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Old 11-28-2016, 09:30 AM   #1
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Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


First time poster, please be gentle.

I am preparing to wire a small detached workshop. it will have a subpanel with a 240 circuit for future use and 110 circuits for lights and outlets. I'm aware that I will need to install two grounding rods 6' apart for the subpanel, and I'll need to run 4-conducter wire back the the main panel via a disconnect. I also know that the ground and neutral must not be bonded.

When the main dwelling was built, I asked the electrician to install a disconnect box on the side of the house closest to where the workshop will be built. He installed a pull-type disconnect (the type you would see for an AC compressor) wired back to a 240 breaker in the main panel. He used a large 4-conducter aluminium wire. The red and black hots are connected to the disconnect on the line side terminals. The white neutral and the bare ground are connected to each other on the ground lug.

Now, my question revolves around how to connect the new wire from the subpanel to the disconnect box on the main dwelling. I'll be running MHF and will connect the two hots to the load side terminals of the disconnect, and attach the load ground to the ground lug in place of the line neutral. How do I go about properly connecting the line neutral to the load neutral? Is there some sort of butt splice that is appropriate for this application? Thanks!
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:33 AM   #2
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Re: Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


Depending on the size you can use wire nuts or a Polaris connector.

The disconnect should have been on the shed, not the house.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:34 PM   #3
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Re: Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


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Originally Posted by wartee View Post
The white neutral and the bare ground are connected to each other on the ground lug.
They need to remain separated in that disconnect. Neutral and ground should only be connected at one point: the main bonding jumper located at the first point of disconnect after the utility (usually in your main panel, or at a disconnect ahead of it).
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:03 PM   #4
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Re: Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
They need to remain separated in that disconnect. Neutral and ground should only be connected at one point: the main bonding jumper located at the first point of disconnect after the utility (usually in your main panel, or at a disconnect ahead of it).
Right. When I run the wire to the shop I will disconnect that neutral from the ground and connect it to the neutral to the shop. The only place the neutral and ground will be bonded is at the main panel. Not sure why the electrician did that, except to just have somewhere for that wire to be. I have a good idea on how to handle the subpanel but joining the big fat stranded aluminum neutral from the main panel to the MHF neutral to the subpanel had me stumped. I want to do it correctly.
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Old 11-29-2016, 06:53 PM   #5
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Re: Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


You will need an aluminum approved splicing kit to join the neutral in the cable coming from the house panel to the neutral in the cable (or conduit) going to the shop. One kind of kit consists of a thick bar or terminal strip with holes and set screws for each wire, but for neutrals it must be rigidly mounted to the disconnect box using plastic standoffs..
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:31 PM   #6
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Re: Wiring from disconnect to outbuilding


The neutral can splice in the disconnect without needing to be on a mounted bar.
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