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Author Topic: RV Park Wiring  (Read 1237 times)

Brother Bear

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RV Park Wiring
« on: November 14, 2017, 06:52:31 AM »
I'm not sure where this belongs, so here goes.

Our church camp has twelve RV hookups. The electrical system is antiquated and we are getting ready to redo it, making it a state of the art electrical grid. One question that has come up is, "How should the earth or ground be connected to each 50,30,20 amp pedestal?" One is saying we must use quadplex direct bury cable taking the earth back to the main panel. This does not make sense to me. I believe triplex direct bury makes more sense with a ground rod at each pedestal. If it is necessary to use quad rather than simply going to a ground rod at each pedestal, could someone please explain the logic of it? Thanks!
Larry
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John From Detroit

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 07:33:41 AM »
Well... This one is complex. and ther code does vary a bit from state to state so I'd consult with a "Local" expert and actually READ THE CODE for myself.

Many parks I have visisted each site has it's own ground rod.. Each site..

Now since the 20/30/50 box is .. Electrically.. A "Sub Panel"... I'm not sure that is code since NORMALLY the code says one system wide ground at the main box..

BUT.. Technically.. It works well, better in fact, to have a ground at each box (I'd rather not go into why)  Not sure if the box is also connected to the main system ground back at the meter site.

YOu need to check the local code to find out what is and what is not required.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 07:40:19 AM »
I highly suggest consulting a licensed commercial electrical contractor for advice on the wiring upgrade requirements, permits and inspections needed, etc. The church may even have one among the members that would agree to help out. National, state, and local electrical codes have very specific RV park regulations that need to be met for insurance purposes, even if safety is not considered.
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FunSteak

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 07:45:30 AM »
I highly suggest consulting a licensed commercial electrical contractor for advice on the wiring upgrade requirements, permits and inspections needed, etc. The church may even have one among the members that would agree to help out. National, state, and local electrical codes have very specific RV park regulations that need to be met for insurance purposes, even if safety is not considered.

This, for sure.  I'd think there is a lot of liability if your installation deviates from code.  Certainly better to check with the local experts than wind up in a courtroom!
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 08:17:23 AM »
Normally the ground is done at the main panel, but check the local codes.
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Brother Bear

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2017, 09:26:08 AM »
Thanks fellas! My question still, however, is what's the logic for pulling all that grounding back to the main panel? Like John says, in my logic, it is better to ground each pedestal separately than to try to pull them all back to the neutral bar in the breaker panel. Would it not give better possibilities for ground (earth) if each had it's own ground rod? I know what codes say, but regardless, I want to know a GOOD reason why one should take both the neutral and the ground back to a central source. Thanks again!
Larry
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blw2

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2017, 09:32:45 AM »
so I think you want to know the theory behind the idea....why would it make sense to do it that way?
good question I think.
maybe ask this way....
ground at each sub panel - why would that approach be better?
ground only at main panel - why would that approach be better?
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HappyWanderer

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2017, 10:31:50 AM »
Don't confuse grounding with bonding. There are different requirements spelled out in the code, depending on the specific installation.
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SeilerBird

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2017, 10:38:33 AM »
Thanks fellas! My question still, however, is what's the logic for pulling all that grounding back to the main panel? Like John says, in my logic, it is better to ground each pedestal separately than to try to pull them all back to the neutral bar in the breaker panel. Would it not give better possibilities for ground (earth) if each had it's own ground rod? I know what codes say, but regardless, I want to know a GOOD reason why one should take both the neutral and the ground back to a central source. Thanks again!
Because the neutral and the ground are two totally different things. Yes the neutral eventually gets grounded but you can't rely on the neutral to be the ground. And the ground does not belong on the neutral bar, it gets bonded to the panel. The neutral also gets bonded to the panel. Regular household romex has a neutral and a ground wire. You would never think of using the neutral in house wiring to be the ground.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2017, 03:14:08 PM »
Standalone (local) grounds are frowned upon in the NEC (electrical code)  except in very specific circumstances, but I do not profess to understand the nuances enough to debate how important it is.  Sometimes it just wise to assume the experts who created the NEC knew what they were doing.  Often the rationale turns out to be to protect against various obscure conditions or faults that are unlikely, yet in the past have been known to cause loss of life, fire, etc.

Have you analyzed what it would take to drive a legitimate ground rod at each location vs just using the appropriate wire?  After all, standard power distribution cabling already includes a ground wire, so laying the cable is no more difficult and very, if any, little more expensive. You are talking about running a lot of 6/3 wire, so 6/3 w/ground is not going to alter the work or cost much.
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John From Detroit

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 04:54:28 PM »
Thanks fellas! My question still, however, is what's the logic for pulling all that grounding back to the main panel?

First let me say this is NOT a political comment.  Does not matter who is in power

You expect a Governmental Regulation to be LOGICAL!!!!!!

