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Old 10-21-2010, 12:01 AM   #1
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


As I understand it, if circuits are wired with shared neutrals, AFCI breakers cannot be used.

Below is a picture of the neutral bar in an older service panel. Is this shared neutrals?


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Old 10-21-2010, 02:19 AM   #2
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More like shared violation if u ask me lol

Ground wires are meant to be terminate on the grounding bus bar, if you run out of spots to terminate, a bigger ground bus bar can be added. Here it max of 3 ground wires per slot on the ground bus bar and one Neutral wire per screw slot on the neutral Bus bar.

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Old 10-21-2010, 02:26 AM   #3
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but these guys told me they were professionals!!


so, at least, that is NOT an example of shared neutrals?
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:36 AM   #4
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


A shared neutral is a connection in which a more than one device share the same neutral connection. Other words there is only one neutral wire that goes back to panel but there are mutilple outlets sharing that neutral.


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Old 10-21-2010, 02:44 AM   #5
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


I see. Aside from that example, the box in question is full and has no room for the AFCI breaker I need (since AFCI receptacles don't exist). Could I use a subpanel in this case, just for the AFCI breaker?
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:39 AM   #6
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


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Originally Posted by **FYE** View Post
A shared neutral is a connection in which a more than one device share the same neutral connection. Other words there is only one neutral wire that goes back to panel but there are mutilple outlets sharing that neutral.


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Old 10-21-2010, 06:41 AM   #7
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by deko View Post
As I understand it, if circuits are wired with shared neutrals, AFCI breakers cannot be used.

Below is a picture of the neutral bar in an older service panel. Is this shared neutrals?

If you have multiwire branch circuit that requires an AFCI it will require a 2 pole AFCI.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:31 AM   #8
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


If you are going to install and afci in that panel, the neutral wire of the circuit would be removed from the bar and attached to the breaker, while the white wire of the breaker will attach back to the bar.

That is a prefect example of a shared neutral.
The main neutral wire is shared between both legs of the panel!

You can add a subpanel if you desire.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:12 AM   #9
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by **FYE** View Post
Ground wires are meant to be terminate on the grounding bus bar, if you run out of spots to terminate, a bigger ground bus bar can be added. Here it max of 3 ground wires per slot on the ground bus bar and one Neutral wire per screw slot on the neutral Bus bar.
In a main panel the bars are typically shared. There is no "ground bar" or "neutral bar".
In newer panels there are typically two of these bars, one down each side.

Also, those three large clusters of bare wires to the left are actually one conductor each.



Quote:
Originally Posted by **FYE** View Post
A shared neutral is a connection in which a more than one device share the same neutral connection. Other words there is only one neutral wire that goes back to panel but there are mutilple outlets sharing that neutral.
This is completely wrong.
A shared neutral, or multi-wire branch circuit, is one where two hots share one neutral. The two hots must be connected to opposite legs of the service.
As JBfan said, your main service entrance is a perfect example of a shared neutral.


I definitely agree with Brric in that you really don't understand this stuff as well as you think you do. You giving advice and explaining things here is not in everyone's best interest.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:30 AM   #10
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Look at the three large clusters of bare wires. The individual strands are cut and not all of the bare conductors actually enter the bar.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:42 AM   #11
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


Quote:
Originally Posted by **FYE** View Post
A shared neutral is a connection in which a more than one device share the same neutral connection. Other words there is only one neutral wire that goes back to panel but there are mutilple outlets sharing that neutral.


**FYE**
If this were truly the case, just about every circuit in the house would be considered having a shared neutral.

As has been repeated several times by people that know this stuff, your definition is wrong. Research a multi-wire branch circuit and see if your "defintion" matches.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:48 AM   #12
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


When two hots (on opposite sides of the 120/240 volt service) share a neutral and an AFCI breaker is needed, a double (120/240 volt) AFCI is needed. This AFCI breaker will have separate terminals for the two hots and the shared neutra respectivelyl.

When a bunch of bare ground are twisted together to share the same spot in the bus (or terminal strip) and some of the wires are cut short because they don't all fit in the hole, then you need a crimp ring on the bunch of bare wires a little further back. Simply twisting ground wires together is no longer considered an adequate connection.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-21-2010 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:06 AM   #13
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- http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_code_changes_13/

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Old 10-22-2010, 12:06 AM   #14
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shared neutrals and AFCI breakers


Appreciate the info and comments.

One thing I've learned: AFCI is a PITA.

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