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Country Discussion Topics
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Low voltage in the ground wires?
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screaminghollow    Posted 11-03-2003 at 11:03:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
ran a wire for a circuit to the fence charger in the barn yesterday. Barn has it's own sub panel, and then goes to main panel at the pump house. House and pump house have different meters. Cut the main power off at the pump house and and cut off all the switches at the subpanel. Opened the sub panel in the barn to connect a 15 amp breaker to the box. Tested the red, black and white wires with voltage meter before touching anything. no current. Then when I touched the ground wire to connect the new circuit, got zapped. I checked it with the voltage meter (cheap one) and it showed a very low voltage direct current coming through the ground wire. Checked back through the system, can't find ground rods for barn or at the pump house. However, the phone box at the pump house is grounded to the main box. Could this be telephone company current bleeding through somehow?


Willy-N    Posted 11-03-2003 at 14:51:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Turn off all power on the place and check again. You could be getting some feed back thru the Power Companys Bare Grounded Neutral between the poles. If it goes away the turn on circuits till it is live again and you will have found out what is causing it. Might be a electric water heater shorting in a element or your electric stove. Those kind of things have a higher chance of feed back ranges are a good one most hook right into the ground for there neutral. The fact you have sub panels you might have floating neutrals and not bonded to the ground till they are back at the main panel diconection means. If it dose not go away when ALL power is turned off you may be getting stray current from another source down the line on a poor grounded neutral in the system. Mark H.


deadcarp    Posted 11-03-2003 at 16:30:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
that stray current can be expensive too if you milk anything. my cousin had the figures, but animals are alot more sensitive to juice than we are, and they just won't eat or alk over anything that zaps them (understandably) - he had a guy out testing and tuning for a couple hours and his increased milk production payed for it. :)


Willy-N    Posted 11-03-2003 at 18:23:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Big time problem in Barns!! They require a insulated ground wire now going to everything. That way there is less chance of picking up stray current or voltage. All metal hand rails, ladders or anything metal that could come in contact with the animals should be Bonded together as one system and grounded to the grounding grid. That way the potenial is the same between all the metal and less chance of shock. Mark H.


Jim(MO)    Posted 11-03-2003 at 14:31:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Been a long time since I chased a problem like this so I'm kinda foggy. Sounds like a ground loop or reversed polarity somewhere. Electric motors are sometimes the cause. Betcha Willy N has the answer.


rhudson    Posted 11-03-2003 at 14:24:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi screaminghollow,

when you checked the ground, i'm assuming you had the red test lead to ground, but where did you have the black test lead?

if the phone is bleeding back to your subpanel, it is a pretty good sign that the ground rod is not very good.

it is possably that something on the subpanel circuit had a capacitor in it. that could store a charge for a few seconds to several minutes. but if you had all sub circuits in off position, i'm not sure how that could back feed to you.

is the meter a digital? does it have auto ranging? if so, some of those meters (even the cheap ones) are so sensitive that they will pick up radio frequency and other emf energy in the area and display a value for it. (this is not enough to give you a shock or even a tingle though). love a mistery, got some more information?


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