lightning arrester explained

The BEST Lightning Arrester for Your Business in Malaysia- TAKO since 1979 Lightning Solutions

What is a Lightning Arrester?

A lightning arrester is a device used on electrical lines to protect them from lightning strikes. It’s like a safety switch that diverts harmful surges away from your home’s electrical system.

gold house lightning arrester

Lightning can cause voltage surges, but we use lightning arrester to protect electrical devices. These devices divert high surges safely to the ground, preventing damage like sparks and arcs.

Unlike lightning rods that passively attract strikes, a lightning arrester acts as a vigilant guardian on your home’s exterior. This device, typically located near transformers on power lines, is easily identifiable by its distinctive spiral metal shape.

Earthing wires also protect against lightning by giving current a safe path. They’re commonly found on poles, towers, and buildings. They intercept surges along conductors, allowing the spike to flow harmlessly to the ground through the ground terminal.

Once stabilized, the current stops, and the arrester resets. They’re usually placed close to the equipment they shield, either between phase and ground in AC systems or ground and pole in DC systems. Read more about this here.

Different Types of Lightning Arresters

There are two main types of lightning arresters:

  • Spark gap arresters: These use air gaps to divert surges.
  • Solid-state arresters: These use special materials like silicon carbide to divert surges.
lightning arresters

Where are Lightning Arresters Used?

Lightning arresters are used in many places, including:

  • Electric power transmission lines: These lines carry high voltage electricity and are especially vulnerable to lightning strikes.
  • Telecommunication lines: These lines carry phone and internet signals and can be damaged by lightning surges.
  • Electrical fences: Lightning arresters can protect electrical fences from damage.
  • Homes: Smaller versions of lightning arresters, called surge protectors, can be used to protect your home electronics from surges.

Main Functions of Lightning Arrester

Imagine a lightning arrester as a two-way gate on the power line. Normally, electricity flows through one side and out the other. But when a powerful surge from lightning hits, the arrester opens the gate to the ground. This diverts the surge away from your home and keeps your appliances safe.

Lightning arresters, also locally known as surge arresters or lightning rods, serve vital functions in safeguarding electrical systems and equipment against lightning strikes and transient voltage surges. Here’s a breakdown of their key roles:

  1. Lightning Protection:
    • Lightning Diversion: These devices redirect lightning strikes away from sensitive electrical equipment by creating a direct pathway to the ground.
    • Energy Dissipation: They disperse the powerful energy of lightning strikes, preventing damage to connected devices by offering a controlled discharge route.
  2. Surge Protection:
    • Voltage Regulation: These shields defend against sudden voltage surges from sources like the power grid, ensuring electrical panel safety.
    • Damage Prevention: By diverting excess current, they maintain safe voltage levels, protecting electrical devices from harm.
  3. Equipment Safety and Longevity:
    • Extended Lifespan: Shielding electrical devices from lightning and surges enhances their durability and reliability..
    • Reduced Downtime: By preventing lightning damage, they minimize operational disruptions across industries.
  4. Fire Prevention:
    • Fire Risk Reduction: They prevent excessive heating or ignition of flammable materials, mitigating fire risks in electrical panels.
  5. Protecting Infrastructure:
    • Power System Safety: Vital for safeguarding power lines and substations, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to electrical devices.
    • Telecommunication Preservation: They protect telecommunication infrastructure, such as antennas and towers, to maintain communication services during and after lightning events.

How Does it Work?

Lightning strikes create powerful surges of electricity that can travel through power lines. The lightning arrester steps in at this crucial moment. Here’s its heroic act:

  1. Surge Detection: When a lightning strike sends a surge hurtling through the power line, the arrester detects the surge’s high voltage.
  2. Diversion Strategy: This intelligent device acts like a traffic cop, diverting the surge away from your home’s electrical system.
  3. Safe Passage to Ground: The surge is safely channeled towards the ground through a predetermined path within the arrester, protecting your valuable appliances from potential damage.

