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#127964 - 04/03/02 06:41 AM Ground testing
qknowles Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/28/02
Posts: 3
Loc: Nassau Bahamas
Is there a simple method to determine the ground resistance of a large ground system. The system consist of numerous interconnected ground rods spaced a few hundred feet apart and enclosures all interconnected with 3/4" RGS conduit.

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#127965 - 04/30/02 11:37 AM Re: Ground testing
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
The general method that is often used here in the U.K. is to pass a current through the ground and then measure the potential using an auxiliary electrode.

Call the existing grounding system X. Drive a ground rod, Y, into the earth at some distance from any of the existing ground rods. The reistance areas must not overlap.

Connect an adjustable low-voltage source (we usually use about 25 to 40V AC) between X and Y with an ammeter in series to monitor the current.

Now drive an auxiliary electrode Z at a point roughly mid-way between X and Y, and connect a voltmeter between X and Z. The ground system reistance is then simply E/I by Ohm's Law.

To check that the rod resistance areas are not overlapping, move rod Z about 10% of the X-Y distance closer to X and repeat the test. Do the same with Z moved about 10% closer to Y. If all three readings are approx. the same, then take this as the system earth resistance. If the readings differ substantially, then you will need to move ground rod Y farther away and start over.

To obtain accurate readings, the original ground system X must be disconnected, otherwise any other interconnected paths to ground will affect the reading.

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#127966 - 05/30/02 05:42 PM Re: Ground testing
motor-T Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/01
Posts: 293
Loc: Girard, Ohio, USA
Paul:
how long are the grounds X and Y ? and how far apart do they have to be and the Z rod?
I gotta try this.

-Mark-

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#127967 - 05/31/02 05:41 AM Re: Ground testing
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Mark,

Ground rod X will be whatever electrode is being tested. For most new installations that would be a copper rod about 4 to 5' long by 3/8" diameter. (Our code doesn't require 8' ground rods.) Test rods Y and Z will normally be of similar sizes.

The IEE quotes that on average the X-Y distance will need to be 25 meters (that's a little over 80' to you and me). But it can vary considerably in different parts of the country due to the different soil conditions.

The purpose of moving rod Z closer to X and then closer to Y and repeating the tests is to check that the resistance areas, or voltage gradients, of the rods do not overlap.

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#127968 - 05/31/02 04:32 PM Re: Ground testing
motor-T Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/01
Posts: 293
Loc: Girard, Ohio, USA
Paul
Thanks for the dimensions all i got is 5/8 x 96 but will give it a try should be interesting to see what the ground system resistance is.
-Mark-

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#127969 - 05/31/02 06:15 PM Re: Ground testing
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Shortform testing info at http://www.tradeport.on.ca/ApplicationNotes/aemc.pdf

It is most often an AC test, to limit galvanic interaction of soil and rod material. The frequency is typically 128 or 135 Hz to reduce sensitivity to 50-60Hz power currents or their harmonics.

For ground mats, the test-lead spacing can be on the order of 1,000 feet/ Modern test sets will indicate excess test-rod resistance of the farthest rod on a 3-point test.


[This message has been edited by Bjarney (edited 05-31-2002).]

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#127970 - 06/01/02 02:03 AM Re: Ground testing
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Is that link correct? I'm getting an Unknown host error.

Some of our earth test-sets operate at the higher frequency to avoid stray 50Hz currents interfering with the measurements.

The traditional test-set seems to be disappearing though, in favor of all-electronic earth-loop impedance testers which measure over as little as one half-cycle of current to avoid tripping GFIs.

I guess their popularity in today's fast-paced world is avoiding the need to drive auxiliary rods -- Just couple up and measure.



[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 06-01-2002).]

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#127971 - 06/01/02 08:46 PM Re: Ground testing
Bjarney Offline
Moderator

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 2561
Loc: West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
Agghh!! It seems to work here at the moment. It's titled "Understanding Ground Resistance Testing" marked AEMC "Workbook Edition 6.0 950.WKBK-GRO 07/98." It might be online someplace else. [It's not too detailed.]

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#127972 - 06/02/02 04:08 AM Re: Ground testing
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
It's working O.K. today (most of North America is still asleep, I guess!).

I haven't had a chance to read the whole document yet, but it looks interesting.

Mark:
If you scroll down to figure 13 and the associated text, that's the method I was describing, except that in this document they've labeled Y and Z the opposite way around to the IEE.

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#127973 - 06/02/02 04:01 PM Re: Ground testing
motor-T Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/01
Posts: 293
Loc: Girard, Ohio, USA
Paul:
Scroll down where ? I cant find the link ?

-Mark-

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