There are two basic voltage surge that may cause damage to the system and its corresponding equipment and apparatus. These are:
1. Switching Surge
2. Lightning Surge
Switching Surge – These are voltage abnormalities that are caused by changes in the operating state of the power system, that involves switching (literally) of breakers, disconnect switches, and other switch gears. It happens as trapped energy are released during the event.
Lightning Surge – These are voltage abnormalities caused by the phenomenon of lightning. Damaged may be experienced through direct stroke or hit, or by induced voltages. Lightning are harmful, and runs in millions of voltages, which makes the equipment vulnerable without protection.
The risk of having your equipment exposed to both of these abnormalities can be greatly reduced with the application of surge arresters. Not to be confused, surge arresters refers to devices which could protect from the aforementioned abnormalities.
Lightning arresters on the other hand are specifically named protection device, designed more for lightning protection, but in itself is capable enough to protect it from switching surge.
Below are selected article links to help you understand further what is a lightning arrester and how lightning arrester works:
WHY WORRY ABOUT LIGHTNING?
It is unfortunate, but a fact of life, that computers, computer related products and process control equipment found in premises data communications environments can be damaged by high-voltage surges and spikes. Such power surges and spikes are most often caused by lightning strikes. These causes may include direct contact with power/lightning circuits, static buildup on cables and components, high energy transients coupled into equipment from cables in close proximity, potential differences between grounds to which different equipment’s are connected, miswired systems and even human equipment users who have accumulated large static electricity charge build-ups on their clothing.
A lightning/surge arrester is a device that protects structures from electrical damage by intercepting lightning surges and diverting them to the ground. Lightning arresters are connected directly to the ground via low resistance cables, although they are generally mounted on high buildings or other structures in order to attract electricity. They can be used on land and in sea, with the latter version using the water to discharge electricity. Lightning arresters are available in many different forms and are used in a variety of applications.
How to Design Lightning Arresters
In a basic lightning arrester design, numerous grounding rods are driven into the soil. A strong copper coil is then wrapped around and welded to each of these rods from top to bottom. As lightning is attracted to the top of the lightning arrester, the electricity is directed down the rods through the copper coils and dispersed into the soil. While not all lightning arresters are the same (they can be designed in several completely different ways), this is the most basic form of lightning protection. Another type of lightning arrester consists of a gas filled tube that conducts a current and disperses it through metal contacts at the bottom.
Lightning arresters can be used for many purposes. They are used on tall buildings to prevent lightning from causing physical damage to infrastructure. Lightning arresters are also used on power lines to protect the fragile cables from lightning, electromagnetic forces, downed power line poles, and other natural phenomena. Additionally, lightning arresters are used on power outlets to protect electronic devices from electrical surges.
Lightning arresters have several advantages. They can be mounted onto nearly any structure and used to protect virtually any electronic device. Indoor lightning arresters are generally compact and have specific indicator lights that display whether an electronic device connected to the lightning arrester is protected from electrical surges and spikes. Lightning arresters are rather inexpensive and can handle high current levels.
Source: ArresterWorks.com and transmission-line.net