Bizarre Electrical

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OK, I've had a continuing hassle develop w/ the ground in the old barn over the last year or so.
Finally, about two months ago I replaced the ground rod w/ new and all seemed well. As of about a week ago, the gremlin is back--there's enough to light a couple 100W bulbs at not quite full intensity and outlets measure full 125V but not enough current to power motors, etc. Clearly it's the ground as all the 240V gear is fully functional.
It's _extremely_ hard to fathom a new rod can have gone south so quickly and we've had sufficient rain that it certainly is the case of excessively dry ground.
Yesterday I ran a jumper directly from the ground bar in the circuit box to the ground and made no difference whatsoever in the symptoms.
It is _all_ 120V circuits, not just one so seems as though not possible to be a failed breaker not passing current; but for the life of me I can't figure out another common-mode cause...
Anybody got any ideas or ever had such a symptom? I may end up calling the pro on this one...was out just last week to help find a broken underground feeder to another of the outbuildings; too bad the symptom hadn't reared it's head again then or woulda' had him take a look then.
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On 11/3/2015 9:59 AM, dpb wrote:

I'm not an electrician. But, if you're using a ground to carry current, you are probably illegal and you are definitely unsafe.
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What are you doing depending on a ground rod to carry the current that a neutral wire should be used for ?
YOu should have at the least 3 wires and really 4 wires comming from the house (or whever the power is comming from) going to the barn. If you do have 3 wires or more, the neutral wire is broken or a bad connection somewhere.
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On 11/03/2015 9:21 AM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

Early '50s installation 3-wire; nobody ever heard of 4-wire back then.
The neutral is tied to the ground, of course.
It's that there's a direct connection from the box bypassing the connection/path that's been there since day one that runs back up the entrance conduit to the weatherhead at the roofline and comes back down to the ground rod that I bypassed to verify the connection at that point wasn't the failure. It's about 30 ft off the ground so not that convenient if can otherwise eliminate it as the issue.
Don't see how there's not a complete circuit here.
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On 11/03/2015 9:21 AM, dpb wrote: ...

Oh, actually, it dawns...the neutral is the carrier cable from the pole overhead over the driveway from the meter...they're all three tied at that connection up there; the return from the panel, the ground and the carrier/neutral REA strung.
That connection back to their neutral may be the culprit or I suppose it's possible the neutral connection at the junction box past the meter could be it altho that's the same box that splits off the house and other shop that we were in to isolate the aforementioned underground feed and those connections all looked pristine -- amazed me how clean/bright/shiny they were after at least 30 year (I _think_ Dad pulled new from there to the house/shop when they redid the grandparents house in the mid-70s altho that was in the time period was in TN so wasn't around). I think the feed to the barn/feedlots (a second run from the same pole to another branch box for the silo unloader and the feedlot waterers, lights, etc.) was run earlier in the very early 60s when put in the feed mill in the back of the barn and built the lots. Don't believe there's any chance those were re-run when the house was but it's also possible they did the house and all when that was done all in "one swell foop"; I cannot remember for certain even though was still at home then...
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I've read of livestock not drinking because they get shocked from the waterers. Dairy cows have supposedly held milk due to the shock from the milkers. Both of those were from bad or inadequate neutrals. The modern code has all sort of neat stuff to prevent that. It must cost a bunch for a modern barn.
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On 11/4/2015 6:55 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

I remember some friends staying at a summer camp, where the shower was shocking residents. I'm not totally sure how it played out, but I think the problem was a furnace that ran for cold mornings, and a bad neutral.
I also remember joking with the staff. Difference between if it had been boys or girls shower. Girls would learn not to touch the shocker, and promptly report it for repair. Boys would crowd around and see how many could get shocked at the same time.
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wrote:

livestock do. We have only two hooves.
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On 11/4/2015 8:47 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Thing is, that in the shower, cows don't wear hooves or boots. Silly! So, cows would get shocked in the shower, also.
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On 11/4/2015 6:55 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

I'm a believer in safety. Some extremes do tend to drive up the price of every thing.
Some common sense is needed, like using an old style grounded outlet for your cellar freezer, not a GFCI. Same deal with the sump pump.
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On 11/04/2015 5:55 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote: ...

