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Country Discussion Topics
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3 wire verses 4 wire [question for jimbob]
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fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 13:01:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
mich. state recommends using 4th wire for ground.in cattle country. something about elect. field between ground rods. big todo up north about a couple years ago causing loss of milk production. i myself always run 4 wires.
fredo


Jimbob    Posted 03-04-2003 at 19:06:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know the story being from Michigan. A farmer sued Consumers Power over this. You see, some areas will only have one high voltage line of, lets say, 2400 volts AC. The other side of the wiring or 'return' in the transformer primary winding is the ground (earth, dirt, etc). Well, this produces ground currents & they can travel strange paths under the ground. The path may be through a farmers barn & it can be felt by the cows under certain circumstances.
I really sidlike this type of system. At my house, the power pole has the two 2400 AC lines. The secondary side of the transformer provides 240 vac & with the center tap of the transformer, I can also get 120 volts AC. The center tap is called the neutral & is connected to a ground rod. It is grounded. Of course, the transformer primary winding at 2400 volts AC is basically ISOLATED from the secondary (240 volt AC side). The single high voltage wire system that effected the farmers cows is not ISOLATED so to speak.


Farmer Tom    Posted 03-04-2003 at 06:31:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know a lot of folks do not like "Codes", but I would recommend all those with agricultural buildings, especially those with animals in them (also for human safety), take a real hard look at the National Electical Code - 2002 (NEC), a.k.a.-NFPA 70-2002, Article 547 - "Agricultural Buildings." "Grounding" and "Bonding" are very important items in this Article and especially Section 547-10 dealing with "Equipotential Planes and Bonding of Equipotential Planes." Shock occurs when there is an electrical potential difference present and 'you' or 'animal' make the connection between it. I hope it helps with understanding the 3-wire/4-wire situation too.


PatM    Posted 03-03-2003 at 19:06:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
Couple of winters ago my cows were reluctant to drink from the tank after I put in the heater (submersible, or the floater). The tank is galvanized, I installed a ground just for the tank, and connected the tank to the rod with copper.

When the snow we tracked into the shop melted into the cement floor ya got 110 volts off the doorknob (no amps, I guess, cause no one got knocked down). Circuit Tester showed all the oulet circuits were messed up, every combination of lights depending on which side of the panel you were on.

Went down in the well pit where I had plugged the heater in. The tester said the putlets were dead. I knew they weren't because the heater was heating the tank. Turns out that the elctrician used romex two conductor with ground thru PVC from the shop to the pit, the pump is 220V. When he wired the 110 outlets he split the 220 by running neutral for the outlets back on the ground!


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 19:21:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i've heard some horror stories about grounding slotted concrete reenforcement meatal grids. if not done right. can be very interesting situation.
fredo.


Lazy Al    Posted 03-03-2003 at 18:52:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
With all the talk about the fourth wire below
I always heard the main reason for driven gound
was to limit the voltage to ground to a max of 150 volts Right or wrong?
AL


Willy-N    Posted 03-03-2003 at 19:30:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your ground rod realy is not much help all by it's self. You could not even run a small drill off it with a hot wire and the rod for the neutral. But with your ground rod and all the other ones on the grid and houses it makes for a good ground for the power company. It use is also to give stray voltage that may be in a device a easier path to ground then you would be. It also gives the breaker a way to short out since it is conected to the neutral back at the panel in case the hot wire comes in contact with the grounded pluming, grounded power tools or grounded devices. This is why it is important to have your metal pluming bonded to the grounding system. Think about it when you are in your tub or taking a shower!! Mark H.


Farmer Tom    Posted 03-04-2003 at 06:36:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
Boy you sure hit the nail squarely on its head here! How true!


Les...fortunate    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:40:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
I work for a utility (Co-op) and we have been sued a few times for "stray voltage". They gave a big settlement one time to a guy with a trout farm. He lost a mess of trout and blamed us.
Some time after the settlement, the linemen were working up near his place one day and one of them said to him "Gordon, I wouldn't buy any of your trout." When Gordon asked why, he said "Because they can't swim in a little current".


