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Old 06-20-2010, 11:33 PM   #1
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


I went and picked up my new 200 amp replacement main breaker panel and I want to make sure I understand exactly where to land each wire before I start. My semi-educated 'guess' at how the 2 grounds as well as the sub panel neutral should be hooked up are as follows:

- #4 ground from water will connect to lug directly next to the service neutral lug labeled 'N' at the top.

- #6 ground from rods will connect to lug on left ground bar?

- If I have grounds correct, can they be swapped for ground rod to top lug beside neutral / water pipe to ground bar lug?

- Neutral from existing 100 amp subpanel will connect to supplied lug (to be installed on neutral bar).

- If ground exists in cable from subpanel (i still need to check) it will connect to an add'l lug on ground bar.

- I've noticed some people put a loop in the hot supply lines before connecting to the lugs. Is this to provide an offset from the center of the panel to the lugs? Is it recommended?

Also, please confirm that green screw has been installed at correct location on neutral bar.

Thanks in advance for your comments / criticism's. I know I cheap choosing Homeline over QO, but I can handle the insults.
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Last edited by Old College Try; 06-20-2010 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:22 AM   #2
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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Originally Posted by Old College Try View Post
I went and picked up my new 200 amp replacement main breaker panel and I want to make sure I understand exactly where to land each wire before I start. My semi-educated 'guess' at how the 2 grounds as well as the sub panel neutral should be hooked up are as follows:

- #4 ground from water will connect to lug directly next to the service neutral lug labeled 'N' at the top. Yes, your GEC should hit the Neutral first.

- #6 ground from rods will connect to lug on left ground bar?
Anywhere on the ground bar will do.

- If I have grounds correct, can they be swapped for ground rod to top lug beside neutral / water pipe to ground bar lug?Not sure I understand. You had it right above.

- Neutral from existing 100 amp subpanel will connect to supplied lug (to be installed on neutral bar).Yes. Make sure you don't install the bonding screw in subpanel.

- If ground exists in cable from subpanel (i still need to check) it will connect to an add'l lug on ground bar.Yes.

- I've noticed some people put a loop in the hot supply lines before connecting to the lugs. Is this to provide an offset from the center of the panel to the lugs? Is it recommended? However the wires can be landed. Sometimes slack is installed, but it is not necessary.

Also, please confirm that green screw has been installed at correct location on neutral bar. Nailed it.

Thanks in advance for your comments / criticism's. I know I cheap choosing Homeline over QO, but I can handle the insults.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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- If I have grounds correct, can they be swapped for ground rod to top lug beside neutral / water pipe to ground bar lug?Not sure I understand. You had it right above.
Alternatively, can I use the extra lug beside the service neutral for the subpanel neutral conductor? If so, I believe I can connect both of the water/rod ground wires into the panel neutral bars. I believe they'll accept up to #4 wires. Is #4 strand physically larger than solid copper? I tried it and it appeared to just fit into the neutral bar.

Last edited by Old College Try; 06-21-2010 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:31 PM   #4
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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- Neutral from existing 100 amp subpanel will connect to supplied lug (to be installed on neutral bar).Yes. Make sure you don't install the bonding screw in subpanel.
Well, just went and looked in the subpanel (QO panel in detached garage). Looks like 3 conductors + ground is run from main panel and subpanel has a main breaker. Grounds are connected to bars on one side of panel and neutrals to the other side and both bars are connect at the top (panel does not have separate ground bars installed). Green screw is also installed, so looks like the whole thing is bonded together. I see no evidence of a ground to a rod, and I do see a clipped wire that previously bonded the panel to the steel siding? Is this correct, or all jacked up?
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #5
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


I believe current code is to separate the neutral and equipment ground at a subpanel, EVEN if a separate ground rod is supplied to the subpanel. This would mean that the two hots (typically red and black) would connect to the hots on the subpanel, the neutral would connect to the neutral, which would NOT be bonded to the equipment grounding bar, hence you need to remove the green bonding screw, and make sure the neutral and the equipment ground are separate.

The equipment ground gets connected to the main panel ground, and also to the subpanel grounding rod. I believe that it is only necessary to install a separate subpanel grounding rod if the subpanel is in a detached building, I don't have my NEC code with me, so I am not certain exactly what the rules are, I believe they have changed somewhat over the last 20 years, hopefully one of our electricians can quote the exact chapter and verse on the need for a separate rod. Even if you don't technically need it, you have one, I don't see how it would hurt anything to ground the EGB to it as well as running back to the main panel.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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... you need to remove the green bonding screw, and make sure the neutral and the equipment ground are separate.
So, if I add a ground bar and move the grounds from the neutral bus and remove the green bonding screw it should be safe and close to code, possibly minus the ground rod. I've never looked at or touched the subpanel before, but I'm upgrading my main panel in the house on Thursday night and want things to be good for the inspection on Friday. The inspector probably won't look at the subpanel in the garage, but I'd feel more settled if it was corrected.

Last edited by Old College Try; 06-22-2010 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:09 AM   #7
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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Originally Posted by Old College Try View Post
Alternatively, can I use the extra lug beside the service neutral for the subpanel neutral conductor? If so, I believe I can connect both of the water/rod ground wires into the panel neutral bars. I believe they'll accept up to #4 wires. Is #4 strand physically larger than solid copper? I tried it and it appeared to just fit into the neutral bar.

The neutral for the sub can land where you describe it. The wire from your water pipe should also land on the neutral. If your ground bus will accept them, perfect. Keep in mind, you are not supposed to land more than one wire per hole in a neutral bus. #4 is the same size solid or stranded.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:12 AM   #8
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


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Originally Posted by Old College Try View Post
So, if I add a ground bar and move the grounds from the neutral bus and remove the green bonding screw it should be safe and close to code, possibly minus the ground rod. I've never looked at or touched the subpanel before, but I'm upgrading my main panel in the house on Thursday night and want things to be good for the inspection on Friday. The inspector probably won't look at the subpanel in the garage, but I'd feel more settled if it was corrected.
Daniel's answer was correct. Ground rods go to the ground bus at the sub panel and bonding screw in the sub is removed or not installed. I don't have my code book handy, but you MAY not need the rods if there is a metallic pipe connection to the system (EMT or rigid feed for example) Something tells me this was taken out in 2005. I'd sink the rods and be done with it. Good luck on your inspection!
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:59 PM   #9
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Ground/Neutral Connection Points on Main Breaker


Well, off to a great start. POCO was supposed to be here between 4-8 pm to disconnect power. It's now past 10:00 and they say they'll be here in 20 minutes. I have until noon tomorrow to get this done. I'm sure running the conductors through the conduit tonight will be fun by myself... let alone disconnecting the old and hanging a new panel by myself. Oh well, that's the life of a diy'er.

= Well, it's 2:43. I ran 2/3 of the conduit, disconnected/untangled the old panel and hung the new one. I'm tired. Hey, can someone tell me if it's ok to use a meter offset to go into the breaker panel? I hope so, cause I did it. Ohhhhh.

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Last edited by Old College Try; 06-25-2010 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Update
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