Main Neutral Is Breaker Panel Question - Electrical - Page 2 - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #16
Licensed Electrical Cont.
 
Speedy Petey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 6,899
Rewards Points: 2,152
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
If there is only 5vac driving this current through the ground due to a neighborhood neutral imbalance , it's not so bad.
If it's a few hundred volts through high ground resistance, that is dangerous.
So you don't think 5 amps of objectionable current is dangerous???

Advertisement

__________________
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
Speedy Petey is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Speedy Petey For This Useful Post:
Code05 (07-15-2012), Jim Port (07-15-2012), mpoulton (07-15-2012), stickboy1375 (07-15-2012)
Old 07-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #17
Licensed Electrical Cont.
 
Speedy Petey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 6,899
Rewards Points: 2,152
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
May be a neighbor with a bad neutral connection, returning neutral current through your water or gas pipes. Check current on the water bonding conductor - I bet it's the same as the neutral current with the main off. Definitely notify the power company.
This!
__________________
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
Speedy Petey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 02:18 PM   #18
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
So you don't think 5 amps of objectionable current is dangerous???
What is your objection to 5A passing through a heavy conductor?
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 02:22 PM   #19
Member
 
Code05's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Easton MD
Posts: 1,841
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
What is your objection to 5A passing through a heavy conductor?
If the neighbor has a bad neutral, the amperage will only increase.

You do realize that 5 amps is more than enough to kill someone.
Code05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 02:30 PM   #20
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05 View Post
If the neighbor has a bad neutral, the amperage will only increase.

You do realize that 5 amps is more than enough to kill someone.
E = IR.
What kind of voltage with typical skin/body resistance (240 ohms on up to megohms) would it take to put 5A through somebody?
The elec. chair does it but they use 2400v.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2012, 02:52 PM   #21
Licensed Electrical Cont.
 
Speedy Petey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 6,899
Rewards Points: 2,152
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
What is your objection to 5A passing through a heavy conductor?
A LOT when everything in the building is SUPPOSED to be off.

Do you want to disconnect a neutral, that you though was dead, with 5A flowing on it??
__________________
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
Speedy Petey is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Speedy Petey For This Useful Post:
Code05 (07-15-2012), jbfan (07-15-2012), stickboy1375 (07-15-2012)
Old 07-15-2012, 02:56 PM   #22
Member
 
Code05's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Easton MD
Posts: 1,841
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post

Do you want to disconnect a neutral, that you though was dead, with 5A flowing on it??
If he does, can I watch?
Code05 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Code05 For This Useful Post:
jbfan (07-15-2012), Speedy Petey (07-15-2012), stickboy1375 (07-15-2012)
Old 07-15-2012, 02:59 PM   #23
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Vint = voltage supplying the neutral conductor
Rint = internal resistance of whatever voltage source is supplying the neutral conductor

We know that Vint/Rint = 5, so Vint = 5Rint

Put a 10 ohm load (a toaster, call it Rload) across a neutral connection
open the neutral connection
measure the voltage across Rload. Call it Vload.

Then
Rint = VloadRload/(5Rload - Vload)

So with Rload = 10

Vload= 49
Rint = 490, a pretty high ground resistance
and so
Vint = 2450, a power line fault

but if
Vload= 5
Rint = 1.111111111, a very low ground resistance
and so
Vint = 5.555555556, possibly an unbalanced neutral

If Vload = 50v then the neutral is being supplied by an ideal current source set to 5A. Note that with 10 ohms the voltage cannot exceed 50v, given the OP's 5A measurement.

And voltage is dangerous because it can overcome skin resistance.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-15-2012 at 03:06 PM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #24
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC
Posts: 87
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Here is a pic of the panel if that helps any. There is no current through the grounding wire. The grounding wire is not really grounded, as you can see from the pic, it is attached to a copper pipe that is just laying on the ground...
Attached Thumbnails
Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question-ground-wire.jpg   Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question-breaker-panel.jpg  
Fisher252 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2012, 02:52 PM   #25
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisher252 View Post
There is no current through the grounding wire
because
The grounding wire is not really grounded
Hire an electrician. Your situation, and your response to it, is making me nervous.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-18-2012 at 02:56 PM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2012, 09:11 PM   #26
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC
Posts: 87
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
Hire an electrician. Your situation, and your response to it, is making me nervous.
I didn't realize that I had made a response to it, much less one that would make anyone nervous... Can you explain?
Fisher252 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2012, 10:29 AM   #27
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC
Posts: 87
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Update:

Note: there is nothing that draws power plugged in inside the house, except for 2 or 3 cfl light bulbs (only one was on).

I watched the amp meter yesterday for about 15 minutes and it fluctuated slowly up and down between 6 and 8 amps.

With the main breaker off, I get 120 volts testing across (top to bottom in the picture) on each of the hot wires on the main breaker. Is this normal?

If there is a 6 amp load on the neutral, wouldn't there have to be another equal load somewhere else inside the panel or leaving the panel?
Fisher252 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2012, 11:27 AM   #28
Licensed Electrician
 
jrclen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: central wisconsin
Posts: 982
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


With your main breaker turned off you should measure 120 volts across the breaker on each main wire.

With the main breaker turned off you should not have any current flowing in the neutral. If you do, it needs to be corrected.

The suggestion to call the power company or an electrician is very good advice.

With the main breaker on and a CFL lit, you will see current on the neutral. I though you said the main breaker was off when you read the current on the neutral. Now you are confusing everyone. If a CFL is on with the main turned off, you need an electrician.
__________________
John
jrclen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2012, 11:43 AM   #29
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC
Posts: 87
Rewards Points: 75
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
With the main breaker on and a CFL lit, you will see current on the neutral. I though you said the main breaker was off when you read the current on the neutral. Now you are confusing everyone. If a CFL is on with the main turned off, you need an electrician.

No lights are on with the main off...

The CFL being on only adds ~ 0.15 amps, so that is negligible. The Amps on the neutral are still between 5 and 8, whether the main is on or off.
Fisher252 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2012, 11:59 AM   #30
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,569
Rewards Points: 2,034
Default

Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisher252 View Post
Update:

Note: there is nothing that draws power plugged in inside the house, except for 2 or 3 cfl light bulbs (only one was on).

I watched the amp meter yesterday for about 15 minutes and it fluctuated slowly up and down between 6 and 8 amps.

With the main breaker off, I get 120 volts testing across (top to bottom in the picture) on each of the hot wires on the main breaker. Is this normal?
Yes, that is normal. Those wires coming into the main breaker are from the utility, and there is no way to shut them off.

Quote:
If there is a 6 amp load on the neutral, wouldn't there have to be another equal load somewhere else inside the panel or leaving the panel?
Not likely. As we said before, the current on your neutral is probably not from your service. It's from a neighbor's service, and it's coming in through your plumbing and leaving through your utility neutral connection. Check the current on the plumbing bonding conductor or your incoming water main. It's probably the same as the current on the neutral with the main breaker off.

Advertisement

mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
new sub panel BlueBSH Electrical 11 01-22-2012 09:28 AM
Fuse panel main breaker question cjm94 Electrical 5 11-16-2011 10:16 AM
Subpanel next to Main panel wired the same in 1990 Uncle Wayne Electrical 3 01-20-2011 01:43 AM
Multiple Panel Question theatretch85 Electrical 5 12-12-2009 06:26 AM
GFCI feeing subpanel question scott2332 Electrical 45 02-28-2009 04:15 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts