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Discussion Starter #1
While adding a sub-panel I found I have no remaining space on the neutral bar for a 3/0 neutral connector.

Is it acceptable to "split bolt connect" my 3/0 sub-panel neutral directly to the SE neutral in the main panel? (to the yellow highlighted spot in picture)

-Main Service Feed is 2/0 SE Aluminum in an older GE Main Panel, therefore neutral is bare.​
-Plan to use split bolt rated for both CU/AL (separated by divider)​
-Neutral lugs found in box stores do not fit on this older GE neutral bar​
-NEC says splice is permitted in an enclosure, though not clear if split bolt is used on Neutral if this requires wrapping since it's already bare?​
If not, how else would you connect a 3 awg neutral to this main?​
*new here so go easy on me please? :)
Thank you,​
Bill​
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As to neutral, buy a neutral lug kit. It will go on vacant spaces on the neutral bar and have a large lug space for the big wire.
Question: is this the 1st panel from the meter? If so you do not have a main disconnect. Does that panel have the ground rod wire to it?
 

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I realize they are all stranded so they kind of smoosh together, but it looks like he has 4 ground conductors under one lug. Is that acceptable?

33145F6A-57C3-4A62-BFC3-826B233050C6.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As to neutral, buy a neutral lug kit. It will go on vacant spaces on the neutral bar and have a large lug space for the big wire.
Question: is this the 1st panel from the meter? If so you do not have a main disconnect. Does that panel have the ground rod wire to it?
Wiredindallas, thank you. It is the first main from the meter. This is a split bar box so one of top 4 double pole breakers shuts the entire bottom half off the panel off meeting the "throw 6" rule. I'm not sure if that is still grandfathered in this area but it allows a person to flip the entire box off in less than 6 throws (in this case 4 and all are off).

On the neutral lug suggestion, this GE bar has no place for a large bolt and the square D style don't fit in the holes. Closest thing I can find looks like this but it's stamped ground only (unless that far left first one will sit on the bar and replace a termination screw?:


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Discussion Starter #6
I would add a ground bar and relocate all the grounds to it then the big lug is open for the new neutral.
Thank you ServiceCall, I don't see anymore predrilled spots for a new bar unless I can rough the paint and add a new one using self tapping screws? Would you jumper between the neutral and new ground bar or just ground to the box alone?
 

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The panel label will say how many grounding conductors and sizes are allowed in one hole of the bus.

Self tapping screws are not allowed unless the thread pitch is 32 and at least 2 threads are in contact with the enclosure.
 

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Found your problem! You have PVC conduit connecting the panels. If you had used EMT metal conduit, that would've taken care of ground path for you.

But hold on. I have an idea.

Whenever I install two panels next to each other, I always stick 2-3 "convenience pass-throughs" e.g. of 3/4" conduit. You never know when those will be useful e.g. for rerouting a circuit to the other panel... but they are so nice to have when you need one! At least one "near the top" and one "near the bottom". So I would go look to see if you have knockouts that mostly line up, and if so, straight shot. If not, it might take some fidgeting with offset nipples.

Cheap, and kills 2 birds with one stone.

Also, while the panel is off... you know your needs but I encourage people to be extreme in buying extra panel spaces. We see too many people go "I'm out of spaces, help" and that's so easily avoided at panel-buy time (i.e. now). So while it's off, I would take it back and get a 30-space, the difference in price is ... a pizza.

Those GE breakers count as half a space. You can't count on double-stuffing spaces anymore, because new and remodel circuits usually require AFCI or GFCI, and that's usually best (or only) done at the breaker.




Still, your panel needs a ground bar. It doesn't have one (that is ALL neutral bar) and you need to put grounds in legal places instead of where they are.

Thank you ServiceCall, I don't see anymore predrilled spots for a new bar unless I can rough the paint and add a new one using self tapping screws? Would you jumper between the neutral and new ground bar or just ground to the box alone?
Your panel is all neutral bars and doesn't have any ground bars at all (unless it's hiding under that mop of neutrals or something).

But surely GE left you a site for a ground bar (possibly hiding). I strongly encourage you to populate it, and move all your grounds to it. See if the label calls out a particular ground bar model and see if GE still offers it.

However, yes, if you need to make your own ground bar site with self-tapping screws, that is fine. If the screw thread pitch is -32 or finer, that will suffice as an electrical connection. Otherwise, wire one with some of that grounding electrode wire you no longer need.




