Subpanel ground bar full

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  #1  
Old 09-03-06, 10:16 AM
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Subpanel ground bar full

Hi All,

I have a 200 amp service in my home, and will be adding a few more circuits in the very near future. The problem I have is that the ground bus bar is full. What is the best method to add another ground bus bar to the panel? The configuration appears to be a main panel by the meter and a BIG #2 or #4 cable that runs to the subpanel in the basement. The panel is only half full of breakers, but it looks like an expansion kit may be already be needed?

Thank you for your time.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-03-06, 10:37 AM
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It always gets me that they dont put enough holes in the ground and neutral bar to fill a panel with circuits. grrrr.. but it is the way it is.

Go to the electrical supplyhouse, or big box store and buy a ground bar kit. You will need to drill and tap holes for the ground bar unless your panel already has holes in the back to mount an extra bar. You are not allowd to use self tapping screws for this purpose.

As an added step, if you like, you can run a wire from the old ground bar to the new. It must be the same size as the largest wire that you intend to be using on the new ground bar.

Keep in mind DRILLING AND TAPPING A LIVE ELECTRICAL PANEL IS NOT ENTIRELY SAFE. I would mount the ground bar some place that is no where near the wires that feed the panel from the meter, and turn off the main breaker while doing this.
 
  #3  
Old 09-03-06, 11:06 AM
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I'm not a pro - but my reading states that a "Sub panel" should have separate Ground and Neutral bars, with the Neutral not "Grounded ? Your description leads me to believe you have only a single bar - with both neutrals and grounds tied together in the Sub Panel.
 
  #4  
Old 09-03-06, 11:23 AM
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Don't take this wrong - my answer was not intended as a solution, but as a question - so someone with more experience can answer.

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 09-03-06, 01:41 PM
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Thanks for the input tribe_fan and jwhite. To answer tribe_fan's question, yes there are seperate ground and neutral bars in the panel. While reading up on the subject yesterday I came by the same information and opened the panel up this morning to check. I have pictures I would be glad to post to the thread, but it appears attachments are not allowed for some reason. Anyway, great thoughts gang, I appreciate your time.
 
  #6  
Old 09-03-06, 01:47 PM
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If you can upload the pics to photobucket.com then you could post a link here.
 
  #7  
Old 09-03-06, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the pics. Here are the links ( Each image is about 1 MB ). The red wires go to a generator transfer switch in case someone was wondering.

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m231/boomxr/Picture051.jpg
http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m231/boomxr/Picture056.jpg
http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m231/boomxr/Picture057.jpg
http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m231/boomxr/Picture052.jpg
http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m231/boomxr/Picture051.jpg
 
  #8  
Old 09-03-06, 06:33 PM
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You can also double-up ground wires in most panels, if you can fit two in a hole.
 
  #9  
Old 09-04-06, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
You can also double-up ground wires in most panels, if you can fit two in a hole.
You learned that backwards MAC. Most terminals are not made for more than one wire. A very few are and are labled as such.
 
  #10  
Old 09-04-06, 06:04 AM
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Looks like a siemans panel. I like the choice. They are a good balance between quality and cost.

You are only allowed one wire under each screw in this panel.

You already apear to have one illegal ground run the the buss bar on the left side.

There should be a spot in the bottom right of the panel to install a new ground bar. I could not see it it the pic, but there should be two predrilled tapped holes. Just go to the supply house and buy the ground bar made for your panel.

You should free up a hole in the old ground bar by wirenutting one ground wire and taking it to the new ground bar. Then you should add a #6 ground wire between the two ground bars.
 
  #11  
Old 09-04-06, 06:09 AM
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Smile

You can also just drill a hole and use a #10 screw and nut to attach the new grounding bar to the panel enclosure without having to tap a hole. Be sure to scrape the paint off the panel where the new bar touches. This will give it good electrical continuity.
As Jwhite said...Turn the power off at the main breaker before working in this (or any electrical) panel!
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 09-04-06 at 07:11 AM. Reason: removed quote as it's unncessary to quote the entire post above your own
  #12  
Old 09-04-06, 10:59 AM
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Drilling and/or tapping holes also violates a panel's UL listing. Pick your poison. But this method, as well as doubling-up ground wires (cheaper and faster) both pass inspection around here, regardless of the panel. There's no way to "win," just a few ways to do it safely.
 
  #13  
Old 09-04-06, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
Drilling and/or tapping holes also violates a panel's UL listing.

Where did you hear that bit of misinformation?
 
  #14  
Old 09-04-06, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
Where did you hear that bit of misinformation?
That's a good question. Dang. Seems like I hear it often from everywhere, and specifically from the Master Electrician that taught me the trade, though I recognize that's not always authoritative. If it's misinformation, I apologize and look forward to being corrected.

Anybody have a reliable source that says one way or another?

For as often as I heard it, and it made sense, seemed reliable. I ASSumed...
 
  #15  
Old 09-04-06, 11:51 AM
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250.8 Connection of Grounding and Bonding Equipment.
Grounding conductors and bonding jumpers shall be connected
by exothermic welding, listed pressure connectors,
listed clamps, or other listed means. Connection devices or
fittings that depend solely on solder shall not be used. Sheet
metal screws shall not be used to connect grounding conductors
or connection devices to enclosures.

This is the part that says that sheet metal screws shall not be used, and that listed methods must be used.

Since I buy listed ground bars I follow the insructions that come with them.

110.10 (3) (B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment
shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions
included in the listing or labeling.

From there I have just followed the instruction sheet that comes with the ground bars.

I have been looking but cannot find a sheet online to post a link.

In addition to the above, I am a member of several forums that are open to electrical professionals only. The question has been asked in all of them, and all the more knowledgeable members seem to agree on this topic.
 
  #16  
Old 09-04-06, 01:31 PM
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Cool. Glad to know. I'll pass it along.

Every bar I've bought has fit into existing threaded holes.
 
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