October 2008 Tech Talk Online Q & A

Q: I have heard that you can simply remove distortion from a video ground loop by clipping the ground prong on an AC plug. Is this true?

A: It may remove the problem with your ground loop, however, simply put, do not do this. I have seen techs in the past use this shortcut resulting in a severe electrical shock to the customer. The shock was from a metal monitor chassis that became electrically when the ground prong was cut on the AC plug. It also violates the UL listing of the devices and can get you in considerable liability problems if someone gets hurt. If you need to isolate a ground level then try using an isolation transformer that is designed for this problem and is not very expensive.

Q: I need to run battery operated security equipment in a cold remote location that gets easily below zero in the winter. How can I keep my batteries from failing?

A: A couple suggestions come to mind. One is to put your batteries in an insulated compartment that is kept warm with a heater (a simple light bulb will work) and a fan. You may have to power the heater with a solar collector. Another attacked that will help keep your batteries fresh is to find a way to store the batteries below the frost line (3-5 feet below surface) where the temperature is a consistent 45-50 degrees. If you plan on digging a hole for this make sure you have good drainage.

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