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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #1
My dish (AT-9) is mounted with a custom tripod I made (basically three metal fence posts) and and is cemented into the ground at three places. The collar of the dish is resecured with two 1/2" thick 4" long bolts holding it together via holes drilled in the mounting pole. Metal contacts metal everywhere, the install itself is sound.

My grounding block is located on my house right behind the dish, loops of coax on both sides. There is a grounding wire from the grounding block to the dish, but none from the dish to the ground or from the block to the ground. Would that be necessary? I couldn't see the need to drive a grounding rod into the ground and run a wire from it when my entire dish is mounted with three large metal poles run into the ground. Am I missing something?

edit: there is no metal anything nearby, my last dish I just drove a 4 foot metal grounding rod into the yard and ran a 14ga wire to that, but it's in a different part of the yard
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #3
bobnielsen said:
Your local building code probably incorporates the National Electrical Code, which requires that the dish and mount be grounded. Typically this requires an 8-foot copper or copper-clad ground rod and a 10 gauge copper wire connection (it should also be bonded to the main service ground).
Geeze 8 feet is crazy, and the "main service ground" is on the other side of the property! I suppose I could take the sledge and drive in an 8 foot stake...

Wait how do installers do this? Surely dishes aren't always put near the "main service ground" and I can't see installers pounding in 8 foot stakes!
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #5
My water lines are PVC and nowhere near, so those won't work. Imagine if I had a dish in the middle of a feild, how would I ground it?

I mean to go the "proper way" i'd have to run a ground wire from my grounding block through my attic all the way out the other side of the house to get to the main electrical ground outside. I suppose i'm not against doing this, but it seems a bit strange, are there limits on how long the ground cable can be? It would have to be at least 75-100 feet to reach. I did a bit of google searching that does confirm exactly what you are saying, but there isn't any info on limitations.

I will agree with you, installers seem to ignore grounding - the one who did my original dish grounded it directly to a pvc water faucet, which makes no sense whatsoever, although the guy had only been on the job a few weeks. As far as the AT9 dish - I told him flat out to just set the dish down and turn away, and he did. I mean I wasn't rude to the guy, but I made it clear that i'd be doing a self install and it turned out well minus the grounding confusion. My whole system (7 receivers, 3 multiswitches) is running on the new dish now with no problems, just wanted to get up to code :)
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #7
Update - I was looking at this and here is the situation:

The main ground is a grounding rod sticking about 8 inches out of the ground at the electrical meter on the north side of the house. I would have to assume since I see no other grounds that this is the main ground for the home. This is approximately 65 feet from the dish including rise and fall (this takes into account that it has to be through the attic). I understand that the grounding has to be done there. So my two options are:

1. Run a 65 foot 10awg copper wire from the grounding block at the dish to the main ground
2. Run 55 feet (x2) of coax to place a second grounding block near the main ground, and run about a 10 foot 10awg wire from there to the ground. But
3. Do #2 but remove the original grounding block's ground to the dish, and run a seperate ground wire approximately 55 feet from the new block back to the dish itself.
4. Do #2 but just connect the two grounding blocks together with a 45ft 10awg wire to in essence create a single wire grounding the whole system.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #9
A #6 copper wire from the grounding rod to the main is impossible without going through the attic, (I have two driveways and that would mean easily 200 feet of #6 going around the house and under at least one) but I haven't been able to find anything on the NEC About going through the attic. ~70 feet of #6 isn't going to be super cheap, but i'm not opposed to that method if it will get this done.

In perspective, this is down in a corner between houses under a 60 foot giant tree that blacks out the freakin sun, but i'm still the kind of guy who will be concerned if I don't get this resolved :p
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #10
Mike500 said:
Attached is a photo.....................
I see, yours is right next to the electrical main! I'm uploading pics of my situation right now (haven't emptied my camera right now, waiting for 300 pics to transfer :p)
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #12
Mike500 said:
What kind of plumbing do you have?

If you have copper or steel, you are in luck. You can use the plumbing as part of the bonding system for another 8 ft. rod driven at the pole.

