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Wireless Networks Thread, Whats the term I'm looking for? Copper between buildings in Technical; Whats the potential problem with running copper cables between buildings causing electric shock?...
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    Whats the term I'm looking for? Copper between buildings

    Whats the potential problem with running copper cables between buildings causing electric shock?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    From what I was told, its all about the difference in earth voltage between buildings. Also, if the buildings each use different phases, there is potential for issues there too.

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    Think technically it may actually be 'Potential difference' but the problem is what is described above!

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    If you're doing a new run I'd advise looking into Fibre. Obviously gets rid of the issues you're talking about and can give you a better connection.

    Ok, it's more expensive to put in place and you may have to upgrade your switches at each end if you've not got the facility there, but it allows for better expansion. Obviously, depends on how many computers your talking about running too I guess to make sure it is effective, or if there are plans for increasing the numbers etc.

    To the question in hand though, if you're running between buildings there are always risks involved, but you can minimise these, such as by using surge protectors on the Cat5, but (and I've never really done this so I don't know for sure) often the cost of doing that can be nearly as expensive as for getting a fibre run in anyway.

    In terms of the Earth differences, it's worth getting this checked by a sparky as if its a really bad setup it could have quite a huge difference which could lead to quite high voltage differences, which again can be got round through using fibre instead (we've just had some new Portable Cabins put on site, and all the networking is done over Fibre because of these very concerns by the LEA team that arranged the install (we literally have a cabin with 1 PC in that has a fibre run all of it's own, and there isn't even room in the cabin to put in another computer realistically. It has it's own WiFi should they want to use laptops or something in there though).

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    Cheers people.

    we are getting a load of huts while our school is rebuilt. Meeting today so I need to get "their" heads out of the sand and highlight every issue I can think of. I know one thing which will be suggested is "will it be cheaper to just run copper?"

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    I know one thing which will be suggested is "will it be cheaper to just run copper?"
    not when they have to rebuild because on a electrical fire!

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    will be suggested is "will it be cheaper to just run copper?"
    To do it safely I doubt there would be much difference in the cost of copper vs fibre (when you've got the surge protection etc in place). Worth checking figures yourself on the cost of such things to see if money could be saved, or more to the point what the end cost difference would be to do it properly.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Yep worth doing it properly - also remember that temporary buildings never tend to be very temporary - ours are still here and where put in 20 years ago!

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    HarryMonkey's Avatar
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    The problem could occur when the two (or more) buildings are fed by different phases of a 3 phase supply. Should an electrical fault occur which then passes via the copper network cables, you have effectively joined 2 phases giving you 440v through the supply.

    One other selling point you could use is that if you use fibre, it can be run through the same conduit as the mains feed, whereas if you use copper it will require a conduit of its own, as it is not permitted to run mains with anything else through the same enclosure, which will clearly involve more cost.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Are there any documented cases of mains voltage being fed down cat5 by faulty equipment?

    Ben

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    Jamman960's Avatar
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    out of interest - If different parts of a building use different phases could that also cause a problem?

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Copper will be an issue because of the different phases, even in the same building...if they wish to risk electrical fires, signal degradation and be outdated, then copper is the way to go.

    Fibre has little risk, and in the long term will be cheaper

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    what happens if lightning hits the copper?

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    HarryMonkey's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are cases where this may have happened. However, these are there as precautions. Would you really want to be the first docemented case simply because it hadn't happened before?

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamman960 View Post
    out of interest - If different parts of a building use different phases could that also cause a problem?
    Yes if you connect one cab to another using copper and the switches are powered from circuits on different phases you have the same potential issue.

    NICEIC will not allow 2 power sockets on different phases that are within reach of each other to be in existence.

    Ben

  16. Thanks to plexer from:

    Jamman960 (25th May 2011)

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