complete circuit


Senior Member
I assume you meant to say grounded (neutral) conductor and not grounding conductor.

You don't need ground to complete the circuit. In fact under normal conditions the ground is not to carry current.

If it is a 3 phase load then it doesn't need neutral (grounded conductor) to operate. However it needs a grounding conductor to take the fault current back to the source for the breaker to operate.


Electron manager
3 phase system with ground doesn't need the ground to complete circuits - take a three phase motor that has no neutral connection at all. You can disconnect the neutral and it will not effect the operation of the motor at all. It can effect what happens if there is a ground fault.

Rick Christopherson

Senior Member
Complete circuits have nothing to do with ground. The power has to return to its source, not to ground.
This is actually a common misstatement. None of the physical or electrical laws prescribe that current must return to its source. Current flows through any path that sustains a difference in voltage. That is most commonly a return to the source, but it is not the reason for the path.