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Ground wire sizes in Europe #200021 03/17/11 07:55 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
mikesh Offline OP
I am working on the Canadian electrical code rules for grounding. Current rules in Canada require a #6 to artificial electrodes and the NEC is similar with UFER (concrete encased electrode) grounds at #4

What are the wire sizes in Europe from the neutral (grounded circuit conductor) to the electrode(s)?

AWG if it is speced but I can figure out metric.

Are there different sizes for different electrode types?

One more Question if a single ground wire serves multiple transformers using the same electrode how is that sized. IE a high rise with several distribution transformers. We call that a system ground.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: mikesh] #200025 03/18/11 04:01 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
frenchelectrican Offline
I will give you the European size here it is

6 AWG = 16mm²
4 AWG = 25mm²

As far for the conduit size they are in either North Americainé trade size or metric sized

Typically half inch electrode rod is the same as 13 mm electrode rod it will be simauir to other size.

However for the EMT conduit or ridge conduit they are cutted at the standard mesurement so we do still get them in 10 foot sticks on standard mesurement for metric verison it will cutted in meters lengthwise { can get them to standard North Americian lengths if request it }

As far for multi transfomers we sized the EGC to the largest phase conductor size therefore it should be the same as your Electrical code book chart unless something along the way change.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: mikesh] #200046 03/18/11 12:37 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
mikesh Offline OP
Do you know if the rules for grouns wires are similar to the NEC?
What type of electrodes use #6 like plates, rods. water pipe, well casings, ground ring, steel in the footings?

I am also very interested in the water mains. In the NEC they wont let a water pipe become the only electrode. IE you have to also use another electrode type?

The Current rule in Canada is out of step and could required a ground as large as 2/0 if the water main is considered to be continuous metallic. We are working to get that genie back in the box.

Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: mikesh] #200052 03/18/11 04:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Texas_Ranger Offline
In TN systems (i.e. neutral bonded to ground on the customer side as seen in the US) local ground rods aren't universally required, so the bonded water pipe could end up being the only electrode even if not designed as one. For any new setups you're likely require to install at least one rod, measuring ground impedance as you go, adding further rods if necessary. New buildings generally have 3x30mm stainless steel (or possibly galvanised) laid into the concrete footings to ensure good grounding. This is usually connected to the main equipotential bonding connector using 10mm steel wire or the same flat steel and then connected to the equipotential bonding bus bar using 16mm2 Cu wire or larger. Anything that could potentially carry lightning currents (antenna bonding, satellite dishes,...) have to be at least 16mm2 too. Water pipe bonds can be as small as 4mm2 I think.

If you have a large setup with multiple transformers you'd likely install additional steel in the footings of the transformer box walls, as far as I know to the same dimensions mentioned above. I am not too familiar with such large systems though.

Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: mikesh] #200204 03/24/11 09:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,250
djk Offline
Increasingly, European countries are harmonising their electrical regulations and are cooperating on standards through CENELEC, (French: Comité Européen de Normalisation Électrotechnique) is the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization.

However, you still cannot really generalise about "Europe" when it comes to electrical systems. There are some huge differences, and grounding systems is one of the areas where those crop up most.

While the systems are generally all very safe, there are big differences from country to country in the exact technical specifications of the grounding system. They can even vary from region to region depending on things like ground conductivity and the age of the local network.

TN-C-S systems are normal in some countries, e.g. here in Ireland. And these typically include local grounding electrodes as well as a bond to neutral (made by the power company) before the meter. All plumbing must also be bonded and you'll see things like ground wires running from the hot to the cold pipe under every sink to ensure no issues occur.

TT is common in other countries, and in some rural areas here and on some old urban installations too. In this case, an RCD (GFCI) is required across the entire installation at the meter.

There are also various variations of TN systems in use in different eras of network and different countries.

Really though, you can't generalise. You'd need to get specific information for each country.

Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: djk] #200206 03/24/11 10:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
frenchelectrican Offline

That is true and we have few diffrent system format like TC-N-S and TT and TN { this is getting rare now }

However there are few diffrent French codes we have to follow depending on the area we are working and I know there is more than a dozen verison to deal with it.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

Re: Ground wire sizes in Europe [Re: mikesh] #201121 05/13/11 12:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
david96elect Offline
New Member
In Australia we use 4sqmm minimum as the main earth connected to a 12mm copper clad earth electrode minimum 1.2metres in the ground. Water mains are bonded to the main earth.
The main earth conductor size is based on the size of the comsumers mains.

The MEN conection is at the main switchboard and is part of the consumers electrical instalation.


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