Key Features of a Lightning Arrester:

  • Breakdown Specialist: A healthy lightning arrester can quickly “break down” when faced with an abnormal voltage exceeding its threshold. This breakdown allows the surge to be safely diverted to the ground.
  • Precise Timing: The arrester diverts the surge at the exact moment the voltage reaches a critical point, ensuring maximum protection.
  • Selective Operation: Under normal power conditions, the arrester remains non-conductive, allowing electricity to flow freely. It only activates when a dangerous surge occurs.
  • Durable Defender: Even after multiple breakdowns (surge diversions), a well-designed arrester maintains its functionality, continuously safeguarding your electrical system.

Where is a Lightning Arrester Installed?

The ideal location for a lightning arrester is close to the equipment it protects. This typically involves connecting it between the power line and your home’s electrical panel, effectively creating a shield against incoming surges.

Ensuring Complete Protection

While lightning arresters provide a vital layer of defense, some power supplies might require additional surge diverters for ultimate protection. Consulting a qualified electrician can help you determine the best setup for your specific electrical needs.

Remember, a properly installed lightning arrester acts as your home’s silent hero during a storm, ensuring your electrical system and appliances remain safe from the damaging effects of lightning strikes.


The importance of lightning arresters lies in their crucial role in protecting electrical and electronic systems from the destructive effects of lightning strikes. Lightning is a natural phenomenon that can generate extremely high voltage surges, posing a significant threat to various structures and electrical devices connected to power lines.

To sum up the significance, Lightning strikes can cause major damage to electrical systems. Lightning arresters help to prevent this damage by diverting surges away from sensitive equipment.

Here are key reasons highlighting the importance of lightning arresters:

  1. Equipment Safety: Shield your electrical devices from lightning-induced voltage spikes, preventing costly damage.
  2. Reliable Systems: Maintain uninterrupted power flow, crucial for homes, industries, and businesses, by safeguarding critical components.
  3. Fire Risk Reduction: Minimize the chance of fire outbreaks by safely directing lightning energy to the ground, averting potential disasters in electrical panels.
  4. Cost Savings: Avoid hefty expenses on equipment replacements and repairs with an affordable solution that mitigates lightning-related risks.
  5. Personnel Safety: Ensure a secure environment for workers and residents by preventing electrical mishaps and fire hazards.
  6. Infrastructure Security: Safeguard essential infrastructure like power lines and communication systems, reducing repair needs and downtime.
  7. Regulatory Compliance: Meet industry and safety standards, ensuring legal compliance and easing insurance requirements.

Differences between Suge Arrester and Lightning Arrester

Surge Arresters: Indoor Guardians Against Voltage Spikes

  • Function: Surge arresters act as internal protectors for your home’s electrical system. They shield your appliances from a variety of voltage spikes, including those caused by lightning strikes, switching operations within the power grid, and even electrical faults.
  • Installation: These protectors reside indoors, typically mounted within your main circuit breaker panel.
  • How They Work: When a surge hits your electrical system, the surge arrester intercepts it, diverting the excess unwanted energy towards the ground wire. This prevents the surge from reaching your appliances and causing damage.
  • Types: Surge arresters come in various forms, including low-voltage, distribution, and neutral protection types.

Lightning Arresters: Outdoor Protectors from Powerful Strikes

  • Function: Lightning arresters stand guard on the exterior of your home, safeguarding your electrical equipment from external threats, primarily direct lightning strikes.
  • Installation: These protectors are positioned outdoors, typically connected to the external panel board.
  • How They Work: When lightning strikes and creates a surge, the lightning arrester diverts the powerful surge directly to the ground through the arrester itself. Additionally, these systems are often connected to grounding rods or earthing wires for further protection against direct lightning strikes.
  • Types: Lightning arresters come in various forms as well, such as metal oxide, electrolyte, and horn arresters.

Choosing the Right Protector: Surge Arrester vs. Lightning Arrester

While both surge arresters and lightning arresters offer protection, their areas of expertise differ:

  • Surge arrestors are ideal for handling a wider range of voltage fluctuations, including those caused by everyday electrical events.
  • Lightning arrestors specialize in handling the extreme power surges associated with lightning strikes.

In most cases, homeowners can choose either surge arresters or lightning arresters for basic protection. However, the best course of action depends on your specific needs and concerns.

