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Improper Grounding of Satellite Dish


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#1 OFFLINE   somguy

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:59 AM

Directv came to my home two weeks ago to install a Slimline 5 LNB satellite Dish. The technician, who was a sub-contractor from Directv called Mass Tech or Advanced Technologies, located here in South Florida, who are the only ones located in my area, came to my home to perform the install of the dish. To make a long story short, the technician ran the ground wire to a metal strip that is used to hold up my Hurricane Shutters and now I am learning that it was an improper ground technique since this metal strip does not touch the ground; it is attached to the side of my home.
My old Directv Dish used to be grounded to a metal water faucet. He put the new dish further away and choose not to run the ground wire to it. Now I find out that at 24 feet or so would've been too far to run the wire anyways. At the time I had a DISH dish located where the old Directv dish was and he didn't want to take it down like I asked him and he never informed me about the grounding procedures. I told him he can try to use the hurricane metal strip to ground it and he listened to me which apparently he should never have done. He was also in a rush and wanted to get to his next appointment.
Directv visited me yesterday, now 2 weeks later to perform an inspection of the installation who advised me of the improper grounding technique that was used. They will schedule someone to come to my home to perform a proper installation!! I hear that an improper ground can cause the receivers to fry as well as my tv's and can cause possible fires.
Can anyone out there relate to this?
Has anyone ever experienced an issue caused from an imporper ground?
It is pathetic that a professional installer would do this but luckily it was noticed when it was.
I welcome all comments about this thread and thank you for your time.

(Mensan) Russell B.
Tamarac, FL
Feel free to check out my blog @ http://TheMensaYenta.us
I welcome the comments and thanks!!


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#2 OFFLINE   Mertzen

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 06:29 AM

Here in the NYC market I'd say anywhere between 80 to 90 percent of jobs aren't grounded. I guess you can be glad a QC was done.
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#3 OFFLINE   Tiger62

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 07:25 AM

First of all... If you didn't know anything about grounding, you shouldn't have given him any advice about grounding! :)

I think very few Directv installers know ANYTHING about proper grounding methods... ie. When I installed my system, I drove an 8-foot ground rod into the ground right below my dish, which I mounted on the chimney, about 15 feet above ground. I ran a #8 copper wire from the dish mounting foot to the grounding rod. I also ran a #8 copper wire from the coax ground block (where the coax enters the attic) to that same ground rod. The NEC regulations specify that my ground rod must be "bonded" to my electrical service ground, 46 feet away, with #6 copper wire. I didn't have any #6 copper wire "lying around" (@ $0.80 per foot), so I decided that I'd let Directv take care of that little matter :)

Well, when the Directv installers came, all they had to do was plunk down the one receiver, connect the cables, run that wire and activate the system. (I had mounted the dish, aimed it, and run all of the cables.) They had absolutely no knowledge of how to bond the two grounds and the largest wire they had on the truck was #12! I told them to just forget it and I'd take care of it. The next day, I bought $35 worth of #6 copper and bonded it properly. My peace of mind was worth it!

#4 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 08:08 AM

I didn't have any #6 copper wire "lying around" (@ $0.80 per foot), so I decided that I'd let Directv take care of that little matter :)


No DirecTV installer anywhere is going to have #6 wire, probably ever.

Installers are supposed to ground the dish if the cables pass within 20' of a valid ground source. The installer should install a ground block which all lines from the dish pass through, and use 10 ga solid-copper wire from the ground block to the ground source.

If there is no ground source close enough to where the dish is, it will not be grounded. The cost of a ground rod and #6 wire to bond it to the house ground is, itself, more than the installer will get paid for the entire install (probably a LOT more). DirecTV does not supply ground rods or #6 wire to anyone, not even in-house techs. Considering these are "free" installs, DirecTV makes a pretty reasonable attempt to ground. If DirecTV forced installers to ground EVERY system to NEC code, the cost would end the "free" install, because there are lots of houses where the cost to ground would be $200-300 or more.

Also, a healthy amount of systems that are "grounded" to water pipes are not really grounded at all. Water pipes are often used when nothing else is available, because it makes people feel better, but in almost no case is that an NEC-approved ground, and quite often those pipes are not connected to the house ground, so ground loops are possible. In that case, it is better NOT to be connected to the pipes.

#5 OFFLINE   jimht

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 08:30 AM

From the Directv web site.

The installer will only use DIRECTV-approved materials, including RG-6 cable, switches and connectors, and will connect your receiver(s) to your TV and DVR, VCR or DVD player. The installer will also connect your receiver(s) to a phone line in your home and will ground your system to meet local/NEC requirements.

http://www.directv.c...ssetId=P4720076

#6 OFFLINE   jimht

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 08:49 AM

I can relate. I am currently fighting to get the DTV installer to fix the installation. If they don't agree to put the dish where it is not being partially blocked by the roof and properly grounded it I'm just going to have it removed.

