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Old 04-01-2012, 05:25 AM   #16
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


The issue I see is that he has only a 3 wire connection from the first disconnect at the pedestal to that split bus panel. The AHJ could/should requre that be upgraded to a 4 wire connection.

And that 4 wire needs to be 3 insulated conductors plus a ground wire or conduit. Even if the existing is in conduit~the neutral is not insulated..

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Old 04-01-2012, 07:25 AM   #17
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


Unless that panel has a four wire feed or a metallic conduit between the breaker and the panel, you can not simply add a grounding buss connects to ground rods to seperate the grounding conductors from the neutrals. The grounding electrode system must be connected to the grounded conductor at the first disconnect.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:49 AM   #18
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Do you know that the split buss panel goes specifically to ground rods, or are you assuming it goes to ground rods? The reason I ask, is that your house's water system should be bonded to those panels. You might be seeing the "water ground" and are assuming the wire goes to ground rods and I do believe the panel and disco at the house should be bonded together (without searching my code book).
In the split bus panel, there are solid, uninsulated (8 ga?) wires connected to the neutral bar (you can barely see them on the bottom layer in the photo) that connect to the ground rod, to the water line near where it enters the house, and to the electric furnace disconnect. There is also a bond between the neutral bar and the split bus panel enclosure. There are only 3 (insulated) underground feeders. (Hopefully this wouldn't have to be changed -- the underground lines go under a concrete patio, a flagstone patio, and mature landscaping. Yikes!)

- Bill
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:47 AM   #19
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


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In the split bus panel, there are solid, uninsulated (8 ga?) wires connected to the neutral bar (you can barely see them on the bottom layer in the photo) that connect to the ground rod, to the water line near where it enters the house, and to the electric furnace disconnect. There is also a bond between the neutral bar and the split bus panel enclosure. There are only 3 (insulated) underground feeders. (Hopefully this wouldn't have to be changed -- the underground lines go under a concrete patio, a flagstone patio, and mature landscaping. Yikes!)

- Bill
That installation may have been compliant depending upon which code cycle was in effect at the time.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:30 AM   #20
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That installation may have been compliant depending upon which code cycle was in effect at the time.
But as part of the permit / inspection process most AHJ's will not allow a panel change and continue using the 3 wire feeder.

I would ask your AHJ before you go any further.

Is the existing feeder in conduit or direct bury cable?
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:48 AM   #21
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


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But as part of the permit / inspection process most AHJ's will not allow a panel change and continue using the 3 wire feeder.
I have never had an inspector ding me for using the metal raceway as the ground for a subpanel (RMC for underground/EMT for above ground). However, the rules changed not too long ago (2008 code cycle I think) where when feeding a subpanel by an underground, ground rod(s) are now required for the subpanel. Being that current codes require minimum #6 for the GEC, and he is saying he has a #8, he will probably be required to replace the GEC to current requirements. As long as the feeder(s) from the main service to the house are wired in unbroken rigid conduit, it is unlikely the AHJ will require any modification to the feeder.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:33 PM   #22
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


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I have never had an inspector ding me for using the metal raceway as the ground for a subpanel (RMC for underground/EMT for above ground). However, the rules changed not too long ago (2008 code cycle I think) where when feeding a subpanel by an underground, ground rod(s) are now required for the subpanel. Being that current codes require minimum #6 for the GEC, and he is saying he has a #8, he will probably be required to replace the GEC to current requirements. As long as the feeder(s) from the main service to the house are wired in unbroken rigid conduit, it is unlikely the AHJ will require any modification to the feeder.
The problem I see is the unisulated conductor that will be used as the neutral. It is directly in contact with the conduit (ground).
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:32 PM   #23
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Is the existing feeder in conduit or direct bury cable?
I think the feeder is direct bury cable. The conduit protecting it between the ground and the panel is PVC.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #24
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


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I think the feeder is direct bury cable. The conduit protecting it between the ground and the panel is PVC.
Well there goes the mechanical ground idea with the rigid pipe
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:09 PM   #25
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


I would ask the AHJ if they will approve a panel replacement using a grandfathered 3 wire feeder. If they yes~get in writting.
If they say no:

Live with what you have.
Dig up the yard.
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:29 PM   #26
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GE main panel neutral bar full -- options?


What size is the conduit going to both of those panels and what size wire is there now? Maybe there is a possibility of pulling that wire and repelling a four wire feed.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:39 PM   #27
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What size is the conduit going to both of those panels and what size wire is there now? Maybe there is a possibility of pulling that wire and repelling a four wire feed.
The conduit coming out of the ground is 2", and the wires are each 2/0. Is such a cable typically buried directly (3 separate wires), or would it be in a jacket like SE / SER?

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