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Would code allow for replacing these Neutral bars with longer ones? (pics)

Would code allow for replacing these Neutral bars with longer ones? (pics)

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  #1  
Old 10-21-12, 10:24 PM
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Would code allow for replacing these Neutral bars with longer ones? (pics)

Hi all, got a question...
  • Old (circa 1980's?) Square D QO load center (Q040M200).
  • I would like to add 2 circuits but the bus is full.

It appears that the bars that are currently installed were actually sawed in half when they were installed. So I'm wondering can I replace the two outside bars with longer bars by about 2 inches? They will obviously protrude beyond the black plastic insulator, but I'm wondering if that would be an issue? That could provide me with 4-5 additional holes on each side, which would suite my immediate needs but of course leave no room for growth.


Edit: I see from another user's post that he spliced each ground wire in his panel so that they would extend to a newly installed bar. Does this not create some sort of issue with "fill" code - that would be like 22 wire nuts inside the service panel?


Can anyone provide some insight or ideas on the best way to go about this?
 
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Last edited by shootmenow; 10-21-12 at 10:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-12, 10:36 PM
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Technically - no. You can't modify the design of a panel. However, you can add another ground bar. you can not double up on neutrals in the bar but you can the grounds. I've seen 4-5 grounds twisted and put under 1 screw. Not really sure if that's to code.
 
  #3  
Old 10-21-12, 10:49 PM
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I could see that being the case.

As I've continued to read it seems the best solution is to splice all of the grounds with crimps and run them to a new bar at the bottom. Going to be tedious and I'll need to get a crimper, but I do want it to be done correctly.
 
  #4  
Old 10-21-12, 10:58 PM
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In just extending wires inside the panel you can also use wire nuts.
 
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Old 10-21-12, 11:06 PM
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Thanks for your reponses, I see that splicing the grounds is the way to go.

However, does this not create some sort of issue with "fill" code? Would like 22 wire nuts inside the service panel not be an issue?

I'm going to try to find a C24 tool for cheap so I can keep it as neat as possible, but if I can't, I may settle on the wire nuts.

 
  #6  
Old 10-21-12, 11:10 PM
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So it will be okay to simply attach the new ground bar to the box per the instructions (which will create a bond between box and bar)?
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 10-21-12 at 11:50 PM. Reason: To remove internal reference to a different thread, following merge.
  #7  
Old 10-21-12, 11:21 PM
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So it will be okay to simply attach the new ground bar to the box per the instructions (which will create a bond between box and bar)?
Yes that is correct. In a main service panel the ground bar(s) as well as the neutral bar(s) are bonded directly to the panel.
 
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Old 10-21-12, 11:40 PM
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does this not create some sort of issue with "fill" code? Would like 22 wire nuts inside the service panel not be an issue?
It shouldn't. There's usually plenty of room inside a panel, and wire nuts don't count in fill calculations anyway. From your picture, it looks like you have all the room you're likely to need.

I'm going to try to find a C24 tool for cheap so I can keep it as neat as possible, but if I can't, I may settle on the wire nuts.
I use my Klein 1010 for crimping. Less expensive, commonly available, and more versatile than a C24.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 12:06 AM
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Another consideration: I do have a sub-panel in a detached garage, and I'm pretty sure the stranded cable pointed out on the right is running to it.

I assume it's a ground wire and if so, how would I handle extending that stranded wire to the newly installed ground bar? (They don't make wire nuts that big right?) Or could I move it as in the picture if I can't extend it?


Also, why might that one ground wire be attached separately via the lug at the top? It appears to leave the panel by itself but I'm not sure why it would need to be separate like that?
 
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  #10  
Old 10-22-12, 12:27 AM
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Why can't that wire stay right where it is ? That small copper ground is in a seperate lug because you can't put copper and aluminum in same lug.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 06:43 AM
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I just assumed I needed to move all the grounds, including that one, to the new grounding bar that I would install. But seeing as how the bars are connected anyway I guess doesn't matter

And what I meant by being in a separate lug is why can't it be in the right bar with all the other grounds? It appears to be of similar gauge, just curious.
 
  #12  
Old 10-22-12, 08:14 AM
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I see what looks like two neutrals under one screw on the bottom left. Take a look on the panel label to see if it is permitted. If it is then just continue the practice and you are good to go.

The idea of adding a separate gounding bar is good but it looks like you are missing the green bonding screw to connect the neutral bar to the case. Also, you would not need to move all the grounds, just enough to land your neutrals.

Other option: Why not identify some of the lighting circuits and combine them by wire nutting hots and neutrals?
 

Last edited by Astuff; 10-22-12 at 08:34 AM.
  #13  
Old 10-22-12, 09:14 AM
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All you need to do is double some of the grounds on the right side bus and you will not need to add an additional ground bar.
 
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Old 10-22-12, 09:37 AM
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All you need to do is double some of the grounds on the right side bus and you will not need to add an additional ground bar.
That's the right answer! Grounds are allowed to be doubled, which looks like it should free up as much neutral space as you need. No splices or crimps necessary!
 
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Old 10-22-12, 06:14 PM
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All you need to do is double some of the grounds on the right side bus and you will not need to add an additional ground bar.
I would agree.

Also, why might that one ground wire be attached separately via the lug at the top? It appears to leave the panel by itself but I'm not sure why it would need to be separate like that?
That ground wire most likely goes to the ground rod; this is where the neutral is grounded.
 
  #16  
Old 10-23-12, 03:20 PM
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Excellent, thanks for all the different ideas guys. I wasn't sure about doubling up the grounds because I wasn't positive on whether that's code (and I'll definitely be un-doubling the few neutrals that are), but it sounds like the way to go.

And it will save me a good amount of time. Thanks!
 
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