You just have to make sure that you have the necessary bonding jumpers at water heaters, filters or dielectric unions.
Nope, PVC! :( Here are pics, these are on opposite ends of the house, which is around 50 feet long from one side to the other:

The dish wasn't close to secure with a single pole, and I couldn't put it any lower to help stabilize since it wouldn't clear the neighbors roof. With the legs cemented in the thing is rock solid! The traveling wire (can't remebmer the name) on one of the sets of RG6 grounds the dish to the grounding block right now. The old dish was about 7 feet above this and a few feet over, grounded improperly (to a lone grounding rod that I added since the installer grounded it to a PVC water faucet)


This (from what I can tell) is the main ground for the house. This is where I would ground it to if I can find a proper method to do so. About 10 feet up, around 50ish feet through the attic, and 8 feet back down to meet the grounding block from there. The pipe on the right goes immediately to the electric meter (which meets with the box on the inside of the living room - was originally the garage) and the wires to the left appear to be cable, phone, and something else (not sure what)
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #14
Mike500 said:
Not NEC conforming, but you can bond to the bare ground of an air conditioner, clothes dryer or a range.
Nope, nothing in range. Both of those would mean going up and through the attic, the AC is about 6 feet from the main electrical ground, and conforming to the NEC is the goal - if it weren't for the NEC i'd just put a normal grounding post and be done with it, if I even grounded it at all. Why can't I just go up through the attic with the ground wire? I'm willing to route the coax all the way to the side of the attic the ground is at so that I can get my main grounding block within 10 feet or so of the main grounding post, it's just a matter of limitations.

I suppose what this ALL comes down to is - how long can the wire be from the dish to the main electrical grounding post? What is the limit? I can't seem to find this. I can measure it out, but i'm guessing it will be in the 60-70 foot range if I route it through the attic. If the rule is that it has to reach the main electrical ground, this simply cannot happen without going through the attic.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #16
Mike500 said:
Full NEC compliance requires that the bonding conductor be outside of the structure.
I did the math and looked at the routing. There are two options if it has to be totally outside of the structure.

1. I can run a single cable almost exactly 80 feet from the grounding block at the dish to the main electrical ground. This would be tucked behind fascia boards and what not to hide it, but still would not go inside anywhere. Is there a specific goal of any kind for resistance? Can I get around the length problem of 80ft by using a larger wire to meet the resistance requirements?

2. I can put a grounding stake within 20 feet of the dish and then run 6awg copper solid wire to the main electrical ground. That would be rather costly I still don't think up to code, the impression I get is that I would have to add a full 8 foot grounding rod every 20 feet which means several unsightly cords all over the place.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not really concerned about damage to be honest, my entire system is covered and the dish is down in a corner where the odds of a strike are too low to be worth calculating, it's just a matter of meeting code if I can I guess.. I dunno for some reason not having things done "right" bothers me. I cringe at the thought of what the installer would have done if I let them install it!

I suppose since day one I haven't ever had "proper" grounding. I would just stick a long grounding rod in there and ground it that way if it weren't for the concern of causing a grounding loop, which may be better than no grounding at all!
 

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AllStar
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83 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Mike500 said:
This would be in compliance with the NEC, however, you'd only need to place one rod at the dish and run the #6 wire back to the main ground, NOT a grounding rod every 20 feet. The bonding conductor cannot be in contact with combustible material.
That's do-able except not in contact with combustable material, since there is a driveway in the way stopping me from burying it.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #23
Mike500 said:
They make a water boring nozzle (cheap) that attaches to the end of a pvc pipe with another attachment to a garden hose. This allows you to place a grey pvc conduit under a driveway quite easily.
If that is the case, the best option is clearly to use a grounding rod (i'll pound it in right near the dish) and then run pvc conduit around the house and under the driveway with 6awg straight to the main grounding rod. I have to assume that the absolute best way to run this 6awg copper connector is underground and PVC protected. I'll start researching this.

