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Old 12-04-2011, 07:37 PM   #16
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Take a voltmeter and measure between neut and your two hots.....maybe turn something on like the dryer to see if there is a voltage change. Both of your hots should be within a couple of volts with the other....but if one leg jumps up in voltage and the other drops down....you have a problem with the transformer....

That one neut that is getting hot....do you know where it is going?

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Old 12-04-2011, 07:38 PM   #17
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


The screw bonds neutral to the chassis and both grounding bars are attached to the chassis.

I've done some more diagnostics:
With the main breaker off, the arcing stops.
With all circuits off and the main breaker on the arcing stops.
With everything off except the old main which is now a subpanel, arcing occurs.
With a few other things on, but the old main which is now a subpanel off, arcing occurs.

It seems that I get the arcing when any power is on, with no particular connection to any circuit.

I also made another attempt to tighten the bonding screw, it is now welded.

I know the info above is probably more useful diagnostic-wise than a video, but I have one which I'll be putting on youtube and posting a link shortly.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:40 PM   #18
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Take a voltmeter and measure between neut and your two hots.....maybe turn something on like the dryer to see if there is a voltage change. Both of your hots should be within a couple of volts with the other....but if one leg jumps up in voltage and the other drops down....you have a problem with the transformer....

That one neut that is getting hot....do you know where it is going?
The neutral that appears to be getting hot goes to the dryer. I think it's more likely it's getting hot due to proximity to the arcing, if the wire was heating up then the burn would not be isolated to the area near the neutral bar.

Before the kids went to bed I put the cover back on. When I ran my latest diagnostics, the cover was warm over where the arcing occurs.

And I haven't gotten out a voltmeter yet because it'll take some searching in the garage. Kids are asleep now so I will have time for that next.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:42 PM   #19
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


We need voltage readings....but it really sounds like your return path is via earth ground and not your neutral....
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:43 PM   #20
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Sounds to me like something is shorting to ground in the old panel (subpanel).

Or an appliance or circuit connected to that panel.

(Hot shorting to ground.)
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:46 PM   #21
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Is the bond screw still installed in the old panel?
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:55 PM   #22
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


If it was a short to ground the breaker would be tripping.
It sounds to me like an open neutral causing the current to flow on the ground wire(from the panel not from a circuit) instead of the neutral.
Do you have a clamp on ammeter? Can you measure the current on the main service neutral and the main service ground wire. Try the main water line as well.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:57 PM   #23
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Quote:
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Is the bond screw still installed in the old panel?
I have removed the bond screw in the old panel.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:58 PM   #24
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Reason I asked earlier was to clarify that the event is still occurring. Kb sparky is likely correct in his analysis. The only word of caution I'd like to convey is that your enclosure metal and ground wires are likely energized. From what source is yet to be determined. Becareful with this .. it may be more dangerous than you might think.

The discolored insulation on the dryer neutral at its connection point to the neutral buss bar lends itself to a high resistance return. As Joe said an amp meter would be your best friend at this point IMO ...
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:59 PM   #25
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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If it was a short to ground the breaker would be tripping.
It sounds to me like an open neutral causing the current to flow on the ground wire(from the panel not from a circuit) instead of the neutral.
Do you have a clamp on ammeter? Can you measure the current on the main service neutral and the main service ground wire. Try the main water line as well.
I don't have a clamp on ammeter.

Did I mention the bond screw is now welded, and the arcing is continuous at this point?
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:59 PM   #26
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


The breaker might not trip if it was a high amperage breaker (such as the breaker to the old panel). That screw might just appear as a normal load to that breaker. A heating element!
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:05 PM   #27
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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I don't have a clamp on ammeter.

Did I mention the bond screw is now welded, and the arcing is continuous at this point?
At this point it seems to me you need a professional on site ASAP or sooner.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:18 PM   #28
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


I've got my electrician coming out tommorrow afternoon, I spoke with him on the phone just now and that's about the sense of urgency he assigned to it when I described it as I had above. He also indicated that if they found it was with the PoCo he had contacts to break through the red tape and maybe get things to happen a little quicker.

Here's the video now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUz7wbOMYik

Since the last work that was done, the meter was never re-sealed so I'm thinking maybe next I'll open it up and see if there's anything visually obvious. When I go to bed, though, I'm shutting everything down that I can... I'll have to leave things on like the kids lights, alarm clock, fridge, sump pump, fire alarms. Definitely shutting off electronics once I'm done talking to you guys... This laptop is going on battery.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:30 PM   #29
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Pics of the meter socket top and bottom from just now, from my layman's perspective it doesn't look like a smoking gun. I'm thinking I'll go through the exercise of calling this in to the PoCo now as well. The arcing is very unsettling.

I'll also see if I can shut off the main breaker and get a jumper in between ground and neural bars using light from the laptop to work. At least maybe I can eliminate the arcing.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:35 PM   #30
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


I think that screw is what bonds the neutral bar to the neutral service conductor and its making a crap connection causing it to heat up. Take that screw out and wire brush it, apply some de-ox and torque it back down.

Nevermind. Looks like that screw bonds the can. There shouldn't be any current on it, but either way, the heat is from a poor connection


Last edited by jimmy21; 12-04-2011 at 08:47 PM.
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