Install near Railroad?

Installed the new shipping unit today. It seems that if a train goes by the lightning sensor goes crazy.
This was not a problem with the beta unit when laying horizontal.

Has anyone else experienced this? The Air unit is located over 1500 feet from the tracks.
I solved the problem by placing a tin ring around the unit (can with top and bottom cut off).
But, I sure that will also disable the lighting detection.

This was not a issue with the beta unit.


Try turning the Air 90°.


Thanks Gary,

That did make a difference. I know this post sounded crazy. But after some research I found that standard freight rails have something called a “track Circuit” that is used to detect trains for the signaling and control. It is a low voltage, med current system.

Who would have know? But it sure sets off the lightning detection. I wonder fi WeatherFlo did a hardware change in regards to the sensor from the beta units to the production units? Never had a issue with the beta unit.

What country are you in? I originally assumed that you were talking about electric trains in an urban setting. Most of the signals here in the USA operate on 5 volts in the rails, some utilizing low frequency signals down in the thousands of Hz. I guess that those frequencies could set off the lightning sensor, but I would think that being 1/4 plus miles away from the tracks would be enough separation against that interference.

Do any of your neighbors have a bug zapper???


@vreihen is correct that the track circuits are pretty low voltages. My question is whether the tracks in question have any overhead or third-rail electrification which might be used by passenger trains or other electric locomotives. Those systems run at around 25kv and, in addition to any contact noise, the drive systems in such trains/locomotives may do a lot of chopping of the single-phase 25kv to produce 3-phase AC for the traction motors. All great noise sources . . .


Just Maybe it’s the masive electric generators that power the trains.


as their are always strikes at collectors and even moreover pantographs are used the fail readings can be caused of those.

The lighting detector seems to be very sensitive.
Let’s stay tuned to see wether the CL/AI process would be able to filter those events,
@WFmarketing maybe trains (depending on type) have characteristic pattern ?
Hence you would have a precise train detector :wink:
@wlbryce: your station ID would be nice to have a look onto :thinking:

I highly doubt it. This very GP9 locomotive spends a few hours every week idling and doing switching duties less than 1,000 feet west of my house:


My station is 4992, and yes for the time being it does a good job of detecting trains!
But, I think I have this figured out.

I think it is a combination of the track circuits and that the track was just resurfaced the evening before. It looks like they took a big grinder and ground the rail tops. This leaves large grooves in the track surface.


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@wlbryce Wow, have not seen the rail resurfacing before. Would certainly expect some sparks (electrical activity) as a train runs over those rails! Correlation to your lightning data? Things like BBQ ignition switches and lighters also set off electro pulses that can be picked up by the Franklin sensor as lightning.


This is a rather confusing situation. First, a terrible job of surface finishing by the rail grinder. Second, unless this section of track is used for either overhead pantograph or third-rail traction power, there is not likely to be enough voltage x current (ie: power) in the track signaling circuits to generate detectable low radio frequency electrical noise to be picked up by the sensor in the Air unit.

I am not at all saying that Air isn’t acting as a train detector, but something about this situation still doesn’t make sense to me unless electric traction power is involved.


No third rail here.

It seems to be getting less and less. I had to totally block the signals with a metal shield (tin can).
I still think the resurfacing of the rails is causing the issue.

Its a issue that most will never have to deal with, But I thought it was interesting so I posted.


Just one of those continuing mysteries . . . and I am glad that you posted it.



I can pretty much say that the Railroad was the cause of the false lighting reporting.
Now that the rails are fully worn down and smooth I no longer have false reporting.

To fully verify this anomaly we just need the track to be reconditioned again and see if it happens again!

Im sure that will happen, so I will post when it does.

Not super important issue but just one the strange thing worth reporting.


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