Main Breaker panel grounding question

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-01-13, 09:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Main Breaker panel grounding question

Hello:

I am new to the group. I would like to add a ground wire to my breaker panel. The panel is a GE TM1615S dating from the 1970's and I don't see where the panel is grounded at all. Also the neutrals and ground share the same buss. The lug for the ground is empty. Also the meter is encased in brick so I can't see if it is grounded. The system is copper.

The reason I want a ground is that I am a ham radio operator and I need to tie all of the house grounds and my station ground together using a ground circle around the house connected to a single point ground.

It seems that I could run a ground wire from the ground lug in the panel to a 8 foot ground rod outside and tie that to my ground system.

I am going to attempt to attach pictures of my panel.

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks.

Name:  GE TM1615S panel.jpg
Views: 16010
Size:  49.7 KBName:  GE TM1615S (2) panel.jpg
Views: 13198
Size:  51.4 KBName:  GE TM1615S (3) panel.jpg
Views: 13288
Size:  51.3 KBName:  GE TM1615S (4) panel.jpg
Views: 8110
Size:  39.8 KB
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-01-13, 11:50 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,984
Welcome to the forums!

Your panel is grounded by the grounded conductor (neutral).

I can not see a bonding strap, but many panels just use a screw that connects the neutral bar and the metal can of the panel. You can test this with a meter by checking continuity between the neutral buss and and the metal can itself. You will likely get close to zero ohms.

If you want, you can still add a ground rod outside. Run some #6 copper wire from the neutral buss to the ground rod.

Since your doing that, you might as well and bond your electric service to your water service. This is also required for installations today. If your service is 200 amp, you will need #4 copper for that.
 
  #3  
Old 01-01-13, 11:54 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 364
I cant tell from pic but is it bonded?
 
  #4  
Old 01-01-13, 12:39 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,361
In the third picture I think I can see the bond strap. Look just above the label of picture 4.
 
  #5  
Old 01-01-13, 12:58 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
Yep, those 1970s era GE panels had a ground strap like pcboss says and yes, it is shown in picture 4. Although I heartily recommend installing a ground rod and grounding the neutral bar to it, you have other pressing issues you may not know about. Look at the red service conductor where it enters the main breaker closely, it has been hot and is discolored (turning black). Also, look at the plastic molded case of the main breaker near where the red service conducor enters the lug, it is discolored from being hot. Something else you are probably not aware of is that the 1970s era GE panels had all aluminum busbars and were known to catch on fire especially when the thin breakers (type THQP breakers) were used. This is documented on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's website. My opinion is you should check your savings and start thinking seriously about replacing that service.

CPSC Home Page | cpsc.gov

The system is copper.
What system are you referring to?
 
  #6  
Old 01-01-13, 07:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Thanks for all of the information. I have a cold water pipe very near to the breaker panel, OK to ground to the water system there? Also what is the best way to secure the new ground wire going to the water pipe and going to the outside ground rod to the concrete block in my basement. (the panel is mounted directly to the concrete block).

CasualDoe, thanks for the heads up. Scary stuff! I will check the discoloration that you mentioned. About how much would replacing the service panel cost? I think that I should have a licensed electrician do the work.
 
  #7  
Old 01-01-13, 07:42 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,361
The grounding wire to the water line needs to connect within 5' of where it enters the building.

Small cable straps can be used to secure the cable to the block.

Estimates for prices vary by region. Contact 3 local licensed companies for estimates.
 
  #8  
Old 01-01-13, 07:49 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,984
To secure the ground to the water pipe you use a water pipe clamp. These can be found in the electrical section of the home/hardware store. That is where you will also find your ground rod clamp.

I recommend running the ground wires along with the branch circuit cables up to the floor joists. Then drill through the joists (one to outside and one to the water service) and then run the wire down along the water pipe and secure it to the pipe using tie wraps.

At the water service you will need two clamps, unless you do not have a water meter. You will run the wire continuous past the water meter and clamp the wire before and after the meter.

Outside, you will hammer in the rod flush or below the dirt, and clamp the #6 to the rod using the ground rod clamp.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-01-13 at 08:13 PM. Reason: ground rod
  #9  
Old 01-02-13, 03:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4
CasualDoe,

I can't find anything on the CPCS website. Do happen to have a link or another way that I can find the warning that you mentioned for my breaker panel?

I did a search on the CPCS website but I either got too many responses or my search was "too restrictive"

Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 01-02-13, 06:50 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
Yep, I know right where it is, the report was made by a friend of mine on a 225 amp GE main breaker panel in a house he owns, a lot like your 200 amp panel. This one was installed I believe about 1980, when was yours installed?

Saferproducts.gov | Incident Report Details

This was quite a learning experience for me. I got to meet the Federal Investigator (he even had a badge!) when he came to my friends home to pick up the panel and breaker in the pictures to be sent to the CPSC labs in Bethesda, MD.
 
  #11  
Old 01-02-13, 06:58 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
Small cable straps can be used to secure the cable to the block.
I recommend Jiffy 105C copper plated 1-hole straps or equivalent for copper ground wire. Jiffy 105 for aluminum. If you use aluminum ground wire to the water service in your basement, do not install it in direct contact with masonry or concrete surfaces.

Minerallac MINRLAC COPPER JIFFY CLIP, 105C - Crescent Electric Supply Company
 
  #12  
Old 01-02-13, 07:03 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,984
do not install it in direct contact with masonry or concrete surfaces.
Easy way around that is to use insulated wire.
 
  #13  
Old 01-02-13, 07:25 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Wow, that burned panel looks exactly like mine, however, my panel is 150 amp. I believe that it was installed when the house was built in 1968. The house was remodeled in the late 1990's and also in the late 2000's by the previous owner and some electrical work was done. There is room in the box as one of the 220 breakers and one 30 amp 120 breaker are unused but I am not going to add any circuits. The only trouble that I have had in three years was a breaker went bad and I replaced it.

Thanks for the report and the information on the copper clips.

There is a sticker on the panel that states that it is the property of Georgia Power with the exception of the breakers. I may give them a call and see what they say.

John
 
  #14  
Old 01-02-13, 07:52 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
All I can say is good luck to you and try to get that panel replaced when you can and remember, GE doesn't care about you or your home. My friend was really ticked when he couldn't get anyone from GE to even acknowledge he had a problem, that's why he filed the report. But, when they got a call from the CPSC labs they couldn't call him quick enough! He had three messages from three different GE offices across the country on his machine in one day. Eventually, after they hounded him nearly a year the CPSC lab finished with his burnt panel and then GE started calling him again wanting it for their own testing! Needless to say, after seeing that mess I won't even buy a GE light bulb!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'