Looking for ground


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Old 08-15-06, 12:16 PM
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Looking for ground

I've been part of this forum for years. Now I have a challenge. Electricians, are you ready?

Background: I'm a Network Analyst by trade. I design computer networks for customers throughout the USA. Whenever I design a network, I include a UPS solution for all equipment electrical connections and a surge suppression solution for all data connections. The UPS equipment simply plugs into a standard customer supplied receptacle (varying configs based on capacity), and is no problem. The data line surge suppressors, however connect to the data lines and then require a connection to ground via a 12 inch long 18 gage(? approximately) wire. In some cases, the UPS equipment I spec. has a grounding screw on the back that provides a simple appropriate place to connect the surge suppressor ground wire, but in others cases, none of the equipment has a screw appropriate for this connection.

Question: Given that our installers are not electricians and I can't ask them to open even so much as the plate on an outlet, where can they connect this wire? Is there any type of device available that plugs into a NEMA 5-15 outlet and provides nothing but a ground connection that I could give them to plug into one of the outlets on the UPS (which we'll assume, for the sake of argument, is always properly grounded)? Would it be sufficient to connect the wire to the outlet plate screw (dad always said that wasn't a very reliable ground connection...)?

Any ideas would be very helpful. As things stand today, the team lead for our installers is requesting that every customer hire an electrician to come in and run a single ground wire to the location of our equipment. That'd be great, but it won't happen and even if it did, the ground wire from the surge suppressor has a u shaped connector on the end of it. I'm envisioning the installers coming up with a bunch of creative solutions for connecting the 2 wires together using common office supplies. Like I said, they aren't electricians...

Doug M.
 
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Old 08-15-06, 01:13 PM
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I'm not saying there isn't a workaround, and someone will give an obvioius answer shortly, I am sure. But at our church we had to run a dedicated ground from the panel to the audio/video equipment which, likewise, was on suppressors and the like. Running 500 feet of a single wire was not fun, but necessary. Not to say your customers would have to do this, but we did to keep down on interference from light packs, etc.
 
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Old 08-15-06, 01:30 PM
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Are your installations commercial, Industrial or residential?
If the first 2- there is usualy a ground grid already in place, Computer rms ect. have them under the floor or other places (main frame etc.) Attach to this. Typicaly a copper buss running along the perimeter of the space.

Residential.. This can prove more challenging. Typicaly though, When they add the equipment your ground should run to the ground electrode (ground rod) useing your own clamp. A cold water pipe may surfice in lue of the above, Again using your own clamp. NEVER loosen up anothers ground clamp and sneak your conductor under it, If the wrong conductor is comprimised..There could be serious results (not good).

Above all how important is YOUR equipment? This will determine the quality of your ground.
 
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Old 08-15-06, 02:17 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far. Sounds like brains are starting to crank!

Our installations are commercial, but generally small business. We service the Credit Union Industry. We've put equipment in computer rooms, in closets, under desks and even in a boiler room once (I didn't design that one...). Every situation is different (job security). Most are in small areas and most of our customers have a very low operating budget. It would be rare to find raised floor.

Our installers are flown in from our corp. office. They don't have the equipment to run a wire outside to a ground rod, and honestly, they're more expensive than even an electrician who I know most customers won't spend the money to hire. I need a simple solution, if one exists. The equipment belongs to our customer after installation so we have no investment to protect either, but I want to provide the most reliable system possible.

Doug M.
 
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Old 08-15-06, 02:49 PM
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they're more expensive than even an electrician #

And we do half their work.... Sorry I digress.
But I would recomend to all In the trade... Thats the way it's going GET ON BOARD.

On your high end equipment and the crucial nature of the info on/in it. Whats it worth to the customer? If they don't want it done right, Then make sure YOUR INSURANCE is paid.
We both (all) know they will not accept or admit that they wanted to save a buck. One JERK (sorry *&^$-- No name calling allowed) Can wreck your life.
CYA Coz no one else will !!!!!!
 
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Old 08-15-06, 04:03 PM
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Don't have the tools??! Gee, seems like issuing them a cheap drill, drill bits, and a screw driver or nut driver would not kill the company's economy. Reminds me of working for our local power company during college. Service drivers, literally drove the lead mechanic crazy. They would remove the tire jack from the truck and throw it away. That way they didn't have to change their own flat tires. He finally told them to drive the flat to a garage and get it fixed. A $100 tire was less than sending a mechanic to do their job.
But it's your equipment, I'd ground mine.
 
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Old 08-15-06, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dougm
, and honestly, they're more expensive than even an electrician who I know most customers won't spend the money to hire. I need a simple solution, if one exists. Doug M.
Put the grounding system in your quote either as you install or it is subbed to an electrician. If it is part of the job then it is part of the job. No need for the customer to deal with this independently.

If this is required to make it a proper install and YOU fail to take care of it, it is your rear on the line when the supressors do not operate corrrectly.

How can you sell them only part of the install??
 
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Old 08-15-06, 08:37 PM
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Forget the bottem line.

