Propery owners and managers and electrical inspectors have long desired products that allow them to bring safe, permanent in-ground power to their outdoor spaces. They had started to wonder if an effective solution was possible, however. Existing options frequently fail, are unattractive and are unsafe. Simply placing a GFCI receptacle into an outdoor floor box is not enough.
Legrand has solved this problem by applying diving bell technology, which is more commonly associated with the marine industry, to its new Outdoor Ground Box. This paper addresses the shortcomings of in-ground outdoor power options and explains the diving bell concept and how the Outdoor Ground Box uses it to succeed where other products have failed.
For as long as people have been trying to bring power to outdoor spaces with in-ground electrical boxes, the focus has been on trying to design waterproof products. That makes sense. A power box with wet outlets is a safety risk.
The problem, however, is that no power box or enclosure with cable egress points has been developed that can be trusted. At some point, they all leak. Let’s look at some of the challenges:
Product failure — Manufacturers have tried to seal in-ground boxes by using heavy-duty gaskets and dozens of bolts on the cover. Whether it’s due to wear and tear or something as small as a grain of sand compromising a gasket, they eventually fail.
Human error — The person who plugs into a power box also has to remove the many bolts and then put them back on when the box is no longer needed. The fact is, facilities staff frequently fail to properly tighten all those bolts. Electrical inspectors will testify to this. They’re the ones who see waterlogged power boxes.
Other options fall short — Above-ground posts are susceptible to damage and are tripping hazards. Temporary power solutions include generators, which are noisy, cumbersome and gas guzzlers, and running wires from a building, which takes time and labor to set up.