The system runs beautifuly right now, in the end I think my main concern is that if something were to go wrong or whatever and there were a miraculous strike and a fire, it wouldn't be covered by my insurance if it was a job that was improperly done (not to code) in the first place. I've never had to deal with my homeowners insurance and I pray I never have to!
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #25
Mike500 said:
As a Master Electrician, I believe that what you said would the best option.

Grounding is cheap. A lot of it is done wrong. I can attest to that. Just make sure that you use the correct copper split bolts and direct burial grounding bronze connectors. On jobs, I generally use one on each cable. On my own, I use two. Also, use a 5/8" copper coated UL listed rod. The one that you currently have appears to be galvanized. Using two grounding rods bonded by #6 copper and placed more than 8 feet apart makes your system comply with all of the latest NEC rules, as well with all other codes.

You cannot overdo safety.
I've decided on this method then. I don't care if I have to put down a good couple hundred bucks on a spool of cable, pvc, connectors, etc, if it's done right. Even if I stop using satellite service i'll likely still likely do a FTA setup so I want it done well permanently. I did more research on routing out a hole under the driveway, and it's no big deal at all - seems like a lot of work but with the right tools it will be no problem. I suppose in the end both of my neigbors on each side are electricians, I don't know them well but this might be time to go say hi and see if they wouldn't mind giving me a once over to see if i've got it right :p

The NEC really seems like a PITA, but I suppose it's there for saftey. I'll post pics and progress of my work next week when I get started! My first step will likely be working out how to get the pvc under the driveway, after I find out what type of PVC is allowable.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #30
Yeah i'm going to run a solid continuous wire from point A to B, i'll likely just get a 100ft spool of it (to have extra just in case) and run from rod to rod that way, and run from dish to grounding block, dish to rod with the extras. Might as well overdo it if i've got extra of the lower gauge stuff and use it for the short runs of 10awg.

I'm still trying to find specifics on what type of conduit and wire to use, but the conduit seems to be the electrical (dark grey stuff) that is rather expensive, and the wire as far as I can tell can be bare of sleeved, although I prefer the idea of sleeved. The burial depth tends to vary from what i've found via a few quick google searches, most seem to like 18 inches, which may be a bit difficult but certainly do-able.

Mike500 said:
The most important thing is that you have upgraded the grounding system for your home.
And I suppose that's a great thing! The electrical system in my home is probably less than adequate as it is! I mean it passed inspection and everything, but the old saying that "the code is the minimum" was really taken to heart (in a bad/cheap way) when this place was built!
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #35
gigahz said:
Saw someone say connect to "house ground".......DON'T DO IT.

Simple.

Shortest path possible to an 8' ground rod hammered in Mother Earth.
I've not seen anything that says you are right, every decent source of info says this is a bad thing and can introduce feedback problems into the electrical system via a ground loop. Can you give me any info as to why you would say this?

As of right now the plan is to drive an 8 foot grounding rod right into the dirt about 12 inches from the dish, and run a #6 copper wire from there all the way around the house to the main grounding rod for the house. Everything i've found says this is a good idea. Granted i'm not going to jump on this until tuesday, so i'm still looking for second and third opinions and such for the time being, but everything Mike500 has told me so far i've been able to find credible backup sources for :) I do worry about a 6 inch burial though, isn't there a huge chance someone digging even a single scoop with a shovel will cut the wire? I would imagine that the minimum requirement be much deeper?
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #38
SALVATION!!!!!

Turns out I was stupid, the interior pipes in my home ARE copper, and the water faucet located just around the side from where the dish is located IS copper! I thought they were PVC since the pipe from the street is PVC and the paint from the house being panted actually painted the copper inlet of the pipe white (so I was certain it was PVC) but a little light scraping revealed copper! I'm saved of this nightmare! And the last tech just so happened to leave me around 25 feet of green #10AWG ground wire. I'll be doing a proper grounding tomorrow to the faucet around 18 feet away :grin: :grin: :grin:
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #40
D-Bamatech said:
BE aware Using the H20 pipes has specifics as well concerning NEC legality and "worthy-ness".

