Ideal dock wiring Questions?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Randyj, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Cutting equipment grounding conductors is far from being honest work. It is in fact a very dangerous and dishonest thing to do to someone in the name of profit.

    The big companies as you call them have things such as liability insurance that must be paid for by someone. The big companies have things such as workman’s comp insurance that must be paid for by someone. The big companies who pay half of their employee’s social security must make the money to do so.

    Then we have the little guy who carries no insurance of any kind and pays no social security at all and leaves this burden on the big companies to take up the slack that someone must pay for.

    Just one little question if you don’t mind. Do you complain when you go to the doctor about his price or do you just pay him for the services he does? Why not just stop by your local witch doctor that is out there trying to save some poor old person a few bucks and has no training or understand of the medical field to have your bypass surgery? You know not everyone can afford them rich doctors.

    I think you analogy of people can’t afford to pay a service call is nothing but a way to justify your ideas and shortcomings.
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Randy
    I NEED YOUR PROFESSIONAL HELP AS A MASTER PLUMBER PLEASE!!!!!!!!

    Let me start by telling you that the wife and I bought this little horse farm back in the fall of 1995. The house is 2250 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths, yes no one here but me and the wife and our little Chihuahuas.

    From day one when it rains the ground gets wet around our septic tank and leech lines. We had the septic man pump the tank and scope the leach lines. He said that our septic tank was very large and the lines were all clear and clean. No problems with the system although the grounds continues to get wet there every time it rains.

    Last year we had a standing seam metal roof installed, got more money than good sense I guess, and while the men were up there working I noticed a white inch and a half pipe sticking through the roof with no cap. I got on the internet to a DIY site and started asking questions about this pipe and was told this was a vent stack. Wanting to know more I kept going until I learned about such things as branch vents and stacked vents as well as a vent stack.

    Now for my question. Knowing that you are a master plumber and scoring so high on your test I respect your opinion in this matter although I don’t understand why you would go to all the trouble being there is no inspections where you live. If I climb up on the roof and change the vent stack to a stack vent by stacking a brick on top of that open pipe to keep the rain out will my yard stay dry when it rains? If this works I will install a cap on the end of that pipe to keep the rain out. I would hire a plumber to do this but all those big companies charge to much.

    Now if this sounds completely silly to you please reread this thread and see just how silly some of the things posted herein would sound to a master electrician.
  3. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Depending on local laws!!!! You can hire a level headed snuff dipper or anyone to put that brick on that vent... or even to change your spigot at your mansion as long as that snuff dipper doesn't make any changes to the system. In my home town it's against the law to hire the school kid next door to cut your grass if he doesn't have a contractor's license. That particular ordinance doesn't have a damn thing to do with safety. That law is intended to protect the large landscaping company down the road from losing business to outside interests. These kinds of laws have great intentions but are wrongfully applied. If you knock all the school kids out of jobs then turn around and bitch about them sitting around getting fat because they do nothing but play computer games and watch TV, get on drugs, and in gangs because they won't work and have nothing to do then who is to blame? I guess you just blame their momma for letting them run wild as hell while she goes to work because she has to make enough money to hire a big time electrical contractor to replace her light switch. Then the big time electrical contractor has to make enough money to pay all those damn taxes to build more prisons to keep all her dope head kids in... so when we go to pushing rules and laws and thinking we can blame all the professional plumbers and electricians for all the evils of the world... and if we go in the opposite line of thinking we can give credit to all the level headed snuff dippers for saving the world. After all, it's not the president of the USA on the front line holding an AK 47 fighting the war..... but he gets credit for it and calls the shots... and he's the one who put you or your kid out there in a war to get shot at after having no more training than boot camp and a couple of weeks in infantry school.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  4. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    BTW... I report every penny that I take in. 2/3 of my basic living expenses goes to insurance.. .not to mention tobacco taxes and fuel taxes. I'm taxed to death and insurance poor living in a 450 sq. ft house trailer while you and your wife and chihuahua live in a 4500 sq ft palace/ivory tower. The resources your house took to build and the resources it takes to maintain is a huge waste of our natural resources and places a huge burden on the utility companies not to mention all the resources of the local government who have to provide police and fire protection as well as send the paramedics when you have a heart attack or stroke from responding to my posts....

