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Thread: A question for the electrical crowd.

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    Yoda
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    A question for the electrical crowd.

    One of my lock down jobs has been attending to some home jobs that have way on the back burner.

    One job was to try to tidy up the house main breaker panel. There were a few issues that I wanted to get cleared up. (I am not an electrician I just try to be careful)

    When I built the house 30+ years ago the main panel had the strap between the ground and neutral removed as per the power company. It was possible the Power company guy did not realize my my main panel was the first panel after the meter. He should have because he checked the ground wire and made us change it for a solid conductor. When I was checking on adding a sub panel I came across the instruction to not have Ground and neutral connected in the sub but it Must be connected in the Main panel.

    So I replaced the strap between the ground and neutral bars. I could follow the explanation as to why it was connected like that but it was not very clear to me.
    I came across a you tube video this morning that gave a great explanation as to why it was connected like that. Showed the effect of adding a ground neutral connection at a sub panel. He had some return power on the ground wire when he added the connection.

    So this evening I went outside to my ground rod with an Amp clamp meter and checked it. 0.00 on the ground wire. Good. But when I clamped on ground from the cable box I got 0.10 to 0.50 amps. Clamping the meter above the cable connection I got the same reading. I also got the same reading if I clamped around the incoming cable wire but nothing on the cable wire after the ground connection.

    In my investigation I did find to my horror the ground wire was not connected to the the ground rod. Not sure when that happened but the Phone box ground wire was just stuck along side the main ground. I have vice grips clamping the ground rod and wire and will be getting a new clamp in the morning.

    Any thoughts on the cable amps???

    David
    Ground wire s.jpg
    The green line comes from the main panel. The Blue line is the TV cable line and there is a connector in the cable line with a ground connection.
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    Jedi Warrior Rhodyspit75's Avatar
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    I will try to address a couple of things.

    First where is your main breaker? Is it in the circuit breaker panel or outside at the meter?

    Second VERY IMPORTANT! Turn off the main before you mess with the ground rod clamp. You can become a path for the neutral load and get killed. Other conditions would have to be present but it has happened. A code change several years ago requires a ground bar outside near the ground rod. The reason was that communication workers were previously loosening the ground clamp to stick their ground in. On my own brother’s house the cable guy did just that. There was a bad neutral connection at the service connection and all his electronics were put in series and fried. The cable company bought him all new stuff.

    Most important, remember the saying, “Wiring is not a hobby, hire an electrician!” 53337DBA-1FDA-4226-98B3-A8EC8BE55359.jpg
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    The main breaker is in the circuit breaker panel not outside by the meter base.

    The clamp on the ground rod is tight and has been several years since we had the phone guy out at the house so I believe the ground has not been connected for some time.

    David
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Ok, if the main is In the breaker panel then the neutral and ground bars should be connected.

    if you have access to the ground wire outside it’s a good idea to add one of the ground bars that I pictured. It’s a requirement today and a good idea. You don’t have to disturb the ground clamp it simply clamps on then all the other utilities can put there grounds on it.

    please remember if you’re replacing the ground clamp to shut off the main.
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Hello David, I am retired from our local electric co and spent many of my years installing electric services to residential, commercial and industrial customers. Many electric utilities have different configurations for their service connections.
    First I want to say please be very careful about disconnecting the ground wire from the ground rod at your outside location. In todays world we wear rubber gloves even to do this because depending on conditions you could have amperage coming directly from the power company's neutral wire and could be electrocuted. I will post this with more to follow because I want you to see this ASAP.
    About TV Shows-
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Thank you for the info. and the reminder to shut off the power when working on the ground rod.

    It seems my ground was disconnected at the ground rod and may have been for some time. At the moment I have a pair of Vice grips clamping them together till I get a new clamp. Today's job.

    The power was connected in 1987 so the configuration may have changed. A disconnect by the meter base is required now but not at that time.

    David
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Talking about rubber gloves I was in a factory a few years ago and the electrical guy shower me the PPE they wanted them to use if working on our machine. Huge rubber gloves, rubber boots and face shield. Made using a small screw driver and pulling cards almost impossible. The rules were changed so it only applied to the high power and live areas not every electrical box.

