When it references electricity, a ground loop normally refers to an unwanted electrical current, located in a conductor that connects two points which instead of being at the same potential, they end up at different ones. They are caused by the equipment being improperly installed. Plus, they are dangerous because you can get shocked by them since they aren’t usually grounded correctly.
When Do Ground Loops Happen?
Ground loops can occur in wiring that has a low current rate in it. It can interfere with audio gear and cause buzzing and noise unless you have a ground loop isolator to block this from occurring when two pieces of gear are plugged into affected power outlets. Ground loop isolation helps to prevent a direct electrical connection between two pieces of gear plugged into a socket and works similar to what shielded cables would also do for the situation.
Sometimes You Can See A Ground Loop
You can actually see a ground loop on a television screen. This ground loop design looks like bright bands that roll upwards on the screen. This can show up when a video projector is grounded with a three prong plug. This is a type of ground loop interference. This can be stopped if you use ground loop isolation in the form of a surge protection device.
Ground Loops Are Important For Circuit Design
A ground loop is also vital if you are designing an electrical circuit. This is due to the fact that a lot of circuits put out a large amount of current that exists through a ground plane and that can cause differences in the voltage appearing in various sections of the circuit, once again leading to the potential for many issues to occur to cause problems for using it. You may have to use several strategies to totally stay away from the problems caused by a ground loop.
Ground Loops Are Common Problems
A Ground loop is a common problem, especially when it concerns hooking together several pieces of video or audio gear. In fact, they are one of the most common problems seen when using audio gear. It usually happens if your gear system is attached to a grounded electrical socket as well as a network of antennas or is attached to more than one grounded electrical outlet in a room.
The bottom line is that a ground loop is interference in your electrical system and is something you want to avoid.