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Started a new thread on Panel box problem

2476 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  rrolleston
Hi again.
Thanks for the info already given on the thread I high jacked --LOL-- sorry.

Okay here is what I have found out so far.

1. the power from the breaker that supplies the main power to the garage panel reads perfect 122 on each hot line.

2. The power at the garage panel reads 221 on the top 120 volt line and about 15 on the bottom 120 volt line ( see picture below )

3. The lines run under grounds in electrical PVC ( the grey type ) and we had some foundation work done and I think they may have done something to it because it has worked fine for almost 30 years.

4. As you can see there is a green wire that is run separate for the neutral ground and also the three big wires two on the right are 120 volt each and the one on the left is the ground wire.

I think the green wire is bad because you all have said the neutral is loose or disconnected.

Why do the neutral and the common ground hook up in the same bus??

Looks like I will need to run a new green neutral wire first and see if that works. What do you all think?

If that doesn't work then I will need to run a whole new 240 romex neutral included.

Here is a picture of the box

Let me know what you all think.

Thanks Keith:)
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Did you try testing the voltage in the panel with all the breakers off?
If you had a bad neutral with this configuration your green ground wire would be doing all the work and would get really warm if you had a large load on there. Hot to hot should be 240 neutral to each hot should be 120. If it's damaged underground you would have to find and repair the bad conduit before you go pulling new wire in there.
Yes rolleston I did.

I also just disconnected all the wires from the garage panel and got the same reading with the hot wires on EACH of the grounds ( neutral and common grounds ). I am thinking the foundation people have cracked the PVC and some water has gotten in the pipe and corroded one or some of the wires.

I guess I need to run all new wires
The green wire is the equipment grounding conductor. Although it is required by code, the panel will work without it or if it is compromised.

The 2 heavy black wires on the left are your 2 hot conductors, the heavy wire on the left with the white tape is the neutral.

Turn off all the breakers in this panel and test from each hot leg to the neutral, should be about 120 volts on each leg. If one of the blacks shows low or no voltage, you have a problem with that wire in the conduit or at the supply breaker in the house. ( Note: if you test with any of the breakers on you will get a false reading due to voltage being back fed thru a load.)
Thanks rjniles ,That is what I did. The bottom one of the HOT!! wires is the one reading the 8 to 10 volts. So that wire is the problem wire. I am going to go ahead and pull and replace that wire first and see if that will do it. I will post results :)
May have trouble pulling new wire in there after you pull that one out. If it's damaged I don't think it will pull too easy. And you could end up damaging the new wire pulling by that damaged conduit.

And make sure all wires are disconnected and breaker is off.
Okay Guys after further inspection All the wires have been smashed together from the ohm reading test I did on each single wire. So I am going to put new PVC and new wires from the house to the panel in the garage.

I disconnected all the wires at each end and got me a long piece of 24 volt electrical wire and clamped it on ONE!! of the wires in the house. I then did an ohm reading test on each wire an all had an ohm reading. So therefore they are all smashed together.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions and this is a cool forum and I will be visiting often to learn and give my two cents.

Thanks Keith :)
Rather than retrench the whole run, you might excavate were the foundation work was done. You may be able to pull out the old wires, repair the conduit and pull in new wires.

When you replace the wires bring that sub up to code by signalling a separate ground bar and separate your grounds and neutrals.
R.J. I have dug up the old pvc up to where it goes under the patio slab. I have decided to re route the new pvc to where it goes up in the soffit at a different place and I am able to use the pcv 90 that goes into the garage to get to that panel box. I don't want to jack hammer the patio up because some of it in closed in and has tile on it. So I am routing the new pvc to a place where all I have to is dig and lay the pipe and 90 up to the soffit .

When you say put a new neutral bar in I understand that . But aren't the ground and the neutral bar supposed to be hooked together? so does that mean I have to jumper the new bar to the original ground pole?

Thanks for the in sight :)
If this is a Sub panel the neutral will float (not bonded) and the ground bar (bonded to the box) and ground wires will be seperate from the neutral.
If the wires were smashed together, you would have a short and the breaker would trip.
I think you need to recheck the ohm readings.
I checked a rechecked the readings and they were the same. I think water has gotten into the pcv from the foundation repair ( they had to jack hammer out some of the patio to install a pier )and is causing continuity between the lines. I checked these lines disconnected on both ends so there has to be some where in between the garage and the house breaker that they are all getting an ohm output. Other wise the ohm meter would not respond unless the line was clear . ??? I don't know but I am going to go ahead with plan B and re route with new wire . It is plastic PVC and the jack hammer probably damaged the wire coating and the water made it worse???
While you're at it, replace that panel as well.
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Not only you will have to rerun new conductors but as soon you post the photo that is Zinsco they have alot of quirks with them and It will be wise idea to replace with more modern panels so you will have more breakers when you need more circuits.

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Update on progress ::

I got the under ground PVC and the wire run in it from the garage to the house . It got dark on me so I decided to wait til in the morning to hook them up. It was a tough job and plenty of mud since it snowed here at Christmas.

I pulled the old wires from the old pvc and sure enough the foundation people hd jack hammered right into the old pvc and didn't bother to fix it so over time water seeped in and deteriorated the knicked wires and that is why the power went out. I have no idea why the breaker didn't trip but it has all new pipie and wires now.

Pictures of the pipe out side:

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It was messy but I kept wiping everything clean as I assembled it all. I will have power in the morning :)
how deep is that?
Just look at one of the ells you can tell how deep is that and that is no way it can be more than 8 inches deep that is a major volation no question asked.

Normally it should be 18 inches deep for conduit but direct burial it will be deeper useally at 24 inches beside there is one extempt if only single circuit less than 20 amp and have GFCI then it can be shallow as 8 to 12 inches.( the state/local codes may varies so check it out )

That's why I questioned it I could see the ell way above grade. And people wonder why I have to charge so much. They are like how hard can it be to cost that much. Some think even wires without conduit can go 6 inches. I go really deep for new construction because usually someone has a nice piece of equipment there and can give them a few bucks to do a trench. Then I don't have to worry about it being made shallow with grading of the yard.
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