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Old 12-31-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


I have a Schneider Electric HomeLine 200 amp electrical panel. Am finishing my basement and bought a 125 amp sub panel and 100 amp breaker to add new circuits in the basement. There were 4 slots left in the old panel. Was planning to add some new heavily used circuits (20 amp) to the old box and add the rest to the new box. In the future will want to also add circuits to my attached garage.
Opening the old box, I found one unused 15 amp breaker. I had broken up the single lighting circuit in the basement into two so attached the new circuit to the unused breaker. Found that there was only one unused neutral terminal on the right side of the panel so used it. On the left side, the grounds are often double upped for 14 gauge wire. 12s are always single. There is still a half dozen or so free terminals on the ground side.
The issue is I need 4 adjacent terminals to connect the neutral cable running to the new sub panel. Haven't checked on how many I need for ground. I think the ground cable is #8. The neutral is #2.
Is there parts to extend the neutral bus to allow the required connections, can they all be connected to the ground side since this is the main panel and neutral and ground are the same bus (just neutral wires are currently all on the right and ground on the left), must I move circuits to the new panel to free up neutral side bus connections, or is there something else needed? I don't want to do anything unsafe or would not pass code.

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Old 12-31-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


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Originally Posted by ctlu008 View Post
I have a Schneider Electric HomeLine 200 amp electrical panel. Am finishing my basement and bought a 125 amp sub panel and 100 amp breaker to add new circuits in the basement. There were 4 slots left in the old panel. Was planning to add some new heavily used circuits (20 amp) to the old box and add the rest to the new box. In the future will want to also add circuits to my attached garage.
Opening the old box, I found one unused 15 amp breaker. I had broken up the single lighting circuit in the basement into two so attached the new circuit to the unused breaker. Found that there was only one unused neutral terminal on the right side of the panel so used it. On the left side, the grounds are often double upped for 14 gauge wire. 12s are always single. There is still a half dozen or so free terminals on the ground side.
The issue is I need 4 adjacent terminals to connect the neutral cable running to the new sub panel. Haven't checked on how many I need for ground. I think the ground cable is #8. The neutral is #2.
Is there parts to extend the neutral bus to allow the required connections, can they all be connected to the ground side since this is the main panel and neutral and ground are the same bus (just neutral wires are currently all on the right and ground on the left), must I move circuits to the new panel to free up neutral side bus connections, or is there something else needed? I don't want to do anything unsafe or would not pass code.
Double up some #12 grounds. Do not double up on neutrals. Maximum wire size for the buss is #4 unless you add a lug. why would you need 4 adjacent terminals?

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Old 12-31-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


So it is OK to put neutral wires on the ground side? I know the bus is the same but someone told me they did not think it was correct to put neutrals on the ground side even though the bus is the same.

I think there is a half dozen adjacent free ground terminals at the bottom of the left side. Maybe the electrician left them open in case a sub panel was installed.

If OK, I would install the ground there and use the bottom four to connect the neutral lug (requires four terminals).
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:06 PM   #4
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


There is no neutral/ground seperation in a main panel,its in the sub panel where they need to be seperated
On main panels I normally run the neutral then the ground from same circuit directly under it then continue same way to end of buss
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


If you were to use an LKN70 you only need two adjacent holes in the buss.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:45 PM   #6
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If you were to use an LKN70 you only need two adjacent holes in the buss.
I don't know what a LKN70 is. I bought the neutral terminal connector available at my local Home Depot / Menards that is made for the HomeLine panels. It is a HOM100AN.

Last edited by ctlu008; 12-31-2011 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:52 PM   #7
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


Are you sure you the bars are connected?
Do you have a main breaker, or an outside disconnect.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


Even that adapter only needs 3 holes.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:22 PM   #9
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


I haven't actually taken the adapter out of the box yet but just read the instructions where it said to install it where there were 4 free adjacent screws. Did look a little small to require 4...

This is my understanding...please correct me if wrong:
The ground and neutral wires in the main panel all connect to the same bus. Mine have all neutral on the right and ground on the left; however, it is OK to mix them and put neutral on the left. Because all neutral connections are taken on the right, I can use the free connections on the ground side of the main panel to connect the neutral going to the subpanel. If needed, I can combine grounds so there are two grounds per screw. I would stick to same wire sizes.

In the subpanel, ground and neutral must be separated. I'll put neutral wires on each side of the neutral bus. I installed two ground bars. One per side. Will use them strictly for ground wires. Will be 2 hot, one neutral, and one ground wire going to the main panel from the sub panel.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:22 AM   #10
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


If you have separate ground and neutral terminal strips (bus bars) and you put some neutrals on the ground bar then there must be a solid metal bar connecting the two strips. Some panels come with such an arrangement.

(Not just a 10 gauge wire . Not just a green screw digging into the back of the panel.)

If you have to fashion your own connecting bar, there are some rules for the size if you fabricate it out of a thick piece of copper wire. I'm not sure what the rules are but for heavy loads a circuit neutral can be smaller than the two hot conductors for a 120/240 volt line or circuit, or smaller than needed to handle the sum total of the breaker ratings for all those circuits whose neutrals are on the ground bar and on the side of the line whose breakers add up to the higher number.

With all neutrals on the neutral bar (where the service neutral/ground and also the fat ground wire (grounding electrode conductor) to the water pipe is fastened) and some branch circuit ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) on a separate bar, such a connecting bar is not mandatory.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-01-2012 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:54 AM   #11
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Need Neutral Connections - Installing Subpanel


Homeline panels have a tie bar that is not removable. The terminals on each side are permanently connected.

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