Half-FastEddie, thank you for pointing that out. I overlooked that before, NEC says 3 ground under same term as far as I can find. I will relocate one of those! Thanks!
No. When they say "3 ground under a lug" they're referring to the small lugs e.g. those on the neutral bar and most of the ones on the ground bar. They do not mean spooge a bunch of wires on the large-wire lug. I see it all the time but it doesn't work. Since grounds are only used when there's a faulting appliance, that little monster can hide until you need it to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Found your problem! You have PVC conduit connecting the panels. If you had used EMT metal conduit, that would've taken care of ground path for you.

But hold on. I have an idea.

Whenever I install two panels next to each other, I always stick 2-3 "convenience pass-throughs" e.g. of 3/4" conduit. You never know when those will be useful e.g. for rerouting a circuit to the other panel... but they are so nice to have when you need one! At least one "near the top" and one "near the bottom". So I would go look to see if you have knockouts that mostly line up, and if so, straight shot. If not, it might take some fidgeting with offset nipples.

Cheap, and kills 2 birds with one stone.
Seharper - Wow! Ok, did not know EMT metal conduit would substitute as a sub-panel ground. I'll have to research that some more. That would solve my problem as I could relocate the grounds within the main panel and run my neutral to an existing open lug. Do I need to run a subpanel ground to earth if I use EMT as ground? I'm going to also check into adding a ground bar to my main panel (though I've read conflicting info on that) You've given me some new ideas here...
 

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No. When they say "3 ground under a lug" they're referring to the small lugs e.g. those on the neutral bar and most of the ones on the ground bar. They do not mean spooge a bunch of wires on the large-wire lug. I see it all the time but it doesn't work. Since grounds are only used when there's a faulting appliance, that little monster can hide until you need it to work.
What are you saying here? More than 3 grounds are permitted on that lug, or only 1?
 

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Do I need to run a subpanel ground to earth if I use EMT as ground? I'm going to also check into adding a ground bar to my main panel (though I've read conflicting info on that) You've given me some new ideas here...
The run to earth (Grounding Electrode System) only needs to happen once per building. It happens at the first disconnect inside the building, so I presume it's already done in your main panel and is in good order.


What are you saying here? More than 3 grounds are permitted on that lug, or only 1?
Well for the final word you have to read the panel labeling (NEC 110.3(B))... but the large lugs are for ONE (1) wire of a size listed in the panel labeling (e.g. #10 thru #1/0 might be a common range).

Again the panel labeling is the last word, but many panels permit 2 or 3 ground wires per lug in the small lugs. I've seen 40-space panels that had 54 neutral lugs, 40 for the circuits, and 14 for grounds presuming 3 per screw.

Further, the number may be different for an accessory ground bar. I've seen panels where the panel itself was 3 per screw, but the accessory ground bar was only 2.

Doesnt the connecting conduit need a bonding jumper from the ground bar to a bonding bushing?
Only if there's something borked about the installation, like using a reducing washer or something. If it's a straight EMT into a standard fitting with the conduit nut that you bap down with a hammer and screwdriver, that's it.

shudders at the idea of industrial installations having to put bonding jumpers on all their EMT joints...

Anyway for belt and suspenders I'm suggesting OP install 2 of them. (to have more convenient routes for any circuits rerouted into the other panel).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The run to earth (Grounding Electrode System) only needs to happen once per building. It happens at the first disconnect inside the building, so I presume it's already done in your main panel and is in good order.

Anyway for belt and suspenders I'm suggesting OP install 2 of them. (to have more convenient routes for any circuits rerouted into the other panel).
You guys are great! Thanks for all the help here. The main panel does have a sufficient ground both in a stake and solid copper attached to an approved copper water line (in at least 10ft+ earth).

Seharper- when you say install 2 "belt and suspenders" I'm not familiar with the term. Is this looping? Or do you mean knock out more paths and add alternate EMT routes between the boxes?.

I picked up EMT steel connectors last night to replace the PVC, I'll remove that sub-panel ground and relocate my main panel neutrals and ground appropriately aiming for one termination per wire.
 

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I realize they are all stranded so they kind of smoosh together, but it looks like he has 4 ground conductors under one lug. Is that acceptable?

View attachment 644179
The simple answer is no. Unless that lug is specifically listed for multiple conductors that is not a permitted use. If the presence of a couple of Grounded Current Carrying Conductors; which most of us erroneously call neutrals; in that lug is not an illusion then you need to get them out of there and use what open terminations you have left on the neutral busbar to terminate them one per terminal as the US NEC requires. Then do what another respondent has already suggested and install one or more Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) busbars in that cabinet and move all of the ECGs to those busbars. As that poster already wrote that will open up that large lug to use for the feeder to the other panel.

