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Sat Dish Grounding Issue


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   chashood

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:51 AM

Hello, again. The installer of my new DirecTV installation is working now on the grounding issue. Here's the thread where I outlined this problem and my configuration in more detail: http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=190303

Today, when he came out to fix the internet hookup (successful), he also acknowledged that they had not grounded the dish properly on the original install. To recap the other thread, basically, they just cut off the grounding wire and stuck the end into the attic, not connected to anything. I asked him if he could just install a 6 to 8 foot grounding rod into the ground, because there's no household ground (electric service) on the end of the house where the dish and other related quipment are. He said DirecTV has instructed them not to do that because it does not meet code. The ground has to be hooked into the main household ground. This afternoon, they are coming out to run a ground wire all the way to the other end of the house (60 feet), through the attic, then back outside to the main household ground.
Any advice is welcome: 1. Is this necessary (versus just using a segregated grounding rod)? 2. Is there any safety problem running this wire inside through the attic? I have no functional concerns about that, because there is plenty of other electrical wiring run that way.

I'm not sure the installer is wild about the trouble and expense, but they assured me it's their responsibility to do the ground properly as part of the original install. I didn't press them on why they didn't do it right the first time. Thanks, all.

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#2 OFFLINE   jdspencer

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:42 AM

I'd check with your local code officer to see what is really required in your area.
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#3 OFFLINE   wallfishman

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:38 PM

I'd check with your local code officer to see what is really required in your area.


that groundwire runnin g 60 feet like that will pretty much make that useless and is no point in even grounding at all. a shorter ground would be to some electric right in the attic somehow. the ground is always supposed to be shorter then the distance to any tv.

#4 OFFLINE   mobandit

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:41 PM

Plus, running a second ground rod "can" cause a ground loop, which will set up a potential difference on the ground...and can manifest itself with some weird noises/humming from electronic equipment...

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#5 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

that groundwire runnin g 60 feet like that will pretty much make that useless and is no point in even grounding at all. a shorter ground would be to some electric right in the attic somehow. the ground is always supposed to be shorter then the distance to any tv.

I tend to agree [useless].
Two things:
I'd rather have the ground outside of my house.
Long runs should be large gauge wire, to keep its resistance as low as possible.

All wire has some resistance, so when there are two ground points it works like this:

http://www.dbstalk.c...=1&d=1298403866

Both need to be connected/bonded, but even the bonding wire has resistance.
"The shorter/larger the better".

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#6 OFFLINE   chashood

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 03:33 PM

I have electric wiring in the attic near the dish install for household circuits (for instance room lighting). Could I connect the dish ground to the bare copper ground wire of a three wire Romex feed of one of the household circuits? That wire woud only be 12 gauge, not 6 or 8 gauge like the dish ground wire.

Or should I just have a licensed electrician help? I'm just not sure how "qualified" the contracted DirecTV installer is. When I told the CSR at DirecTV today how concerned I was about their failure to do the original install right in this critical safety area, he commented that they have no real control over their contracted installers, only over their own installers. I reminded him that this installer was the one they assigned. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'm a little nervous about this whole issue, especially since I live in north Florida with frequent thunderstorms.

#7 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:29 PM

I live in north Florida with frequent thunderstorms.

While nothing is really going to save your ass, I would most definitely keep it out of my house. Should it be hit, the charge should stay outside as it travels to your ground point.

Maybe you do want an electrician to come and do this work. A second bonded ground rod might be the best thing.
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#8 OFFLINE   davejacobson

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:50 PM

Codes vary but at that distance a second ground needs to be installed then a wire run from that ground rod to the main ground rod.I dont think running it in the attic would be permitted under code.Might be time to call and electrician or the electrical inspector for an opinion.You could easily open a big can of worms if you get an inspector involved. Sounds like the dish placement was poor IMHO. Locating the dish as close to the electrical ground is always part of my site survey and more important than the coax run. Its easier to run cable to any code than the ground.
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#9 OFFLINE   codespy

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:27 PM

I'd stay away from branch circuit wiring in the attic. A near strike will surge into places in your home where you don't want it to and potentially cause significant unwanted damage.

