Author Topic: GROUNDING  (Read 1895 times)

Offline rollo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 5403
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
GROUNDING
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:14:36 AM »
   Why do some components come un-grounded ? Other than for safety is the ground affecting the sound ? Some manufactures tell ya do not ground while others say ground. Is it liability ?
   Larry Smith liked digital grounded and all else grounded. Ken Stevens likes ALL un-grounded. There is a difference in sound both ways.
    Nordost now makes a grounding device which confuses me. Dave , Pete, Folsom can you explain the advantage or disadvantage of such a device. Why is this separate grounding scheme affective ? I have also seen products from Acoustic Revive for grounding. What are they and what do they do ?  Star grounding ?


charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline P.I.

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
  • Silence is that blackness beneath the music
    • P.I. audio group, LLC
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 05:49:47 PM »
Opening a discussio on grounding is like talking about is there a God?  of course there is, but is He a Big G or is she little g.

I'm juat gonna say IT at the outset to get the big controversy out into the open.  Electrical gear works just great in a 2-wire H/N standard.  It is stupid people that don't work well with a 2-wire standard.

The whole thing about electrical safety is getting polarity proper when feeding advice.  We always want the Hot on the active side of the circuit and the Neutral on the return side.  Problem is that for years plugs were produced in an unpolarized manner with equal width blades.  I almost saw Jesus back in the mid 60's working in a music store that had badly wired AC and I put my hands on two air circulation fans that were reverse wired (or plugged).  It is a bad feeling to know what is going on and not being able to let go.  Thank God for my boss, Jim. Saved my life the night the HVAC went down in the store.

Here is a good intro to grounding. Grounding has been andwill always be a great sourde of comment and a myriad of approaches.  I don't care.  All I want is the system that sounds the best that will not kill me.  This simplistic approach implies that I understand all of the ins and outs, + & - and repercussions of me suddenly waking up stupid one morning and killing myself because i didn't want Big Brother to dictate to me how I MUST lay out my audio circuits.

I roll 2 ways:  1 - a SERIOUS ground system with triple ground rods at the entry service and BIG (#8-ish) wire as a ground return back to the system.

The way that sounds best.:    2 - intelligent home runs for (1) analog (2)  digital (3)  other - ibn the system.  Make sure everything is wired properly, including gear chassis grounds being real, etc... and then plugging all of the plugs in wide pin = Neutral.  Systems just sound best this way.  I don't mean to Poo-poo safety, but Americans survived without safety grounds for many years.  It was the poor and unlucky few that died from standing voltage differences, etc back in the unpolarized plug days.

Oh, the reason some products come ungrounded is that risk evaluation has been done on that product and it was determined by an algorithm that death/renumeration was at a point to where the additional cost of materials, testing, etc outweighs the cost on one more wire... that probably would never come into play.  It's about CYA to a point, indoctrination, lack of kowledge and convenience.
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline P.I.

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
  • Silence is that blackness beneath the music
    • P.I. audio group, LLC
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2017, 11:09:46 AM »
Opening a discussion on grounding is like talking about is there a God?  of course there is, but is He a Big G or is she a little g.

I'm just gonna say IT at the outset to get the big controversy out into the open.  Electrical gear works just great in a 2-wire H/N standard.  It is stupid people that don't work well with a 2-wire standard.

The whole thing about electrical safety is getting polarity proper when feeding advice.  We always want the Hot on the active side of the circuit and the Neutral on the return side.  Problem is that for years plugs were produced in an unpolarized manner with equal width blades.  I almost saw Jesus back in the mid 60's working in a music store that had badly wired AC and I put my hands on two air circulation fans that were reverse wired (or plugged).  It is a bad feeling to know what is going on and not being able to let go.  Thank God for my boss, Jim. Saved my life the night the HVAC went down in the store.

Here is a good intro to grounding.

http://qtwork.tudelft.nl/~schouten/linkload/grounding.pdf

Grounding has been and will always be a great source of comment and a myriad of approaches.  I don't care.  All I want is the system that sounds the best that will not kill me.  This simplistic approach implies that I understand all of the ins and outs, + & - and repercussions of me suddenly waking up stupid one morning and killing myself because i didn't want Big Brother to dictate to me how I MUST lay out my audio circuits.

