Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lightning Detection That Can Save Lives

by Lauren Heljo
Product Technical Manager

Over 350 deaths have been reported since 2006 from lightning strikes. These casualties occurred in activities involving jet skis, sporting events, boating, swimming pools, golf courses and concerts to simple activities like walking on the beach to hiking, yard work or walking the dog. Most of these deaths could have been prevented had they known lightning was in the area and approaching.

The AS3935 AMS Franklin Lightning Sensor has the capability to detect lightning and provide situational awareness up to a distance of 24 miles with a high degree of accuracy, both cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud. It also has an automatic antenna tuning which increases sensitivity and it can distinguish between man-made disturbers and real lightning. Because of its very low power consumption and small size, it is ideal for small portable battery operated devices.

The product is used in numerous applications such as marine recreation including boats, jet skis, marine radar, golf carts, ATVs, motorcycles, sporting event safety, weather stations, full safety, uninterruptible power supplies, wearables  and power line conditioners. The AMS Franklin Lightning Sensor is also used in wireless applications that include iOT (Internet of Things).

The Precision Measurement Technology Center developed a product concept module that incorporates the AMS Franklin Lightning Sensor. This module has a blinking LED to inform the consumer that lightning has been detected. To indicate the detection distance, the LED flashes at three different intervals: high, medium and low which indicate the proximity of strikes in the area enabling the user to take appropriate action. The detection range values are:
  • Low Frequency: 6.7 to 24.8 miles
  • Medium Frequency: 8.7 to 14.9 miles
  • High Frequency: 0 to 7.4 miles
Precision Measurement Technologies, an AMS Technology Center, provides full evaluation kits and technical support for testing and reviewing schematics with design recommendations. We assist in debugging software and firmware and other application questions.