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Author Topic: Copper for ground rods  (Read 3720 times)
K6RQR
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« on: April 21, 2017, 06:45:28 PM »

Hello All -
 I will be installing several copper ground rods and I was wondering something. The copper rods I will be using have been exposed to the weather and have the usual oxidation on the surface. Would it be better if I polish that off before I drive them into the ground? In other words, is there any increase in their effectiveness by removing the layer of oxidation? Thanks.

73,
Bruce  K6RQR
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K0ZN
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 06:51:28 PM »


 Driving them in the ground will "clean" them!  Dirt is quite abrasive. 

The most I would do is just make sure there is no grease or oil on them.
 FYI:  I have found that "sharpening" the end more than the factory does, *can* make it a little easier to drive them.

  73,  K0ZN
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KE6EE
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 07:17:57 PM »

Polish them to a high shine.

Wax them with high quality automobile polish.

Drive them into the dirt with a big hammer.  Grin
 
(Hint: driving ground rods is usually much easier when there is water continually running along the rod.)  Cool

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K1HMS
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 07:52:48 PM »

Suggestion: Go to home depot and rent the largest hammer drill they have. Make sure the chuck is big enough to fit over the ground rod. At $35 for 4 hours it is worth it.

You can bury a 8' rod in a minute or two. Here in NH its rocky and there is a thin layer of Granite every few feet. I start up a step ladder and almost cant get down it fast enough.

When it is this easy it is easy to put several longs rods in. Just make sure there isnt a septic, gas pipe or buried electrical in the rod's path....
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K0ZN
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 09:38:50 PM »


 K1HMS is absolutely correct!  Rent a large hammer drill.....and put in several rods about 8 ft. apart. 
 Driving an 8 ft. ground rod by hand is real work.

  73,  K0ZN
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WA7PRC
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 09:48:43 PM »


 K1HMS is absolutely correct!  Rent a large hammer drill.....and put in several rods about 8 ft. apart. 
 Driving an 8 ft. ground rod by hand is real work.

  73,  K0ZN
Demolition (aka 'jack') hammer, not hammer drill. In 2011, I rented a 60# demo hammer w/ ground rod adapter to sink several 10' ground rods in "glacial till" soil. If I used a wimpy hammer drill, I'd still be trying.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2017, 03:50:11 AM »

Suggestion: Go to home depot and rent the largest hammer drill they have. Make sure the chuck is big enough to fit over the ground rod. At $35 for 4 hours it is worth it.

You can bury a 8' rod in a minute or two. Here in NH its rocky and there is a thin layer of Granite every few feet. I start up a step ladder and almost cant get down it fast enough.

When it is this easy it is easy to put several longs rods in. Just make sure there isnt a septic, gas pipe or buried electrical in the rod's path....
Best advice I have seen here so far...  I used one, and it takes all of 10 minutes to drive an 8 footer here.  Normally, it is a 30 to 40 minute job.  Much nicer on the user as well...
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Thanks,
Dave
Amateur Radio: RFI help, Reviews, Setup information, and more...
https://www.nk7z.net
K0BT
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 10:02:28 AM »

Thanks for the great suggestion!  I dreaded adding more rods after using a fence post driver to hammer through the caliche and river rocks.
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WA7PRC
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2017, 10:12:43 AM »

MOST of my rods went right in, in a matter of seconds. Some took about a minute. One rod sank about halfway and STOPPED. It took several minutes before the rod broke through. IOW, the amount of time and effort varies, dependent upon what's in the soil. Use a demolition hammer, not a hammer drill.
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KL7CW
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 11:19:27 AM »

Last summer I finally decided to put in a good lightning ground system around my towers and also to beef up the unknown quality of the electrical ground near the utility entrance.  I had previously put in ground rods with a hammer and fence post driver....not always easy in our rocky ground.  I looked at some hammer drills...might have been OK, but instead chose an electrical powered medium size jack hammer with a ground rod attachment.  I was working alone, so was worried about standing up on a ladder with the heavy jack hammer, and did not want to construct scaffolding for all the rods.  Instead I just used my post hole digger to go down perhaps a foot or so.  Then I used the fence post driver to go down another few feet until it became difficult.  I then used the jack hammer to drive down the rod to the desired depth.  I rented the jackhammer, fence post driver, the ground rod tool from the local tool rental place. I think the rental cost for the ground rod attachment was $10, and the fence post driver was not much more.  The large jackhammers are very heavy...too heavy for this 76 old guy working alone...so rented one of the smaller ones...still quite heavy.  It worked great, almost like a hot knife cutting through butter.  I think the jack hammer rental was only something like $50...not sure.  I was quite tired at the end of the day, and if I ever need to put in another 8 rods, I will bribe a few of my husky teen age grandsons or ham friends to help....a few pizzas do not cost much. 
    Rick  KL7CW  Palmer, Alaska     where glaciers deposited many rocks eons ago,  but where lightning is nearly non-existent !!!!!
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K6RQR
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 07:00:14 PM »

Hello All -
 One earlier question I had was about whether to polish the copper rods because mine have a coating of oxidation. The answer is definitely yes. I just finished cutting the 4 pieces and I decided to test them with a multimeter. When I applied one probe to a part of the end that has been recently cut and then applied the other probe to a place farther down the rod I got no connectivity. Simply applying some pressure to that probe on the surface restored the continuity. So, I will definitely polish the rods for maximum conductivity with the soil. I have a nice 1" wide ground strap that will serve to connect the rods together and be fastened to the back of my rig. I'm hoping that the combination of this ground system and the 1:1 isolation balun coming from Balun Designs will put a real dent in the QRN around here.
 Again, thanks for all the comments.

73,
Bruce  K6RQR
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AA4PB
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 07:23:56 PM »

Usually, driving them into the ground will remove the oxidation just like you cleaned it. Most ground rods are copper plated steel so you don't want to grind away all of the coper plating.

When you rent the demo tool, be sure to get a ground rod bit for it. The bit slips over the ground rod and will keep you from flaring the end of the ground rod making it difficult to slide a clamp onto the rod. If you use a hammer, put the clamp on first before you start beating up the end of the rod.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K6AER
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2017, 07:28:29 PM »

You cannot test ground rod conductivity with a ohm meter. You must use a Megar or ground rod test meter such as a AEMC unit.
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K1HMS
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Posts: 515




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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2017, 05:28:50 AM »

Demo drill vs hammer drill

Is a demolition drill better, YES. The smallest they had was over 40 lbs, required me to buy a $47 bit, and it plugged into 220VAC so i would have rented an extension cord.  IF the rental store has one you can use, it is the way to go. If you have more than 2 rods it might be worth the expense.

But a hammer drill still beats a post pounder or sledge hammer.  There are numerous you tube videos of people using both.

I wouldn't do it but to stay off a ladder Ive seen people drive in a 4 footer and with a threaded coupler add another 4 footer and drive it in for 8' total.

Hamilton
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W8JX
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2017, 05:50:48 AM »


 FYI:  I have found that "sharpening" the end more than the factory does, *can* make it a little easier to drive them.


Actually a chisel tip or angle cut on end works better than a point. It cuts through rocky soil better than a point.
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--------------------------------------
Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
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