Lightning Elementals got you down? Is that cloud of soft steady light causing you discomfort and frizzing your hair? Pesky power surges chasing away visitors and vendors from your fine establishment or town, well, with ZAP!Stop! your lightning elemental problems will become a thing of the past.
A lightning elemental can move a massive amount of electrical charge around, and a single grounding point is not going to be able to cope with that flow. Even a few closely spaced ground rods are not really going to cut it; all those electrons need some space to fan out and disperse to ground. Here is what the pros do here at ZAP!Stop! Central: We run a star-shaped network of flat copper strap fanning out from the gates of your town or place of business, with ground rods spaced along (and tied into the ribbon) at twice the length of the rod. So, for 10 feet ground rods they are spaced 20 feet apart. The reason for using a copper strap is that even though lightning is in essence a direct-current event (most of the time the cloud is negative, the ground positive), there is considerable high-frequency energy involved as well and it tends to stay at the surface of a conductor (“skin effect”).
The copper radials are then buried at least 8? and preferably 18? or more underground. A radial in wet soil will work better than the same radial in dry soil. There is also a maximum length where the radial’s impedance will prevent any additional electrical charge from traveling further down the line. Short radials do not work very well either, because of the same charge saturation problem mentioned before. A good radial is at least 50 feet, and no more than 75 feet long. If a radial comes within 4 feet of a metal object, that object should be electrically connected to the radial. More radials is certainly better, but after 4 radials one enters the domain of diminishing returns. Keep in mind that radials do not need to go in a straight line. Gradual bends around obstacles or to follow the terrain are fine.
Ground rods in a well-conducting soil have a cylindrical region of influence around them with a diameter that extends roughly twice the length of the ground rod. This is the region in which the ground rod disperses lightning strike energy. Placing round rods closer together than twice their length means their regions of influence overlap. That does not make it a worse grounding system, but there is no gain either and it is a waste of money to place them that close together. So, for 8 foot ground rods they should be 16 feet apart, for 10 foot rods it becomes 20 feet from one rod to the next. The ground rods themselves should be copper clad. There are several reasons for this: The copper cladding makes them last longer underground than bare steel or galvanized rods (stainless rods will last longer still, but they are also much more expensive). What is more, the ground strap or wire is going to be made from copper, and connecting that with a bare steel or galvanized ground rod creates a battery that will quickly consume the steel or galvanized rod through galvanic action. A copper clad ground rod will prevent this from happening, and again, make it last longer. The saying in the business is that the best resistance-to-ground you are going to see from a ground rod is right after installation, it is all downhill from there.
Just in case that was not obvious; Ground rods and their connecting ground wires are normally kept fully underground. So, dig a hole before pounding in the ground rod, and drive it below ground level. Grounding wires should be underground in trenches (and backfilled). In fact, for optimal effect the wires of your ground radials should be 18? underground.
If possible, the ground rods should use exothermic bonds to connect to the grounding strap or wire (“Pyroweld” and “thermOburnweld” are often used brand-names for exothermic welds). Those last far longer with more predictable and lower connection resistance than the next-best alternative, high-pressure clamps and joint compound (anti-corrosion compound). According to the pros you should inspect high-pressure clamps annually, if you use them. Not easy to do when they are underground. Brazing is an allowed substitute for exothermic welds, though this is a skill that not many can do well.
If you are lucky enough to have a well close to your city gates or place of business, be sure to tie it into your grounding system.
A grounding system of multiple radials does not have to be ‘in the horizontal’. There are special 50 feet long ground rods (or regular rods with couplers) that are used to make a vertical grounding system. When done properly this works just as well, though installation requires professional equipment.
All the above assumes you are able to dig into the ground, and install ground radials plus ground rods.
Order now and our team of highly-trained orcs will come out to survey the area before getting to work on pillaging and burning everything to the ground so that we can properly install the ZAP!Stop! System. Supplies are limited so hurry now.