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Neutral wires tied to neutral service wire in panel

Mike Lamb

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A ramification would be that if the neutral ever needs to carry current in excess of 20 amps, those puny wires will burn up.

I think a section of the original neutral is dangling there, could cause a spark or come in contact with a hot.

There have been a variety of flaky modifications to those panels. They need to be rewired properly for safety.

Edited by John Kogel
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I agree with Jim but there seems to be more to it than that:  There seems to be a rather large neutral conductor, EGC, or GEC from the neutral bus that leaves the panel via a conduit on the left wall of the panel.  That neutral conductor looks a lot larger than the 2 white wires that extend the neutral SEC to the neutral bus.  Them 2 white wires might well be undersized depending on where that large neutral conductor is going (ground rod, water main?).  Also, where's the neutral wires for the four circuits feeding off of that panel?  The four circuits coming in at the upper right don't have any neutrals.

Edited by Marc
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8 hours ago, Marc said:

  Also, where's the neutral wires for the four circuits feeding off of that panel?  The four circuits coming in at the upper right don't have any neutrals.

Right. So what is happening here? The four hot wires upper right don't have neutrals to go along with them. Is it possible that the circuits can be borrowing the neutral from the panel next to it?  Would that work? All four wires go into a nearby junction box that is packed with wire nuts.

The large neutral conductor is attached to a cold water pipe.



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I see several white wires in that junction box so maybe there's a wire bringing in a neutral for use by other circuits.  Again, it's wrong.  Neutral are supposed to individually originate in the panel.  Conductors of a given circuit are supposed to stay together.

Another possibility is that the four hots are feeding two 240-volt circuits but I doubt it.

A few other things: Blue isn't supposed to be used for EGCs and orange is for the 'high leg' (208 volt) of an unbalanced 3-phase 120/208 supply.

I'd be punting the entire installation over to an electrician:


The issues with the electrical installation are so numerous and diverse that I doubt the folks who have ever worked on it since it was built had even a decent understanding of residential wiring methods.  In this installation alone can be found hazards of all categories: health, safety and fire.

Ask a licensed electrician to go over the entire installation, from meter box to breaker panels, including all electric appliances, receptacles, switches, and light fixtures then bring everything up to current local building code standards.  Make sure the work is permitted and inspected by the local code authority.

If the electrician says you don't have to follow current standards because the house is older, fire him and find someone else.  Electricity doesn't know how old the house is and doesn't care.  It'll start a fire and shock folks just as easily in an older house as in a new one.


Edited by Marc
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