In Wisconsin, two ground rods have been required for years when using the made electrodes. Spacing needs to be min 6' apart from each other. Typically, 4AWG is needed outside because of the physical damage rule. Otherwise, #6 is allowed (with protection) since that's all ground rods are capable of to start with.

#10 OFFLINE   chashood

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:14 PM

After explaining the issue to DirecTV today in a detailed email, a CSR called. They understood my concern but all they offered was to have the same installer come back out to figure out what to do, including possibly relocating the dish to the other end of the house. If the installer hadn't intentionally left the system ungrounded to begin with because they apparently didn't know what to do, I'd be more understanding, but I really don't want the same installer to re-do everything unless it's necessary.

Does anyone know the dispute resolution process for DirecTV or how to elevate this to get it solved? And if this is not the proper place to air this question, please let me know.

I'm not sure I should have to just fix it myself, but an electrician friend said just put a copper-coated 6 foot ground rod in the ground a few feet from the house, pound it under the ground, run the ground wire to it via a trench, then cover it all up. He said new house code requires two such ground rods for the basic electrical ground system. For some reason, the installer won't install a grounding rod, and I understand the replies about having to bond the dish ground with the house ground, but they'd be on opposite ends of the house, so that's doable, but a pain unless it's necessary.

Thanks, all.

#11 ONLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:15 PM

...all they offered was to have the same installer come back out to figure out what to do, including possibly relocating the dish to the other end of the house. If the installer hadn't intentionally left the system ungrounded to begin with because they apparently didn't know what to do, I'd be more understanding, but I really don't want the same installer to re-do everything unless it's necessary.


Realistically, DirecTV strongly prefers to send out the same installer because he is the only installer they can get to do it at no additional cost to themselves....

an electrician friend said just put a copper-coated 6 foot ground rod in the ground a few feet from the house, pound it under the ground, run the ground wire to it via a trench, then cover it all up. He said new house code requires two such ground rods for the basic electrical ground system.


With all due respect to your electrician friend, he doesn't seem that knowledgeable regarding the requirements of grounding a satellite dish antenna system, which are in sections 810 and 820. The code specifically mandates that if an auxilliary mast ground rod is used, it must be 8 feet in length and bonded to the house's ground electrode system, sometimes informally called the main ground, using 6 gauge copper wire. Any requirement he may know of regarding a requirement that two ground rods be driven would be under the part of the code specifying the components of the ground electrode system. If your house had to have them when it was built, then it already has them, otherwise it wouldn't have passed its initial inspection.

For some reason, the installer won't install a grounding rod, and I understand the replies about having to bond the dish ground with the house ground, but they'd be on opposite ends of the house, so that's doable, but a pain unless it's necessary....


When an installer refuses to include a seemingly necessary ground rod in an installation, it is usually because he doesn't want to absorb the cost of doing so. Quite often, when an installer cancels a job due to "no line of sight" available, there really is a line of sight location available but he simply doesn't want to incur excessive labor and/or materials cost for what he is getting paid.

Edited by AntAltMike, 24 February 2011 - 02:51 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   wallfishman

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:31 PM

Realistically, DirecTV strongly prefers to send out the same installer because he is the only installer they can get to do it at no additional cost to themselves....



With all due respect to your electrician friend, he doesn't seem that knowledgeable regarding the requirements of grounding a satellite dish antenna system, which are in sections 810 and 820. The code specifically mandates that if an auxilliary ground rod is used, it must be 8 feet in length and bonded to the house's ground electrode system, sometimes informally called the main ground, using 6 gauge copper wire. Any requirement he may know of regarding a requirement that two ground rods be driven would be under the part of the code specifying the components of the ground electrode system. If your house had to have them when it was built, then it already has them, otherwise it wouldn't have passed its initial inspection.
now when I installed hughesnet we were given 4 ft like 1/4 inch thick or so groundrods and they passed their guidelines to use those to ground if u couldnt get to the house ground.


