Ground Or Neutral Wire Question


R

Robert11

Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
 
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J

John Grabowski

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
It is a grounded conductor commonly called the neutral. The wire that
connects to your water pipe and ground rods is called a grounding conductor
or more specifically a grounding electrode conductor.
 
R

RBM

It is a neutral, which is grounded by the utility company on their end and
grounded by the customer on their end
 
K

Kevin Ricks

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
It is a neutral and caries the difference in current back from the 2 hot
legs.
If you have a 100 amp service and one leg is at 60 amp and the other is at
40 amp then the neutral is 20 amps. If both legs are equal the current in
the neutral cancels out to 0 amps etc.

The 2 legs are not really 2 phases but rather 2 poles that are derived, by a
center tapped transformer, from ONE the 3 phases that come from the power
generation plant. The center tap being the neutral and grounded so it is at
a 0V reference.

Kevin
 
C

Chris Lewis

According to Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?
Neither. John Grabowski's response is correct, but I thought I'd
amplify.

The technically correct term for the "neutral" in the house wiring, and the "non-hot" wire
that comes from the street is "grounded conductor" - the conductor is groundED (at the
panel).

The technically correct term for the bare wire in house wiring is "grounding conductor"
it provides the groundING for a circuit.

Pedantically speaking, the term "neutral" can only be applied to the center conductor
on a multi-phase circuit (eg: three phase).

However, through common usage in the trade and elsewhere, "neutral" has come
to be synonymous with "grounded conductor" and "ground"/"ground wire" synonymous for
"grounding conductor".

You'll occasionally see people use the "more-correct" terms here - usually confuses
people. You'll impress the inspector if you use them ;-)
 
C

CanopyCo

Black wire
Neutral, Negative, -, Ground
(This is the basically the negative end of the circuit)

White wire
Positive, Hot, +
(This is basically the Positive end of the circuit, and is the one that
comes from the breakers)

No insulation or green insulation
Ground, Case Ground
(This is there to give the hot wire something easy to touch so that it
will blow a breaker instead of laying there like a trap waiting for you
to touch it, and is electrically the same as the Black Wire when you
test it with your meter.)


Be sure that all your plugs are wired the same or you can get shocked
by touching two cases at the same time that are plugged into two
different plugs.
 
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C

Chris Lewis

According to CanopyCo said:
Black wire
Neutral, Negative, -, Ground
(This is the basically the negative end of the circuit)
White wire
Positive, Hot, +
(This is basically the Positive end of the circuit, and is the one that
comes from the breakers)
You have your colour codes precisely backwards. Black is hot. White
is neutral.

In AC housewiring, "negative", "-", "positive" and "+" are simply wrong.
It's AC, remember?
 
Z

zxcvbob

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob

IMHO, it is a grounded [service] conductor. Notice the -ed suffix; it
is important. I put service in brackets because you can usually leave
that word out.

Bob
 
V

volts500

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
It's confusing because a neutral wire is not required to be insulated
when ran overhead. A true neutral carries the difference in current
between TWO out of phase hot legs of a single phase system or TWO or
more phases of a 3 phase system. The neutral also maintains a balanced
voltage. That's why when there is a bad neutral connection in a house
that some lights will be dim and others will be bright.

In a house in a circuit that has a black, white, and bare wire in a
romex cable, the white wire is technically _not_ a neutral wire since
it does not carry the difference in current between two circuits.
HOWEVER in the trade, to avoid confusion, any white or gray wire is
called a "neutral", and any bare or green wire is called a "ground".

The "ground", as electrician's would say, is technically the grounding
conductor; more specifically, the equipment grounding conductor.

If that isn't confusing enough we can throw in the term "bonding" :)
 
R

Rich256

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
There are hundreds of web sites that discuss this subject.
For example:

http://www.electrical-online.com/howtoarticles/Grounding.htm

http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/elect/panel/breaker/install.htm
 
M

Mark Lloyd

Black wire
Neutral, Negative, -, Ground
(This is the basically the negative end of the circuit)

White wire
Positive, Hot, +
(This is basically the Positive end of the circuit, and is the one that
comes from the breakers)
Believe that at your own risk. Black is hot. Maybe you're getting it
confused with DC (as in a car).
No insulation or green insulation
Ground, Case Ground
(This is there to give the hot wire something easy to touch so that it
will blow a breaker instead of laying there like a trap waiting for you
to touch it, and is electrically the same as the Black Wire when you
test it with your meter.)