Never going to happen.
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Bob T

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 05:06:59 PM »
In Canada, grounding COULD be re-established at remote services. Doing so, effectively makes the neutral run to each remote service "the grounded conductor".
Alternatively, a properly sized bonding conductor would be required back to the service that proides the power.
It all comes down to clearing fault situations(breaker tripping or fuse blowing).
As others have mentioned, reference NEC, and any State/local codes. Also bear in mind voltage drops as these increase  with load on a circuit.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 05:08:47 PM by Bob T »
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HappyWanderer

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 05:15:30 PM »
Mike Holt has some great information on his website and forums.
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muskoka guy

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 06:54:56 PM »
I work in construction and deal with inspectors all the time. Whenever a question comes up that requires wondering what the local inspector is going to want, I just call the inspector. No point in guessing only to have them tell you they want it some other way. Who ever is going to approve the work will tell you what they want to see. Im assuming this will be inspected. I wouldnt recommend doing this work without the proper measures in place. If someones coach fries, you could find yourself in court. As usual, cover ones butt in all cases.

NY_Dutch

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 07:59:53 PM »
First let me say this is NOT a political comment.  Does not matter who is in power

You expect a Governmental Regulation to be LOGICAL!!!!!!

Never going to happen.

John, I don't think the government has taken over the NFPA yet...
Dutch
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grashley

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2017, 08:04:41 PM »
I think Dutch in Reply #2 gave a great answer on WHAT to do, and  John in Reply # 10 gave the correct answer on WHY.
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CapnDirk

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2017, 08:29:55 PM »
Working from aged memory here.  A ground rod at the pedestal is asking it to communicate back to the the service panel (the origin of hot line and neutral) through the earth itself.  Would you put a subservice on your main panel, hook up neutral and hot to the main panel and then the ground to your neighbors rod?

The advise of talking to the inspector/electrician is very good.  Most electrical inspectors would rather answer some question and sign of once than keep coming back to educate you.  And ultimately, they are the ones that make sure it's right.  It's just someone else that does the labor.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 08:32:40 PM by CapnDirk »

SeilerBird

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2017, 08:48:40 PM »
A ground rod does not communicate with the service at all. It is a path for electricity to go to ground, not the service.
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rvpuller

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2017, 10:18:07 PM »
Being I was a licensed commercial electrician in my past life I will guaranty that a ground wire is required for as fault path back to the service, it's required by the National Electrical Code that is the minimum requirement for all wiring. You will find that all inspectors will follow it as a minimum requirement. Ground rods work for lighting but they will not for fault current and if it's really dry they won't even work for lightning. The only current that will ever flow on ground wire is fault current, save yourself future problems and use a 4 wire system also don't use a reduce neutral on any rv park wiring because it has to be able to carry all the unbalanced current caused by unbalanced loads on one leg of the power namely the 30 amp recepticals.

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Brother Bear

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2017, 11:35:14 PM »
I work in construction and deal with inspectors all the time. Whenever a question comes up that requires wondering what the local inspector is going to want, I just call the inspector. No point in guessing only to have them tell you they want it some other way. Who ever is going to approve the work will tell you what they want to see. Im assuming this will be inspected. I wouldnt recommend doing this work without the proper measures in place. If someones coach fries, you could find yourself in court. As usual, cover ones butt in all cases.

Just for the record, electrical inspections are not required at our church camp. The only thing requiring a permit where we are is a new building . . . and even that does not have an electrical inspection. I have also argued an electrical inspector out of "his opinion" on a thing or two in the past.
Larry
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Brother Bear

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2017, 11:38:47 PM »
I highly suggest consulting a licensed commercial electrical contractor for advice on the wiring upgrade requirements, permits and inspections needed, etc. The church may even have one among the members that would agree to help out. National, state, and local electrical codes have very specific RV park regulations that need to be met for insurance purposes, even if safety is not considered.

thanks! Already been done! He hasn't come back with anything that helps to answer my question as to why.
Larry
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muskoka guy

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2017, 05:59:46 AM »
Just for the record, electrical inspections are not required at our church camp. The only thing requiring a permit where we are is a new building . . . and even that does not have an electrical inspection. I have also argued an electrical inspector out of "his opinion" on a thing or two in the past.
Sounds like a liability issue for whoever does the work, unless they are licenced  and insured.

Happy Prospector

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2017, 06:17:32 AM »
Put the wire down, tell the do-gooders thanks and hire a qualified electrical contractor.
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Brother Bear

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2017, 06:38:23 AM »
Put the wire down, tell the do-gooders thanks and hire a qualified electrical contractor.

No thank you! Some of those "qualified contractors" aren't as qualified as us "do gooders!" How does your comment answer my question anyway?
Larry
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John From Detroit

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2017, 06:53:06 AM »
John, I don't think the government has taken over the NFPA yet...

