Grounding Pup to the earth?

[email protected]

Active Member
Aug 9, 2011
334
North Dakota
Not sure where this question fits in or if it was asked (did not find it in search)
Do you ground your popup to the earth, pound a rod in ground connect to frame with wire. We have not done this but have heard some CGs can have issues with the power posts and poor grounding. Would adding our own ground be beneficial? Please give your comments. J
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,309
Franklin, MA
before I'd go adding an 8 foot copper clad steel rod to my packing list, I'd add an outlet tester. It'll tell you if the wiring is correct.
Also, if you drive that rod into the ground, you're never getting it out.
 

tombiasi

Super Active Member
Sep 1, 2012
6,750
Northwestern New Jersey
I agree with JimmyM, also if you hit a water pipe it will cost you big bucks. This is not a feasible plan.
Test the connection and ground it to the water pipe.
 

Halford

Super Active Member
Sep 28, 2011
3,563
Santa Clarita, California
My popup does not fly so it is well grounded on ground. It has not been grind cranked into ground either. I crank up popup but it does stay on ground. The only thing I drive ground are my stakes that holds the awning from flying off.
 

jckele

Active Member
May 24, 2011
150
Grounding of the CG outlets is usually done back at the panel that feeds a group of outlets. When you connect, that ground is extended to your trailer and hopefully it's frame. If you bond your trailer frame to a separate ground rod you will create a second path to ground. You and your trailer will become a fault path if a system failure were to occur, including the possibility of a lightening strike creating a fault which will find it's way to ground, through you. If the system ground were to fail your trailer would become the system ground! Not good.

Please don't use a ground rod. Test the outlet and use the system ground only.
 

jrclocks

Active Member
Jun 24, 2008
585
Adding your own ground rod probably isn't practical for the reasons mentioned. If you can ground to a water pipe, it's better than nothing, but you don't know the quality of this ground path and I don't always camp where there's a water pipe.

One feature that many campers already have is GFCI outlets. These outlets protect you from faults that occur in a device plugged into the outlet. However, a fault in your camper's electrical system could still pose an electrical hazard, if the CG's ground is inadequate to ground a 30 amp fault.

To protect you from a fault anywhere in your camper's electrical system, use this: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/surge-guard-30-amp-portable-surge-protector-with-ground-fault-protection/74402.

It's lighter and easier to use than the grounding idea and it will protect you from any fault in your camper's entire electrical system, even if the CG's ground path is inadequate.



Retired Alex said:
I've seen other refer to these articles. After perusing his site, the only "qualifications" I could find was this quote from his site, "Mike Sokol is the chief instructor for the HOW-TO Sound Workshops (www.howtosound.com) and the HOW-TO Church Sound Workshops. He is also an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry."
I'd feel a lot better if he at least mentioned if he had any education in electrical engineering.


jckele said:
Grounding of the CG outlets is usually done back at the panel that feeds a group of outlets. When you connect, that ground is extended to your trailer and hopefully it's frame. If you bond your trailer frame to a separate ground rod you will create a second path to ground. You and your trailer will become a fault path if a system failure were to occur, including the possibility of a lightening strike creating a fault which will find it's way to ground, through you. If the system ground were to fail your trailer would become the system ground! Not good.
I disagree. An alternate ground path through the chassis is better than no ground path. The only potential issue caused by multiple grounds is possible EMI created by the ground loop. This is not a safety hazard.

Lightning protection is a different topic and you can receive a primary strike in a properly grounded camper.
 

EV2

Active Member
Mar 18, 2008
462
The flaw in this logic is that your ac electrical in your camper IS NOT bonded. It is that way as required by code. In other words, your neutral is not connected to the ground wire as that is required at the voltage source, also by code. Therefore, as has been mentioned, ground checking your source is the correct procedure. And, changing the bonding in your camper is a "do not do." Anyone recommending that is totally wrong and should expand their education in this field prior to providing dangerous advice.

Grounding your frame is a waste of time and effort.
 

tombiasi

Super Active Member
Sep 1, 2012
6,750
Northwestern New Jersey
NEC is not clear on the subject. Article 550.16 addresses this in part.
Some interpret a popup as a device at the end of an extension cord and apply this:
- NEC 250.110: Exposed non-current -carrying metal parts of fixed equipment likely to become
energized shall be connected to the equipment grounding conductor.
This interpretation can vary state to state. I won't argue code here. One thing is clear though, do not bond your neutral to the system ground.
 

