Neutral to subpanel

Old 04-03-03, 07:49 PM
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Question Neutral to subpanel


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Neutral to subpanel
My wife and I just purchased an older farm house with a detached garage. There is a subpanel in the garage that is hooked up to a 50a double pole breaker at the main box in the house. The problem is that the outlets and lights in the garage do not work. I installed a new outlet, wire and breaker to see if it might be the wiring in the garage. The new outlet did not work either. I disconnected the breaker in the main box and removed the wires from it. I then jumpered the wires to check and see if either of the hot wires were broken underground and they tested fine. I then jumpered the neutral to the other wires to check it and it appears to be broken along the path. Is it possible to replace the neutral without replacing the other two wires?

Thank you

04-03-03 01:57 PM
Old 04-03-03, 07:58 PM
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If the wires are run in conduit, it can be done, but it may not be easy. The idea is to attach a new wire to the neutral on one end, and pull from the other. Depending on how tangled up the wires are in the conduit, it may pull through. You somehow have to connect the two wires together and try not to make the connection larger in diameter than the existing wire. If the wire is stranded you can cut some of the strands off, connect the two then tape it up. Use lots of pulling lube.

If it doesn't want to go, then you may have to try and pull out all three wires, and pull through 3 new ones.

If it is direct burried or a cable then it gets even harder.
Old 04-04-03, 05:46 AM
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If you don't have any 240V loads in the garage, you can tape one of the black wires white and move it to the neutral bar (on both ends). Connect the other black to both of the lugs in the subpanel (daisy chained). You will then have a 50A 120V service in your garage instead of a 100A 120V service that you had before. Once again, it depends on what you need from your subpanel in the detached building.

Have you checked the connection in your main panel? Is there a junction box somewhere in the run. You need to check the entire run before doing something drastic. How does the circuit run from the main to the subpanel? Is it one continuous run? If there is a junction between say a romex in the house and underground feeders then you have to determine if the fault lies in the romex or underground connectors. If the fault was in the romex, and you pulled all new underground conductors you would have wasted your time.

Before you make any decision, you need to eyeball the wiring all the way back to the main panel and determine what you have and exactly where the problem is. Then you can determine the proper fix.
Old 04-04-03, 08:39 PM
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It is a continuous run and only 50 amps. I am thinking of geting a small ARC welder and will need 70 amps for it. The cable is curently #6 I believe and will need to be changed over to #2 so I can install a 100 amp breaker at the main to feed the garage. Looks like I'll be pulling some new wire in the future. Thanks all for the advice.


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