Properly Grounding Systems

Q: Can you explain the difference between grounding and bonding?

A: Actually one leads to the other, but you can have one without the other. Grounding is the process of connecting a system to a good earth ground. This is typically done through a good connection to a grounding rod. Bonding on the other hand is making sure that you have all your system components connected together and then connected to a good grounding rod.

Q: OK, which is which? What can you have without the other?

A: Actually you could have both bonding or grounding. But more often you see a ground without a bond.

Q: Which one leads to the other?

A: Bonding. Have you been paying attention here?

Q: What is a ground loop?

A: A ground loop is when two points in a system are earth grounded at two different locations. One might say a ground is a ground that is a ground. Actually an earth ground at different locations will have different voltage potentials. This difference in voltage potential in a system will cause unwanted currents or ground loops. Remember good old ohms law?

Q: If you have some voltage and you have some resistance what is left?

A: Some current. The way to avoid ground loops in a system is to ground cable shielding at only one end. That end is usually the headend of the system. Then make sure the headend is connected to a good earth ground.

Q: How do you do that?

A: Read my June 2002 “Tech Talk.”

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