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Old 07-14-2008, 02:05 PM   #1
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


After searching the forum, I understand that doubling up on the ground bar is OK but a big NO-NO on the neutral bar.

I am finishing my basement and have added 7 new circuits. However, I don't have ONE single spot open on either the ground bar or neutral bar. Attached are some pictures if I am being unclear. From what I can imagine (total newbie), I have two options.

1. Find some place that sells bigger bars with larger capacities
2. Piggyback another bar on top of the others.

Normally, I can find something that works. But..what is the best way to expand these bars?

And one more thing. The clamps at the top of the box that accept wire, can they be "tripled up" or is two wires the max they accept? All of mine only have 2 wires coming into each although they look to have room for a third.

Thanks a lot!
Attached Thumbnails
Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)-full.jpg   Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)-neutral_ground.jpg  


Last edited by henlij; 07-14-2008 at 02:06 PM. Reason: forgot something
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:56 PM   #2
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


I would personally call a Electrician, due to some Cities will not allow a person to do their own electrical, and that is for a reason. As for the original question, if every place on the Neutral/Ground bus if filled, then you may have to look at moving some over to a Sub-Panel, and go from there.

Even if the guy/woman you call does not do any work, they can double check your work, and give you an assessment in what do at the main.

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Old 07-14-2008, 06:02 PM   #3
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


just buy an add on ground bar and move some of the grounds around, dont mess with the existing neutrals.

I only use GE panels. That Sq. D panel is just plain dumb to not give enough spaces for landing the grounds and neutrals, the panel is 3/4 full.

Last edited by chris75; 07-14-2008 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:12 PM   #4
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


Quote:
Originally Posted by henlij View Post
After searching the forum, I understand that doubling up on the ground bar is OK but a big NO-NO on the neutral bar.

I am finishing my basement and have added 7 new circuits. However, I don't have ONE single spot open on either the ground bar or neutral bar. Attached are some pictures if I am being unclear. From what I can imagine (total newbie), I have two options.

1. Find some place that sells bigger bars with larger capacities
2. Piggyback another bar on top of the others.

Normally, I can find something that works. But..what is the best way to expand these bars?

And one more thing. The clamps at the top of the box that accept wire, can they be "tripled up" or is two wires the max they accept? All of mine only have 2 wires coming into each although they look to have room for a third.

Thanks a lot!
For your bus bar problem, what can be done is to simply add one or two ground bus bars to the panel. Move the ground (bare) wires to the new ground bus, leaving terminals for more neutrals on the original bus bars. The new bars for that Square D QO panel are readily available and simply bolt in on the back of the panel.

For the romex connectors, two wires per clamp is acceptable. Are all the knockouts on the top of the panel being used? From here it looks like more clamps could be added.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:27 PM   #5
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


Yeah, I wasn't sure about why there were quite a few extra slots for breakers but no more spots for neutral/ground. I was thinking it was the fault of the electrician and perhaps they put smaller ones in but it doesn't make sense. All the work is so clean, it was obvious they cared what they were doing.

I just got back from Menards (the home depot of WI) and they had some longer "equipment grounding bars" so I bought two of them. My plan is to exchange one of the smaller neural and ground bars with the two longer ones. I'm not happy about having to move them around but the power will be off anyway and it won't take but a few mins. I don't know how else I would not mess with the existing neutrals other than screwing them down along with grounds on the same bar. I suppose that would be OK though as they are tied to one another anyway, huh?

Thanks for the quick reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
just buy an add on ground bar and move some of the grounds around, dont mess with the existing neutrals.

I only use GE panels. That Sq. D panel is just plain dumb to not give enough spaces for landing the grounds and neutrals, the panel is 3/4 full.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:32 PM   #6
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


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Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
For your bus bar problem, what can be done is to simply add one or two ground bus bars to the panel. Move the ground (bare) wires to the new ground bus, leaving terminals for more neutrals on the original bus bars. The new bars for that Square D QO panel are readily available and simply bolt in on the back of the panel.

For the romex connectors, two wires per clamp is acceptable. Are all the knockouts on the top of the panel being used? From here it looks like more clamps could be added.
There are plenty more holes at the top so no problem there in adding more connectors. I was just thinking of saving a few bucks. ;-)
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


Quote:
My plan is to exchange one of the smaller neural and ground bars with the two longer ones.
Don't quote me on this, but this is generally a bad idea. I don't see how a longer bus bar would get mounted securely without being somewhat loose. It usually voids the listing and warranty of the panel to modify it or change it's design.


I think your best bet is to do what was already suggested and just move some grounds to one of your new ground bars and leave the neutrals alone.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:34 PM   #8
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


You will not be able to change one out. The exsisting bars fit inside of a peice of plastic. You would have to break the plastic to put in longer bars. Do as suggested. On each side of the panel, you will see a couple of screw holes. Put a bar on each side and move the bare wires there, and you will have enough room for the extra netural wires.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:35 PM   #9
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
I would personally call a Electrician, due to some Cities will not allow a person to do their own electrical, and that is for a reason. As for the original question, if every place on the Neutral/Ground bus if filled, then you may have to look at moving some over to a Sub-Panel, and go from there.

Even if the guy/woman you call does not do any work, they can double check your work, and give you an assessment in what do at the main.
I was going to call someone to do it for me but wasn't willing to pay $250 for someone to just hook up wires to the panel. You have me a bit worried now though. I did all the electrical work myself and have passed the rough-in inspection. I'll call the inspector back and make sure I can do this myself so I don't get in trouble!
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:42 PM   #10
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
You will not be able to change one out. The exsisting bars fit inside of a peice of plastic. You would have to break the plastic to put in longer bars. Do as suggested. On each side of the panel, you will see a couple of screw holes. Put a bar on each side and move the bare wires there, and you will have enough room for the extra netural wires.
OK, after taking a closer look, I see what you mean. Those screw holes aren't exactly in a nice open spot so working in there will be a little tight. Silly design not making the existing bars long enough. OK, leaning towards picking up the phone now!
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:49 PM   #11
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


You have come this far now, why not continue? If you have had an inspection, then it must be ok for the HO to do their own electrical work. Just kill the power, and add the ground bars, then move the bare wires. If they do not reach, then wire nut two together and make it longer.
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Last edited by jbfan; 07-14-2008 at 08:01 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:58 PM   #12
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
You have come this far now, why not contiue? If you have had an inspection, then it must be ok for the HO to do their own electrical work. Just kill the power, and add the ground bars, then move the bare wires. If they do not reach, the wire nut two together and make it longer.
haha, thanks for the kick in the pants, I'll give it a shot and take some pics to show off my handy work. I had no idea you could wire nut two of them together! Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
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Ground/Nuetral Bar (out of room)


I don't know why they changed it (yes I do; money) but all SqD panels used to come with ground bars you had to screw to the tub. It's a pain they don;t include them anymore with the panel.

Generally you can double up on the grounds but the terminal must be listed for two wires. There should be a sticker on the tub or door that lists what the terminals are listed for.

So, the easiest way to do this is like others have said: install a ground bar and move the grounds over to it. Most SqD panels have multiple locations you can place a ground bar. Some even have them at the top and bottom of the tub. Placing one at the top would work well for you .

just to reinforce jbfans comment. The ground/neutral bars are made as part of the panel and cannot be removed or you will lose the UL listing of the panel. Honestly, this is the first panel I have ever seen that did not have enough terminals but that may be because I always install a ground bar and since many of the panels I unstall are subpanels, the ground and neut must be seperated anyway.

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