LV Surge Arresters In Action Against Lightning

Surge arresters against lightning

Description of the installation

The site consists of offices (computer hardware, lighting, and heating unit), a security post (fire alarm, burglar alarm, access control, video surveillance) and three buildings for the manufacturing process on 10 hectares in the Avignon region of France (probability of lightning is 2 strikes per km2 per year).


LV Surge Arresters In Action Against Lightning

There are trees and metal structures (pylons) in the vicinity of the site. All of the buildings are fitted with lightning conductors. The MV and LV power supplies are underground.


Figure 1 – Installation diagram for several surge arresters in cascade

Problems encountered

A storm struck the site, destroying the LV installation in the security post and causing 36.5 kE of operating losses. The presence of lightning conductors prevented the structure from catching fire, but the electrical equipment which was destroyed was not protected by surge arresters, contrary to the recommendation in standards UTE C-15443 and IEC 62305.

After analyzing equipotentiality and earthing of the power system, followed by verification of the installation of lightning conductors and checking of the values of the earth electrodes, the decision was taken to install surge arresters.

Surge arresters were installed at the head of the installation (main LV distribution board) and in cascade in each manufacturing building (see figure 1 above). As the neutral point connection was TNC, protection would only be provided in common mode (between phases and PEN).


Figure 2 – Low voltage surge arresters

Figure 2 – SPD Type 2 and 3 – Surge/transient overvoltage power network protection

  • In (8/20µs) from 5 kA to 60 kA
  • Imax (8/20µs) from 10 kA to 100 kA
  • Up from 1 kV to 2,5 kV
  • Uc = 275V, 320V, 385V, 440V, 600V
  • 1P to 4P, 1+1 to 3+1
  • Monoblock and pluggable
  • TT, TNS, IT
  • Floating changeover contact

In conformity with guide UTE C-15443 regarding operation in the presence of lightning conductors, the characteristics of the LSP (Arrester Electric) SPDs SLP40 and FLP7 surge arresters are as follows:

  • At the head of the installation
    In = 20 kA, Imax = 50 kA, Up = 1,8 kV
  • In cascade (at least 10 m apart)
    In = 10 kA, Imax = 20 kA, Up = 1,0 kV

In the cascade, good protection is provided for the secondary distribution boards (offices and security post).

As the neutral point connection was converted to TNS, protection had to be provided in common mode (between phase and PE) and differential mode (between phases and neutral). The disconnection devices, in this case, are circuit breakers with a breaking capacity of 22 kA.

Tutorial // Installation of a Surge Protector

The Video shows the correct installation of surge protection, associating with backup protection (circuit breaker). The 50 cm wiring rule” explanation will help you to understand correct wiring according to the installation standard IEC 60364-5-534.