Be sure that all your plugs are wired the same or you can get shocked
by touching two cases at the same time that are plugged into two
different plugs.
That is, black wire (hot) to the shorter slot and white wire (neutral)
to the longer slot.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what
to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb
contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin
 
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S

SQLit

Robert11 said:
Hello,

Just want to get the terminology correct.

Understand the differences between the Ground and the neutral in house
wiring O.K., but for
the bare wire that comes in from the street (along with the two phases) to
the house service panel:

is this correctly called a Ground wire or a Neutral wire ?

Thanks,
Bob
confusing you further is possible.
The bare wire from the utility is a grounded conductor, not necessarily a
neutral and has nothing to do with your house wiring terminology. The
utility works on a different set of rules and regs.

Where I live the bare conductor in the service drop is called the "messenger
wire" or sometimes the 'static' wire. It is usually steel or steel core
surrounded by AL. Much stronger than the "conductors" that are insulated.
 
D

Doug Miller

Black wire
Neutral, Negative, -, Ground
(This is the basically the negative end of the circuit)

White wire
Positive, Hot, +
(This is basically the Positive end of the circuit, and is the one that
comes from the breakers)
Bzzzt! Sorry, but thanks for playing. That's exactly backwards. Hope you don't
try to do your own AC wiring...
 
M

MC

John said:
It is a grounded conductor commonly called the neutral. The wire that
connects to your water pipe and ground rods is called a grounding conductor
or more specifically a grounding electrode conductor.
FYI: May be no longer OK to ground to a water pipe in many locations
now. I prefer to only use ground rods anyway.
 
M

MC

SQLit said:
confusing you further is possible.
The bare wire from the utility is a grounded conductor, not necessarily a
neutral and has nothing to do with your house wiring terminology. The
utility works on a different set of rules and regs.

Where I live the bare conductor in the service drop is called the "messenger
wire" or sometimes the 'static' wire. It is usually steel or steel core
surrounded by AL. Much stronger than the "conductors" that are insulated.
Even though the neutral conductor on the entrance cable is grounded,
that means is at ground potential but will carry current difference
between the two hot legs. When suspended can be bare, others are
insulated as so can be twisted together and not short. Buried lines have
all conductors insulated.
 
D

Doug Miller

FYI: May be no longer OK to ground to a water pipe in many locations
now. I prefer to only use ground rods anyway.
Correction: if a building has metal water pipes, it is a Code requirement (and
has been, for some time) that the metal water pipes be bonded to the
building's grounding electrode system. The Code prohibits using metal water
piping as the *only* grounding electrode.
 
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C

CanopyCo

Chris said:
You have your colour codes precisely backwards. Black is hot. White
is neutral.

In AC housewiring, "negative", "-", "positive" and "+" are simply wrong.
It's AC, remember?
--
Figures.
Looks like I have them backwards.

Anyone have a web cite that would show the correct wiring?
I got my information form a web cite that had a picture of a plug.
I still have the pic as a file to refer back to.

No matter how you wire it, it has to be the same as what is already
there.
If they have it backward, then you better stick with there wiring code
or you will get shocked.

And as to + & - in AC, it is simply a better way to keep track of what
is going on.

You have to have a completed circuit to do anything (a + & -) and
thinking of it this way helps keep things simple.

Much to hard for most people to grasp that that one wire is a + 30
times a second, and a - 30 times a second.
 
G

Goedjn

Correction: if a building has metal water pipes, it is a Code requirement (and
has been, for some time) that the metal water pipes be bonded to the
building's grounding electrode system. The Code prohibits using metal water
piping as the *only* grounding electrode.
Which in clear but imprecise terms, means that the the piping has
to be CONNECTED to the grounding system, but shouldn't be
used as PART of it. You connect the pipes to ground, but
you don't ground to the pipes.
 
V

volts500

Goedjn said:
Which in clear but imprecise terms, means that the the piping has
to be CONNECTED to the grounding system, but shouldn't be
used as PART of it. You connect the pipes to ground, but
you don't ground to the pipes.
If the incoming underground water pipes are metal, one most certainly
grounds the electric system "to the pipes". In fact NEC requires that
underground metal water pipes (buried at least 20 ft.) be used as the
primary grounding electrode when available.
 
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B

Bud--

MC said:
FYI: May be no longer OK to ground to a water pipe in many locations
now. I prefer to only use ground rods anyway.
I have seen 3 ohms stated as a typical ground resistance for an urban
metal water distribution system. The NEC considers 25 ohms ground
resistance acceptable for a single ground rod, or you can use more than
2 rods and it doesn't matter. Would seem like a water pipe is a better
grounding electrode.

bud-
 

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