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Author Topic: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances  (Read 3280 times)

Offline Flt Simulation

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Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« on: October 27, 2008, 07:05:49 AM »
I guess this is for all you electricians out there:

As many of you folks that live here may already know ... The problem here is that the standard wireing system in the house is 220 volts, and none of it is grounded. You won\'t find that 3rd prong (ground) on electric appliance power cords either.

Here is my problem: I have a fairly expensive 2 channel audio system in the house I am renting, and when I plug my integrated amp in and turn it on, you can feel the electrical power by just running your hand along the metal cabinet of the amplifier ... You get that \'tingling\' vibrating feeling in your fingers from the stray electricity. For that matter, all electrical appliances feel like this way that have metal outer cabinets ... the CD/DVD player, refrigerator, clothes dryer, wash machine, etc. when they are running.

My questions:

1. Do you think that this is adding distortion and/or \"buss\" to the Hi-Fi 2 channel audio system I have since there is all that stray electricity in the amp\'s outer metal cabinet?

2. Any ideas as to how to ground this audio equipment without re-wireing the whole house? (changing the power cord on my audio amp and changing the wall electrical outlet seems to be unpractical in this situation)

BTW, without that 3rd ground pin in the power cord of my amp and CD player, I can\'t see how any of this can by grounded.

Here is my other situation: I am having a new house built right now. Is there anything the contractor can do to somehow ground the electrical system in the new house ... Since none of my appliances have that 3rd pin on the end of the power cord, I just can\'t see how any of this can be grounded in a way as to not be able to \"feel\" the stray voltage when you run your hand along equipment that is plugged in and turned on.

Thank\'s,
Ron
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Offline Flt Simulation

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 07:38:01 AM »
I was just thinking to myself ... Do you think that maybe a small hole could be drilled through the cement floor of the house (right under the table that holds the audio system) and then maybe a 1 foot long metal rod (piece of rebar) be pounded into the ground through the hole ... and then a wire be placed from the metal cabinet of the amp to the grounding rod?

This would ground the amp just like an aircraft or fuel truck is grounded when parked (metal grounding point placed on the parking ramp or in the aircraft hanger floor)



Since I am having a new house built right now ... There has got to be a better way to somehow ground the electrical system in the house without resorting to \"aircraft ground points\" all over the place ... and for some of my appliances, changing the end of the power cord to a 3 prong is just not feasable that I can see + I would need 3 prong electrical wall outlets.
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Offline aerosick

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2008, 08:06:12 AM »
Imagine doing this with your car\'s electrical system. Your car\'s negative \"ground\" has no relationship to your power provider\'s \"ground\" and neither of these has a relationship to the earth\'s \"ground\". The truck \"ground\" in your photo is to get rid of any static charge so there won\'t be any sparks happening when the hose touches the pipe outlet of the underground tank which is in direct contact to the earth \"ground\". The truck hoses usually are reinforced with steel wire coils molded into them.

If you measure your car\'s voltage from the positive post to any \"earth ground\" you won\'t get a reading. Same happens when you measure from your car\'s negative (ground) post.

If you take a wire and contact your car\'s positive post and touch the other end of the wire to any \"earth ground\", nothing happens. There\'s no more charge than when you connect the truck (in the photo) to the grounding electrode.

The electrical term \"ground\" is meaningless when the systems are not interconnected from their sources of generation or transformation (sub-stations).

Friends of mine in Cebu that have built new homes have paid their electric provider to install an overhead pole with transformer to serve just their new house. They have the center transformer lug grounded with a ground wire attached down the pole to a ground electrode.

Their electric service is 3-wire, which provides them with 110v/110v/240v service. Their electrician installed the appropriate breaker box and wired their house accordingly.

If you have sensitive equipment, you might still need to attach these through voltage regulators so that the high and low electric \"spikes\" are filtered out and your equipment sees voltages within the 90%-110% range of what your equipment will operate on.

Billy

I guess this is for all you electricians out there:

As many of you folks that live here may already know ... The problem here is that the standard wireing system in the house is 220 volts, and none of it is grounded. You won\'t find that 3rd prong (ground) on electric appliance power cords either.

Here is my problem: I have a fairly expensive 2 channel audio system in the house I am renting, and when I plug my integrated amp in and turn it on, you can feel the electrical power by just running your hand along the metal cabinet of the amplifier ... You get that \'tingling\' vibrating feeling in your fingers from the stray electricity. For that matter, all electrical appliances feel like this way that have metal outer cabinets ... the CD/DVD player, refrigerator, clothes dryer, wash machine, etc. when they are running.

My questions:

1. Do you think that this is adding distortion and/or \"buss\" to the Hi-Fi 2 channel audio system I have since there is all that stray electricity in the amp\'s outer metal cabinet?

2. Any ideas as to how to ground this audio equipment without re-wireing the whole house? (changing the power cord on my audio amp and changing the wall electrical outlet seems to be unpractical in this situation)

BTW, without that 3rd ground pin in the power cord of my amp and CD player, I can\'t see how any of this can by grounded.

Here is my other situation: I am having a new house built right now. Is there anything the contractor can do to somehow ground the electrical system in the new house ... Since none of my appliances have that 3rd pin on the end of the power cord, I just can\'t see how any of this can be grounded in a way as to not be able to \"feel\" the stray voltage when you run your hand along equipment that is plugged in and turned on.