#7 OFFLINE   Tiger62

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:08 AM

No DirecTV installer anywhere is going to have #6 wire, probably ever.

Installers are supposed to ground the dish if the cables pass within 20' of a valid ground source. The installer should install a ground block which all lines from the dish pass through, and use 10 ga solid-copper wire from the ground block to the ground source.

If there is no ground source close enough to where the dish is, it will not be grounded. The cost of a ground rod and #6 wire to bond it to the house ground is, itself, more than the installer will get paid for the entire install (probably a LOT more). DirecTV does not supply ground rods or #6 wire to anyone, not even in-house techs. Considering these are "free" installs, DirecTV makes a pretty reasonable attempt to ground. If DirecTV forced installers to ground EVERY system to NEC code, the cost would end the "free" install, because there are lots of houses where the cost to ground would be $200-300 or more.

Also, a healthy amount of systems that are "grounded" to water pipes are not really grounded at all. Water pipes are often used when nothing else is available, because it makes people feel better, but in almost no case is that an NEC-approved ground, and quite often those pipes are not connected to the house ground, so ground loops are possible. In that case, it is better NOT to be connected to the pipes.


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#8 OFFLINE   NYCEGUY01

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:12 AM

I can relate. I am currently fighting to get the DTV installer to fix the installation. If they don't agree to put the dish where it is not being partially blocked by the roof and properly grounded it I'm just going to have it removed.



I understand wanting it grounded properly. I read your other thread and your dish is NOT bieng blocked by your roof. If you just want it moved say so. There is no good reason to move your dish at least on a functionality basis.

#9 OFFLINE   NYCEGUY01

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:15 AM

No DirecTV installer anywhere is going to have #6 wire, probably ever.

Installers are supposed to ground the dish if the cables pass within 20' of a valid ground source. The installer should install a ground block which all lines from the dish pass through, and use 10 ga solid-copper wire from the ground block to the ground source.

If there is no ground source close enough to where the dish is, it will not be grounded. The cost of a ground rod and #6 wire to bond it to the house ground is, itself, more than the installer will get paid for the entire install (probably a LOT more). DirecTV does not supply ground rods or #6 wire to anyone, not even in-house techs. Considering these are "free" installs, DirecTV makes a pretty reasonable attempt to ground. If DirecTV forced installers to ground EVERY system to NEC code, the cost would end the "free" install, because there are lots of houses where the cost to ground would be $200-300 or more.

Also, a healthy amount of systems that are "grounded" to water pipes are not really grounded at all. Water pipes are often used when nothing else is available, because it makes people feel better, but in almost no case is that an NEC-approved ground, and quite often those pipes are not connected to the house ground, so ground loops are possible. In that case, it is better NOT to be connected to the pipes.




Its right in the HSP contract. EVERY install MUST be grounded to NEC and local code. Any QC done by DTV will get a flagrant fail if the system is not grounded properly. It is up to the techs to make sure the wires pass close enough to get a proper ground.

#10 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:28 AM

As far as I know, if an installer uses the 17 gauge copper clad steel groundwire that is attached to the coax, and peels it off at the first convenient ground point it passes, DirecTV would consider that to be OK.

Water pipes can no longer be used in residential installations unless the attachment point is within five feet of where they enter the building. There are exceptions for using them in commercial buildings, provided the plumbing is professionally maintained and substantially exposed.

I've only used 6 gauge wire to bond a ground once in about twenty years of satelite antenna installation.

#11 OFFLINE   joe diamond

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:30 AM

Its right in the HSP contract. EVERY install MUST be grounded to NEC and local code. Any QC done by DTV will get a flagrant fail if the system is not grounded properly. It is up to the techs to make sure the wires pass close enough to get a proper ground.


If they inspected every job there would be no jobs installed. No ground = no pay = no installers.
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#12 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 11:54 AM

If they inspected every job there would be no jobs installed. No ground = no pay = no installers.

If all jobs would fail inspection, they need to review their model. Doing things right shouldn't be subject to convenience considerations.

#13 OFFLINE   2dogz

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:26 PM

If there is no ground source close enough to where the dish is, it will not be grounded. The cost of a ground rod and #6 wire to bond it to the house ground is, itself, more than the installer will get paid for the entire install (probably a LOT more). DirecTV does not supply ground rods or #6 wire to anyone, not even in-house techs. Considering these are "free" installs, DirecTV makes a pretty reasonable attempt to ground. If DirecTV forced installers to ground EVERY system to NEC code, the cost would end the "free" install, because there are lots of houses where the cost to ground would be $200-300 or more.