When to Call a Professional:

If you’re unsure which type of arrester is best for your home, or if you have complex electrical needs, consult a certified and experienced electrician. Every home’s electrical system is unique, and a professional can assess your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate solution. Don’t hesitate to seek expert advice to ensure your valuable electronics are properly protected.

Why Lightning Arresters Are Crucial in Malaysia

Malaysia’s tropical climate makes it a prime target for lightning strikes, ranking third globally! This poses a significant threat to buildings, electrical systems, and equipment. Here’s why lightning arresters are essential in Malaysia:

lightning arrester in malaysia
  • Protection from Powerful Surges: Lightning strikes generate extremely high voltage surges that can damage electrical wiring, appliances, and even cause fires. Lightning arresters act as shields, diverting these surges safely to the ground.
  • Safeguarding Lives and Property: Lightning strikes can also be dangerous for people and livestock. By preventing damage to electrical systems, lightning arresters indirectly contribute to a safer environment.
  • Minimizing Disruptions: Lightning strikes can disrupt power supplies, causing inconvenience and potential financial losses. Lightning arresters help maintain a stable power supply by minimizing damage to electrical infrastructure.
  • Cost-Effective Solution: The cost of a lightning arrester is significantly lower compared to the potential damage caused by a lightning strike. It’s a wise investment in protecting your valuable electrical equipment and infrastructure.

In essence, lightning arresters provide a vital layer of defense against the damaging effects of lightning in Malaysia’s lightning-prone environment.

Why Work with Us?

TAKO since 1979

TAKO since 1979 Earthing and Lightning Protection System is your one-stop-shop for all your lightning protection needs. We offer a comprehensive range of products and services to provide you with a total solution. TAKO Earthing and Lightning Protection System have over 21 years of experience in the field.

Our team of experts has vast knowledge and experience from design and installation to testing and maintenance of lightning arresters. Trust in TAKO Earthing and Lightning Protection System for a total solution to your lightning protection needs.

In a nutshell, it’s a total solution for every bit of anxiety that disturbs your good night’s sleep during a deadly rainstorm. This is an excellent choice for you to ensure your safety and the safety of your beloved property, but don’t know where to start. With lightning arresters typically installed, you can rest assured knowing your electrical devices are protected.


What is the function of the arrester?

The primary function of an arrester, also known as a surge arrester or lightning arrester, is to protect electrical systems and equipment from the damaging effects of lightning strikes and transient voltage surges. It achieves this by providing a low-resistance path for the excessive current generated during a lightning strike or surge, diverting it safely to the ground and away from sensitive equipment.

Is it arrester or arrestor?

Both terms, “arrester” and “arrestor,” are commonly used interchangeably to refer to devices that protect against lightning and surge-related damage. The choice between the two terms is often a matter of regional or industry preference. Generally, both terms are acceptable and convey the same meaning in the context of electrical protection devices.

What is the working principle of arrester?

The primary function of an arrester is to protect electrical systems and equipment from the damaging effects of lightning strikes and transient voltage surges. It achieves this by providing a low-resistance path for the excessive current generated during a lightning strike or surge, diverting it safely to the ground and away from sensitive equipment.

Is a lightning arrester AC or DC?

Lightning arresters are designed to handle both AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) applications. They are commonly used in power distribution systems, where the current is AC. The arrester’s non-linear resistor ensures that it responds to both positive and negative voltage fluctuations associated with AC power. Additionally, they can be used in DC applications, providing protection against lightning and surge events in various electrical systems and equipment, irrespective of the current type.

What does a lightning arrester do?

A lightning arrester diverts dangerous high-voltage surges from lightning strikes away from your home’s electrical system.

What do lightning arresters help prevent?

Lightning arresters help prevent surges from damaging your electrical appliances and wiring.

What is a commonly used lightning arrester?

Metal oxide arresters are a common type, known for their durability and effectiveness.

What is the difference between lightning protection and a lightning arrester?

Lightning protection is a broader term that can include arresters, rods, and grounding systems. An arrester is a specific device that diverts surges.

What is the purpose of an arrester?

An arrester’s purpose is to act as a safety valve, diverting harmful surges away from your electrical equipment.

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