I roll 2 ways:  1 - a SERIOUS ground system with triple ground rods at the entry service and BIG (#8-ish) wire as a ground return back to the system.

The way that sounds best.:    2 - intelligent home runs for (1) analog (2)  digital (3)  other - in the system.  Make sure everything is wired properly, including gear chassis grounds being real, etc... and then plugging all of the plugs in wide pin = Neutral.  Systems just sound best this way.  I don't mean to Poo-poo safety, but Americans survived without safety grounds for many years.  It was the poor and unlucky few that died from standing voltage differences, etc back in the unpolarized plug days.

Oh, the reason some products come ungrounded is that risk evaluation has been done on that product and it was determined by an algorithm that death/renumeration was at a point to where the additional cost of materials, testing, etc outweighs the cost on one more wire... that probably would never come into play.  It's about CYA to a point, indoctrination, lack of kowledge and convenience.
Weird deal when you answer a question and then come back the next day to send it. The draft didn't accept my changes or the "GROUNDING" URL

Spelchick dun - Toodles
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline rollo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 5403
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 12:55:38 PM »
If I understand you properly. Circuits properly grounded. Component chassis ground intact. Un-ground components into circuits. Right now my system components are ALL un-grounded. Actually each Uber is cheated for [4] dedicated 20a lines.


charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline dBe

  • Certifiable
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 10:43:38 PM »
If I understand you properly. Circuits properly grounded. Component chassis ground intact. Un-ground components into circuits. Right now my system components are ALL un-grounded. Actually each Uber is cheated for [4] dedicated 20a lines.


charles
Yup.  Pretty much. 

Stream of consciousness alert!

You remind me of Nick!  Unground the world and everything sounds better, except for all of the gear that needs to be properly mechanically grounded!

I am continually amazed about the effect of minor tweaks on SQ.  Granted, taken one at a time they may or may not be that obvious.  Sometimes it is "that feeling" that all too often is described as snake oil or the product of the rear of a male cow.

Offline rollo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 5403
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 09:10:58 AM »
  Dave maybe it is time for you to design a grounding station for components. This way we can un-ground from AC and use box for components.
How does one know if component is properly grounded ? Can we measure some how ?
Nick was told by Larry Smith and Sal Dimico to un-ground all components from wall. We have had mixed results both un-grounded and grounded.
Did you get my PM ?


charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline P.I.

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
  • Silence is that blackness beneath the music
    • P.I. audio group, LLC
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2017, 12:02:26 PM »
  Dave maybe it is time for you to design a grounding station for components. This way we can un-ground from AC and use box for components.
How does one know if component is properly grounded ? Can we measure some how ?
Nick was told by Larry Smith and Sal Dimico to un-ground all components from wall. We have had mixed results both un-grounded and grounded.
Did you get my PM ?


charles
First things first.  Last PM I have from you is 11 Nov.  so: Yes___  No___  Maybe___

I have a design for a grounding station.  I'm also swamped with business and life.  I hope to bring it out soon after New Years.  Just another ugly black box from the dim, dark recesses of my mind.

First thing that I notice about AC in audio systems is the ability of screws on receptacles to loosen up over time.  Electrical first generally start because of loose, oxidized connections.  Loose connections can give galvanic noise a toehold and voltage differentials between the Ground and Neutral wrek havoc with the noise floor of our systems.

Check Ground to Neutral voltages if possible.  They should be, but seldom are zero.

Here is a good read on grounding practices and measurements:

http://www.esgroundingsolutions.com/how-to-do-electrical-grounding-system-testing/

Another thing that needs to be done especially in the arid areas of the country is to insure that there is reasonable soils chemistry is to pour a gallon of water at the ground rod occasionally.  We are sitting on 73 days without rain here and everything is as dry as a popcorn fart.  To counteract this kind of problem I installed an undergound dripper about 8" below the surface of the ground to keep it moist down there.  All of those spurious little zings, burps and clicks that signal grounding issues are nonexistent here.

Tight and clean. 

Again, here is a link to Andrew Eriksen's LOW EMI/RFI home wiring with audio in mind:

http://www.eiwellspring.org/choosinghouseholdwiring.pdf 

Easy read and tells audio hackers like us how to get the best sound possible from the sea of noise out there.


