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What is the Difference between Neutral and Earthing?

Difference between neutral and earthing Difference between neutral and earthing

Difference between neutral and earthing. Friends, today we are going to talk about the difference between neutral and earthing.  What is earthing, and what is neutral? Many times people do not understand the difference between the earthing and neutral wire. they think that both are the same. But both are not the same. Here we will know how they are different.

What is Neutral?

Before we discuss neutral and difference between neutral and earthing, we have to know about our electrical distribution system. In which there is a generating unit, where we generate the three-phase power. Which is transmitted to a grid with three wires called three phases named R, Y, and B. it is further going to our nearest power substation, and then it goes to our distribution transformer.

Difference between earth and neutral

Neutral Wire from transformer internal wiring

Now, as you can see in the above image of the internal connection of the distribution transformer. All three-phases enter to HT side with three terminal R, Y, and B. But in LT side four-wire are coming named R, Y, B, and a neutral N. which is connected to the neutral point of star-connected LT winding.  This wire is called neutral wire or neutral, which comes to our home. This Neutral point is grounded near the transformer so that the voltage of neutral can be maintained to zero.

Importance of Neutral Wire

Whatever an electricity connection comes to our house, either single-phase or three-phase. In addition to the phase wire(R, Y, and B anyone in case of single-phase and all three in case of three-phase), a neutral wire also comes to our house. This neutral wire provides the return path for the electricity coming into our home. It means that the power supply company provides neutral wire, and this neutral serves as the return path for the electricity coming into our home. Some times people use earthing wire as a return path which is wrong. In the next paragraph, we will know that what is earthing and why we need an earthing.

What is Earthing?

Friends Earth wire or Earthing does not come from the utility pole like a neutral wire. The electricity company does not provide it. We have to make it in our own house. For this, a pit has to be made. Then we put a copper plate in it. After that, we fill it with a mixture of wooden charcoal, salt, and some sand.  By putting all this, a good arrangement is made so that it can draw the all current or leakage current or fault current whenever it is needed. In our house, there is a three-pin plug which has a third thick pin. It is connected to the earth wire as you can see in the image below.

Importance of the Earthing

To understand the importance of earth wire, we will take an example. Suppose there is no earthing in our house. I mean no earthing wire connected to the third pin( a bigger hole in the three-pin socket). In our appliances, electricity is fed through phase wire, and it returns through the neutral wire. Till now everything is okay. The appliance is running smoothly, and there is no issue. But problems start when there is a fault. Suppose there is an insulation failure in the phase wire. Or anyhow live wire is connected with the body of appliance. Then the body of the appliance is now dangerous. Now if anyone touches the appliance, he will get a shock, and it may be dangerous. 

In this case, if earthing were connected to the third pin( a bigger hole in the three-pin socket). The fault current will be bypassed through the earthing. And if anyone touches the body of that appliance, he will not get the shock as the body of the appliance is connected to the earthing wire through the third pin of the socket. Now let’s discuss the difference between neutral and earthing.

Difference between Neutral and Earthing 

Here we will list the major difference between Neutral and Earthing.

  1. Neutral provides the return path to the supply while earth wire is not.
  2. Neutral carries current all the time while earthing is not.
  3. The utility company provides the neutral wire while earthing is not.
  4. Earthing is used to provide safety from shock in case of a fault. But neutral is not used for safety.
  5. Earth is generally connected to the dead part of the appliance such as its body while neutral is connected to provide the return path.

I hope you liked the article. If you have any doubts or suggestion please comment below and share with your friends. It will help me a lot. Thank you.

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About Amit Kumar

I am an Electrical Engineer and currently working as an Assistant Electrical Engineer in a distribution company. I am working with a distribution company for more than nine years. So here, I try to share my experience and knowledge to solve real-life problems related to electricity and electricity bills. More Posts

3 Comments on What is the Difference between Neutral and Earthing?

  1. Very Well explianed, Thanks

  2. Best article about neutral and earthing, thank you please continue this wonderful job

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