Grounding wire for panel in attic?


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Old 05-08-10, 07:50 AM
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Question Grounding wire for panel in attic?

Hello all. I installed an alarm panel in my closet which is located at the far end of the house (only place where I could hide it). It says it needs to be grounded preferably to its own ground etc. Well there is nothing anywhere on the attic other than the old black vent for the tub etc that comes up and this is about 18' away or so.

Soooo, I was told I could do what I did as long as nothing else was grounded to it also but I am not so sure and need some advice. I took some #6 solid copper and ran it out the top plate, and straight out the side of the house and straight down to a 8' copper grounding rod driven all the way in. Total length is 28' from panel to rod.

Is there anythint wrong with this? Should I have done something different? I have read some things with the ground being in that attic and others that its not good, but I have to go somewhere with it.

Thanks
Carito
 
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Old 05-08-10, 08:08 AM
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Is it plugged in to an AC receptacle directly or is it low voltage? Are the sensors hard wired or are they wireless?
 
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Old 05-08-10, 08:13 AM
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Thanks. Its a mixture. Low voltage wiring to motion and smoke, wireless to doors and windows.

The panel has a single 110 receptacle that will have the 15v stepdown transformer plugged into it for the alarm board.

The #6 ground attaches to the inside of the panel frame with a lug. I also have a sateelite dish in the vacinity but it is not connected to the same rod. I was told to connect it to a different rod at the base of it.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 10:13 AM
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Do the panel instructions say to use a #6 ground? That seems excessively large for an alarm system. Grounding to a ground rod sounds fine to me, just wondering about the size of the grounding conductor.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 10:24 AM
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No. I believe it says 16 guage 25' max. They didn't have any 16 and had 8 and 6 and the "electrician" in the store said that if I was going to go to a ground rod than I should use 6 so that's what I got.

I completely realize I may have gone way overboard for this in cost and material chosen. My main concern is method of install. With no where else to really go, and having to ground somewhere, I am guessing coming out the box and through about 15' of attic then to the rod is ok.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 05:46 PM
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All grounds should be bonded together. So your ground rod should also be connected to the same ground rods and water pipes (if any) that the electrical system is connected to. Sorry.

You want zero potential between your AC neutral and the alarm system ground rod. You may be close to zero under normal conditions but if your load center (breaker panel) ground and neutral go open, current will seek a path via other routes such as the alarm wiring.

Likewise, if you have stray voltage due to a utility fault or bad wiring, that current may seek a route to ground via your rod and then back through the alarm panel.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 11:00 PM
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Thanks Arg. My main panel ground is 60' away. How do I do that? Would I need to just buy some more copper, bury it and then connect it to the other rod. Im sure that one has been in the ground for about 35 years.

Would there be an alternative solution? I also have a small sub panel that runs my air conditioner in the house. Can I just not use the ground rod I already drove and connect the #6 to that panel?

Also, if I wanted to ground my satellite dish, since it does not have power to it could I possibly just use the rod that is 3 feet away I currently have the alarm going to? Otherwise I sure am gonna hate to have to buy about 75' of ground wire. (Concrete in the way for direct line between old rod and new?

Thanks,
Carito
 
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Old 05-09-10, 02:04 AM
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Is this alarm is on it own circuit or shared with other circuits ??

If that is on own circuit with modern NM cable it should not be a issue at all unless the instruction stated something diffrent.

But to use the 16mm˛ { 6 AWG }bare conductor is pretty much overkill { unless the alarm manufacter did stated to use that for protection }

Yeah you can able bring that to the subpanel only if you have good ground connection there { just check to make sure the netural and ground is seperated at subpanel otherwise you may raise couple new issue }

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 05-09-10, 06:28 AM
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Thanks French. No it is not on its own circuit. Since it was a single receptacled needed to power a small step down transformer I jumped off a lighting circuit. from a light box.

BUT if running this off it own circuit will eliminate the rod issue, I can do that. I have an open slot left on the sub panel that goes to my air conditioner in the hall.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 07:21 AM
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I don't do alarm work, but can see no reason an alarm panel would call for another ground besides the equipment ground already provided by the circuit wiring.

As someone else already said, if a rod was driven it would still need to be bonded back to the service ground.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 07:44 AM
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Thanks. There is no equipment ground. The transformer that plugs into the receptacle lacks a ground prong. You simply install a ground lug on the frame of the alarm panel's steel box and ground it to something like a water line which I do not have.

The only other options I could do is:

1) Pull back my ground wire, and run it back to the subpanel ground bus that runs the air condtioner in the hallway.

2) Remove the power jumped off an existing light circuit and put the alarm panel on its own from the subpanel going to ac.

There is nothing else in my attic I can ground to with bare copper. Either of those two methods would be preferable than trying to bury at least 75' of ground wire to connect two ground rods and going under concrete to get to one.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 07:51 AM
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Could you please post a link or the installation instructions?
 
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Old 05-09-10, 08:16 AM
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Thanks.

"Grounding the Panel: For maximum protection from lightining strikes and transients, connnect the enclosure to earth ground as shown in Fig 3 (shows spade connected, ground wire to water pipe with clamp type connector). Use 16guage solid copper wire from an earth grounded cold water pipe clamp to the enclosure."

