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Old 10-20-2011, 09:59 AM   #16
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Landlords have offered to install GFCI outlets in my room so I can plug in 3 prong plugs. My understanding is that this should protect me from harm, but a surge protector plugged in will not work in protecting my equipment. Is the ground coming into the building enough protection?
You are correct. The only way (according to code) to use three prong appliances is to use three prong receptacles with the safety ground connected back to the breaker box. Or the GFCI solution with a "no equipment ground" label. Both are only for human safety.

The UPS protection circuits are the same circuits found in power strip protectors - just smaller. Anyone recommending an adjacent UPS for surge protection is educated by advertising; not by engineering or basic electrical concepts.

You are completely correct that a protector does not work without an 'earth' ground. Nobody need rewire anything inside the building to have the best and least expensive solution. Simply install one 'whole house' protector in the breaker box. Inspect and (if necessary) upgrade the earth ground so that the protector connection to earth is low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet', no sharp wire bends, no splices, etc).

Earth ground and safety ground are completely different. Are even described separately in the code. Safety ground is about the third prong on receptacles. A protector is only as effective as the only thing that does the protection - single point earth ground.

Many recommend tens or hundreds of protectors only because advertising, hearsay, and urban myths recommend that power strip of UPS. Even the smoke detector needs a protector according to them. Informed consumers protect everything for about $1 per protected appliance by earthing a 'whole house' protector from more responsible companies including General Electric, Intermatic, Cutler-Hammer, Leviton, Siemens, ABB, and Square D. A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot.

Protection is defined by how many amps can be absorbs by earth. A minimal 'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps because effective protectors earth even direct lightning strikes. And remain functional.

How many joules does that UPS absorb? Hundreds? So how does that UPS make hundreds of thousands of joules just magically disappear? It does not have to. The UPS was recommended by those who ignore all numbers. No numbers is a first indication that a recommendation is bogus. And explains why they also do not understand. Any protector circuit inside the UPS is also useless with a ground. And make more useless is the ground is not short (ie 'less than 10 feet').

Get the landlord to also install a 'whole house' protector. The electrician must also inspect the earth ground to both meet and exceed post 1990 code. Because the earth ground (and not any other ground) does all protection. And because effective protectors connect low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground. Then hundreds of thousands of joules (even direct lightning strikes) are absorbed harmlessly outside the building.

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Old 10-20-2011, 12:10 PM   #17
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mcSteve, testers are not going to tell you if it has a "bootlegged" ground. Only the better testers will tell you, or visually inspecting the outlet.

As for the OP, unless you are running a data center, computers are cheap, unless your definition of $1,000 is very expensive. If this is an older structure, it could be 2-wire and no way to ground, so you are sol. If it has been updated to newer panels, and only way that you can tell, is maybe do some investigating at city hall to see if they have filings for upgrade on the service, and work scopes filed showing what they did.

Otherwise, you are SOL, and have learned a lesson to check everything out, before signing on the dotted line.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:11 PM   #18
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Please for the sake of everyone Westom, just reference a previous post with this thesis in it. We all know how this stuff works, we really do not need a forty page diatribe about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westom View Post
[color=black][font=Verdana]

You are correct. The only way (according to code) to use three prong appliances is to use three prong receptacles with the safety ground connected back to the breaker box. Or the GFCI solution with a "no equipment ground" label. Both are only for human safety.

The UPS protection circuits are the same circuits found in power strip protectors - just smaller. Anyone recommending an adjacent UPS for surge protection is educated by advertising; not by engineering or basic electrical concepts.

You are completely correct that a protector does not work without an 'earth' ground. Nobody need rewire anything inside the building to have the best and least expensive solution. Simply install one 'whole house' protector in the breaker box. Inspect and (if necessary) upgrade the earth ground so that the protector connection to earth is low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet', no sharp wire bends, no splices, etc).

Earth ground and safety ground are completely different. Are even described separately in the code. Safety ground is about the third prong on receptacles. A protector is only as effective as the only thing that does the protection - single point earth ground.

Many recommend tens or hundreds of protectors only because advertising, hearsay, and urban myths recommend that power strip of UPS. Even the smoke detector needs a protector according to them. Informed consumers protect everything for about $1 per protected appliance by earthing a 'whole house' protector from more responsible companies including General Electric, Intermatic, Cutler-Hammer, Leviton, Siemens, ABB, and Square D. A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot.

Protection is defined by how many amps can be absorbs by earth. A minimal 'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps because effective protectors earth even direct lightning strikes. And remain functional.