[email protected]

Active Member
Aug 9, 2011
334
North Dakota
Wow lots of information and I am glad I posted the question I will leave the ground to the design of the manufacturer. If camping rigs were supposed to be grounded to the earth then it would be in the manual. Thanks to all who weighed in with comments I do appreciate it.
 

lifespeed

Super Active Member
Aug 26, 2014
755
To further add to the confusion, if you have an Inverter with a proper transfer switch it will ground the neutral to the chassis ground of the trailer when it is inverting. It disconnects the ground from neutral when operating on Shore Power, as only one path to ground should be available at a single location. This not only avoids ground loops, but eliminates the possibility of electric current flowing in the ground path. So yes, ground loops have the potential to be dangerous, but more often cause electrical noise.
 

jmsokol

Member
Aug 21, 2012
79
jrclocks said:
I've seen other refer to these articles. After perusing his site, the only "qualifications" I could find was this quote from his site, "Mike Sokol is the chief instructor for the HOW-TO Sound Workshops (www.howtosound.com) and the HOW-TO Church Sound Workshops. He is also an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry."
I'd feel a lot better if he at least mentioned if he had any education in electrical engineering.

Yes I do have an extensive education in electrical engineering. My primary degree is mechanical engineering from HCC and Maryland University, but when I worked for Corning Glass in the 70's I also attended Cornell University for electrical engineering upgrades including machine controls and system diagnostics plus industrial power distro. This was fun since I had been designing and building audio amplifiers in my bedroom since I was 14 years old. Since I was supervising industrial power and designing robotics controls for Corning, I also obtained my Master Electricians License in 1978. I left Corning to build and calibrate nuclear missile guidance systems for Vishay in the 80's, then started my own computer integration company, connecting banks into the federal reserve computers. In the middle of all that I've been a consultant to both Microsoft and Apple Computers, teaching classes there on audio engineering. I'm also the moderator of the ProSoundWeb forum on AC Power & Grounding, and now working with an NEC committee on better grounding techniques for campground electrical power. I also lecture extensively for AES groups on protecting musicians and sound engineers from electrocution on stage.

My latest paying gig is teaching music sound production around the country, and I have close to 10,000 technical articles in print in most of the pro-audio magazines. And yes, these are all technical articles relating to sound system usage with an emphasis on electrical designs. Sadly, the RV industry won't pay me a dime for my efforts to educate the public, but the RVIA and RVDA publish my articles in-house. And I have received hundreds of emails from RV owners around the world stating that I've saved lives since they had no idea what a hot-skin RV condition was or why it's dangerous.

So please believe that I'm qualified to discuss AC power and grounding for RVs. The subject of grounding and bonding electrical systems is often misunderstood even by electrical engineers and electricians, so it' easy to see why consumers with no knowledge of electricity can be so confused by it.

Oh, by the way, ground rods and jacks really won't "ground" your RV since the earth is a pretty poor ground. Typical ground rod impedance is on the order of 100 ohms, which won't provide a sufficient current path for a ground fault condition. A little math shows that 120 volts with a 100 ohm ground will only draw 1.2 amperes of current, insufficient to trip even a 20 amp breaker. Of course, it will trip a 6 mA threshold GFCI, and that's what gets a lot of people in trouble. Also, it's a code violation to drive a ground rod near underground plumbing or electrical runs without first contacting the local authorities such as "Miss Utility", so please don't go pounding in 8 ft ground rods. That can get you killed if you contact an underground power wire at a campground.
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,924
Mass
jmsokol said:
Yes I do have an extensive education in electrical engineering. My primary degree is mechanical engineering from HCC and Maryland University, but when I worked for Corning Glass in the 70's I also attended Cornell University for electrical engineering upgrades including machine controls and system diagnostics plus industrial power distro. This was fun since I had been designing and building audio amplifiers in my bedroom since I was 14 years old. Since I was supervising industrial power and designing robotics controls for Corning, I also obtained my Master Electricians License in 1978. I left Corning to build and calibrate nuclear missile guidance systems for Vishay in the 80's, then started my own computer integration company, connecting banks into the federal reserve computers. In the middle of all that I've been a consultant to both Microsoft and Apple Computers, teaching classes there on audio engineering. I'm also the moderator of the ProSoundWeb forum on AC Power & Grounding, and now working with an NEC committee on better grounding techniques for campground electrical power. I also lecture extensively for AES groups on protecting musicians and sound engineers from electrocution on stage.

My latest paying gig is teaching music sound production around the country, and I have close to 10,000 technical articles in print in most of the pro-audio magazines. And yes, these are all technical articles relating to sound system usage with an emphasis on electrical designs. Sadly, the RV industry won't pay me a dime for my efforts to educate the public, but the RVIA and RVDA publish my articles in-house. And I have received hundreds of emails from RV owners around the world stating that I've saved lives since they had no idea what a hot-skin RV condition was or why it's dangerous.

