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Re: [TowerTalk] Another Grounding Question

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Another Grounding Question
From: Jim Brown <>
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2012 21:08:44 -0700
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On 9/6/2012 8:44 PM, Gary "Joe" Mayfield wrote:
There is no obvious ground rod to be seen.

Don't ignore the possibility that there is none, or that it's buried somewhere. Many electricians are better carpenters than technicians, and their technical training is often weak.

NEC (and good engineering practice) require that there be a ground connection AT THE SERVICE ENTRANCE (that is, at the first electrical enclosure in your home after the meter. Grounds may be ADDED, but that one is required.

What usually comes from the power company through the meter to our homes is three wires 120-0-120. That is, both sides of center-tapped 240V transformer, plus the center tap, which is the Neutral. While the neutral is grounded by the power company at various points in their distribution system, that ground is for lightning protection, and is not intended to carry current. Only two sides of 120V and the neutral should carry current.

I've seen some real messes, including the house I bought here in California. The biggest goof -- there was no "ground rod," instead the panel was "grounded" to a hose outlet about 40 ft away from the panel, and that hose outlet was connected to PVC pipe. In other words, there was no earth connection.

73, Jim K9YC

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