D-I-Y: Grounding Your Audio-Video & PC System

Grounding or Earthing is a safety precaution to prevent electrical shock from electrical equipment or appliances.

(Photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

The theory is simple–electricity goes back to earth to complete a cycle. However, in many electronic gadgets grounding doesn’t necessarily mean connecting directly to ground or earth. It can be done by using a large conductor such as printed circuit board or the casing of the appliance or equipment itself can be used as a ground.

However, electrical insulation sometimes failed and an enormous amount of electricity can go to the casing and can cause electrical shock. In some cases, just like my audio-video and PC system, the ground voltage is high which is no longer within the tolerable limit of our body.

My PC and DVD player are both connected to the above LCD monitor which has a higher ground voltage. Every time i touch the casing of my PC, even if it’s off, i could sense a substantial amount of electricity flowing into my body. This is because the negative or ground connection of my PC is the same to that of my LCD monitor.

So, i was thinking of grounding the system to prevent electrical shock. But then, the challenge was to set up the grounding without rolling additional wire in my sala to outside the house. Remember, you have to connect the ground wire from the negative terminal of your appliance or its metal casing (in this case, from my PC’s casing) to earth or ground.

Since my LCD monitor is also a TV set which has an outdoor antenna at the top of a “Mansanitas” tree, i opted to connect my grounding wire from the antenna to a water pipe below. If you don’t have a grounding electrode just like in the first picture above, a water pipe on the ground is a best substitute.

My Baron-type antenna is placed on top of this “Mansanitas” tree outside my house. I connected the ground wire by attaching it to a screw in the aluminum bar of the antenna which holds the antenna rods.

The antenna wire (black coaxial cable) runs from my sala up to the TV antenna on top of the tree. The coaxial cable has a negative or ground wire connected to my audio-video & PC system and to the antenna.

The red (solid) wire with an insulator runs from the TV antenna down to a water pipe below.

The red wire is connected to the water pipe for grounding.

Be sure the exposed conductor of the wire is firmly attached to the water pipe for maximum grounding. Before attaching to the pipe, i tested the grounding connection by striking the wire to the pipe. There was an electrical spark which mean a complete circuit or connection from my audio-video & PC system to the ground.

Now, i can freely touch the casing of my PC, as well as my audio-video system without having experience electrical voltage. You can try this at home and give me feedback.


One thought on “D-I-Y: Grounding Your Audio-Video & PC System

  1. My internet connection was interrupted early this week after the power supply of my DSL’s modem was hit last night (June 2, 2010) by the lightning. I had to rush to PLDT to ask for a replacement of the damaged unit… I was able to trace why my system was hit by a lightning despite the grounding system i had just made.

    Here’s why: My grounding system connects to my PC and LCD TV monitor which in turn connects to my wifi-router and PLDT DSL modem via the LAN cables. However, on the night of June 2, i removed all the cables of my PC after doing a troubleshoot on it. That left my Wi-Fi router and the PLDT modem operating without grounding. I saw the striking light at the end of my LAN cable connected to my laptop when that powerful lightning struck.

    Fortunately, my laptop was spared and all the electricity from the lightning was absorbed by the power supply unit of the PLDT modem. Thanks God.


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