How does the typical mains power connect in the USA anyway?

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I do believe that none of the neutral current is carried back to the power plant. As you might describe it, with your scope, the neutral is pulling from another phase to make up the imbalance. So, pulling from the power plant via a different leg.
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:50:36 -0600, Nightcrawler®

Correct. Trader got his EE degree from Cracker Jax.
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On Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:46:11 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:


d look like to the power plant?

He agrees with me. You say correct. And then you hurl another insult at me. You really are confused here.
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I think that what you are trying to say is that an open neutral may have an adverse reaction with some 120V devices. However, the reference is not zero. Hehe, it is Earth.
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 03:09:10 +0000 (UTC), Doug Miller

In DISTRIBUTION, yes - but not on the "consumer" side.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

with

Wrong again. Triplex cable (see link above) isn't used for distribution anywhere in the U.S. that I'm aware of -- it is, however, very commonly used for service drops (from the transformer to the customer's service mast).
Like I said... don't you think it's time you stopped assuming that what is true in your obviously limited experience is true everywhere?
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 19:18:41 +0000 (UTC), Doug Miller

It is "distribution" untill it enters the building., or mast.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

limited]

U.S.

Maybe you need to look again at the title of the thread -- which has been *entirely* about how service entrances are wired.
Bare neutrals on service entrances are very common, your delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.
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On Wed, 27 Nov 2013 01:32:13 +0000 (UTC), Doug Miller

To be totally fair, this turkey has been all over the map.
As for LIMITED experience, I've worked on electrical systems in 3 very widely differing areas of the world - east/central Africa, West Africa, and Canada - both rural and urban.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

Which obviously qualifies you to make sweeping generalities about the entire North American continent -- NOT.
And yes, I'd say that working on rural African systems *does* qualify as "limited experience". You clearly don't understand much beyond Canadian codes and practices.
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On Monday, November 25, 2013 9:59:04 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Oh my lying eyes. I must be hallucinating when I see all those bare service neutrals run to houses. Or all those base primary neutrals I see on poles going down the road.....
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:23:35 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Hell, the hots on poles are bare too pretty much everywhere.
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Depends mostly on how the wire is brought to the home -- overhead supply often (but not always) uses an uninsulated neutral, but IME underground supply *always* uses an insulated neutral.
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Yep. That's why you see the wire with the fancy stripe. :-) Generally you will only see the messenger cable used as a neutral for residential services. Poly- phase drops use four insulated conductors.
(Of course, the exception is the rule types will chime in.)
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On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 16:26:14 -0500, Ralph Mowery wrote:

If the statement is true, then you should be able to find at least one reliable reference that supports your supposition. Right?
It's not like the question has never been asked before.
I provided more than a half dozen references which supported the statement that the ground, in the typical USA AC transmission system, is the return path to the electric company.
I admit, those references seemed to be from howto, school, and physics web sites - but it was all that I could find.
However, I could not find a single reference that stated that the ground is *not* the return path to the power company.
If it's true that the ground is not the return path, given that clearly a LOT of sites say that it is, then why can't we find a single reliable reference that explicitly refutes that assumption?
Again, I'm perfectly happy to be wrong if someone can prove they are right. Merely stating that I'm wrong and that you are right does nobody any good.
Let's see a single reliable reference that explicitly answers the question by flatly refuting the (clearly common) assumption that the ground *is* the return path back to the power company.
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On Monday, November 25, 2013 6:45:59 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Now it's a clearly common assumption? Prior to you bringing it up, I never heard it before.
Here's a diagram for you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power
Go part way down to the animated drawing that shows a 3 phase power plant connected to it's 3 phase load. Note the 3 wires and that planet earth is *not* part of the circuit.
That is how power is generated and delivered. They may use the earth somewhere in the world as part of some power delivery circuit for something, but if they do, it's the exception, not the typical 99% part of how power is delivered.
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On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 23:45:59 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

I have given you a couple references that "prove" the ground is not GENERALLY used as the return, because they specifically mention the odd case where it DOES get used , SWERT, as an anomoly (being out of the ordinary)
Just admit it. You don't like to be "wrong" - but in this case, you and the sources you reference ARE.
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On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 22:03:35 -0500, clare wrote:

You're getting too personal. This is not a personal issue. We are all among friends here. This is merely a discussion about what the TRUTH is.
I don't see a single reference in all your posts which state that the earth is not used as the return path for electrons in typical American power distribution.
In contrast, I have provided a half-dozen references which directly state that the earth is used as the return path for electrons in power distribution in the United States.
For example, read this reference: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/Courses/EGR220/ElecPwr_HSW.html
Which states, clearly as the sun shines on the truth: "The power company essentially uses the earth as one of the wires in the power system. The earth is a pretty good conductor and it is huge, so it makes a good return path for electrons."
This is from this electrical engineering class: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/Courses/EGR220/ EGR 220, Spring 2013, Engineering Circuit Theory
Taught by this associate professor: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/
Again, this is not a personal issue. I don't care if I'm right or wrong. I don't care if you are right or wrong.
I just want to know what the truth is. And, if this EE class is wrong, then I would think we can find a single reference that refutes the statement I quoted.
I can't find any. No matter how hard I look. Can you?
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 05:16:17 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

You are only giving ONE reference for your position - associate professor J Cardell..
And many of us are saying she is not totally correct.
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:27:35 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Uh, no, it's worse than that. His one reference is the creator of "How stuff works". He justs keeps googling and finding the exact same verbage or a direct link back to that, and then he counts it as a new, independent "reference". Unless I missed something, I think he's showing tht ap Cardell referenced the "how stuff works" description in her course.
He refuses to even acknowledge the links that you provided that talk about how systems are grounded, what the earth is used for, etc. And he's too lazy to spend an hour learning how 3 phase works and why you only need those 3 wires to transmit power.
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