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Old 06-24-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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Grounding at the panel


I have an older house (1964) and over the years it has seen many different people using many different methods. Today I'm curious about the two different ways of grounding a circuit to the panel that I see.

I have a GE box with a common neutral/ground bus. Some of the circuits are grounded to this bus, but most of the circuits in the house (the few that actually have grounds) don't attach to this bus. The ground is looped up and around a screw on the connector where the wire enters the panel. There is a path to ground, but it doesn't seem that kosher. Is this OK?

Bonus question: It's OK to double up grounds (not whites) on the bus, right? I'm out of empty slots.

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Old 06-24-2012, 01:29 PM   #2
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Grounding at the panel


That method of grounding is called a "Boston back wrap" and was common in the New England area in the 50-60-70s. I worked for an electrician in high school and we used that method often but only at the device box never the fuse/breaker panel. I am sure it would never pass inspection today but what is done is done.

Some panels you can use 2 wires under a screw for grounds, never neutrals. Read the label.

A better method is take several grounds and wire nut them to a pigtail sized for the largest ground and connect that to a screw. Example disconnect 5 #12 grounds, wire nut to a single #12 pigtail and connect to 1 screw. this frees up 4 screws on the ground bar.

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Old 06-24-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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That method of grounding is called a "Boston back wrap" and was common in the New England area in the 50-60-70s.
Interesting the method actually has a name, I come across that type of installation once in a while... I'm curious why it was ever decided that would be the best way to terminate the grounding conductor?
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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Interesting the method actually has a name, I come across that type of installation once in a while... I'm curious why it was ever decided that would be the best way to terminate the grounding conductor?
Can't answer that question except that it was used in an era when ungrounded cicuits was the norm and grounding was just becoming code. I can remember running xx/2 with ground cable and installing 2 wire receptacles. No reason to bring the ground into the box. This was in the 50s.
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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Can't answer that question except that it was used in an era when ungrounded cicuits was the norm and grounding was just becoming code. I can remember running xx/2 with ground cable and installing 2 wire receptacles. No reason to bring the ground into the box. This was in the 50s.
I have to say for the most part, they usually wrapped so much around the cable you could easily just unwrap it and still have ample wire to work with.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. This house is like an archaeological dig through 50 years of electrical methods.

And thanks for the tip on tying the grounds together with a pig-tail. That'll definitely save me some slots.

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