My Ground is Live


Old 08-15-05, 02:01 PM
Bill G
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My Ground is Live

My home was built in the 1920s and has 110 service. Today a satelite TV installer was grounding the cable TV wire to my electrical ground and sparks started to fly.

I opened the service panel. Their is no ground bar and everything is grounded to neutral.

I'm sure the previous owner did a lot of his own wiring and obviously something is wrong. Any ideas?
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Old 08-15-05, 02:08 PM
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There is nothing obviously wrong here. Grounding wires may (and must) be connected to the neutral bar in the main panel.

My guess is whatever the installer was connecting to wasn't really a ground. But since I can't see, I can't tell.
Old 08-15-05, 02:14 PM
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To where was he grounding the coax?

Usually, you would terminate the coax from the dish at a grounding block at the point where the cable enters the house. From there, you would use a #14 or #12 wire to bond the coax grounding block to the primary EGC with a clamp or to the cold water entrance pipe using a clamp. (Note: this must be the entrance pipe, not any random water pipe.) This really shouldn't have caused sparks.

Does your house exhibit any other symptoms of improper grounding like electrical shock or tingling from plumbing or appliances?
Old 08-15-05, 02:30 PM
Bill G
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Plumbing does give a minor shock at times.

Also he was connecting the coax to the main copper ground 6 feet from the grounding rod.
Old 08-15-05, 02:34 PM
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Maybe you got it backwards. Maybe it's not your house ground that is hot, but the TV wire that was hot.

Also, the phrase "sparks started to fly" can cover a whole range of things.
Old 08-15-05, 06:39 PM
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Possible open neutral on the POCO side of your panel causing neutral current to flow in the ground?

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