Don't forget that installing ground rod and connecting to the house ground is a modification of the house's electrical system and requires a building permit and licensed electrician in most locations. More dollars and time.


Also, a healthy amount of systems that are "grounded" to water pipes are not really grounded at all. Water pipes are often used when nothing else is available, because it makes people feel better, but in almost no case is that an NEC-approved ground, and quite often those pipes are not connected to the house ground, so ground loops are possible. In that case, it is better NOT to be connected to the pipes.


Many homes built in the 70s and earlier use copper water pipes for ground. NEC was changed when PVC pipe came into use and how requires ground rod. Just go to the main electrical panel and trace its ground to find out. Water pipe grounding as original construction works okay. Just clamping your ground wire on any old copper pipe without knowing is a no no. Usually, the electric service meter is a good exterior ground point. You'll see that the telephone company often makes use of it and they are well trained. If you do what they did, you should be safe for the most part (I know, always exceptions).

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#14 OFFLINE   2dogz

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 12:44 PM

Its right in the HSP contract. EVERY install MUST be grounded to NEC and local code. Any QC done by DTV will get a flagrant fail if the system is not grounded properly. It is up to the techs to make sure the wires pass close enough to get a proper ground.


It's in the contract because it's the law. If it's not done, guess where the liability falls.

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#15 OFFLINE   joe diamond

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 01:06 PM

If all jobs would fail inspection, they need to review their model. Doing things right shouldn't be subject to convenience considerations.


Harsh,

In satellite land there is no one correct way........if you can get enough folks to nod yes enough you can produce a whole new policy. And a policy is always right.

Just for fun try to ground a second floor apartment. The electric bond for the building could be down one floor and at the other end of the block. There are many DTV customers in apartments. How many do you think will get their account turned off because they are not grounded?

Joe

#16 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 01:35 PM

Don't forget that installing ground rod and connecting to the house ground is a modification of the house's electrical system and requires a building permit and licensed electrician in most locations. More dollars and time.

Interesting point.. Bet that in a lot of areas it would require a licenced electricion to mess with any panel ground..
Other thought is that when I dug through the NEC code I didn't realy find much for ant/sat grounding.. it all seemed to apply to "service panels".. and we're not trying to ground a 200amp panel..

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#17 OFFLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 01:59 PM

.. it all seemed to apply to "service panels".. and we're not trying to ground a 200amp panel..


I have been told many times over the years that the term "service panel" as it is used in this context, actually means the box that houses the electric meter. I think it is more commonly called the "service entrance".

Many years ago, when a city electrical inspector was intent on making a big-dish installation of mine unbearable, he said I definitely could not ground to the main breaker box, which is what lay people commonly refer to as the service panel.

#18 OFFLINE   joe diamond

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:17 PM

I have been told many times over the years that the term "service panel" as it is used in this context, actually means the box that houses the electric meter. I think it is more commonly called the "service entrance".

Many years ago, when a city electrical inspector was intent on making a big-dish installation of mine unbearable, he said I definitely could not ground to the main breaker box, which is what lay people commonly refer to as the service panel.


BUT if you cross into PG County, MD the electric inspector I met stressed....."you people are not certified to touch anything....we have a lug coming down from the box that is connected to the ground bond. Hook your ground stuff to that but don't open the box!" However, since all that stuff was inside the building it didn"t help with the ground block outside the entrance idea.

So they changed the policy.

Joe

#19 OFFLINE   jimht

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:30 PM

Interesting point.. Bet that in a lot of areas it would require a licenced electricion to mess with any panel ground..
Other thought is that when I dug through the NEC code I didn't realy find much for ant/sat grounding.. it all seemed to apply to "service panels".. and we're not trying to ground a 200amp panel..


This link is a little out of date but it might help find the correct sections of the code.

http://www.mikeholt....es~20020303.htm

#20 OFFLINE   2dogz

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 02:31 PM

Interesting point.. Bet that in a lot of areas it would require a licenced electricion to mess with any panel ground..
Other thought is that when I dug through the NEC code I didn't realy find much for ant/sat grounding.. it all seemed to apply to "service panels".. and we're not trying to ground a 200amp panel..


No, but the NEC does address "any" telecommunications line that penetrates to the interior of the building, be it telephone, cable, sat dish, OTA antenna. FIOS fiber optic might be exempt (if there is no metallic cable inside for tensil strength). For your reading pleasure, see NEC 2005, article 810.21. :)

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