"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline rollo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 5403
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 09:13:16 AM »
Thanks Dave, good read.
Merry Christmas
charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline jessearias

  • Certifiable
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 10:32:37 AM »
Good information Dave, but now I have a question;

I wanted to install some IEC connectors on some of my old SAE equipment and was told only to use two wires (H/N). Not to ground the chassis as it might cause some humming or other weird stuff.  :?

I was told that if the piece of equipment was not designed to be grounded, don't ground it. I did use a 3 wire IEC connector but did not ground it to the chassis. Just connected it like it was originally manufactured H/N. No problems, works great.

My question, was this good advice?  It seems so based on what you mentioned.



 
Parasound A21, Parasound JC2BP, Oppo 205 BR/SACD Disc Player, Marantz ST6000 Tuner, GoldenEar Triton 2 speakers and Supersub XXL, Triode Wire Labs interconnects, power cables and speaker wire, PI Audio Uber, Mini and Digibuss, Border Patrol DAC

Offline P.I.

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
  • Silence is that blackness beneath the music
    • P.I. audio group, LLC
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2018, 03:43:46 PM »
Good information Dave, but now I have a question;

I wanted to install some IEC connectors on some of my old SAE equipment and was told only to use two wires (H/N). Not to ground the chassis as it might cause some humming or other weird stuff.  :?

I was told that if the piece of equipment was not designed to be grounded, don't ground it. I did use a 3 wire IEC connector but did not ground it to the chassis. Just connected it like it was originally manufactured H/N. No problems, works great.

My question, was this good advice?  It seems so based on what you mentioned.
Jesse,

To ground or not to ground? That is the question.

*** DISCLAIMER***

What I do and what you "should do" are entirely different things.  Proceed at your own risk of life and limb.

OK.  With that out of the way, I'll tell you that I run my gear with the ground pin floating.  Safety grounds are there to prevent us fro dying when we get stupid, OR our gear suffers a catstrophic meltdown that defeats intelligent design in operation.

First - follow the designer's direction. Just make sure that it is followed to the letter.

I have found that in EVERY application gear will sound better ungrounded.  Think about it: The Safety Ground (green wire) and the Neutral are essentially the same circuit, being bonded at the entrance panel.  All of the differing G/N potentials from every circuit in the house (local grid) are floating around in that circuit, mostly as noise or hum.

If a piece of gear was designed to be run 2-wire, as long as the Hot/Neutral standard is followed (Hot = narrow blade: Neutral = broad blade) we are good to go. Less AC line noise to deal with in a two conductor connection.

Do this at your own risk even as I do.   Just sayin'.
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline tmazz

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 8579
  • Just basking in the glow of my tubes.....
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 09:14:28 PM »
I understand that the neutral and the safety ground are connected at the service entrance, but... if your chassis is not internally bonded to the neutral you will have no protection once the saftey ground is lifted.

And while the chances of a failure energizing the chassis as slim, unfortunately the chances of poor workmanship causing a cross in your outlet are not. Bewfore removing any grounds I would strongly advise spending $5 at Home Depot on one of those little outlet checkers.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Tools-Outlet-Tester-Green-MS112H/206029154

This item will quickly tell you if you hot and neutral wires are connected to the proper sides of the outlet. When I bought my house I checked every outlet and found three that read as being wired backwards even though the black and white wires were terminated on the correct screws.  It turned out that somebody did a sloppy job and connected white to black wires in one of the pull box slices.

You can never be too careful with electricity - it fights back.
Remember, it's all about the music........

Nola Boxers
Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
Quicksilver Mid Monos
ARC SP-9
VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Sumiko Blue Pt. Special
EE Minmax DAC/Bluesound Node/Denon 2910
TWL Power Cords/MIT Cables

Offline rollo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 5403
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 09:58:42 AM »
I am with you Dave on ungrounding my components. Both Ken Stevens and Larry Smith two superstar designers IMHO suggested the same. Just sounds better.



charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt-Arion

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11136
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2018, 02:17:52 PM »
I want my breakers to trip on safety voltage, not just thermal overload. There's nothing inherently bad with chassis ground and safety wire. Cheater plug should only be used to diagnose a problem, then removed.

