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Dish far from house ground


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#1 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:46 AM

I've spent a lot of time reading about 'proper' satellite dish grounding. The NEC seems to be pretty specific, but not specific enough.

I'm planning a new install, replacing Comcast cable. I've spent a lot of time running cables in my house, for LAN and distributed audio, and I've done my best to stay 'within code'.

I could do this install myself, but I don't have the time. I really want to get it done.

It seems most subcontracted DirecTV installers try to ground 'properly,' but aren't aware of the NEC rules - it's not part of the training, and it's not clear in the installation guides.

Where I want the dish placed is far from the service entrance, and whole-house ground, at the house back corner. The installer will want to place the dish at the front of the house, near the service entrance, because that is the easiest place - and near the service entrance.

I've researched grounding fairly extensively. This graphic gem from Mike Holt helps (link fixed):

www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/GB-HTML/HTML/GroundingSatelliteDishandLead-InCables~20020303.htm

Bottom line - what wire/cable can I run from the dish to the service entrance for grounding?

Looks like a 17 AWG copper clad steel messenger wire would suffice, for both mast and coax, according to the NEC guidelines and Mike Holt. Can people confirm? I've read of the need for a 10 AWG copper wire, for coax grounding.

(Water main is buried outside and behind drywall inside, not an option.)

Thanks so much.

Edited by Neurorad, 19 October 2012 - 11:37 AM.


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#2 OFFLINE   CopyCat

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:22 AM

I can only tell you what the installer did for me. Our dish is in the back of the house and the electric meter in the front of the house. The house is raised on pilings so there was no digging except to get to the electric meter ground rod.
He installed a DirecTV SWM LNB and attached the ground wire in the RG6 to the dish and ran 1 double coax back to the electrical meter and attached it to a grounding device and ran #8 copper to the meter ground rod using a new clamp. With the SWM LNB he said the signal would be fine and it is with 95 or better on the various sats. One coax from the LNB is attached to one end of the grounding device and the second coax attached to the other end of the grounding device back to an existing coax which goes up two stories into the smart house junction box where he installed the power supply for the LNB and a splitter with 8 connections, one used for the power supply and the others (6) to 3 DVRs. The spare is capped with a 75ohm terminator. Most professional install I have experienced.

I forgot to add the dual coax had a ground wire chaser in it, that was tied directly to the ground rod and dish also.

Edited by CopyCat, 21 October 2012 - 09:36 AM.

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#3 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:21 AM

The NEC correct way would be to ground the dish via it's own ground rod close to the dish and then bond that ground to the service ground. The local ground provides the path to ground for lightning and bonding it to the service ground prevents differences in ground potential between the coax and electrical outlet (important since the receivers do not have grounded plugs). The dish itself and the coax should be attached to the local rod via at least #10 wire. The wire that connects the local rod to the main service ground can be lighter gauge.

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#4 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:33 AM

Bonding two ground rods/points is done with large gauge.
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#5 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:36 AM

^^^^^^^^^^
What he said! :)

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#6 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for sharing that info.

Diana, I think the 2nd rod would be required to be bonded to the electrical service electrode using AWG 6 or AWG 10 copper, quite a distance for me.

I think that unless I can take care of the ground myself, the installer will insist on positioning the dish near the service entrance, at the front of the house in plain sight (as he should, for 'proper' grounding).

It's difficult to research this subject online, as the NEC requirements have changed over the last 10 years, and what is rec'd in 1 post 8 years ago doesn't seem to fly now.

#7 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

Because my questions are based on NEC requirements, maybe I should ask at the Mike Holt forums, too.

#8 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:19 AM

The NEC correct way would be to ground the dish via it's own ground rod close to the dish and then bond that ground to the service ground.

While this part of what you say is true, I'll bet you won't see it done that way if the dish is more than a few feet from the service entrance. Most dishes won't even be earth grounded.

6ga wire is around $.75/foot and is what is required for creating a bonding point. You cannot use lighter gauge wire and be within code.
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#9 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:21 AM

6 AWG is around $.75/foot and is what is required for creating a bonding point.

This is basically what's needed to bond the two ground rods.
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#10 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:22 AM

I think that unless I can take care of the ground myself, the installer will insist on positioning the dish near the service entrance, at the front of the house in plain sight (as he should, for 'proper' grounding).

I think you need to stop trying to second guess the installer. Even if you provide for everything, they're probably going to do it the way that their employer demands.
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#11 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:26 AM

I think that unless I can take care of the ground myself, the installer will insist on positioning the dish near the service entrance, at the front of the house in plain sight (as he should, for 'proper' grounding).


I think you need to stop trying to second guess the installer. Even if you provide for everything, they're probably going to do it the way that their employer demands.

If the new ground rod is in place and bonded, the installer will use it.
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#12 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:29 AM

If the new ground rod is in place and bonded, the installer will use it.

That's a pretty stiff price to pay to get your way.
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#13 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:33 AM

That's a pretty stiff price to pay to get your way.

