I have no ground on my house. I bought a surge protector for my PC but I
realized that it doesn't works if not connected to a real ground. The water
pipes are plastics so I can't attach the ground wire to it. But I have a
garden of soil very near the surge protector I want to ground so I'm
considering to build a ground by myself. What I need to do? Just clamp a
copper tube on the soil (how many inches)? I hear coal helps to make the
grounding better... What I ned to do?. Just consider I'll need to work with
basic materials. I'm not living in US. My country have no construction codes
(at least nobody takes care of them) so please give me some real practical
guidance. I'm telling this 'cause I've been looking around in this group and
the only I've found about the topic is people fighting around construction
code interpretation but none practical guidance on how to build a working
Thanks in advance, any hint is welcomed
coal makes a ground better? that is a new one on me.
Grounding to a water pipe is not acceptable any more, it is called
Simplest method I can think of is drive 2-8 foot long ground rods more than
10 feet apart. Connect them with an acceptable connector, my area you could
use an acorn clamp. Run a bare solid ground wire of the needed size to the
ground rods. A #2 bare would be acceptable where I live for a 100 amp panel.
Attach the #2 bare to the ground bus in the electrical service.
My description will work most places in North America.
#6 copper wire is all you need for a "made electrode" Use #4 if the
wire is exposed to severe abuse (only because it can take more abuse)
To the original poster, I would use ten feet of 3/4" galvanized water
pipe driven into the ground. Or connect to a metal well casing if there
happens to be one nearby. What country are you in?
To do a good job drive two rods about 5/8 inches in diameter that are
atleast 8 feet long in the ground. Place them atleast 6 feet apart. Use
one continious piece of wire # 6 or larger from the first rod to the second
rod and then to the surge protector. Do not use the coal.
While you did not ask for fights about the code in the US (maybe other
countries) the two 8 foot long rods are now the code in lots of places.
They must be atleast 6 feet apart or the ground will not be much beter than
one rod. Where they bond with the earth they are like a bunch of parallel
resistors with the earth. Closer than 6 feet and you might as well only
have one rod.
For surges and not personal protection you want as short and direct path to
the ground rods as you can get. Also do not make sharp bends but wide turns
in the wire.
The quick rise time of a surge will see sharp bends as almost an open
What kind of soil are you dealing with? If it is not hardpan or very
rocky then buy two ten foot copper clad ground rods and a rod coupler.
Drive in the first rod, couple it to the second rod, and drive that
section in. You then have a copper rod driven twenty feet into the
earth. The objective is to get the rod driven below the permanent
moisture leval or water table of the local soil. A fence post driver
or an electric demolition hammer makes a low effort method of driving
the stacked rods. Unless you are in a desert area that will put the
electrode well into moist soil and get the impedance of your driven rod
electrode below 25 ohms.
Hi Sammy. I understand your need to install a good ground. The previous
postings to your questions have given you some good information. We can
probably give you more help if you tell us what country you are in? Also
what materials are accessible to you? Are you able to purchase ground rods
and #6 or #4 copper wire? What are the soil conditions in your garden? Are
you in a dry climate or do you get rain? If you cannot purchase ground rods
are you able to get long lengths of copper pipe? If not how about bare
copper wire? What type of electrical service is coming into your house?
How many volts and amps?
Pictures would be helpful.
You can click here for some information on installing a ground in the USA:
I don't know about codes for Mexico, but you can purchase a copy of the
National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) from Amazon.com or from NFPA.org. Read
article 250 on grounding. You could try contacting your local power company
for advice also. I recall the last time I was in Mexico observing the
haphazard wiring on the outside of many buildings. It didn't appear to have
any uniformity and certainly no safety standards. Does your area have
something like what we have for code enforcement or for building plan
approval? I would think that someone must be responsible for authorizing
Dry dusty soil is probably not the best soil conditions for grounding
purposes. You will need to get as much copper as you can in contact with
the soil. If you have a basement you can drive a few ground rods in the
floor or in the side walls. Ground rods, by code should be a minimum of 6'
apart. However 8' rods are most effective when they are 16' or more apart.
If ground rods are not available, heavy wall copper pipe will have to do.
You can also run a long length of bare copper wire (#2) directly in the soil
for at least 20', but longer is better. It should be buried a few feet
I don't know if Mexico uses a grounded electrical system so I'm not sure if
you can bring your grounding electrode conductor into your main electrical
service. One way to possibly check is to go look at the transformer that is
feeding your house. Assuming it is on a pole, you may see a ground rod at
the base of the pole with a wire from it going up the pole to the
If your service is not a grounded type, you can bring your grounding
electrode to termination on a solid copper bar or plate that can be mounted
near your electrical service.
Not only are protectors ineffective without an earth ground,
but the distance to earth, how the ground wire is routed, etc
are all essential factors that may conspire against you. Just
more reasons why plug-in protector don't even claim to provide
effective protection AND why 'whole house' protectors (that
cost tens of times less money per protected appliance) are so
Some things in your post such as galvanized earth ground rod
are not advisable. But first learn some basics. Currently
posted are those fundamentals for both transistor safety and
human safety in a discussion entitled "Wierd Ground
Problem?" in the newsgroup sci.electronics.misc starting 2
Nov 2005. Understand the 'earthed at far end' antenna
example. Most informative would be today's (8 Nov 2005) reply
Appreciate that some answers define 'human safety' ground.
Others also address transient protection - also called
'transistor safety'. Which ground do you need? A minimally
acceptable earth ground addresses both.
Remember, National Electrical Code (NEC) is only about human
safety. You are earthing for both human safety and
transistor safety. Some posts here do address transistor
Surge protector adjacent to a computer provides ineffective
earthing - which is why such products avoid an earthing
discussion. That is a damning fact - avoids all discussion
about earthing. Single point earthing applies to transistor
safety. Plug-in protector hopes you never learn WHY single
point earth ground and the short connection to earth is
essential to transistor safety. This above paragraph goes
directly to your question.
EVen a 1950s house must have earth ground; to provide human
safety. This ground - typically to a water pipe - is
insufficient for transistor safety. Distance to earth ground
and other factors such as 'no sharp bend', 'no splices', and
other electrical requirements are for transistor protection.
Some have addressed the concepts in previous posts.
Adjacent or plug-in protector manufacturers hopes you never
learn these concept to reap gross profits. Also hopes you
never learn why the protector is only as effective as its
Earthing explains why 'whole house' protectors are so
effective and why products from companies such as APC are so
ineffective. BTW, the safety ground in a wall receptacle is
not earth ground. Just another fact that ineffective
protector manufacturers hope you never learn.
A single eight foot copper clad rod connected 'less then 10
feet' to a 'whole house' protector can create a massive
increase in transistor safety. Two rods (installed as others
have defined) improve effectiveness of 'whole house'
protectors. Why? The protector is only as effective as its
earth ground - including distance to that earthing. Distance
to earth is not relevant to human safety. But distance to a
.... single point earth ground ... defines quality of
transistor safety. Ineffective plug-in protectors hope you
never learn about earthing - their profits being too large to
be so honest.
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