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Ground Tester Section Criteria

By Jeff Jowett, IVO International

Ground Tester Section Criteria is important to decide. The electrical grounding component of an electrical facility can be easily overlooked. It doesn’t appear to have an active role. It isn’t moving, doesn’t emit light or sound, or provide data. It’s largely out of sight. But the electrical ground is in fact dynamic. It gets challenged and stressed like any other part of the electrical system. It can deteriorate and lose effectiveness. It should be checked, tested, and maintained, just as visible, active equipment must be.

Factors that affect the Ground Tester Section Criteria include weather, corrosion, catastrophic events, soil properties, and the electrical plant itself. Weathering, especially the pressures caused by freezing and thawing, can break apart joints and welds and physically deteriorate a ground. Corrosion, promoted by electrical conductivity through moisture and dissolved salts in the soil, can eat away a grounding structure until virtually nothing remains below the surface. The massive energy of lightning strikes can cause the grounding structure to be sacrificed even while it is effectively diverting the strike from the electrical system. The basic condition of the soil itself can undergo long-term changes that may adversely affect electrical grounding capability. Surrounding industrial and residential expansion can lower the water table, placing a once-favorable ground in drier, less conductive soil.

And not to be overlooked are changes in the electrical demands of the facility itself. As sophisticated, sensitive electronic equipment is installed during the process of modernization, the original grounding requirement may no longer be adequate. The narrow voltage “windows” of computer and process control operations demand the maximum in ground efficiency if they are to function properly without noise interference. An older physical plant that was designed before electronics will most likely not meet this demand.

Evaluating the Ground Tester Section Criteria of a grounding electrode (the term includes rods, grids, ground beds, counterpoise systems, and similar variations) begins with the proper selection of a test instrument. The truly critical aspect of ground tester selection isn’t so much how to make the selection as it is simply to choose a ground tester in the first place! That is to say, the most common error is in the selection of a unit other than a ground tester to perform a ground tester’s function.

Read full article in Electricity Today T&D Magazine – High Voltage Electrical Testing & Equipment Special Edition

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