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Old 08-24-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


I installed a sub panel in my barn, about 175 ft from my main panel, which is 400 amp, used a 60 amp breaker in the main panel. I ran 3-#6 plus ground, to the sub, no main breaker in the sub. Everything seemed to work properly, (my tester light lit up when I put the probes on the hot side of a 20 amp breaker in the sub, and on the neutral). The problem came when I started to run my first circuit, which was a 20amp receptacle. When I test it, it appears to work. However, when I trip the 20 amp breaker, there is still current flowing, although the light is very dim. Could this be a grounding issue? I intend to use grounding rods at the sub, but haven't installed them yet.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:47 PM   #2
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


What light? What type of tester? 60 amp 2 pole breaker I'll assume. It's unlikely you have anything but phantom voltage there. You need an a analog tester, perhaps something like a Wiggy. Take the breaker out in the main and then check at the sub for voltage...I wouldn't be surprised if your light still glowed dimly.

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


Yes, the 60 amp breaker is a double pole. The tester is just a little light with two probes on it--I got it at HD for a few bucks. I do want to invest in a better tester, since I plan to do more of this. I did try temporarily disconnecting the 20 amp circuit ground wire at the subpanel, and the light went out, which led me to believe it might be a grounding issue. I'll try what you suggested when I get home tonight. If I do have a "phantom" voltage, is that something to worry about?

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


Phantom voltages are usually nothing to worry about,
You can easily make your own voltage tester,
Just use a standard incandesant lamp,
& a lamp base with a cord on it.
Simple, cheap, effective.
I would bet that with a tester like that
no significant voltage would be present.
Or use a good old anologue style volt meter.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:03 PM   #5
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


How did you pass inspection with no ground rods? What wiring methods are you using in this barn?
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #6
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


This ungrounded sub panel, does it have a separate ground bar that is isolated from the neutral bar?
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:51 AM   #7
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


I added a ground bus to the panel. The neutral bus is isolated from the ground bus and from the panel itself. I plan to run 2-20 amp circuits--one for lights and some fans, and one for receptacles. Also one 220 volt receptacle to run a welder and power tools. None of that is done yet--I ran into this issue with my first run to a receptacle just to see if things were working.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:55 AM   #8
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


Is this a real barn with livestock/animals or a shed/workshop?
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:12 AM   #9
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


i would install ground rod and run to the panel.also check the amps on any equipment you intend to be using.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


It's a small, "real" barn. Four horse stalls and two tack rooms, plus an area under cover to store hay and grain. I have a separate work shop near the house, but I want to be able to bring power tools out to the barn when I have a project there, particularly the welder.

To Mickie: I'm planning to put in at least two ground rods before I start using the system, but haven't gotton to it yet--we've been having record high temps both during the day and at night--too hot for humans.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:56 AM   #11
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


Quote:
Originally Posted by diyjunkie View Post
It's a small, "real" barn. Four horse stalls and two tack rooms, plus an area under cover to store hay and grain. I have a separate work shop near the house, but I want to be able to bring power tools out to the barn when I have a project there, particularly the welder.
You got a code book? You have to wire it according to Article 547.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:43 AM   #12
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Subpanel Circuit Hot With Breaker Tripped


Thanks to all--the discussion was very worthwhile to me. I'll attack it again as soon as it cools off a bit.

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