Thank\'s,
Ron

"We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it."

Gene Hackman: Crimson Tide ~ 1995

Offline Flt Simulation

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2008, 09:00:21 AM »
Bill,

Thank\'s for the info ... Unfortunatly, in the new subdivision I am building in, all the utilities are underground. No overhead wires or poles, so I think it would be imposible to have my own dedicated transformer.

What bothers me is all the electricity you can feel by touching some of these appliances in the house I am renting right now ... Even the back of the 42\" plasma TV I have has that vibrating feeling in your fingers when you rub the back of the TV when it\'s turned on.

These expensive electronic devices such as the audio amp and the plasma TV have lots sensitive ICs and whatnot in them. If you can feel the electricity in the outer cabinets of these components, my uneducated mind would think that it could cause damage sooner or later to all those delcate ICs and stuff that\'s inside. I mean, it seems like the whole component is electrified!

Am I worrying too much?

Why the hell don\'t they ground the electrical system in new houses over here in the PI like what they do in the US? ... You would think that there is some kind of building code here that would require new construction to be grounded properly .... BTW: The house I am renting that has all this \"stray voltage\" is only 4 years old.

Ron,

P.S. I don\'t know if you could even ground the house electrical outlets because there is no steel pipe that connects all of them. I seem to think that they use a hard plastic pipe (conduit) all over the house to interconnect all the the wires.

Seems nothing is grounded properly ... in fact, nothing is grounded at all, and that\'s why all the appliances seem to slightly shock you when touched ... unbelievable! (that\'s probably why computers don\'t seem to last very long over here) .... The metal cabinet on my CPU is also slightly electrified!

Sorry about the rant ... but I just remembered .... I was changing a light bulb in an outside metal light fixture hanging next to the front door .... I did change the bulb, but almost got knocked off the metal stool I was standing on when I got zapped with what felt like about 70 volts of electricity when I touched the metal light fixture! ... just another example of the dangerous electrical system in these houses over here.

Again, I just hope all this stray voltage don\'t sooner or later fry my expensive plasma TV I bought over here!
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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2008, 11:52:12 AM »
Ron, some answers to your problems.

The electrical distribution seems to vary in different places and with different suppliers. I most situations I would expect an earth connection to be supplied as far as the meter, and now it is usually connected to an ground at that point. Even in our older rented property there is an earth at the switch box which is wired to the aircon units but not to any of the standard mains sockets. We have exactly the same problem with everything being live.

I would not be too concerned about your amplifier, the only problem you could possibly have is hum pickup but a good amp should have sufficient screening to prevent that. The same applies to your TV, you can generally only shorten the life of components with very high voltage static discharges. The shorter life of equipment here is more likely to be caused but voltage surges, and these can be prevented by fitting a surge suppressor, available most places.

If you want to play safe with your existing installation I suggest you buy a 3 pin extension lead, remove the 3 pin plug wire the live and neutral to a standard two pin plug then extend the earth wire out into the garden. You then knock a 2 metre length of rebar into the ground and connect the earth to it.

For your new house, insist that the electrician installs 3 pin sockets everywhere with a proper earth connected. The type you should use are the ones that will take the standard 2 pin plugs as well as the 3 pin. You then change all the plugs on your equipment that need an earth to the 3 pin type. This is not an ideal solution as the 2 pin US style plugs are only rated for 110 volts, but it is about the best compromise for the Philippines.

Another point to note is that aircon plugs seem to have inline blades whereas the blades on standard plugs are parallel. There must be a reason for this?????

Hope this helps

Colin

Offline Flt Simulation

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 12:18:53 AM »
Thank\'s Colin and Aerosick ....

I read your reply to my question a long time ago, but I did not respond to it back then ... I should have at least thanked you for the reply before.

Anyway ... This will bring this thread back to the top.

Seems we just don\'t seem to get very much posting on this board ... You can see that looking at the number of \"Today\" posts at the end of any given day.†
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Offline aerosick

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2008, 02:24:16 AM »


Another point to note is that aircon plugs seem to have inline blades whereas the blades on standard plugs are parallel. There must be a reason for this?????

Hope this helps

Colin


Colin,

The in-line blades is the configuration for a 30 amp 250 volt receptacle:

Electrician\'s Instant Answers

Billy

"We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it."

Gene Hackman: Crimson Tide ~ 1995

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2008, 11:39:45 AM »


Another point to note is that aircon plugs seem to have inline blades whereas the blades on standard plugs are parallel. There must be a reason for this?????

Hope this helps

Colin


Colin,

The in-line blades is the configuration for a 30 amp 250 volt receptacle:

Electrician\'s Instant Answers

Billy




Thank Billy, that looks a useful book. I will have to try and get a copy before I start building. It is something all electricians here should know, but like a lot of trades, people become overnight experts if they think it will earn them money. I saw some of the angled sockets in a hardware store but the assistants did not know what they were for.

Colin

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Re: Shocking Question! non-grounded appliances
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 06:11:50 PM »
Apparently my reply didn\'t make it, or it\'s on another topic?

Reverse the plug-in, (180), and that should take care of the SHOCK factor.† Don\'t count on every outlet to be wired the same, hot on the same side across this country! You just might have to get use to the 180 from room to room.

BTW, Pinoy users don\'t care, so why should the Pinoy installers? The old \"that\'s good enough\" thingie that\'s so common in this country prevails!!
B-Ray