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Author Topic: Yet another grounding question  (Read 5074 times)
N5GZH
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« on: December 06, 2013, 03:34:01 PM »

I'm sure this has been discussed here already, so I apologize in advance for asking again.  But my question is pretty specific and opinions I read on the net seem split about 50/50.

Should the station ground ( ground rod near the shack)  be electrically bonded to the doggone house neutral/ breaker panel ? The house wiring itself is only grounded back through the "neutral" to the pole, so far as I can tell.

Thanks,

Jim
N5GZH

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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 04:06:02 PM »

The house panel should have a heavy grounding wire going to a ground rod. You are required by the NEC to permanently bond your radio ground rod(s) to the panel grounding conductor or ground rod. This is a safety issue to prevent the possibility of having two grounds at different potentials.

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N5GZH
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 06:24:20 PM »

The house panel should have a heavy grounding wire going to a ground rod. You are required by the NEC to permanently bond your radio ground rod(s) to the panel grounding conductor or ground rod. This is a safety issue to prevent the possibility of having two grounds at different potentials.


Not what I wanted to hear, but sounds like you are correct. 

There is almost certainly no dedicated ground rod for the house, so  I'm wondering if it was done to codes initially?  Nothing flagged on inspection when  the house was  purchased.  My station ground was installed by a licensed electrician and I asked him if the panel and station ground should be bonded.  He said absolutely not, because a lightning strike on the mains would destroy my transceiver.  But sounds like I need to have a different electrician take a look at it.   

I disconnect it all, except the transceiver to station ground, when not in use.  But I suspect the major issue here is legal.  I'm  also wondering if noise will find its way in by way of the mains neutral. 

Thanks for the advice.  I know this is a much hashed-over issue.

Jim
N5GZH
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 06:33:57 AM »

Tell your electrician to take a look at NEC 810.21(J)

(J) Bonding of Electrodes. A bonding jumper not smaller than 6AWG copper or equivalent shall be connected between the radio and television equipment grounding electrode and the power grounding electrode system at the building or structure served where separate electrodes are used.

Note: This is from my NEC2005 book.
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KC9YTJ
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 06:52:48 AM »

Tell your electrician to take a look at NEC 810.21(J)

(J) Bonding of Electrodes. A bonding jumper not smaller than 6AWG copper or equivalent shall be connected between the radio and television equipment grounding electrode and the power grounding electrode system at the building or structure served where separate electrodes are used.

Note: This is from my NEC2005 book.


No change in NEC2011.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 07:28:09 AM »

The electrical ground rod(s) are often underground and the wire may not be exposed where you can see it. It's also possible to use a ufer ground where the wire is buried in a concrete footer during construction. In any case, the wire should be run back inside the breaker box where it is connected to the grounding buss bar.

Note that the code says that the grounding jumper must be connected to the power grounding electrode "system". That means that you can optionally connect it to the electrode (ground rod), the grounding conductor, or to the grounding buss bar inside the breaker box.
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KD8MJR
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 11:06:31 AM »

Short and simple answer is ground everything and make sure all the grounds are bonded together.  Also use multiple ground 10ft ground rods spaced at least 10-15ft apart.
I have 5 rods going around the house all bonded together from the panel box to the radio gear and then to the Antenna which has two rods near to it.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2013, 06:02:15 PM »

In some areas, the ground ran from the meter socket to the ground rod.  Other areas had the service for the house run from the pole that the builders used as a power source during construction.  I've seen some where the ground rod was at that pole and the ground wire was run up to the drop that fed the house from there.  No, that isn't according to code, but sometimes the builder/electrician knew the inspector and it was purposefully overlooked.

The best idea is that if you're not sure and think that ground is missing, call an electrician and have him look it over--and install one if it's missing.  You can only benefit by doing things by the book--your station may sound better too!
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N5GZH
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 09:37:35 PM »

Thanks again. 

Going to call an electrician next week.  I'm hoping he can tie into the house ground somewhere on the outside  rather than having to go through a wall to the breaker box.  It's a straight shot from the station ground rod to the meter box. 

The first electrical company I called to install the station ground rod insisted I needed a $700  "grounding pit", or some such,  just  to keep my home appliances safe etc.  They were really insistent about it and I called a different company. They had no problem driving the 8 foot rod as far as it would go--about 7 ft-- and chopping off the rest.  But they were also the same guys who told me the rod did not need to be bonded to the house.   Huh  There don't seem to be any RF shack issues. 

Jim
N5GZH
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NN4RH
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2013, 02:45:53 AM »

Thanks again. 

Going to call an electrician next week.  I'm hoping he can tie into the house ground somewhere on the outside  rather than having to go through a wall to the breaker box.  It's a straight shot from the station ground rod to the meter box. 

The first electrical company I called to install the station ground rod insisted I needed a $700  "grounding pit", or some such,  just  to keep my home appliances safe etc.  They were really insistent about it and I called a different company. They had no problem driving the 8 foot rod as far as it would go--about 7 ft-- and chopping off the rest.  But they were also the same guys who told me the rod did not need to be bonded to the house.   Huh  There don't seem to be any RF shack issues. 

Jim
N5GZH


The second electrician did the wrong thing, too. They are not supposed to cut off any part of a grounding electrode. The full 8 feet has to be in contact with the soil to comply with the code as I understand it.

If it could not be driven in the full 8 feet, they should have either driven it in at an angle so that it would be completely in, or else buried it in a trench horizontally about 30 inches or more deep. 

The first guy who wanted to put it in a pit probably was trying to do the right thing. $700 to dig an 8 foot long 3 foot deep trench is a little high but not ridiculously so.
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N5GZH
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 03:15:13 AM »

Quote

The second electrician did the wrong thing, too. They are not supposed to cut off any part of a grounding electrode. The full 8 feet has to be in contact with the soil to comply with the code as I understand it.

If it could not be driven in the full 8 feet, they should have either driven it in at an angle so that it would be completely in, or else buried it in a trench horizontally about 30 inches or more deep.

The first guy who wanted to put it in a pit probably was trying to do the right thing. $700 to dig an 8 foot long 3 foot deep trench is a little high but not ridiculously so.  

Yeah--I was aware than any rod less than a full 8 ft. it not up to code.  There are also numbers stamped on the top end  of the rod to verify it has not been cut off, right?  I'm thinking the substrate in this area makes a full 8 feet very difficult.  I'm also wondering if the first guy declined to bond the rod to the house wiring because it might not comply with codes.  

The whole thing gets really complicated and expensive.  I'm starting to wonder if I should just park a large truck in front of the house and operate from there.   Lips sealed
   
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 03:18:10 AM by N5GZH » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 04:55:24 AM »

Yeah--I was aware than any rod less than a full 8 ft. it not up to code.  There are also numbers stamped on the top end  of the rod to verify it has not been cut off, right?  I'm thinking the substrate in this area makes a full 8 feet very difficult.  I'm also wondering if the first guy declined to bond the rod to the house wiring because it might not comply with codes....  

The whole thing gets really complicated and expensive.  I'm starting to wonder if I should just park a large truck in front of the house and operate from there.   Lips sealed
   

The numbers stamped on top usually don't survive the pounding in of the rod, for one thing. 

The other is that the rod used as the service ground is required to be at least a full eight foot length and must be either dug and buried or driven in until only a couple of inches is exposed.  In reality, however, absolutely nobody is going to pull a ground rod just to make sure it's eight feet long, and that's why some corner cutting builders/electricians will cut off the extra length if they can't drive the thing in any further.  They don't have to worry about it after the job is done and the inspection papers issued.
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