Using ground probes in aquariums

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Brew12, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. Shep

    Shep Acan Connoisseur Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award

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    @Brew12 So I was researching a good brand to buy and came across a few people saying that it has to be plugged directly into the wall and not a power strip or surge protector, any truth to this?
     

  2. Cory

    Cory Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    Only if the power strip isnt grounded. Most power strips are
     
  3. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I prefer to plug it into the wall but it is not required. It will work just fine plugged into a power strip.
     
  4. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Well-Known Member

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  5. harryball69

    harryball69 Well-Known Member

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    You talked me into getting one. just ordered it...
     
  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Fantastic!
     
  7. islandbreeze

    islandbreeze Well-Known Member

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    Alright I'm sold I've tried to limit stray voltage by eliminating all electronics from my 3 tanks but my sump has some 110. I do feel a micro bit of current if I have a cut on my finger, sounds funny. However, has anyone ever tried or considered a 6 foot or maybe 3 six foot grounding rods hammered deep Into the ground connected to the probe? Why do I need to ground right next to a live circuit aka plug. Is this possible? Like they do for solar rigs? I'm curious if the voltage could be tested
     
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  8. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Well-Known Member

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    Isn't the ground in your outlet connected to the grounding rod in the ground and your cold water pipe?

    The purpose of the ground probe is to trip the GFI (which is more important imho). If you don't give the stray current a path to ground then it makes a connection through the water and back through the neutral.
     
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  9. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Well-Known Member

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    BTW, my solar panel ground is tied into my main house ground. I guess it's whatever the code is in your state.
     
  10. Ramasule

    Ramasule Well-Known Member

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    Your grounds are tied together at your main panel box. From there you have a ground that either connects to a ground plate / rod or your copper water pipe.
    At the panel your neutral bar has one jumper connected to your ground bar. Unless this is a sub panel in which case they must not be connected.
     
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  11. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    As long as you have good continuity between your outlet ground and the ground rod near your breaker box you should be good. Driving one closer would only reduce voltage by miniscule amounts.
     
  12. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Yup, it varies by state and also by installation. The grounding rod has to be within a certain distance of the solar panel. If you need your solar panel on the opposite side of the house as the breaker panel it may require an additional grounding rod.
     
  13. islandbreeze

    islandbreeze Well-Known Member

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    Ok, that makes good sense. I guess it shouldn't matter just wondering if anyone's tried it. A probe to rod in ground that is. Let's say 4 probes, 4 outlets, unless I soldered 4 together, I'm just wondering if it would still trip gfi should I believe.
     
  14. islandbreeze

    islandbreeze Well-Known Member

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    Even better question for the community, using a small multi meter, what setting would I select and how could I go about measuring the very small stray current in my tanks? I would be very interested in finding out
     
  15. islandbreeze

    islandbreeze Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't the gfi trip when it detects the large trough milliseconds before the actual bump in current? Say a pump shorts out. The ground shouldn't matter I was thinking as long as it's solid. In Other words the ground not trip the gfi so to say the actual spike or trough before is what shuts off the circuit. I'm only just looking for way to send stray voltage to ground without adding plugs to cramped outlet area. Am I beating a dead horse here.

    A lawyer once told me u never get what you don't ask for so never a stupid question right?
     
  16. islandbreeze

    islandbreeze Well-Known Member

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    Ok one more point then I'll shut up. I really am heart set on hurricane proof system. DC all the way, got 3 huge agm batts and working on solar plan w dc controlling possibly. We are lightning capital of usa here in swfl and I lost an established 8 yr reef during Charlie, they didn't let us back on island for whole week, sad thing was I had generator but no gas (most people forget pumps at gas stations are electronic and sometimes no power = no gas)besides I had no way back on island without special permit yada yada. I was furious almost got arrested even. If I could have my system without 1plug in an account outlet it will be my moment of victory. So, am I crazy to pursue this alternate grounding idea, is it dangerous, dumb question maybe, if ground is truly required to.be routed through gfi for gfi to trip then my question is answered but if I have no gfi on complete separate DC system why couldn't I do the rod plan? Thank you for everyone's input.
     
  17. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Well-Known Member

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    A GFI trips when the power leaving the hot side is not equal to the power coming back into the neutral. The GFI does not monitor the ground, only the neutral. So if you have 6 amps leaving the hot side, you will have 6 amps coming back to the neutral even if you have stray current because it will use the saltwater as a conductor to make a loop.

    If you have 6 amps leaving the hot side, and you have stray current (a cracked pump), you will have 5.5 amps returning to the neutral and 0.5 amps going through the ground (which isn't monitored), this will trip the GFI. Don't confuse a GFI for a circuit breaker. A circuit breaker trips when the current hits 15 amps regardless of where it goes.

    I made a backup using a computer UPC and 2 car batteries. I plugged in the bare essentials. 1 return pump and a heater. I've since installed a standby generator on natural gas so my backup only has to last for 15 seconds. I have my light on the battery now because the irritating power flashes (the ones that just reset your clocks)mess with the light timer.
     
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  18. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Let me answer a few of your questions.

    Only one ground probe is needed, you do not need one for every outlet. A ground probe connects your sump to your houses grounding system. You do not need multiple connections as all of your house grounds are tied together.
    A GFCI does not need a ground probe, or even a ground connection, to work. As Jason pointed out, a GFCI device does not care what current is, only that the current in the hot prong and neutral prong match. It doesn't monitor ground current in any manner. A ground probe will allow a GFCI to trip immediately upon an electrical fault. If you don't have a ground probe, the GFCI may not trip until a new ground path is provided, such as salt creep or a person putting their hand in the tank.
     
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  19. Jimmyneptune

    Jimmyneptune Well-Known Member

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    Do you need a ground problem for every tank /compartment on your system? I have a 93 gallon cube tank with a 20 gallon tank as a refugium followed by a 20 gallon sump with a protein skimmer and return pump. So I basically have three tanks on one system. My ground probe is in the main display to protect my fish and corals.

    By the way, this is a great post a lot of people have a problem or issue with their set up and it's always one of the first things I think of is the tank grounded. I think people have lost a lot of fish or corals in the past due to being on a non-grounded display or QT.
    Thanks
     
  20. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Glad you appreciate the post!

    One ground probe is enough to protect the entire system as long as the return pump is running. I only run with one, and it is in my sump. If everything in the system is on GFCI I wouldn't bother installing more than one. If you have an equipment failure, it will trip the GFCI and protect everything. If you don't run with everything on GFCI then I would consider installing one in each connected tank that has electrical equipment for personal safety reasons.
     
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