Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums
GriswoldStyle

To ground or not to ground your mega tree

Recommended Posts

Do any of you all out there that use black Iron pipe for your mega tree have a ground wire on it? My tree will actually be implanted 3 to 4 ft into the ground through a sleeve that will be rooted with concrete for easy installation each year but I'm wondering if I should still put a ground wire on it. I just read in another Forum somebody said they ground their mega tree. so this brings me to the question of do I really need to do that?

I am in Florida and my tree will extend up 16 to 17 ft above ground. I never grounded my tree when I was using top rail. but this year I'm going with sturdier black iron pipe so I'm wondering if any of you put a ground wire on your tree.

I'm not an electrician so I figured I would ask you guys what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You get lightning there.  We hardly ever here so hardly anyone worries about grounding stuff.  From what I have seen of Florida, EVERYTHNG gets grounded.  I have been amazed when visiting Epcot center and everything more than about 10 feet high has lightning rods.  They take it real seriously.  Essentially you will be putting up a 17 foot lightning rod.  If it were me, I would ground it (really seriously too).

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We get lots of lightning, thunder storms, tornados and all the fun stuff here. My 22' pixel MT has been outside in its shape standing next to my house for 1.5 years (exactly where I placed it the day I picked it up. Hasn't been hit and its not grounded.

The same as my 20' mt is a tower so its taken apart. But not grounded when used. We don't remember getting much lightning during the winter months unless that stray tornado blows through.

My 20' CCR tree is stored inside after the season.

Being surrounded by water though and the varying temps you get its probably a good bet to ground yours. That soil should be easy to get an 8' -10' rod in.

JR

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually have one already that used to be on the DirecTV satellite. I actually disconnected it since it was from a previous family that lived here but was considering pulling it up and moving it over next to where the mega tree is in grounding it.. right now it's about 15 feet away from where the mega tree would be. I'm not sure how far those things need to be away or even how to mount it to the tree mast. we normally don't get a lot of lightning but when we do boy does it pop off left and right. Kind of like this past month it's been nothing but lightning every day. One of the wettest July and Augusts in many years 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, k6ccc said:

You get lightning there.  We hardly ever here so hardly anyone worries about grounding stuff.  From what I have seen of Florida, EVERYTHNG gets grounded.  I have been amazed when visiting Epcot center and everything more than about 10 feet high has lightning rods.  They take it real seriously.  Essentially you will be putting up a 17 foot lightning rod.  If it were me, I would ground it (really seriously too).

 

Now I've only seen things get grounded that were already grounded how would I go about grounding it? do I need to run a 10 gauge wire to the top of the tree or do I just attach it to the base of the tree and then ground it with an 8 foot copper rod and ground clamp?

I ask this because I've never had to do it before so sorry if it sounds like an odd question. Grounding it from the top may create a heck of a challenge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grounding or not, I always disconnect all power and cat5 cables when we have lightning in the area. We do get storms in Oklahoma. I've never grounded my 35' mega tree. Being in Florida, probably not a bad idea as previously mentioned.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 8/7/2018 at 6:38 AM, GriswoldStyle said:

Now I've only seen things get grounded that were already grounded how would I go about grounding it? do I need to run a 10 gauge wire to the top of the tree or do I just attach it to the base of the tree and then ground it with an 8 foot copper rod and ground clamp?

I ask this because I've never had to do it before so sorry if it sounds like an odd question. Grounding it from the top may create a heck of a challenge

Florida is the lightning capital of the US, used to be the world but another country took that dubious honor Thanks very much, anyway your area down there if considered lightning alley I remember from something.

 

8 Gauge wire is minimum I believe, and 2 rods about 10-15 apart is best for antennas so that should work for your mega tree, I believe you could attach the grounding wire at the base then to the two rods. I am not sure if a lightning rod at the top of the pole would be better or just to the pole, I will have to check with my buddy, he used to make lightning rods and sold to the state for traffic signal poles a time back, think his son took over when he retired.

