Odd electrical problem

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On 2/3/2011 3:49 PM, dpb wrote:

Back in the early 80's North of Birmingham in rural Alabamastan I did some work at a marina that had TVA supplied power. High voltage came in on a single overhead wire and a transformer and ground rod was hooked up to supply the marina with power. The power is still probably like that after 30 years. :-)
TDD
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On Feb 3, 3:45 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

With an open neutral you can have your 15 amp electric skillet in series with your .1 amp clock radio with this string across 240. The radio is going to lose every time.
Jimmie Jimmie
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Yes, he turned off the main and all of the individual breakers before trying this. Turned the main back on then each breaker.

How could someone walking by have been shocked? Doesn't electricity always seek ground?
BTW he also got the same advice from another guy who works at the power company. Obviously not as a permanent fix but to get his heat working til he could get the neutral wire reconnected.
So in my house as with most houses even though all of the neutrals and grounds are tied together in the panel everything is going back to the transformer?
*Lightning goes to earth, neutral current goes back to the transformer. If everything is grounded and bonded to code and all connections are tight, all neutral current should travel back to the transformer via the neutral conductor. You can put an ammeter on the grounding conductor to see if any current is flowing. Unfortunately the meter won't tell you what direction it is flowing. If your neighbor lost his or her neutral connection you could have their neutral current flowing up into your panel and back to the transformer via your neutral conductor. This can be confirmed by shutting off your main breaker to see if the current flow stops. If it doesn't, talk to your neighbors.
I come in contact with a number of power company workers every year. I am always surprised at the questions some of them ask me about wiring in their own house. This past summer I had a guy ask me how he could do a service upgrade at his mother's house. The perception is that since they work for the power company, they know all about electricity. The fact is that they are very good at what the company trains them to do, but that does not include wiring a house or making a service change because the power company normally doesn't do that type of work.
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John Grabowski wrote:

The reference standards used for power distribution (NESC) and for residential and commercial wiring (NEC) are quite different. Utility personnel will be familiar with the NESC standards, but usually aren't familiar with the NEC standards to much extent.
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*Thanks for that clarification Pete. I am familiar with the NEC but know absolutely nothing about the NESC.
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When I upgraded my panel and meter socket on a separate permit I was able to do it myself because I have underground service and PSEG disconnects you at the transformer for no charge.
When the *three* trucks from the power company showed up for the disconnect none of the wires were marked for the houses. They just started disconnecting them to figure out which was mine. The guy checking for power at my meter socket had a bad meter because they had to do it several times until they were sure mine was off. I could hear them talking "that one arced, that's not it". I was surprised they didn't even clamp on an Amp probe to see which ones weren't drawing first.
They made me very uncomfortable. I must have checked those wires 20 times before I swapped out the meter socket.
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When I upgraded my panel and meter socket on a separate permit I was able to do it myself because I have underground service and PSEG disconnects you at the transformer for no charge.
When the *three* trucks from the power company showed up for the disconnect none of the wires were marked for the houses. They just started disconnecting them to figure out which was mine. The guy checking for power at my meter socket had a bad meter because they had to do it several times until they were sure mine was off. I could hear them talking "that one arced, that's not it". I was surprised they didn't even clamp on an Amp probe to see which ones weren't drawing first.
They made me very uncomfortable. I must have checked those wires 20 times before I swapped out the meter socket.
*I can't comment on the quality of the training that they received. I had to have several underground services disconnected last summer and fall. In one instance one of the power company guys (PSE&G) came over with two pigtail sockets with light bulbs that were wired in series with long leads to check for 240 volts. That's the kind of tester I was raised on. I've noticed that PSE&G always send an entourage for these disconnects whereas JCP&L will send one guy in a pickup truck or two guys in a bucket truck. PSE&G does not charge for the disconnect, but JCP&L has a $280.00 minimum charge.
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At least the guy who was working near the transformer had on High voltage gloves and a helmet, no apron or face shield though.
I also heard that PSEG is the only one that disconnects for no charge on an underground service. The town also told me that if the wires from the transformer to the meter socket needed repair or upsizing that PSEG owned them and would be responsible for them. I don't know the size but they were about 3/4" thick solid aluminum. I can't imagine how much 50' of that would cost...
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John Grabowski wrote:

Don't expect the linemen to be all that technical, most of what they do is more mechanical than electrical. The electrical end is more the function of the engineers back at the office who produce the work orders detailing what is to be done. The linemen mostly check for correct voltages.
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The earth is just for safety. Local code here requires two ground rods and connection to water main. You need zero volts from you shower head to the drain. I got some volts one time long ago, when the water meter jumper was broken. The codes were also different then, at the same house.
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You must have long leads on your meter to check across the shower head and the drain.
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On Thu, 3 Feb 2011 11:03:10 -0800 (PST), Limp Arbor

I would bet they didn't find this problem with a meter. More likely who ever found this problem did a little dance.
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On 2/3/2011 1:03 PM, Limp Arbor wrote:

or a low assed mounted shower head.
--
Steve Barker
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Happens more often than you'd think! I am constantly annoyed when I end up showering in a hotel room or friend's house and have to crick my neck to get my head under the shower head. I'm only 5'11" fercryinoutloud.
nate
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On 2/4/2011 2:39 PM, N8N wrote:

Oh i hear ya! The three i've re-done recently, i've set at 78" from the tub/shower floor.
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Steve Barker
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On Thu, 3 Feb 2011 06:59:55 -0800 (PST), Limp Arbor

Because the ground connection is a very high impedence connection to the neutral at the power company.
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On Feb 3, 5:05 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Another typical misleading and vague statement from our arm chair expert from Canada. The neutral connection is at the transformer, which is usually within hundreds of feet. The above would lead you to believe it's back at the generator.
Anything else I can help you with?
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