Solving Ground Loop Problems A ground loop is an electrical problem that happens when an AC current interferes with the ground reference level of the video signal. It occurs on the conductive path formed by the shield of the video cable and the chassis of the video equipment. A loop results from the difference between the voltage potential of the shield at one end of the cable, versus the voltage potential of the shield at the other end. The electrical level of the shield is usually zero volts. When a ground loop is present, this level fluctuates above and below zero volts. The greater the difference, the more severe the distortion or tearing. If the potential is too great it can destroy the equipment. Ground loops are an after-the-fact type of problem in which the end-user blames the installer, the installer blames the manufacturer, and actually nobody is at fault. Neither the manufacturer nor the installer can predict where a loop will occur. Only after the system is installed can it be determined if a problem will exist. Ground loop problems can be corrected. It is important for both the dealer and the end-user to be aware that this problem can occur. A ground loop problem may occur at several points in the system, and each occurrence of the problem must be corrected individually. Loops can occur between a camera and monitor, from a camera to a switch, or one of many other possibilities.