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Old 01-17-2009, 11:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Now it just has to warm up a bit so we can work in the garage. :-)

I think we are going to have to wait till spring to drive in the grounding rods, no way to get them into the ground when it is frozen solid is there?

Jamie
sure there is

. A hammer.

If that is giving you an argument;

a BIGGER hammer.

Actually, since the rod is, well, a rod, driving it into the ground is not that big of a problem, frozen or not.

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Old 01-17-2009, 11:31 PM   #17
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sure there is

. A hammer.

If that is giving you an argument;

a BIGGER hammer.

Actually, since the rod is, well, a rod, driving it into the ground is not that big of a problem, frozen or not.
Well, then we (my dad) will be driving some grounding rods into the frozen earth! Good, I will be glad to have it all done and setup properly. I'm glad I drove my rods in back in the fall.

Do you know if it is normal to see a couple amps with a clamp meter on your connection to your water pipe, and nothing on your connection to your grounding rods?

Thanks
Jamie
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:38 PM   #18
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Do you know if it is normal to see a couple amps with a clamp meter on your connection to your water pipe, and nothing on your connection to your grounding rods?

Thanks
Jamie
Normal?

No and any reading should be near equal on each of them if there is any at all. One would expect the resistance to the pipe or rod to be similar and the resistance to ground should be similar as well. As such, any current would divide between the 2 paths to ground based upon the ratio of either one compared to the total resistance of the circuit.

Do you have city water?

my thoughts: your neighbor is having problems and stray current is traveling via the water pipe back to the POCO via your connection. Since the actual earth is not a great conductor, it would make sense it would return to the POCO trans via your service and not back out on the ground rods.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:52 PM   #19
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Normal?

No and any reading should be near equal on each of them if there is any at all. One would expect the resistance to the pipe or rod to be similar and the resistance to ground should be similar as well. As such, any current would divide between the 2 paths to ground based upon the ratio of either one compared to the total resistance of the circuit.

Do you have city water?

my thoughts: your neighbor is having problems and stray current is traveling via the water pipe back to the POCO via your connection. Since the actual earth is not a great conductor, it would make sense it would return to the POCO trans via your service and not back out on the ground rods.
Yes, this is on city water. Is there any further testing I can do, or do we just tell the powerco, hey I put a clamp meter on the 4awg wire bonding my panel to the water pipe and saw a few amps.

So in effect someone could be loosing power via a "short" to the earth and be sending out power they are charged for, but not using, that gets returned to the transformer by out line? I guess that would be somewhat unlikely as the breaker would normally trip, so it is probably more likely that the neutral is traveling to the earth for some reason.

Would this most likely be a neighbor that is close by, say 100 feet or less away? That would kind of make scenes. Ok, This is going to end up being our problem also, the house next door is our house too, we rent it out to several tennents. Bah... what a Mess... I'll have to go over there and look at it tomorrow and see if it is even bonded to the water pipes or what. Do you think a loose / bad service neutral is likely on the house next door? I will have to look for signs of a loose neutral. If it is, then we will just pull a permit on Monday and replace the SE cable there. (and make my dad pound in 2 more rods over there, he is going to hate it).

Maybe I need to go buy a better clamp meter first. I don't know if I should fully trust what the harbor freight meter tells me.

Thanks again
Jamie
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:58 PM   #20
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The question is whether the current is coming from the pipe to the panel, or from the panel to the pipe. Turn off branch circuits one at a time and see if the current disappears. If it does, then there is a fault in the house that is energizing the water line.

But if you get everything turned off, then the current is coming from outside the house.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:04 AM   #21
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The question is whether the current is coming from the pipe to the panel, or from the panel to the pipe. Turn off branch circuits one at a time and see if the current disappears. If it does, then there is a fault in the house that is energizing the water line.

But if you get everything turned off, then the current is coming from outside the house.
Makes perfect sense now. :-) Will test in the am. Thanks
Jamie
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:17 AM   #22
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The problem with the 6 handle rule is that you must still comply with 225.36 Suitable for Service Equipment, since most if not all panels require a MAIN to meet this requirement I never suggest the 6 handle rule.

I agree. But the six handle rule is still a compliant installation and he is able to take advantage of it.
We all know what happens when you use the six handle rule. In no time you have more than six handles.
Inspectors cannot inspect for future additions, so must pass this even if the panel has more than six spaces.
I never use this rule myself, but it is compliant and deserves mention.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:59 PM   #23
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I agree. But the six handle rule is still a compliant installation and he is able to take advantage of it.
We all know what happens when you use the six handle rule. In no time you have more than six handles.
Inspectors cannot inspect for future additions, so must pass this even if the panel has more than six spaces.
I never use this rule myself, but it is compliant and deserves mention.
I realize its legal, but my problem is that most panels require a MAIN to be used as service equipment... see my point?
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:20 PM   #24
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jamie, one other thing you can do to eliminate the seperate the disco. Not sure why I didn't think of this previously;

You can backfeed the panel with a breaker used as a main. (size to be determined by you and conductor size). You do have to use a kit to lock the breaker in as this is a code requirement when using a backfed breaker as a main.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:25 PM   #25
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I realize its legal, but my problem is that most panels require a MAIN to be used as service equipment... see my point?
I'm not sure Chris. NEC requirement or manufacturer requirement. I read the article but did not see the correlation to the issue. Could you explain. Thanks John
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:13 PM   #26
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I'm not sure Chris. NEC requirement or manufacturer requirement. I read the article but did not see the correlation to the issue. Could you explain. Thanks John

Simple my friend, the NEC allows the 6 handle rule, but most if not all panel manufactures will not allow a panel to be used as Service Equipment UNLESS a main is installed. This is why the 6 handle rule is a not even worth mentioning, because the manufacture will not allow it to begin with.

Also, check out 408.16 (A), if a panel is to be used as a Lighting and Appliance Branch Circuit Panelboard then a main is also required.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:21 PM   #27
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I'm not sure Chris. NEC requirement or manufacturer requirement. I read the article but did not see the correlation to the issue. Could you explain. Thanks John
Combination of both

The 6 disconnect rule is only applicable IMO prior to 2008 code if the panel is a power panel and not a lighting and appliance branch circuit panelboard. You can verify this by looking at service equipment used at single family dwellings. When you see the 6 disconnect rule being used (properly) it is usually in the form of 6 double pole breakers...as an example... a split bus panel. Or another would be an outside meter/main where the lighting and appliance branch circuit panelboard inside the dwelling is fed from a double pole breaker out in the meter/main sevice equipment.
Now to get to the root of things.... a L&ABCP is a panel that has 10% or more of it's branch circuits served by 30 amps or less and connected to the grounded conductor... ie 120 volt loads ...Most modern residential panels allow the panel to be used as service equipment under the six handle if it is not used as a L&ABCP. The minute you stick a 15 amp single pole breaker in a panel it requires a main breaker that is single throw in order to meet specifications as service equipment. The panel at a residential garage would take a little doing to not be a L&ABCP. If fact I would say near impossible. And as Chris pointed out it must be rated as service equipment to qualify as the disconnect. So if any of those 6 circuit breakers in the panel for the detached building are 30 amps or less and used the grounded conductor it would immediately be a L&ABCP and require a single throw main breaker.

In 2008 the distinction between power panels and L&ABCP was dropped and now all panels require a main breaker to be service equipment.

If you look at the manufacturers sheet on the panel door you will notice a service equipment statement. It will usually say something like ....."Suitable for service equipment using 6 breakers or less as long as the panel is not used as a lighting and appliance branch circuit panelboard." So an mlo panel board in a detached residential building would not qualify for the 6 disconnect rule as a service equipment building disconnect.

A mlo panelboard in the same structure as the service equipment would not be a problem as it is not required to be rated as service equipment since service equipment disconnect already exists at the dwelling.

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