Open fault underground to Garage Sub Panel

Reply

  #81  
Old 06-24-15, 11:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Another option would be to see if you could mount a small add-on ground bar in the main panel. Jump it back to the one neutral lug with a short piece of #4 bare copper and have a few spaces left over for feeding the new panel.

But that only takes care of the neutral. What about the 2 hot lugs that feed both the house and garage?
 
Sponsored Links
  #82  
Old 06-24-15, 11:39 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The conductor to the ground rod never needs to be larger than #6 CU.
Gottcha. I kinda thought that. I'm still confused about something though. Given the original bare aluminum grounded conductor was bonded to the grounding rod at one end, and the "grounded neutral buss" at the sub panel, what makes it NEUTRAL? I mean, doesn't this mean that there is "current" in this bare aluminum conductor? And the only thing that allows the "grounded neutral buss" to be considered neutral, is the copper conductor at the fuse box is bonded to the neutral on one end and the grounding rod at the other??

I mean, I don't want to start a huge debate here as I've been told that "neutral current" doesn't exist.. but what makes it alternating current if there is no neutral current on 120v circuits? I mean, if my body was a neutral conductor with a load...wait..maybe we shouldn't go there. Hahahahahaha!

On the other hand..what makes a grounded conductor a conductor if it doesn't carry current?
 
  #83  
Old 06-24-15, 01:19 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
So if I understand correctly, the fuse pull out block has two wires under each of the screws? One pair going to the house, one pair going to the garage?

Yes there is current in the wire that is commonly called the "neutral" -- in 120V it is equal to the current in the hot wire. That is why the code uses more technical terms like grounded conductor and ungrounded conductor instead of neutral and hot. The lay language does not describe the situation very well.

Ground wires on the other hand do not normally carry current. In the case of grounding electrodes (e.g. rods) current flows to clear events like lightning surges. In the case of equipment grounds (round prong on receptacles), current flows when a charged wire gets cut or broken then contacts an exposed metal surfaces. Current should flow in the ground only long enough for the breaker to trip or fuse to burn out.
 
  #84  
Old 06-24-15, 05:59 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So if I understand correctly, the fuse pull out block has two wires under each of the screws? One pair going to the house, one pair going to the garage?
Yes. Shown here. At least the best I can in a short Sketchup session. Pictures are impossible.

Name:  Feeders.jpg
Views: 1435
Size:  22.6 KB


Yes there is current in the wire that is commonly called the "neutral" -- in 120V it is equal to the current in the hot wire.
Finally. Damn. I only wish you were around a few years back when i was told in NO uncertain terms..there is no such thing as "neutral current". All I know is if I replace myself as a grounded neutral conductor between a load and the neutral supply..I get fried. That tells me, regardless of what others have told me... the neutral carries current.

Ground wires on the other hand do not normally carry current.
Huh? What am i missing here???

The neutral buss at the service point in the fuse box is already grounded. So it becomes a grounded conductor. Given the fact the previously existing bare aluminum conductor was bonded to the grounding rod, yet is connected to the service neutral by virtue of a bare copper conductor, isn't this bare aluminum grounded conductor a ground wire carrying current to the grounding rod..and then to the neutral buss in the fuse box?
 

Last edited by fitz70; 06-24-15 at 06:45 PM.
  #85  
Old 06-25-15, 02:16 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It could potentially work if there is a place you can bolt on to the neutral bar you could use a mechanical double lug. That would require the ability to get a 1/4" bolt in. Kinda have to see it to know whether it's reasonable or not.
OMG. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this. I knew there was something amiss here. Ok, let me ask you something. Was the existing bare grounded conductor SUPPOSED to be bonded to the neutral lug in the fuse box???? Because it WASN'T!!! It was bonded to the grounding rod, which in turn was bonded to the fuse box neutral lug by a bare copper wire. Seems to me though, it wouldn't make any difference..or would it?? Thought I'd bring it up just in case.

Thing is..my Sketchup is WRONG. But it's so small here it's hard to tell. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.
 
  #86  
Old 06-25-15, 07:25 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,983
Received 35 Votes on 30 Posts
Current is not trying to flow to ground. It wants to get back to the transformer where it came from. The resistance of earth is too high .

The ground needs to be bonded to the neutral so the breaker will trip if a hot touches a ground.
 
  #87  
Old 06-25-15, 07:58 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
Yeah, so with this new doubled wire development I don't see any good option other than replacing that main fuse panel under the meter with a modern breaker box. It really wasn't right previously and doing the same thing again doesn't make it better.

You have great Sketchup skills
 
  #88  
Old 06-25-15, 10:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
pcboss said:

Current is not trying to flow to ground. It wants to get back to the transformer where it came from. The resistance of earth is too high .

Oh man. I'm tired of looking like an idiot. So..I watched this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpgAVE4UwFw

Holy mother of ground faults. I've got to watch this again.


Yeah, so with this new doubled wire development I don't see any good option other than replacing that main fuse panel under the meter with a modern breaker box. It really wasn't right previously and doing the same thing again doesn't make it better.

