Easiest way to ground a computer?

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Ahh, I see: You're not here to give valid answers: You're here for noteriety and disruption. Your first two sentences were reasonable and the third was where I stopped reading because I realized what you are.
Bye.

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Julie,
Sorry you got so much abuse on this board. You are right that some computer equiptment does need a decent ground to function properly. Some of the replies were right (even though abusive) -- you do want to be careful not to make the situation worse than it already is. Since the ground is used for several things (sheilding, possibly a reference voltage, and place to dump current in the case of a short circuit), you have to watch what you are doing. You are probably best off just living without the ground unless your particular equiptment is not working correctly without it. The issue with the ground wire is that it carries current in a fault situation, so you want to make sure it really really is connected to the ground. If it is hot but not connected, then you can end up with hot radiators, plumbing, or whatever, which is worse than just having no ground wire at all. Here are some ideas:
1 - Get a 3-prong to 2-prong-with-ground adapter. The adapter should let you attach a ground wire, preferably with a screw clamp of some kind. This way you won't be causing any ground loops, or connecting in any way to the (disconnected) ground on the outlet. I don't know the code surrounding these, but this may be the best option for your unfortunate situation.
2 - Buy a decent peice of wire for the ground cord. I don't see why it needs to be any bigger than the wire used by your equiptment itself. So you could just buy 14g stranded cord, for example, if that is what you prefer. Best would be to buy a length of 14 gauge solid copper wire with a green covering, which would make it clear what it is being used for. You could use 12 guage also, but for a single computer device that would be overkill, and harder for you to work with.
3 - Don't connect to the radiator or other things, for the reasons above. A coat hanger won't work. You normally would need a ground rod, but you might be able to find something suitable nearby already. What does your service ground use? If you can find your existing ground rod(s), or whatever plumbing pipe is used all ready, connect to that with a new separate copper clamp. If you entire service is ungrounded, then you have much bigger problems and need to report it. If you can't get at the ground for some reason, then you could put in your own ground rod, which should not be too hard. Talk to someone at a decent electrical supply store (not HD or bigbox stores -- try an independent store with an old guy behind the counter), and they will give you a rod and instructions on how to install it. You can use the same rod for multiple computers.
Good luck, -Kevin
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Which computer equipment would that be?
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Julie P. wrote:

That little screw that holds the outlet cover on should be grounded. You could attach to that. Or a cold water pipe.
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Ron Tock wrote:

Whether this thread began with a troll or not.....
Do you really think in a house that old you could rely on the boxes being grounded? I don't think saying "should" was good advice without teaching her how to establish whether they are or are not grounded.
If the house is as far off code as claimed, then there's no guarantee that all the cold water piping is grounded either, someone may have slipped a piece of plastic in when making a repair, or perhaps installed a galvanic coupling (also an insulator) when replacing a section of old iron pipe with copper.
She (If not a troller.) really needs to get a qualified electrician to make sure things are done right.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

She asked for a ground. That screw should be grounded. I said 'should'. It's up to her to have it tested, just like the cold water pipe. Ok? Now take a chill pill.
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says who? its grounded if its grounded. its not if its not. if its old enough its not.
randy
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Irresponsible to connect wall receptacle ground to a water pipe. A wet human in a shower, bath, or touching water in a sink is at greatest risk. And you would dump electricity into those pipes? Shame on you. It is safer to not ground at all rather than connect to water pipes. Even the code does not permit this type connection any more. The only electrical connection to water pipes is to remove electricity from those pipes. Never dump electricity into water pipes.
Numerous reasons to never connect AC receptacle ground to water pipes. Electricity in those pipes is more hazardous than an outlet without safety ground. Sounds as if previous owners replaced all two wire receptacles with three wire receptacles without the necessary safety ground. Therefore those screws would have no safety ground connection. These receptacles are only safe (and legal) if powered through a GFCI. And GFCI was one of two possible solutions provided in another post.
Meanwhile, any recommendation to connect safety ground to cold water pipes only creates a potentially greater hazard.
Ron Tock wrote:

