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Re: [RFI] RFI Digest, Vol 106, Issue 5

To: rfi@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RFI] RFI Digest, Vol 106, Issue 5
From: Tim Groat <tcgroat@mesanetworks.net>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 20:48:35 -0700
List-post: <rfi@contesting.com">mailto:rfi@contesting.com>
On 11/10/2011 1:00 PM, rfi-request@contesting.com wrote:
> What difference does it make that it should ONLY be done
> at service panel?

The difference is what happens if a combined neutral/ground conductor 
opens. With a combined conductor the phase-to-neutral parts of the 
appliance will put a hazardous voltage on the chassis if that conductor 
opens. That requires only a single failure to be hazardous. That's 
particularly important for laundry dryers, which usually are near 
plumbing fixtures, on cement (conductive) basement floors, next to the 
(grounded) washing machine, etc. If this failure occurs, there is a good 
chance of a serious or fatal electric shock.

With separate neutral and ground conductors, the operating current 
returns through one wire (neutral, white) and there is no significant 
current in the other wire (ground, green or bare). If the neutral opens, 
the appliance stops working--but there is no shock hazard on the 
chassis. If the ground wire opens the voltage and current on the chassis 
are so low that they are not hazardous. It requires two failures to have 
a shock hazard: an open ground conductor and an insulation failure 
between the chassis and a hazardous circuit. This is much less likely to 
happen than the single failure, which is why the N.E.C. now requires 
separate conductors.
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