Willy-N    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:18:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
What a 4 wire system is 2 hots, 1 Isolated Neutral and a ground. The Isolated Neutral is just that isolated from the ground in the panel. No grounds hooked into the neutral bar. When you wire in barns where Cows are you are supposed to use a insulated ground wire not regular romex. This way there is less chance of stray voltage getting into the wire on the way to the device being grounded by it. The neutral and Ground will come together only back at the service meter area and then the whole system is all bonded together as one. Haveing a good ground potential will drain off the the stray voltage in the metal stuff in the barn and it you lose the neutral you won't heat up all the things conected to it and shock the cows as long as the ground is still good. You need to read about grounding and bonding it would take pages and pages of typing to explane all the different ways and reasons for it in barns and this is why electricians go to school for 4 years to learn it. Even then there are lots of them who do not understand it too!!! Mark H.


Red Dave    Posted 03-03-2003 at 17:57:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Code around here requires separate, isolated neutral and ground to any subpanels. Neutral and ground are the same only to the first disconnect after the meter.
Doesn't matter whether it's for the cow barn or a subpanel in a residence.


Willy-N    Posted 03-03-2003 at 18:15:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your correct but the barns require insulated ground wires not the bare type in romex sorta like a hospital or health care wireing. You can get away from the isolated neutral with a ground rod system on a sub panel as long as it is not in the same structure, like if you went to a out building from the house fed from the house panel. Mark H.


Lazy Al /Mi    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:03:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Seems like I remember some thing about the cattle
getting in stray voltage and it was comsumer power's problem. Was on the news .
I have heard of people having it and it was comming for the nieghbor's electric hot water heater. came up the ground rod . disconnect the ground wire and get an arc .
Also heard of a school that had like 600 volts from a drinking fountian to a pipe that a kid got into . Don't know how that could be .
Al


RayP(MI)    Posted 03-03-2003 at 18:41:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, if you live in Consumer's Power service area, you'd understand. Their system is baleing wire and chewing tobacco! Poorly built, old, rarely updated. Your best defense for stray voltage is plenty of properly installed grounds on your own system. Your electrical contractor may not figure that many is necessary, but you should always exceed the minimum by several!

Let me share with you a stray voltage problem that 'bout drove us crazy here on our dairy farm years ago. First thing we noticed was that the cows were avoiding drinking from the water cups in the manger, which were fastened to the metal stanchions. The cups were getting smelly and gross, and when we reached in with our hands to clean out the cups, we'd get a tingle! Then we noticed when we kneeled down beside the cow for milking, if our sweaty back was in contact with the metal divider between the cows, and you reached up to touch the udder, the cow reacted rather violently, and we'd get a shock on the back. Well, we worked on that one quite a while!

Here's what happened: We had a electric fencer which consisted of a simple high voltage transformer in a metal case - about the size if a pound coffee can. Seems the wire on the hot side of the transformer came in contact with the inside case of the unit. Electricity came out the case, through a metal "L" hook screwed into a wooden panel attached to the concrete wall. The "L" hook was long enough to penetrate the panel, and was in contact with the concrete wall. From the wall, electricity worked it's way through the concrete floor over to the stancion area where the cows were. The part of the stanchion where the cow stuck her head was lined with wood, and the cow didn't get shocked unless she touched the metal framework, water fountain, or the farmer touching the framework. We drilled out the rivets holding the cannister together, corrected the short and used that fencer for many years afterward!


Lazy Al    Posted 03-04-2003 at 05:09:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ray Wasn't some guy losing his cattle out in the
barn yard or some thing a few years back and didn't MSU get involved in that and found that
CP had problems on their lines?
and it was comming up in the ground some how ?
Al


RayP(MI)    Posted 03-03-2003 at 18:38:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, if you live in Consumer's Power service area, you'd understand. Their system is baleing wire and chewing tobacco! Poorly built, old, rarely updated. Your best defense for stray voltage is plenty of properly installed grounds on your own system. Your electrical contractor may not figure that many is necessary, but you should always exceed the minimum by several!

Let me share with you a stray voltage problem that 'bout drove us crazy here on our dairy farm years ago. First thing we noticed was that the cows were avoiding drinking from the water cups in the manger, which were fastened to the metal stancions. The cups were getting smelly and gross, and when we reached in with our hands to clean out the cups, we'd get a tingle! Then we noticed when we kneeled down beside the cow for milking, if our sweaty back was in contact with the metal divider between the cows, and you reached up to touch the udder, the cow reacted rather violently, and we'd get a shock on the back. Well, we worked on that one quite a while!

