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I have a semi-urban hunting location that I would like to monitor remotely. I have an elevated (~20ft) box blind I am installing off-grid solar system (specs below) in. The purpose is to power a small consumer-grade 4 camera NVR security system using a cell hotspot for connection to the world (and instant notifications of intruders!).

I have all of the above squared away for the most part, but I am concerned that I might want to add fuses and or extra lightning rod type feature to the setup to protect it properly. Prior to this, I've had a game camera and small solar panel combo mounted on a 2x4 post at the top of this blind for 2 years without any sort of surge-related issues. There are lots of tall trees around. Here's a pic: elevated blind solar camera setup

The new solar setup I've installed is a 180 watt panel and 2 deep cycle 12 volt batteries and renogy controller and inverter. The panel is mounted to 2x4 frame which is ratchet strapped to the blind (didn't want to put a bunch of fastener holes into the blind itself.

Specific questions:

  1. Would adding fuses in line with the power supply for the nvr provide any lightning protection?
  2. Would adding a lightning rod to the blind be prudent?
  3. Should I consider myself lucky that my previous game camera setup survived unscathed for 2 seasons?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that if you add a lightning rod and it is not adequate you might find yourself attracting lightning bolts without mitigating the fire hazards from them. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Mar 5 at 10:15
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Would adding fuses in line with the power supply for the NVR provide any lightning protection?

Short answer, no. Lightning is millions of volts and thousands of amperes for a tiny fraction of a second - no fuse can protect against that. Fuses are a really good idea for fire prevention however and should be used, especially in an outdoor and heavily-wooded setting.

Would adding a lightning rod to the blind be prudent?

I'd think so, but couldn't say how much help it would be. Lightning has a tendency of jumping around erratically, like from a tree to the side of the blind even with a lightning rod installed. But better safe than sorry I suppose. Perhaps a good idea would be to check with your local building authority about the ramifications of lightning arrestors on private, wooded properties. They might have a stipulation or recommendation for them in regards to fire prevention.

Should I consider myself lucky that my previous game camera setup survived unscathed for 2 seasons?

Lightning is highly unpredictable. There have been historic reports of people being struck by lightning on a sunny day, with the storm miles away... although of course that is exceedingly rare. The chances of a nearby strike are remarkably low, but there is always a chance. The previous system may remain unscathed for the rest of it's useful life, or be struck tomorrow in broad daylight; lightning is a lot like gambling or playing the lottery, except in reverse.

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