[AMRadio] ground sticks again

John Lyles jtml at losalamos.com
Sun Jun 4 23:52:13 EDT 2006

When you discharge a large amt of stored energy, such as a big capacitor system, the instant that you ground it though a stick and ground wire, the tremendous current flows through that ground back to the case of the cap or the Neg terminal. What this does instantaneously is to divide the capacitor voltage down along that wire, so that you can envision it as a voltage divider, from the impedance of the strap or wire to the transient current. At work we have rules that you never hold the ground stick except by the opposite end from the business end (duh), and you don't let the braid touch you, or drape across near your feet. I watched a video last year of grounding very large capacitors at Lawrence Livermore Lab, and when they grounded a very big capacitor (all automatic for the video) the ground wire whipped around wildly. 

Grounding capacitors can be unfriendly, but lifesaving in the longer term. 


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