For protecting portable or in-building equipment or even human lives, designers that want to sense lightning now have a tool thanks to austriamicrosystems AS3935 Franklin Lightning Sensor. The low-power sensor uses a sensitive RF receiver to detect the electrical emissions from lightning activity. An algorithm in the AS3935 converts the RF signal into an estimation of the distance to the head of the storm that can be from 40 km down to 1 km. While being sensitive, the IC avoids false readings by rejecting disturbances from man-made signals such as motors and microwave ovens.
Housed in a 4 mm x 4 mm 16-pin MLPQ package, the lightning sensor has multiple low-power modes, including a listening mode current consumption of 60 µA.
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Filed Under: Sensor Tips