Ground to subpanel?

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  #1  
Old 04-09-16, 08:36 AM
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Ground to subpanel?

Hello, I have gathered the items to upgrade my subpanel within the house form a 100amp old Stabloc to an Eaton125amp.
I have almost everything ready to go and have a question about the ground to the sub.
Right now there is a 3 wire conductor coming from the bottom of the meter loop.
So its really not a Sub but a entrance panel.
There will be a new 200 amp entrance next to the meter when I am complete the installation.
But I have PVC waterlines that enter the house near the sub.
They trun to brass before entering the water heater. There is a 1/4 copper water line that attaches to the brass valve on the Water heater,
The line passes withing a few inches of the sub .
Could the 1/4" water line be used for a ground to the sub?
Also the heater is gas and there is a 1/2 steel gas line entering form the florr, could this be a used as a ground?
Or should I run a copper line to the outside and tie to the entrance pane ground?
Right now not any work has been started and only when all the nessasary parts are obtained will there be any work.
Thank you
BT
 
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  #2  
Old 04-09-16, 09:12 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

You are confusing the issue. Re-read your post...... what you are doing is not terribly clear.

It sounds like you're upgrading a 100A main panel. Not sure how the 200A figures in here.
What is a 200A entrance ?

Do you have some type of panel outside ? If yes then this will be a subpanel replacement and requires a four wire cable to connect it.

To get directly to your grounding questions......
You cannot connect to a gas line for ground.
Since your water service into the house is plastic.... there is no ground there either.

If this were the main panel..... you'd will need to put in two ground rods outside. Six feet apart and connected to the panel with #6 THHN wire.
 
  #3  
Old 04-09-16, 09:22 AM
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Right now there is a 3 wire conductor coming from the bottom of the meter loop.
So its really not a Sub but a entrance panel.
If it's a main panel (direct from the meter with no disconnect), it should be a 3-wire feed. If it is a sub panel (with a disconnect ahead of it), it needs to be a 4-wire feed with neutral and ground bars separated. If you're going to start with one and switch to the other, you'll need to change the wiring too.

For grounding, you'll need to install 2, 8' ground rods at least 6' apart. These will be connected to your main panel, whether it's your new Eaton panel or the new main disconnect.

You'll also need to bond your main panel to the metallic water piping. It should be as close to the entry point to the house as possible, but obviously a metal line, I wouldn't use a 1/4" pipe as it's hard to get a solid clamp. If most/all of your house is plumbed with plastic, there's no need to bond the plumbing system.

Bonds to your gas piping is a local code issue. Some places forbid it, others require it.
 
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Old 04-09-16, 10:19 AM
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Doesn't sound like there is any metal water system to bond to.
 
  #5  
Old 04-09-16, 11:32 AM
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Sub and main

To make things clear, I probably don't use the right terminology but will make a stab at it again.
I have a meter base outside the house.
Electric Power co. says its a 150Amp.
They are doing a work order for a new upgrade to the pole that will up grade to 200amp and adding a transformer to the pole I get the drop from.
So new wire to the lugs at the meter,
There are 3 panels tied into the bottom lugs of this now in place meter.
yea, 3, believe that.
2 are within inch's of the meter and each have 2, 2 pole breakers in them running like a Dryer, range, AC unit and feeding another panel in a shop about 20 feet away.
The 3rd panel is the stabloc panel (in the house) that is soon the be changed it is a 100 amp panel.
I call it the main because there is no real "main" or entrance.
It has a 3 wire cable to it , 2 hots and a ground/neutral, all the neutrals' and grounds are sharing the same bar.
none of these panels have any disconnect.
Only "pull the meter" way to do that.
This will be history in a few weeks.
Will change to a Eaton 125 amp panel in the house.
BUT the 2 panels next to the meter with be done away with and all breakers combined into one 200 amp panel with a Main breaker disconnect.
It will also be next to the meter and the only feed to the meter will be that one.
I will run a 100 0r 125 breaker out of the 200 amp panel to also kill power to the feed of the new Eaton 125 amp panel. so If the need arises to work on that panel only.
As the Eaton is just a main lug.
Also Intend to install a 50 amp breaker into the new 200 amp for a generator back feed with an interlock kit installed.

Now to the grounds.
I have pvc into the house, only metal pipe is in front of the house at the meter, somewhere along that way it moves into PVC.
no easy way to get to that for a ground.
The gas water heater is near the soon to be new subpanel, which is why I asked about the metal pipes on the WH and the 1/4 copper ice maker line there,
also is a 1/2" natural gas line there.
But since I cant use that I suppose I could use one of the insulated copper cables that is now feeding the Stabloc panel and turn it into a ground since the cables run back to the meter? right?
Don't freak out now, at the meter, when the guy from the power company opened the box , there is no ground rods tied to the meter only the 3 wires from the overhead drop.
He told me the ground rods should be tied to the neutral lug where the overhead wire ties to the lug, same lug.
I have since installed the 2 8 ' ground rods ready to be tied to the meter and the 200 amp main when its installed.
So I could tie an extra remaining cable to the new sub to this lug in the meter when I make the install?
I have 2/0 copper 3 separate cables for the new main from the meter, and from the 125amp breaker in the main to the sub I have #2 copper 3 separate cables all ready to be installed .
Long winded I am sorry but you see why I need to get it changed?
I lived here a long time with no problems but what got me to wanting a change was a series of events.
Was told by an AC man working on the unit that the stabloc system was a fire hazard is the reason they went out of business, then with the storms and blackouts I needed a generator , then bingo , now way of any install with this crummy system.
So priority #1 comes in with new boxes /breakers and cables.
Small town probably now local codes here. No licensed electricians either but I know one that comes to visit and he will over see any work I have done/do or the power company.
Ben
 

Last edited by Benthere; 04-09-16 at 11:56 AM.
  #6  
Old 04-09-16, 11:54 AM
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You've got a bit of a mess there.

