Hardware Secrets
Home | Camera | Case | CE | Cooling | CPU | Input | Memory | Mobile | Motherboard | Networking | Power | Storage | Video | Other
Content
Articles
Editorial
First Look
Gabriel’s Blog
News
Reviews
Tutorials
Main Menu
About Us
Awarded Products
Datasheets
Dictionary
Download
Drivers
Facebook
Links
Manufacturer Finder
Newsletter
RSS Feed
Test Your Skills
Twitter
Newsletter
Subscribe today!
Recommended
Practical Grounding, Bonding, Shielding and Surge Protection (Practical Professional)
Practical Grounding, Bonding, Shielding and Surge Protection (Practical Professional), by Malcolm Barnes (Butterworth-Heinemann), starting at $81.22


Home » Power
Grounding
Author: Gabriel Torres 71,858 views
Type: Tutorials Last Updated: October 5, 2004
Page: 1 of 3
What is Ground?

Many readers have written asking about grounding and if it is really needed.

Electricity only appears when there is a potential difference between two points. For example, if we take two wires, one with a potential of 12 V, and another with a potential of 0 V, then we'll have a potential difference of 12 V. If both wires have 12 V, there will be no potential difference between them, and electric force will be zero..

Therefore, the mains electrical systems are made up of two wires, one called phase and another called neutral. The neutral wire shows a potential of zero and the phase wire is where the electric energy is transmitted. As there is a potential difference between phase and neutral, there is electric force. In mains distribution network the voltage is alternated, as the electric force of the phase wire varies along the time making a sine wave.

Ground is a signal having a zero volts potential. It is used to level the electric potential between electrical equipments. Usually the ground is connected to the metallic casing of the equipment. In equipments where the cabinet is made of plastic, ground is connected to the internal metallic case existing inside the equipment.

You must be wondering what is the difference between ground and the neutral wire, once both have a zero volts potential.

It happens that the neutral wire potential may vary due to the equipment connected to it and installed in your house or office. For example, it comes out of the public power utilities with a zero volts potential, but due to the connected equipment, the neutral wire may be showing a slightly higher potential, say of 6 volts. The potential difference between neutral and phase will then be 6 volts lower. As electrical equipment usually have a high tolerance this voltage drop will not affect its operation (in this example the voltage lowering will be from 127 volts to 121 volts, and the equipment operation is not affected).

But ground shows a permanent zero volts potential. Ground potential is obtained by means of a steel/copper bar into the ground. As Earth is an perennial source of electrons, its potential is absolutely stable. In case any equipment tries to alter the ground voltage (as it happens to the neutral), the voltage in excess will be diverted to the Earth, thus holding its electrical potential always in zero volts.

The issue is that the ground wire is meaningful only when we are operating with interconnected equipment where there can be no potential difference between them. An electric iron, a mixer or a lamp will operate without that zero volts ground reference, even if the neutral is presenting voltage differences, due to their tolerances. (That is not absolutely true if one considers the user who contacts a metallic part of the equipment while contacting ground simultaneously).

Print Version | Send to Friend | Bookmark Article Page 1 of 3  | Next »

Related Content
  • Anatomy of Surge Suppressors
  • OCZ ModXStream Pro 500 W Power Supply Review
  • Zalman ZM600-ST Power Supply Review
  • Huntkey Jumper 550 Power Supply Review
  • Thermaltake Purepower 500 W Power Supply Review

  • RSSLatest Content
    ASRock Z97 Anniversary Motherboard
    December 16, 2014 - 4:27 AM
    Gigabyte H81M-S2PH Motherboard
    December 12, 2014 - 3:05 AM
    Aerocool Dead Silence Case Review
    December 2, 2014 - 3:00 AM
    NZXT S340 Case Review
    November 27, 2014 - 3:45 AM
    AMD A4-5000 CPU Review
    November 26, 2014 - 3:10 AM
    Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Tablet Review
    November 25, 2014 - 3:00 AM
    ASUS X99-PRO Motherboard
    November 5, 2014 - 3:00 AM
    ASRock QC5000-ITX Motherboard
    November 4, 2014 - 3:00 AM
    Gigabyte X99-UD3 Motherboard
    October 30, 2014 - 8:30 AM







    2004-14, Hardware Secrets, LLC. All rights reserved.
    Advertising | Legal Information | Privacy Policy
    All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST, GMT -08:00)