Module 3:

Lightning and Surge Protection System Design

This is not your standard course within the industry that teaches you just how to comply with the Lightning Protection Code. It goes beyond the code minimums. Read on!!

This course is co-sponsored by I.E.E.E. ( The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.) with discounts available for I.E.E.E. members.

This course which will be offered in conjunction with other grounding course offerings. This will allow attendees to participate in other related courses an minimize travel costs.

The course will cover general and advanced principles used for the protection of power systems, electrical equipment, and facilities from the damaging effects of lightning and related transients. It is structured to cover all areas of concern for practicing engineers and installers. Most courses on this topic address only the "how" but omit the "why". Consequently engineers do not have the requisite knowledge to know how to handle unique situations and how to correctly utilize lightning and surge protection equipment.

This course will draw into the curriculum, design and theoretical principles, published within national and international standards and decades of I.E.E.E. papers written on the subject. It will also be focused on the information the instructor has needed during his professional career as a designer, consultant, and instructor.

Instructor: Charles Pratt, P.E.

  • Practicing professional engineer since 1971.
  • Life member of various I.E.E.E. power, industry, and EMC societies
  • Member of the Lightning Protection Institute.
  • Instructor for Army Corps of Engineers in the technical areas of grounding, surge protection, and lightning protection system design
  • Instructor was instrumental in affecting changes to NFPA 78 (now 780) in 1982 in the area of sideflash bonding requirements and calculations for lightning protection systems. Prior to this time a fixed distance standard rule of thumb was in use and resulted in improper design of bonding systems.

Why is this course unique?

  • Primary focus will be the design of protection systems following NFPA, LPI, and UL systems but will also incorporate important information from IEC 62305.
  • Covers commercial, industrial, and utility systems and protection from effects of direct and induced transients from lightning
  • Taught by an instructor with decades of experience ferretting out fact from fiction and "sales pitches" from lightning protection equipment manufacturers
  • Provides students with theory and some lab demonstrations to support the theory
  • Time is dedicated to sample calculations and designs of a full protection system.
  • Covers the electrical theory, system analysis, and physics which form the basis for lightning and surge protection standards. Answers many of the "Whys".
  • Grounding electrode and array performance under fast transients addressed for grounding electrode arrays, counterpoises, and substation ground grids.
  • Lightning protection design based on NFPA 780. In addition to basic design principles topics will include enough technical foundation to assist you in handling protection of atypical or non-standard conditions and structures.
  • Will remove much of the "mystique" and "black magic" commonly associated with lightning and surge protection and dispel many common fallacies.
  • Class sizes are kept small to optimize your personal learning experience
  • Information not limited to a specific manufacturer of equipment.
  • Hands-on experience in seeing actual waveforms and performances of conductors during lab exercises.
  • Design "rule-of-thumb" tips provided to minimize system redesign
  • Information exceeds that of many other similar course on the market

Course Structure

The depth of the material is primarily geared for graduate electrical engineers however electrical technicians and lightning protection installers can also benefit from the course. A knowledge of basic circuit theory and knowledge of how resistance, inductance, and capacitance behave when subjected to high frequencies will allow the attendee to get the most from the course.

During short lab exercises, students will be able to see demonstrations of component performance during actual surges. A surge generator capable of 6-kV transient impulses may be used during some of these demonstrations. Additional multichannel oscilloscopes and metering equipment will augment the equipment used during these tests.

Course Materials

The student will receive an extensive workbook that exceeds the quality of training manuals of most courses of this type. Each workbook page contains a single lecture slide and appropriate comments by the instructor designed to minimize note taking by the student and to provide a more useful future reference.

Lastly, each attendee will receive a DVD that captures all of the audio and projections of the lecture covering the sample problem sessions. These sessions will be designed to work through actual design challenges.


Thursday: 8AM to 5PM lecture, sample problems, and computations

Continuing Education Credits

7 PDHs will be provided for through the I.E.E.E. Education Program  for those students needing professional continuing education credits. Actual credits depend on final course length.

Price:  $500.00 (US)

(There is a 10% discount available for I.E.E.E. members registering at any time in addition to any other discounts offered. See registration form for early registration and other discounts. )

Dates and Locations

See "Training" webpage.

Participant slots are limited to 16 to maximize student involvement.



IEEE CEU's: IEEE Continuing Education Programs are peer-reviewed by content experts. This peer review guarantees both quality of the technical content of learning materials, as well as adherence to IEEE’s strict criteria for educational excellence. All programs that pass this strict process are entitled to award IEEE Continuing Education Units (CEUs), recognized as the standard of excellence for continuing education programs in IEEE’s fields of interest.


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