    Here's an email reply I got when contacted a MASTER ELECTRICIAN... a big time contractor!!! I was letting him know of this discussion to get his input....
    The solution is a GFCI with an "isolated" ground. I.e. A seperate ground rod and wire for the dock only.
    P.S. I bet I know the fellow that was arguing with you.lol

    If everyone agreed with God then there would be no atheists.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  5. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Here's a funny story. The police chief (now deceased) in my home town put up chain linked fences on the side for extra cash. At that time we had a city inspector everyone hated because he was such an ass and took his job to the extreme. He had been threatened and told to leave the premises by several home owners. The chief was putting up a fence at the mayor's house. Here comes the inspector asking to see his permit!!!!! Well ol' chief isn't the brightest bulb in the box but he ain't dumb not neither... he just coolly replied... "I'm using the same permit that I used when I put up the fence at your house!".... TRUE STORY...
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    If you would like I will start a new thread on the proper installation of a residential dock.

    I will not address those statements concerning the laws of Alabama nor your remarks about my home.
    The brick over the vent pipe is like the comments you try to use to justify your cutting of the equipment grounding conductor.

    As to your big time electrical contractor either he gave erroneous information or you just don’t understand an isolated equipment grounding conductor.
    To isolate the equipment grounding conductor is to keep it away from the grounded neutral conductor and does not mean to cut it and connect it to ground rods.
  7. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Despite what you want to think about me I perfectly understand ground conductors, trailer hitches, and the difference between a dc circuit negative ground and an earth ground for a utility. No need for another thread or for politics... but maybe someone should sue the NEC and it's author because if I wear anything but cotton then I get a heck of a shock every time I get out of my car and touch it's metal door frame and the NEC says a ground rod for an automobile is not required.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay, now this has gone too far. All this talk about placing a brick over a vent, that's just wrong. And no, that isn't the problem with the yard getting wet. I'm pretty sure that the rain is hitting the yard pretty good.
    Now electrical, I hire that stuff out.
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    That is exactly what my wife said. She has me stand out in the front yard everytime it rains to help me understand that it is the rain making the yard wet not a vent pipe. But I did think it was funny when I thought about the post.
  10. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    Mike/JW... you're one funny geeky dude. Looks like what you're saying is that I'm this level headed snuff dipper lowly nasty ol plumber who's pace maker is getting zapped when I get out of my car and all these Master electricians I've referred to don't know diddly about grounding but ME, the lowly nasty ol' plumber, needs to get out here with all my ignorance and teach these masters how to properly ground a hamster cage back to it's source of current. We'll just act like voltage drops and stray currents don't exist.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Randy

    Voltage drop is a reality but it does nothing to make a grounding path less efficient. The only thing that voltage drop will do is hasten the tripping of a breaker by increasing the amount of current draw to the load. On a fault the low resistance of an equipment grounding conductor will work just as well no matter how far it is pulled.
    A thousand feet of #12 copper conductor will have a resistance of 1.9 ohms and at 120 volts in a fault condition will draw 63 amps.
    Using the numbers given for a driven rod with earth as the return path as outlined in 250.56 of 25 ohms and I promise this low number will be hard to get the current draw of a fault will be 4.8 amps. The math shows that even at 1000 feet the equipment grounding conductor wins hands down.

    I am sure in my heart that you without a doubt excel in your chosen field of plumbing but you display a lack of knowledge of earth grounding and its purpose. What I have said throughout this thread I have backed completely with code sections and math. Unless all those master electricians can do the same I will agree with you that they don’t know diddly.
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    deleted as my computer seems to like posting everything twice
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  13. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Actually a big hamster cage buried and bonded near the dock might work as a EP Grounding grid. Or a section of the mayors chain link fence.

