This is a lightning detector that picks up the electromagnetic component of lightning strokes. The detector will pick up some lightning about 100 miles away (rough guess). It is much more sensitive to local lightning. When a storm approaches the detector begins to flash much more often. The lightning detector will also respond to local electrical noise such as turning a light on, a refrigerator motor starting, cell phones, etc. Full instructions will be included with your lightning detector. There are other lightning detectors out there, but few are made by an artist! As far as I know, there are only two similar to this one. Both were made by the same person (me).
It should be noted that the lightning pattern etched in glass is not as visible in real life as you see here. The pattern was enhanced for viewing on your computer.
Free shipping to the continental USA. For shipping to other areas, please Contact Us.
The lightning detector is housed in a copper box (FR-4 circuit board) with an edge lit glass display. The lightning bolt is etched in glass with bright white surface mount LEDs attached to the bottom. The detector coil is exposed on the back of the box along with the controls.
Video of a similar lightning detector in action: https://youtu.be/ApdZuguX6oA
The detector does not flash this fast all the time, only when a storm is in the area. With no storms anywhere nearby, the flash rate is only once every few minutes.
This lightning detector was made by Chuck Pound, February-March 2020. That is, I drew and etched the lightning bolt, made the box, built all of the electronics. The detector uses a coil of wire on a spool to pick up the lightning signal.
The unit runs on standard 120VAC, plug it in the wall. A standard 9 volt battery can be used with an external adapter but will not last more than a day or two.
There are several controls on the back:
Power input and switch. Unit will operate using 9 to 14 volts DC. Small + below power connector should light when power is plugged in, “Power On” should light up when unit is switched on.
Sensitivity controls how sensitive the unit is to detecting lightning and other electrical noise. Normally, you may want this turned up full. You may need to turn this down just a bit if you can not find a location without electrical noise. Sensitivity may need to be turned down during intense lightning.
Intensity controls how long the flash lasts. Turning intensity down may make it nicer in darkness.
Volume controls audio level. Note: Volume control can affect Intensity, Intensity control can affect volume..
Frequency switch controls the frequency that the magnetic pickup (wire coil) is tuned to. High is tuned approximately 16khZ, Low is approximately 8khZ.
- No returns if the unit has been damaged, modified, or altered in any way!
- Returns only if unit is not as described.
- Unit will be very well packed for shipping.
- Ask for shipping insurance to be added to your invoice, before you pay, if you feel shipping insurance is needed. We will not be responsible for loss in the mail or mis-delivery.
- Any questions, please ask! (Contact Us)
More information (this info and more included in the package):
It is possible that this lightning detector will receive signals from more than the 100 miles estimated on the reverse of this page. When this was written there were not many lightning storms in the USA to test with.
Frequency switched “High”:
The band at 10 KHz to 15 KHz allows global cloud to ground lightning strikes to be monitored. Propagation is strong day and night for easy very long distance reception. Signals at 10 - 15 KHz can at times circle the globe, coming back to the point of origin as an "echo". No man-made transmissions in this band in the USA.
Frequency switched “Low”:
The band at 7 KHz to 10 KHz allows global cloud to ground lightning strikes to be monitored. The range is greater toward the top end (10 KHz) of the band. Lower range toward the bottom. Slightly better range at night time. No man made signals in this band.
You may notice an occasional flash when there is no lightning within hundreds of miles, this is normal operation. These pulses come from many sources. The motor in your refrigerator may flash the detector when it first starts. Flipping a light switch may flash. Some light dimmers produce a lot of electrical noise. Your cell phone puts out signals that this detector will pick up, normally only within a few feet. There are many other sources of electrical noise that may flash the detector. If the lightning detector just keeps flashing for no reason, you may have too much electrical noise in the area. You can try moving the detector, sometimes moving only a few inches can help. We have this problem in our shop and can only place the lightning detectors in select locations.
The detector is somewhat directional. It should pick up signals stronger from side to side. There is no need to place the detector near a window. The signals that are picked up are magnetic and will travel through most walls with ease. If you are in a building with a lot of steel the sensitivity may be lowered. In this case you can try placing the detector near a window or other opening. Building materials that may cause problems include rebar in brick or block, steel siding, plaster walls on a wire base, Large buildings with a steel frame, etc. Aluminum siding should not be much of a problem as it is not a ferrous metal, that is, a metal such as iron that magnets can stick to.