subpanel ground in outbuilding

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  #1  
Old 04-16-14, 12:30 PM
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subpanel ground in outbuilding

Hello,
I'm looking for advice and correction on adding a ground to some circuits in my outbuilding. Pictures are below.
My outbuildings have a separate meter. The feed and ground from the meter runs into the main panel on the right, and a ground rod is also attached to the main panel on the right (you can't see it well in the picture, but the wire from the ground rod and the ground wire from the meter are connected to the main panel with a mini copper bar in the upper right of the panel). A subpanel (on the left in the picture below) is attached to the the main panel with pipe, but no ground wire runs between them. A 240 circuit (seen running off of the subpanel on the left) is attached to the subpanel with pipe, and no ground wire.
I think that the above is OK because everything is attached with pipe. which means that it can ground out back to the main/meter. Is this correct?
However, my problem is that it looks like after the original install, someone came back and added various 120 circuits with romex. You can see these circuits coming off of both the main and the subpanal. The ground wire in the romex is not attached to anything, and thus my 120 plugs have no ground.
I would like to remedy this by attaching a ground bar to the subpanel, and then connecting the ground wire from the romex to this ground bar. I don't think that I need to connect this ground bar to the ground in the main, because the pipe acts as the connection for the ground. Am I correct? Any advice would be appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 04-16-14, 12:43 PM
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Add a ground bus bar (terminal strip) to each panel for the Romex cables with unconnected grounds that come in. You may have to drill some holes in the panel back or panel side to attach the bus bar using small bolts. Scrape the paint off of the panel area where the bus bar will be tightened against.

You may splice on extra bare wire of at least the same size if the ground wire coming out of the Romex cable is too short.
 
  #3  
Old 04-16-14, 12:46 PM
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Thanks. Can I run all the romex into the subpanel and attach the ground bus bar there (even though there is no ground wire between the main and sub)? I'd prefer to do it in the subpanel for working safety because then I can shut the entire subpanel off while working.
 
  #4  
Old 04-16-14, 12:52 PM
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The pipe (conduit) between the two panels is a good and sufficent ground (equipment grounding conductor) provided that the proper fittings were used to attach it to each panel.

You may run all of the Romex cables into the subpanel (here on the left) if there are enough fuse positions for them. You may not run a branch circuit cable into one panel and run the circuit conductors through the conduit to the other panel to connect to a fuse or breaker.
 
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Old 04-16-14, 12:58 PM
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Great, thanks for the help.
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-14, 07:54 PM
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My best advice would be to replace the service including the two ancient fuse panels, meter socket and all service entrance wiring with a new modern circuit breaker panel and associated socket and wiring including new grounding to code. You can buy a Cutler-Hammer BR 100 amp main breaker value pack panel with copper bus and circuit breakers for around $80 to $90. Then install it all to today's code.
 
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Old 04-17-14, 07:55 AM
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I agree with CJ, remove what is there and install a new panel if funds allow. Fixing what you have is just adding lipstick to a pig.
 
  #8  
Old 04-17-14, 10:52 AM
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Not only that, but the panels are probably from the '60s and I suspect they are still connected to the original service wiring and socket. 50 year old service entrance cable is undoubtedly well beyond it's useful life and needs to be replaced.
 
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