Jump to content

Ground to Neutral connection question


ctgo4it
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi,

brand new HI here. I just came upon 3 electrical panels in a 3 family home. The ground and neutral are seperated in each panel (they each service a different unit, so I don't think they are considered sub-panels). The 3 main breakers are outside by the meters. Is that panel considered a sub-panel, or should the ground and neutral be connected?

Thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ctgo4it

Hi,

brand new HI here. I just came upon 3 electrical panels in a 3 family home. The ground and neutral are seperated in each panel (they each service a different unit, so I don't think they are considered sub-panels). The 3 main breakers are outside by the meters. Is that panel considered a sub-panel, or should the ground and neutral be connected?

Thank you

From your description, it sounds fine. I'm envisioning three meters with three disconnects outside. Each disconnect feeds a distribution panel in each of the three units. The grounds & neutrals are connected at the main disconnects but separated at the distribution panels.

Yes?

If so, that's fine.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Quote: Originally posted by ctgo4it

Hi,

brand new HI here. I just came upon 3 electrical panels in a 3 family home. The ground and neutral are seperated in each panel (they each service a different unit, so I don't think they are considered sub-panels). The 3 main breakers are outside by the meters. Is that panel considered a sub-panel, or should the ground and neutral be connected?

Thank you

From your description, it sounds fine. I'm envisioning three meters with three disconnects outside. Each disconnect feeds a distribution panel in each of the three units. The grounds & neutrals are connected at the main disconnects but separated at the distribution panels.

Yes?

If so, that's fine.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim,

I don't know what's going on at the main. It's part of the meter panel, so I didn't open it. I thought the ground and neutral have to be seperate until it goes to the service. I would think the main here is just a 'switch' for the hot lines, and the neutral/ground runs right out. I tried uploading pictures of it, but it won't load it.

Thanks for the help

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Open the pictures in PhotoDraw or something like that, resize them to something less than 100 Mb and rename them without any special sympbols or spaces in the name. In other words Johnson House.JPG; House(Johnson).JPG or JohnsonHouse#1 won't work. You need something like johnsonhouse.jpg .

They should upload after that.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Geez, this always goes confusing.

Cramer has said over and over that everything downstream of the main disconnect should have grounds & neutrals separated, and Cramer is always right, damn him.

If the main disconnect is outside on the meter socket, that means the panels inside are "subpanels", no?

If so, how would that make this install fine?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ctgo4it

Jim,

I don't know what's going on at the main. It's part of the meter panel, so I didn't open it

If it's a typical meter main, there'll be two sections - one for the meter and one for the main breaker. Each should have its own separate cover. The meter side will have a seal on it from the power company. The main breaker side will have no seal. You ought to be able to open that one and look inside.

I thought the ground and neutral have to be seperate until it goes to the service.

The general rule is that grounding wires can't be connected to the neutral wires *after* the service disconnect. They are connected to one another *before* the service disconnect.

Ref NEC 250.24(A)(5).

I would think the main here is just a 'switch' for the hot lines, and the neutral/ground runs right out.

It's the service disconnecting means. Before it, the grounding wires and the neutral wires are connected. After it, they're separate.

Yes, the neutral and grounding wires run in & out. They should never be interrupted or switched.

I suggest you buy three books.

Wiring Simplified by Richter & Schwan

Electrical Inspection of Existing Dwellings, by Douglas Hansen

The National Electrical Code by NFPA

Read them in that order.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kurt

Geez, this always goes confusing.

Cramer has said over and over that everything downstream of the main disconnect should have grounds & neutrals separated, and Cramer is always right, damn him.

Yes. That's correct.

If the main disconnect is outside on the meter socket, that means the panels inside are "subpanels", no?

In our parlance, yes. Bear in mind, though, that the NEC never uses the term "subpanel."

If so, how would that make this install fine?

Because, in the original post, he said that the grounds & neutrals are separated in the indoor panels.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by chicago

Not to be a buttinski however no one mentioned that the bond screw should be checked.As in not screwed down at the subp......opps remote distribution panel.

Actually the sub panel enclosure should be bonded. It just has to be done at the equipment ground bar rather than at the floating neutral.

Brian G.

I See Your Buttinski, And I Raise You a Buttinski [:-mischie[:D]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget -

The ground and neutral must also be isolated in the auxillary (sub) panels. If the neutral bus bar is connected directly to the box with no insulator isolating it from the grounded box, they are separared only by means of connecting them to a separate bar, but are still bonded togehter through the conductive frame of the box.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's 2000. A very typical and correct townhouse/condo set-up.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif condoservice.JPG

93.51 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif condopanel2.JPG

135.3 KB

I don't really care if the NEC uses the term "sub-panel" or not. Electricians do. However, I do think it should be reserved for a panel fed from a breaker other than the service disconnect.

My terminology...

Service Disconnect: Wherever it is.

Service Panel: The distribution panel, only if it contains the service disconnect (my clients don't understand "service equipment").

Distribution Panel, Main Panel or just Panel: The first distribution panel if there's a remote disconnect. May have a "Main" breaker or not.

Sub Panel: Subsequent panel fed from a breaker within a distribution or service panel (or anything after that).

I try to stick to that.

Edited because I grabbed a photo of a screwed up condo panel first.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif 0032.JPG

60.07 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep...see my edit above. The last (0032) photo was in the report. Good eye sir! I somehow managed to add the wording without noticing I had grabbed a bad one. I caught it when I checked the post image (probably at the same time as you).

For others...the new condopanel2 photo isn't what Brian was talking about. It was a larger photo of the 0032 panel. Now I've confused everyone! [:-banghea

That was a new home. Signed off. No reliable path back to the utility grounded conductor to clear a ground fault.

"Do I need an inspection on a new home?"

Yes, Ma'am!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are the pictures (finally!)

The meters and the mains are all in one enclosure, so I couldn't see what's going on in there. But as I 've been reading, I guess everything past the main disconnect should be seperate.

Thanks all for your help

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif earlst1.jpg

29.82 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif earlst2.jpg

25.95 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif earlst3.jpg

44.89 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ctgo4it

Here are the pictures (finally!)

The meters and the mains are all in one enclosure, so I couldn't see what's going on in there. But as I 've been reading, I guess everything past the main disconnect should be seperate.

Thanks all for your help

In the first picture, I think I see bare grounding wires landing on the neutral terminal bar. If so, that's wrong.

In the third picture, I'd have removed the cover on the right side. That's where you'd probably find the connection between the grounding and grounded wires.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darren,

I use a pair of obsolete Microsoft programs. MS Photo Editor for my default viewer, lightening, cropping and resizing. And...MS Image Composer for adding text, circles, etc. I got used to them, and still find them the easiest to use.

Photo-editor came with office XP and 2000 but gets removed if you install office 2003. Image Composer is even older and came with FrontPage 97 (I think). When I change or upgrade computers I have to jump through some hoops to get them re-loaded and working. Because of that I wouldn't suggest them for everyone but I'm fairly sure that you can find free downloads of both programs from other sites if you are a diligent Googler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...