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

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-22-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
Special User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Idaho, US
Posts: 551
Rewards Points: 0
Share |
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


In my detached shop, I had 12/2 coming off a breaker in the main panel and going directly to all the lights. All the lights are fluorescent, and controlled with pull chains.

Since I don't like to wave around in the dark looking for a pull chain, I added new 12/3 going to a light switch near the panel (which is conveniently near the door). Black runs from the breaker to the switch, then red from the switch goes back into the panel. The red is nutted to the old Romex coming into the panel and going to the lights, so all lights are now controlled with one switch.

It occurs to me that I now have two neutrals (and grounds) on the same breaker -- one from the 12/3 going to the switch, and another from the old Romex feeding the lights. Both feed into the neutral bus bar at different locations.

Is this bad?

I pulled a permit and will be getting it inspected, but I don't want the inspector to think I'm an idiot... just to be clear, I am an idiot, but try to hide it.

P.S. If you're wondering why I ran 12/3 to the switch instead of using a switch loop, it's because there's a second switch there that runs to an exterior light. That exterior light is fed from the switchbox, so it needs a neutral there.

__________________
The above post is for entertainment purposes only. Its contents may, and probably will, lead to legal liability and damage or loss of property, life, or limb. Use at your own risk.
tylernt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,550
Rewards Points: 0
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


Not only is it not bad, it is now required by code. All switch locations now require a neutral, so new switch loops have to be done with 3-conductor cable. This is to accommodate dimmers and occupancy sensors that require a neutral, since some people had been improperly using the grounding conductor instead. I assume the neutral is just wire nutted off in the box? That's fine.

__________________
I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. And who cares anyways? We're here to talk construction. This is DIY advice, not legal advice.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
Special User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Idaho, US
Posts: 551
Rewards Points: 0
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


Thanks. So, no problem with two neutrals from the same circuit landing on the bus bar?
__________________
The above post is for entertainment purposes only. Its contents may, and probably will, lead to legal liability and damage or loss of property, life, or limb. Use at your own risk.
tylernt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
Semi-Pro Electro-Geek
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,550
Rewards Points: 0
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


No, not in this case.
__________________
I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. And who cares anyways? We're here to talk construction. This is DIY advice, not legal advice.
mpoulton is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to mpoulton For This Useful Post:
tylernt (01-23-2013)
Old 01-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,951
Rewards Points: 16
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


You really should not have two neutrals and one hot coming back to the panel for the same circuit.

When you strung the new cable from the panel, if you connect the new neutral to the panel neutral strip (bus bar) then the hot must be connected to a breaker in that panel (may share with another circuit). Here the hot may not be connected to and fed by a hot in a different cable at a location up in the house.

Put it another way, given any neutral conductor up in the house, there must be exactly one path back to the panel and it must be the same path (same conduit or cable) that the corresponding hot conductor uses.
__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,951
Rewards Points: 16
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


You really should not have two neutrals and one hot coming back to the panel for the same circuit.

When you strung the new cable from the panel, if you connect the new neutral to the panel neutral strip (bus bar) then the hot must be connected to a breaker in that panel (may share with another circuit). Here the hot may not be connected to and fed by a hot at a location up in the house.

Put it another way, given any neutral conductor up in the house, there must be exactly one path back to the panel and it must be the same path (same conduit or cable) that the corresponding hot conductor uses.
__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
Special User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Idaho, US
Posts: 551
Rewards Points: 0
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


I've attached a diagram of what I have done. Hot comes off the breaker, then is pigtailed to two switches. One switch switches on the red, which comes back into the panel and then out to the lights. The other switch switches an exterior light.

I don't believe anything becomes a parallel conductor (which I know is a no-no), as one neutral is dedicated to the exterior light and the other neutral is dedicated to the interior lights.

AllanJ, if you still feel that is incorrect, what is the fix? This might be analogous to taking two circuits and double-tapping them into a single breaker. When two circuits are combined in this manner, are the neutrals pigtailed?
Attached Thumbnails
One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?-2neutrals.jpg  
__________________
The above post is for entertainment purposes only. Its contents may, and probably will, lead to legal liability and damage or loss of property, life, or limb. Use at your own risk.
tylernt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
Special User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Idaho, US
Posts: 551
Rewards Points: 0
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


Followup: passed inspection today. Not that that makes it right, of course, but it makes it right enough.
__________________
The above post is for entertainment purposes only. Its contents may, and probably will, lead to legal liability and damage or loss of property, life, or limb. Use at your own risk.
tylernt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2013, 06:42 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,951
Rewards Points: 16
Default

One circuit, two neutrals to bus bar?


Since it passed inspection I would leave it the way it is.

Random musings ...

When two circuits are doubled up with one breaker I consider it preferable to wire nut the two hots to a pigtail which is in turn connected to the breaker screw (required if the screw terminal is not designed with ridges or a cap washer specifically intended to permit two wires under one screw). And wire nut the two matching neutrals to a pigtail which is a single wire end to connect to the neutral bus bar.

But often doubling up of two circuits on one breaker is done at a later date from original installaton and is is common to forget pulling off the two neutrals and connecting them to a single pigtail to reconnect to the neutral bar. Furthermore, if the two circuits are (again)given their own breakers, their neutrals must run separately to the bus bar. All this favors leaving things as is, too

As you have it, you have a "switch loop with continuing feed" (the cable to the right) for the light fed from the bottom. A switch loop with feed (with neutral) is inherently okay and also required for switch loops under the 2011 NEC. In a switch loop neutral goes directly to the light and hot goes to the switch. That is what you have now. We do not install a second neutral coming back from the switch accompanying the switched hot and connected to the light So what you have fits the definition of a switch loop.

In some cities, the panel may not be used as a pass through, as you are doing for the switched hot from the right (switch) to the bottom light). To correct that, you could mount a junction box just outside the panel and reroute the right cable and the bottom cable to the junction box, adding a single cable for power feed from the panel to the junction box. But again, since it passed inspection as you have it, you don't need to worry about it.

__________________
Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-08-2013 at 06:55 PM.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
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
3 way light circuit, middle load, neutrals in switch box? langless28 Electrical 1 10-16-2012 09:32 PM
Did My GFCI Circuit Breaker Fail? Jazan Electrical 8 08-04-2012 03:44 PM
Is it possible to change Circuit breaker to Buss fuse socket type? njchen24 Electrical 8 08-07-2011 06:27 PM
Dispute: Oven malfunction after h/w guys used the circuit rational Appliances 18 05-17-2011 10:37 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.