Lightning Intensity Detector
An indicator for extremely high voltages
Published in issue 322, June 2003
It is generally known that the forces of nature can be destructive, as proved time and again by storms, tsunamis, tornados, tidal waves and earthquakes to mention but a few. Fortunately, the occurrence of these awe-inspiring natural forces is rare. The thunderstorm, a more frequently occurring phenomenon with less impact than any of the above (but by no means less dangerous), is caused by electricity (at an enormous scale), which makes it suitable for detection by electronic means.The author got the idea to design this circuit during an outdoor sports event. Many among the audience were quick to deploy their umbrellas when it started to rain. This happened while a distant sound of thunder could be heard. All of a sudden, a large group of people appeared to throw their umbrella to the ground.
R1 = 10kΩ
R2,R4 = 10MΩ
R3 = 22kΩ
R5 = 2kΩ2
R6,R 7= 1kΩ
C1-C4 = 100nF
D1,D2 = LED, red, low-current
IC1,IC2 = 4093
IC3 = 78L05 (see text)
ANT = antenna, telescopic whip or 1 metre wire
K1 = 9V battery with clip-on leads
S1 = pushbutton, 1 make contact
PCB, available from The PCBShop
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Please note. In view of the complexity of international markets, Elektor cannot guarantee the availability of components for this project.