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Mysterious Grounding


JesseWBryant
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Okay, maybe its not that serious, I am just drawing a blank. Here is the situation.

The two pictures are of the Service panel at the power pole in the back yard (upper and lower half for more detail). I could not find any ground conductor anywhere.

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The main distribution panel in the house has the grounds and neutrals bonded together, but no sign of any ground conductor that would appear to go to the earth, ufer or water pipe.

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The thing is, every outlet is showing proper grounding..plug bug and suretest. Could the ground and neutral be bonded somewhere before the main service panel?

Maybe its just because its Friday but what am I missing here.

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Originally posted by JesseWBryant

Okay, maybe its not that serious, I am just drawing a blank. Here is the situation.

The two pictures are of the Service panel at the power pole in the back yard (upper and lower half for more detail). I could not find any ground conductor anywhere.

It might have been in the meter side of that enclosure. I suppose you looked all around the pole and didn't see a heavy copper wire going from the meter side down to the earth?

It's possible that the electrician simply forgot it.

The main distribution panel in the house has the grounds and neutrals bonded together, but no sign of any ground conductor that would appear to go to the earth, ufer or water pipe.

Well, that's wrong.

The thing is, every outlet is showing proper grounding..plug bug and suretest. Could the ground and neutral be bonded somewhere before the main service panel?

The "grounding" at the branch circuits has nothing whatsoever to do with the "grounding" of the system to the earth. I know it's confusing because they use the same word, but they're different. A household electrical system will work just fine without an earth ground. We connect our electrical systems to the earth to limit the voltage spikes from lightning and line surges, not to provide grounding to our receptacles.

Maybe its just because its Friday but what am I missing here.

You're missing confidence.

* The electrical system needs to be grounded.

* The panel in the house may need a 4-wire feed.

* The water pipes need to be bonded to the grounding system.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim,

There was a heavier copper wire that ran from the ground all the way up the pole to the top near the top of the service drops. It looked like it was a ground for one of those large exterior "parking lot" lights. Nothing that ran to the panel or the meter.

I think your right about the confidence thing. One day, I think I'm ready for any argument that may come my way and other days I will mull over one comment in a report for an hour trying to make sure I get it right. I guess if this business was all easy as pie, it would soon lose its appeal.

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Jesse - Two Questions

1) What is the conduit material from the outside panel on the pole to the house distribution panel, Rigid Metal or PVC? If Rigid Metal, there is your grounding conductor to the house panel.

2) This main panel is on an outside pole... Are the trasformers above? You say there is a heavy ground running down the pole... if this is from the trasformers the AHJ may have considered it grounded by it's Neutral conection to the trasformer above. (not sure I would agree) Certainly an odd situation and panels located on a pole away from the house are not common up here. But this may have been the mentality of the AHJ at the time. As Jim said the panel in the house is still wrong for having the N & G bonded and for no bonding of the water pipes. Call it out for evaluation by a Licensed Electrician.

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