Is this "neutral" or "ground"?

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  #1  
Old 09-09-11, 08:17 PM
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Is this "neutral" or "ground"?

I am a bit puzzled to see this in my panel.



Look at the right side of the panel where all the neutral wires are.



All the neutral wires are white. Except I have two green wires (circled) connected to the same place all the neutral wires are connected to.

Is this normal?

Is this GROUND? or is this NEUTRAL?

All the conduits and boxes I have are metal, so normally I see the green wires connected to a pigtail screwed to the boxes.

I traced one of the two green wires, and it appears to be treated as a ground wire. It runs to a junction box and splits into three other green wires. One of those travels inside a EMT conduit until it the conduit changes to PVC as it goes into an outdoor metal junction box.



As you can see, the green wire comes into this box, connects to other green wires and screwed to the base of the metal box. It is a ground wire, but why does it go all the way to the panel and connects to where all the neutrals are?

Did someone run out of white conductors and decide to use green instead? and on the other end someone else assumed GREEN is ground?



A separate question about the junction box, since my conduits below the box have been changed to PVC from EMT, the box is no longer grounded. Is the best way to ground it to take a metal pole and insert into the soil, then tie a bare copper metal from that pole to the screw on the cover of the metal box?

Thanks for any comments.
 
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Old 09-09-11, 08:25 PM
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At the service panel with the first means of disconnect both neutral and ground are bonded to the panel so grounds can go to either bar.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 09-09-11 at 08:49 PM. Reason: clarificiation
  #3  
Old 09-09-11, 08:36 PM
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Went over my head...

So it is a GROUND wire? I guess my question is why it is necessary? Why not just connect to the metal box like the rest?

Or alternatively, could I steel this green wire in the future to use as an extra neutral if I need to, as long as I properly label it?
 
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Old 09-09-11, 08:51 PM
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I can't see in the pic, is there a ground bar with only bare or green wires on it?

You cannot re-identify the green as a neutral. Neutrals must be white or gray. Yours is also too small to re-identify.

To ground the receptacle run a green or bare and splice to the green in the box above. Do not attempt to ground it to a rod.
 
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Old 09-09-11, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
I can't see in the pic, is there a ground bar with only bare or green wires on it?
The two green wires are connected like the neutral. The neutrals are all white a seen in the second picture, and they are lined up from top to bottom to the white bar - white white white ... white green white green. I do not see a green bar, but I will check again tomorrow.

Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
I can't see in the pic, is there a ground bar with only bare or green wires on it?To ground the receptacle run a green or bare and splice to the green in the box above. Do not attempt to ground it to a rod.
It is already spliced to the green in the box, but since the box is connected to all PVC conduits, unlike all the other boxes inside the house that are interconnected with EMT conduits. So I am thinking I need to ground this metal box "independently" somehow. It WAS connected originally with metal conduits that were all corroded out, I changed them to PVC.
 
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Old 09-09-11, 09:13 PM
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You just run the green through the pvc and connect to the green screw on the receptacle.
 
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Old 09-09-11, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
Went over my head...

So it is a GROUND wire? I guess my question is why it is necessary? Why not just connect to the metal box like the rest?
If this is your main service (not a sub panel) the ground and neutrals are connect to the same bar, As Ray posted. The neutral bar should also be bonded to the metal case of the panel effectively grounding that as well. Most cases this is done via a green screw or a copper/aluminum bonding strap. I can see neither in your pictures so you might want to check that out.
 
  #8  
Old 09-10-11, 06:52 AM
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Miami: No green wire is allowed to carry load current. All green wires are used to carry fault currents only. But yes, in the panel you show, the green and white do connect to the same electrically common point. In the field, all green wires are assumed to be grounded and normally carry no current. Not so with white or any other color (in this country).
 
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Old 09-10-11, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
If this is your main service (not a sub panel) the ground and neutrals are connect to the same bar, As Ray posted. The neutral bar should also be bonded to the metal case of the panel effectively grounding that as well. Most cases this is done via a green screw or a copper/aluminum bonding strap. I can see neither in your pictures so you might want to check that out.

Itís hard to tell, but it appears there may be a bonding screw on the right hand neutral/ground bar in the second picture. Look between wire #32 (red) and wire #30 (black) in the picture.
 
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Old 09-10-11, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SD515 View Post
Itís hard to tell, but it appears there may be a bonding screw on the right hand neutral/ground bar in the second picture. Look between wire #32 (red) and wire #30 (black) in the picture.
Good eye. GE supplies one green bonding screw; even though each buss has a provision for a bond screw, only one is necessary. In this case, it appears properly attached on the right side buss, near the crossover.
 
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Old 09-10-11, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
At the service panel with the first means of disconnect both neutral and ground are bonded to the panel so grounds can go to either bar.
This is true and this is also where the service neutral should be grounded. It may be grounded properly, but I sure don't see a #4 copper ground wire (or #2 aluminum) landing on the neutral bar anywhere. Am I missing something, can anyone else see the service grounding conductor?
 
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Old 09-10-11, 08:08 AM
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OK I will go to the site today and look closer. I wasn't sure where or what to look for.
 
  #13  
Old 09-10-11, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
This is true and this is also where the service neutral should be grounded. It may be grounded properly, but I sure don't see a #4 copper ground wire (or #2 aluminum) landing on the neutral bar anywhere. Am I missing something, can anyone else see the service grounding conductor?
Down here in Fla Power and Light territory, the ground rod is manytimes connected to the meter pan.
 
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Old 09-10-11, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by telecom guy View Post
Down here in Fla Power and Light territory, the ground rod is manytimes connected to the meter pan.
It's done the same way here in my area, but only when the secondary grounding conductor to the metallic water line is terminated at the neutral bar in the panel. Back when just one grounding conductor was required to a ground rod, that ground wire connected to the neutral bus in the panel. Like I said before, it may be properly grounded, but I didn't see a service grounding conductor.
 
