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Old 06-10-2011, 11:27 AM   #1
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


First, a screenshot:

Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue-electrical-img_7766.jpg

I'm closing in a garage and am planning on adding circuits. Before doing so, I would like to clean up the wiring job in the electrical panel, which includes 'plugging' a cut hole and adding another 2" nipple to the left of the current 2" feed nipple and adding a ground bar to separate the neutrals and grounds (the main point of the post).

Questions:

1. Is there a recommended 'universal' ground bar, or should I try to get one made specifically for this box?

2. I assume that I will need to remove the aluminum cross bar mounted (at bottom) between the two 'lug bars' on each side?

3. How should I mount the ground bar? Screwed to the panel? Mounted to the left side 'lug bar'?

4. I'm assuming that the neutral bar will be the one on the right (red arrow)? Shall I move the bonding screw off the neutral bar to the right side (ground), or remove it altogether?

Any information (including for questions I didn't ask...) is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:44 AM   #2
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Wow, 22 ckts for a garage.

#1. Grounding Bar Kit at Home Depot
#2. Yes.
#3. Mount it directly to the panel, Alternatively, I believe that if you remove the bonding bar at the bottom, and insert the green bonding screw into the lug on the LEFT, that you can use that as the grounding bar. Others will correct me if I'm wrong.
#4. Yes, it's the neutral bar. Remove the green bonding screw.

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Old 06-10-2011, 12:26 PM   #3
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Is this a main panel or a sub-panel. If a main then it is fine as is. If a sub, follow advice from posting #4.

Last edited by brric; 06-10-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:34 PM   #4
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
Wow, 22 ckts for a garage.



Quote:
#3. Mount it directly to the panel, Alternatively, I believe that if you remove the bonding bar at the bottom, and insert the green bonding screw into the lug on the LEFT, that you can use that as the grounding bar. Others will correct me if I'm wrong.
Hi sirsparksalot. Thanks for your response. Actually, I need the grounding bar on the bottom, as the grounds are all short (and are now wire-nutted and extended to reach the existing grounding bar, as are some of the neutrals...see screenshot ).

Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue-electrical-img_7844.jpg


How can I acceptably clean this up to meet standard codes for SE LA? Will I need two grounding bars (one for grnd, one for neutrals so as not to extend via wire nut)?

Anything I should know is gratefully appreciated!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:37 PM   #5
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by brric View Post
Is this a main panel or a sub-panel. If a main then it is fine as is. If a sub, follow advice from posting #4.
It's a main panel, but I'd really like to clean it up and separate the neutral/grounds (both of which are not long enough to reach the ground/neutral bars). The garage is permitted and will require an inspection.

Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:38 PM   #6
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Please answer brric's question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightit View Post





Hi sirsparksalot. Thanks for your response. Actually, I need the grounding bar on the bottom, as the grounds are all short (and are now wire-nutted and extended to reach the existing grounding bar, as are some of the neutrals...see screenshot ).

Attachment 34024


How can I acceptably clean this up to meet standard codes for SE LA? Will I need two grounding bars (one for grnd, one for neutrals so as not to extend via wire nut)?

Anything I should know is gratefully appreciated!
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


OICU did
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:40 PM   #8
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


If it's the main panel (go outside and see if there's a disconnect after the meter), then the neutrals and grounds, and the bonding strap need to stay as they are.

If brric is still online, I'll let him finish.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #9
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
If it's the main panel (go outside and see if there's a disconnect after the meter), then the neutrals and grounds, and the bonding strap need to stay as they are.

If brric is still online, I'll let him finish.

It is the main panel.

So the neutrals/grounds don't need to be separated? And there still is the issue of the mess in the panel due to the short neutral/ground wires. I'd really like to have this panel neatly wired before I start adding a few more circuits (arc control breakers will be required for the new circuits).

I believe in doing things the right way, beyond code even.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


neutral and ground goes together in the 'main' or first panel, seperated in any sub panels.

also, your panel is nearly full of half size breakers( I see 1.5 spaces very bottom row, and the one on the right), GE doesnt make a half size AFCI, either. you're likely going to need a sub panel if you need more than one AFCI and 1 non afci breaker
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #11
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Since it's the main panel, the neutrals and grounds MUST be bonded together.

I do see that all of the grounds are connected together by a wirenut, and one pigtail to the grounding bar. I don't know if that's Code compliant (with that many grounds wired together under a wirenut). Sometimes, I'll do this with 2 or 3 ground wires, but I don't use a wirenut; I just tightly wrap them parallell to each other, in a sort of figure 8, with one of them going to the grounding lug (this may be a violation, I've never looked it up). I'll have to check, or maybe someone else can say.

As far as cleaning it up, I do see that you can strip back the outer sheath of the brownish colored cable running from the bottom knockout. That will give you more room to get the cable to the side of the panel. Strip it back so that at least 1/4" remains in the panel.

You are allowed to make splices in the panel with wirenuts in order to extend the length of the conductors. Be sure to use the same wire guage.

All of the conductors (with insulation intact) should be placed neatly around the gutters of the panel. Don't use any twist-ties unless you have a MWBC, in which case, the cable conductors should be tied together with a plastic tie to indicate which are on the same breaker. I don't see that you have any MWBCs, though.

Do you not have any Double-Pole breakers in there serving 240v appliances?
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
Do you not have any Double-Pole breakers in there serving 240v appliances?


I count 5 2 pole breakers
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:30 PM   #13
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
I count 5 2 pole breakers
I do too; NOW!
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #14
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
neutral and ground goes together in the 'main' or first panel, seperated in any sub panels.

also, your panel is nearly full of half size breakers( I see 1.5 spaces very bottom row, and the one on the right), GE doesnt make a half size AFCI, either. you're likely going to need a sub panel if you need more than one AFCI and 1 non afci breaker
I currently have 3 1/2 size openings, and can create up to 2 more 1/2 size openings by removing a 220 circuit to a shop in my backyard (I will be upgrading to a 200 amp panel in the next year, so I'll add it back then).

I will be needing to add a gfi circuit for a bathroom and 2 more circuits for outlets. I plan to use an existing circuit for the lights in both the bathroom and the main area of the (former) garage. And I guess I can use the existing lighting circuit for the ventilator (no heat)?

Here's a diagram of the panel:

Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue-panel-layout2.jpg
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:44 PM   #15
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Correcting Ground/Neutral bar issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
Since it's the main panel, the neutrals and grounds MUST be bonded together.
So then, it really doesn't matter if the neutral and ground wires share the same grounding bar (in the main panel)?

Quote:
As far as cleaning it up...
Thank you for that guidance, sirsparksalot. It helps me to know what is and what is not acceptable.

Also, if I do go with an aftermarket grounding bar to place along the bottom part of the panel (presumably screwed to the panel itself), what type of screws should I use for mounting?

Quote:
Do you not have any Double-Pole breakers in there serving 240v appliances?
The diagram in my response to Techy should clear things up a bit. .

I appreciate the input y'all are providing!


Last edited by rightit; 06-10-2011 at 02:05 PM.
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