= Cold wtr pipe w/bonding (gr wire) to occur within 5 ft of entrance to structure.

glad you found "a savior" !... You were making me sweat thinking about what all you were going to do.
Yeah it's cool i'm going to ground it right to the fauce pipe which is within just an inch or so of the entrance to the house.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #43
D-Bamatech said:
Let Mike quote the code to ya.
BUT.. just so you understand/know
...that 5 ft applies to the SERVICE ENTRANCE of the Wtr line into the structure AND the water line has to have direct contact with the earth for 10 ft prior to its entrance according to the code.(which im sure it(10 ft of earth contact) does and that 10 ft of gr contact really is not an issue in most circumstances on a res install)
(So that means within 5 ft of where the wtr main enters your home, (which refers to where the wtr main Actually leaves the earth if your pipe comes from the ground) and doesnt ness. mean the wall of your home.

=wtr main (from meter) entrance point & not to excede 5 ft in distance within the structure before its grounded.
The entrance point of the water main is underground and as far as I can tell from the info i've got it actually enters just near there. There is no way short of tearing the foundation apart to tell.

Mike500 said:
You must verify that the copper piping is a complete conductor path and grounded to the main electrical panel. Water heaters, appliances such as filters and water softeners or any sections of plastic pipe must have #6 or better jumpers to complete continuity. The panel, itself, must be grounded to an 8 foot buried grounding rod. Since NEC 1996, just grounding to a water pipe is not sufficient.

Additionally, you'd be surprised on how many plumbing systems do not have the required 20 feet of buried pipe for a decent ground. Most outside water lines are plastic; pvc or polyethylene.

A lot of PEX. CPVC, or older polybutylene plumbing systems are installed in walls, in attics or under floors, with only the visible stubs and other sections being copper. This is happening more than ever, since copper has tripled or more in cost over the past three years.

Homeowners are led to believe that they have copper plumbing systems, when, in fact, they don't.
The entire system inside my house (minus the lead at the water main) is fully copper. The whole pipes from the slab up in my bathrooms, kitchen, at the water heater, etc, are 100% copper pipe. The only pipe that is PVC is the one coming from the water main out by the road, which is the norm around here. Generally they are PVC for at least a good section leading up to the slab. I know this simply because I had to install a pressure reducer right near the water main because the house had really high water pressure (118 psi!) and I dug a good section of it up. The house is actually nearly 20 years old (copper was cheap, ah the days!) and copper is the norm throughout, although I understand why they are going very cheap on copper these days, and honestly it's a shame that is has to be that way. As a poor (but worthwhile) test I hooked up my extrordinarily cheap multimeter between the ground pin on an electrical outlet and the water faucet, and the resistance is really low - does show a positive ground, although like you said I can't get a real reading of true ground without some expensive equipment.

This may not meed code 100% (also because i'm a couple feet past the required "20 feet ground wire maximum", but it's a lot better than grounding to nothing or running under the driveway (which by the way I looked up the code on, and it's a lot worse than just running a cable under - it must be a minimum of 2 feet down covered in PVC, and there are other stipulations in the local code as well). On top of that, no inspector is going to dig up my front yard to measure the length of the copper pipe for a satellite ground. I'll take this over the huge mess anyway, and this is the original ground point that the first installer used (and the same distance from the dish to the ground point) so i'm going to get it marked as "professionally installed", and i've got them coming out Tuesday to approve the install (I want a professional sign-off from a licensed installer to cover me incase a freak electrial issue or something should occur)

So i'm satisfied with this method. It may not be the best, but it works :) If it becomes a code issue for any reason when it comes time to sell the house ill just unhook the dish. (Which i'll do anyway, let the new people buy multiswitches and coax :p) - I also may relocate it to the north side of the house later when I fence in that side of the house, at which point I can simply bury a direct wire to the main electrical ground.
 

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AllStar
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Discussion Starter #48
Mike500 said:
Too many people cut corners with safety. They don't care how safe it is or how durable it it. All they care is that it works. Warranties DO NOT protect the consumer. They are a statement LIMITING the LIABILITY of the manufacturer and the merchant or the contractor.
Amen to that!
 
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