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Old 06-19-2012, 05:46 AM   #1
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Question on grounding main lug service


Hi everyone I am a little long winded so I want to apologize in advance. I am setting up a 200amp main lug service and am a little turned around on grounding it properly.

Right now I have a 150amp service (doing this more to get the panel out of a basement area that I am finishing). I am putting a 200 amp main disconnect outside, running down underground with schedule 80 about 15' along the foundation, coming up, entering the house and going directly into the panel within 5'. From everyone Ive talked to I bought 3 lengths of 4/0 SE cable and one length of 2/0 cable for the ground. My question is in regards to grounding the service.

1) H/H/N leave the meter and enter the service disconnect but H/H/N/G leave it, do the neutral and ground both get connected to the neutral bar inside here and then get separated at the panel?

2) I've got 2 grounding rods also but have heard conflicting ideas on where to tie those in. Do I run #6 bare copper through both rods and then directly into my ground bar in the panel? Or does the service disconnect need to take the ground somehow? I currently have my 150amp grounded to my water main but Im guessing that is no longer sufficient?

Thanks for taking the time to look at my post and Ill check back frequently in case anyone has questions.

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Old 06-19-2012, 06:20 AM   #2
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Question on grounding main lug service


You say you have 3 lengths of 4/0 SE and 1 length of 2/0 SE cable. SE is cable assembly with 3 or 4 conductors in a single sheath. Can we assume you actually have THWN cable?

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Old 06-19-2012, 06:22 AM   #3
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Question on grounding main lug service


If you haven't purchased your equipment already, the way you're proposing to do this, I would have a main breaker panel and eliminate the disconnect.

Less work and expense IMO.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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Question on grounding main lug service


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Originally Posted by wirenut1110 View Post
If you haven't purchased your equipment already, the way you're proposing to do this, I would have a main breaker panel and eliminate the disconnect.

Less work and expense IMO.
I respectfully disagree I prefer to have the disconnect outside so I can disconnect the inside panel and not have always live conductors brought into the house. I would use a meter main panel as it it always handy to have a few breaker positions outside the house(sprinkler system, irrigation pump, AC compressor).


This allows you to use a main lug panel (vs main breaker) in the house which is a little cheaper.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:24 AM   #5
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Question on grounding main lug service


Yes Im sorry it is all individual wire being run in schedule 80.

I have purchased everything already and understand the cost and work are more involved than having a main breaker panel but I cannot enter the panel within 18" of entering the house. I am consolidating all of my utilities to one small section of the basement and already have the tankless hot water heater, water meter, dryer vent, irrigation and a window on the exerior wall so I need to bring the service in and put it on an adjacent wall in about 5'.

That's a pretty neat option RJ but I already have most of those things set up, thanks for the idea though.

Thanks for the fast replies!

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Old 06-19-2012, 07:37 AM   #6
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Question on grounding main lug service


Additionally some areas have local amendments that require an exterior disconnect (Information I read on the NFPA website). But since the OP is planning on an exterior disconnect he is go to go in any case.

Although I stated that with an exterior OCPD disconnect you can use a main lug instead of a main breaker panel, I still prefer the main breaker panel inside (gives me more options for relatively little $$).
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:40 AM   #7
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Question on grounding main lug service


Trust me Id have rather saved money and made this easier on myself too! But on to my questions can anyone assist? Im running the PVC today and would like to pull the appropriate wire.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:42 AM   #8
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Question on grounding main lug service


The grounding all takes place in the main disconnect outside. The ground rods connect into the main disconnect outside. The inside panel has the ground and neutral separated.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:42 AM   #9
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Question on grounding main lug service


Ground rods and water ground to the main disconnect with neutral and ground bonded. Neutral and ground separated at the sub panel.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:50 AM   #10
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Question on grounding main lug service


The water main ground, a #4 is required here, must be moved to the disconnect and the #6 to the rods gets placed there also. The can gets bonded here also. The neutral and grounds are tied together.

The ground and neutral are separated in the MLO panel and that can is tied to the ground only.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:06 AM   #11
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Question on grounding main lug service


Ok so the ground and neutral are bonded in the main disconnect and go to separate bars in the panel, got that. The rods go back to the main disconnect with #6, got that. Now the water main goes back to the disconnect also with #4 instead of to the panel now?

So pretty much just my 4 wires run through the pvc, so I run that without a bare inside it correct? Thanks a ton everyone.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:34 AM   #12
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Question on grounding main lug service


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Originally Posted by rizzoa13 View Post
Ok so the ground and neutral are bonded in the main disconnect and go to separate bars in the panel, got that. The rods go back to the main disconnect with #6, got that. Now the water main goes back to the disconnect also with #4 instead of to the panel now?

So pretty much just my 4 wires run through the pvc, so I run that without a bare inside it correct? Thanks a ton everyone.
The bars/busses must be separated- if there is tie between them, it most be removed.

The neutral bar/buss must also be isolated from the can/box/enclosure.

The can/box/enclosure must be bonded to the ground.

The water ground goes to the disconnect.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:45 AM   #13
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Question on grounding main lug service


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Originally Posted by rizzoa13 View Post
Ok so the ground and neutral are bonded in the main disconnect and go to separate bars in the panel, got that. The rods go back to the main disconnect with #6, got that. Now the water main goes back to the disconnect also with #4 instead of to the panel now?

So pretty much just my 4 wires run through the pvc, so I run that without a bare inside it correct? Thanks a ton everyone.
You could use a bare for the ground to the panel inside the PVC conduit. So three insulated plus one bare. Or all four insulated.

At this gauge I think you can just mark wires at ends with colored tape rather than buying different colored wires.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:20 PM   #14
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Question on grounding main lug service


The fat ground wires (grounding electrode conductors) from the box or panel with the first main disconnect to the cold water pipe and to the ground rods do not have to share the conduit.

One GEC must run non-stop from that box to the grounding electrode (rod or pipe). Other GEC's may be spliced or tied in, but given that the water pipe GEC has to be #4 copper for the 150 amp service, you need #4 on that route going all the way to the main disconnect box. You may use #6 copper GEC to the rod(s) regardless of the amperage of the service.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 06-19-2012 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:55 PM   #15
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Question on grounding main lug service


We did something like this but was from my garage to the mobile home. We used 4/0-4/0-2/0-#2 AL with 2-1/2" conduit. Ground rods at the garage and #2 CU to the homes frame and water main. How large of a conduit do you plan to use?

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