Another RF ground ?? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-23-2014
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Another RF ground ??

Our 1989 PSC34 has a dyna plate attached to the hull. The new electronics I m installing on board are calling for attachment of an RF ground...the power cables have three wires: Positive, Negative, and RF ground.

The manuals specific attaching RF ground to an RF grounding system or the negative terminal of the battery.

Would attaching the rf ground wires to the Dyna plate suffice?

Wouldn't attaching the rf ground wire to the negative bus bar be the same as attaching to the negative terminal of the battery?

Are there any other methods to create an rf ground to attach all the rf ground wires too?
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Old 07-23-2014
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Re: Another RF ground ??

The dyna plate is a typical RF ground especially for the SSB. What type of electronics are you installing that need the RF ground?

Attaching to the negative bus bar is similar to but not as good as connecting directly to the battery. The battery will do a marginally better job at sinking the RF currents.
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Re: Another RF ground ??

My VHF, Multifunction Display and autopilot require separate RF ground. I was think about connecting to the plate but I am a bit concerned about the fact that the mast is grounded there and that a lightening strike would kill everything attached.
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Old 07-23-2014
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Re: Another RF ground ??

My VHF, Multifunction Display and autopilot require separate RF ground. I was think about connecting to the plate but I am a bit concerned about the fact that the mast is grounded there and that a lightening strike would kill everything attached.
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Old 07-23-2014
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Re: Another RF ground ??

Your boat may have a copper HF radio ground strap built into the boat. See the older thread:

Grounding a SSB radio in a PSC 34

Bill Murdoch
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Re: Another RF ground ??

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Originally Posted by Hush34 View Post
My VHF, Multifunction Display and autopilot require separate RF ground. I was think about connecting to the plate but I am a bit concerned about the fact that the mast is grounded there and that a lightening strike would kill everything attached.
Are you sure your mast is grounded to the dyna plate? I have some knowledge of RF but am not an expert. However, I believe the RF ground and the lightning protection system should be separate as they serve very different functions.
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Old 07-24-2014
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Re: Another RF ground ??

The issue here is different from the RF ground appropriate for an SSB. The cables that interconnect your electronics are shielded to minimize the potential for radio frequency interference (RFI). RFI may cause data disruption. Autopilots are particularly prone to unfortunate responses to RFI. Stories of 90 degree turns when a radio is keyed abound.

In your case connecting the shield to the battery negative will be most effective. Unless you are confident that you can avoid ground loops you are best served using the negative bus bar for the shield connections.

In the long term you should understand ground loops (bad) and single point grounds (good). Realize that there are a number of ground systems on your boat: DC ground (battery negative), AC safety ground (the green wire), AC neutral (the white wire which may will have a connection to the safety ground at inverters or generators), RF ground, a lightening ground (apparently on your boat but not on all), and possibly a galvanic bonding system. There are relationships between the various grounds and the interconnections should be in association with a single point ground.
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Re: Another RF ground ??

Each one of my chain plates hence the mast are hardwired to the dyna plate. I think I am going to stay away from attaching RF ground to the plate and stick to the negative bus bar ie, the negative terminal of the battery.
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Re: Another RF ground ??

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Originally Posted by Hush34 View Post
Each one of my chain plates hence the mast are hardwired to the dyna plate. I think I am going to stay away from attaching RF ground to the plate and stick to the negative bus bar ie, the negative terminal of the battery.
That's probably the best solution. Again, I question whether the chain plates, etc. are connected to a dyna plate. More likely they're connected to a normal grounding zinc.
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Old 07-25-2014
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Re: Another RF ground ??

I replaced every chain plate on the boat in February and attached to each was infact an 8 gauge wire that ran from the backing plate to the dyna plate which is on the starboard side of my boat.

Today I did some rewiring so I could finish the install of my auto-pilot. Back in 1989 they really thought Loran was going to be around forever....took me a while to cut all the tie wraps to release the dead end loran cable which is where I ran power to my Seatalk network from.

As for the RF ground, I found a 8/0 ground cable that I believe goes directly t the battery that I am going to use for my RF grounding. I am installing a bus bar so all my electronics that need RF grounding can be attached. Thanks for all the input on this subject it has been a real help.
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