Grounding is like insurance.
What it's worth depends on how much you want.
A.K.A VOS

#14 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

I think you need to stop trying to second guess the installer. Even if you provide for everything, they're probably going to do it the way that their employer demands.

Absolutely, agreed 100%! Not second guessing at all. Haven't met the installer, haven't placed the initial order yet. ;)

If the new ground rod is in place and bonded, the installer will use it.


I'd like to do what I can to avoid the 2nd ground rod, bonded with 150' of 6 awg copper.

Grounding is like insurance.
What it's worth depends on how much you want.


I know it's relatively important to ground the dish to reduce static electricity, and important to ground because of lightning. The static I could take care of by attaching to any house ground. If my dish is hit by lightning, then I'd like to have a good connection to house ground. But in reality, nothing would diminish a direct lightning strike. And unlike cable TV and mains power, I'm not going to get surges from the dish from nearby strikes.

I guess that's why 90% of satellite dishes - improperly grounded - rarely have problems from that improper grounding. Small dishes, without a tall mast, don't get hit. And for those that do, proper grounding won't do anything.

So, what cable would I run from the ADU to the house ground, 100 feet away? That Mike Holt graphic linked above

www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/GB-HTML/HTML/GroundingSatelliteDishandLead-InCables~20020303.htm

says 17 AWG copper clad steel (messenger wire) is adequate. How can that be? Good for static electricity reduction, but wouldn't do anything for a lightning strike. Was that 17 AWG spec added to NEC 810 because of satellite company lobbying?

Edited by Neurorad, 19 October 2012 - 06:37 AM.


#15 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:09 PM

I'd like to do what I can to avoid the 2nd ground rod, bonded with 150' of 6 awg copper.

I know it's relatively important to ground the dish to reduce static electricity, and important to ground because of lightning. The static I could take care of by attaching to any house ground. If my dish is hit by lightning, then I'd like to have a good connection to house ground. But in reality, nothing would diminish a direct lightning strike. And unlike cable TV and mains power, I'm not going to get surges from the dish from nearby strikes.

I guess that's why 90% of satellite dishes - improperly grounded - rarely have problems from that improper grounding. Small dishes, without a tall mast, don't get hit. And for those that do, proper grounding won't do anything.

So, what cable would I run from the ADU to the house ground, 100 feet away? That Mike Holt graphic linked above

www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/GB-HTML/HTML/GroundingSatelliteDishandLead-InCables~20020303.htm

says 17 AWG copper clad steel (messenger wire) is adequate. How can that be? Good for static electricity reduction, but wouldn't do anything for a lightning strike. Was that 17 AWG spec added to NEC 810 because of satellite company lobbying?

Most of Mike's work relates to the load on the circuit for the size/type of ground.

17 AWG works fine for static discharge.

If you are wanting any protection from lightning, you'd better have a ground rod VERY CLOSE.

Two separate ground rods can have different ground potential due to the earth they're driven into.
Bonding is done to equalize this.
Using a small gauge conductor becomes a "fusable link" during a lightning discharge, which may not be what you want as it fails.
A.K.A VOS

#16 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:28 PM

I think I need to find where my water main enters the house.

From my research, I think I can run the 17 AWG copper clad steel messenger wire from the Antenna Discharge Unit to the water main (within 5 feet of the house entrance), if I can find it. Keeping the cable straight would help with surge/strike conduction to the grounded pipe (as if a direct strike wouldn't take out the corner of my house).

Any thoughts? Would the installer go for this?

#17 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:40 PM

At this point, you're selecting the amount of "insurance" you want, and I don't sell insurance, so I'll leave it to you and the installer.
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#18 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:56 PM

The installer will want to place the dish at the front of the house, near the service entrance, because that is the easiest place - and near the service entrance.

I think that unless I can take care of the ground myself, the installer will insist on positioning the dish near the service entrance, at the front of the house in plain sight (as he should, for 'proper' grounding).

Not second guessing at all. Haven't met the installer, haven't placed the initial order yet. ;)

Twice you've declared what the installer wants to do. That's the definition of second guessing (determining what they are going to do on their behalf -- as their second).

Most installers are well versed in what is required by code, DIRECTV and their employer. In my state, they are also expected to have Low Voltage Electrical licenses as well that further drives home the responsibilities as well as practical and safe ways of doing things.

Installers also have to give strong consideration to where the receivers are going to be located because there are some decided limitations to how much cable you can run without having to make special ($$$) provisions.

It is like the old addage: Fast, Good (correct) or Cheap: pick any two. Posted Image
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#19 OFFLINE   west99999

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:59 PM

Doesnt the NEC code say if you drive a seperate ground rod that it has to be back bonded every 20 feet with #6 and back to the main house ground? I recall seeing this I will look when I have time if nobody else has it right on hand.

#20 OFFLINE   Jodean

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:39 PM

sounds to me like the run is way too far to that dish if the ground will 150', no one will install a 150' run to the dish either, then split it all up to rest of the house without amps or other equipment.

I guess if you NEED it your way pay out the $1000 or just let them do the free install where everything will work properly and no need for amps or trenching electrical services.
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#21 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:29 PM

Twice you've declared what the installer wants to do. That's the definition of second guessing (determining what they are going to do on their behalf -- as their second).

