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Old 04-04-2010, 12:29 AM   #1
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


I know that I need to keep the neutral and ground wires separated on the subpanel but can they be combined on the main panel since they will be anyway?

for example, can I put the white neutral wire into the same location that the earth ground is going into on the main panel (circled in red)? Reason I ask is that the white neutral wire is too thick to fit into the bus bars on my main panel.


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Old 04-04-2010, 08:09 AM   #2
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Earth, gnd, and neutral are connted together in the main panel. Earth and ground are connected together in the sub-panel. Neutral is floating, its' buss bar is isolated from the metal box, and from ground.

Side comment, sloppy looking panel. Would not impress an inspector.

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Old 04-04-2010, 08:15 AM   #3
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Doubling wires under the same terminal is a no no unless the terminal is listed for multiple conductors.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Unless you have a seperate disconnect before this panel i would go no where near that lug with your hands. The two blacks would be hot and unfused and you could cause some serious damage to yourself, your house, or the POCO equipment.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:55 AM   #5
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


The NEC (US) prohibits 'doubling' of any neutral conductor at its termination. One screw, one wire.

I would shop for a listed ground bar for your panel, install it (power OFF of course), and terminate the main panel ground and the sub-panel ground on it. That will free up the terminal you have circled in red to use for the sub-panel neutral.

Keep in mind, that this is not necessarily a procedure for the novice do-it-yourselfer. I would consider having an experienced electrician do it.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:56 AM   #6
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Good point Darren.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


You can buy a lug for your neutral bus bar so you can fit the neutral wire in, like this:

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Old 04-04-2010, 09:59 AM   #8
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


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The NEC (US) prohibits 'doubling' of any neutral conductor at its termination. One screw, one wire.

I would shop for a listed ground bar for your panel, install it (power OFF of course), and terminate the main panel ground and the sub-panel ground on it. That will free up the terminal you have circled in red to use for the sub-panel neutral.

Keep in mind, that this is not necessarily a procedure for the novice do-it-yourselfer. I would consider having an experienced electrician do it.
IMO the grounding electrode wire, the bare wire in the photo, needs to remain on the neutral buss not be relocated to the equipment grounding bar. I would suggest doubling up enough equipment grounds in the existing panel (the bare wires) to give yourself enough room to install the listed lugs as shown above for the sub panel neutral and equipment grounds. It is acceptable to double up equipment grounds because they are not current carrying conductors as are the white neutrals. The new lugs should be 'listed' for the brand panel you have which appears to be a Square D Homeline.

Last edited by brric; 04-04-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


^^ secutanudu - if adding a UL-listed neutral lug like the one pictured above, would it have to be listed by the manufacturer for use with that specific electrical panel or could it be used in any panel assuming it's installed properly (solidly mounted, securely fastened, adequate contact surface, etc.)?

brric - would the lug need to be listed for the specific model (Homeline) and not just any Square D-manufactured panel?

Last edited by H2O Engr; 04-04-2010 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:14 AM   #10
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O Engr View Post
^^ secutanudu - if adding a UL-listed neutral lug like the one pictured above, would it have to be listed by the manufacturer for use with that specific electrical panel or could it be used in any panel assuming it's installed properly (solidly mounted, securely fastened, adequate contact surface, etc.)?
See above.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:16 AM   #11
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


I don't see a bonding screw in your photo. Is this the first disconnect off the meter? Is it behind the red wires on right side? Main or only panel in the house?

Last edited by brric; 04-04-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O Engr View Post
^^ secutanudu - if adding a UL-listed neutral lug like the one pictured above, would it have to be listed by the manufacturer for use with that specific electrical panel or could it be used in any panel assuming it's installed properly (solidly mounted, securely fastened, adequate contact surface, etc.)?

brric - would the lug need to be listed for the specific model (Homeline) and not just any Square D-manufactured panel?

QO and Homeline Square D are probably not the same number but I'm not sure. I will try to look them up.

BTW, what size wire are you using for the new sub. Those buss connections will accept up to a #4 conductor. Additionally, do you have sapce for a 2 pole breaker to feed the new sub?

Last edited by brric; 04-04-2010 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:58 AM   #13
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


SQ D Homeline # LK70AN for # 14- # 4, # LK 100AN #6-2/0
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:16 PM   #14
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


thanks for all the replies

This is the only panel in the house. Yes, its a mess but it's not a mess of my making

no, there is not space for a Double Pole, but the whole point in adding a subpanel is to free space from the main and move them down to the subpanel. By doing so, the mess you see will be substantially cleaned up.

@secutanudu - The lug you show in the picture is exactly what the new Homeline SquareD sub panel I bought has. My main does not have one, but its good to know they are purchasable.

The thickness of the wire is cooper which is rated at 95A, I can't remember exactly but I think it was #2 conductor (Black outter shell, each conductor has 7 individual strands, except for the green grounding wire that is much smaller)

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Old 04-04-2010, 01:25 PM   #15
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adding the neutral from Main to subpanel


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Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
Earth, gnd, and neutral are connted together in the main panel. Earth and ground are connected together in the sub-panel. Neutral is floating, its' buss bar is isolated from the metal box, and from ground.

Side comment, sloppy looking panel. Would not impress an inspector.
that's an understatement....that thing is absolutely disgusting.

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