 

But probably best to check NEC reg's for your area.

 

Keith

Edited by Kapkirk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to talk to your local building inspector and ask for a recommendation.  Being a temp installation, it's not something that becomes a building permit requirement.  If the inspectors there are anything like they are here, they will give you recommendations.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, k6ccc said:

You might want to talk to your local building inspector and ask for a recommendation.  Being a temp installation, it's not something that becomes a building permit requirement.  If the inspectors there are anything like they are here, they will give you recommendations.

 

That's what most people fail to realize, though it seems tedious trying to get permits and stuff, the local issuing authority will normally tell you exactly what is required to do things the "safe" and in some cases "legal" way. All you have to do is ask. Normally they will provide an inspection checklist as a reference.

Most fail to realize that the electrical panel they installed without a permit, if it was to be a cause for a fire or even discovered during a fire it could lead the insurance company not to cover any or all loss. That's just an example. It did happen in my neighborhood. Person ran non weather resistant (yellow) 14/2 to their shed from a box, shorted out and caused fire total loss to both structures. Non permitted, loss of coverage.

My old city had a sticker and placed it inside any boxes or on approved work. My new city, they just keep improvements and permits on file. Anything permitted will increase property value here in my neck of the woods.

JR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dibblejr said:

That's what most people fail to realize, though it seems tedious trying to get permits and stuff, the local issuing authority will normally tell you exactly what is required to do things the "safe" and in some cases "legal" way. All you have to do is ask. Normally they will provide an inspection checklist as a reference. 

Very well said.  I am currently near the completion of a major electrical project (upping service to 200A, replacement main panel, some re-wiring in the house related to the new main, new 100A sub panel in the garage, complete re-wiring of the garage).  I have called the city building inspector about a half dozen times with specific questions, just so I build it right - the first time.  They have been more than willing to talk to me as they also want it done right the first time.  When the inspector was out prior to the utility energizing the new main, we walked around the project and I asked him a bunch of questions about how he wanted parts of it done.  He was happy to answer questions and either suggested things or told me of things I might not have been aware of.  In theory next Sunday I should have the project completed and final inspection on Monday - WooHoo!  And no, the service upgrade has nothing to do with my light show needing more power!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if you don't get a 'strike', the air can get a serious charge.  If you feel the hairs trying to stand up 😮 , you have a problem.

The LAST thing you want is that charge following the wires back into your house via the power cord or the 'network, cable. Ground close to the display

an item similar to this should be located  (and closely grounded) JUST before the cable enters the structure https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Protector-Protect-Lightning-protectors/dp/B07DCP734L/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1533772776&sr=8-5&keywords=cat5+lightning+surge+protector

This should be fine , even on the LOR network

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

Even if you don't get a 'strike', the air can get a serious charge.  If you feel the hairs trying to stand up 😮 , you have a problem.

The LAST thing you want is that charge following the wires back into your house via the power cord or the 'network, cable. Ground close to the display

an item similar to this should be located  (and closely grounded) JUST before the cable enters the structure https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Protector-Protect-Lightning-protectors/dp/B07DCP734L/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1533772776&sr=8-5&keywords=cat5+lightning+surge+protector

This should be fine , even on the LOR network

I always run through gfci's for the outlets but also need a surge protector for the network. The one you linked me to did not have any reviews. Do you or anyone else have experience with those?

Am wanting to ground the pole but will need more info on how to do that. I've never done it before so I definitely want to go ahead and do it this year so I don't have any problems with possible  lightning 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, GriswoldStyle said:

I always run through gfci's for the outlets but also need a surge protector for the network. The one you linked me to did not have any reviews. Do you or anyone else have experience with those?

Am wanting to ground the pole but will need more info on how to do that. I've never done it before so I definitely want to go ahead and do it this year so I don't have any problems with possible  lightning 

You should see my videos as to what happens when you take a direct lightning strike when you take the best of precautions from things controllable by you but the satellite network company fails to properly ground their network dish to your service pole.

