According to research, the U.S. electrical grid is the largest interconnected machine on Earth with 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines. It links thousands of generating plants to factories, homes, and businesses. This shows exactly how important electricity is and the safety of people who use it.
Even so, most accidents are a result of ground faults. All the same, even though ground fault protection for boats is common and familiar to many, there is still a majority of people who do not know about the dangers. For instance, some do not understand clearly its causes and effects.
Well, grounding is the connection of a part of an electrical system that carries current connecting it to the earth. For instance, at any substation, there is a neutral point that is connected to the earth, hence called grounding. It offers a balance to the three-phase systems to avoid any current accidents. In normal conditions, the grounding conductors are not carrying current. However, if there are any imbalance voltages then it flows through the grounding wire and rebalances to the electrical systems.
Causes of Ground Fault
Ground faults are caused by the uncontrolled flow of currents that pass from a component through a potential object to the earth or ground. It happens mainly as a result of broken conductors or when there are no grounding connections. It is also caused by loose connections and burnt cables.
A line conductor that touches a grounding system or any conductor to the ground is referred to as a line-to-ground fault. So, the three-phase systems have only one phase that touches the ground. However, in other cases, all the three must touch the ground. When this happens, the voltage is rendered zero. Hence, so many currents begin to flow through that phase and the ground conductor. This can result in burning if the circuit is never tumbled.
Effects of Ground Fault
Grounding is done for balancing the voltages of all three phases. If a ground fault occurs in a three-phase system, the voltage unbalance will occur which may disturb all loads. Ground faults create electrical shocks which are extremely dangerous to humans. When this occurs without being properly controlled, it can cause fires or electrocute a person, causing injury or death.
All in all, these can be controlled by properly using ground fault protection for boats. However, we know that the ground fault is not similar to the earth’s fault. Earthing simply refers to the connection of a noncurrent conductor to the earth and the ground is a connection of parts that carry electricity to the earth. Regardless of the definitions, ground faults are preventable.