Oh man. The only way this would happen is if the Utility crew would pull the meter, and stand there while I remove the old fuse box, and install the new breaker box, and then connect the Service Entrance conductors..with no permit. While no feeder conductors would be present YET..I'm wondering if they would.



Meanwhile, I need to run this by you. Here is a diagram of the system before I pulled the wires out of conduit. It would seem to me, the bare aluminum grounded conductor SHOULD have been bonded to the neutral lug in the fuse box...no? Please let me know, as this is really the thing I am concerned about. Although, it's been working a long time, I'm still concerned about safety, especially after watching Mike Holz's video.

Name:  Garage Feeder diagram.jpg
Views: 5836
Size:  20.0 KB

You have great Sketchup skills
Thank you. I've been using Sketchup for a long time, notwithstanding Autocad too. But I love sketchup.

Ok, time to finish digging up the conduit. 20' left to go, and then digging down to 18". I'm getting too old for this stuff.
 

Last edited by fitz70; 06-25-15 at 12:05 PM.
  #89  
Old 06-25-15, 11:00 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I promised I would not post anymore because I was confusing you but here goes.
The only way this would happen is if the Utility crew would pull the meter, and stand there while I remove the old fuse box, and install the new breaker box, and then connect the Service Entrance conductors..with no permit.
No, you can just install a complete new service along side the existing one (breaker box, meter socket, mast). When complete you ask the power company to move the drop to the new service. After they leave you hook up your wiring to the new service. However if your jurisdiction does not allow home owners permits then yes you can not do that. Have you checked if you can pull a permit?
 
  #90  
Old 06-25-15, 11:35 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
If you are in a Consumers Power area, you will need to have a green inspection sticker on the main panel box before they will reconnect the service. Michigan does allow homeowner permits for services, which you could probably do because the home is owned by your family. Technically the home owner would have to file the permit application, but I can't imagine a problem with family members (a.k.a you) helping/doing the work. Unless there is an obvious imminent threat to safety the inspector should only be looking at the work listed on the permit. They won't snoop around at other existing work.

The option that works best would be to prep your new panel beside or behind the old one, get it all hooked up and ready, inspected and then do the cut over with Consumers in one day. The distribution guy is usually pretty flexible in terms of coming back later in the same day to get a reconnect so you aren't out that long.
 
  #91  
Old 06-25-15, 01:48 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks guys. That's very helpful information. It might change this whole approach.

Thing is, there is no room to mount a new lug panel next to the old fuse box. In fact, one of the things I want to do is unscrew the METER box from this old, de-laminating plywood support panel, and install a completely new kiosk, that after everything is done, I can add on a little roof type assembly to keep the snow off of everything. But the Utility guys would have to unscrew it after they pull the meter and front cover. I'd have the new support posts already in post holes, but loose, so as soon as they unscrew it, I'd knock away the old plywood and log post, bring the new one up against the back of the meter box, and have them fasten it. I'd also have the new lug center, ready to mount as well.

HOWEVER.. I'm a little confused again. IF I do manage to get a permit, then I'd have to switch over to the 4 wire system, meaning a new breaker panel in the garage as well, with another grounding rod, no? So what do I do with all the branch circuit cables(Romex) that are currently going to the existing breaker panel? Do I re-connect them to the new breakers BEFORE inspection or leave them unconnected until after inspection?

Also, I'd have to keep the trench open too, right?
 
  #92  
Old 06-25-15, 02:43 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
So what do I do with all the branch circuit cables(Romex) that are currently going to the existing breaker panel?
You can leave them connected to that panel and make it a subpanel from the new panel.
I'd have to switch over to the 4 wire system, meaning a new breaker panel in the garage as well
That panel should be okay. You just need to add a ground bar to it.
 
  #93  
Old 06-26-15, 10:04 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I said:
So what do I do with all the branch circuit cables(Romex) that are currently going to the existing breaker panel?
Ray replied:
You can leave them connected to that panel and make it a subpanel from the new panel.
Hello again. I'm not sure I understand. By "new panel" are you referring to the new lug center that is replacing the fuse box?


I said:
I'd have to switch over to the 4 wire system, meaning a new breaker panel in the garage as well
Ray replied
That panel should be okay. You just need to add a ground bar to it.

Or are you saying I should still install a new panel in the garage connected to the 4 wire feeders, and then somehow connect the existing panel to the new one as a "sub-panel" with a new ground bar"? If so, what is the purpose? Is this related to the inspection?

The "sub-panel" thing is what's confusing me. I'm the one who originally called it that. I should have referred to it as the garage "breaker panel".


However, new information has come to light which may make this moot. At least for the moment. I called the building inspection department about the permit fee. GAK!! Not going to happen. Not only that, they started asking me all kinds of questions, that frankly, I didn't think they should be asking. At least at this point. Furthermore, my son kinda got nervous about this, in regards to the stuff I've done in the garage, which isn't finished yet. Wires hanging out of boxes etc. So.. at this point, I'm back to square one.
 
