Extra ground bar for main panel?

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  #1  
Old 03-14-07, 02:34 PM
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Extra ground bar for main panel?

Hey all, new to the forum, not new to DIY!

I'm trying to clean up my main service panel, as the previous owner(s) did a good job of mucking it up. I need to move some ground wires off the current shared ground/neutral buss. There isn't enough room for each neutral to have it's own terminal.

So I want to add a ground bar kit and move many of the ground wires to it.

Here's a pic of the panel (I guess I don't yet have clearance to post links, so you'll have to cut n paste):

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/bskarger/web/pictures/705/neutralbar2.jpg

Does this look feasible? This is a Challenger panel, but does it matter which ground bar kit I buy? For example, if I can't find Challenger parts (I've never seen them in the big box stores), could I use Square D QO? I like the QO stuff.

Anyway, thanks for the help.
Q
 
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Old 03-14-07, 02:40 PM
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> Does this look feasible?

Yep.

> This is a Challenger panel, but does it matter which ground bar kit I buy?

Technically, you should use a ground bar kit which is listed for use in your panel. However, you probably won't be able to find one. I don't see a problem with you using any brand of ground bar that fits. I believe the Challenger brand is now under Cutler-Hammer, so you may have some luck with one of their bars.
 
  #3  
Old 03-14-07, 03:46 PM
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Most main panels double up the ground and neutrals anyways, dont they?
 
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Old 03-14-07, 03:47 PM
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Grounds, usually. Neutrals, never.
 
  #5  
Old 03-15-07, 07:37 AM
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So here's an even more basic question.

There are 16 or 17 (rough count) terminals on that main panel neutral buss. It is a 20-slot breaker panel. How is anyone expected to NOT double at least a couple of the neutrals? There just simply isn't enough space. Why would they design it like this?
 
  #6  
Old 03-15-07, 07:41 AM
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The assumption is that a few of those breakers will be 240-volt breakers, taking up two breaker slots but only one neutral slot.
 
  #7  
Old 03-15-07, 08:41 AM
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But then where do the 15 or so ground wires go? I suppose they could be ganged 2 or 3 to a terminal, but that's still pushing it. Just seems to me they could have made the bar much longer than it is. Must have cheaped out.
 
  #8  
Old 03-15-07, 09:20 AM
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Modern panels have much larger ground and neutral bars. Grounds of the same gauge can be doubled and often tripled. Multiwire circuits were more common years ago in which 120V circuits share neutrals in addition to 240V circuits which don't use a neutral and range/dryer circuits which didn't use a ground.
 
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Old 03-15-07, 09:32 AM
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You should really post a picture of the whole panel. This would allow us to point out any deficiencies......Such as....I don't see a bonding screw in your existing ground bar.
steve
 
  #10  
Old 03-15-07, 10:05 AM
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Many panels are sold without preinstalled grounding bars. The manufacturer assumes you will buy and install the one you need.
 
  #11  
Old 03-15-07, 10:35 AM
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Thanks for all the replies, this is helping me understand what I thought was just stupid engineering!

Here's another shot of the main and sub panels:

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/bskarger/web/pictures/705/overall.jpg

And this shot I think shows the bonding screw from neutral bar to panel (Brass-looking screw near the center):

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/bskarger/web/pictures/705/neutralbar.jpg

Thanks for the help!
 
  #12  
Old 03-16-07, 08:38 AM
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Well, I'll be adding a 10-spot ground bar soon. I picked up a SquareD QO model ground bar kit. I also bought a few inches of #6 bare stranded copper to make the connection between the existing bar and this new one.

Now I just need to figure out where to place it in the main panel. I figure it's going to have to go high, since the ground wires won't be able to reach it if it's place below the existing bar. Might be a good time to do some re-routing.

I also picked up "Wiring Simplified" from H.D. and will read that this weekend. Looks like some good info.
 
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