If you just cannot find a GE grounding busbar then find one that is marked "(Name of recognized testing laboratory) recognized." Recognized components have been tested for use in the equipment of manufacturers other than the one that made the recognized component. What you should not do is use another manufacturers EGC busbar in that panel's cabinet unless it is testing laboratory recognized for use in other manufacturers panels. Part of that recognition process is that the screws provided for mounting the Recognized busbar will be of the thread pitch that another respondent already pointed out. You do not have to remove any paint prior to mounting the EGC busbar/s nor should you. The screw threads of the mounting screws will do the bonding for you. Removing paint from a cabinet often provides a place for corrosion to start. Once corrosion begins it will not be confined to the area that you removed the paint from. Because rust is larger in volume than the steel it forms from it lifts the paint out of it's way as it spreads.

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Tom Horne
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The simple answer is no. Unless that lug is specifically listed for multiple conductors that is not a permitted use. If the presence of a couple of Grounded Current Carrying Conductors; which most of us erroneously call neutrals; in that lug is not an illusion then you need to get them out of there and use what open terminations you have left on the neutral busbar to terminate them one per terminal as the US NEC requires. Then do what another respondent has already suggested and install one or more Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) busbars in that cabinet and move all of the ECGs to those busbars. As that poster already wrote that will open up that large lug to use for the feeder to the other panel.

If you just cannot find a GE grounding busbar then find one that is marked "(Name of recognized testing laboratory) recognized." Recognized components have been tested for use in the equipment of manufacturers other than the one that made the recognized component. What you should not do is use another manufacturers EGC busbar in that panel's cabinet unless it is testing laboratory recognized for use in other manufacturers panels. Part of that recognition process is that the screws provided for mounting the Recognized busbar will be of the thread pitch that another respondent already pointed out. You do not have to remove any paint prior to mounting the EGC busbar/s nor should you. The screw threads of the mounting screws will do the bonding for you. Removing paint from a cabinet often provides a place for corrosion to start. Once corrosion begins it will not be confined to the area that you removed the paint from. Because rust is larger in volume than the steel it forms from it lifts the paint out of it's way as it spreads.

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Tom Horne
Thank you Tom! I have already pulled the large subpanel ground out, replaced it with EMT metal and relocated each ground to an individual terminal on the existing bar. I will be checking into a separate ground bar for my box as a long term solution. Why do I keep reading that ground and neutral is acceptable on the same bar if it is the first point of disconnect (main)? It seems like there is conflicting info out there on if ground and neutral really do have to be on separate bars? Thank you for the additional info on the grounding bar type and recommendations. Very helpful.
 

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While adding a sub-panel I found I have no remaining space on the neutral bar for a 3/0 neutral connector.

Is it acceptable to "split bolt connect" my 3/0 sub-panel neutral directly to the SE neutral in the main panel? (to the yellow highlighted spot in picture)

-Main Service Feed is 2/0 SE Aluminum in an older GE Main Panel, therefore neutral is bare.​
-Plan to use split bolt rated for both CU/AL (separated by divider)​
-Neutral lugs found in box stores do not fit on this older GE neutral bar​
-NEC says splice is permitted in an enclosure, though not clear if split bolt is used on Neutral if this requires wrapping since it's already bare?​
If not, how else would you connect a 3 awg neutral to this main?​
*new here so go easy on me please? :)
Thank you,​
Bill​
View attachment 644175 View attachment 644176 View attachment 644177
While we are on the subject of how you will run the neutral conductor to the second panel let me ask were will you run the 2 energized conductors from? I cannot see an available breaker from which to do that. In your 4 breaker main disconnecting means section at the top of your existing panel the 2 breakers on the left side obviously supply heavier loads and it is unimportant what those loads are. The bottom right breaker appears to supply the lower section. CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG! The top right breaker appears to supply a rather small set of conductors for another 240 volt load. Since that top right main breaker is the one serving the lightest load that is the circuit that I would move into the new panel. Then you will need to buy the largest GE double pole breaker you can find which will fit into just those 2 slots. The very largest ampacity plug on breakers which would fit in a given panel are often designed to take up 4 slots so don't order one sight unseen. Make sure that the new breaker is a 2 slot type. That new breaker will give you the feeder supply for the second panel. Whatever else you consider doing do not put the feeder breaker into the lower busbar section of the main panel! The size of that lower right main breaker would markedly limit the load that you can supply from your new feeder supplied panel.