  #15  
Old 09-10-11, 10:45 PM
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OK I took a bunch more pictures, hopefully we will get a better idea.

I have two main panels, a left panel "A" and a right panel "B". The service enters in the middle. Panel A goes to the north wing, and panel B to the south wing of the house.

This is a picture of panel A.



There is a neutral bar on the left and right side. The left neutral bar does have a bare copper wire from an NM cable connected to it (see red arrow).



Then this is panel B.



The neutral bar on the right has two green wires connected to it.



Closer look. There is a green screw at the bottom, the two green wires connected above it.



I do not see any ground wire connected to the neutral bar. But the box is metal and in between the two boxes is another metal box where the service comes in.



The bottom is a ground wire connected to the metal box, and all three boxes are connected with metal conduits and connectors.



On the outside where the service comes in, I have this:



The ground wire goes outside and runs to the left and "clamps" onto a hosebib. My water supply lines are all copper. So does it mean the grounding is done via the copper supply lines?

The service then runs up into a large 3" metal conduit, and eventually to the meter.





I don't know if this help answer whether those two green wires are neutral or ground?
 
  #16  
Old 09-11-11, 12:12 AM
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To me it looks like the service feeds both panels directly and you don't have a sub panel. If that is true then both the neutral and ground will connect to the same bar so have both green / bare wires and white wires connected to the same bar is ok. The green / bare wires will be ground wires and white or gray will be neutral.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 07:05 AM
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Never seen a water pipe bonded to the outside of the home on a hose bib but that was likely legal at the time of installation.

Looking at the rest of your installation I would say your neutrals and grounds should land at the same buss. Also the neutral bar is bonded to the steel case via the green screw.

If the offset nipples from the gutter to the panels are in concentric or eccentric knock outs, you should have a ground wire going from the gutter to the panel steel. Wired should be sized to table 250.66
 
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Old 09-11-11, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Never seen a water pipe bonded to the outside of the home on a hose bib but that was likely legal at the time of installation.

Looking at the rest of your installation I would say your neutrals and grounds should land at the same buss. Also the neutral bar is bonded to the steel case via the green screw.

If the offset nipples from the gutter to the panels are in concentric or eccentric knock outs, you should have a ground wire going from the gutter to the panel steel. Wired should be sized to table 250.66
I do have a green screw on the right neutral bar of panel B, where the two green wires are connected.

However in panel A, where I have one bare copper wire connected, there is no green screw, do I need one there?

There is no ground wire going from the middle to the panel. I double check to make sure. I am assuming the actual offset nipple IS acting as that connection?
 
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Old 09-11-11, 09:42 AM
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..............
 

Last edited by ray2047; 09-11-11 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 09-11-11, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
I do have a green screw on the right neutral bar of panel B, where the two green wires are connected.
However in panel A, where I have one bare copper wire connected, there is no green screw, do I need one there?
Yes. Both these panels appear to be your main services, under the six disconnect rule, so both panel neutral bars should be bonded to the steel case.

Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
There is no ground wire going from the middle to the panel. I double check to make sure. I am assuming the actual offset nipple IS acting as that connection?
This would be fine if all the KO's are removed in the concentric or eccentric knock outs. If not you should bond around them. It is just a matter of installing two lugs in the middle gutter and running the correct sized ground from the gutter to each panel.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 10:15 AM
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This would be fine if all the KO's are removed in the concentric or eccentric knock outs.
Concentric, yes, eccentric, no. The whole purpose of the eccentric KO is to have the fitting attach to the main section of the enclosure. With the concentric KOs there is only the small "bridge" holding the KO ring.

You DO need to have the serrated locknut of the fitting securely tightened to the enclosure for a proper bonding.
 
  #22  
Old 09-11-11, 12:19 PM
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So, is the grounding cable going outside and clamp to a copper pipe a bad thing?

What if in the future some plumber disconnects the pipe from the inside the whole house is no longer grounded? Should I do something to rectify this or the way it is is OK?

If the neutral (white) and ground (green) are all connected to the same bar, I guess I am still a bit confused, why are the green wires even needed? Is it not redundant? This green wire runs to a junction box 75 feet away and connects to a few other green wires. Could I just screw them to the metal box there and free up this green wire?

In other words, except for this #12 wire being green in color, I could use it as an extra neutral wire if I ever have a need to and properly mark it as so, right?
 
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Old 09-11-11, 12:46 PM
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Neutral wires need to be white or gray. You cannot re-identify #12 conductors unless they are part of a cable and yours are not.

There are two wires in a normal system with similar sounding names; a grounded conductor commonly called a neutral and a grounding conductor. One serves to complete a normal circuit. The other is there to trip a breaker in the event of a short circuit or fault.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
What if in the future some plumber disconnects the pipe from the inside the whole house is no longer grounded? Should I do something to rectify this or the way it is is OK?
?
This is exactly the code was changed and you have to bond the water service at the closest point of entry.

To ad to what PCboss posted: the ground never carries current except during a fault. If you eliminate the ground and use it for a neutral one of two things will happen:

1) A hot wire touching a metal part of the wiring system will energize the metal and could kill somebody because it does not trip the overcurrent device.

2) Current flows through metal parts of the wiring system causing possible shocks or fire due to poor connections.

You see the grounds and neutrals connected to the same place but you have to think beyond the panels. The grounds connect to every metal part of the wiring system (and others) eliminating a difference of potential (voltage) so there is no chance of anybody receiving a shock. The neutrals are there to complete the circuit in the branch circuits.
 
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