Almost as close to you in FL as LA (lower Alabama) person can get. Geneva

Burnt everything I owned on my farm including well over 2 miles of underground security camera cables. I had the best surge suppressors a civilian could buy/ afford. Every wire connected to my building including my camper fried. Service contractor allowed us to video record him while he surveyed the damage and pointed fault to dish installer for "floating the ground". Structures were steel so not damaged.

Everywhere there was a junction box under ground there was shrapnel in the trees, fields etc. Everything in my building was blown off the walls. Whole home surge protector, what was sup to be the best non commercial network surge protetor was fried, all network stuff, computer, tv, refrigerator. Nothing was spared. Even well pump, gone.

That was the one storm I am glad I didn't stay on the farm in the camper. I have stayed during lightning storms and had my air stand up from the static created.

Fun stuff.

JR

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Everything I buy now I always add the extended warranty if it covers lightning through places like best buy. we did get hit at our old house. it was close enough to the point that you heard the static in the air at our old house and it made our hair stand up also took out our cable box and everything the HDMI was connected to the projector, the video game system and the stereo receiver. Luckily I had opted for the extended warranty. To my surprise they replaced it with brand new upgraded versions. Now whenever I buy Electronics there's no question I add that extended warranty LOL. Now every HDMI cable I have running has a surge arrestor on it. Apparently it came through the cable wire which had a junction box just outside an old TV antenna that the owners of the house had on the side of the house that was not grounded and anything that was attached to the cable box went. Nothing like the Good Ol smell of a fried cable box and electronics. I had almost forgotten about that that was only a few years ago at our old house about 10 miles from here.

I'm definitely trying to ground the mega tree after hearing everyone's suggestions but I'm going to have to make a few phone calls to figure out exactly the proper way to do it. I already found the grounding rods at Home Depot and they're not as expensive as I thought they would be. So there's no doubt in my mind I'm going to ground the tree but need to do it the right way.

I don't play with lightning ever since then. If there's lightning in the area all of the TVs go off, computers go off and I disconnect the HDMI cable coming out of the cable box lol. The kids get mad but it is what it is. I'm not taking the chance of replacing Electronics. Normally when there is rain or lightning coming I will cancel the show for the night and disconnect everything as a precaution. But let's face it even if the storm is 6 or 7 miles away lightning travels especially in Florida.

 

Edited by GriswoldStyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a side note, I did put in a helpdesk question to see if maybe Lor can chime in on the best surge protector to ground the network. hopefully they can chime in with something that will not interfere with the network cables.

Now regarding grounding to make it 3 I'm going to reach out to my code compliance guy for our area. I actually had a really good conversation with him a couple weeks ago when he was in our neighborhood dealing with some buddies trash that they would not take care of. Come to find out he actually comes out to our display and he is the only guy along with his helper that handles this area. I was chatting with him about the new sign ordinance that is going to be enforced. Really nice guy by the way. He told me has a hundred and sixty cases alone in our city. He is the building/ Code Compliance guy. I'm thinking he might be able to give some good suggestions on the best way to ground it and as well as be in compliance with local code. I will keep you all posted if I hear anything back from him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, k6ccc said:

You might want to talk to your local building inspector and ask for a recommendation.  Being a temp installation, it's not something that becomes a building permit requirement.  If the inspectors there are anything like they are here, they will give you recommendations.

 

 

I am an electrician for 30 years so far and give this one note a big plus!!

My electrical inspector is the biggest help to have.  You can go by all the NEC and local regulations but inspectors have seen and know a lot of the "little things" that can make life easier, safer, and better.  Being that they have "seen it all" in the trade, they are happy to help out homeowners and others with questions.  I picked up so many little tips over the years from the inspectors that made things nicer for me and my customers.

I had the unfortunate instance of having lightning strike my house years ago.  It took out a lot of equipment and worst of all my server, 3 separate computers, and the loss of a great deal of data.  I was in the process of updating a lot of records and getting a lot of old information put into digital (records, photos, drawings, etc) at the time and almost all of it was lost and unrecoverable by a data service!  I was running a year-long test of different types of sealants for using with connections for this hobby at the time and lost all the data on that as well!  I am now a "true believer" in having grounds and other means of protection against lightning.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, dibblejr said:

You should see my videos as to what happens when you take a direct lightning strike when you take the best of precautions from things controllable by you but the satellite network company fails to properly ground their network dish to your service pole.

Almost as close to you in FL as LA (lower Alabama) person can get. Geneva

Burnt everything I owned on my farm including well over 2 miles of underground security camera cables. I had the best surge suppressors a civilian could buy/ afford. Every wire connected to my building including my camper fried. Service contractor allowed us to video record him while he surveyed the damage and pointed fault to dish installer for "floating the ground". Structures were steel so not damaged.

Everywhere there was a junction box under ground there was shrapnel in the trees, fields etc. Everything in my building was blown off the walls. Whole home surge protector, what was sup to be the best non commercial network surge protetor was fried, all network stuff, computer, tv, refrigerator. Nothing was spared. Even well pump, gone.

That was the one storm I am glad I didn't stay on the farm in the camper. I have stayed during lightning storms and had my air stand up from the static created.

Fun stuff.

JR

Yikes  JR          

My house also has been struck by lightning twice.    I have video of one aftermath from July 2003 where I lost all the low voltage wiring, phone wires, door bell, two garage door openers, tv, fans,  answering machine.     

The second time a few years ago my halloween display was struck and I lost 7 of 12 CCB of controllers, and came up to the usb dongle melting it but did not damage the PC.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I did find a few different options out there for Network protection. just wanted to run this by anybody that knows specs real good. What would your opinions be on these? The lor help desk did respond but said they are not aware of any Lor approved Network protectors but is referring the matter to the engineers to see what they suggest regarding Network protection. Just figured I would run these by you guys and see what your thoughts might be....

 https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Protector-Protection-TRAVELER100BT/dp/B000ALAU04/ref=br_lf_m_um56ggwkrvzq5kq_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&s=electronics

Second one

http://datainterfaces.com/sp-poe-01-Ethernet-RJ45-surge-protector.aspx?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzK_bBRDDARIsAFQF7zPh4kEiE88waWqcbeWQR3GOnMo5oX8m-nCTaLOTWHKfsvXwgpa1n1AaAvgEEALw_wcB

 

Third one

https://www.rowewireless.com/network-lighting-surge-protector/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzK_bBRDDARIsAFQF7zN79viERRrhVCtKuXSLt41ZOzW2B7M8qM6yj2kdpjjQUzNo40edyygaAt3WEALw_wcB

 

Edited by GriswoldStyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a rare lightning storm back about 2000 in the SF bay area. I had 2 stores in the same city, lose their BiSync RS232 cards at both ends, just from the induced current in the under slab 300' run from the back office to the front end (registers).  In one case, the strike was across the street. No one had a clue where the other happened.  Only the equipment with the under floor cable was damaged, making us sure that it was NOT a powerline surge.

Currents flowing in the earth can be HUGE from a strike. That can couple like a transformer to a single lead.  What dibblejr explained, is what can happen, even when precautions were taken. I've visited a mountain top fire lookout. There are multiple rods on the roof, each has 4/0 copper direct to the ground rod below. The ranger has a step stool with big glass insulators that they stand on and their instructions are to keep their arms close to their sides. Even sticking a hand out can pick up a deadly charge from the air.

 

Keep the lead  to the ground rod as short as possible.  GFCI's are NOT surge protectors.  They only protect USERS against unbalance Line (Hot-Neutral) current

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×