    And as for that vent thats flooding your yard, just install a trap upside down, or cut some slots in the vent pipe and put a coffee can over it. It will dress up that standing seam roof.

    As for docks, someone should make them of injection molded plastic and deck them with the milk carton 2x6's. Get all the metal out.

    Finally, indeed there are all to many poor people that absolutely cannot afford a plumber or electrician, and their homes look like the three stooges on drugs built them.

    In rehabbing and remodeling, I am constantly amazed how FEW people are electrocuted by their crazy work.
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Private docks

    What section of the National Electrical Code would one use to make the electrical installations for a private dock or pier?

    Article 555 covers the installation of wiring and equipment in the areas comprising fixed or floating piers, wharves, docks, and other areas in marinas, boatyards, boat basins, boathouses, yacht clubs, boat condominiums, docking facilities associated with residential condominiums, any multiple docking facility, or similar occupancies, and facilities that are used, or intended for use, for the purpose of repair, berthing, launching, storage, or fueling of small craft and the moorage of floating buildings.
    What Article 555 does not cover are private, noncommercial docking facilities constructed or occupied for the use of the owner or residents of the associated single-family dwelling

    Then what section of the NEC would one use?
    ARTICLE 682 Natural and Artificially Made Bodies of Water

    In this article we are told that the electrical installations must follow;
    682.3 Other Articles. Wiring and equipment in or adjacent to natural or artificially made bodies of water shall comply with the applicable provisions of other articles of this Code, except as modified by this article. If the water is subject to boat traffic, the wiring shall comply with 555.13(B).

    If this dock is subject to boats then there are some pretty stringent rules that must be followed. For the branch circuit wiring to lights and receptacles on this dock we are sent back to 555.13(B)

    (B) Installation.
    (2) Outside Branch Circuits and Feeders. Outside branch circuits and feeders shall comply with Article 225 except that clearances for overhead wiring in portions of the yard other than those described in 555.13(B)(1) shall not be less than 5.49 m (18 ft) above grade.
    (5) Where cables pass through structural members, they shall be protected against chafing by a permanently installed oversized sleeve of nonmetallic material.
    (5) Protection. Rigid metal or nonmetallic conduit suitable for the location shall be installed to protect wiring above decks of piers and landing stages and below the enclosure that it serves. The conduit shall be connected to the enclosure by full standard threads. The use of special fittings of nonmetallic material to provide a threaded connection into enclosures on rigid nonmetallic conduit, employing joint design as recommended by the conduit manufacturer, for attachment of the fitting to the conduit shall be acceptable, provided the equipment and method of attachment are approved and the assembly meets the requirements of installation in damp or wet locations as applicable.

    Article 225 addresses outside feeder and branch circuits with Part II addressing a separate building or structure.
    225.31 Disconnecting Means. Means shall be provided for disconnecting all ungrounded conductors that supply or pass through the building or structure.

    225.36 Suitable for Service Equipment. The disconnecting means specified in 225.31 shall be suitable for use as service equipment.
    Exception: For garages and outbuildings on residential property, a snap switch or a set of 3-way or 4-way snap switches shall be permitted as the disconnecting means.

    What about a grounding electrode system? This requirement will be found in Part II of 250
    250.32 Buildings or Structures Supplied by a Feeder(s)
    or Branch Circuit(s).
    (A) Grounding Electrode. Building(s) or structure(s) supplied by feeder(s) or branch circuit(s) shall have a grounding electrode or grounding electrode system installed in accordance with Part III of Article 250. The grounding electrode conductor(s) shall be connected in accordance with 250.32(B) or (C). Where there is no existing grounding electrode, the grounding electrode(s) required in 250.50 shall be installed.
    Exception: A grounding electrode shall not be required where only a single branch circuit, including a multiwire branch circuit, supplies the building or structure and the branch circuit includes an equipment grounding conductor for grounding the normally non–current-carrying metal parts of equipment.

