Ideal Ground Testers Description
Ground Testing Instruments offer a comprehensive solution to ground rod resistance and soil resistivity (4 point) requirements. These instruments provide verification that the electrical system ground is connected to the earth ground and meets safety requirements as defined by the National Electrical Code, (NEC), OSHA, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), the IEEE and other safety and standards organizations.
The National Electrical Code has established minimum safety values for grounding. The National Electrical Code, Section 250-56 states that the “system impedance to ground (ground rod) is less than 25 ohms and that facilities with sensitive electrical equipment should be 5.0 ohms or less.”
A good grounding system will improve the reliability of equipment and reduce the likelihood of damage due to lightning or fault currents. The primary reason that grounding is tested is the fact that resistance to an earth ground rod or system may vary based on changes in climate and temperature and over time. Such changes can be considerable. Over time, corrosion will degrade ground rods and their connections. It is reasonable to consider an annual maintenance program that checks grounds and bonding.
Ground Testing Applications possible with Ideal Ground Testers:
Components of Earth Ground Electrode:
- Ground Resistance Rods- 3 Point Tester
- Low Ground Resistance Grids or Mats or Plates- 3 or 4 Point Tester
- Ground Resistance for Multiple Grounds without disconnecting system- Clamp-On Tester
- Earth Coupling- 3 Point Tester
- Resistance of the electrode itself and connections to it, including the clamp and wire connection
- Contact resistance between the electrode and the soil adjacent to it
- Resistance of the surrounding earth
What affects the ground resistance measured?
Ground testing systems to be tested also include Multiple Electrodes, Grounding Grids, Grounding Mats and Grounding Plates.
- The length and depth of the electrode
- The diameter of the electrode
- The number of electrodes
- The total inherent system design
Methods of ground testing possible with Ideal Ground Testers:
(a) Three-Point Fall of Potential
- (a) Three Point Fall of Potential for Ground Rods and Grids
- (b) Touch Potential for Electrical Safety (high ground fault possibility)
- (c) Clamp-On
Three Point measurements are used when electrodes or grids can be easily disconnected. Three-point measurement is used to measure resistance to ground of ground rods and grids. The potential difference between rods X and P is measured by a voltmeter, and the current flow between rods X and C is measured by an ammeter. Using Ohm’s Law, R = E/I, we may obtain the ground electrode resistance R. It is not necessary to carry out all the measurements when using a ground tester. The ground tester will measure directly by generating its own current and displaying the resistance of the ground electrode under test (Z).
Earth Coupling. In order to measure Earth coupling, a 3 point system is required. It is primarily used to estimate the influence of two earth resistance systems that are not connected to each other.
(b) Touch Potential (Three Pole) for Electrical Safety (high ground fault possibility)
Touch Potential is the term given to the potential difference a person might experience across their body if they were, for example, standing on the ground outside the perimeter fence of a substation and touching the fence at the time a fault to earth occurred. These tests are recommended when the ground cannot be disconnected, where ground faults are highly likely to occur, or when the “footprint” of grounded equipment (the outline of the part of equipment in contact with earth) is comparable to the size of the ground to be tested. Touch potential is defined as the voltage between an energized object and the feet of a person that may be in contact with that object. In cases close to power distribution sites and fences, the touch potential can be extremely dangerous and hazardous. A four pole tester is used for “touch potential” measurements.
Step potential is the potential difference a person would experience between their feet if they walked over the ground in which a fault current existed. A four pole tester is also used for this test.
(c) Portable Clamp-On Method for Ground Testing
Clamp-on ground resistance testing offers the ability to measure the ground resistance without disconnecting the ground rods or the wiring of the system. This type of measurement also offers the advantage of including the bonding to ground and the overall grounding connection resistances. One of the most important considerations for the portable clamp-on system would be a series-parallel resistance path down-stream from the measurement point that is lower in resistance than the point being measured. Please note figures below for typical Clamp-on placement for measurement.
Applications for Clamp-on Ground Resistance Testers
- Measure electrical ground rod and grid resistance
- Use on multi-grounded systems without disconnecting the ground rod under test
- Measure resistance and continuity of grounding loops around pads and buildings
- Measure leakage current flowing to ground or circulating in ground systems
- Conduct field surveys
- Use on cell towers and telecommunication sites
- Use on pools, spas and other consumer installations
Ground Testing Resources These links can be used as excellent references for basic Ground Resistance theory. Click the cover to download the PDF
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| Megger |
Getting Down to Earth
| AEMC |
Ground Resistance Testing
| Fluke |
Earth Ground Resistance Testers