Don't ever give your SKILL away.
Do it right or don't do it!
 
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Old 08-15-06, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler
Don't have the tools??! Gee, seems like issuing them a cheap drill, drill bits, and a screw driver or nut driver would not kill the company's economy. Reminds me of working for our local power company during college. Service drivers, literally drove the lead mechanic crazy. They would remove the tire jack from the truck and throw it away. That way they didn't have to change their own flat tires. He finally told them to drive the flat to a garage and get it fixed. A $100 tire was less than sending a mechanic to do their job.
But it's your equipment, I'd ground mine.

Lighten up... "They" may be offended...

Drill and tap. run several 3"- 4" , pull strings and all the rest..... Geez, I'm tired just thinking of it. Easy, we may not be able to communicate.

Sorry about the jab.. (kind of).(not really).

For the unknowing out there... There is SO MUCH power that requires wires in wireless, That we could not even begin to discuss it here. We are both (professions) an integerall part of that.

(I am going for a raise anyway)

But the TEL-COM guys/Gals-people do appear to whine more.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 07:52 AM
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Okay, fair advice, but I'm not giving a drill to an installer. I wouldn't even have them plugging in the CAT5's if I could avoid it, but we generally don't have anything to do with subs and we can't depend on an unknown contractor to properly connect our equipment. We're really there to install and configure software. On the time frames we're given, that in itself is often the equivalent of turning a Grayhound around in a one car garage.

So... What I'm hearing is that all the pros agree with our installation team leader - There needs to be a separate ground wire run to the area of our equipment to connect the single data line surge protector to whenever I use a UPS that doesn't supply a grounding lug on the back. What that really tells me is that I need to eliminate all the UPS's I use that don't come with a grounding lug.

Thanks for the replies!

Doug M.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 10:07 AM
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Just when I thought I was starting to earn some respect in this forum, I am going to suggest something that I even have to admit sounds a bit Cheezy.

How about a cord cap with nothing but a ground wire hooked up? Your tech could make these up ahead of time and plug them into the UPS or any outlet available, then wirenut the ground wire from the surge suppressor to the wire from the cord cap.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
How about a cord cap with nothing but a ground wire hooked up? Your tech could make these up ahead of time and plug them into the UPS or any outlet available, then wirenut the ground wire from the surge suppressor to the wire from the cord cap.
I would think that if this were legit (and I suspect it's not) that you could buy something that has plastic (non-conductive)spade terminals for the hot and neutral, and only used metal for the ground.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 10:37 AM
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If I correctly understand the problem, the Green Equiptment Grounding Conductor in the Line-cord that is plug-connected into an existing receptacle is also needed as a Grounding conductor for ancilliary equiptments.

For the Line-cord connection, use a receptacle mounted in a utility-type outlet-box. This receptacle is wired to a cord that will be plug-connected into the existing receptacle, creating a "floating" -type receptacle outlet-box.The Green Equiptment Groundiing Conductor in the cord that plugs into the existing receptacle is first Bonded to the metal of the "floating" box,than "strapped" to the Grounding terminal of the receptacle, then extended outside of the box to other needed Grounding connection-points.

Possibly the utility box could be fastened-in-place.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 11:21 AM
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racraft, even I said that I thought it was a bit cheezy.. lol

Hey you are a moderator, when do ya think the quotes and other forum codes might get fixed?

Pattbba, I am wondering if I am the only one who is having trouble following your replys to this and other threads. I keep wondering if this is a language problem or .... ... ?
 
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Old 08-16-06, 11:27 AM
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Now that's what I'm talking about!!

I thought about both the cord cap and a "utility" type of box that would allow me to attach the wire to it. Both excellent ideas, but... I wasn't sure a cord cap would be code complient and a homemade device wouldn't look very professional. I was kind of hoping someone would know about a device like the one racraft describes. The utility box might just work. I just have to find a commercially made metal box that has a grounding screw. Thanks!

Doug M.

PS. I didn't have any trouble following PATTBAA's post... Then again, I hadn't noticed that all the special text formating wasn't working either.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 01:40 PM
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Your interpretations, please---

Art. 645 Information Technology Equiptment (ITE)

Art. 645.5 (E) Securing in Place---

"Power cables,--- connecting cables--- & associated boxes, connectors, plugs, and receptacles that are listed as part of, OR FOR, ITE, shall not be required to be secured in place."
 
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Old 08-16-06, 02:28 PM
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Doug,

My recommendation would be stick with your original thought and only buy UPS equipment that comes with a ground stud.

If it was my house or my office, I'd custom make a plug that only had green THHN attached instead of SJO cord. However at a customer's site, I think it's prudent to only install UL listed gear. Nothing homemade means no liability.
 
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Old 08-16-06, 04:31 PM
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Doug and all others,
Someone MUST supply the power to your "UPS", No?
Or are these the small "grab what you can for power" type?
If thats the case.... I want in on the Sca#... Project (sorry again).
Why not have a ground installed then?
Novel idea I know, But (there it is again) this may work.
 
 

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