The dirty little secret of satellite installation. - Page 3 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #21 of 26 Old 03-01-10, 04:00 PM
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

Good points...but isn't it ultimately the responsibility of the cable/satellite providers to ensure the job is done correctly. It appears to me that there is not enough accountability for the quality of work. If they performed audits of the work to ensure they were up to code, I think they would soon realize that they were not allocating enough resources to this and would have to take corrective action. This is not only a sound quality issue but potentially a safety issue. I guess I've ranted enough.
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post #22 of 26 Old 03-01-10, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

Sure it is. As I have said before, if it gets back to their risk management people, they get crazy to get it fixed. They know the liability that it puts back on them. The control point remains the installer and his direct supervision and training.

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post #23 of 26 Old 03-14-11, 07:59 PM
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

National Electrical Code (NEC) rules of course apply universally throughout the USA, hence the name "National". In some states and local (city/county) jurisdictions more restrictive rules apply, with the NEC generally comprising baseline minimums. The most recent revision of the NEC I'm aware of is 2007 where now the building (home) electrical ground (rod) is additionally bonded to the gas line (metal piping) within the home, generally at the common common point of entry (POE) into the residence. This is also the point at which the satellite dish (and OTA antenna, if used) and telephone are required to be bonded. My further understanding is that if a separate ground rod(s) is/are driven for the satellite & antenna that bonding back to the POE via a separate dedicated conductor (#10 AWG minimum) is also required, even if it requires trenching.

While preexisting systems (prior to the last NEC revision) are "grandfathered" those systems must still have been installed and grounded in accordance with the revision of the NEC in effect at the time of original installation.

From what I have personally seen of both DTV & DISH installer's workmanship, only a small percentage of their installations "meet code" in spite of the fact that their training videos all stress the requirement of proper grounding. In stark contrast to this, I've found that virtually all landline telephone installations are properly grounded.

Bottom line, the satellite contract installer's zeal to race through and accomplish as many installs as their shift allows seems to take an unacceptable precedence over electrical safety.
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post #24 of 26 Old 04-15-12, 05:57 PM
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

The dirty litttle secret seems to be Financial Responsibility. The home owners want FREE. The satellite providers want the monthly income. Resulting in what? It's the installers who need to foot the bill or they are lazy? Every new house in america seems to have a service entrance for satellite TV. I have yet to see electrical prints reflecting a ground. The dishes are now hidden from view where possible, and lets save money and use Pex tubing for water lines eliminating a positive ground source with metallic pipe. Grounding for telephone and cable Tv are provided at the electrical service panel. Driving multiple ground rods for a single residence is not a safe alternative. My understanding of electricity safety for a residence involves a single path to ground. Safety is of utmost importance lets not put this responsibilty at the bottom of the totem pole.
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post #25 of 26 Old 04-15-12, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

Installers are trained these days to ground according to code, which requires grounding the mast and the coax shield to the same earthing conductor that the rest of the electrical system is using.

Risk management at the installation companies and the sat companies that they work for are completely aware of their liability if systems are not installed properly.

The fact is that satellite installers agree to install according to code and often do not because they get paid so little for their work. In every case where I have pointed the problem out to the sat company, they send someone out to correct it. Whether it is the original installer varies, and whether they re-imburse them I do not know.

Satellite installers are similar to many other service workers these days. They accept contracts to do work at rates that are absurdly low because there are so many people willing to work for pennies. We saw the same thing happen in TV repair. The result is lots of low quality work. We demand low prices and that drives low rates for service, particularly in an economy where jobs are scarce.

Sorry if the truth hurts but the control point for doing the job right is the installer. They are not forced to install things differently than they are trained and agree.

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post #26 of 26 Old 08-22-12, 05:33 PM
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Re: The dirty little secret of satellite installation.

lcaillo wrote: View Post
I really hope that this is not an issue in other areas, but in Gainesville and nearby, I have repeatedly seen how sat installers do not ground their installations properly. There certainly are some professional, well trained, and thorough installers, but they are few around here. Every consumer needs to know that there are very specific codes that govern these installations and that failure to follow them may seriously compromise any protection in your system and present hazards in the event of a direct or nearby lightning strike. This is far more significant here, where we have more lightning than just about anywhere in the USA. But no matter where you are, you need to be sure that your installation is done according to electrical codes and the requirements of the manufacturers of the equipment.

The codes can get rather hard to understand for someone not used to following them. It can be summarized by saying that the dish itself must be grounded from the mast to the electrical service ground for the home. Also, the coax must be grounded using a ground block, at or near the entrance to the home, back to the electrical service ground. Your electrical service is grounded, typically using an electrode (rod) into the ground about 8 ft long, at the meter where the service enters the home. Any class 2 wiring (that includes cable, phone, and satellite lines) entering the home MUST have its ground line or shield connected to that ground electrode.

Some installers will drive another ground rod for the dish itself when the dish is mounted quite a distance from the house. This is ok, but ONLY if that ground rod is bonded to the ground at the electrical service entrance with a heavy gauge wire. We see installations all the time that are not grounded from the dish and mast, nor grounded with a ground block on the coax at the entrance. These installations do not meet code.

A dish is not a serious threat for a direct strike, being a round bodied object. It is, however, still an antenna, and with nearby strikes, a large electrostatic charge is produced. Without proper grounding, the dish may present a significant problem for the system. We see them damaged all the time when they are ungrounded. We rarely see damage on properly installed systems. The bad news is that when damage does occur, the rest of the system may be compromised as well.

The solution? Check to be sure that there is a heavy copper wire from the dish and from a ground block at the entry to the home going back to the electrical service entrance by your meter. If not, call the satellite company and notify them that the installation does not meet code and that it needs to be done correctly. They will likely take care of it. If not, contact the local or state inspector for electrical contractors and notify them that installations are being done that do not meet code and who it is that is doing it. They will likely correct the situation and it will not be pleasant for the installation company. Here in FL a low voltage electrical contractor's license is required to do these installations. Installers who are not licensed or not following code can be shut down or fined.

Also, check the integrity of the ground on the electrical service periodically. The clamps on the ground rod should be clean and tight. Corrosion or loose fits can make even the best surge protection less effective.

There is more info here:
I know I am a little late on this thread, but I was looking for another forum and stumbled upon this and felt a little annoyed by the accusations made...

I feel safe in saying that you do not understand what the ground on a system is for...

I have been installing since Cband... I have been around awhile. One person mentioned that all installers are paid by the job, please research your comment...

"We see them damaged all the time when they are ungrounded. We rarely see damage on properly installed systems"

^Just not true...

As long as your homes electrical system is in proper working order, there really is no need for a ground. The receivers ground is more than sufficient to ground the entire system...

In fact grounding the system can cause other issues if the home isn't wired properly.

The NEC code calls for a #10 copper wire, which is no bigger than the plastic tip of your shoelace... This does nothing for lightning strikes, in fact I have seen these grounds melted... It does not ground the strike at all... Regardless of this ground most components in the system will be toast... There are occasions when components are not affected, I have seen this both with and without a ground...

I really want to go on but I am short on time. I think that most of you who have responded to the OP, should learn a little bit more about the subject before you get on the soapbox...
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