How many joules does that UPS absorb? Hundreds? So how does that UPS make hundreds of thousands of joules just magically disappear? It does not have to. The UPS was recommended by those who ignore all numbers. No numbers is a first indication that a recommendation is bogus. And explains why they also do not understand. Any protector circuit inside the UPS is also useless with a ground. And make more useless is the ground is not short (ie 'less than 10 feet').

Get the landlord to also install a 'whole house' protector. The electrician must also inspect the earth ground to both meet and exceed post 1990 code. Because the earth ground (and not any other ground) does all protection. And because effective protectors connect low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground. Then hundreds of thousands of joules (even direct lightning strikes) are absorbed harmlessly outside the building.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #19
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Please for the sake of everyone Westom, just reference a previous post with this thesis in it. We all know how this stuff works, we really do not need a forty page diatribe about it.
Lighten up man, he can write what he wants, same as you or I.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:44 PM   #20
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Lighten up man, he can write what he wants, same as you or I.
Yes, he can write what he wants, but everything he posts is as if he is a EE and trying to post a thesis. There is a right way to post, and a wrong way, and with the OP, it gets old, when you see the same stuff over and over about gcfi's and associated protection devices.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:54 PM   #21
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Yes, he can write what he wants, but everything he posts is as if he is a EE and trying to post a thesis. There is a right way to post, and a wrong way, and with the OP, it gets old, when you see the same stuff over and over about gcfi's and associated protection devices.
Sorry I didn't mean to offend. I understand what you mean about posts getting old and I also get annoyed.

Now, if you'll excuse me I've got to start a new thread about running power to my garage.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:42 PM   #22
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Sorry I didn't mean to offend. I understand what you mean about posts getting old and I also get annoyed.

Now, if you'll excuse me I've got to start a new thread about running power to my garage.
Just make sure that you use the right materials for the treadmills that you want the dogs and/or squirrels to run on. You do not want to have Westom come back and tell you that there is no difference in the type of treadmills, but the characteristics in how the animal behavior can be, can make a difference, even though it is the same outcome and product.
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:01 PM   #23
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Yes, he can write what he wants, but everything he posts is as if he is a EE and trying to post a thesis.
Any recommendation without reasons why and the numbers is best called bogus. Knowledge without numbers explains why so many never learn which ground is essential to protection electronics. Of course, many who never learned this will post nasty insults rather than learn what is important. The EE makes him angry because he did not learn this stuff.


Earthing is critical for protection. Earthing as understood by electricians (knowledge from human safety codes) is often insufficient for surge protection.

GFCI is for human safety. Transistor safety demands a ‘whole house’ protector be earthed at the service entrance. Reasons for both provided previously with relevant numbers.

The OP is correct. A protector without a ground is defined by the NIST as "useless". Not just any ground. Safety ground in a receptacle is for human safety. (GFCI is an alternative to a missing safety ground.) GFCI does nothing for transistor protection. Transistor protection is about earth ground. Two different solutions for two different problems. Many who never learned these simple concepts will post insults rather than facts and numbers.

All older buildings are easily and inexpensively earthed to protect transistors. GFCIs are an easiest solution for protecting humans. Both are easy; can be implemented in any building, and should be in any residential structure.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:06 PM   #24
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This ground wire is not part of the building electrical system and en route is not fastened to the wall or anything. The outlet box is not opened up. It is perfectly legal to string a ground wire connecting pieces of electronic equipment and have it lay loosely on the floor (preferably near the wall). Part of the DIY is verifying that the radiator or whatever the far end is connected to is indeed a good ground. A wire running from a lightning rod to a ground rod is not presumed to be a sufficient ground for electrical purposes.

.
I will ask again for you to post a quote of the NEC article that you say allows a receptacle to be grounded by running a conductor to an object like a radiator. Article 250 is quite specific about acceptacle connections and radiators and the like are not mentioned.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:37 PM   #25
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I will ask again for you to post a quote of the NEC article that you say allows a receptacle to be grounded by running a conductor to an object like a radiator.
In the project I was describing, no 2 prong receptacles are being upgraded to 3 prong or being retrofitted with ground wires.