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w_tom wrote:

w-tom I realize that we may disagree on this but since the US NEC specifically requires the use of underground metal water piping as part of a building's grounding electrode system don't you think it would be clearer to say "interior metal water piping" when saying metal water piping should not be used as a ground for an electrical system. The code specifically permits the equipment grounding conductor that is installed as a retrofit ground to run to any electrode of the grounding electrode system vis..
[VII. Methods of Equipment Grounding 250.130 Equipment Grounding Conductor Connections. Equipment grounding conductor connections at the source of separately derived systems shall be made in accordance with 250.30(A)(1). Equipment grounding conductor connections at service equipment shall be made as indicated in 250.130(A) or (B). For replacement of nongrounding-type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles and for branch-circuit extensions only in existing installations that do not have an equipment grounding conductor in the branch circuit, connections shall be permitted as indicated in 250.130(C). (C) Nongrounding Receptacle Replacement or Branch Circuit Extensions. The equipment grounding conductor of a grounding-type receptacle or a branch-circuit extension shall be permitted to be connected to any of the following: (1)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in 250.50 (2)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor (3)    The equipment grounding terminal bar within the enclosure where the branch circuit for the receptacle or branch circuit originates (4)    For grounded systems, the grounded service conductor within the service equipment enclosure (5)    For ungrounded systems, the grounding terminal bar within the service equipment enclosure(copyright 2002 National Fire Protection Association)]
The point you are making is quite valid. The interior metallic piping system must not be used as an equipment grounding or bonding conductor. Having said that I have to take issue with the statement that "any recommendation to connect safety ground to cold water pipes only creates a potentially greater hazard." I realize that this is a fine point but I believe it is important enough to be clear. The US NEC does not offer any option. When an underground metal water pipe that is twenty or more feet in length is available on the premise then it must be used as a grounding electrode vis..
[250.50 Grounding Electrode System. If available on the premises at each building or structure served, each item in 250.52(A)(1) through (A)(6) shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system. Where none of these electrodes are available, one or more of the electrodes specified in 250.52(A)(4) through (A)(7) shall be installed and used. 250.52 Grounding Electrodes. (A) Electrodes Permitted for Grounding. (1) Metal Underground Water Pipe. A metal underground water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 3.0 m (10 ft) or more (including any metal well casing effectively bonded to the pipe) and electrically continuous (or made electrically continuous by bonding around insulating joints or insulating pipe) to the points of connection of the grounding electrode conductor and the bonding conductors. Interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system. (copyright 2002 National Fire Protection Association)]
Please note how carefully the Code Making Panel differentiated between interior and underground water piping. -- Tom H
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One plumber need only replace copper pipe in plastic. The human taking a shower or bath is then at extreme risk if the wall receptacle safety ground has been connected to those pipes.
The connection from breaker box to cold water pipe is required by code to remove electricity from that pipe. There is no way that connection can be reliable to a wall receptacle because copper pipe is often replace with plastic. The only way a wall receptacle can make a safe connection to the water pipe is to make the connection adjacent to where that water pipe also connects to breaker box. The connection authorized by NEC article 250.
All of this being completely irrelevant to the earth ground electrode system. Wall receptacles are safety grounded. That means they must connect to breaker box bus bar. Earthing electrode or a water pipe in contact with earth does nothing to provide a safety ground to that wall receptacle.
In places such as Canada, grounding to water pipes is still permitted by code. But the point is (and I believe HorneTD is making the same point), that wall receptacle must be grounded by a method that cannot be 'accidentally' compromised. Leaving the wall receptacle ungrounded is safer than putting a human in bathtub at risk.
Again a safer solution is to GFCI the circuit even if or if not connecting wall receptacle to cold water pipes. The wet human is the human at greatest risk. So we connect a potential electric circuit to bathtub pipes? Not smart at all.
HorneTD wrote:

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w_tom wrote:

required by law. If the US National Electric Code (NEC) is adopted by reference as law in your location then you have to use any underground metal water pipe that is three or more meters in length as part of the grounding electrode system. It does not matter if in your or my opinion that imperils someone in the shower or bath. You have never to my knowledge accepted the point that whether the water piping in the building is metallic does not effect the requirement to use that underground metal water piping as a grounding electrode. That underground metal water piping is for many homes the only effective earth grounding electrode. I have been doing electrical work for nearly forty years and I have never encountered a municipal water system with a resistance to ground of more than twenty ohms. During that same time I have never had a single or double driven rod electrode of ten feet per rod or less measure less than fifty ohms. The best grounding electrode is going to be the one that puts the most conductive surface in contact with the earth at the deepest level. For many buildings that is the metal service lateral of the water supply. -- Tom H
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You are confusing an underground water pipe replaced in plastic with something different from what I am discussing. Plumbers sometimes replace *interior* copper water pipes with plastic. That would make the bathtub 'hot' if wall receptacle was safety grounded to cold water pipe that was 'fixed' by the plumber.
Again, earth ground has nothing to do with the earthing electrode. They serve different functions. But dumping electricity into a household cold water pipe system - pipes inside the house - is unacceptable today because interior pipes are replaced in plastic.
BTW, in one jurisdiction, a dedicated 6 AWG ground wire connects every steel bathtub directly to breaker box safety ground. Same reasoning. The only connection to water pipes is to remove electricity; not dump electricity into those household pipes. This has nothing to do with the buried utility water pipe.
HorneTD wrote:

