ground problems I think guitars and home electronics

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  #1  
Old 10-22-05, 07:03 PM
starfox
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ground problems I think guitars and home electronics

So I have this little studio in my basement with computers, guitar amps the works. I run everything threw a surge protector on one outlet. Latelly Ive been getting static sounds threw my amp that cease when I touch something metal. Also little shocks from guitar strings and the metal grates that cover the speakers on my laptop. I had a new circuit breaker installed when I bought the house. The ground from the box is fastened to the pipes on my hot water tank. It hasent always been like this with the static sounds and shocks. Any advice? How can I fix this? Im a newbie to home improvement.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-22-05, 07:20 PM
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The ground from the box is fastened to the pipes on my hot water tank.
This is a dangerous and illegal ground. You'd be better off without it. You may have an interconnection of the grounding and neutral wires somewhere on the circuit, and current may be flowing on your water pipes. That could kill somebody. I don't know who installed this ground, but it was an extremely unwise idea.
 
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Old 10-22-05, 07:35 PM
starfox
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OK so I ran a extension from the other side of the basement and pluged my guitar amp in and NO STATIC!!!!!!! So does that mean the outlet I was using is bad can I just replace it?
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-05, 08:50 PM
starfox
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
This is a dangerous and illegal ground. You'd be better off without it. You may have an interconnection of the grounding and neutral wires somewhere on the circuit, and current may be flowing on your water pipes. That could kill somebody. I don't know who installed this ground, but it was an extremely unwise idea.

Should I contact who installed this or contact someone else to report such a thing? I have 2 baby girls. I feel totally pissed
 
  #5  
Old 10-23-05, 09:22 AM
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Who installed it? An electrician? A handyman? A former owner? A friend or relative?
 
  #6  
Old 10-23-05, 04:30 PM
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Contact a professional electrician, whom is licensed and otherwise qualified to perform electrical work in your home.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-05, 07:01 PM
MikeSch
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
This is a dangerous and illegal ground. You'd be better off without it. You may have an interconnection of the grounding and neutral wires somewhere on the circuit, and current may be flowing on your water pipes. That could kill somebody. I don't know who installed this ground, but it was an extremely unwise idea.
This is not necessarily an illegal ground. In the CDN Code, if the receptacle does not have a source of ground via a cable with a bond wire, or by metallic conduit, you have 3 options;

1. install an ungrounded receptacle(no U-ground slot, not sure if they still make these)
2. install a GFCI receptacle
3. install a seperate bonding conductor(ground) to the receptacle/box and attach the conductor to the nearest source of ground (cold water pipe)

It sounds to me like you have 1 of 2 things.

1. the receptacle is actually not grounded and there is a short between the box and the live wire, making anything that is plugged into the ground slot of the receptacle to become, in essence, live. ie shocking you

2. the receptacle is using the wire from the water tank as the identified conductor (neutral). This is very dangerous and illegal. If this is the situation, over time the voltage potentian on the neutral/(ground of the receptacle) and the potential of earth (actual ground and the concrete floor as well as yourself on the concrete floor) could reach in excess of 600 V AC.

In either case, you should get an electrician to look at it, or if you want to do it yourself, get a simple plug tester and let the forum know your results, if it doesn't show a fault, check the wiring at the receptacle (turn it off first), let the forum know what colour conductor is attached to what, and we will let you know if something is wrong.

Good luck
 
  #8  
Old 10-24-05, 07:31 PM
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Does the Canadian code specify what "nearest source of ground" is acceptable? The NEC is very, very, very specific about what constitutes a legal place to attach the equipment grounding conductor, and what does not. There are a lot of legal possibilities, but the nearest cold water pipe is not one of them, and neither are the pipes on the hot water tank.

Maybe the CEC is more liberal here, but if so, it doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-05, 06:13 PM
MikeSch
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The CEC states:

26-700(7) Where grounding type receptacles are used in existing installations to replace the ungrounded type, the grounding terminal shall be effectively bonded to ground and one of the following methods shall be permitted to be used:
a)By connection to a metal raceway or cable sheath that is bonded to ground;
b)By connection to the system ground by means of a separate bonding conductor;
c)By bonding to an adjacent grounded metal cold water pipe.

or (8) use a GFCI receptacle.

The NEC may be different, but if you are in Canada, a bond to a cold water pipe on the hot water tank is a sufficient source of ground.
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-05, 06:29 PM
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Thanks Mike. Always glad to learn a bit more about how things are done up north.
 
  #11  
Old 10-28-05, 04:45 PM
MikeSch
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No problem.
 
  #12  
Old 10-31-05, 01:29 PM
starfox
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A retired electrician installed this. Now that I am investigating I see the main copper wire coming from the box is attached to the main water pipe coming into the house and there is a piece connected to the hot and cold of the water tank? Is this still the same situation, illegal and dangerous?
 
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