Any suggestions for hammer drills, rotary hammers and so
on to use for driving ground rods? I see there are SDS Plus and SDS Max
versions. Interchangeable bits?
I've been using a pipe welded into a sledge hammer head for
years to drive the rods. It works, of course, but it's a bit
hard on old hands.
I did see a video of a guy driving a rod with a sledge. He drilled a
hole in a board then slipped the board over the rod at an angle. That
took the wiggle out of the rod when he hit it.
That's how I used to do it...with water.
Last summer though I had my wiring brought up to current code. (Take or
leave the double meaning.)
The electrician drilled a hole with an auger bit then let a sledge
hammer do the rest. He managed to get an 8 footer in with a sledge
hammer....then put in a 2nd one.
Depending on the soil, you might try this if you don't have too many to
Scoop out a hole about the size of a beer can, maybe only half as tall.
Then just push the rod down by hand as far as you can, which will probably
only a few inches. Then pull it up. Repeat and the rod should go down
another couple of inches. Keep doing this. Don't pull the rod all the way
, only up several inches. The deeper the hole, the more you can pull out
each time. When you get about half the rod down, pull it out and fill the
hole with water.
I thought this was a joke from a fellow at work. I just had to try it. I
put in 4 rods this way. On the second rod I clamped a pair of Vice Grips on
the rod to act as a handle.
If there are lots of rocks it won't work, but if you don't hit any rocks it
works very well.
I did this last year for a ground rod for an antenna I was putting up.
I was not at all expecting it to work, but it worked exactly as
described, and was a lot easier than dragging out the ladder to pound on
the wiggling end of a ground rod (a lot quicker, too).
Buy, borrow, or rent a T-Post Driver. Available at any farm related
store, Tractor Supply, Menards, even Walmart has them for about $20 in
their web store. This is the easiest and safest tool to use. But it will
leave about 20" sticking out of the ground, because otherwise the tool
would be going into the soil. But once you only have 20" left, a sledge
hammer works fine. I'd never try a sledge overhead. Too dangerous!
You'll still need a step ladder to get it started if it's 8' or longer
rod. I have this tool for t-posts on my farm, but I have driven many
ground rods with it too. Easiest method I ever used!
I use a rotary hammer with an SDS Max ground rod driver attachment. Condit
ions in my area are rocky and shale. Very difficult to drive a rod in even
with a power tool. I found that alternating between the rotary hammer and
sledge hammer works best for these conditions.
I remember many years ago doing a service change. I had two rods to instal
l, I had the rotary hammer set up, but the soil was so loose I was able to
push the rods in half way.
Harbor Freight has cheap SDS Max rotary hammer and I think it is on sale th
I never tried water.
Isn't there something in the code about putting the rods in sideways or
something if the ground is rocky and difficult to drive the rods in ? I
don't do electrical work for a living so not up on the codes. There are
some areas around the area I live in are almost all rock. I help keep up a
local ham radio repeater. A while back a new tower was going up and the
crew had a big power rod driver . Looked like a small air hammer except it
was electric. The thing worked well for about the first 4 feet , then hit
rocks and would not drive it any more. As this was not anything that needed
to be inspected, we quit trying to drive the rods in any deeper. The same
thing hapened to all 5 of the rode we tried to drive in at different places.
This is from somebody who has never driven a rod and, if their luck
holds up, never will.
Seems like there should be some sort of faux rod with a carbide tip plus
a tool to drive same. Drive the faux rod, pull it out, insert actual
This was on the top of a hill. There are no underground lines of anykinds.
The power lines are all overhead. There is nothing on the hill to have a
storage tank or water line. The rods were driven in at places about 50 to
70 feet apart. When the hole was driven in for the base of the tower lots
of rock were hit with the back hoe.
You've never been to Stone County Arkansas have you ? I managed to drive
mine <with a small sledge hammer> 7'4" before I hit a rock that I couldn't
punch thru . Just the other day I turned up a rock 4" thick and about 6" by
14" in a part of the garden that's been tilled several times . I think they
reproduce about a foot down ...
No, the middle of North Carolina. I live between two towns that are about 5
miles apart. One is called Granet Quarry and the other is called Rockwell.
No kidding on the town names. They are about 40 miles up I 85 from
Charlotte. Also there is a town called Faith. about the same distance
away. There are several quarries around here where granet is or was mined.
I think where my house is must have been filled in a lot. I did not have
any problem sinking 4 ground rods with the push and water method. There is
a small creek behind the house that does have lots of big rocks in it.
Around here itis not a mater of rocks in the ground,but the whole place is
almost on one big rock.
The local ham 2M repeater is a little downhill from the weather radome.
Good luck hitting anything but rock on Point Six. Or most of western
Montana for that matter. They didn't call them the Rocky Mountains just
for the hell of it.
That would probably be easier that trying to drive them through a
solid layer of sandstone. I was using a 20 lb impact driver and held
that thing for 20 minutes and only made about 1/4 of an inch. It also
mushroomed the ground rod so that I had to use a hammer to get the rod
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