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Old 12-13-2019, 05:57 PM   #1
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Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


Moved to Fl and bought a mobile home. It has a meter can that is grounded and I assume the ground is bonded to the neutral lug. A breaker box that is connected by plastic couplings is attached with double breakers on the hot lugs. It appears the neutral is bonded to the box with bus bars on either side. A double 20 amp breaker using 12-2 with ground goes out to the well pump. Black and white are both hots. The bare groung goes to the buss on the leftOne the opposite side is a 90 amp double breaker going to the package heat pump. It has two hots and green thhn for the ground. The ground attaches to the right side lug. I ran 12-3 uf out from a 20 amp double breaker to send two seperate 110v out to each shed. This is the first box I ever worked on that didn't have any white neutrals. It appears it's is all bonded so I just attached it to the one buss bar with the green thnn ground, any issues with that. Thanks
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Old 12-13-2019, 06:10 PM   #2
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


It's an illegally ran circuit if/since they used the ground for a neutral and they improperly used a white wire as a phase conductor. Dangerous code violations!

Can you post a picture of the inside of the panel? Also note how each of those terminal strips are mounted to the panel, whether direct metal contact or on an insulating block.

SD2
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Old 12-13-2019, 06:56 PM   #3
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


I'll look at it and take a pic. tomorrow.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


Here is the pic. of the outside breaker box for the m/h. You can see both buss bars are connected to the neutral and a have insulation in back. The only whites are from some connector at the box bottom and the white from the 12-2 romex going to the pump that is using the white as a hot. At the least there should be black tape on that white. You can see where I added my neutral to the right side buss bar. This is the first breaker bo I encountered with just 220 breakers and no neutrals.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


What are those two 12 or 14 gauge black wires double tapped off the bottom lugs without a breaker going to?
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:18 PM   #6
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


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What are those two 12 or 14 gauge black wires double tapped off the bottom lugs without a breaker going to?
I have no idea. It goes to some plastic box on the bottom of the Square D box. I have been working with residential/commercial electric for many years and never noticed anything like that before.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:18 PM   #7
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


That looks like a good example of an illegally installed service! I see green wire and white wire and bare wire mix on one terminal strip. I see what looks like #12 taps double lugged off the load side panel. The whole thing looks unhealthy from exposure possibly?

You really should get it fixed.

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Old 12-15-2019, 11:21 PM   #8
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


That tap probably goes to one of those surge protectors that were popular for a time a few years ago. I've always seen them installed inside the panel though.

Some say they are fake items sold by flim flams experts while others swear by them. I tend to agree with the former.

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Old 12-15-2019, 11:30 PM   #9
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


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Originally Posted by surferdude2 View Post
That looks like a good example of an illegally installed service! I see green wire and white wire and bare wire mix on one terminal strip. I see what looks like #12 taps double lugged off the load side panel. The whole thing looks unhealthy from exposure possibly?

You really should get it fixed.

SD2
This was done by pro's and inspected when the place was built in 1990. I was surpried the the pump installer ran the 12-2 romex in conduit out to the pump. The place just had a $550 home inspection that passed with no issues last Aug. I never saw those hot lugged 12 ga. wires before but the go to a special connection box attached to the bottom of the Square D box. I've been in plenty of house breaker boxes with white/ground goin to the buss bars. This moblie home setup is new to me with two breaker panels. There is a 4th groundwire attached from the buss going to the house interior breaker box.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:12 AM   #10
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


That main breaker isn't a very common type although it's permitted by code. I have never seen one before but so what. If it works, not to worry.

I do notice a white wire coming from that mystery device and it looks like it's double lugged to the neutral bar lug.

I'd say check out all the receptacles in the mobile home with a grounding checker cube or a multi-meter to see if all is ok, no reversed neutrals and all ground intact. If all passes that check, then it's up to you if you want to bring the panel up to code. I'd probably leave it alone. YMMV

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Old 12-16-2019, 12:57 AM   #11
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


It is hard to evaluate that pic without knowing where all the wires go. The two light gauge wires from the bottom lugs cause concern. As far as 240 volt circuits without a neutral, it is ok if the load is strictly 240 volt, like a water heater or a well pump. If it has a 120 volt load in addition to the 240 volt load, like a range with a light bulb, then it needs a neutral.
Here the main panel has neutral and ground bonded but sub panels do not.

Last edited by Old Thomas; 12-16-2019 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:22 AM   #12
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Although a bit older design, this is a common feed thru panel. There IS a neutral present. The black wire with white tape on the center lug is the neutral and feeds both neutral bars. The top breaker is the main controlling the entire panel. The wires going to the assumed surge protector should, however be on a breaker. NEC doesn't allow 2 wires on 1 lug. This installation is ok in my book.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:13 AM   #13
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


Thanks for all the input. So I can use a breaker in there for my two 110v circuits to the two sheds. Should I put all the bare grounds on one buss and put my lone white neutral on the other ? I wasn't sure if this box was made for 220 only. As I said this in my first experience with an outdoor panel like this. My indoor 200 amp breaker box is more familiar for me, althought I would like to explore where that 4th ground coming off the bottom of the right side buss is attached.
Thanks and God bless.

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Old 12-16-2019, 10:47 AM   #14
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


Since it's hard to tell which, if either, of the terminal strips shown is actually configured as a grounding terminal strip. When you determine that, move any inappropriately landed and/or identified wires and then you will know where to land your own grounds.

Look for a bonding screw or jumper on one of those strips. I'd expect the right side strip is the one but don't trust me, verify.

SD2

Last edited by surferdude2; 12-16-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 07:18 PM   #15
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Re: Adding a Neutral in Breaker Box !


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Originally Posted by surferdude2 View Post
Since it's hard to tell which, if either, of the terminal strips shown is actually configured as a grounding terminal strip. When you determine that, move any inappropriately landed and/or identified wires and then you will know where to land your own grounds.

Look for a bonding screw or jumper on one of those strips. I'd expect the right side strip is the one but don't trust me, verify.

SD2
Ok, I closed up the panel today after a good look. I can't see in the meter can but the ground goes in there. I don't know what is connected to what in there. The buss bars are both connected to the neutral lug on both sides. I've never seen a box quite like this one and wondered if this outside panel is just designed for 240v for the hvac and wellpump. I did add a double breaker to send two 110v circuits to side by side sheds using 12-3 uf. I attached the neutral to one bus bar that has the green ground from the hvac. I just wasn't sure I could put 110v circuits in that box type of outdoor breaker box. The 200 amp indoor panel is what I'm used to working in.
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