AC and DC ground


Joined Nov 28, 2009
Never confuse Neutral for Ground

Always verify that Neutrals and Phase wires (white and black respectfully) have not been reversed somewhere. Never forget "black to brass, white to bright".

Yes, they can share the same ground attach.

Should they or not will always be a debate.
Especially for those dealing with marine applications.


Joined Dec 5, 2009
Think about AC to DC converters. Where do you think the ground goes?

The DC circuit goes right into the AC neutral or ground (which connect in a breaker box)


Joined Jul 17, 2007
It's important to not confuse "earth ground" with "neutral".

Neutral is the power return for AC.

Earth ground is protective; connected to the chassis/enclosure.

Neutral carries all of the return current that the "hot" line/lines supply.

Earth ground should carry no current at all.

In the States (USA), the earth Ground bus is connected to the Neutral bus inside the electrical service panel for safety purposes. This is the ONLY place in the system that they are connected together. After the wiring exits the service panel, Neutral and Ground are separate; any current above a few mA on Ground is considered an electrical fault.

This is somewhat confusing, because in most schematics you see posted here, the ground is used as a power return. In simple electronic schematics, ground is used as the 0v reference point. In most cases, it is also connected to earth ground. However, the earth ground does not carry any current; but it does establish the 0v reference point.