I cannot see from my house what your entire situation is so only you can answer some additional questions. Is a total of 150 amperes going to be enough to supply your future needs?

Quoting from the edition of the US NEC which I happen to have handy because the wording hasn't changed in a while now.

"(B) Adequacy. The Code contains requirements considered necessary for a safe electrical installation. If an electrical installation is installed in compliance with the NEC, it will be essentially free from electrical hazards. The Code is a safety standard, not a design guide.

NEC requirements aren’t intended to ensure the electrical installation will be efficient, convenient, adequate for good service, or suitable for future expansion. Specific items of concern, such as electrical energy management, maintenance, and power quality issues aren’t within the scope of the Code."

Take careful note of the wording in bold type which I have also underlined. Only you can figure out what your future needs may be. Take a breath, sit down, and make a list of everything you would like to do with your home in the time you continue to live there.

I see 2 ways for you to proceed to supply your existing electrical needs while allowing for future increase in your load.

The first would be to rearrange your existing panel to supply the new panel from the existing one. I do not recommend that approach because it would limit the size of any future upgrade in the size of your service without incurring expense that you can avoid by doing it differently now.

The second would be to add a new panel large enough to meet your future needs. It could be a main lug only panel right now because it’s future main breaker would need to be installed outdoors to meet the exterior emergency disconnect requirement.

An intermediate approach would be to install a main breaker panel and supply both panels from the existing service conductors directly. That would mean installing a junction box or trough above the 2 inside corners of the 2 panels. You would then splice two sets of service conductors onto the existing ones and extend them to the main lugs of the existing panel and the main breaker of the new one. That task is not as daunting as it may at first seem. When the time came for an increase in the size of your service conductors you would move the main breaker to an outdoor enclosure and add a Main Lug Kit to the new panel and you would install a new main breaker for the existing panel that would also be in an exterior enclosure. That avoids the possibility that you might have an inadequate supply to one portion of your service equipment while still having enough capacity in the service conductors to meet the immediate needs. All of the available capacity would be available to both panels and would flow by the demand rather than be limited by the size of breakers supplying each panel.

Now comes the essential step of the peer review of my suggestions by the other electricians here. If I have made any mistakes they will catch and correct them.

Tom Horne
 

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Thank you Tom! I have already pulled the large sub-panel ground out, replaced it with EMT metal and relocated each ground to an individual terminal on the existing bar. I will be checking into a separate ground bar for my box as a long term solution. Why do I keep reading that ground and neutral is acceptable on the same bar if it is the first point of disconnect (main)? It seems like there is conflicting info out there on if ground and neutral really do have to be on separate bars? Thank you for the additional info on the grounding bar type and recommendations. Very helpful.
The reason that folks were suggesting the added Equipment Grounding Conductor busbars was to give you the space to shift the EGCs from that large lug that you need to run the neutral to your sub-panel. You are correct that you are not required to separate them in the enclosure of the Service Disconnecting Means (MAIN Breaker/s). The challenge that you are likely to face is a need to increase the ampacity of your service to meet your future needs. When you go to do that you will need to comply with the new code provision which requires external emergency disconnecting means on all residential services. That would make both of your panels Feeder Supplied (Sub) panels. By separating the neutrals and EGCs now you make that change rather trivial to accomplish. You would remove the main bonding jumper in the present service equipment enclosure, run the new 4 wire feeder to the outdoor main breaker and be good to go. It's not because it is required but rather to save you extra work and expense later.

Tom Horne
 

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"Belt and suspenders" means "2 ways to hold up your pants" :) I.E. you are covered even if one fails. I was using that in relation to the grounding path ... however separate from that, I advise at least 2 additional conduit pass-throughs simply for ease of crossing between panels with wires. It will come up, believe me.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"Belt and suspenders" means "2 ways to hold up your pants" :) I.E. you are covered even if one fails. I was using that in relation to the grounding path ... however separate from that, I advise at least 2 additional conduit pass-throughs simply for ease of crossing between panels with wires. It will come up, believe me.
Seharper- not going to lie, I googled “belt and suspender electrical parts” and what do you know ... actual belts and suspenders haha! Thank you for the advice. I like the sound of more ground anyway! I’ll add a second EMT route. Thanks!
 
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