Driving ground rod with bucket?

   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #1  

vvanders

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Setting up the electric fence in our new place tomorrow, got about 1800' to eventually hot wire so stepped up our ground rod game a bit and grabbed 3 6ft grounding rods to drive tomorrow.

I've done them the old-fashion way with sledge hammer and garden hose. Planning on soaking the ground a bit, regretting that I left my hammer drill back at the house we're going to be selling soon. Assuming I get a few feet going is it worth using the loader to help them along or am I just asking for a bent ground rod? Soil here is mostly sand so I'm hoping things shouldn't be too complicated.

Also heard of the hydro-pipe method which is my backup if things end up not going too smoothly.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #2  

RjCorazza

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No harm in trying, but I suspect the rods will go caddywampus real quick. For the few rods I have sunk, I have used those hand held post drivers.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #3  

Thomas

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You won't have that hand on feeling if hit hard object might bend the rod...iron bar to start the hole would help.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #4  

Diggin It

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I don't have anything with a loader yet, but am shopping. This is one thing I was wondering about being able to do, but for T-posts. Thought about maybe combining a conventional manual T-post driver to keep it straight and the loader to provide the downforce. Not sure if you can raise/lower the bucket to drive, or just force it down.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #5  

LouNY

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A loader makes a poor post driver,
it doesn't have the speed for an impact like a sledge hammer,
and until you get quite large you don't have the mass to just shove a post or rod unless your ground is very soft.
I have picked the front end of a 100 horse tractor loader up on a T post.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #6  

Gary Fowler

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I have driven T post with some success as long as I didn't hit a rock and the ground was wet. Summer time it isn't recommended since the ground gets like concrete after a long drought.
I wouldn't try to drive a ground rod with it though. First you will likely bend the rod and second you may punch a hole in your FEL bucket.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #7  

sdef

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No harm in trying, but I suspect the rods will go caddywampus real quick. For the few rods I have sunk, I have used those hand held post drivers.

The only successful way I have done it in a reasonable amount of time without damaging something. Typically I place some kind of heavy metal "cap" over the top of the ground rod to keep it from being too deformed. I also suggest you slide the ground wire clamp, if one piece, onto the rod first in case the end you are driving from does get mushroomed.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #8  

chim

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Early in my life as an electrician, we drove many 8' ground rods with lighter sledgehammers - probably 8-pounders. A heavier sledgehammer was difficult to use while standing on a stepladder to get it started. It was a pain as a one-man operation because the rod swayed quite a bit when struck till it was pretty well into the earth. We'd often have an accomplice try to keep the rod steady. For some reason, the guy who steadied the rod often wanted to hold it with an old pair of pump pliers.
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #9  

the old grind

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BTDT, abd result for me is been that somewhere around half-way driven that bend will happen. That said 3-4' is as deep as I've ever driven on my own ten. Sandy soil with plenty of gravel.

I've been lucky as often as I backed off just in time to prevent bending. Success for me always requires finishing with a sledge. Ground rods (eg: 6' steel, copper plated) are a real bear to straighten, once bent, and to drive a second time. :(
 
   / Driving ground rod with bucket? #10  

Birdhunter1

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I sunk 10' ground rods in three different areas along my fence and one near the fence charger. There are four other grounds rods around my place at building and panels and all I've ever used was a few gallons of water in a bucket and a 20 oz Estwing framing hammer. Start a little divot with your ground rod in the dirt, pour some water in, pump your ground rod up and down, once in a while pour more water in and eventually you have about 12" sticking up out of the ground. This is all in heavy clay soil, no sand, this process works very well for me.
 
 
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