Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Connecting to your house ground when the Service ground rod is non-existent  (Read 9094 times)
KG6OJO
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« on: January 23, 2012, 04:48:55 PM »

Hi Guys:

I am putting my home station back on the air, but my electrical service to the house comes in underground, and into my garage wall.  There is a main service breaker, below the meter and main panel, but no local ground rod visible anywhere near the panel, outside.  Our panels here in southern California are mounted outside so the Emergency service folks can shut everything off in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster.   So If I have to tie my station ground, and antenna structure ground, and all the newly added ground rods into my house ground at the panel, do I need to just attach the #6 copper wire to the ground bus in the panel via a thru wall connection?  Or do I need to contact my utility and have them come out and install another ground rod outside the panel and make the local connection? Has anyone else from California had to deal with this situation, and if so, what did you do?  Since my service comes in underground, I wonder if the ground rod connection for my house is located at some other junction box / underground service area?  Hmmmm Huh
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6046




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 06:35:54 AM »

Your ground wire is probably buried in the concrete wall, and the rod in the concrete pad or the foundation itself.  Since you have to have the antenna/tower ground system bonded to the electrical ground, your only choice may well be to connect it to the electrical ground in the electrical panel itself.  California code may force you to connect outside the panel, I'm not familiar with that, but you may have to chip concrete away from the wire outside the panel, and to do that, you're going to have to see where the wire leaves the panel--still necessitating opening the panel up.  If you're not sure how to do it, best you get it done professionally.
Logged
W6RMK
Member

Posts: 657




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 02:48:16 PM »

You don't need to cut the concrete away.  Somewhere below the entrance box (inside the wall), there is a wire coming up from the foundation to provide the grounding connection. You need to hook your bonding wire to that wire.  It's punch a hole in the wall time (unless there happens to be somewhere accessible.  In my house (SoCal late 90s), all the conduits for power, telephone and cable TV comes up in the same 16" space between the studs, and there's a grounding wire right next to the conduits, all of which is accessible behind the Cable TV access panel (which is about a foot wide and 6" high).  the power conduit has no breaks and goes right into the meter box (so you can't get access to the feeders), but the other conduits just end, and the cables come out.

There probably is no ground rod anywhere in your system (unless some less than competent cable TV or Satellite installer drove one because they couldn't find the right grounding connection)
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6046




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 05:45:30 AM »

Very true, Jim, and I overlooked that possibility.  It seemed that what was said is that the panel was attached to a concrete wall and the ground wire was buried in that--all the way into the foundation.  By all means, if there is a way to avoid damage to concrete, it should be used.  73!
Logged
KG6OJO
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 01:57:13 PM »

Hi Guys:

Thanks for the inputs.  Let me clarify further.  It appears the utility cabling does come from the street, underground, up through the edge of the slab and into the studded wall cavity of the garage.  The outer portion of the house is stucco, and inside the garage is sheetrock.  There are access panels for the telephone, cable, electical feed, etc.  There is even a master breaker below the meter which according to the schematic in the breaker box, connects the meter outputs to the electrical panel.  So chances are, the ground wire to the house comes in with the rest of the power cables, and a bonding connection will have to be made to this wire.  Since this connection goes to the breaker panel anyway, is it best to attach it as close to the slab as possible, hence requiring wall surgery near the slab, or can the connection be made at the panel?  I assume closest to the slab is preferred.  Once I find out which wall stud cavity the utility cable comes in, It should be very easy to make a "access" hole from inside the garage and then just drill a smaller hole out through the stucco to make the physical connection.  I will be easier to cover up the "access" hole in the garage with a access plate. 
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6046




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 05:36:22 AM »

Yes, closest to the slab would be preferrable.  If, however, you're unable or unwilling to do that (maybe because the XYL objects) the most important thing is that such a connection exists--so there won't be any possibility of someone becoming that connection by inadvertantly touching both equipment connected to your shack and equipment connected to the house ground system.

If you can locate that ground wire by looking inside the panel and following the entry point down to the floor, maybe you can install another access hatch at that point near the floor instead of ripping through the sheetrock and then repairing it.
Logged
W6RMK
Member

Posts: 657




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 08:04:10 AM »

If you're talking about a difference in distance of a few feet, it doesn't make any difference.

But I'm not sure about whether you can make that bonding connection *inside* your breaker box.

