Sparks On The Neutral Wire In The Panel Box - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
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sparks on the neutral wire in the panel box


what does it mean when there is sparking on the netral wire in the panel box?
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:02 PM   #2
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Loose connection.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:29 AM   #3
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Why is that panel cover off?
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:45 AM   #4
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A loose connection needs to be tightened up (not with tremendous strength) otherwise the sparking will heat up and burn the area where it is and possibly damage the panel beyond repair.

Should you find a loose connection you might as well retorque (undo a quarter turn and then retighten to a specified degree of tightness) every screw and set screw holding wires in place. With a little practice you will get a feel for getting a firm tightness without looking like stripping the screw threads although they do make special screwdrivers that have a dial or readout showing how tight you are going.

Don't touch the big lugs where the feed wires come in from the meter; have an electrician tighten them for you.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobelectric View Post
Why is that panel cover off?
Probably because he was looking in there
Just like many people who DIY do



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Old 07-26-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Probably because he was looking in there
Just like many people who DIY do
I agree with Bob's sentiment. When I open a panel up I am required to shut it down or wear the proper PPE, and I have experience and training.

A homeowner should get some info before opening the panel, one wrong move with that panel cover or their hand and they could be in a world of hurt.

AllanJ said: "Should you find a loose connection you might as well retorque (undo a quarter turn and then retighten to a specified degree of tightness) every screw and set screw holding wires in place."

There is no mention of shutting the panel down or even the individual branch circuits. If the thread starter follows this advice with an uninsulated screw driver he will get shocked when tightening the wires landed on each breaker. If the thread starter doesn't even know that a sparking wire at the termination point is a loose connection, we can't expect him to know that some of the screws we tell him to tighten can kill him.

I don't mean to rag on anyone here, but I fear for the safety of people who might be a bit over their head. I feel DIYer's should not jump into a hot panel with unfused power before they have the basics down (at the very least).
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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I have to agree that sometimes there is not enough safety emphasized in some of the ideas presented on this forum. I'm not an electrician but I have worked around electricity and electronics for many years. I did work about 8 months as an apprentice before entering the Navy (1967) and since then, I've worked aircraft maintenance (400 HZ 3 phase), data processing equipment (100 amp 3 phase), and taught electronics troubleshooting. Safety was always first in these fields and while at IBM, we had to complete electrical safety training every year.
I do cringe sometimes when I read some of these posting and realize that the OP is out of his league in some of these projects.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #8
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Agree! If my panel box was sparking I'd turn everything off and call an electrician!! And I'm a hardcore DIYer
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandyrepman View Post
what does it mean when there is sparking on the netral wire in the panel box?
Since you say THE neutral wire, I hope you don't mean the MAIN big neutral wire from the utility. If you do, SHUT YOUR PANEL OFF IMMEDIATELY AND CALL AN ELECTRICIAN.

If you mean one of the branch circuit's neutrals tied into the neutral bus bar, shut off that circuit until it is repaired.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:07 PM   #10
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Yes, if your Neutral bus wire is sparking, shut it down and call for help. If that goes out, it's possible to make some 120v get powered by 240v instead!
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