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RE: [TowerTalk] Ground rod sticker shock

To: "Daron J. Wilson" <>, <>,<>
Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Ground rod sticker shock
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 2004 14:11:25 -0800
List-post: <>
At 01:28 PM 11/9/2004 -0800, Daron J. Wilson wrote:
Sounds pretty good, wonder if you should share your 'experience' with
the folks at the National Fire Protection Association, National
Electrical Code, ANSI, IEEE, and all those kind of places?  There must
be some reason they approve what they do, and it is usually due to a
large amount of testing and evaluation.

Sure, copper pipe might work fine, so long as your insurance agent is
willing to pay out for your lightning damage even though your
installation doesn't meet the recognized codes.  I dunno, it just isn't
worth it to me.

Daron J. Wilson, RCDD          ) )
Telecom Manager               ( (
LH Morris Electric, Inc.       ) )
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Copper pipe would be accepted under the code if properly installed. Without checking the code, off hand I would say that burying it in a trench would meet the requirements.

If one is talking IEEE Std 142-1991 (the "green" book), chapter 4 goes into a fair amount of detail about what is acceptable for grounding electrodes. What you are talking about with either ground rods or copper pipe is called a "made electrode" (differentiated from using something that's already there, such as well casings, piping, etc.). Section 4.2.2 talks about Driven Electrodes. Then, there's the ever popular Concrete Encased Electrode (aka the Ufer ground). Finally, there's the 4.2.4 "other electrodes" which refers to "buried metal strips, wires, or cables". "The depth at which the strips are buried may not be critical.... Tests by the NBS show that resistance decreases only about 5% when burial depth is increased from 18 to 36 inches. Similarly, the effect of conductor size is extremely small."

Section 4.3.1 talks about choice of rods and mentions that the reason for copper coating is NOT to make a better contact with the soil (there's lots of surface area), but to make a better contact with the (presumably) copper grounding wire.

The code requires 8 buried feet, so the 10 foot standard rod gets you there with 2 feet above ground to make the connection.


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