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Old 12-05-2011, 08:19 PM   #61
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


tomorrow is not acceptable. call again asap. all electic utilities have 24 hr coverage. a trouble man should be dispatched.

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Old 12-05-2011, 09:06 PM   #62
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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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.
They must have an emergency number. Call it until they respond. Tell them part of your panel is glowing red! But still follow through with the complaint to the commission. Totally unacceptable.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:18 PM   #63
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


your labeling the sub panel gound and neutral are the same wires all are raw grounds not load neutrals as that black/white stripe is from the pole on the left terminal strip that screw is arc'g because voltage is passing thru it. disconnect the black wire from the pair of wires that white comes from 115V... there is no wire going to that right side raw terminal bar the screw is the only thing tieing it to the panel
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:19 PM   #64
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


With all due respect, why are you so sure of yourself that you persist with insisting you're right and I'm wrong about labelling a picture of a panel I installed myself which you seem to not have seen before in spite of how common it is?

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your labeling the sub panel gound and neutral are the same wires all are raw grounds not load neutrals as that black/white stripe is from the pole
No. You're wrong. The black wire with the white stripe on the left side neutral bus does NOT come from the pole, it connects to a sub-panel in the house in another room. I know this because I ran the wire myself. It is from a 2-2-2-4 SE-R cable, which means it has a 2 gage black wire, a 2 gage black wire with red stripe, a 2 gage black wire with white stripe and a bare aluminum ground conductor. This is a 200A panel. 2 gage aluminum would be undersized for 200A. It would be undersized for 100A. The subpanel is fed from a 60A breaker.

The wire I'm labelling as subpanel ground is the 4 gage aluminum wire from the SE-R cable going to the subpanel. It is not the same wire as the neutral wire from the meter socket.

The bare wire going into the center terminal is the neutral wire which connects to the utility pole (after it goes out to the socket where it connects to the neutral wire going up the service riser to the service drop). It is part of a 4/0 SE-U cable. That is to say a black 4/0 wire, a black with red stripe 4/0 wire and a series of aluminum strands wrapped around the outside, and no ground conductor.

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on the left terminal strip that screw is arc'g because voltage is passing thru it. disconnect the black wire from the pair of wires that white comes from 115V... there is no wire going to that right side raw terminal bar the screw is the only thing tieing it to the panel
The right hand neutral bus bar is tied to the neutral wire that connects at the top in the middle between the two 4/0 black hot wires the same way the left hand neutral bus bar connects to it. The flat metal strip to which all 3 of these items connects passes beneath the two terminals where the hot wires connect to the main breaker. That's how the neutral bars are set up on a Square-D Homeline panel, it's pretty common and I'd assume that it isn't necessary to explain that to an electrician that was sufficiently qualified to provide the advice you're offering.

As I've said, I did this work, I did it under permit, I consulted here extensively in the process, I had it inspected by a very thorough AHJ and passed.

From left to right, there are 4 bus bars. The left most bus bar is for ground, then there is a neutral bus bar to the left of the circuit breakers, then a neutral bus bar to the right of the circuit breakers and another ground bus bar to the right of that. The right hand ground bus bar is not visible.

Both ground bus bars are only going to ever connect to the neutral bus bars and neutral wire by way of the grounding screw or any jumper wires that get installed. This is how it is supposed to work. This is the way the panel is built because it can be used as a subpanel which requires the bonding screw to not be present. If used as a subpanel (as I said, it was) neutral and ground MUST be seperated.


Sorry if I'm coming down hard, but I tried to subtly point out before that you sound like you're wrong and you don't know what you're talking about. I would really hate to think that someone could read this and not know any better and follow your advice, hell if I didn't know any better and read what you posted and took it as truth I might end up disconnecting the service neutral myself and replacing it with the undersized neutral to the subpanel.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:28 PM   #65
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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They must have an emergency number. Call it until they respond. Tell them part of your panel is glowing red! But still follow through with the complaint to the commission. Totally unacceptable.
I agree, but as much as I'd rather not name names, this is DTE Energy in the Detroit metro area. I hate maligning unions, and I know that being an electrician pretty much means you're probably in an electricians union, so I tread carefully by saying what I'm about to say: there are a lot of bad stereotypes about unions, and I've worked with union people and groups that have not been like the negative stereotypes, but around Detroit there are certainly a lot of places those stereotypes apply. Where I've dealt with electricians locally, the reputation is that the stereotypes apply with DTE as well.

The number I called is the emergency number. They said their system is down and I need to call tomorrow morning. I've had such a hard time getting action from DTE that 1) it sounds like BS and 2) it's situation normal to me.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:42 PM   #66
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


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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.
FWIW I put a lot of grounding upgrades in too...

The original ground rods for the old main now subpanel are still in place connected to the subpanel, I've seen 1 not sure if there is a second.
The new main panel has 2 5/8" ground rods.
There are 2 more 5/8" ground rods for the garage subpanel.
The garage subpanel has a ground conductor with the underground feeder.
The garage subpanel also has rigid metal conduit 18" underground, this forms a continuous metal path to the main subpanel in the house.
All new ground rods are wired to their respective panels with a single continuous wire which passes through a ground lug attached on the conduit.
Another ground wire bonds the plumbing at both sides of the water meter, both sides of the water heater and the gas pipe near the water heater.
The garage is much closer to the utility poles than the house, so it's likely that the path of least resistance is more likely through the garage ground rods than the water pipes.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:35 AM   #67
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Biggles said

Quote:
your labeling the sub panel gound and neutral are the same wires
Nope his labeling is fine

Quote:
disconnect the black wire from the pair of wires that white comes from 115V... there is no wire going to that right side raw terminal bar the screw is the only thing tieing it to the panel
Why in the world would you advise someone to do that ????

Quote:
Sorry if I'm coming down hard, but I tried to subtly point out before that you sound like you're wrong and you don't know what you're talking about. I would really hate to think that someone could read this and not know any better and follow your advice, hell if I didn't know any better and read what you posted and took it as truth I might end up disconnecting the service neutral myself and replacing it with the undersized neutral to the subpanel.
Your not coming down hard your simply telling him he doesn't understand and is obviously wrong. Persistent though he is ....
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:42 AM   #68
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I agree, but as much as I'd rather not name names, this is DTE Energy in the Detroit metro area. I hate maligning unions, and I know that being an electrician pretty much means you're probably in an electricians union, so I tread carefully by saying what I'm about to say: there are a lot of bad stereotypes about unions, and I've worked with union people and groups that have not been like the negative stereotypes, but around Detroit there are certainly a lot of places those stereotypes apply. Where I've dealt with electricians locally, the reputation is that the stereotypes apply with DTE as well.

The number I called is the emergency number. They said their system is down and I need to call tomorrow morning. I've had such a hard time getting action from DTE that 1) it sounds like BS and 2) it's situation normal to me.
Sounds like fun. I'd say that "Detroit" is the explanation rather than "union". Almost all power companies are union, AFAIK, and almost all would have had a service truck out in an hour! As a construction manager, I worked with both union and non-union electrical contractors. Almost all in Indiana were union, and none in Arizona were union. I saw few quality differences, but substantial cost differences and moderate differences in ease of management.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:49 AM   #69
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This will get the power company out in a jiffy. If there is a (added later; change the "a" to "any") utility pole on your side of the street not too far from your house and there is a bare ground wire going up the pole, you run a wire across the lawn (suggest 10 gauge or all 3 wires of a Romex cable tied together at both ends. One end goes to the neutral bus in your panel, the other end is clamped to the ground wire on the pole. This acts as a neutral jumper around the broken neutral in the service drop.

Turn off your main breaker and try it. If this cures the unbalanced neutral problem (still don't use big 120 volt loads like hair dryers except for brief testing) then this almost certainly proves that the overhead service drop neutral was the problem.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:26 AM   #70
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This will get the power company out in a jiffy. If there is a utility pole on your side of the street not too far from your house and there is a bare ground wire going up the pole, you run a wire across the lawn (suggest 10 gauge or all 3 wires of a Romex cable tied together at both ends. One end goes to the neutral bus in your panel, the other end is clamped to the ground wire on the pole. This acts as a neutral jumper around the broken neutral in the service drop.

Turn off your main breaker and try it. If this cures the unbalanced neutral problem (still don't use big 120 volt loads like hair dryers except for brief testing) then this almost certainly proves that the overhead service drop neutral was the problem.
The utility poles are located at the rear lot line in my neighborhood, and I don't have a pole that falls on my property lines. The pole my power comes from is at the far side of the next lot north of me. His yard is kind of messy, he's almost never home and he has a dog that roams his back yard. When we first moved in, we saw a rat running across the top of the fence, climbing vines and disappearing into his second floor.

The electrician verified the neutral by pulling all 3 wires at the meter socket and measuring for voltage from the hots to the neutral. I don't know if he found low volts or no volts, I didn't ask what his meter read, but he used the words "open neutral."
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:48 AM   #71
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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.
Isn't dealing with DTE great?
Wonder if you interrupted their office party or their game of solitaire on the computer.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:12 PM   #72
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Help! Glowing spot at bonding screw


Has poco been out yet??? what did they find?
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:30 PM   #73
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The electrician found an open service neutral.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:08 AM   #74
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Has poco been out yet??? what did they find?
I had been considering posting updates, but I was thinking along the lines of a new thread rather than bumping a thread that had rolled down a page or two. But since you asked, I'll update here:

Weds. morning I received an e-mail from DTE customer service responding to the complaint I filed with DTE. In this e-mail, it was stated that the case was sent to dispatch at 7:29 AM that day. As far as my question about reimbursement for the electrician I had paid, they stated "we do not offer compensation for obtaining service through an electrician." I responded that I felt that reimbursing me for the $85 I paid for my electrician should be the least they do, and I should probably also seek reimbursement for the damage that their faulty equipment cause to my new service panel and anything else that I may find in the future that has been damaged as a result of this.

Weds. we went to dinner for my 40th birthday. Before we left for dinner, the online system indicated that no estimate was available for the restoration. After we got home, the online system indicated the work was complete. I pulled my jumper wire, and sure enough, the bonding screw was still arcing.

I called, understandably perturbed, but I refrained from anything abusive other than a stern tone of voice. The customer service rep informed me that the issue had been referred to a tree cutting crew and a line crew, so the case was still active with another department. Indeed, the service drop is touching a tree in a neighbor's yard at 2 points. This is more a result of the service drop having been pulled towards the house before the midspan.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to have been home for lunch when people started showing up from DTE. First a tree crew showed up, but they also left without talking to me. Then a little while later, a DTE guy came out and we looked at the line together. He basicly confirmed what I had been saying since Labor Day: The service drop should not have been pulled so far towards the house, and replacing the service drop will get it away from the trees and correct the open neutral.

The work will be done on Monday, Dec. 12.
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Old 12-09-2011, 04:48 PM   #75
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The work will be done on Monday, Dec. 12.
Completely unacceptable. I would have called the police and fire departments and let them deal with the PoCo.

Unreal.

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