How To Protect Your Coax Equipment

July 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Coaxial lines have a wide range of uses- from video connections to wireless LANs- and are commonly used in both residential and commercial applications. Some of the advantages of coax are that it provides for ease of connection, low noise, and is easy to acquire and install.


But in just the blink of an eye, your expensive coax attached equipment or coax connected system could be hit by a powerful lightning strike that has the potential to ruin everything. 


That’s why the all-mighty engineering gurus came up with a device called a coax lightning protector


We’ve touched on this topic briefly in a previous post (Surge Protectors: Your Best Investment in Protecting Your Wireless Network) but today we will focus specifically on:


• Quarter Wave coaxial lightning and surge protectors

• Gas Discharge coaxial lightning and surge protectors

• Coax lightning protectors integrated into coax cable


 First, let’s find out- 



Why coax is vulnerable


In a coaxial cable an electrical impulse signal is transmitted along the cable length between the center conductor and the outer conductor. This makes coax an extremely effective conduit for lightning generated pulses. 


Therefore, lightning and power surges present a considerable threat to expensive electronic and networking equipment connected to coax cables.


Your options for Coaxial Lightning and Surge Protectors

Quarter Wave coaxial surge protectors are designed to pass the desired frequency while suppressing lightning surges, much like a signal filter. Lightning strike electrical surges, which operate at low frequencies, are diverted through the protector's short-circuit to the ground. 


Here at L-com, we offer HyperLink brand quarter wave suppressors. With a non-gas tube design, multi-strike capability and fast response time they are suitable for a wide range of applications. 


The lightning protector's housing also uses a ground lug, which allows for superior grounding. Both connector ports on these suppressors are equally protected, which provides equal protection no matter which way it is installed.


On the other hand, Gas Discharge coaxial protectors are a type of lightning arrestor which employs a replaceable gas discharge tube. This component actually contains a small amount of gas. The gas tube dumps extremely high amounts of surge energy directly to the ground of the protector. 


A circular brass contact inside the coaxial protector ensures the gas tube is firmly seated and provides a superior contact point for the gas tube. Most coaxial protectors are designed with only a thin pin that the gas tube sits on.


L-com’s HyperLink® coaxial lightning and surge arrestors are available for 0-3 GHz operation or 0-6 GHz operation.


Here's how it works: 




And your third option for protecting your coax connected equipment is our surge protector integrated coax cables


These protectors are high performance low loss 400-series cable assemblies that feature a N-Male connector to a N-Female Bulkhead in-line gas discharge tube lightning protector. Attached directly to the cable, the coaxial lightning protector features wide-band operation up to 5.8 GHz. This saves on insertion loss by having one less connector inline.


The cable assemblies feature L-com's CA-400 UV resistant polyethylene jacketed high performance flexible low loss coaxial cable. Attached directly to the cable is L-com's AL6-NF-14-9 5.8 GHz coaxial lightning protector. 


These assemblies also feature a replaceable gas tube element and multi-strike capability. Additionally, a ground lug and terminal is attached directly to the lightning protector housing, which provides superior grounding. 


If you’re looking for something that is not listed on the L-com website, custom lengths and connectors are also available.


Don’t hesitate- protect your valuable coax investment today!



© L-com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. L-com, Inc., 50 High Street, West Mill, Third Floor, Suite 30, North Andover, MA 01845