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Residential Service Entrance - Grounding of Neutral Conductor

Residential Service Entrance - Grounding of Neutral Conductor

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  #1  
Old 09-12-15, 11:31 AM
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Residential Service Entrance - Grounding of Neutral Conductor

My home has overhead 200 amp service supplied from PCCO by 2 conductors and a grounded neutral. There are 3 electrical panels: (1) an outside SE Meter/Main Panel on my garage external wall which contains the meter and 200 amp main breaker disconnect, (2) a 200 amp Main Load Center located inside my garage and fed directly from the outside meter/main, and, (3) a Basement Sub Panel fed from 6 AWG 3-conductor + ground connected to a 50 amp breaker inside the garage main load center.

The only point in my system in which the neutral and ground are bonded together is in the outside SE Meter/Main panel. (see photo) There are two 8 foot rods driven into the ground spaced just over 6 feet apart under the outside panel, with a (4 or 6, I think) solid copper wire connecting them to the single ground bar in the outside panel. The neutral and grounding bars located inside the Main Load Center and Sub Panel are isolated from each other (not connected), as there are no jumpers connecting the ground and neutral bars or bonding screws connecting neutral bars to the panel boxes.

Is this configuration correct? I ask because in my endeavor to learn more about what constitutes acceptable practices vs code violations, I've noticed that in most cases that the neutrals and grounds are bonded together in Main (first) Load Centers. With that, I questioned whether mine should be bonded also in my main load center??

To me, though, as my system is now, it seems to make sense that it is correct since 100% of the individual circuits throughout my home supplied from the main load center and sub panel have grounds and neutrals isolated from each other.

Thank you for your time..

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  #2  
Old 09-12-15, 11:34 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

That is correct. Your panel at your meter IS your first/main load center.
That is the only place that ground will be connected to neutral.

Every panel after that one is considered a sub-panel.
 
  #3  
Old 09-12-15, 12:16 PM
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Thank you for your reply, PJmax. That makes sense that in reality, my outside meter panel is my first (main) panel. However, I noticed that inside of what I called my main load center (the one in my garage), there is a metal bar connected to the ground bar which runs over near to and ends close to the neutral bar, which has a large copper strap connected that could tie the the neutral bar to the ground bar. In my case it is not connected. A placard near the copper strap states to connect when required.

What configuration would require the neutral and ground be connected inside this garage load center? Would that be if the copper wire connected to the outside ground rods ran inside and was connected to the inside load center, instead of making the connection outside like mine? Sorry, just trying to grasp why there are so many threads on the net, even in electrical contractor forums, that tie the neutral and ground together in the main load center, and not in the SE panel outside as mine is. A common thread I read over and over, is, "Only tie the ground and neutral together at the first panel, and not at sub panels", but at the same time I see what appears to be the first load center with breakers having the ground and neutral bars strapped togeter.

Cheers!
 
  #4  
Old 09-12-15, 12:33 PM
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OK, I think I found the answer to my question in one of your Stickies, Sub Panel Diagrams. The bonding between neutral and ground takes place in the first panel having the OCPD (Over Current Protection Device). In my case, that is in my Meter/Main. If my meter was only a socket, and my first load center had the OCPD, looks like the bonding of neutral and ground would be done inside the load center.
 
  #5  
Old 09-12-15, 01:18 PM
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Sounds like you answered your own question.... correctly.
 
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