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Disconnected service neutral cable


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I had a job the other day on a 10 year old building. Everything was fairly typical until I got to the panel. I removed the cover and found that the service neutral cable was loose and hanging in the panel. The end of it was taped and it looked like it was like this since day one.

This was the typical set up that we see all the time; a lateral service to the meter with rigid metal conduit from the meter cabinet to the panel with 3-cables. The service was grounded with a driven rod and a connection to a water line in the building and was bonded.

I'm aware of all the implications with this set up, but in my head, I'm trying to figure out exactly how the electrical system was functioning. Was it the ground connection to the water line? Because of the bond in the panel? Thanks for your help.


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Do you have a photo of the entire box?

I don't. It was in a relatively small room and I couldn't get a wide enough shot.

My initial thought was like John stated; the panel was bonded and the current making its way back to the service neutral by the bond in the meter cabinet.

I can't believe this went unnoticed for so long. Someone finished the basement of this building and added some circuits. I had to stare at this for a couple minutes to make sure I wasn't going crazy.

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