Garden Lights - To earth or not to earth ?

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Paul
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Garden Lights - To earth or not to earth ?

Post by Paul » July 26, 2007, 8:47 am

I have bought some (2) stainless steel bodied garden lights and the supplied wiring is the standard 2 core blue/brown with an additional seperate earth wire running alongside (though not in the conduit).

I only have a temporary extension reel supplying the garden electricity at the moment and this is a standard 2 core plug.

What do I do with the earth ?

I see 2 solutions currently

1) buy a 3 pin extension which plugs into a 2 pin socket (which means the earth is redundant/useless and not doing anything, but looks good !)

2) run the earth wires on a seperate cable from both lights and secure them to a copper earthing pole elsewhere in the garden and then plug the two normal (blue/brown) wires into my 2 pin extension socket

Possibly (3) - forget about the earth completely and risk a shock if I touch the lights metal body

Having seen some of the Thai style of earthing - (drill a hole in the wall and push the earth wire into that) I am somewhat confused as to what is the 'right' (safe) thing to do.

Need some advice from an electrician here.

And yes I know I should run a permanant supply to the garden - but it all takes time.



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Seaserpent
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Post by Seaserpent » July 26, 2007, 9:34 am

Easiest way for you, are to run a 3 wire cable between the 2 lights and you can place a earthing rod right next to one of the lights, and then go on with 2 wires into your house.

The safest way are of course to get a proper electrician to install a permanent outdoor cable.

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747man
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Re: Garden Lights - To earth or not to earth ?

Post by 747man » July 26, 2007, 10:59 am

Paul wrote:I have bought some (2) stainless steel bodied garden lights and the supplied wiring is the standard 2 core blue/brown with an additional seperate earth wire running alongside (though not in the conduit).

I only have a temporary extension reel supplying the garden electricity at the moment and this is a standard 2 core plug.

What do I do with the earth ?

I see 2 solutions currently

1) buy a 3 pin extension which plugs into a 2 pin socket (which means the earth is redundant/useless and not doing anything, but looks good !)

2) run the earth wires on a seperate cable from both lights and secure them to a copper earthing pole elsewhere in the garden and then plug the two normal (blue/brown) wires into my 2 pin extension socket

Possibly (3) - forget about the earth completely and risk a shock if I touch the lights metal body

Having seen some of the Thai style of earthing - (drill a hole in the wall and push the earth wire into that) I am somewhat confused as to what is the 'right' (safe) thing to do.

Need some advice from an electrician here.

And yes I know I should run a permanant supply to the garden - but it all takes time.
Why DONT you just buy Solar Lights....No Wiring NEEDED =D> =D> =D>

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Bandung_Dero
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Post by Bandung_Dero » July 26, 2007, 11:09 am

Proper - SAFE - garden lights are supposed to be low voltage eg 24VAC and come with a step down transformer mounted in a dry enviroment. No earth on the lights required but unless it's double insulated I would earth the transformer case.

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Galee
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Post by Galee » July 26, 2007, 11:33 am

I'd say don't earth them and then get the neighbours dog to piss on one to test it out. :D

laphanphon

Post by laphanphon » July 26, 2007, 12:32 pm

Why DONT you just buy Solar Lights....No Wiring NEEDED
i think he actually wants to be able to see when the lights are on. can't imaging what they sell here to shed much light. :cry:

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Post by Thai_1_On » July 26, 2007, 12:34 pm

Paul it seems to me that if you have "stainless steel bodied garden lights" then I would think that if they have a stainless steel spike sticking into the ground then they should be grounded if any stray wire should come into contact with any piece metal you could touch and at that point trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse. Sorry I cant seem to escape the American electrical terms :oops:.

Any how should you have a short as Bandung_Dero said at only 24VAC it wont hurt much :shock: and Galee has a good point about the neighbours dog ;)

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panick
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Post by panick » July 26, 2007, 5:52 pm

So are they 24v with a transformer or 240v straight into the mains? :-k
Bring back Saint

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arjay
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Post by arjay » July 26, 2007, 6:01 pm

Paul, I'm certainly not an electrician, but after having a number of problems with my computer, (realted to power surges) I was advised to have an earth wire added which was connected to a 3 pin socket and went to ground outside:-

If you decide to add or use an earth wire, I am told it needs to be connected to a metal/copper spike that is knocked into the ground at least 1 m deep, ideally in a wet/damp location. Any current will then take that route as the easiest/least line of resistance and go to ground down the earth wire and spike rather than you.

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panick
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Post by panick » July 26, 2007, 6:07 pm

I've put a waterproof external box outside our house (spurred it off a power point from one of the bedrooms...inc. earth as house wired to good standard :shock: )
Off it I run a small fountain with water pump,1 extra light in the garden and the light on top of the fountain plus 2 power points in case I need extra power there....all goes thru a 15amp trip (circuit it was spurred from is 20amp so its got to be a lower ampage or it takes out the trip its connected to) secured in the box and all wiring in conduit underground
.....But hey ....What do I know.....I'm only a motorcycle mechanic :lol: :lol:

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mackayae
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Post by mackayae » July 26, 2007, 6:26 pm

The ground (earth) wire should be connected to the body of each light fixture. Connect the other end of the ground wire to the system ground (ground bus in your panelbord) in your house. If there is no ground in your house (very common here) connect it to the ground on your washing machine. If that can not be done, replace the circuit breaker feeding this particular circuit with a ground fault breaker.
I would recommend a ground fault breaker for any outdoor or wet (bathroom) locations.
If the connections inside your light fixture get wet, the metal body could become energized, anywhere between 0-220 volts. It only takes 100 milliamps to kill you. The breaker is probably rated at 20 amps.
If your house has a Safety-Cut main breaker, then you are already protected. Safety-Cut is a thai brand name for a ground fault breaker.

laphanphon

Post by laphanphon » July 26, 2007, 7:05 pm

when everything is done, do yourself a favor take a line, open, and touch them together, to purposely cause a short. if you have safety box, that should engage and cut power, if not, the circiut breaker should break the circuit, again, cutting power. since the new line will be outside and possibly wet at any time, test and be safe, cause a mishap to make sure.

unless of course, you know my electricians. i was playing with wires, simple patch job, and zapped myself. couple seconds realized, it stayed live, hmmm, quest that safety box isn't exactly hooked up right, looks nice next to breakers. don't forget the other time, when i turned the main breaker off, but man, that stereo still sounded good :shock: didn't know it was solar powered.

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Post by mally » July 27, 2007, 7:22 am

When in doubt use a RCCD, or an Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker, or a "safety trip".
The earth cable (conductor) can be connected to ground with a copper rod (should be minimum 16 sq.mm at least 1m long) driven into the ground, preferably into a damp area, unless the electricity supplier has supplied a suitable earth terminal, (current UK standards require this terminal to have an impedance no greater than 0.85 ohms). A cautionary note - animals are more prone to electricity than humans, and although an earth rod is normally no problem to humans, in a fault condition it can be lethal to animals in close proximity.

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