Ground and Neutral

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  #1  
Old 01-03-07, 02:52 PM
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Cool Ground and Neutral

I noticed that in my main electrical panel that the ground wires (bare) are connected to the neutral bus bar and the neutral wires are connected to the grounding bus bar. (electician must have swapped them by accident ?) I am having a swimming pool installed and was wondering if it really mattered since they are all connected anyway at the main panel? Just want to keep it safe.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-07, 03:10 PM
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please define your panels better...The outside "panel"(if there is one) is called a main disconnect (it should have a 100 or 200 amp main breaker at the top) the inside panels are called sub panels (however many there may be) In the sub panels your neutrals should be separate from the grounds and the neutral bar should be insulated from the panel itself as not being so would be grounded. You are correct in that they are bonded in the outside main disconnect but thwey should not be from there on out...
 
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Old 01-03-07, 03:11 PM
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Is your main electrical panel also the location of your first breaker or fuse pull out? In other words is the first place that you can shut off the power without cutting wires or pulling the electric meter in the same cabinet as that main panel?
 
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Old 01-03-07, 03:13 PM
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If you are taking about the wires in the main panel, then it is fine. both bars should be connected together anyway, effectively making them one bar.

But, I am confused by your last sentence. So, are we talking two seperate panels, and if so where are they backwards?
 
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Old 01-03-07, 04:56 PM
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follow-up

let me try to clarify. From my electric meter which is on exterior wall, wires come through wall into what I call the breaker box panel, (not a subpanel) it does not have a main disconnect just a 200 amp service box (GE Brand) that has many breakers on both side. The wires from romex have been installed in reverse, however there is the "jumper bar" that physcially connects them together anyway. I can move the 2 wires but did not want to unless necessary.
 
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Old 01-03-07, 06:01 PM
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no need to move them. electrically they are the same buss bar.

the original electrician just seperated them because he/she thought it looked neater.
 
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Old 01-03-07, 06:45 PM
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just for futher claridication, when I say that the ground wire from the romex is connected to the neutral bus bar I mean that the electrician physcially did cross connect them. The neutral wire from the meter has the romex grounds connected to it and the earth ground wire has the romex neutrals connected to them.
 
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Old 01-03-07, 09:35 PM
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It must have a main breaker/s

Originally Posted by waterman View Post
let me try to clarify. From my electric meter which is on exterior wall, wires come through wall into what I call the breaker box panel, (not a subpanel) it does not have a main disconnect just a 200 amp service box (GE Brand) that has many breakers on both side. The wires from romex have been installed in reverse, however there is the "jumper bar" that physcially connects them together anyway. I can move the 2 wires but did not want to unless necessary.
That panel must have between one and six main breaker/s. If there really isn't any main breaker/s that is a truly dangerous installation. Is there any breaker, fuse pull out, or fused switch at the meter enclosure? Would you be willing to post a photograph of your main panel with it's front cover, and dead front if any, removed? The one to six pull outs switches or circuit breakers I'm talking about are called your Service Disconnecting Means. Until I know were that is I am very uncomfortable with giving any advise.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by waterman View Post
just for futher claridication, when I say that the ground wire from the romex is connected to the neutral bus bar I mean that the electrician physcially did cross connect them. The neutral wire from the meter has the romex grounds connected to it and the earth ground wire has the romex neutrals connected to them.
I understand, but since they are tied to gether anyway, do not worrry.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 06:38 AM
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I have no way of disconnecting the power from the meter before it enters my breaker box. My breaker box has at least 12-15 breakers. ie. ac unit, lights breakers and so forth.
 
  #11  
Old 01-04-07, 09:44 AM
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Bottom line here:
IT DOESN'T MATTER
They are connected anyway.
In this main panel there should be a connection that ties the neutral bar and ground bar together.
The electrician could have put white and bare wires anywhere on either of the two buss bars. Electrically they are the same.
For some reason he split them up...this is often done because it may look better. For some reason he put the whites all on one bar and bares all on the other bar. He could have switched it around and put all the whites where the bare wires now are and bares where the white wires now are and you would have liked that better....or he could have put the white and bare of a circuit right next to each other on the same bar...but it doesn't really matter...they are all tied together.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 10:07 AM
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Hello

As Jw has been explaining this is your main service panel the fact that the "romex" neutrals are connected to the bar that has the earth ground (GEC) connected to it makes no difference as the earth ground that runs to the metal water pipe and possibly a ground rod has nothing to do with return current from the branch circuit neutrals or fault current on the equipment grounds (bare) of the branch circuits. The most important aspect is that the two bars are bonded by a metal strap or green screw or other method it just depends on how the manufacturer designed the bonding means. With the two bars electrically connected with a strap as you mentioned it will not matter which bar neutrals and grounds are connected too. In fact you could have a mixture on each bar if you wanted. I agree with Jw the electrician just wanted to make a neat appearance and chose to use the bar that did not have the main service neutral connected to it, pretty commonly done that way.
Now as to how your service is disconnected in that GE panel. Since no disconnecting means exists between the panel and the meter then the panel has the disconnecting means. Whether it be a main breaker or possibly a split buss design. Can you explain how the two hot wires connect at the panel do they connect to a main breaker or do they just connect to lugs like the neutral does?

Edit: looks like I am just adding to what was just said by jn

Roger
 
  #13  
Old 01-04-07, 11:45 AM
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The 2 hot wires connect directly to each lug.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 02:26 PM
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I suspect if the two legs of the service do not connect to a main breaker and connect to lugs then you possibly have a split bus design of some kind in that ge panel or we are missing something. Only way we are going to know is if you post a picture of the panel with the cover removed. You can do this by storing the photo to a storage site like photo bucket then giving us the link.

We are wandering off course a bit though from the original question.

If a picture isnt possible try answering these questions and maybe we can get to the answer about the disconnect means.

1.) How many wires are entering the panel from the meter...ie... is there two hots and neutral only?

2.) Or is there two hots, neutral and ground. The ground may be metal conduit instead of a wire.

3.)You might also have se cable from the meter to the panel and no conuit of any kind. How many wires in the cable? the neutral will be a bunch of stranded bare wires if se cable.

4.) If the panel is connected to the meter with pvc conduit how many wires are in the conduit coming into the panel?

Tell us which method you have and the number of wires coming from the meter.

The reason for this is that if there isnt any other panel and there is not a main disconnect between the meter and the panel in question and that panel is the service equipment (main panel) then all that is left is a split buss panel or a main lug panel. If that panel is main lug as would be the case if you had a disconnect located at the meter it would be wired as a sub-panel, but I believe we are just having a communication glitch as it would be rare if an electrician would install an incorrect panel.

Roger
 
  #15  
Old 01-04-07, 02:38 PM
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Be careful answering Roger's question about a ground entering the panel. You may have a ground wire entering, but it may be from your cold water pipes and/or from a ground rod.
 
  #16  
Old 01-05-07, 06:34 AM
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What I have is this, the 3 wires coming from the electric company. I assume they are (2) 120 volts and a neutral and I have a heavy gauge bare wire going out near the electric meter with a 8' ground rod drove flush to the ground. So I have 4 wires coming into my breaker box.
 
  #17  
Old 01-05-07, 08:57 AM
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What you have described indicates that this is the main panel in the home. Other than the possibly missing main breaker, the connections are correct. THer grounds and neutrals should be the same.
 
  #18  
Old 01-05-07, 11:43 AM
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Thanks everyone!
 
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