Author Topic: Personal lightning detector  (Read 289 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Vette-kid

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Personal lightning detector
« on: August 12, 2019, 06:09:10 PM »
Are there any inexpensive units with a darn?  I coach little league soccer and I would like one to have on the field with me.   I do not want to spend $500.  $100 is probably reasonable, less is better.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk


Offline nincehelser

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3140
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 06:30:44 PM »
Your best bet is to get an app for your Smartphone linked to a service (usually free) that alerts you when lightning is in your area.

You can get stand-alone detectors for around $30.  I used one from Acurite when I was chasing lightning photos.  It worked well, but the audible alarm was of a frequency I can barely hear.

Offline Jstx

  • Senior Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 270
  • Baby the Rain Must Fall
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 08:26:05 PM »
Are there any inexpensive units with a darn?  I coach little league soccer and I would like one to have on the field with me.   I do not want to spend $500.  $100 is probably reasonable, less is better.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

Howdy,
Some time ago I bought an AcuRite "Portable Lightning Detector    02020CA" model lightning detector [paid $45 clams for it w/other stuff that was on sale, it probably goes on sale too].

It's about the size of an [old] pager but lighter, has a clip on back, little red indicator light and screen on front; you can clip it on a shirt pocket or collar. Unlike nincehelder, I can hear it some distance away with no problem, even from other rooms [it may even vibrate like a phone?].

Now for its' overall detection performance:
After using it for~9 months, I'd rate it 4.5 out of 5.
It is quite sensitive and picks up most strikes in the vicinity, out to about 10-14 miles and more. Its' 'distance' readings aren't always on [subjective judgement], but it will give you plenty of warning of an approaching TS.

It can/might be a little directionally sensitive, as I checked it out with different locations and orientations, but inside the house with lots of potential interference. But I now have it hanging mostly statically right next to my massive metal front door [don't know if that helps or hurts it]. So far I haven't used it on my person or in a vehicle [since like most here, I'm a WXnut and watch things closely most of the time on a computer or smartphone [just need to open my Opera mobile browser and voila, a dozen or so main WX tabs spring open anytime, among others].
I think it would probably work even better outside in the open [and I just remembered I was going to get another one for the boat].

I also usually activate a browser tab with a lightning detection website when there's something brewing.
The AcuRite is actually more accurate than that website, judging by what my own eyes and ears tell me.
It's also quicker, as it's response time is only a fraction of a second after strikes [actually seems to take a few milliseconds longer to process more distant strikes...].

Overall, I'd say that little detector would be about perfect for your stated need for one. [usual legalese disclaimers for me and AR   8-)]
There are probably other brands and models out there.
I'm just rating my unit, and experience [and I've subscribed to Consumer Reports since ~1968, so am a little 'picky' about stuff].

Offline nincehelser

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3140
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 08:48:04 PM »
It's about the size of an [old] pager but lighter, has a clip on back, little red indicator light and screen on front; you can clip it on a shirt pocket or collar. Unlike nincehelder, I can hear it some distance away with no problem, even from other rooms [it may even vibrate like a phone?].

I don't think it has a vibrate function.  The red alarm light would definitely get my attention if it was in my field of view, but my ears just don't work at that frequency.  So it basically didn't work for me when it was clipped to my belt or in my pocket.  A vibrate function would likely fix that issue.

 [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 08:58:09 PM by nincehelser »

Offline WSWeather

  • Senior Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 273
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 10:10:21 PM »
For hobby use these are probably OK but relying on them in a life-safety scenario like a sporting event is probably not a good idea.

Offline Vette-kid

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 10:13:46 PM »
Your best bet is to get an app for your Smartphone linked to a service (usually free) that alerts you when lightning is in your area.

You can get stand-alone detectors for around $30.  I used one from Acurite when I was chasing lightning photos.  It worked well, but the audible alarm was of a frequency I can barely hear.

Don't like the app idea as you would need GPS on to get accurate distance data.  Since it's for outside use and deciding when to cancel practice and get everyone indoors, accurate distance and speed of response are important.

Offline Vette-kid

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 10:14:47 PM »
For hobby use these are probably OK but relying on them in a life-safety scenario like a sporting event is probably not a good idea.

What is your recommendation?

Offline Vette-kid

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2019, 10:16:05 PM »
@jstx, thanks for the review.  I've actually been eyeing that one on Amazon.  Glad to know it seems to function well.

Offline Jstx

  • Senior Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 270
  • Baby the Rain Must Fall
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2019, 11:26:20 PM »
nincehelser, thanks for a picture of it, I think the 'strike count' only goes to 199 [easily reset], but it has other options. IMO, a good little gadget, seems to be accurate and reliable. For ~$45 for a decent WX device you can't hardly go wrong...
[Can't hear it, eh? Lemme guess-- too much rock music years ago, hotrods/motorcycles??]

Vette-kid, try the acurite.com website, they often have 'deals/sales', free shipping, no sales tax [here], so cheaper than A. Bought my stuff direct, quick and easy.
Although sometimes get Amazon stuff overnight with 'normal' delivery [Got something or other once in ~12 hours from A, modern logistics are amazing. That stuff was a part of my career, a hassle even with my 3+ corp ship accts. Could get your butt in a sling pulling 'overnight-1 day ships' too much, needed an emergency.]

It does work quite well, I tried to 'check it out' fairly thoroughly; certainly easier than watching a lightning website.
And free to use once it's acquired, the battery(s) lasted about six months, AA's IIRC.

Offline nincehelser

  • Forecaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3140
Re: Personal lightning detector
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 12:01:53 AM »
nincehelser, thanks for a picture of it, I think the 'strike count' only goes to 199 [easily reset], but it has other options. IMO, a good little gadget, seems to be accurate and reliable. For ~$45 for a decent WX device you can't hardly go wrong...
[Can't hear it, eh? Lemme guess-- too much rock music years ago, hotrods/motorcycles??]

Otosclorsis and a botched surgery to try to fix it.

It's left me with a weird notch in the high frequencies.