Most installers are well versed in what is required by code, DIRECTV and their employer. In my state, they are also expected to have Low Voltage Electrical licenses as well that further drives home the responsibilities as well as practical and safe ways of doing things.

Installers also have to give strong consideration to where the receivers are going to be located because there are some decided limitations to how much cable you can run without having to make special ($$$) provisions.

It is like the old addage: Fast, Good (correct) or Cheap: pick any two.


Emphatic No, not second guessing. Trying to determine what the installer will want - first guessing. I'm trying to set this up for an easier install, fewer snags. Time is money.

I believe this will be much more expensive than free. I understand the installer will not put the dish where I would like, out of sight. I will do what I can to correct that, before he shows, and this will cost me time and money. No question.

I WILL have the NEC compliant ground set up, ready for installation, without additional time and cost constraints to the installer. Get in, get out, get paid. I understand the installer's point of view, completely.

To me, second guessing is questioning a decision made by someone else. I want to set this up so that there is no decision to make. I want this to be an easy job, for the installer.

#22 ONLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:25 PM

What if you just wait, let the installer install it like he has to do it to get it approved by his boss and then after it is approved, change the ground to the way you want it to be ?

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#23 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:27 PM

Currently, the only realistic option for dish position is in close proximity to the service entrance and whole house ground, at the front corner of the house. I'm pretty sure that is where the installer would want it located. It's currently the only realistic option, with no 'proper' ground at the opposite back corner of the house.

I want to change that, before the installer arrives.

If a relatively straight 17 gauge messenger wire run from the dish to the service entrance or water main entrance (accessible, inspectable, listed) is all that is needed to be code compliant, I don't think the installer will balk, if I have that cable retrofitted before he arrives. I guess there is a way to find out.

I wish a local DTV Supervisor could be consulted, before I go through the trouble.

#24 OFFLINE   Neurorad

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 05:00 AM

sounds to me like the run is way too far to that dish if the ground will 150', no one will install a 150' run to the dish either, then split it all up to rest of the house without amps or other equipment.

I guess if you NEED it your way pay out the $1000 or just let them do the free install where everything will work properly and no need for amps or trenching electrical services.


The wiring closet is in the basement. Proposed dish location on brick, single story in that part of the house. Attic space has a plywood floor, easy access to roof sofit. I can easily have a cable there, ready for installation, run to the basement - it's about 30 feet directly, but needs to run up to the other, 2nd story attic first, down 2" conduit to the basement, and then to the wiring closet. Probably 60' total. Most TV drops have been labelled, I will ring them out and label all 5 (of the 24 drops available, 2 cables to every location, most unused). Currently running Comcast cable without any amps. All but 1 drop were prewired, before construction, so they're all pretty direct runs.

I retrofitted 4 2" conduits, attic to basement. 2 are currently empty. House came with 2 x 15 dB drop amps at the hub, I think for a previous dish (actually in my proposed/preferred location), but they're not connected. Power outlet at the distribution hub. Hardwired LAN drops everywhere they might be needed.

The only obstacle is an NEC-compliant ground.

Edited by Neurorad, 19 October 2012 - 06:32 AM.


#25 OFFLINE   dielray

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 06:09 AM

Currently, the only realistic option for dish position is in close proximity to the service entrance and whole house ground, at the front corner of the house. I'm pretty sure that is where the installer would want it located. It's currently the only realistic option, with no 'proper' ground at the opposite back corner of the house.

I want to change that, before the installer arrives.

If a relatively straight 17 gauge messenger wire run from the dish to the service entrance or water main entrance (accessible, inspectable, listed) is all that is needed to be code compliant, I don't think the installer will balk, if I have that cable retrofitted before he arrives. I guess there is a way to find out.

I wish a local DTV Supervisor could be consulted, before I go through the trouble.


Satellite has to comply with both 810 and 820 of the NEC.

The ground of the antenna and not the coax must use a minimum of AWG 17 copper-clad steel or AWG 10 solid copper to comply with the NEC. Technically the NEC allows AWG 8 aluminum to be used, but DirecTV does not. The gauges seem to have more to do with integrity. This would be the wire from the dish to the ground block.

Coax is exempted from needing an antenna discharge unit under 810 provided it is grounded with AWG 17 copper-clad steel or AWG 10 solid copper. 820 requires a minimum of AWG 14 solid copper. To comply with both, you would have to use AWG 10 solid copper to connect the ground block to ground. 820 also restricts the length of this wire to no more than 20 ft.

The water main is a toss up on whether the installer would even use it. To ground it would have to be continuous metal under ground for at least 10 feet. It would have to be clamped on within 5 ft of where it enters. It would need to be bonded to the service ground. Techs would have to prove it is continuous underground for at least 10 feet, which they don't have a way to do, so it just isn't bonded to.

Your only real option is to put in an addition ground rod and bond it back with AWG 6 solid copper to the service ground.
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My thoughts and opinions are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of DirecTV, my HSP, or anyone else.




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