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Old 07-15-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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How is this subpanel ground?


Hey,
I recently moved into this house and am looking to install some outlets upstairs. Previously, a sub panel was installed which should make this job a lot easier, but I can't seem to figure out how it is grounded. The two neutral/ground buses are attached with a tie bar which I originally thought had to be separated (and then one bus used as a neutral and the other as a ground). Is this subpanel installed properly? If so, how is it grounded?
It also appears that there are only 3 wires coming into the subpanel, 2 hot and a neutral... Is that up to code?

hopefully this picture uploaded properly.
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How is this subpanel ground?-subpanel.jpg  


Last edited by FixingOlga; 07-15-2008 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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How is this subpanel ground?


If the sub panel is connected to the main panel via conduit that would be the ground. The ground and neutral should be kept separate. i can't tell if the bond screw is inplace not connecting the neutral bus to the box.
I don't see any ground wires in that picture. All I see is blue,red, black and white wires. Ground must be green or bare.
It appears as if this house is wired using conduit. If that is true then the conduit is the ground.

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Old 07-15-2008, 02:45 PM   #3
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How is this subpanel ground?


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If the sub panel is connected to the main panel via conduit that would be the ground. The ground and neutral should be kept separate. i can't tell if the bond screw is inplace not connecting the neutral bus to the box.
I don't see any ground wires in that picture. All I see is blue,red, black and white wires. Ground must be green or bare.
It appears as if this house is wired using conduit. If that is true then the conduit is the ground.
Look closely at the left side of the tub. There are definitely box connectors visible for conduit. As Joe says, the metallic raceway system (assuming that it is continuous) serves as the ground and is perfectly acceptable according to the NEC. In fact, the raceways serve as EGC's for each of your branch circuits as well. Therein, you will not typically have any ground wires like you would if this was wired with NM cable (one exception would be if you had a piece of greenfield/FMC connecting to the tub. Then you would have at least one ground wire).

Looking more closely, your neutral terminates on the top lug and you can trace across the top bus and down to the bottom bus via the splice plate. Both busses are connected and are therein both acting as neutral busses.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:42 PM   #4
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How is this subpanel ground?


call me crazy but did they use BLUE as a grounded conductor?
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:30 PM   #5
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How is this subpanel ground?


The blue is connected to a breaker. It is a hot wire. Conduit makes it easy to use different colours for different circuit. Makes for much easier circuit tracing.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:33 PM   #6
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How is this subpanel ground?


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The blue is connected to a breaker. It is a hot wire. Conduit makes it easy to use different colours for different circuit. Makes for much easier circuit tracing.

You wanna look at that again and tell me what you see... Let me give you a BIG hint, thats a AFCI breaker....
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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How is this subpanel ground?


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You wanna look at that again and tell me what you see... Let me give you a BIG hint, thats a AFCI breaker....
I still see a blue and a red wire attached to a possible double pole GFCI breaker.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:37 PM   #8
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How is this subpanel ground?


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I still see a blue and a red wire attached to a possible double pole GFCI breaker.

Guess you never wired one before, never mind. Just for fun, you wanna explain to me how its getting its 2nd pole?
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:40 PM   #9
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How is this subpanel ground?


Couple questions, what country is the OP from and is that Panel really mounted horizontally?
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:55 PM   #10
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How is this subpanel ground?


I'm getting in a pissing match. I'll just say you must be right. I never wired one before.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:57 PM   #11
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How is this subpanel ground?


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I'm getting in a pissing match. I'll just say you must be right. I never wired one before.
I wasnt trying to have a peeing match with you, I was only pointing out a violation to use a blue wire for a grounded conductor here in the US...
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:06 PM   #12
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How is this subpanel ground?


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I wasnt trying to have a peeing match with you, I was only pointing out a violation to use a blue wire for a grounded conductor here in the US...
Honestly, I think you both were talking about 2 different breakers. the one on the right is blue and re-indentified white, the one on the left is blue.
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:20 PM   #13
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How is this subpanel ground?


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I wasnt trying to have a peeing match with you, I was only pointing out a violation to use a blue wire for a grounded conductor here in the US...
I pretty darn sure Chris is correct on this. Both the breakers in question are single pole AFCI. That panel is a GE, the positions they are installed in will only allow connection to one leg. So the blue is used as a grounded conductor from the position it is installed on the afci. My guess they wanted to reidentify the blue as white like the other afci was done.

Last edited by Stubbie; 07-15-2008 at 06:21 PM. Reason: realized an error in first reply
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:40 PM   #14
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How is this subpanel ground?


Looks like a blue wire with white tape maybe connected to the netural connection on an arc-fault.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:23 AM   #15
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How is this subpanel ground?


The picture loaded sideways, but the subpanel is installed upright. Thanks for all the input. I'm in new york city, and we can only use BX wires here because the rats eat through nm. So they, and the conduits, must be acting as the ground.

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