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Author Topic: Need to bond ground system to elec main service?  (Read 3530 times)
CHRISDX
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Posts: 244




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« on: June 13, 2010, 08:00:40 AM »

Arghhh fat fingers, lost my first post.

Anyway, I plan to follow some advice I got here about grounding for lightning protection my antennas and station.  Basically, two ground rods, each mast on my chimney separately cabled to them, a grounded copper cable bulkhead with ICE or PolyPhaser lightning protectors to stop anything harmful coming through the center conductor.

The trouble is that the antenna masts and proposed grounds are on the south side,  my electrical main service comes into the peak on the east side (with no ground, just 2 neutrals and a hot correction, two hots and a neutral - the house is old), and a main feed through the attic to a electric meter on the north side, which feeds the breaker panel about 5' inside the house.  

There is a brass water line coming up the slab just inside the house where the electric meter is located, if that could be of any use here.  It runs about 50' under the lawn to the water meter which is in a pit out by the street.

Should I just implement the station and antenna ground and forget about the elec service?

Right now my lightning protection is a matter of disconnecting the feedlines and tossing them out the window. Not ideal!  

Thanks for any thoughts




« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 04:57:27 PM by Chris P KB1SNJ » Logged
CHRISDX
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Posts: 244




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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 09:10:09 AM »

I may have answered my own question by reading further. 

First, I need to find out if the panel and elec service is in fact grounded or not. I didnt think it was, but that would be unusual. I can have my electrician bond the panel, the service, and the water line to a proper ground rod per code and that would establish the service ground.

Then I will run a 4ga ground cable from that, around the house to the cable tv ground rod then on to the antenna ground rods. This should tie everything together.

I did learn that a water line is not bonded AS a ground, but rather to ground the water system to the ground rod and ground system. This is a safety mechanism to prevent electricity in the water system under some circumstances, by grounding the water system.

If anyone can corroborate, please do.

The first 12' of the ground wire that goes around the house will have to be tucked under the siding due to  concrete walkway, after that it will be buried along its path to the cable tv and antenna mast ground rods.


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KM5Z
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 01:58:39 PM »

First, I need to find out if the panel and elec service is in fact grounded or not. I didnt think it was, but that would be unusual. I can have my electrician bond the panel, the service, and the water line to a proper ground rod per code and that would establish the service ground.

Correct - have the panel checked out first, and while he's there, have the electrician add a ground
rod outside your panel.

In my house, the panel was grounded, in the attic, to the water system. The electrician said this was
code... in 1974, when the house was built!

I had him add a ground rod outside the panel and tie the panel to it. I subsequently tied my antenna
and radio grounds to this, so it's all tied together, bonded outside the house.

> Then I will run a 4ga ground cable from that, around the house to the cable tv ground rod then on
> to the antenna ground rods. This should tie everything together.

Your strategy seems sound. Some folks run a complete loop around the house, either of heavy gauge
copper wire or of braid taken from scrapped coax, secured at a number of locations (corners, likely)
with additional ground rods. I've heard this is a wise idea, ham or no ham.

> The first 12' of the ground wire that goes around the house will have to be tucked under the siding
> due to  concrete walkway, after that it will be buried along its path to the cable tv and antenna
> mast ground rods.

I wouldn't run it under anything... just out and straight down.

Mike Yancey
KM5Z
Dallas, Texas
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 02:00:24 PM by Mike Yancey » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 02:53:51 PM »

What year was your house built?  If the water main coming in IS brass--the entire length running underground to the meter pit, that may just make an ideal ground, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if you found that your electrical panel  WAS connected to it.

If the panel is (check the panel itself--some services aren't grounded at the meter), THAT is your house safety ground.  You should use a ground rod for your lightning arrestors outside the house, and bond that to the water pipe to provide for a common ground for safety. 

You do NOT have to upgrade your grounding system to meet current code requirements unless you upgrade your electrical panel or service.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 04:40:35 PM »

...(with no ground, just 2 neutrals and a hot - the house is old

Never seen that. 

