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Re: [TowerTalk] outlet ground problems and shack grounds updating info n

To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] outlet ground problems and shack grounds updating info needed please.
From: "Jim Brown" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 10:24:48 -0700
List-post: <">>
On Sat, 24 Jul 2010 22:15:43 -0500, Fred wrote:

>I have a grounding question for all you rf experts.

Hi Fred,

I suggest that you study the Power and Grounding tutorial that's on my 
website.   It's in the section 
on audio and video. 

Also study the piece on Ham Interfacing, and in the RFI Tutorial, look 
at the chapter on Solving Problems in the Shack.

There's one big problem with your installation. Building safety codes 
require that the wire that connects the third round pin in the outlet 
to the breaker panel be run WITH THE OTHER TWO CONDUCTORS. There are 
three VERY good reasons for that. First, inductance -- if if follows a 
separate path, the inductance, which is proportional to loop area, 
increases the time that it takes a breaker to blow in the case of a 
fault. Second, if something causes the ground to break, it should also 
interrupt the hot and neutral. Third, when you bypass the hot (phase) 
conductor to ground with a capacitor, the resulting inductive loop area 
is very small if the ground is run with the phase and neutral, but very 
large if they are run separately. That loop acts as both a magnetic 
loop and an antenna to radiate power line noise, and it also picks up 
your transmitted RF and puts it on the power line. Most equipment has 
capacitance between the phase conductor and ground, usually in the form 
of a line filter and in the capacitance to ground of the power 

Because it can be so difficult to replace existing wiring like yours, 
older buildings are "grandfathered" -- that is, they are exempted from 
the legal requirement of grounded outlets. 

But you want to be safer and have your station work better. In your 
case, if you can run a ground wire up from the panel to your shack, you 
should also replace the existing power wiring in your shack with new 
power wiring that follows that path. You don't need to disconnect the 
existing outlets, but simply abandon them (or use them for lighting), 
and use the new wiring for your ham and computer gear. If it were me, I 
would use #12 copper, and pull in two circuits. This allows you put 
them on 20A breakers. If you need 240V in your shack, put those two 
circuits on opposite legs, and wire the two hots to a 240V outlet. You 
should put all of this in proper steel boxes that you can buy at any 
good hardware store. 

For your installation, I think you're moving in the best direction 
possible -- that is, new ground rods, bonded together, bonded to your 
shack ground. BUT -- they MUST be bonded to the power system ground at 
the breaker panel. 

73, Jim Brown K9YC


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