It's pretty easy to punch a hole through stucco or drywall and put a nice looking cover over it so that it looks like it is supposed to be there.  You want what's called a "mud ring" or "old work" frame.  It's like an electrical box with no back and short sides, but has the screw holes to mount a standard cover plate on it.  You carefully cut a hole in the drywall with a suitable saw (or serrated bread knife) that is exactly the size of the outside of the oldwork box.  You put the thing through the hole, and there's a couple screw actuated lugs that "clamp" against the backside of the drywall.  Do you work, put a duplex or triplex coverplate on, and you're done.
Logged
W2RWJ
Member

Posts: 193




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 05:20:52 PM »

I am putting my home station back on the air, but my electrical service to the house comes in underground, and into my garage wall. 

Odds are it's in the same stud bay as the disconnect.   If there is a Home Depot in your area they stock a plastic access panel that you can cut into the drywall to provide access to the ground rod.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/plumbing-plumbing-accessories-access-panels/14-in-x-14-in-plastic-wall-access-panel-144379.html

Logged
W6RMK
Member

Posts: 657




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 09:09:57 PM »

I am putting my home station back on the air, but my electrical service to the house comes in underground, and into my garage wall. 

Odds are it's in the same stud bay as the disconnect.   If there is a Home Depot in your area they stock a plastic access panel that you can cut into the drywall to provide access to the ground rod.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/plumbing-plumbing-accessories-access-panels/14-in-x-14-in-plastic-wall-access-panel-144379.html



Yes. although I went out and looked at mine.. The electrical service comes up in one stud bay where panel is, and all the rest come up in the next one over, where the cable TV hatches and the phone box is.  The ground wire from the slab (Ufer ground) comes up with the telco and cable tv, and goes through a hole in the stud to the electrical panel.

So you might need to do a bit of cutting and exploring.  Fortunately, you can get nice looking panels to cover the holes OR it's time to learn how to patch drywall.. It's pretty easy, and if it's in a garage, nobody will notice.  It's a very useful skill to have (putting a patch in, using the joint compound/spackle, and spraying it with the texture glop from a can.)  After that, you'll never fear changing a single gang to a double gang box inside, for instance.
Logged
KG6OJO
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 08:30:52 AM »

I aready know how, and have done a lot of drywall installation and repair, so that is the easy part.   Grin  Thanks for all the input.  I will check out the local home improvement store for the access panels and start hunting around for the ground wire. 
Logged
AA4PB
Member

Posts: 12907




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 06:17:43 PM »

The electrical code says that the bond must be made to the "electrical grounding system". To me, that means the ground rod, or the grounding conductor, or even the grounding buss bar in the panel where the grounding conductor terminates. Copper water pipes must be bonded and they are often (in my area) connected by a wire to the grounding buss in the panel rather than being spliced into the grounding conductor somewhere.

Make sure that all your antenna stuff is connected to its own ground rod and then run the bonding wire from that ground rod to the electrical grounding system.
Logged
KG6OJO
Member

Posts: 17




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2012, 10:31:13 PM »

I got started on the grounding system.  I rented a nuematic hammer and installed 2, 8' ground rods.  One near the antenna mast base, and one near the entry point where the coax cable will enter the house.  The two are separated by about 80' so the bigger question is do I still need to put more in, every 16' between these two?  Next will be to run about 100' of #6 wire I bought and connect both rods to the slab ground system once I figure out which stud bay it comes up in my garage.  I highly recommend using the nuematic hammer to put in ground rods.  I started with a few wacks with a sledge hammer to get the ground rod started, then switched over to the powered hammer.  It took about 3 minutes to drive a 8' rod into the ground.  The last time I put one in 100% manually with a sledge hammer, it took half an afternoon with two guys beating on it.   Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 10:43:21 PM by KG6OJO » Logged
KI6NQT
Member

Posts: 33




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 01:10:44 PM »

My AC service pnl is on the side of the house next to the garage.  The ufer ground was in the wall directly below where the breaker pnl was located.  I had to cut a portion of the drywall to get to it to connect the #6 to it, they used a 1" piece of rebar through the concrete foundation.
Hope this helps.

  Tim Ki6nqt
Logged
K2OWK
Member

Posts: 1066




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 03:05:57 PM »

Hello KG6OJO, Just a note, they make a slide hammer for the specific perpose of driving in ground rods. If you have understanding power company they may lend you one, if not you can buy one for about $100.00.

73s

K2OWK 
Logged
WV4L
Member

Posts: 141


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 08:15:43 AM »

Hello KG6OJO, Just a note, they make a slide hammer for the specific perpose of driving in ground rods. If you have understanding power company they may lend you one, if not you can buy one for about $100.00.

73s

K2OWK 

I rented an electric jack hammer. It actually had a bit one could use to drive ground rods. It worked like a charm. I drove a dozen 8 foot ground rods for my grounding system. Driving all of those by hand would have been a major task.

73

Wayne C.
WV4L
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!