    It is through this exception that I made the comment that for a single branch circuit I would not install a rod at a pier.
    (B) Grounded Systems. For a grounded system at the separate building or structure, an equipment grounding conductor as described in 250.118 shall be run with the supply conductors and be connected to the building or structure disconnecting means and to the grounding electrode(s). The equipment grounding conductor shall be used for grounding or bonding of equipment, structures, or frames required to be grounded or bonded. The equipment grounding conductor shall be sized in accordance with 250.122. Any installed grounded conductor shall not be connected to the equipment grounding conductor or to the grounding electrode(s).

    The requirement not to connect the equipment grounding conductor to the grounded (neutral) conductor that the term “isolated from†comes into play. It does not mean to cut the equipment ground conductor and reconnect it to the ground rods.
    The requirements for the equipment grounding conductor supplied with the branch circuit for a body or water found in Article 682 that modifies the requirement for equipment grounding found in Part II of 250

    682.31 Equipment Grounding Conductors.
    (A) Type. Equipment grounding conductors shall be insulated copper conductors sized in accordance with 250.122 but not smaller than 12 AWG.

    The equipment grounding conductor installed with the branch circuit must be insulated and no smaller than #12. UF cable does not have an insulated equipment grounding conductor so the use of UF is disallowed.

    682.32 Bonding of Non–Current-Carrying Metal Parts.
    All metal parts in contact with the water, all metal piping, tanks, and all non–current-carrying metal parts that may become energized shall be bonded to the grounding bus in the panelboard.

    The metal dock must be bonded to the equipment grounding conductor in the panel at the pier or dock and as outlined below this bonding must be done with a solid copper #8 conductor

    The disconnect installed at the pier or dock must also have an equipotential plane shall be installed.
    682.33 Equipotential Planes and Bonding of Equipotential Planes. An equipotential plane shall be installed where required in this section to mitigate step and touch voltages at electrical equipment.
    (A) Areas Requiring Equipotential Planes. Equipotential planes shall be installed adjacent to all outdoor service equipment or disconnecting means that control equipment in or on water, that have a metallic enclosure and controls accessible to personnel, and that are likely to become energized.
    The equipotential plane shall encompass the area around the equipment and shall extend from the area directly below the equipment out not less than 900 mm (36 in.) in all directions from which a person would be able to stand and come in contact with the equipment.
    (C) Bonding. Equipotential planes shall be bonded to the electrical grounding system. The bonding conductor shall be solid copper, insulated, covered or bare, and not smaller than 8 AWG. Connections shall be made by exothermic welding or by listed pressure connectors or clamps that are labeled as being suitable for the purpose and are of stainless steel, brass, copper, or copper alloy.

    Here is the proper way to install electrical circuits to a dock as outlined in this thread. To do anything less will result in an unsafe and dangerous installation.
    Everything posted here is straight from the 2008 code cycle. It is not myth or fantasy nor would anything I think make it safer but the requirements straight from the rules governing the safety of persons and equipment.
  15. pipehacker

    pipehacker New Member

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    The equipment grounding conductor installed with the branch circuit must be insulated and no smaller than #12. UF cable does not have an insulated equipment grounding conductor so the use of UF is disallowed.

    682.32 Bonding of Non–Current-Carrying Metal Parts.
    All metal parts in contact with the water, all metal piping, tanks, and all non–current-carrying metal parts that may become energized shall be bonded to the grounding bus in the panelboard.

