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Old 12-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #46
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by carmusic View Post
you can just move the neutral wire on the right neutral bus and put it at the left one and completely remove right neutral bus as it is defective now. This has nothing to do with ground, it was just a loose bus connection
If you mean moving all the wires on the RH neutral bus to the LH neutral bus, part of the problem with that is I don't think the AFCI neutral pigtails would reach.

If you're talking about the #2 wire attaching to the neutral bus, that's the neutral for a subpanel. The incoming netural is in the center between the two hots. I've added descriptions to my earlier diagram.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:08 AM   #47
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Running a jumper from the neutral bar to the panel metal itself is a suitable permanent substitute for the ground screw that digs into the panel back and which, here, is welded in a position that does not make good contact. Main breaker off when doing this.

When it keeps arcing from continuous power usage it can get mighty hot, enough to make nearby metal strips red hot. The panel back, being a larger piece of metal, might not get quite as hot but still hot enough to burn your fingers.

If you keep load to a minimum (possibly leaving the refrigerator plugged in but definitely not using stove or oven or dryer) you might get by with a bad neutral and with the ground acting as neutral for a short time until the power company can come out and fix it.
Yeah, I suspect the insulator behind the bus might've slightly melted. I can see bubling on the surface of the bus. The bus bar did not get to the point that it was glowing.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:12 AM   #48
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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I've never seen the arcing before though and I was starting to think that the bond screw in this example was not tight and the current using it was jumping the air gap between the screw head and the neutral bar.
I think that the arcing was most likely jumping an air gap between the screw head and the neutral bar. By the time I saw what was going on, I suspect the neutral bar had heated to the point the plastic behind had melted some allowing it to lose compression. When I found I was able to tighten, I probably bent the neutral bar back further, which bent it such that it moved further away from the screw head on one side.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:23 PM   #49
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


I bet you've deduced this already, but your home's service neutral current is returning on your water line, through the water pipe bonding connection. So don't remove that! If you do, the grounding system (including the clamp and bare wire you just removed and are still holding) will be electrified. Using any 240V loads should be fine and have no influence on this, but you should keep 120V loads to a minimum, and preferably well balanced. Fixing an open neutral is a power company emergency - they should fix it within a few hours at most.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:57 PM   #50
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Part of the problem is that the grounding electrode conductor should be terminated on the neutral buss, not on the auxillary ground bar attached to the can.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:59 PM   #51
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


FWIW it's now confirmed by an electrician, I have no connection to neutral and the break is in the Poco's service drop.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:31 PM   #52
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


You should be able to get reimbursed by the POCO for the electrician's bill for this problem.

Submit it to them since it was THEIR wire that was the culprit.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:51 PM   #53
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Part of the problem is that the grounding electrode conductor should be terminated on the neutral buss, not on the auxillary ground bar attached to the can.
I'll admit I by no means would claim to know better because I don't, but it was connected as is when the AHJ inspected, and anyone who recalls all the posts I made at the time can attest that he really made me fix a lot of things, so I would be under the impression that if it was a code violation he would have directed me to change it.

With that said, there are particular reasons why I did not connect it as you say. This panel was first installed as a sub-panel, knowing it would later be the main panel. As such, it needed to have ground and neutral seperated until the day that the PoCo moved the service entrance to the new service riser, meter socket, etc. that is behind this panel.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:25 PM   #54
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by WillK View Post
I'll admit I by no means would claim to know better because I don't, but it was connected as is when the AHJ inspected, and anyone who recalls all the posts I made at the time can attest that he really made me fix a lot of things, so I would be under the impression that if it was a code violation he would have directed me to change it.

With that said, there are particular reasons why I did not connect it as you say. This panel was first installed as a sub-panel, knowing it would later be the main panel. As such, it needed to have ground and neutral seperated until the day that the PoCo moved the service entrance to the new service riser, meter socket, etc. that is behind this panel.
The objectionable current is going through the bonding screw, through the can to the grounding electrode conductor. Had the GEC been terminated on the neutral buss, current would flow through the buss to the GEC rather than through the bonding screw and can.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:35 PM   #55
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by brric View Post
The objectionable current is going through the bonding screw, through the can to the grounding electrode conductor. Had the GEC been terminated on the neutral buss, current would flow through the buss to the GEC rather than through the bonding screw and can.
Yes, but the return path to the transformer should be through the neutral not the GEC, and the real problem is that the neutral is broken and the system is using the GEC as the return path to the transformer - i.e. this is likely causing the water pipes to be energized.
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:49 PM   #56
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Yes, but the return path to the transformer should be through the neutral not the GEC, and the real problem is that the neutral is broken and the system is using the GEC as the return path to the transformer - i.e. this is likely causing the water pipes to be energized.
That is totally correct. However, the arching may not have occured.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:26 PM   #57
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


that's not a neutral from the pole..just a mechanical ground...see that black/white striped on the left catching all those whites...the mounting screw is taking the hit when the dryer runs as the return to the panel....need to take that dryer over to that left neutral bar or bring the neutral over to the grounding bar to give it an easier path when running...if you slip that white/burnt insulation wire out with the dryer running it would shut off...
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:34 PM   #58
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


has poco been there yet to find and fix the bad neutral? this is more important than the rest of the discussion. After it is fixed, then the discussion. I worked for 11 years doing cust service for an electric utility. a large number of trouble calls were open neutrals. they were high priority right behind downed wires, etc.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:38 PM   #59
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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that's not a neutral from the pole..just a mechanical ground...see that black/white striped on the left catching all those whites...the mounting screw is taking the hit when the dryer runs as the return to the panel....need to take that dryer over to that left neutral bar or bring the neutral over to the grounding bar to give it an easier path when running...if you slip that white/burnt insulation wire out with the dryer running it would shut off...
You say that as if you've never seen SE-U cable, a Homeline panel, and you know that a wire I label as the neutral (from an SE-R cable that is #2 AWG and would be undersized for 200A service) is actually the neutral from the pole.

I'm quite confident I labelled my picture correctly.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:45 PM   #60
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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Originally Posted by bernie963 View Post
has poco been there yet to find and fix the bad neutral? this is more important than the rest of the discussion. After it is fixed, then the discussion. I worked for 11 years doing cust service for an electric utility. a large number of trouble calls were open neutrals. they were high priority right behind downed wires, etc.
I wish you worked for my PoCo. I called while the electrician was there in hopes I'd reach someone and I could put the electrician on the phone. They said to call back tomorrow. I asked again "I have flickering lights and an electrician saying I have an open neutral from the pole, and you're telling me to call back tomorrow??" They confirmed.

I've filed a complaint with the state's utility regulatory commission.

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