ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#72339 - 11/24/06 09:05 PM Possible stray current in water trough
smokumchevy Offline
Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 60
Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Since I intalled CSA rated trough heaters, designed for this particular fibreglass impregnated plastic water trough two of the horses have not been drinking water, leading me to believe that they must be experiencing some stray current somehow in the water since the customer mentioned he thought that the water might be too warm and stuck his finger in the trough (idiot, lol)but it was fine and after asking him if he got a lift or tingle he said no.

Any troubleshooting tips or suggestions before I head out their tomorrow afternoon??

My plan of action tomorrow is to test voltage to ground, voltage to neutral, neutral to ground and ground to a different sourced ground (3prong ext cord to the house power). Then test for voltage on the stainless steel backing of the element mount to ground and to neutal for any strange readings.

As a last resort, I'll drain the trough and remove the heater element to check for voltage on the outer shell of the element.

This is a new 60A sub at the barn from the house splitter to a disco fused at 60 A with a run of 190ft of 3 wire #4 WMU direct burial. It lands on a Cuttler Hammer 100A 24 circuit panel with its own groundplate and bonded. The bare ground in the panel feeder was well taped at both ends and isolated from any contact in this installation.

From the barn panel I ran a 3-12 direct burial (60ft) to a postbox for a merc vapour light and tied the second cicuit to an existing (about 15ft) 2-14 direct burial to a gfi plug (which I did test with a gfi plug trip tester and metered to grnd and to neutral, and ground to neutral with good readings) on a post behind a wooden wall dividing the watertrough and the post.

The trough heater is a 3 prong plug cord for outdoor use with a sealed unit at the heater end that screws into the plastic trough via a plastic clamping nut and gasket.

The whole property is pure sand as far as you can dig.

Thks in advance,
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#72340 - 11/24/06 11:59 PM Re: Possible stray current in water trough
e57 Offline
Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2876
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
Animals are a lot more sensitive to things as are we.... To say voltage - much more so, and they don't wear boots.

Found some interesting sites on this...
this is from one of them
~installation of an equipotential plane and voltage ramp is highly recommended. An equipotential plane is created when the reinforcing steel in the concrete floor is electrically bonded to all metal equipment~

And a possibly interesting book , with possibly some good advise on equipotential planes suitable for the purpose for those who work around farms...

FYI I am not one of them.... But would suggest the use of a very sensitive meter for checking point to point contact. A wiggy won't cut it. But as suggested by that page about cows - maybe they just don't like or trust the new fangled heated water thingy.
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#72341 - 11/25/06 05:23 AM Re: Possible stray current in water trough
TwinCitySparky Offline
Registered: 03/23/06
Posts: 52
Loc: Minnesota
You can lead a horse to water...
#72342 - 11/25/06 09:58 AM Re: Possible stray current in water trough
gfretwell Offline

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9039
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
My only point of reference is swimming pools but the principle is the same. Maybe you should try to create a local ground reference with a small ground ring around the tub. I don't think I would go for the full grid in 680.26 but a buried wire around the tub would be a start. It may be too late for these horses tho. They may already associate the tub with the shock and not go back.
Greg Fretwell

Member Spotlight
Member Since: 04/03/02
Posts: 6776
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question

2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 61 Guests and 7 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
SE cable question
Top Posters (30 Days)
Admin 49
HotLine1 43
gfretwell 18
Ruben Rocha 12
Trumpy 9
Newest Members
Freecrowder, clee512, Jdscott2005, FAIZAN, Regitest2

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals