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Simple system for locating ground loops
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View: Figures


Image of FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

Top: Exciter circuit. The power cable including ground wire of an instrument under test is threaded through the ferrite split core and so becomes the one-turn secondary of the ferrite current transformer. The exciter then drives a current through the ground wire if it is part of a complete circuit, i.e., part of a ground loop. Bottom: Detector circuit. The flexible Rogowski coil is hand wrapped around a suspect group of cables and if any of these cables carries the ground loop current generated by the exciter the detector LED illuminates. The meter gives a quantitative measure of the amplitude of this current which can be compared to the ground loop current measured at the exciter.

Image of FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.

Implementation: The split-core ferrite transformer induces a current, shown by arrows, in any ground loop or loops. The Rogowski coil detects this test current in any cable it links (i.e., cables “a” and “b” here). All circuits shown in the figure are ground circuits. The inductance of a typical ground loop is between 1 and and the exciter-driven current in the ground loop is in the range between 20 and . The detector LED illuminates when the Rogowski coil links a current larger than . The meter indicates what portion of the current driven by the exciter is being detected.

Image of FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.

Migration of ground loops: If then ground loop current will initially flow through and then mainly through . If is removed, the ground loop current will hop to flow mainly through . Thus, eliminating one ground loop circuit will simply cause the ground loop current to migrate to an alternate path if such a path is available.


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Scitation: Simple system for locating ground loops