Building A Ground Failure Alert

♦ Building A Ground Failure Alert – An alarm system we’re now maintaining has been built using a cold-water pipe located under a building as ground.

The ground connection is clean but moisture leaking from the pipe, flooding or condensation forming on the pipe in warm weather may cause corrosion in the connection that could lead to a loss of ground. Could a supervised loop alert us to ground failure?

A: We’re not sure what the complexity of your system is – if an alarm system, an in-panel ground should suffice if there’s a three-pronged transformer plug. Plug earth will go to ground via mains, which is sure to be a buried copper pipe or an earth stake located close to the building.

If you prefer to have a dedicated ground for more complex arrangements and are concerned about losing connectivity over a period of many years, you can build a simple ground failure alert easily.

What’s needed is a double closed loop supervised ground. To build one, nip a negative wire on a dedicated loop then trim and connect an end to either side of a ground clamp on the pipe or earth stake. If this ground wire opens, you’ll get a fault alarm at a designated zone at the panel.

The connection point doesn’t need to be under the building or outside. Try to keep your supervised ground as close to the alarm panel as possible.

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