Ground for IR illuminator

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by trauts14, Nov 24, 2016.

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  1. trauts14

    trauts14 Young grasshopper

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    My 3amp IR illuminator is plugged into a wall outlet in my house. I ran 12-2 wire out of the house for 50 feet to the IR illuminator mounted on a tree. The outlet it is plugged into provides my ground correct or do I need to ground it outside of the house as well?
     
  2. drew91101

    drew91101 Getting the hang of it

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    12-2 is a bit heavy; you could have easily gotten away with 14-2. Assuming you wired the bare copper wire correctly to the outlet, you would have to wire the other end of the romex to a ground in the house. If you pulled off of an existing outlet, just wirenut the bare copper wires together; if you came from the breaker box, just connect the wire to the ground in the box. Did you run the wire underground through conduit?
     
  3. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    I imagine he wired it to a 12 volt DC power supply which then plugs in to the AC outlet. I don't think anyone ever attaches a specific ground wire to these. Just the usual +/- wires (2 wires) between the illuminator and the power supply.

    According to Voltage Drop Calculator it would be 0.48 volts lost with 50 feet of 12 gauge wire, compared to 0.76 volts lost with 14 gauge or 1.2 volts with 16 gauge. I don't really know how much drop a typical IR illuminator lets you get away with.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  4. trauts14

    trauts14 Young grasshopper

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    I went with 12-2 to reduce voltage drop. It appears my outlet (60 yr old house) is most likely not grounded and is not a GFC outlet. i am using a wall plug which is spliced to the 12-2 cable that runs to the illuminator. i want to be safe, yet have minimal knowledge with proper grounding and what exactly i should do.
     
  5. Kawboy12R

    Kawboy12R Getting comfortable

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    Anything is better than how the vast majority are grounded which would be never. I've never grounded one. It certainly wouldn't hurt to run a wire from the mounting bracket down to a grounding rod close by. With some designs it would probably be tricky to attach a wire properly to the heatsink or housing of the light itself. You might get lucky and be able to pinch a wire between the bracket pivot and the housing.
     
  6. trauts14

    trauts14 Young grasshopper

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    Thanks you for the assistance.
     
  7. drew91101

    drew91101 Getting the hang of it

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    bp2008, good point.
    trauts14, if you want to ground it at the IR, you could hammer in a grounding spike and ground the outlet directly to the spike. If you choose to go this way, make sure you don't ground the entire house to the spike, just ground the outlet. If you want to ground the actual IR, ground the bracket that is attached to the tree.
     
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  8. Kawboy12R

    Kawboy12R Getting comfortable

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    @bp2008 my rule of thumb for 12v gizmos is that 5% drop is acceptable. Some things have a crazy wide voltage tolerance but some don't. Some LED lights, for instance, run on 24v DC for heavy equipment but will tolerate 12v and run just fine on cars, light trucks, etc. Unless the manufacturer has specified a voltage range in the specs, I either give something a good long test run with the resulting voltage drop or allow for 5%.
     
  9. trauts14

    trauts14 Young grasshopper

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    I can easily ground the illuminator with copper and a ground rod. If I have an IP cam a couple of feet away from the illuminator, then i can tap into the same copper ground rod right? the cam is attached to a POE switch and switch is plugged into a surge protector, but a ground on the tree mounted camera would be advised i assume?

    Also, what exactly happens to a cam or illuminator mounted on a tree if lightening strikes the tree? lets assume the illuminator and cam are both plugged into GFS outlets...no surge protectors in place. Does the GFS outlet simply trip or does the breaker trip? If the outlet is not grounded, then what happens? fire?
     
  10. Kawboy12R

    Kawboy12R Getting comfortable

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    Use the same ground. Expect complete and utter failure of evetything from a direct strike. Anything else is good luck. The best you will probably do is avoid a fire in the house.
     
  11. wantafastz28

    wantafastz28 Getting the hang of it

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    If you get a direct hit, or one even near by, it won't live.
     
  12. tangent

    tangent Pulling my weight

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    Grounding things properly is complicated, lots of misinformation to go around. Doing it wrong can create hazardous conditions. Proper grounding helps prevent electrocution and plays a role lightning protection, but damage should still be expected. Generally speaking adding extra ground rods can actually create hazards if done incorrectly! If your outlets aren't grounded however the right course of action is probably more complicated, you may want to consult an electrician.

    If your outlets aren't grounded, none of your surge protectors will work!
    Test your outlets with something like this: Sperry Instruments GFI6302 GFCI Outlet Tester - Multi Testers - Amazon.com (GFCI test button on something like this won't work w/o ground but the GFCI itself will...). Most surge protectors also have grounded lights since they don't work w/o ground. Some houses of your era are wired with something similar to BX cable on exterior walls only and those outlets are grounded but not as well as a proper EGC.

    GFCI outlets actually work on un-grounded circuits. A GFCI measures the difference between the current flowing into and out of an outlet, which should be 0 unless there's a fault. Please install a GFCI outlet! You can wire to the load side of the GFCI or plug into it.

    12-2 is a little ambiguous... if you ran normal romex underground/exposed to the sun/in conduit outside it WILL fail eventually and could be quite dangerous. UF (underground feeder) cable is needed for outdoor use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016