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Old 07-09-2018, 07:08 PM   #1
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Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Hello again.

I am in the process of wiring my garage's new sub-panel and noticed something that has me questioning myslef.

My Eaton CH panel has the neutral and ground bars mounted towards the edges of the box, in front of many knockouts.

After installing emt conduit, locknut, and insulator bushing, the 12awg & 10awg hot wires will have to make a sharp bend to be routed around or under the neutral bar, and will still be within very close proximity to the bar (less than 1/2").

This "looks" wrong to me, but I can't find a code against it, or figure out why eaton would build a panel that, by design, prevents the use of 50% of the knockouts.

Any ideas? Is this setup ok?
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:23 PM   #2
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Actually, after a quick makeup, i see that it will be very difficult to keep conductor insulation from touching the bar, let alone keep any sort of distance.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:30 PM   #3
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Re: Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Put an offset in that EMT and bring it through the KO closer to the front of the box.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:07 PM   #4
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Re: Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Doesn't matter if insulated wire touches gnd/bond/neutral bars any more than if it touches metal enclosures and pipe.
Just make it neat: bare gnds at the back, then neutrals, then hots at the front.
Leave conductors long enough to shape neatly and also so they can be pushed out of the way when future additions happen.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:19 PM   #5
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Re: Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Uh, note the OP states he has 12 and 10 ga. HOT wires coming out of the end of that 1/2" (?) EMT. Going to be a pinch turn on them IMO, for them to not press against the neutral bar fairly tight. . . The bars wire lug tops almost look like they will be centered in the EMT opening.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Bushing not required (by CEC anyways). All it's doing, IMO, is reducing
usable space.
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for the response, guys. Greg is correct on the scale of the problem, that the gap would require two tight bends and each would probably be tight against the bar. I don't like that situation, but feel better knowing that some contact is ok after I fix the problem.

Code, though, found the answer to my problem. I went back to the NEC and see now that in EMT conduit, these bushings are only required for 4awg and larger OR almost always when using IMT or Rigid conduit.

My confusion came from my electrician coworkers lingo... reminding me to "use bushings on threaded conduit". So... I started thinking I needed bushing on all threaded EMT fittings in addition to my rigid/4awg service entrance.

It is amazing how much space that bushing takes up. Removing it should solve the issue.
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Last edited by kipling79; 07-10-2018 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:02 AM   #8
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Re: Proximity of hot wires near Neutral Bus Bar


Another option (in addition to removing the bushing) would be to add another
lock-nut on the outside of the panel. Not sure I'd actually do this as I wouldn't
like the look, but it would move the throat back out of the box.
Also, sometimes I scrape a little paint off the inside of the box to ensure good
electrical contact with lock-nut. Since I don't usually a ground wire, it's more
important.
If your adding more pipes to that panel, consider Greg's suggestion of offsetting
them to the front.
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