    The metal dock must be bonded to the equipment grounding conductor in the panel at the pier or dock and as outlined below this bonding must be done with a solid copper #8 conductor

    JW, thank you for the specific quote from the NEC. Two questions re my contemplated single circuit to servie my boathouse. First, since UF cable is apparently not permitted, what cable should I use? Second, on a separate floating wooden dock about 50 feet from the boathouse I have a metal swim ladder. There will not be electricity brought to this separate floating dock. Should this ladder be bonded? Is bonding ever an issue when there is just a single circuit brought to the structure?
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    If you are installing a single circuit to the boat house then a proper rated light switch that breaks the hot conductor(s) at least 5 feet from the high water line is all that you would need. I would install type THW conductors in schedule 40 PVC pipe no less than ¾ inches. No rods would be needed.

    If the ladder and floating dock has no electrical circuits then no bonding would be required but let me caution you about boats with electricity on them in the area of the floating dock that could cause voltage gradients in the water.

    And one thing I left out of my last post, all circuits of 60 amps and less must have GFCI protection.
  17. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    I think we need a separate thread simply to discuss equipotential grounding planes. Every reference I've pulled up to get a description of EPG's refer to RFI. This is not an issue where radio frequencies are not an issue. I see none, other than your posts and quotes of NEC that refer to eliminating shock hazzards. They all seem to go into discussions of impedance and capacitance... things that affect radio frequencies. Too, it appears that the NEC quotations are not defining what is "equipment". The equipment ground appears to refer pretty much just to equipment housed in metal cabinets.
    I would think that if there is not a ground rod at the entrance to the walkway then there is a huge safety issue when putting gas in a boat. A static charge or a difference in voltage/current due to the difference in the currents from that green wire running to a ground rod 700 ft away and the voltage/current in the dirt or water could result in enough of a spark to ignite the gasoline. Maybe it would be a separate issue but I see plenty of convenience outlets next to boat slips mainly for battery chargers. What does the NEC say about those? I would think the same rules/principles would apply that apply to outlets in kitchens.
    BTW, I've got a stack of floats waiting for me to build my dock... so this discussion will make me capable of any electrical installations I want to do on that dock. Permits, unions, and licensing is a different subject. If we try to satisfy everybody and not step on any toes we'll hire laborers to load a water heater into a moving van driven by a CDL licensed driver, have another labor crew to unload and put it in place to be installed then hire carpenters to secure it in place, then hire electricians to hook up the electrical then a plumber to attach the water lines and call out a health inspector to make sure everything is not going to transmit some kind of disease and call in the EPA to assess the environmental impact... .we can get into OVER regulation.
    Structurally, a metal dock with a metal roof is very similar to a hamster cage...
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    check out thread named ground rods
  19. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

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    I'll be sure to check out the ground rod thread.

    Here's a question since we've about beat dock wiring / grounding to death... If a dock is grounded to comply with code then what's to prevent the same thing from happening as clipping the direct ground if there is a fault where the "hot" wire touches the ground wire anywhere else in the system? If it's not bonded to neutral at the switch box then it still goes into the earth and the same danger exists. It's like the same problem in reverse... with the same or worse dangers.
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    When the equipment grounding conductor is cut there is no low resistance path back to the source. To clip the equipment grounding conductor and connect it to the ground rods puts a very big resistor in line with the fault current path.

    With the equipment grounding conductor in place from the remote panel back to the service current will only have to overcome the resistance of the wire which will be around one ohm or less.
    With no equipment grounding conductor in place but instead connected to earth then current will have to overcome a resistance that is very high and it can be into the thousands of ohms.

    Using Ohm’s Law of current will be the resistance divided into the voltage. With a 120 volt circuit and a 1 ohm resistance conductor 120 amps of fault current can flow but with the resistance of earth the current can be as little as .1 amps. Which do you think will open the breaker?
    Let’s be generous and use what is mandated by the NEC of 25 ohms on a ground rod. We still would not have but 4.8 amps of current flowing through earth searching for the source and again the breaker would not trip.

    Just reading your post I am under the assumption that you somehow feel that current is flowing into earth and staying there. This is against the laws of physics. The current must return to its source and on our homes this is the transformer that supplies our homes.
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