Recheck, it is likely to be two Line and one Neutral. 


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CHRISDX
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2010, 04:58:39 PM »

your right!  i mistyped. now corrected, my house has 2 hots and a neutral, unknown if or how grounded on the service.

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K9KJM
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2010, 10:56:38 PM »

you NEED to somehow bond your ground system to your electrical ground system, (Whatever it is) 
If you have to run a long wire to do so, Add extra ground rods along its path (Space ground rods about twice the distance apart as the depth- Space 8 foot deep rods about 16 or so feet apart)
#6 copper is considered the MINIMUM size to use, So your proposal to use #4 is even better.

(Proper bonding of all of your grounds (Towers, Masts, Electric entrance, Telco, Cable TV etc is vital!)   
MUCH more important then the actual device used. Buy wire and ground rods first. Buy the lightning arrestors LAST.

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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 03:44:09 AM »


.....You do NOT have to upgrade your grounding system to meet current code requirements unless you upgrade your electrical panel or service.

Before someone jumps on me here, what I should have said is you don't have to upgrade your HOUSE ELECTRICAL grounding system to meet current code requirements unless you upgrade your electrical panel or service.  Just bonding your shack grounding system to the electrical ground is not considered an upgrade.
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CHRISDX
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 10:11:03 PM »

k9kjm yeah you validated that first I plan to get the house elect ground checked and brought to standards by my electrician (he's coming anyway for something else), then bond that to the cable tv and then antenna mast ground rods. no reason i cant add a couple more along the way since the #4 will be going around the house (all but the first 12' can be buried).

i have oxyacetylene so i plan to wrap one wrap at each ground rod for each stranded #4 and braze that onto the ground rod.

i own my house and also plan to be here a while, and really we're talking $200 in materials for the rods and a couple hundred feet total of #4.

the 3 lightning arrestors are 60ea except the dc-passthrough one for the tv antennas which is 115. plus the eaather enclosure/bulhead box for $50

well it adds up but these should be one time expenses.




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W9PMZ
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 05:11:53 PM »

"i have oxyacetylene so i plan to wrap one wrap at each ground rod for each stranded #4 and braze that onto the ground rod."

They make mechanical clamps for this and using the clamp is the correct method.

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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CHRISDX
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Posts: 244




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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 06:53:07 PM »

clamp vs brazed:

all else being equal, which is a better bond electrically? 

and which bond would maintain its electrical integrity for longer time?



"i have oxyacetylene so i plan to wrap one wrap at each ground rod for each stranded #4 and braze that onto the ground rod."

They make mechanical clamps for this and using the clamp is the correct method.

73,

Carl - W9PMZ
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K9KJM
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 09:01:34 PM »

BRAZED, IF using high silver/copper/nickel content rod, NOT plain brass rod.

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CHRISDX
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 04:13:06 AM »

why not plain brass rod?
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W8JI
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 06:55:25 AM »

why not plain brass rod?

So.......

you are worried about the resistance difference between a clamp and brazing or welding or silver soldering (with real silver solder) in a path that probably has hundreds of ohms of impedance to ground rods that have dozens of ohms of resistance at the frequency bandwidth of lightning.

:-)


I would just use a good clamp rated for the job and be done.

If you had an extensive ground on a large tower, then you might worry more about connection quality. :-)

I think your main worries are mechanical life and the distances involved.

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K9KJM
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2010, 10:43:15 PM »

Using a proper mechanical clamp, Close to $3.00 EACH. Using the correct alloy braze rod, Even if you have to pay full retail price and do a slopply braze job and waste some of it, What, Maybe .50 cents per joint for a better finished job?  No question which way I do it.

Of course if you have access to a huge quantity of good mechanical clamps from a buddy in the power utilities, etc. That changes the whole formula........

In most areas "dumpster diving" power company yards is drying up fast.......   
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