This article was posted 03/21/2007 and is most likely outdated.

IDEAL's Newsletter Part 2

Subject - IDEAL's Newsletter Part 2

March 21, 2007  

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IDEAL’s Newsletter Part 2

The newsletter sent last night ( about the confusing text on grounding by Ideal generated quite a few comments and I felt it would be responsible for me to put all of this in perspective. Anybody who has had any association with Ideal, its staff, and its products knows that Ideal Industries, Inc. is just a first class organization in every way.

The purpose of the newsletter was to demonstrate that information posted on the Internet relating to Grounding and Bonding by even the finest organization can be in error. We all need to be aware that not everything that is written is correct.

I personally have made the same false comments at one point in my career, and I’m sorry to all that I taught wrong…

Article 250 in the NEC has seen major changes the past two Code cycles and you can expect more of the same for 2008 (clarify up the intent of grounding versus bonding). In the 2008 NEC grounding is really ‘earthing’ and bonding will be more on the line of ‘connecting,’ but we’ll discuss more on this when the 2008 NEC is available.

Please review some of the following comments, before you ‘judge’ Ideal:

  • Mike, as a young man (many years ago) I remember wiring the old two wire receptacles. The neutral was referred to as the "ground wire" by many good or at least productive electricians. Linemen often called the neutral the ground. I've heard guys say “I can't believe that ground wire shocked me" I think this confusion in terms has carried on down through the years and still causes problems.
    Fred Madden March 21 2007, 11:32 am EST
  • I didn’t see a problem with any of Ideals statements and anyone who would like to discuss them point by point I’m all ears. No quick 1 sentence answers with any supporting theory to back it up.
    sherman March 21 2007, 10:27 am EST
  • I bet there is a meeting in progress at Ideal Industries right now where the agenda addresses development of a new approval process for marketing materials. I would say its likely those documents will now have to pass through the engineering department before they are released to the public (I hope so anyway)! A company like Ideal, in my estimate, will take this very seriously. After all, this kind of stuff can really tarnish an image that took years of hard work to create!
    Good article Mike!
    Nat Abram March 21 2007, 10:13 am EST
  • While Ideal is not entirely correct in their wording, I believe they are not aiming at industry people with their comments. If one wishes to rile up about this, why not aim at the NEC and their own confusion with the terms bonding/grounding.
    Steve March 21 2007, 10:01 am EST
  • Mike, I am not impressed with this article, I see it as a sort of "face off" between yourself and leading industries. I think it, a little in dignified of yourself to present your case in such a format. I have always enjoyed your news letters and such; however this I thought you were better than this. The infamous "MIKE HOLT" takes on IDEAL Industries, there is your headline, now let’s move on.
    Steven Dobbins March 21 2007, 9:10 am EST
  • I currently work for a distributor of low voltage equipment for fire and security equipment etc. We have access to documentation of products from over 400 vendors if I remember correctly. Nearly every piece of documentation I see that is a “cut sheet” or sales flyer is either missing pertinent information or has errors in the information. Generally the “installation sheet” is more accurate, but not always.
    In my opinion, the marketing people don’t know enough about the product to describe it properly or catch their own mistakes. I think some of the technical people either don’t have time to look over the marketing people’s work, or don’t read English well enough to proof read the work.
    Dale H March 21 2007, 7:09 am EST
  • If this article is any indication of what is to come, it does not look like a series of myth-busting comments. Instead, it looks like a diatribe against a manufacturer's incorrect usage of terminology. Might I suggest a personal correspondence with such manufacturers to educate them rather than post such rubbish?
    Richard Kurzawa, P.E. March 21 2007, 7:08 am EST
  • Mike, those of us trained in electron flow 'know' current is never trying to reach ground, but always trying to reach the source.
    Engineers whose training only touch on electricity as a requirement, and all those trained formally as 'electrical engineers' seem to have their curriculum based on semiconductor theory. Those fundamentals started them on 'hole flow' and they carry it forward into every discipline. So, from their perspective, current IS trying to get to ground to complete the path.
    I'm taking an excerpt from your comments to send to my English teacher son-in-law. Hopefully he'll post it and use it to convince his students to really learn and study the language so they can express themselves and be understood in writing.
    Thanks for the comments. Good article.
    John 'Z-man' Zoll March 21 2007, 6:54 am EST
  • I believe that much of the confusion about grounding has to do with a lack of a clear yet comprehensive presentation of the subject. I have yet to find a text that covers grounding adequately.
    Jan Harris P.E. March 21 2007, 6:43 am EST
  • This grounding myth is out there big time. A few weeks ago when I was in Home Depot, I looked in the following wiring books: Better Homes and Gardening, Black and Decker, Stanley, and the Home Depot book and there was one other which name I cannot remember. These books were either directly stating or simply implying that the ground fault current was just going into the earth or using the earth as the proper fault current return path. Siemens had this myth for many years on their free “quickSTEP” online training courses. Thanks to Mike Holt that was fixed. Siemens still has the myth on their older version called the “STEP 2000” training program which can be downloaded from their website. I suspect that the biggest culprit in spreading this myth is the group of people who produced the two fine print notes (which stand alone at the beginning of Article 250) in four consecutive editions of the National Electrical Code. These are the 1981, 1984, 1987, and the 1990 editions. That's twelve straight years of hazard causing information produced by the people who are supposed to be doing just the opposite. I have been told that they are getting better though. I hope so.
    Ralph Greene March 21 2007, 6:40 am EST
  • I believe the EE's at Ideal know better than this and were never consulted by the "Sales" Dept. before they wrote this article to bolster the need for their products. Happens every day.
    Stan March 21 2007, 6:37 am EST
  • Mike, You 100% correct; and ALL manufacturers (and some contractors and inspectors) are guilty of perpetuating many different myths. Just remember, catalogs and advertising come from a Marketing Department with limited to no knowledge. These people are also writing for the general public, and are prone to exaggeration and mis-statements by the nature of their work. It's too bad that someone with some knowledge doesn't catch and correct these errors. I can't wait to see what myth you bust next (I've got plenty of ideas.)
    Gary March 21 2007, 6:18 am EST
  • This all comes back to misusing the term ground for the return line, which may or may not be electrically connected, well or poorly, to the ground beneath our feet. Rather than fix the vocabulary, we re-write the dictionary to accommodate our bad usage. I think this is how the Supreme Court cooks up some of its creative rulings.
    Matt March 21 2007, 6:17 am EST
  • Mike, it just staggers me that the editors for a company like this have not picked up on the technical discrepancy. It is not like this is a new revelation in grounding theory. I have come across this many times in the recent past. When reading about SPDs, we see the same misunderstandings.
    As I teach my students, it is not easy to impress upon them the correct methods, as they want to know who is really correct. Take this email that you have sent you think my students want to believe little ole me over Ideal... it is frustrating.
    Pierre March 21 2007, 6:07 am EST
  • I am stunned that a company that does make some very good testing equipment can be so confused in there marketing and/or documentation.
    Inspector March 20 2007, 5:42 pm EST
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  • Mike You certinly got a lot of people firedup. But I have to aggree with you most electricians don't know the pourpose of grounding. I work in the machine tool industry and for years manfacturers required a ground rod be driven at the maghine so the machine would be at Zero potential. They had you test to make sure it was 25 Ohms or less. No one could ever explane to me how I could get Zero potential throu 25 ohms. Love your news letter keep up the good work.

    Rich Carey

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