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Electrical Safety Grounds

November 1st Fact-of-the-Day

Electrical wiring to the power outlets in most modern homes and offices includes a safety ground (also called an equipment ground) wire. Safety ground wires usually are green or bare metal in the U.S. and green/yellow in Europe. The function of a safety ground is to provide a low-resistance return path to ground to trip a circuit breaker if insulation protecting the case of a powered device fails. A safety ground circuit ideally should be grounded at one and only one point, so fault currents return via a path that is known to be safe. That single point usually is at the main breaker panel. However, that consideration conflicts with the need for an additional lower-impedance ground connection to the chassis of most communications receivers and transmitters for proper operation of some types of antenna systems and for lightning protection. ©2004 Martek, International. All rights reserved.


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