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sirsparksalot 12-28-2010 08:57 PM

Disconnect Switches
Does the NEC now require a cutoff (or, disconnect) switch between the meter base and SE Panel? If so, does that make the SE Panel a Subpanel, and does that require the grounds and neutrals to be separated at the SE Panel?

JPraski 12-28-2010 09:00 PM

Perhaps the thing you're thinking of, is that the meter being removed counts as a disconnect, for a couple of articles that require them. There are a few instances where what you say is needed, but not generally, no.

sirsparksalot 12-28-2010 09:14 PM

My question referred to a section of a wiring book where it states: "Some areas require a cutoff panel adjacent to the meter base on the exterior wall. If that is done, then the main service panel becomes a subpanel because it is downstream from the cutoff panel."

My question about requiring neutrals and grounds to be separate wasn't indicated in the book.

JPraski 12-28-2010 09:38 PM

Easy answer: Don't do it, then. ;)

Harder answer: It depends where the ground is hooked into. I'm actually not sure, but it references Service disconnecting means, which is usually the main breaker in the panel. Now you've added a disconnect, so I belive that yes, you do not bond the neutral at the SE panel, you do it only at the disconnect. I do know, you only do it in one place. The part I'm not sure of is which one but I'd guess the disconnect panel. That's why the bonding screw isn't already installed in the SE panel when you buy it.

jbfan 12-28-2010 10:10 PM

The answer is yes.
If a disconnect is used between the meter and the panel, then the ground and neutral are seperated at the panel

I can't remember the last time I installed a meter without a main as a unit.

sirsparksalot 12-28-2010 10:16 PM


Originally Posted by jbfan (Post 558447)
The answer is yes.
If a disconnect is used between the meter and the panel, then the ground and neutral are seperated at the panel

I can't remember the last time I installed a meter without a main as a unit.

The learning process never ends :) But, is this now an NEC rule, or is it, as was implied in the book I have, subject to different jurisdictions? Do you know when this was mandated by NEC if it was?

jbfan 12-28-2010 10:25 PM

Thats pretty much been the rule where I live forever, so one of those things I never look up in the code book.
I don't have my book at home, but will try to find out tomorrow.

nap 12-28-2010 11:38 PM

no, it is not an NEC requirement to have a disco either outside or prior to the panel. Any place it is required would be based on some local code or addition to the NEC.

If you do install a disco, it is your main disconnect and the point of bonding for the grounding electrode system, grounded and grounding conductors.

if you do insert a disco, the panel then becomes a subpanel and the neutral and equipment grounds are isolated from each other and of course, the neutral is isolated from the panel box.

sirsparksalot 12-28-2010 11:56 PM

Thank you, Gentlemen.

frenchelectrican 12-29-2010 12:12 AM

Just be aware that some local codes may required a outdoor disconnect swtich no matter what.

So check with your local inspector office and POCO to see what their re

And my thumb of rules if more than 6 feet of unfused conductors going in the house will automatic get a disconnect swtich { there are couple spot I can get away with it but just don't push the luck with the inspectors }

Any time you get outdoor disconnect switch after the disconnect switch to the main load centre you have to go with 4 conductor cable and keep the netural and ground seperated.


JPraski 12-29-2010 08:51 AM

To be clear: It is code that if you *do* put one in, you *must* do the grounds that way, but it is not code that you must put in a disconnect switch (usually- everything in the code is subject to exceptions and stipulations).

I don't think I've ever put in an extra disconnect, which is why I was unsure, and didn't feel like looking it up last night. I feel like such an amateur for such a simple question, but I'd rather tell someone I'm not sure than tell them wrong. (Not that I'm never wrong, don't go thinking that either. :P )

sirsparksalot 12-29-2010 11:03 AM

I got it; thanks.

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