Neutral and ground on same buss bar?

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  #1  
Old 11-11-06, 07:56 AM
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Neutral and ground on same buss bar?

I have an outdoor panel at our community entrance that provides power to the lights. There is 240v power to the panel with the two 120v buss bars and the neutral buss bar. We want to add a receptacle for plugging in Christmas lights. With adding the receptacle, is it proper to connect both the ground and neutral wires for the the 120v receptacle to the neutral buss bar in the panel, using a separate terminal on the buss bar for the neutral and the ground?
Thanks!
 
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Old 11-11-06, 08:03 AM
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Yes, that's correct. If there is only one grounded bus bar in the panel (assuming it was installed right!) that's where the neutrals are derived, and it's correct to land both the grounds and neutrals to the same bar.

The neutrals and grounds should be tied together in exactly one point in the system, never any more.
 
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Old 11-11-06, 08:30 AM
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great!! thanks for your help! much appreciated!
 
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Old 11-11-06, 08:42 AM
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The term "community entrance" concerns me. If this is a rental building or a public building, then DO NOT do any electrical work unless you are a licensed electrician. You risk much in the way of liability , and you would be foolish to do this.
 
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Old 11-11-06, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by grover
The neutrals and grounds should be tied together in exactly one point in the system, never any more.
Well, not totally correct. There are circumstances that there would be more than one bond point.
================
"If there is only one grounded bus bar in the panel (assuming it was installed right!)"

I would rather not assume it is correctly installed. or actually what it is in regards to a service or sub panel.

OP, can you clarify if this is a service panel or is it fed from another panel? If it is fed from another panel, does it have a 3 or 4 wire feed?
 
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Old 11-11-06, 08:50 AM
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Bob is correct. If I may add.... most of these communities are governed by legal entities namely home associations. The city normally will not govern ordinance codes in these neighborhoods but they will indeed impose regulations governing electrical work. Home associations pose some degree of legal headaches for cities and certain rules apply that are generally much different than a homeowner working on his personal home. If your part of a homes association and not one of the appointed or elected officials best to check with these people (if you havent already) before you touch any electrical.

Roger
 
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Old 11-11-06, 07:07 PM
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This the street entrance to our community. The community's name is on the stucco wall that has two outdoor lights mounted on it. There are 3 wires coming into the panel on the wall, one neutral and two 120v. The panel was just installed about a year ago and passed inspection. Also, the association is ok with just adding the receptacle. There's a meter right next to the panel, so I believe that the feed is coming directly from the power company, just like it would be to a building. There's no main breaker to the box, just the three buss bars, with the 120v buss's available to accept breakers. Also, with this panel being the electrical source for this system, there's no other place on this system to connect anything. I hope I've answered the questions raised. I feel all of your comments have helped me cover the bases and wouldn't think there would be any issues with installing the receptacle. However, additional comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 11-11-06, 07:26 PM
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[It is a main service panel then and the ground and neut are bonded within this panel. You original post is correct.

Still you do need to be concerned with liability issues. Installing a recep is not a big deal but it may be required per local building codes that it be performed by a licensed electrician. Just don;t get your rear in hot water.
 
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Old 11-11-06, 07:49 PM
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FYI, if there is no main breaker, there can only be a maximum of 6 breakers on there for fire code. (Double-pole breakers count as 1 for this.) Though to be honest, I don't think your stucco sign is going to worry the local fire department much Are all the circuits for this sign, or is it serving other things?
 
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Old 11-12-06, 09:03 AM
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I agree with all the other replies, and want to add:

Be sure that you use a GFI breaker or outlet, and an "in use" cover. (the bubble kind)
 
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Old 11-12-06, 09:44 AM
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You might consider checking with the city or county to see if a permit is required. This will insure that you can do the work and have it inspected and then things are a no worry. Also remember as JW stated there are a lot of installation considerations when you install an outdoor outlet. Please check with someone knowledgable as to the things that need to be considered for code compliancy. By that I mean type of wire, burial depths, grounding requiremnts, weatherproof requirements and so forth.

Roger
 
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Old 11-12-06, 04:23 PM
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Is there really no main breaker?

Is there really no main breaker? With the panel supplying a small lighting load that is not likely. Were do the two conductors that are not white or white striped in the supply cable go. If they go to a two pole breaker then it is your main breaker and it should be held down to the buss so that it cannot be removed without tools. If those two conductors go to terminal lugs that are connected to the buss bars directly then that panel is improperly wired for the loads it is carrying. Please tell us how many breakers, of what size, and number of poles per breaker are in the panel now.
 
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