  #94  
Old 06-26-15, 10:28 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
By "new panel" are you referring to the new lug center that is replacing the fuse box?
I don't know what a lug center is. You need to be replacing it with a 100 amp main breaker box. You would then feed the existing boxes from breakers in this box.
Or are you saying I should still install a new panel in the garage connected to the 4 wire feeders, and then somehow connect the existing panel to the new one as a "sub-panel" with a new ground bar"?
No I am saying use the box you have in the garage. Just install a ground bar in it. It is a breaker box isn't it?

Name:  x.jpg
Views: 2574
Size:  15.1 KB

Diagram assumes 60 amp breaker box in house and garage. However if box at house is 100 amp would suggest the new box be 200 amp and feed to house 100 amp. Regardless, for future proofing it would be best for the new service to be 200 amps.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-26-15 at 12:03 PM.
  #95  
Old 06-26-15, 06:32 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
ray2047.. that is EXACTLY what I was thinking.

And..MORE good news. In a fit of exasperation, I drove back 35mi to Home Depot, and the electrical guy that sold it to me was there. I was prepared to return all the wire, as i'd already been cleared by the manager.

Well..because my hearing and memory suck(I'm 70)..the day I bought this wire, I didn't actually hear him say.. "this is USD". He showed me today. And explained it fully. It's approved for directed burial, in conduit, and ...IN A BUILDING!!! Sooooo.................. it's a go!!! For now, I'm just going to deal with lifting the conduit out in sections, and digging..and digging.. and digging.. fuk.. 60' @18" deep is no fun. Gotta be done though. I already dug to the top of the conduit. Almost cut 2 cables from old Dish video feeds from their satellite dishes that were only 1" deep, and then..almost cut a PROPANE line from our tank running perpendicular to the conduit, 1" below the grass.. Completely freaked me out. That would have been catastrophic. Anyway...I'm tired. I'll be back.


Btw..pictures to follow. Too tired right now. Thanks for everything!!!


Oh, about the "lug center". That's what the places like Lowes and Home depot call a panel after the meter. As long as it has breakers. Otherwise, the only other option is "Disconnect switches". Like for spa's, or other outdoor loads.
 
  #96  
Old 06-26-15, 09:35 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
"lug center". That's what the places like Lowes and Home depot call a panel after the meter
Not really accurate but then it is a BigBox. There are main breaker boxes that have a main breaker, there are main lug panels that have only lugs. There are also panels that can be used as main breaker or main lug panels.
 
  #97  
Old 06-27-15, 09:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 161
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hello again.

I have a couple of questions in regards to your diagram below. At the bottom, it states "add ground rod ". After viewing a couple of Mike Holz videos, and seeing a few related jpegs, I'm a little confused.

In this video, Mr. Holz, and another panalist, state that everything below ground needs to be bonded together. And everything above ground needs to be bonded together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuDqXFvRv94

#1question is this. Are the two separate grounding electrodes bonded together by virtue of one of the grounded conductors being bonded to the grounding buss at the main panel, and the newly added grounding buss at the sub-panel at the other end, due to the fact that each of those buss' have a grounding conductor to each of their respective grounding electrodes?

#2. Also, there seems to be a contradiction, as at another point in the video, they state that there should be only ONE grounding electrode to prevent voltage differentials. What is your opinion on this? Maybe I'm confusing apples with oranges. Ha.

#3, On another thread here, it was suggested that TWO grounding electrodes might be required for the sub panel?

furd said:
Yes. ALL sub-panels in detached buildings require at least one, and sometimes two, grounding electrodes, aka ground rods. Whether or not you need two depends upon the soil conditions and the LOCAL code requirements.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-subpanel.html

Also, I saw a jpg showing this as well.
Name:  2014-04-06_042124_sub-panel.jpg
Views: 2373
Size:  14.7 KB

However, I also saw a jpg showing TWO grounding electrodes bonded to the grounding buss at the MAIN PANEL...

Name:  200A Service Diagram v2.jpg
Views: 5633
Size:  39.0 KB

At this point, I've reached "grounding info overload."

So, got any feedback?
 
  #98  
Old 06-27-15, 09:23 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
they state that there should be only ONE grounding electrode to prevent voltage differentials.
Two ground rods but a single continuous wire connecting them so one grounding electrode system. The number of ground rods depends on the conductivity of the soil. Determining requires expensive equipment so if your not sure you use two ground rods. In the end though depends on what the inspector wants. Some inspectors may except one ground rod and bonding by a separate wire and connection at the panel to the water pipes if metallic.
 
  #99  
Old 06-27-15, 11:15 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 10,236
Received 39 Votes on 31 Posts
Oh, about the "lug center". That's what the places like Lowes and Home depot call a panel after the meter
No such thing as a "Lug Center". They probably said "Loadcenter". Technically, there is no such thing as a loadcenter in the NEC either, it is just a term coined by the manufacturers to mean an inexpensive panelboard that takes plug-on style breakers and comes fully assembled in the metal enclosure.
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: