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Old 01-03-2012, 01:30 AM   #31
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Should I follow my dad's electrical friend's advice and hook the ground bar back to the neutral bar in the box in the barn?
NO...the ground bar and neutral bar should be seperate in a sub-panel (assuming you are on a code cycle post 1996, as McSteve and Billy Bob asked....twice )


If you have direct bury cable, then yes you'll have to dig it all up and add a grounding conductor......well not ADD really. You'll have to replace your cable with cable (or conduit and ind. conductors do it ) that has all 4 conductors in the same cable....or conduit


OOPS, just picked up on the #2 conductors...I've never seen UF cable that big, so you'll probably have to dig it up either way.....unless of course you already have CONDUIT AND IND. CONDUCTORS

........or maybe, since you're digging anyway...you could change over to conduit and ind. conductors **shrug**....I dunno


Last edited by jproffer; 01-03-2012 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:13 AM   #32
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


As others have mentioned, your current installation is extremely dangerous and should be disconnected immediately. Any ground fault anywhere in your barn will electrify all of the "grounded" metal, your subpanel, and your ground rod. No circuit breakers will trip, and you won't know about it until you find out the hard way. Ground rods provide no protection whatsoever from shock or ground faults. That's not what they're for. While you are prohibited by code from bonding neutral and ground in that panel, you are also prohibited from feeding it with a 3-wire feed. Your dad's friend is sort of right about one thing: it would be safer with neutral and ground bonded in the subpanel. Not code compliant, but MUCH safer. At least then the grounding system in the barn would be bonded to the system neutral, which is absolutely required for proper operation of the equipment grounding system. It's just that the one and only bond between neutral and ground is supposed to be at the service disconnect.

As others have said, you have the wrong wire. You need 4-conductor, and it needs to be correctly sized and rated for burial. Your wire is probably not rated for burial, and will disintegrate within a year or so.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:33 AM   #33
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


Dorlow.,

I will ask a simple question real quick which state are you in and if you are in one of the Midwestern states due I did catch say Mendards store so I can able dail in pretty quick.

State of Wisconsin is on 2008 but will be ramp up with 2011 soon ( I do not know which date it will be effective ) ( local codes may trump few items so there is too many to list so will dealt with it later if that the case )

State of Minnesota is pretty much set for 2011 for sure. ( I think they went on last year with few modifactions )

For other states I am not sure due they were in progess of changing the code requirment.

but most case it will be on 2008 or later verison ( few still useing 2005)

Now for your project few guys allready address this to you. I just can not really comment how bad it is without resorting to my native langunge. (French)

Was this permit used on this project ??

If you want to get this fixed right let us know we can steer you right but I know you may not like the respondes from us but we have to stay with the codes.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:59 AM   #34
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Old 01-03-2012, 05:45 AM   #35
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Wait, back up a bit. Why would you have to open up the trench to add another wire? Is it buried directly in the ground without conduit? What kind of wire is that?
I was told it was wire rated for direct bury. I have conduit going into the ground and out of the ground. But what's in the ground during the run has no conduit. I talked to a few different electricians before making that decision. They said it's best to use wire that is rated to not need conduit because if water gets in the conduit, the wire might as well be sitting in a puddle of water. Where with it buried directly, then the water just seeps in the ground below.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:49 AM   #36
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Dorlow.,

I will ask a simple question real quick which state are you in and if you are in one of the Midwestern states due I did catch say Mendards store so I can able dail in pretty quick.

State of Wisconsin is on 2008 but will be ramp up with 2011 soon ( I do not know which date it will be effective ) ( local codes may trump few items so there is too many to list so will dealt with it later if that the case )

State of Minnesota is pretty much set for 2011 for sure. ( I think they went on last year with few modifactions )

For other states I am not sure due they were in progess of changing the code requirment.

but most case it will be on 2008 or later verison ( few still useing 2005)

Now for your project few guys allready address this to you. I just can not really comment how bad it is without resorting to my native langunge. (French)

Was this permit used on this project ??

If you want to get this fixed right let us know we can steer you right but I know you may not like the respondes from us but we have to stay with the codes.

Merci.
Marc
I wouldn't have posted this forum post if I didn't want it right. But at the same time, I can't afford to have someone come out.

Now, according to the one electrician, seeing I only sent out the two hots and the neutral, my barn is being wired like it's a "first source." Is that correct? I mean the electric company doesn't give me a ground wire, do they? So, seeing I have the two hots and one neutral, can't I just wire my barn like it's a first source?

A permit wasn't used for this project. And I didn't get a permit because another electric company that gave me a quote said not to. They told me "the barn has been here for years... no one will ever suspect anything. So if it makes you feel better at night to pay $300 for a permit, then go ahead... but I wouldn't."
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:56 AM   #37
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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As others have said, you have the wrong wire. You need 4-conductor, and it needs to be correctly sized and rated for burial. Your wire is probably not rated for burial, and will disintegrate within a year or so.
Menards told me it was rated for direct burial. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. The guys I talked to there sounded like they really knew there stuff. Another Menards store I went to the guy that worked there didn't know a thing... so I think I can tell when I'm talking to someone that knows their stuff versus someone that doesn't.

Looking at Menards site, this is the stuff I got...

http://menards.com/main/electrical/r...814-c-6441.htm


2-2-4 Aluminum URD, Per Foot

  • Used to Connect the Transformer to the Meter Base
  • Suitable for Direct Burial
  • Cross-Linked Polyethylene Insulation
  • Triple Rated RHH or RHW-2 or USE-2
  • Sold Per Foot
  • Special Orders Must be Purchased in Full Reel Quantities
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:09 AM   #38
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Right. This is why I kinda hate the term "ground". The ground rod has absolutely no bearing on the proper functioning of a circuit. It exists primarily to protect the wiring and structure from lightning, and other high-voltage events.
McSteve:

If the grounding rod exists primarily to protect the wiring and structure from lightning, and other high-voltage events. Where does the so called circuit ground come from? The circuit ground is not provided by the power company, two hot and a neutral. Unless I am missing something, please explain.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:15 AM   #39
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Originally Posted by dorlow View Post
...A permit wasn't used for this project. And I didn't get a permit because another electric company that gave me a quote said not to. They told me "the barn has been here for years... no one will ever suspect anything. So if it makes you feel better at night to pay $300 for a permit, then go ahead... but I wouldn't."
I am speechless! (And being a blabbermouth, that is quite an unusual situation for me! )

Frankly I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open that they told you that!

Anyway electrical codes and electrical inspectors are for the protection of YOU, your family, your friends, your pets and animals, someone who may purchase your home in the future, and from financial loss due to fire or electrical malfunction.

An electrical inspection can also protect an electrician should someone be electrocuted or a building burn down. People are human and make mistakes. An inspector can spot an oversight or a mistake and say "Hey you need to fix that!" Then the electrician avoids anyone being electrocuted or a fire in the first place. Or if there is an accident, the electrician would be seen as taking due care to be sure everything was safe by having an inspection.

But if something nasty happens, it is the fault of the electrician, and the electrician did not get a permit when he should have, then they are going to stick it to him!

Then so far as getting things inspected, the process is that you first go discuss what you plan to do with the electrical inspector. At that time the electrical inspector can spot things which are not correct, then you can change your plans. And if it is something like the wrong wire, then that could save you a LOT of money because you would then buy the correct wire the first time around.

Then when the inspector comes to look at your work, it is basically like what you are seeing here. Dangerous things are pointed out. Things which if corrected, will make it safer for you and your family. That is all, end of story.

Anyway I am sorry you have been the recipient of so much bad advice. You would be wise to at a minimum run your future projects by the people on an internet electrical forum. And let the discussion run its course. People on the internet make mistakes or give the wrong advice too, but someone else usually comes along and points out the error.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:48 AM   #40
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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I am speechless! (And being a blabbermouth, that is quite an unusual situation for me! )

Frankly I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open that they told you that!
Get with the program bro this is the real world stories like this happen all the time
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:57 AM   #41
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


So, I just googled the ground and neutral wires for an out building again and came across this article...

http://masterslic.tripod.com/FAQ-2/18.html

It basically says to do what I did...

But then towards the bottom, it says this...

A single branch circuit run to another building is not considered a sub panel.

So, then it makes me believe I need to do what my dad's electrician friend said and bond my ground and neutral together in the barn.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:13 AM   #42
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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McSteve:

If the grounding rod exists primarily to protect the wiring and structure from lightning, and other high-voltage events. Where does the so called circuit ground come from? The circuit ground is not provided by the power company, two hot and a neutral. Unless I am missing something, please explain.
Excellent question! The circuit ground (Equipment Grounding Conductor) originates from the neutral-ground bond in your main service panel.

As you probably know, current ordinarily flows from the hot wire, through a load, and back on the neutral. If the current flow is excessive, a breaker will trip.

In the event of a ground fault, where a hot wire comes in contact with something that is grounded, the ground wire bonded to neutral allows sufficient current to flow along a relatively safe & controlled path, in order to trip the breaker. The ground wire also insures that all metal parts of the electrical system, appliances, and in most cases, plumbing, are held to the same voltage potential as the neutral wire, which is zero volts.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:28 AM   #43
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


I have stuff to do today, so I will just make a few notes here for things to learn about/check into...

Aluminum Wire - Aluminum wire requires a larger gauge than copper wire. The gauge of wire used in the case of something like a far away barn depends on the distance to the barn, the maximum amperage which will ever be used at the barn, and the type of wire used (copper or aluminum).

Aluminum Wire Special Installation Main Lugs - When installing aluminum wire, you need to brush on "anti-oxidation" compound. Then tighten the lugs with an inch pound torque wrench to the inch pounds specified on the panel label or installation instructions. 12 inch pounds = 1 foot pound. Automotive torque wrenches are in foot pounds, Not inch pounds!

Voltage Drop - With long distances, the voltage "drops". The voltage at a plug might be 120 volts AC, then you use a small gauge 100 foot extension cord to power an air compressor, then the voltage at the end of that cord might be 80 volts! The compressor just "hums" and does not run. You determine wire gauge with a voltage drop calculator like this one...
http://www.electrician2.com/calculat...r_initial.html

So what is the distance to your barn? That would be the one way length of the wire run including going up to the panels.

Grounds - Grounding is *very* important! Appliances with metal frames have those frames connected to the ground connection on an outlet. All metal covers, boxes, etc. associated with electrical wiring are connected (bonded) to ground.

A common occurrence is that a hot electrical wire rubs against a sharp metal object (because romex clamps were not used) or comes loose inside an electrical panel (because the connections were not properly torqued) and touches the metal object...

Then the metal frame can become energized! A person or animal touching that metal object can be electrocuted! And that metal object may be touching other metal objects like water piping, metal air conditioning duct work, the metal frame of a barn, water pipes and in turn water faucets, etc.

Anyway one loose wire somewhere can possibly energize all the metal objects in a house.

Protection from electrocution is by bonding (connecting) neutral to ground. Then when that hot wire touches the metal frame of something which is grounded, the circuit breaker trips! Everybody in the family is safe. Further protection is ground rods. This attempts to hold the electrical level to ground or makes an easier path for electricity to flow to ground than through a person's body. But that does not guarantee a person will not be electrocuted. Further protection is necessary.

GFCI Breakers / Outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) - GFCI outlets are required in all wet areas. These detect electricity leaking (shorting) to ground, then INSTANTLY shut off the electricity.

So that hot electrical wire from a barn water warmer touches the metal case of the animals drinking water tank. There is no neutral to ground bond to the subpanel. Only 3 wires run to the subpanel. And the dog or the cow goes to the water tank to drink water and touches the metal tank. Then ZAP! One dead dog or cow. But Not in this case because we have installed a GFCI breaker or outlet. Electricity flows through the body of the cow or dog, then instantly before either knows it (about 1/40 of a second), the electricity is shut off. The cow and dog are safe! Yeaaaa!

Install GFCI breakers or outlets in all wet areas and other places the electrical code requires.

So what will the barn be used for? Animals?

Ground Loops - If you have neutral ground bonds at more than one location, you can get "ground loops". Google ground loops. All sorts of stuff on this. Electronic things hate ground loops. Best is one central ground which all other grounds are connected to (4th wire).

Loss of Neutral Wire - It is common for a main neutral wire to come loose. Many times because it was not torqued properly during installation. Too loose of a connection and it heats up under load. Then cools down when no load. Heat/cool/heat/cool... eventually the wire works itself loose...

Then what? Then everything connected to ground in a subpanel can become "hot" if hot is bonded to neutral at the subpanel. Hot wire to appliance which is turned on, electricity back through circuit neutral to subpanel, no return to neutral at the main panel because the wire came loose, then travels to ground via the neutral/ground bond at the subpanel, then all metal cases connected to ground then become energized!

Better is a 4th wire isolated from ground at a subpanel. Neutral wire comes loose, then nothing works! And you can notice the problem as well since nothing is working (120 volt circuits).

Best with 4 wires to a subpanel.

Bottom Line: Modern electrical codes have safeties and backup safeties to protect you and your family (and rover). If one thing fails, there is something else there to protect you. These things have been well thought out and are there because of past electrical accidents. They are there to prevent these things from happening again.

So do what the code says and you will have a safe electrical system!
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:48 AM   #44
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


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Aluminum Wire - Aluminum wire requires a larger gauge than copper wire. The gauge of wire used in the case of something like a far away barn depends on the distance to the barn, the maximum amperage which will ever be used at the barn, and the type of wire used (copper or aluminum).
!
I ran the distance into a distance calculator along with the type of wire and it said it was good up to 108 feet. I ran it about 90 feet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Aluminum Wire Special Installation Main Lugs - When installing aluminum wire, you need to brush on "anti-oxidation" compound. Then tighten the lugs with an inch pound torque wrench to the inch pounds specified on the panel label or installation instructions. 12 inch pounds = 1 foot pound. Automotive torque wrenches are in foot pounds, Not inch pounds!
!
I did hear with aluminum that I do need to tighten them again later because they do get a little loose over time. I was planning on doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Voltage Drop - With long distances, the voltage "drops". The voltage at a plug might be 120 volts AC, then you use a small gauge 100 foot extension cord to power an air compressor, then the voltage at the end of that cord might be 80 volts! The compressor just "hums" and does not run. You determine wire gauge with a voltage drop calculator like this one...
http://www.electrician2.com/calculat...r_initial.html

So what is the distance to your barn? That would be the one way length of the wire run including going up to the panels.

Grounds - Grounding is *very* important! Appliances with metal frames have those frames connected to the ground connection on an outlet. All metal covers, boxes, etc. associated with electrical wiring are connected (bonded) to ground.

A common occurrence is that a hot electrical wire rubs against a sharp metal object (because romex clamps were not used) or comes loose inside an electrical panel (because the connections were not properly torqued) and touches the metal object...

Then the metal frame can become energized! A person or animal touching that metal object can be electrocuted! And that metal object may be touching other metal objects like water piping, metal air conditioning duct work, the metal frame of a barn, water pipes and in turn water faucets, etc.

Anyway one loose wire somewhere can possibly energize all the metal objects in a house.

Protection from electrocution is by bonding (connecting) neutral to ground. Then when that hot wire touches the metal frame of something which is grounded, the circuit breaker trips! Everybody in the family is safe. Further protection is ground rods. This attempts to hold the electrical level to ground or makes an easier path for electricity to flow to ground than through a person's body. But that does not guarantee a person will not be electrocuted. Further protection is necessary.
!
So that answers my question. I'll bond my neutral to ground in the barn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
GFCI Breakers / Outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) - GFCI outlets are required in all wet areas. These detect electricity leaking (shorting) to ground, then INSTANTLY shut off the electricity.

So that hot electrical wire from a barn water warmer touches the metal case of the animals drinking water tank. There is no neutral to ground bond to the subpanel. Only 3 wires run to the subpanel. And the dog or the cow goes to the water tank to drink water and touches the metal tank. Then ZAP! One dead dog or cow. But Not in this case because we have installed a GFCI breaker or outlet. Electricity flows through the body of the cow or dog, then instantly before either knows it (about 1/40 of a second), the electricity is shut off. The cow and dog are safe! Yeaaaa!

Install GFCI breakers or outlets in all wet areas and other places the electrical code requires.

So what will the barn be used for? Animals?
!
No, it's just storage and to work on cars and house projects, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post

Ground Loops - If you have neutral ground bonds at more than one location, you can get "ground loops". Google ground loops. All sorts of stuff on this. Electronic things hate ground loops. Best is one central ground which all other grounds are connected to (4th wire).

Loss of Neutral Wire - It is common for a main neutral wire to come loose. Many times because it was not torqued properly during installation. Too loose of a connection and it heats up under load. Then cools down when no load. Heat/cool/heat/cool... eventually the wire works itself loose...

Then what? Then everything connected to ground in a subpanel can become "hot" if hot is bonded to neutral at the subpanel. Hot wire to appliance which is turned on, electricity back through circuit neutral to subpanel, no return to neutral at the main panel because the wire came loose, then travels to ground via the neutral/ground bond at the subpanel, then all metal cases connected to ground then become energized!

Better is a 4th wire isolated from ground at a subpanel. Neutral wire comes loose, then nothing works! And you can notice the problem as well since nothing is working (120 volt circuits).

Best with 4 wires to a subpanel.

Bottom Line: Modern electrical codes have safeties and backup safeties to protect you and your family (and rover). If one thing fails, there is something else there to protect you. These things have been well thought out and are there because of past electrical accidents. They are there to prevent these things from happening again.

So do what the code says and you will have a safe electrical system!
Thank you for your advice.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:52 AM   #45
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Need to know if my grounds and neutrals are connected right


Quote:
Originally Posted by dorlow View Post
So, I just googled the ground and neutral wires for an out building again and came across this article...

http://masterslic.tripod.com/FAQ-2/18.html

It basically says to do what I did...

But then towards the bottom, it says this...

A single branch circuit run to another building is not considered a sub panel.

So, then it makes me believe I need to do what my dad's electrician friend said and bond my ground and neutral together in the barn.
Your description in post#1 indicates that you are running a feeder out to the barn, so you can forget about the exception in the Code about the “single branch circuit”. I didn’t read the article you linked to in post#41, nor do I intend to right now. If you want this to be a safe and proper installation, do it by Code. That means 4 wires to the barn, neutrals and equipment ground wire separated at sub-panels. A new installation, as you have done, cannot use the 3-wire exception. Pay attention to part (B)Grounded Systems, particularly the last sentence, and note the first 6 words of the exception in (B)Grounded Systems….For existing premises wiring systems only.

250.32 Buildings or Structures Supplied by a Feeder(s) or Branch Circuit(s).

(A) Grounding Electrode. Building(s) or structure(s) supplied by feeder(s) or branch circuit(s) shall have a grounding electrode or grounding electrode system installed in accordance with Part III of Article 250. The grounding electrode conductor(s) shall be connected in accordance with 250.32(B) or (C). Where there is no existing grounding electrode, the grounding electrode(s) required in 250.50 shall be installed.

Exception: A grounding electrode shall not be required where only a single branch circuit, including a multiwire branch circuit, supplies the building or structure and the branch circuit includes an equipment grounding conductor for grounding the normally non–current-carrying metal parts of equipment.

(B) Grounded Systems. For a grounded system at the separate building or structure, an equipment grounding conductor as described in 250.118 shall be run with the supply conductors and be connected to the building or structure disconnecting means and to the grounding electrode(s). The equipment grounding conductor shall be used for grounding or bonding of equipment, structures, or frames required to be grounded or bonded. The equipment grounding conductor shall be sized in accordance with 250.122. Any installed grounded conductor shall not be connected to the equipment grounding conductor or to the grounding electrode(s).

Exception: For existing premises wiring systems only, the grounded conductor run with the supply to the building or structure shall be permitted to be connected to the building or structure disconnecting means and to the grounding electrode(s) and shall be used for grounding or bonding of equipment, structures, or frames required to be grounded or bonded where all the requirements of (1), (2), and (3) are met:
(1) An equipment grounding conductor is not run with the supply to the building or structure.
(2) There are no continuous metallic paths bonded to the grounding system in each building or structure involved.
(3) Ground-fault protection of equipment has not been installed on the supply side of the feeder(s). Where the grounded conductor is used for grounding in accordance with the provision of this exception, the size of the grounded conductor shall not be smaller than the larger of either of the following:
(1) That required by 220.61
(2) That required by 250.122

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