how dangerous is what i just did ?
hooked a 10-3 cable onto a flipped-off 30A breaker but the panel was ON.
i felt safer putting in the hot wires because the breaker was off. but felt a little nervous plugging the ground and neutral. what could have happened ?
- a -
as long as everything is as it is supposed to be, touching the gound or neutral bar at the panel will not cause you any harm.
the danger is if you accidentally touch an energized part.
When I am working on a panel, I simply tell "observers" "don't touch anything that is shiny". While some of those shiny things, such as the ground bar or neutral bar will not injure you if touched, most everything else shiny can kill you.
thanks. do the ground or neutral bus ever get hot under any use case scenario (surge) ?
they shouldn't. If they do, it would show they are being required to carry a great amount of current. They are rated to carry the current of the panel so while they may become warm if they are required to carry the full current of the panel, they should never become hot.
the fact is, in a resi service, there is typically such a light load on a panel at any given time, if they are even warm, I would be looking for some sort of problem.
just to clairfy things: if your house was hit by lightning, they might get hot if the current flows through the neutral or ground bars. Other than that, they should never be hot.
just to add to the information already at hand.... When working on a live panel, I only ever use one hand, double check everything, and make sure you have enough room to work (clear boxes out the way etc...)
Some gloves could help too...
Wrap your screwdrivers with tape..
Be in control of the wire your working with ..it's springy stuff!
Work on a piece of dry plywood
Keep the area clean....
Have VERY good lighting..
Buy a real quality tester and use it! check all kinds of combinations and you'll learn a lot!
READ! READ! READ!....up on the subject...
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