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Planokeith 12-27-2012 11:06 AM

Started a new thread on Panel box problem
Hi again.
Thanks for the info already given on the thread I high jacked --LOL-- sorry.

Okay here is what I have found out so far.

1. the power from the breaker that supplies the main power to the garage panel reads perfect 122 on each hot line.

2. The power at the garage panel reads 221 on the top 120 volt line and about 15 on the bottom 120 volt line ( see picture below )

3. The lines run under grounds in electrical PVC ( the grey type ) and we had some foundation work done and I think they may have done something to it because it has worked fine for almost 30 years.

4. As you can see there is a green wire that is run separate for the neutral ground and also the three big wires two on the right are 120 volt each and the one on the left is the ground wire.

I think the green wire is bad because you all have said the neutral is loose or disconnected.

Why do the neutral and the common ground hook up in the same bus??

Looks like I will need to run a new green neutral wire first and see if that works. What do you all think?

If that doesn't work then I will need to run a whole new 240 romex neutral included.

Here is a picture of the box

Let me know what you all think.

Thanks Keith:)

rrolleston 12-27-2012 11:16 AM

Did you try testing the voltage in the panel with all the breakers off?

rrolleston 12-27-2012 11:29 AM

If you had a bad neutral with this configuration your green ground wire would be doing all the work and would get really warm if you had a large load on there. Hot to hot should be 240 neutral to each hot should be 120. If it's damaged underground you would have to find and repair the bad conduit before you go pulling new wire in there.

Planokeith 12-27-2012 11:29 AM

Yes rolleston I did.

I also just disconnected all the wires from the garage panel and got the same reading with the hot wires on EACH of the grounds ( neutral and common grounds ). I am thinking the foundation people have cracked the PVC and some water has gotten in the pipe and corroded one or some of the wires.

I guess I need to run all new wires

rjniles 12-27-2012 11:34 AM

The green wire is the equipment grounding conductor. Although it is required by code, the panel will work without it or if it is compromised.

The 2 heavy black wires on the left are your 2 hot conductors, the heavy wire on the left with the white tape is the neutral.

Turn off all the breakers in this panel and test from each hot leg to the neutral, should be about 120 volts on each leg. If one of the blacks shows low or no voltage, you have a problem with that wire in the conduit or at the supply breaker in the house. ( Note: if you test with any of the breakers on you will get a false reading due to voltage being back fed thru a load.)

Planokeith 12-27-2012 12:17 PM

Thanks rjniles ,That is what I did. The bottom one of the HOT!! wires is the one reading the 8 to 10 volts. So that wire is the problem wire. I am going to go ahead and pull and replace that wire first and see if that will do it. I will post results :)

rrolleston 12-27-2012 12:28 PM

May have trouble pulling new wire in there after you pull that one out. If it's damaged I don't think it will pull too easy. And you could end up damaging the new wire pulling by that damaged conduit.

And make sure all wires are disconnected and breaker is off.

Planokeith 12-27-2012 01:37 PM

Okay Guys after further inspection All the wires have been smashed together from the ohm reading test I did on each single wire. So I am going to put new PVC and new wires from the house to the panel in the garage.

I disconnected all the wires at each end and got me a long piece of 24 volt electrical wire and clamped it on ONE!! of the wires in the house. I then did an ohm reading test on each wire an all had an ohm reading. So therefore they are all smashed together.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions and this is a cool forum and I will be visiting often to learn and give my two cents.

Thanks Keith :)

rjniles 12-27-2012 02:19 PM

Rather than retrench the whole run, you might excavate were the foundation work was done. You may be able to pull out the old wires, repair the conduit and pull in new wires.

When you replace the wires bring that sub up to code by signalling a separate ground bar and separate your grounds and neutrals.

Planokeith 12-27-2012 05:07 PM

R.J. I have dug up the old pvc up to where it goes under the patio slab. I have decided to re route the new pvc to where it goes up in the soffit at a different place and I am able to use the pcv 90 that goes into the garage to get to that panel box. I don't want to jack hammer the patio up because some of it in closed in and has tile on it. So I am routing the new pvc to a place where all I have to is dig and lay the pipe and 90 up to the soffit .

When you say put a new neutral bar in I understand that . But aren't the ground and the neutral bar supposed to be hooked together? so does that mean I have to jumper the new bar to the original ground pole?

Thanks for the in sight :)

Hardway 12-27-2012 05:18 PM

If this is a Sub panel the neutral will float (not bonded) and the ground bar (bonded to the box) and ground wires will be seperate from the neutral.

jbfan 12-27-2012 05:35 PM

If the wires were smashed together, you would have a short and the breaker would trip.
I think you need to recheck the ohm readings.

Planokeith 12-27-2012 05:48 PM

I checked a rechecked the readings and they were the same. I think water has gotten into the pcv from the foundation repair ( they had to jack hammer out some of the patio to install a pier )and is causing continuity between the lines. I checked these lines disconnected on both ends so there has to be some where in between the garage and the house breaker that they are all getting an ohm output. Other wise the ohm meter would not respond unless the line was clear . ??? I don't know but I am going to go ahead with plan B and re route with new wire . It is plastic PVC and the jack hammer probably damaged the wire coating and the water made it worse???

brric 12-27-2012 09:30 PM

While you're at it, replace that panel as well.

frenchelectrican 12-27-2012 09:35 PM

Not only you will have to rerun new conductors but as soon you post the photo that is Zinsco they have alot of quirks with them and It will be wise idea to replace with more modern panels so you will have more breakers when you need more circuits.


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