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Snip snip those pesky grounds


Mark P
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Okay - I've only been doing this gig for a little over 2 years and electrical is far from my strong suit - unless you count my electrical personality. So When I see something for the first time I like running it past you old timers.

My customer just got out of the Navy where he was an electrician on an aircraft carrier. Did you know that all systems on an aircraft carrier are ungrounded? Yep no grounds at all. Something to do w/ a large body of steel floating in water. Anyway - when I took the cover off the panel in the shed we both kind of scratched ours heads and looked at each other like "uh that’s not right - is it?" After a brief conversation I said it certainly was not correct - but I would double check with some experts I know (that would be you TIJ)

So here is the set up. Main disconnect is on a pole in the yard by the meter. There are two runs from this point - one to the house and one to the shed. Both the house and shed have separate panels. The head scratching occurred in the shed. All the grounds wires had been sniped off cleaner than a Thai Ladyboy.

So can I have a supporting diagnoses for this most improper of all procedures?

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Obviously, cutting off the grounds is an act of pure ignorance. Bad move; gotta be fixed.

Then you get right into the sub panel questions...

Were there any continuous metallic pathways between the service disconnect and the buildings the sub panels were located in? Metal pipes, phone or TV cable lines, metal fences, concrete w/rebar, etc.? If so, they have some work left to do to make the subs right.

Brian G.

Grounds Are Not Optional Where Grounds Exist [:-magnify

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Originally posted by AHIS

. . . So here is the set up. Main disconnect is on a pole in the yard by the meter. There are two runs from this point - one to the house and one to the shed. Both the house and shed have separate panels. The head scratching occurred in the shed. All the grounds wires had been sniped off cleaner than a Thai Ladyboy.

So can I have a supporting diagnoses for this most improper of all procedures?

Charlie Foxtrot.

Hire an electrician to de-charlie-foxtrot that mess.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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If I'm seeing that picture correctly, I've seen this type of work done before in Spain (where most houses are not grounded). Instead of the electrician running two wires, they bend one in half, run it through loop first, then at the box they snip it in half and connect the wires. In that picture it looks like the covering is still connected at one point thus giving me that impression. Or there is just another white wire behind it to make it look that way, and if thats the case ignore this post :)

BTW...If you guys ever saw some of the electrical work or how many of the inspections are done in Spain, you'll just die. Once when my Butano (kinda like propane) heater had a leak (I could smell it), the repair guy turned on the gas then traced the gas lines with his lighter to see if it flamed up anywhere. I was completely stunned and scared to death, but he had been doing it that way for decades I'm sure. And it worked, he found the leak fixed it and life was grand.

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Originally posted by Brian G

Were there any continuous metallic pathways between the service disconnect and the buildings the sub panels were located in? Metal pipes, phone or TV cable lines, metal fences, concrete w/rebar, etc.? If so, they have some work left to do to make the subs right.

Brian G.

Grounds Are Not Optional Where Grounds Exist [:-magnify

I don't believe so. The home is a prefab sitting on a CMU foundation. The electrical wires come in overhead to the pole in the yard and then run undergound to the 2 buildings.

I'm going to write up the snipped grounds, double taps, overfull panel in the house and recommend an electrician evaluate the system and make all necessary repairs.

Thanks EveryBody!

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Had a case of copper theft in a vacant house here in Michigan. The skilled thief pulled all the ground wires and left the other conductors. It seems he did not want to strip the coverings, so left the rest of the romex laying on the floor cut into 4' pieces. I thought it was funny. He also left the 4" copper drain lines and fittings - guess he couldn't bend the stuff.

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Originally posted by msteger

Gotta love the amount of outer sheathing all the way into the panel, too, in your photo.

Ironically, that's probably what will to save the day with respect to the snipped off ground wires. I'll bet if he had stripped the outer jackets all the way back he would have cut the grounds off flush with wall of the enclosure. [;)]

Brian G.

If It's Good For Battleships, It Must Be Good For Houses? [:-boggled

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  • 4 weeks later...

Three times... I am still confused...

Here is a site might help though since you have mentioned that your house is a prefab setting. http://www.findprefab.com/

This is a prefab online directory (free of course). Through this site you can get in contact with all sorts of prefab vendors. They even have their phone number listed there. You can talk to someone who has expertise about the problems you have.

All the best luck!

And don't forget to let us know how it turns out, and maybe I can figure out what you are talking about then, hahaha

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