If a cheater plug makes it sound better then something is broken, or badly designed, and yes, there is plenty of badly designed equipment for sale in this hobby. A well designed component with 3 prong plug doesn't benefit from lifting the safety prong. But check your house wiring for faults before blaming the gear.

+1 tmazz advice on testing every outlet for polarity and safety trip. I had several that were wrong in my 2005 house, and since then a dozen more failed outlets and switches due to loosened connections and junk parts. 2 were found from smoke coming out of them - proof breakers don't always trip on thermal, that's why you need voltage trip also, unless it's a vintage component with double insulated chassis. Modern new home construction industry relies on [PC]less-well-trained labor[/PC] than 30 years ago, so you really should inspect and tighten every single wiring screw in the house for safety, efficiency, and audio performance too.

Offline dBe

  • Certifiable
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 09:10:44 PM »
I want my breakers to trip on safety voltage, not just thermal overload. There's nothing inherently bad with chassis ground and safety wire. Cheater plug should only be used to diagnose a problem, then removed.

If a cheater plug makes it sound better then something is broken, or badly designed, and yes, there is plenty of badly designed equipment for sale in this hobby. A well designed component with 3 prong plug doesn't benefit from lifting the safety prong. But check your house wiring for faults before blaming the gear.

+1 tmazz advice on testing every outlet for polarity and safety trip. I had several that were wrong in my 2005 house, and since then a dozen more failed outlets and switches due to loosened connections and junk parts. 2 were found from smoke coming out of them - proof breakers don't always trip on thermal, that's why you need voltage trip also, unless it's a vintage component with double insulated chassis. Modern new home construction industry relies on [PC]less-well-trained labor[/PC] than 30 years ago, so you really should inspect and tighten every single wiring screw in the house for safety, efficiency, and audio performance too.
I totally get this.  Unfortunately for the OCD riddled amongst us absolute SQ occasionally runs askance of the best intentions of those that would protect us. 

Enter the safety ground.  We have two ways to go here.  We can either follow the NEC or go for best SQ. 

The NEC ( as well as the IEC ) is written to protect the stupidest among us from killing ourselves and to prevent our estates from winning law suits.  I hate to be this contrarian, but there comes a time when we have to accept responsibility for our transgressions.  To do so presupposes that we, in turn are NOT ignorant and know enough to have set up our systems with safety, polarity and SQ in that order.

If there is a component failure we need to remember safety protocol:  don't freak out; turn the switch off on the piece of gear; unplug it from the wall; wait for 10 minutes, and then carefully see WTH is going on.

I guess my approach to all of this is somewhat different from others having worked in semiconductor implant where voltages run into millions of volts and currents supplying sources over 250A.  You learn to be diligent or you die. One to one equation.

The vast majority of electrical house fires come from overloaded receptacle - you know:  the ones that gave 3 or 4  18ga extension cords plugged into a 15A circuit with loose connections.  This includes our service entries.  Here in the southwest that entry is typically aluminum wire to the panel.  Aluminum has 35% greater expansion than copper.  What this means is that it will loosen fixing screws quicker.  Thermal overloads are much more prevalent in an overloaded receptacle than the circuit breaker supplying it.

Most importantly, before one ventures into a completely ungrounded system we/he/she must make absolutely sure that our local grids (homes) are up to snuff.

I roll without the safety ground.  That is not to say that blindly doing so us prudent.  Make sure you know the condition of your electrical circuit.  If you don't feel comfortable doing so, by all means: call a professional.  If you do: be smart and think things through.

When I was 3, I stuck a bobbypin into an electrical receptacle because I had seen my Dad, a journeyman electrician, stick his Simpson Meter into walls many times.  That experience is the only memory that I really is in me old memory banks that are intact from the act to the outcome.  I remember my Mom's facial expression.  I also remember my Dad laughing and saying something about experience...

Offline richidoo

  • Out Of My Speaker Cabinet
  • ******
  • Posts: 11136
Re: GROUNDING
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 08:13:13 AM »
I totally get this.  Unfortunately for the OCD riddled amongst us absolute SQ occasionally runs askance of the best intentions of those that would protect us. 

Liberty!  :thumb:

But, how does safety ruin SQ?
Grounded chassis need not even be in the circuit.