Grounding Problem

lrb91849August 20, 2009

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Our problem started the other day, we began to experience very bad Cable TV Reception. We put a service call in to Time Warner and the repairman came out today.

Most of his work was done at the Cable Box which is attached to the House in the same area as the electric meter.

After he completed his cable investigation he took me outside to explain the problem. Our coaxial cable wire had begun to melt; due to a Grounding Problem with the house, he said we had 2.7 Amps going to ground. I would assume he put a meter on the Ground Wire that runs from the Panel through the Exterior Wall and down in to the ground.

He went on to explain that when there is a Grounding Problem in the home it uses the Cable wire to go to ground and screws up their equipment.

I now have 2 questions I would like to put out before the forum ...

1 - What does he mean by a "Grounding Problem" ?? Does this mean I have a loose Hot Wire, a Loose Neutral Wire, or are wires touching one another. In other words what issues would cause a Grounding Problem ???

2 - Is there a way to determine where the problem is located ... in a particular Outlet, Switch, etc.

I did call our local Power Company, the tech they sent out opened the Power Panel tightened some connections then left. He said the next step was to have the Line Repairman come out to check things out. He never said anything about bringing in an electrician.

I would appreciate any help and/or suggestions you can supply.

Thanks,

Lou B

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Ron Natalie

It means the cable installer doesn't know a ground from his right foot. The shield of the cable wiring should already be at ground potential. There should be a grounding block at the house to also ground that shield to your building electrode system. Nothing INSIDE the house should matter.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 6:01PM
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tom_o

While I'm in general agreement that the cable guys don't know squat about electric there could be some problems in your grounding system or service that could cause a current flow into the cable shield. However, it is also possible that some other grounding problem located in a nearby house could be causing a current flow through the cable shield into your house.

After the power company has examined all their connections, if the problem is still there, then call in an electrician.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 6:51PM
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bus_driver

The cable guy might be correct. A loose neutral at the meter or nearer to the transformer could place current on any grounded items which have a path back to ground potential. Municipal water systems see this all the time, electrical currents flowing on their piping. Such paths to ground minimize the voltage variation effects observed in the affected structure, these paths to some extent substitute for the loose neutral.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 7:51PM
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brickeyee

Check the grounding electrodes for the service, and the grounding electrode conductor from the main panel to the electrode.
Make sure all the connections are tight, including the one in the main panel.

Depending on the age of the main panel, there may only be a connection to the water pipe as the grounding electrode.
The requirement for a second 'made' electrode (usually a grounding rod) is not that old.

If you do not have a second grounding electrode it might be worth adding one.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Ron Natalie

Grounding problems in neighboring houses should be thwarted by proper installation of the cable wiring. Crikes, I used to run a multicampus broadband cable system for the state university system. If you've got current flowing across one drop to another you're screwed up. It's also just as likely that the cable amplifier power supplies grounding is also screwed up.

Yes, brick is got the only reasonable explanation in that either the house electrode is messed up OR MORE LIKELY, the cable TV connection to the home electrode isn't making an effective connection.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 5:46AM
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