Adding a ground/neutral bar in this panel (pic attached)

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  #1  
Old 11-18-11, 08:33 AM
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Adding a ground/neutral bar in this panel (pic attached)

Panel is a Murray LC230EC

First, excuse the rats nest. This was the work of the previous H.O.

I want to clean this mess up while adding another circuit, but there's no acceptable neutral positions left. I might get one or two if I double up some grounds, but there's already a lot of that going on. There's also some neutrals doubled up. (I know, not acceptable)

Both bars are bonded to the box and tied together with a strap on the back. Service neutral comes to the right bar, as well as the #6 ground from the ground rod.

Can I add another bar in here to clean some of this up?

Click thumbnail for full size high res.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-18-11, 08:52 AM
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You should be able to purchase an auxillary ground buss for the panel.

The one issue I see may be that the panel is overfilled. If that panel is only listed for 30 circuits it is overfilled.
 
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Old 11-18-11, 09:54 AM
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From what I gather from my local supply shop is most aux bars are pretty much universal. I'm assuming then they just mount with self tapping screws then get strapped to the existing bar(s).

The only good place I see to mount one would be horizontally at the bottom of the panel. Or replace one of the existing bars with a larger/longer one (not sure if I want to attempt that one)


If I'm reading the sticker right, it looks like I can use 30 full size breakers, or 20 full size breakers and 10 tandems.

Here's the diagram:
 
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Old 11-18-11, 10:12 AM
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The add in ground bars are for grounding conductors only. They would not need to be connected to the other bars. The enclosure will provide that connection.

You seem to be correct about the breakers. I counted 16 breakers on each side. You are over by 2 breakers.
 
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Old 11-18-11, 10:40 AM
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You could add ground bar(s) vertically at the bottom of either gutter or horizontally along the bottom.
 
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Old 11-18-11, 11:19 AM
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Thinking outside the box: Have you considered a subpanel given the box is full?
 
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Old 11-18-11, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
You could add ground bar(s) vertically at the bottom of either gutter or horizontally along the bottom.
I think I'm going to go horizontally along the bottom if I can find a suitable bar to use.


Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
The add in ground bars are for grounding conductors only. They would not need to be connected to the other bars. The enclosure will provide that connection.
#1 is it accept able to mount a bar to the box using self tappers, or drill and tap mounting holes? There's not factory threaded holes I can see.

#2 Would it be okay to bond the aux bar to an existing bar with a short piece of #6 or so just for peace of mind?




I'm not really considering a sub panel at this point. Maybe a few years down the road I'll tear this whole thing out and put a full size 40 position panel in. Probably the only way I'll ever be able to clean up all that rats nest.
 
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Old 11-18-11, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by scoob8000 View Post
#1 is it accept able to mount a bar to the box using self tappers, or drill and tap mounting holes? There's not factory threaded holes I can see.
Drill and tap is okay, drill and self-tapping machine screws are okay but self-piercing sheet metal style screws are not okay.

#2 Would it be okay to bond the aux bar to an existing bar with a short piece of #6 or so just for peace of mind?
It's optional.
 
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Old 11-18-11, 06:37 PM
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The diagram on the label shows where to install the ground bars and there are already holes in the panel for them if you buy the Murray catalog number series "LX" equipment ground bars listed under Accessory Kits on the label.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 08:04 AM
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Label diagram also shows that this panel is listed for 40 circuits. 10 tandems and 20 standard breakers. This box is not over filled.
 
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Old 11-19-11, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Label diagram also shows that this panel is listed for 40 circuits. 10 tandems and 20 standard breakers. This box is not over filled.
In addition, I see the 50A 2P breaker isn't being used and there is one open slot. I also see what appears to be two 15 amp double lugged breakers on the left side. Typically, 30-40 loadcenters allow the use of tandem breakers in the 5 bottom slots on each side of the panel. According to the label, this one is slightly different. I see on the label what appears to be spaces for tandems in the 4 bottom slots and the 6th slot from the bottom. The 5th slot from the bottom must use a full size breaker. I don't believe I have seen a panel quite like this one. This appears to be an older generation Murray panel, but I do see some newer generation Murray breakers at the bottom that are manufactured by Siemens.
 
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Old 11-20-11, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Label diagram also shows that this panel is listed for 40 circuits. 10 tandems and 20 standard breakers. This box is not over filled.
Okay, I thought I was reading the label right. I was beginning to second guess myself.

Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
In addition, I see the 50A 2P breaker isn't being used and there is one open slot. I also see what appears to be two 15 amp double lugged breakers on the left side.
I see what your seeing in the photo, I just went down and did a double take myself. It's a poorly routed bit of slack..



So I count 22 terminals per bar, that only gives me 22 circuits, or 33 if I double every ground up. Still a far cry from max of 40.

I see the diagram is calling both bars a neutral bar, then two optional separate blocks for equipment ground. I just picked up a 7 position LX bar at Lowes (biggest they had for my panel). We'll see how that goes.
 
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Old 11-20-11, 07:28 AM
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Unlike neutrals grounds can usually be doubled up in a single hole.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-20-11 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:48 AM
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I just picked up a 7 position LX bar at Lowes (biggest they had for my panel). We'll see how that goes.
I suspect this "LX" ground bar will line up with the holes provided in the panel.

So I count 22 terminals per bar, that only gives me 22 circuits, or 33 if I double every ground up. Still a far cry from max of 40.
So is the tale of the competitive aluminum bus loadcenters. I heard in the last few weeks that both Siemens and Cutler Hammer BR are now providing neutral bars to accept all the neutrals and grounds in their premium copper bus loadcenters. The aluminum bus loadcenters will still be competitive and not accept neutrals and grounds for the full 40 circuits allowed unless you purchase the optional ground bars.
 
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Old 11-20-11, 09:24 AM
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Since several circuits are typically 240 volt and do not need a neutral many panels do not have a hole for each circuit.
 
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Old 11-21-11, 05:26 AM
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Update:

The LX bar did fit perfectly. I got a handful of grounds moved over to it, and cleaned up the double neutrals. That gives me a little piece of mind now.
 
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Old 11-21-11, 06:02 AM
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Good job. Thanks for letting us know how your project turned out.
 
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