Can happen (and does, of course) but so far not been an issue here...
A newer, larger operation, particularly dairy is indeed a capital-intensive proposition. We run a stocker/feeder operation with a small (400 head max) feedlot capability depending on the year market outlook and availability of feed, grain, etc., while primarily a dryland farming operation. With the high input cost of calves and the drought we've experienced the last several years haven't had any winter wheat sufficiently far along to pasture and hence no cattle...
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On 11/4/2015 10:00 AM, dpb wrote:

I've heard that farming is a really rough business. Not much markup, and always the threat of losing every thing to the bank. Is it the same with cows? Is that why you are doing your own electrical, instead of hiring an electrician company?
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wrote:

Farming, and I presume ranching, is a bit like royalty. One has to be born one or marry one to be one. It would take a huge amount of money to get started. Farmers are usually looking to expand. The cost of equipment can be spread over a larger area. Good luck to someone who just wants to start from scratch. That doesn't apply to the Ted Turner types. He was into raising bison but I have no idea if that's still true. He bought a 26,000 acre ranch at auction in north central Nebraska a few years ago for just under ten million dollars.
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On Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:33:54 -0600, "Dean Hoffman"

to 10 million today if you want to run over 50 head of cattle and do all your own field work with new equipment on 240 acres of good farmland.
When a dairy farm goes up for sale around here (Region of Waterloo and Oxford County area) they are very often purchased by Dutch or German farmers who have sold their very expensive land over thare and come to Canada to farm with a few million dollars of cash in their pockets. A 15 or 20 acre farm in the Netherlands will yeild enough money from it's sale to purchace a running 240 acre set-up over here.
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2015 05:55:37 -0600, "Dean Hoffman"

What you said is a fact. Just google for "Stray Voltage". My power company checked for this (at no cost to me), because I had a horse quit drinking water, who became ill due to it. Fortunately I caught this in time, and he guzzled a 5 gallon pail of water when I carried it out to him, even though there was a filled 100 gal. stock tank in there.
It was winter, there was a stock tank heater in that tank which was plugged into a GFCI outlet. The GFCI (should) have tripped, but didn't. I took a multimeter and tested between the tank and a metal fence post, and saw a very slight voltage. I then touched the tank and felt a very slight "tickle". That's when I called the power company. They have special meters for testing, and said they saw a voltage at that tank, but got no stray voltage readings anywhere else on the farm.
I replaced the tank heater with a brand new one, and STILL had that slight voltage at the tank. This even puzzled the guys from the power company, who said that I must have a defective *NEW* heater too. I had one more NEW heater on hand. I installed that one and still nothing changed. I got an extension cord and plugged that heater into another outlet. Problem GONE!
The power company said they can not work on "MY" electrical system and said to call an electrician. After they left, I carefully checked that entire circuit and everything was tight, the box had a good ground and so on. That's when I found the reset button on that GFCI would not trip. I replaced that GFCI and everything was fixed. Somehow, that defective GFCI was actually causing the voltage leakage.
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Another incident was when I had a neighbor feed my livestock when I was
away for a weekend. The guy left a garden hose in a stock tank, which
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On Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 3:59:52 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moc wrote:

You can lead a horse to water....zzzaaaaappppp!
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DerbyDad03 posted for all of us...

A horse is a a horse of course, of course.~~~~~~ Mr. Ed
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:58:42 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moc wrote:

about 4 inched from the top can be enough to convince livestock that it is a "different "tank, but you will likely need to move it a few feet- and do it while they are not looking.
It's a real bugger when the staunchions get "live" in an old-style dairy barn - or as I've seen, the stable cleaner chain. The "live" staunchions resulted from a short from the "hump-stoppers" we installed to keep the cattle from humping up theit backs to take a leak or a crap, resulting in a mess in the stall instead of in the gutter. Just a galvanizsef steel angle hung from a couple of chains over the center of the stall and connected to an electric fence charger. Worked great - only installed on the stalls where cattle had the problem - and only needed to be connected to the fencer sporadically - dumb as cattlebeasts are, they DO remember pain. We found it also worked for "kickers" if adjusted properly. When a cow gets ready to kick, their back goes up - when it hits the shocker, it comes down ral fast - before they get a chance to let fly with a hoof. Since they usually kicked when you were putting on the milker, or taking it off, you had to be carefull not to contact the shocker yourself when milking. It worked a bit better than holding the cow's tail in one hand and giving it a twist when she shifted her weight to "cock the trigger" for a kick, or tying a twine to the tail , up over a hook in the ceiling so you could keep the tail up.. I can't remember how the electric fence got connected to the staunchions - but I do remember the cows wouldn't go into their stalls without a lot of coaxing for about a week. I never felt anything while tying them.
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On Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 10:21:48 AM UTC-5, dpb wrote:

Presumably when larger loads are put on it, the voltage drops. So, get a heater or similar, and plug it in. Then start measuring voltages from hot to neutral, tracing back. At the heater it will be well below 120V. Someplace up the chain it will be 120V, normal. Then between the two, apparently something is wrong with the neutral. The neutral current is in a conductor and it should not be a ground rod problem.
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On 11/03/2015 9:50 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Yeah, see my followup that apparently crossed in the ether...but it's got to be in the path from the box back to the feed, not in front as all circuits inside the barn are affected. Hence it almost has to be that connection I didn't want to have to get up to (but I do have a manlift so it's not _that_ hard to get up there; it's just close to the feed and there's no isolation w/o cutting off the house, too, which I was hoping not to have to do again.
Not sure why had the brain cramp re: that neutral; I suppose because I just wasn't thinking of the support cable also serving as the neutral conductor.
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