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Old 02-27-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Grounds and Neutrals


Hello everyone...Second post and hope you can help..At 65 I'm trying to understand electricity ( Never to old I guess)
I understand that when ac voltage and current are coming in on the ungrounded conductor to the load and returns via the neutral back to the source...What I am confused about is when voltage and current return on the neutral from the source to a sep neutral bar where the equipment grounds are also connected, why isn't there voltage and current on the equipment grounds going back to the load....I know that the neutrul bar is grounded but wouldn't that prevent current getting back to the load also...Thanks in advance and I hope I made myself clear....Tom

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Old 02-27-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
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Grounds and Neutrals


The current is not trying to get to ground, but back to the source, ie the transformer. This is why neutrals and grounds are bonded in the service panel. This will allow the breaker to trip on a fault.

Earth ground typically has a high resistance.

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Old 02-27-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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Grounds and Neutrals


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Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The current is not trying to get to ground, but back to the source, ie the transformer. This is why neutrals and grounds are bonded in the service panel. This will allow the breaker to trip on a fault.

Earth ground typically has a high resistance.
Thanks Jim...I understand that current returns to the source from the ungrounded conductor, but doesn't current reverse (alternating current) and come back from the source on the neutral conductor on a 120v circuit where the neutrals and grounds are connected in the sep and back to the load...Thanks
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
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Grounds and Neutrals


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Originally Posted by movin-on View Post
Thanks Jim...I understand that current returns to the source from the ungrounded conductor, but doesn't current reverse (alternating current) and come back from the source on the neutral conductor on a 120v circuit where the neutrals and grounds are connected in the sep and back to the load...Thanks
Yes, current reverses between the hot and neutral wires. The neutral and hot are connected to the load (so there is a difference in potential between them causing current to flow.) The ground is not connected to the load in a manner that causes a difference of potential. Should you replace the neutral at the load with a ground (don't do this) then current will flow on the ground.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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Grounds and Neutrals


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Yes, current reverses between the hot and neutral wires. The neutral and hot are connected to the load (so there is a difference in potential between them causing current to flow.) The ground is not connected to the load in a manner that causes a difference of potential. Should you replace the neutral at the load with a ground (don't do this) then current will flow on the ground.
Thanks Stephen...Got it...
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