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> You are confusing an underground water pipe replaced in > plastic with something different from what I am discussing. > Plumbers sometimes replace *interior* copper water pipes with > plastic. That would make the bathtub 'hot' if wall receptacle > was safety grounded to cold water pipe that was 'fixed' by the > plumber. > > Again, earth ground has nothing to do with the earthing > electrode. They serve different functions. But dumping > electricity into a household cold water pipe system - pipes > inside the house - is unacceptable today because interior > pipes are replaced in plastic. > > BTW, in one jurisdiction, a dedicated 6 AWG ground wire > connects every steel bathtub directly to breaker box safety > ground. Same reasoning. The only connection to water pipes > is to remove electricity; not dump electricity into those > household pipes. This has nothing to do with the buried > utility water pipe. > If you would only add the word interior before water pipe when making statements such as "The connection from breaker box to cold water pipe is required by code to remove electricity from that pipe" There would be no disagreement between us. My concern is that some will see your statements as a reason to not use an underground metal water pipe as a grounding electrode. My other problem is that the US NEC specifically allows a retrofit EGC; i.e. bonding conductor; to terminate in several different places. You always state as an absolute that it must terminate at the supplying panel's ground bar. That may indeed be best practice but your insistence on best practice instead of code compliance will deter the installation of retrofit grounds as specifically permitted by the US NEC vis..
[The equipment grounding conductor of a grounding-type receptacle or a branch-circuit extension shall be permitted to be connected to any of the following: (1)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode system as described in 250.50 (2)    Any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor (3)    The equipment grounding terminal bar within the enclosure where the branch circuit for the receptacle or branch circuit originates (4)    For grounded systems, the grounded service conductor within the service equipment enclosure (5)    For ungrounded systems, the grounding terminal bar within the service equipment enclosure]
-- Tom Horne
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The reason why I did not use the expression "interior pipe" was that any connection made to or disconnecting of (ie use of plastic pipe) buried utility water pipe would not leave bathtub, etc electrically hot. I saw no need to specify 'interior' pipes since bottom line concept is to not dump 'safety ground' electricity into pipes. But HorneTD makes a good point. Others may not have understood what I assumed to be obvious.
To summarize for the benefit of others, it is bad practice (even if it is legal in Canada) to safety ground a wall receptacle to household water pipes. Electrical connections to pipes are to remove electricity from those pipes. Connection to dump electricity into pipes (water, gas or sewer) is not desirable.
In the OPs case, putting those receptacles on a GFCI is strongly recommended (as one of two possible solutions). The acceptable connection is wire dedicated for that safety function; connected to circuit box safety ground. Even if it is no longer acceptable by code (and I believe was a code change), a separate 12 AWG green colored ground wire is safer than connecting to household pipes. Dedicated earthing of wall receptacle (ie throw a wire out the window to a ground rod) accomplishes little for human safety and would be a code violation. That ground rod outside the window was simply a bad idea based in confusion between safety ground verses earth ground.
HorneTD lists code approved methods of safety grounding that receptacle. In each case, it is a dedicated connection from that receptacle safety ground to breaker box safety ground. The principle: that safety ground must use dedicated connections back to breaker box safety ground. Interior pipes are no longer considered dedicated connections. Even if we ignore code, grounding to interior water pipes can create serious human safety issues.
HorneTD wrote:

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Get a decent UPS and plug the computer stuff into it? Mine has Automatic voltage regulation (AVR) and it is amazing how often it kicks in.
Weirdly, it is because the voltage increases when a load kicks on.
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You might have a bad neutral connection, possibly to the pole.
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The APC UPSes will generate their own ground if they don't get one. At least, the more expensive ones. The ones that do have a little notice in the manual about how all they need is a neutral and power.
-Keith
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wrote:

troll?
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Julie, Disregarding code and stupid replies, ground the outlet box you will use for the computer. A secure connection to a water pipe will sufice or run a ground to the circuit breaker or fuse box. I own several houses built between 1902 & 1920 and these have only two wire systems. This works. Stormin
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sorry norman. what you propose does not 'ground' anything. at best it does nothing. at worse you have current flowing through this so called 'ground' all the time.
randy
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