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Earth Resistance Measurement

Presented by,

W. F. Wan Ahmad, PhD.

Centre for Electromagnetic and Lightning Protection
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang

Presentation outline
Methods of earth resistance measurement
Earth resistance measuring instruments
Earth resistance measurement procedure









resistance of soil to the passage of electric current.

IEEE Std. 81-2012 has defined earth resistance, as the






electrode, grid or system and remote earth [IEEE Std.


Introduction (contd.)






determine the effectiveness of earth electrode systems

such as grids, single or multiple earthing points and
connections that are used in electrical systems to
protect personnel and equipment [Megger].

Introduction (contd.)
The resistance of an earth electrode system has
basically three components as illustrated in Figure 1;
Resistance of the electrode itself and connections to
Contact resistance between the electrode and the soil
adjacent to it.
Resistance of the surrounding soil.

Introduction (contd.)

Fig 1 Equivalent resistance of an earth electrode


Introduction (contd.)
The resistance of the electrode materials such as
copper, galvanized steel, and copper-coated steel are
usually small so that their contribution to the total
resistance is negligible.
The contact resistance between the electrode and soil
is may also be considered negligible if the electrode
materials are clean and unpainted when installed and
the soil is firmly packed.

Introduction (contd.)
Generally, the resistance of the surrounding soil will
be the largest of the three components.
An earth electrode system buried in the soil radiates
current in all directions and eventually dissipates
some distance away depending on the soils
resistance to current flow as shown in Figure 2.
The earth resistance were concerned with here is the
resistance to current flow from the electrode into the
surrounding soil [Reeve, 2008].

Introduction (contd.)

Fig 2 Radiation of current through the soil

Methods of earth resistance measurements

IEEE Std. 81-2012 has outlined 3 methods;
Three point method
Staged fault tests
Fall of potential method (FOP)
FOP is the most accurate method for measurement of
earth resistance and soil resistivity.
Also, it is the universally used method for earth
resistance measurement.

Resistance measurements (contd.)

The method involves placing a potential stake P in a
straight line between the earth electrode E under test
and the current stake C making an angle = 00
between the voltage and current stakes as shown in
Figure 3.
If the potential stake cannot be located in line with
the earth electrode due to obstructions such as
buildings, paved lots or underground metallic pipes,
the potential stake may be located at angles ranging
from 900 up to 2700 .

Resistance measurement (contd.)

Electrode under test

Voltage stake

Fig 3 Arrangement for earth resistance


Current stake

Earth resistance measuring instruments

Several instruments for measuring earth resistance exist,
but the most common ones are;
Megger Earth Tester DET3TC
Fluke 1625-2 Geo Earth Tester
Kyoritsu 4106 Earth Resistance and Resistivity Tester
AEMC Earth Resistance Tester
Megger Earth Tester is the most commonly used in UPM due
to its relative cost and ease of handling. Refer to Figures 4
and 5.

Fig 4 Megger Earth Tester DET3TC

Earth resistance measurement procedure

1. The first step in conducting earth resistance measurement is to

calibrate the DET3TC Megger Earth Tester and ICLAMP to compensate

for changes in environmental conditions during transportation from
one location to another. See Figure 5.
2. The position of voltage stake (P) with respect to the earth electrode

under test (EUT) is determined using the rule of 61.8% prior to

commencement of the earth resistance measurement. Refer to
illustration of Fig. 6.

Measurement procedure (contd.)

Fig 5 Calibration of DET3TC and

Fig 6 Typical arrangement for earth resistance

Measurement procedure (contd.)

3. Next the DET3TC, ICLAMP, voltage and current stakes

connected across the earth electrode under test

(EUT) as shown in Figure 6.

4. The selector button on the DET3TC is then switched
to 3-Pole option.
5. When the test button on DET3TC is pressed, current I
is circulated between EUT and current stake.
6. A potential difference V between EUT and the voltage
stake is determined by the DET3TC.

Measurement procedure (contd.)

Fig 6 Connections at the rear of the DET3TC for measuring earth

Measurement procedure (contd.)

7. The value of apparent resistance R of the EUT is then
displayed on the DET3TC and recorded.
8. The DET3TC is then switched off and transferred to
the next EUT and procedure 3 to 7 is repeated until the
EUTs are exhausted or the job completed.