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What is the difference between Earth, Ground and Neutral?

MIT 6.002 Circuits and Electronics, Spring 2007
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As mentioned earth and ground are the same terms used in different countries. The earth (ground) conductor is electrically connected to the earth so that anything it is connected to, cannot become live. There will be be some kind of local regulation determining the maximum resistance that is allowed where the connection is made to ground (rod, mat etc)
The neutral is one connection of the supply transformer that is also connected to earth. It is not a return path as such because ac is changing direction. The reason it is connected to earth is for safety. It means that a fault (to earth) of the live conductor will cause the overcurrent device (fuse or breaker) to operate and trip the power.
There are systems that do not connect one side of the supply transformer to earth (no neutral). They still function just the same as an earthed system. This is more common in military or medical and requires some form of sensing circuit to detect faults but the fault gives an alarm rather than a trip so that power remains until an outage can be planned to find the fault.

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There are systems that do not connect one side of the supply transformer to earth (no neutral). They still function just the same as an earthed system. This is more common in military or medical and requires some form of sensing circuit to detect faults but the fault gives an alarm rather than a trip so that power remains until an outage can be planned to find the fault.

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