All the lights are flickering

WIMaster

Senior Member
I don't believe that is what he was implying.

I would question the math that would produce a GES that could stand in for the service neutral without looking like an open neutral, however.
George I would seriously question it if they only had ground rods too. In the case of city water that uses all metal pipes not as much but I honestly do not know the ampacity of a 5/8-3/4" copper pipe filled with water either.
 

Smart $

Esteemed Member
George I would seriously question it if they only had ground rods too. In the case of city water that uses all metal pipes not as much but I honestly do not know the ampacity of a 5/8-3/4" copper pipe filled with water either.
It'd be more a matter of resistance. I agree, a effective GF path through neighbor's GES and neutral could effectively mask problems otherwise associated with a loose or even a completely disconnected service neutral.
 

cadpoint

Senior Member
I think Scenario #1 & #2 could have been it's own thread.

With #1, everyone working with this application should have the equipment it's their equavlent and it should be SOP and thier PPE. Cross Bond the pipe that one is going to cut!

With #2 it should have been a GFCI, but as described devices are bleeding off Power ? It should have been well seen don't you think?

It seems a long shot but cause and effect and time, I reckon ...there's just so many things to remember!
I will remember to measure a dual cut in box ... thanks :)
 
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WIMaster

Senior Member
In #1 I should have bonded as you said that it what the DOH was for. No PPE required if I had fully engaged brain and done it right.
In #2 there was a GFCI outlet there but the outlet was not the issue it was the fact that they did not securely fasten the 2 parts of the cut in box together that was causing the sparking that led to the other discoveries. I believe the jacket of the A.C. cable was touching a water pipe in the wall nearby giving it a 0v reference to the water pipe, the romex ground was a home run.
#1 was completely my fault.
I was only trying to pass on some hard learned knowledge.
 
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Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
I only questioned the implication that a "rotted out" ground rod could cause the problems. All the later things that were mentioned were the result of poor or improper bonding. My point was if everything was good with the neutral, a grounding electrode would do nothing to make everything work as far as no lights flickering etc. You could have a poor bond between the neutral and GEC and as long as the neutral its self was not loose or open, electrically everything would work. You could however see other problems related to the lack of bonding. As has been mentioned, finding a bonding problem and not checking all neutral connections could mask the real problem.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
It is also possible that something is loose before the meter / main (service).
Several occasions it happened to be loose neutral connection at the utility company's transformer up on the pole.
Good call, that's what I was going to say. The two times I've been to a house where they dropped a phase it was on the utility side and once when they dropped a neutral.
 

kwired

Electron manager
I don't believe that is what he was implying.

I would question the math that would produce a GES that could stand in for the service neutral without looking like an open neutral, however.
It'd be more a matter of resistance. I agree, a effective GF path through neighbor's GES and neutral could effectively mask problems otherwise associated with a loose or even a completely disconnected service neutral.
Metal water pipe that is continuous to a neighbor is about the only grounding electrode that will stand in for a service neutral. Not only does it mask a bad neutral it replaces it. You will not get a service call for the lights doing funny things until the service neutral and the water pipe GES to neighbor have both failed. A ground rod will have too high of resistance to carry neutral without noticeable problems.
 

wyreman

Senior Member
yap
you do have to clamp the gec at the main at least once to see if there is any flow away from your incoming poco messenger.
a sound gec will be carrying something with loose poco neutral, and it should be carrying nothing.
 

kwired

Electron manager
if the neutral is sound it will suck up all the return path much better than any water pipe
If the neutral is sound it will likely carry more current than any other available path, but all available paths will carry some current. Even a ground rod in the dirt will carry some but it likely will be such a low amount it will not be easily measured.

How much current flows on any one path depends on the resistance of that path. Put some current on the service neutral and it will develop a voltage drop across that conductor, that is the nature of conductors. If you could create an ideal conductor that has no resistance even when carrying a load then you possibly can have all the current travel that path and no other.

Most of the time the resistance of the water pipe is just as good, maybe even better as the service neutral and they can both easily carry about the same current.

Neutral current is not trying to get to ground, it is not trying to get back to the neutral conductor at the service, it is trying to get back to the XO terminal of the transformer it is derived from. It will take the easiest way there. The easiest way does not have to be a single path, and often is not.
 
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