bonding two buildings with separate service

kurtoMay 8, 2012

My brother has a house and a barn about 150 feet apart, each with separate electrical service. I believe they are both served from the same POCO transformer. He intends to install a LAN between the two buildings, which will amount to trenching and running some CAT-5.

My question is: "Does he need to bond the two buildings together to reduce the risk of his CAT-5 becoming an electrical pathway for imbalances?".

If so, how do you determine what size wire is necessary?

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brickeyee

Does the barn have an electrical panel?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:41PM
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Marc12345

Usually I see this done with Fiber cabling and fiber/copper converters in between. Would this be an option for you?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:09PM
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kurto

Yes, the barn has a 100A circuit breaker panel connected to a meter, with appropriate ground rods.

We looked at fiber optic, but the transceivers were quite expensive. Fiber is also expensive and not supported by the cable TV provider if we want to throw that into the mix. It's still on the table if it's the only practical solution.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:33PM
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brickeyee

Try wireless.

Even a charged cloud moving above will produce displacement currents and voltages that can destroy typical LAN gear.

You would need a full up entry at each building with a good grounding system and protection.

Fiber and wireless are the preferred methods for building to building LAN service.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Marc12345

Price for the transceivers vary widely depending on speed/distance requirements. If you can live with 10/100Base, Trendnet TFC-110MST might work and is about $55 each on Newegg. Gigabit is only useful if you have a home server and transfer/stream large files since all consumer internet connections are less than 100Base.

Sorry I can't address your answer more directly.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:58PM
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kurto

Thanks everyone. It looks like fiber will be our choice. The expensive (and not supported part) is getting CATV out to the barn. Maybe we'll do without CNN in the workshop.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:06PM
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brickeyee

Keep looking.

There are numerous converters that will allow you to run CNN.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:14AM
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weedmeister

There are wireless alternatives. If you're only going 150 feet you can find appropriate antennas to give you increased range. You could look into repeaters.

If you want to lay coax, there are things like MoCa that would also work.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 4:51PM
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kurto

Yes, wireless is an alternative on the Ethernet side of things. Sure, MOCA would work over coax if I'm trying to eliminate the CAT-5, but then we're back to my original question about bonding the buildings.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:02AM
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yosemitebill

Kurto,

I'm not sure what your concern is here - running coax between multiple structures (ie homes), each with their own ground bonding, has been done for years by cable companies.

Use a coax grounding block at each end (as should be done) and everything is fine.

As far as the Ethernet feed, use exterior rated CAT5e in conduit for rock/rodent protection (along with the RG6) and it will also be fine. Fiber optic is used for long distances, greater than 330 feet and up to several miles, isolation in labs/research areas, and multiple porting.

Ethernet over wire uses a differential signal transmission which has no direct ground reference and one of it's attributes is that ground based differences/disturbances does not affect it. You can add surge suppressors at each end if you want.

Running 150 feet of low voltage com wiring underground for a residential feed is hardly anything to worry about.

MoCA is an option to use just a single coax only if your system operator/service provider supports it.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:47PM
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brickeyee

"running coax between multiple structures (ie homes), each with their own ground bonding, has been done for years by cable companies."

And takes some less tan obvious methods to avoid power line voltage differences from destroying things.
One common method is to AC couple the lines so there is no DC or low frequency (60 Hz) path created.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 5:00PM
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yosemitebill

"And takes some less tan obvious methods to avoid power line voltage differences from destroying things.
One common method is to AC couple the lines so there is no DC or low frequency (60 Hz) path created."

It does not need to be obvious since AC coupling has been designed into the infrastructure for as long as I can remember.

Cable drops to the home have always been AC coupled for two reasons: One, to prevent the DC voltage supplied over the cable, used for power to the inline amplifiers, from going through the drop. Two, is to prevent DC components from entering the line from home to home and causing hum and distortions.

On the consumer product end, AC coupling has always been used on RF and baseband video inputs/outputs to prevent DC offset issues.

Industrial and broadcast products may have the ability to switch between AC and DC coupling - however DC coupling is rarely used except in a studio environment.

In other words, the infrastructure and products have already addressed these concerns.

BTW - "destroyed" would be a highly unusual situation - it's typical effect simply results in disturbances in the picture.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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kurto

I can easily put grounding blocks on each end of any RG-6 runs that I have. From the description provided, I'm not sure how I can provide AC coupling.

I can certainly live with a bit of distortion during thunderstorms, but I don't want to replace my equipment each time.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:46PM
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yosemitebill

The AC coupling is already provided internally by the equipment that you will be connecting to the coax - that is provided for voltage differences.

With thunderstorms there are no guarantees but there's really is no difference between your feed and the cable company's line other than that your feed being in the ground is better protected.

As a side note: Personally, I have had Ethernet, coax, low voltage automation, and telephone run in ground from my house to my barn/workshop (185 feet away) for over 10 years without a single problem ever.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 9:45PM
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brickeyee

"In other words, the infrastructure and products have already addressed these concerns."

How many cheap routers are "infrastructure" products?

A lot of the protective components are omitted on typical small items that are used in a residential setting.

Stringing a line to another building from a regular router may not work all that well if the equipment on each end is not designed for this use.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:33AM
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weedmeister

There is WiFi equipment out there that has ranges up to 1000ft with outdoor rated antennas and transmitter/receivers. This would be much simpler that trenching 150 ft, IMHO.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 3:29PM
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kurto

Yes, but unfortunately my brother really wants a cable TV signal out there as well. There are lots of options on the Ethernet side of things, including wireless. It's his job to dig the ditch...I'm just helping with the electronics.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 3:58PM
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