply # 1554264 on 1553269
    Also, no need to spend lots of money for one.  It can be made from a bundle of very small stainless wires tied together, and slipped into a tube with a base welded on to it, that mounts on top of the mast.  It does have to be the highest point on the mast to work properly. 
  • May 19, 2014 5:37 PM
    Reply # 1554836 on 1553269
    Deleted user
    Thank you Bud,

    I was beginning to wonder what to do.  Nobody seems to KNOW which is best or if they do, they're not telling. It also seems there are a wide range of opinions. I appreciate your advice and all who did help in this matter. Being new to sailing and refitting a W32, I often need advice. Thank you.


  • July 11, 2014 6:19 AM
    Reply # 3043538 on 1553269
    Deleted user

    Am I to assume that "highest point on the mast" means that a dissipator needs to extend beyond the VHF whip?

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