When an installer refuses to include a seemingly necessary ground rod in an installation, it is usually because he doesn't want to absorb the cost of doing so. Quite often, when an installer cancels a job due to "no line of sight" available, there really is a line of sight location available but he simply doesn't want to incur excessive labor and/or materials cost for what he is getting paid.


Ive never installed a ground rod for Directv and dont know any tech that ever has. Its not something thats carried , supplied or done at all to my knowledge. Directv as far as I know wants the dish installed to within 25 ft of the house ground and grounded to that. having said that one solution is if your are a SWM system then run the feed from the dish to a new groundblock at the house ground and then back to the attic where its at now. may add some more cable length to your situation but its either that or move the dish .
having said that there are id have to say millions of ungrounded jobs across the country. every apartment, condo thats installed are never grounded.

#13 OFFLINE   codespy

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:10 PM

There is a reason the NEC started requiring intersystem bonding connections/blocks for buildings the last couple code cycles.....these are easy for installers to hook up to and they are connected to the grounding electrode system of the building.

#14 ONLINE   AntAltMike

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:55 PM

There is a reason the NEC started requiring intersystem bonding connections/blocks for buildings the last couple code cycles.....these are easy for installers to hook up to and they are connected to the grounding electrode system of the building.


I wasn't aware that it now requires them. I have a copy of the 2008 code, so I'll have to look it up, but it certainly is a good idea, since otherwise, there is a good chance that an antenna installer, who is not a certified or licensed electrician, would do something that is inadequate and jeopardizes the safety of other electrical systems that had been properly installed and grounded.

#15 OFFLINE   chashood

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

Great discussion, everyone. I don't know where this will end up, but I appreciate the great info. I'm not an electrician and don't play one on TV, so all this really helps. If they end up moving the dish to the other end of the house near the main household ground, that may end up being the best way to get it right. I'm assuming the extra 60 feet of RG-6 coax back to the existing splitter will not cause signal strengh issues? I have no dish placement line of sight issues from my roof no matter where they put it, so I'm lucky that way.

#16 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

Great discussion, everyone. I don't know where this will end up, but I appreciate the great info. I'm not an electrician and don't play one on TV, so all this really helps. If they end up moving the dish to the other end of the house near the main household ground, that may end up being the best way to get it right. I'm assuming the extra 60 feet of RG-6 coax back to the existing splitter will not cause signal strengh issues? I have no dish placement line of sight issues from my roof no matter where they put it, so I'm lucky that way.

You'll lose about 5 dB of power, which may or may not impact how your receivers work. This all depends on splitter types and lengths of coax runs.
Check the sticky about splitters at the top here and make sure you're within the limits I posted.
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#17 OFFLINE   codespy

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:39 PM

I wasn't aware that it now requires them. I have a copy of the 2008 code, so I'll have to look it up, but it certainly is a good idea, since otherwise, there is a good chance that an antenna installer, who is not a certified or licensed electrician, would do something that is inadequate and jeopardizes the safety of other electrical systems that had been properly installed and grounded.


Art 250.94. It can go either inside or outside at the service equipment.

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#18 OFFLINE   chashood

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:20 PM

End of the story: DirecTV sent out another installer today to do the ground. I had found a nearby existing 8 foot grounding rod installed by Comcast years ago, after talking to a Comcast installer that I ran into about how THEY do grounds. The DirecTV installer today agreed to use it for the ground, so there was no need to move the dish. All is well, assuming that this grounding system is adequate (and understanding that it doesn't meet code, per others' posts to this thread). Bottom line is THX everyone. chashood




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