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

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Anyone notice that most of these "How it" whatever websites, Discovery channel shows, and such, get the physical aspect of manufacture down (duh, they are filming it), but they always seem to pull something out of their butts when trying to explain the science behind how something works? I think this is caused by having professional writers only having a limited knowledge of what it is that they are writing about, and winging it when an item of confusion comes along. Peer review of the final script obviously is not in the cards.
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LOL!
Um, that's bad, m'kay?
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On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 13:43:23 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Again, I don't think we'll get anywhere with you saying it's wrong, and me saying they're both right. We can repeat ourselves until we're blue in the face, and we'll get nowhere toward the correct answer.
We clearly showed multiple references, some of them from schools and physics forums, which clearly stated the ground is the return path back to the power company. This may or may not be true, but, we can certainly find people stating that this is the case.
But, maybe all those web sites & physics forums are wrong.
If we are to learn the truth, what we need is simply a reliable reference that says the ground is *not* the return path.
Clearly LOTS of people think it is (I certainly do, and so do the half dozen scientific, howto, and physics web sites I referenced).
So, if they're all wrong (and they just might be), then there should be a reference that says that this is wrong. Right?
So, if it is really "nonsense" that the ground is the return path to the power company, then we should be able to find a reference that says that.
Don't you think? I googled, but didn't find it.
Maybe someone else can? (I'm not wedded to an opinion; I only wish for the truth).
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Are your references from Australia?
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On Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:03:04 -0600, Nightcrawler® wrote:

Nope. You saw the references. They were all for standard power distribution in the United States.
For example, this reference from Smith College, Northampton, MA: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/Courses/EGR220/ElecPwr_HSW.html
Says: "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."
That's from an EE class: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/Courses/EGR220/ EGR 220, Spring 2013, Engineering Circuit Theory
Taught by Judith Cardell, who researches this stuff: http://www.science.smith.edu/~jcardell/
So, why do you constantly disparage my comments when I can easily prove that exactly what I have said all along is being taught to electrical engineers in college-level courses?
All I'm asking is for you to provide a reference that refutes the statement above. You can *say* you don't believe it all you want; but, all I ask is a single reliable reference backing up the claim that the power company does *not* use the ground as the a "good return path for electrons".
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 05:06:25 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

like a junior college introduction course to me.
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 08:19:28 -0500, clare wrote:

:)
I won't go into a discussion of how facts at a junior college are any different than facts at a high school or university, or even those same facts at the power company (the references I cited were from industry also), simply because, I'll lose any argument like that on the net due to the old adage...
And, I'll stop asking for references that state the currents *don't* go back to the power company transformers through the ground...
I will simply continue to locate, read, and quote sources that explain the return path for current, back to the power company's transformers.
The more I read, the more I find that this return path is not straightforward.
There are local loops, where the math can get complex, so, I'm trying to unwind this wye-versus-delta thing as we speak ...
Here's a good starter paper on what those ground paths back to the power supply transformers looks like that I am still reading with great interest: www.dataforth.com/catalog/pdf/an108.pdf
That's from a company that makes isolation transformers, so, they're not "junior college" level, right?
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:01:11 AM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

What references from industry? Every "reference" you have that I've seen uses the same exact verbage from "How stuff works" or is in fact a direct link back to it. One place that got it wrong, cited 10 times, doesn't make it right.

Actually it is. See the Wikipedia diagram I gave you a link to twice now:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power
It shows power coming and going on just 3 wires, no planet earth required. That simple animation shows how it works. Look at that and tell us why another path is needed.

No and there isn't anything there that says power plants use the earth as a return path. It's all consistent with what everyone here has been telling you.
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:00:47 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The earth is not a power path. Period.
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It is not straight forward. It zig zags.
No joke, look up zig zag transformer.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net scrit:

I was taught the same thing, and I'm an Industrial Engineer.
Most EEs don't learn power distribution. Most learn basic transistor theory.
But, when they cover it, at least for us, they tell us that the earth is the return.
But why does it matter if it's not? It doesn't change the wiring either way.
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:45:26 PM UTC-5, Harold W. wrote:

It doesn't change what wiring? If grounds had to be sized and installed to accomodate normal current flow, it certainly does change wiring in a big way. And that's just one way it changes it.
Also, we just went through the whole discussion of the difference between a neutral and a ground for a house service. Are you saying that doesn't matter either?
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Sure it does. Eggs are just eggs, right? Scrambled is the same as easy-over as poached is the same as a soufflé. Right?
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Danny D'Amico brought next idea :

Did you READ the Preamble to that paper you are quoting??
The NEC, National Electrical Code(Ref.4) requires the installation of grounds for safety and does NOT allow load currents in ground lines.
Ther is your proof. The NEC is the Electrical BIBLE :')
--
John G



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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:14:52 PM UTC-5, John G wrote:

Doh! Nice find.
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On Tue, 26 Nov 2013 07:00:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Ok. You win.
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On Wed, 27 Nov 2013 11:14:52 +1100, John G wrote:

Ok. You win.
There are no ground currents.
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On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:06:25 AM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Sigh.... The same "How stuff works" reference is still that one source, no matter how many times various people use it. And it's wrong.

All I see at that link is a course outline, nothing that addresses the earth return issue.

When you have a link that shows that, I'll be happy to look at it.
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On Monday, November 25, 2013 6:40:55 PM UTC-5, Danny D'Amico wrote:

You just keep harping back to the same thing. You're asking for us to prove a negative. And what is really annoying, is that you're so lazy that you refuse to educate yourself or listen to everyone else here, who knows a lot more. You didn't know the difference between a neutral and a ground at your house. You still don't understand the concept of a neutral, a ground, the difference, on the PRIMARY side. Neither, apparently does the author of the "How things work piece". That same exact verbage is in ALL the references you've found, cut and pasted, or even directly referred back to, yet you keep claiming you have 6 references. In fact, all you've got is one reference from a very elementary description, and it's wrong.
I've pointed out several times now, that the same reference, just a couple sentences earlier, says that the power plant has 3 phase wires, plus a "neutral or ground". If that's true, then why do you need the earth as a return path? That statement also shows that the author doesn't know the difference between a neutral and a ground. Yet, you don't address that, don't respond to it, just ignore it. Why is that?
I've also tried to educate you on 3 phase power and why those 3 wires alone are all it takes to deliver power. Those of us familiar with 3 phase see 3 wires running down a transmission line and know how the power flows, that just those 3 wires allow the power to flow, no separate earth return is needed. It's shown here in an animated figure, which I also provided previously:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power
Three wires deliver the power. Now explain to us why you need the earth for a return path? Not understanding 3 phase, you believe the current needs an earth return, instead of flowing back on the same 3 wires. And instead of learning, you insist that we do your research for you.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net scrit:

Without earth you have a big problem.
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