    David
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    As you may have read elsewhere, the purpose of keeping the grounding wires and the neutral wires separate in a structure is so that all the return current comes back to its source on the neutral wire. The ground wire is for the purpose of bonding all metal enclosures of all devices, including boxes, switches & receptacles and appliances, together with a very direct path back to the source if one of these enclosures should come in contact with a hot wire. The ground wire in a structure is never to
    carry current unless there is a fault (shorted wire) between the hot wire and the metal enclosure.
    So having said that, where is it allowed that the neutral and ground wire should be bonded together. Most utilities serve their customers with a 3-wire service ( on a single phase service). Multiphase services do have more but houses only get single phase.
    In a 3 wire service there is no separate ground wire. The neutral carries all what is called the unbalanced return current. But at the customer's panel there is in modern times what we call a "derived" ground wire. In other words from the customer's main panel is derived the ground wire which is extended into the structure with all the electrical circuits. In order for this ground wire to be a direct path back to the source ( without carrying any current under normal operating conditions ) it has to be connected to the neutral somewhere. That point of bonding is at the customer's main panel, no where else in the house. Because the utilities service is only 3 wires that bonding jumper at the main panel is where any fault current ( current returning on the ground wire because of a short in the house) is then drawn unto the neutral and returned to the utilities source.
    Now here's my point, it depends on where the separate grounding wire is derived. Once a ground wire is derived (created) and bonded at its point of origin it is never connected to the neutral again down stream. If it was it would allow any current from the neutral to start to flow on the ground wires. I know this can get belabored sorry, BUT THE POINT IS THAT THE POINT OF DERIVING THE GROUND WIRE MIGHT NOT BE AT THE MAIN PANEL. It may be at the meter base. Or it could be at the utilities service transformer especially if the transformer is a for an underground service lateral. If there are 4 wires coming from your meter base to your main panel then the ground wire was derived at the meter base and there are 2 hot wires, 1 neutral wire, and 1 ground wire coming from the meter base to your main panel. As can be seen then the bonding of the ground wire to the neutral wire is at the meter base and should be separate at the main panel. In this scenario under the definitions of the NEC (National Electrical Code) your main panel is actually a subpanel to the meterbase and the neutral and ground must be separate. This would explain why the utility man you described earlier told you to remove the bonding jumper between the ground and neutral bars in your panel. The same would be the case if the utility considered the underground service transformer as the point of deriving a separate ground wire and extended to the property a 4-wire service with 2 hots, 1 neutral and 1 ground wire. This then would have the ground wire separate at the meter base as well as at the main panel. Although this configuration is unlikely.
    Hope I have helped instead of confused.
    About TV Shows-
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    In our area, 2 ground rods are now required (though in series)... and an "acorn" clamp to attach the copper line to the rods.
    acorn.jpg
    - Mark

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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Thank you.

    I have 3 wires coming from the meter base directly to the breaker panel. My service is overhead. There is a separate solid continuous copper conductor from the breaker panel to the ground rod.

    You have reinforced what I have deduced from other sources and I did speak to a neighbor who is an electrical contractor. He verified I should have the ground/neutral strap connected.

    David
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    The clamp on my rod is an aluminium clamp. It will be replaced with the type you show in your post.

    I will add the bar to the ground rod for the cable and phone ground wires.

    David
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidApp View Post
    The clamp on my rod is an aluminium clamp. It will be replaced with the type you show in your post.

    I will add the bar to the ground rod for the cable and phone ground wires.

    David

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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    [QUOTE=Boink;1142293]In our area, 2 ground rods are now required (though in series)... and an "acorn" clamp to attach the copper line to the rods.
    acorn.jpg[/QUOTE

    IF:

    You have a high water table say within 10 ft. of the surface you generally can get away with one larger diameter rod, a larger rod is required here to allow for decomposing of a small rod

    Regarding Neutral and Earth ground they should never be separated and if using a rod earth keep it clean and tight.


    For those that live in large metro areas the neutral connection genially is made to the incoming cold water line which intern interfaces with an extremely large earth surface to produce a low conductivity to
    earth ground.
    Last edited by Keoke; 07-31-2020 at 08:03 PM.
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Got a new ground rod and clamp from a local big box store. Would you believe they sell a 5/8" rod and 1/2" clamps??

    A bit of cleanup with a file had it fitting fine. Did not need to clean much out mainly flashing from the casting. Added the grounding bridge.

    I still have the 0.20 amps when the cable ground is connected to the bridge. It is not there if the cable ground goes straight to the ground rod and there is 0.00 if the main ground wire is connected to the ground rod by it self.
    May have to speak to the cable company.

    David
    ground rod s.jpg
    I will screw the bridge to the brickwork tomorrow.
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    Jedi Warrior Rhodyspit75's Avatar
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Looks correct now. The only thing is I have always put the ground wire in the V opposite the bolt. It looks like you have it on the bolt side.
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Thank you for all the help and advice.

    Got the bridge screwed to the wall and the clamp changed around.

    David
    Ground rod finished s.jpg
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    David - do you still get the .2 amp reading?
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    I do still get the 0.20 amp reading on the cable ground wire but not between the Bridge and the ground rod. It seems to go the other way.

    My neighbor said the small amperage is normal on the cable side. Said the cable needs some power for the signal.

    David
    Amp clamp reading s.jpg
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    I'm lucky, one of my son's friends, a kid I've known since he was eight is an electrician now and he is helping me slowly rewire my house to bring everything up to code.
    Cheers,
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    Re: A question for the electrical crowd.

    Honestly, the hardest part of electrical work is crawling around in difficult places (attic, crawlspace - at least as one ages) or trying to snake wires to places that aren't exposed.
    - Mark

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