That is all it said.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Carito View Post
Thanks.

"Grounding the Panel: For maximum protection from lightining strikes and transients, connnect the enclosure to earth ground as shown in Fig 3 (shows spade connected, ground wire to water pipe with clamp type connector). Use 16guage solid copper wire from an earth grounded cold water pipe clamp to the enclosure."

That is all it said.
In your original post you said

It says it needs to be grounded preferably to its own ground
This sounds a lot like they want an isolated ground. When you either connect the new rod to the original grounding point OR run the new ground to the original grounding point, you probably should attach it ahead of the original ground connection. They used the word "Preferably", but did not say it was mandatory.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 02:20 PM
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Thanks Joe. What exacty does that mean what you said? I had read several other posts on the web where they said it was better to ground it on its own. Naturally I thought that was what I was doing by what I have done though not knowing two rods should be connected which is in my opinion way past what I want to do. The amount of work and copper needed to bond the two rods together would far exceed the cost of the alarm panel.

So back to what I was asking. Would it be fine to run a seperate circuit to this or leave that as is and just run my ground wire to my AC juntion box bus bar?

Thanks
Carito
 
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Old 05-09-10, 03:10 PM
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Been following this but my question is why? Maybe this is more a question for the Alarm Forum that I'm asking but are alarm panels normally grounded. It operates off a transformer which isolates it from severe shock hazards so we are talking mostly about bleeding off static charges. If the sensors are all inside and there is no outside connection except the phone line which already should be grounded is there likely to be a need to ground it? A comparison might be TV antennas. Outside antennas are grounded but inside antennas aren't.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 04:03 PM
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Yeah Ray, that is beginning to be my feeling also. Found some other posts scouring the web that said more often than not it is not needed in residential applications. The box did not even come with a ground clamp. I had to go to Lowes and buy one.

I also talked to a buddy of mine who already has one installed and his alarm box does not have a ground attached to it.

Sheesh.

Someone tell me this. If I do not use this ground rid I have already driven in the ground, is there anything wrong with running the ground wire from the sattelite dish to it since the sattelite dish does not have power going to it???? Or would it still need to be bonded to the existing building ground?

Thanks really for all the help

Carito
 
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Old 05-09-10, 04:40 PM
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Sorry, satellite does need to be grounded and it should be bonded to the system ground.
 
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Old 05-09-10, 05:36 PM
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Thanks Ray. Somehow I knew you were gonna say that.
Man I just cant get it easy. LOL

OK if I want to take the task of running a bonding wire to my other main rod and given that it is 50-70 feet away.....

What size bare copper would I use or would I use something different?

What depth would the ground need to be?

Thanks
Carito
 
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Old 05-10-10, 08:42 AM
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Adding a second rod 70' feet away may actually make your grounding system less effective. I wouldn't do it.

For the satellite system, you need to run a #10 (or larger) copper wire from the coax grounding block to the house main ground. It can go directly to the rod with a brass clamp, to the #8 or #6 that connects to the rod, or to the service conduit if it is metal. From the coax grounding block up to the dish, the installer should have used coax with a grounding wire built-in that attaches to the block on the low side and the dish mast on the top side. This ground wire is a little smaller like #16.

I don't see why the alarm panel would need anything more than the #12 or #14 ground that is in the supply circuit.

BTW, the satellite dish does have a small amount of power sent to it via the coax from the receiver unit to power the onboard switch and signal amplifier. It also has a lot of power running to it if you have a lightning storm.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
I don't see why the alarm panel would need anything more than the #12 or #14 ground that is in the supply circuit.
ibpooks is dead on. The specs are vague, but if they indicate a #16 of no more than 25' as you had indicated (to be run to a waterpipe. Who does that?), a run of 60' in #12 copper back to the panel should be well within tolerances and provide an adequate ground for an alarm system.

The electrical engineers that design these things that want a "clean" ground are textbook types that don't really design things with the real world in mind. I'd get a #12 from the panel ground bar to the alarm box (or even from the receptacle to the alarm box, provided your receptacle has a ground in it) and sleep soundly with a firm sense of a job well done. Silly engineers.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 03:16 PM
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Thanks for all the help.

I can do that. I can get some #12 from my nearest panel ground bar to the box no problem.

I will look at installing another ground wire from the sattelite dish to the main. Since I already have 25 feet of #6 am I allowed to splice on the difference needed using a copper split bolt?

Any particular recommended depth for this ground or is a few inches fine?

Thanks
Carito
 
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Old 05-10-10, 05:03 PM
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I can not remember when I last saw an alarm panel that was grounded. Years ago, alarm panels used to have to have a ground connection to ensure proper phone communication, but that is no longer the case. Anything you do with the alarm panel ground with be above and beyond what most professional alarm installer would do. Seeing that you live in the Southeast, the extra protection from lightning is warranted.
 
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Old 05-11-10, 05:17 AM
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Could someone tell me then if I look at installing another ground wire from the sattelite dish to the main and I already have 25 feet of #6 am I allowed to splice on the difference needed using a copper split bolt?

Any particular recommended depth for this ground or is a few inches fine?

Thanks
Carito
 
 

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