What Are The Basic Requirements Of A Good Arrester?

When it comes to protecting electrical systems and equipment from the damaging effects of overvoltage, a good arrester plays a crucial role. An arrester, also known as a surge protector or lightning arrester, is designed to divert excessive electrical energy away from sensitive components, ensuring the safety and reliability of the system.

While there are various types and models of arresters available in the market, they all share some common basic requirements. In this article, we will explore these requirements and understand what makes a good arrester.

1. High Surge Current Handling Capability

One of the primary requirements of a good arrester is its ability to handle high surge currents. During a lightning strike or other surge events, an arrester should be able to divert the excessive current away from the protected equipment. This capability is measured in terms of the arrester’s surge current rating, which indicates the maximum amount of current it can safely handle.

A good arrester should have a surge current handling capability that matches or exceeds the potential surge current expected in the system. This ensures that the arrester can effectively divert the surge energy and prevent it from reaching the sensitive equipment.

2. Low Voltage Protection Level

Another important requirement of a good arrester is its ability to provide a low voltage protection level. The voltage protection level, also known as the clamping voltage, is the maximum voltage that the arrester allows to pass through to the protected equipment.

A low voltage protection level is desirable as it ensures that the equipment is exposed to minimal voltage transients. This helps in preventing damage to the equipment and ensures its longevity. It is important to note that the voltage protection level should be well below the insulation withstand capability of the equipment being protected.

3. Fast Response Time

A good arrester should also have a fast response time. When a surge event occurs, the arrester should be able to react quickly and divert the excessive energy away from the equipment. A fast response time ensures that the equipment is protected before any damage can occur.

The response time of an arrester is typically measured in nanoseconds (ns). The lower the response time, the faster the arrester can respond to a surge event. It is important to choose an arrester with a response time that is suitable for the specific application and the expected surge events.

4. Reliability and Durability

Reliability and durability are crucial requirements for any electrical component, and arresters are no exception. A good arrester should be able to withstand the rigors of the environment and provide reliable protection over its lifespan.

Factors such as the quality of materials used, manufacturing processes, and design play a significant role in determining the reliability and durability of an arrester. It is important to choose arresters from reputable manufacturers who have a track record of producing high-quality products.

5. Compliance with Standards

Lastly, a good arrester should comply with relevant industry standards and regulations. These standards ensure that the arrester has been tested and certified to meet specific performance and safety requirements.

When selecting an arrester, it is important to verify that it complies with the applicable standards, such as the IEC 61643 series for low-voltage arresters or the IEEE C62 series for high-voltage arresters. Compliance with standards provides assurance that the arrester has undergone rigorous testing and meets the necessary performance criteria.


In conclusion, a good arrester should have a high surge current handling capability, a low voltage protection level, a fast response time, reliability and durability, and compliance with industry standards. By meeting these basic requirements, an arrester can effectively protect electrical systems and equipment from the damaging effects of overvoltage, ensuring their safety and reliability.

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