The project I described was specifically meant to not involve any infrastructure changes and not require a landlord's approval.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:48 PM   #26
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My point was that using a radiator or similar is not acceptable to use as part of an equipment ground path.
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:16 AM   #27
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I can only picture a plumber breaking a union open holding both pipes and there is a ground fault. OHSA Page.
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:16 PM   #28
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The UPS protection circuits are the same circuits found in power strip protectors - just smaller. Anyone recommending an adjacent UPS for surge protection is educated by advertising; not by engineering or basic electrical concepts.
For real science on surges and surge protection read:
http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf
How to protect your house and its contents from lightning: IEEE guide for surge protection of equipment connected to AC power and communication circuits" published by the IEEE in 2005 (the IEEE is the major organization of electrical and electronic engineers in the US).
And also a simpler surge guide:
http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/p.../surgesfnl.pdf
NIST recommended practice guide: Surges Happen!: how to protect the appliances in your home" published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in 200

Westom's belief that plug-in protectors don't work is not shared by anyone in the known universe.

Both the IEEE and NIST surge guides say plug-in protectors are effective. The same circuits added to UPSs are also effective. Any surge protector in the US should be listed under UL1449. Some UPSs aren't.

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Originally Posted by westom View Post
You are completely correct that a protector does not work without an 'earth' ground.
As a matter of fact it will.

Read the IEEE surge guide starting page 30. Plug-in protectors do not work primarily by earthing as surge. They work by limiting the voltage on all wires to the ground at the surge protector. The voltage between the wires going to the protected equipment is safe for the protected equipment. If the plug-in protector ground wire is not connected the protector will still work.

But it is not a good idea. A GFCI provides some additional safety protection.

If using a plug-in protector all interconnected equipment needs to be connected to the same plug-in protector. External connections, like phone and cable, also need to go through the protector. Connecting all wiring through the protector prevents damaging voltages between power and signal wires.

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Originally Posted by westom View Post
Many recommend tens or hundreds of protectors only because advertising, hearsay, and urban myths recommend that power strip of UPS.
Nonsense.

You might use plug-in protectors on expensive equipment, particularly if it has connections to both power and phone/cable/... This is typically TV/related and computer.

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Originally Posted by westom View Post
Informed consumers protect everything for about $1 per protected appliance by earthing a 'whole house' protector from more responsible companies including General Electric, Intermatic, Cutler-Hammer, Leviton, Siemens, ABB, and Square D. A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot.
Service panel suppressors are a real good idea.
But from the NIST guide:
Q - Will a surge protector installed at the service entrance be sufficient for the whole house?
A - There are two answers to than question: Yes for one-link appliances [electronic equipment], No for two-link appliances [equipment connected to power AND phone or cable or....]. Since most homes today have some kind of two-link appliances, the prudent answer to the question would be NO - but that does not mean that a surge protector installed at the service entrance is useless.

The NIST surge guide suggests that most equipment damage is from high voltage between power and phone/cable/... wiring. Service panel suppressors do not prevent that high voltages from developing. A service panel protector should protect anything connected only to the power wires.

If other services, like phone and cable, come into the house adjacent to the power service, and if the phone/cable/... entry protector ground wires make a short connection to the power service earthing system, then inside wiring is fairly well protected. (The effect of an entry protector ground wire that is too long is illustrated in the IEEE surge guide starting page 30.) A service panel protector with short connections to other entry protectors would be my second choice if the landlord will do it. First choice would be a new grounded receptacle.

All of westom's responsible companies except SquareD make plug-in protectors and say they are effective. SquareD says for their best service panel suppressor - electronic equipment may need additional protection by installing plug-in [protectors] at the point of use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westom View Post
How many joules does that UPS absorb? Hundreds? So how does that UPS make hundreds of thousands of joules just magically disappear?
It is only magic for westom.

Neither service panel protectors or plug-in protectors protect by absorbing the surge. (They do absorb some energy in the process of protecting.)

The author of the NIST surge guide looked at the amount of energy that may be absorbed in a plug-in protector. He used branch circuits of 10m and longer, and power line surges up to 10,000A, which is the maximum that has any reasonable probability of occurring. (A 10,000A surge is based on a 100,000A lightning strike to a utility pole adjacent to a house in typical urban overhead distribution.) The maximum energy dissipated was a surprisingly small 35 joules. In 13 of 15 cases it was 1 joule or less. (There are a couple reasons for this if anyone is interested.) Plug-in protectors probably all have ratings far above that, and protectors with high ratings are readily available.

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Originally Posted by westom View Post
The UPS was recommended by those who ignore all numbers. No numbers is a first indication that a recommendation is bogus. And explains why they also do not understand. Any protector circuit inside the UPS is also useless with a ground. And make more useless is the ground is not short (ie 'less than 10 feet').
Complete nonsense.

Westom can't find surge protection specs for any plug-in protector.
And plug-in protectors do not work primarily by earthing a surge.

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