Here's what happened: We had a electric fencer which consisted of a simple high voltage transformer in a metal case - about the size if a pound coffee can. Seems the wire on the hot side of the transformer came in contact with the inside case of the unit. Electricity came out the case, through a metal "L" hook screwed into a wooden panel attached to the concrete wall. The "L" hook was long enough to penetrate the panel, and was in contact with the concrete wall. From the wall, electricity worked it's way through the concrete floor over to the stancion area where the cows were. The part of the stancion where the cow stuck her head was lined with wood, and the cow didn't get shocked unless she touched the metal framework, water fountain, or the farmer touching the framework. We drilled out the rivets holding the cannister together, corrected the short and used that fencer for many years afterward!


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:16:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
elect. does many strange things. some peole think they know what it is. an elect.eng. told me once nobody knows what it is, we just know how to handel it and control it.
fredo.


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:15:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
elect. does many strange things. some peole think they know what it is. an elect.eng. told me once nobody knows what it is, we just know how to handel it and control it.
fredo.


Um...    Posted 03-03-2003 at 13:29:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I guess this is really showing my ignorance, but...

What do you do with the 'third' wire if the 'fourth' wire is ground?

Are you talking about 110 or 220?

When I moved in here, I had 30-volts of 'stray voltage'...I only had a 60 amp access (two 30-Amp screw fuses) and the 2 wires from the road were bare copper...Wild grape vines had climbed the pole between here and the road, and according to the power company, that is where the stray was coming from...Have since had the wires from the road replaced...


TB    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:00:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Many years ago there was a problem with cattle water troughs cows kept dropping over dead. After much investigating there was 6v difference between trough and ground and that was enough to kill a cow so I guess it doesn’t take much voltage to mess up a cow.


Salmoneye    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:36:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
That may explain why I felt all tingly when I took a bath back then...The whole house was grounded to the water lines LOL...

May explain why I ws sterile too...But that is a different story...

;-)


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:00:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
if running 220 2 110's a common and a correct size ground wire back to main panel ground lug.
if 110. i 110 1 common and 1 ground wire back to main panel ground lug
fredo.


TB    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:36:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds like standerd hookup according to NEC


Ahh...    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:35:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
That's what I thought...so How would you do 220 without 4 wires?...just wondering here...


TB    Posted 03-03-2003 at 14:59:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Depends on the load if a neutral is not used you can use 3 wires but even thou both wires hook to same place they serve two purposes a neutral is a current carrying conductor. A ground wire is a none current carrying conductor witch is used to bleed off stray currents and is a safety. In many instances today good grounding is allot more important than it used to be.


OK...so if...    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:31:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You have 2 wires (110 each) and a neutral in a long run from the access (lets say 1/4 mile)...can you then just use a ground rod at the end point...

Reason I ask is because this is how my Moms well is set up...1/4 mile from the house...220 jet pump...

Salmoneye


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 16:09:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i can,t answer to that in your area. you go to different areas around and 9 times out of 10 you ask that question and you'll 9 or 10 different answers. best thing is see an elect. in your area and see how they would do it. he knows what the inspecter will pass. don't know if you need an inspecter for farm use in your area or not, some places don't require inspection for farms.
fredo


Salmoneye    Posted 03-03-2003 at 16:27:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I think it will be OK...Just always wondered about it...

It has been like that for...Oh...30 years or so...Has taken many serious lightning strikes too LOL...

Thank you gentlemen for your time!!!


Willy-N    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:54:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes if it is a seperate building but you have to ground the means of disconect at that building. Mobil Homes are different because of all the metal in them and having to grab the door handle getting itn them. You keep the neutral Isolated from the ground inside the mobil and bond the metal to the grounding system in the trailer so it is all one potential and will drain off or trip the breaker if a hot wire gets in contact with the trailer. Then you ground the neutral back at the disconect at the meter socket and your first means of disconection of the power sourse. Easy! Mark H.


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:06:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
said a mouth full TB.
fredo.


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:03:56       [Reply]  [Send Email]
said a mouth full TB.
fredo.


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:09:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
operator trouble again duh.
fredo.


bill b va    Posted 03-03-2003 at 15:39:44       [Reply]  [No Email]

is stray voltage the same as wandering watts ?


fredo    Posted 03-03-2003 at 16:12:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i beleive wandering WATTS are in california somewhere.


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