So please believe that I'm qualified to discuss AC power and grounding for RVs. The subject of grounding and bonding electrical systems is often misunderstood even by electrical engineers and electricians, so it' easy to see why consumers with no knowledge of electricity can be so confused by it.

Oh, by the way, ground rods and jacks really won't "ground" your RV since the earth is a pretty poor ground. Typical ground rod impedance is on the order of 100 ohms, which won't provide a sufficient current path for a ground fault condition. A little math shows that 120 volts with a 100 ohm ground will only draw 1.2 amperes of current, insufficient to trip even a 20 amp breaker. Of course, it will trip a 6 mA threshold GFCI, and that's what gets a lot of people in trouble. Also, it's a code violation to drive a ground rod near underground plumbing or electrical runs without first contacting the local authorities such as "Miss Utility", so please don't go pounding in 8 ft ground rods. That can get you killed if you contact an underground power wire at a campground.

He sounds qualified to me. I am also an EE
 

WeRJuliIan

If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?
May 15, 2014
906
Sarasota, FL
"local" grounding is never a good idea, if you're also connected to a grounded supply. There will, inevitably, be a potential between the two, resulting in a current flow... Which can trip any GFCIs.

Simply being "on" the ground doesn't provide a reliable electrical ground. Too much paint and rust in the way...

The only time it may be of benefit to hammer in a ground spike, is if you plan to erect a lightning conductor on the top of your pup.... (I'll leave it to the radio hams to debate the merits of a slid ground plane! )

Since it appears that we have to list our credentials to be take seriously... My sheepskin says I'm an Electrical Engineer.
 

WeRJuliIan

If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?
May 15, 2014
906
Sarasota, FL
davido said:
Are pups common lightning targets when camping in open areas?

They are, if you put a lightning conductor on top! :)
I'm sorry, I was being facetious about the lightning bit...
 

goody59

Active Member
Nov 5, 2011
417
jmsokol said:
Yes I do have an extensive education in electrical engineering. My primary degree is mechanical engineering from HCC and Maryland University, but when I worked for Corning Glass in the 70's I also attended Cornell University for electrical engineering upgrades including machine controls and system diagnostics plus industrial power distro. This was fun since I had been designing and building audio amplifiers in my bedroom since I was 14 years old. Since I was supervising industrial power and designing robotics controls for Corning, I also obtained my Master Electricians License in 1978. I left Corning to build and calibrate nuclear missile guidance systems for Vishay in the 80's, then started my own computer integration company, connecting banks into the federal reserve computers. In the middle of all that I've been a consultant to both Microsoft and Apple Computers, teaching classes there on audio engineering. I'm also the moderator of the ProSoundWeb forum on AC Power & Grounding, and now working with an NEC committee on better grounding techniques for campground electrical power. I also lecture extensively for AES groups on protecting musicians and sound engineers from electrocution on stage.

My latest paying gig is teaching music sound production around the country, and I have close to 10,000 technical articles in print in most of the pro-audio magazines. And yes, these are all technical articles relating to sound system usage with an emphasis on electrical designs. Sadly, the RV industry won't pay me a dime for my efforts to educate the public, but the RVIA and RVDA publish my articles in-house. And I have received hundreds of emails from RV owners around the world stating that I've saved lives since they had no idea what a hot-skin RV condition was or why it's dangerous.

So please believe that I'm qualified to discuss AC power and grounding for RVs. The subject of grounding and bonding electrical systems is often misunderstood even by electrical engineers and electricians, so it' easy to see why consumers with no knowledge of electricity can be so confused by it.

Oh, by the way, ground rods and jacks really won't "ground" your RV since the earth is a pretty poor ground. Typical ground rod impedance is on the order of 100 ohms, which won't provide a sufficient current path for a ground fault condition. A little math shows that 120 volts with a 100 ohm ground will only draw 1.2 amperes of current, insufficient to trip even a 20 amp breaker. Of course, it will trip a 6 mA threshold GFCI, and that's what gets a lot of people in trouble. Also, it's a code violation to drive a ground rod near underground plumbing or electrical runs without first contacting the local authorities such as "Miss Utility", so please don't go pounding in 8 ft ground rods. That can get you killed if you contact an underground power wire at a campground.

Mike, can I have your opinion on adding this device - http://www.safelec.com.au/residual-voltage-device-rvd.html to a popup with an existing RCD for when you use generators or Inverter generators to improve user safety?
 




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