The Inspectors are Government employees and though the NFPA has it's SUGGESTIONS, it is the local governments that choose what parts of those suggestions to enact as regulations and/or what to add to them.

This is why the line "Your millage may vary" applies to all codes, laws and regulations.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2017, 07:06:39 AM »
The si
No thank you! Some of those "qualified contractors" aren't as qualified as us "do gooders!" How does your comment answer my question anyway?

The simple answer is because the National Fire Protection Association's standard #70, the National Electrical Code, says so. But here's a more detailed answer:

Quote
Grounding Essentials

Electrical system grounding has three distinct purposes: to cause the operation of overcurrent protection devices in the event of a fault condition; to provide zero reference for the building electrical system ; and to equalize potential differences in the system.

The National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) stipulates that grounding must occur at the building (premises wiring system) service entrance and at each separately derived source—in most cases, a transformer. At the service entrance, the ground and neutral are bonded together; then, the grounding conductor is taken from the neutral bus to ground rod(s), switchgear enclosure, building steel, an underground cold water pipe or other available electrodes (NEC 250.30, 250.52) .

Creating a neutral-to-ground bond at the service entrance creates a line-to-ground voltage reference for the electrical system. This zero reference establishes a convenient frame of reference for line-to-ground voltage measurements. The neutral-to-ground bond also creates an effective grounding system and minimizing the voltage to ground and can limit overvoltage stresses on conductors to electrical equipment. This allows for intended equipment performance by isolating potential fault.

Grounding at each separately derived system is also of benefit under a fault condition, because electrons emanating from a source—transformer, generator or inverters—will attempt to return to the source. Under a phase-to-ground fault condition, the current will travel back along the ground wire or ground path—such as conduits and equipment enclosures—to the source. The source will provide current on the phase conductor(s) to meet the requirements of the short, thus causing the overcurrent device to trip. The purpose of the ground wire in this case is to provide a low impedance path back to the source.

Note that the ground wire is not returning the current to ground. In this sense, "ground wire" is a bit of a misnomer. Many times, this is called an "equipment" or "safety" ground, the latter being the most appropriate term, because it is meant to provide personnel safety by isolating the fault in the system.

Grounding Points: Single or Multi?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:18:28 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
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NY_Dutch

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2017, 07:17:31 AM »
The Inspectors are Government employees and though the NFPA has it's SUGGESTIONS, it is the local governments that choose what parts of those suggestions to enact as regulations and/or what to add to them.

This is why the line "Your millage may vary" applies to all codes, laws and regulations.

By far, most localities adopt the NEC as written, and typically any changes simply tighten parts of the standards rather than making them less restrictive. Certainly most building/code enforcement inspectors are government employees, although many areas do require independent UL certified electrical inspections. I've wired many a structure where the job was held up waiting for the UL inspector well after the local building/code enforcement inspection was completed.
Dutch
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2017, 07:45:19 AM »
All correct comments above, especially the one about local interpretations of the NEC.  However, the NEC has a lot of provisions and sections that apply to certain types of installations.  Some those grant exceptions to the general rules, plus there are different requirements for "farm wiring" and other situations where power is distributed to multiple buildings/locations. That leaves a lot of room for local interpretation in something like a campground.

All that said, a single ground point and neutral-ground bond at the primary service entrance is always preferred, per the quote that Dutch cited. From what I remember of previous readings of the NEC, separate grounds are allowed only for specific situations where a common ground is not practical for some reason. As I recall, overhead wiring to a separate building was one of the exceptions, but it had to be coupled with some other conditions to be applicable. The rules and exceptions for distributed power are quite complex! I think I recall that there are even situations where both a local ground rod plus a ground return wire to the panel are required.

Maybe the better question here is for Brother Bear, and that is "why do you think grounding via a local ground rod is better than grounding at the service entrance?".   What do you expect to gain by using individual ground rods?   To my way of thinking, each ground rod is a potential failure point and also extra work, which could be significant if the ground is rocky or shale.  The wire connection to a ground rod is subject to corrosion and exposed to physical damage if adjacent to the site pedestal.  In my opinion, a buried wire with integral ground is a cleaner and more reliable solution to providing a safety ground.  I cannot think of a single reason why separate ground rods would be better than a common ground at the service entrance.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:55:56 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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Isaac-1

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2017, 07:56:05 AM »
There may also be issues of ground loops being created if power is simultaneously provided to one site two two different power posts through an extension cord, etc.
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Brother Bear

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Re: RV Park Wiring
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2017, 08:29:26 AM »
Maybe the better question here is for Brother Bear, and that is "why do you think grounding via a local ground rod is better than grounding at the service entrance?".   What do you expect to gain by using individual ground rods?   

It would seem to me that more opportunities exit for errant current to exit peacefully if there are individual paths rather than one singular one.

Without specifically looking, my guess is that our current hookups have individual ground rods in place. Therefore, there would not be a need to install these.
Larry
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