ALL panels need a main or a main disconnect. You NEVER have to pull the meter to work on a breakered panel.

Your panel three needs four wires from the meter to it.
You'll need to replace the meter pan with a 200A model.

The power company rarely replaces a drop unless you are going to a LARGE service. The power company is allowed to connect your 200A service to their 100A drop cable.
And they're replacing a transformer.... wow... that is rare and not done around here until it blows off the pole or dead shorts.

You definitely need some upgrade work there.
A few pictures would be helpful too. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #7  
Old 04-09-16, 12:12 PM
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PJmax thanks for the reply.
I have read this forum and others looking for advice and code.
Mostly found everything I needed, until I came to the ground part and wanted to see how much more work would be involved.
Reason for the water pipe ground and so many people are using Peck and PVC these days there is just not a metal water pipe handy. ( has to do with galvanized lead I think?)
As for the transformer and new drop, the area power guy is a close friend.
When he saw the generator and the work I was going to do he did the work order for the up grade.
The drop right now is #1 wire, I think he told me.
So not much since using a 200amp panel or 2/0 copper on my end .
I have never pulled the meter to kill the power but in the 2 outside panels they are only for 2 2" breakers and no way to get a 3rd for a main in them, same for the one in the house the panel is full now.
But yes the ground rods are in and awaiting a new meter.
When I get this all installed I want to ask a question of why the ground and neutral are on the same lug in the meter , and together in the main and separated in the subs,
I cant wrap my head around that as yet. But its has to be told in layman terms and slowly so it will be absorbed.
Best
Ben
 
  #8  
Old 04-09-16, 02:28 PM
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I think you need to forget what you have currently - while it may have been code-compliant at the time it was installed, it's not any more.

You need a new meter and breaker panel with main breaker. A main lug panel won't work (unless you use a meter/disconnect combo).

As for grounding/bonding, you'll need two ground rods connected to your main panel. Plastic plumbing pipe can just be ignored. It sounds like you only have a little bit of metal piping for your fridge and such, you can ignore that too.
 
  #9  
Old 04-09-16, 04:06 PM
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Zordft ,
I concur with you.
I was just unsure about the grounding of the water pipes/gas pipes.
Yes after the new meter is installed then I can install the new main breaker panel
Which the other 2 subs can be killed by that one panel.( thur feed breakers)
I will use one of the existing copper feed cables that exist now in the old sub to feed back a ground to the meter where my 2 grounds will be grounded.
Then I will have 4 conductors to the new sub.
Secured a roll of 6ga bare copper today for the rod grounds.
ben
 
  #10  
Old 04-09-16, 04:11 PM
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Solid #6 is hard to work with..... #6 stranded is also ok to use.

The only time a gas service should be bonded is when that yellow flex (CSST) gas line is used.

I will use one of the existing copper feed cables that exist now in the old sub to feed back a ground
If you use an existing wire as a ground extension.... you must use an irrevocable method of fastening the wire together like a crimp fitting. A bug is not allowed. Technically the grounds should go directly to the proper location with no splice.
 
  #11  
Old 04-09-16, 04:30 PM
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PJ, after talking will all today on this forum about the sub ground, I had decided to use that one feed cable in the sub for a ground for the new sub.
The cable ( I don't know its size yet ) is 3 in a sheath much like romex and the ground is in the sheath and smaller than the feed. ( smaller in size than the #2 I plan to replace it with)
I will strip away one of the hot feeds and later use it as a ground.
I have decided to strip away any insulation as it enters the panel and the meter.( that way one will alys know its a ground.)
I believe the feed to be long enough to not have a splice but should it be to have one the power company has the correct splices and the tool to do that .
The 6ga. bare is only for the grounding rods under the deck to connect to the meter panel and then a short one from there to the new Main panel a few inches away.
All else is single conductor insulated THHN in #2 and in 2/0 all hid in grey PVC.
I may leave an extra 6ga. pigtail from the GR to the meter to ground the frame of the new generator.
Ron
 
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Old 04-09-16, 04:42 PM
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I will strip away one of the hot feeds and later use it as a ground.
Wires in cable are not marked and can not be used if stripped from the cable. Grounds #6 or smaller must be factory green or bare.
 
  #13  
Old 04-10-16, 01:31 AM
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The only time a gas service should be bonded is when that yellow flex (CSST) gas line is used.
WRONG! Gas piping should be bonded when the LOCAL code requires it to be bonded. This may certainly include black steel, galvanized steel or Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) depending on the LOCAL code.

REMEMBER, only LOCAL code has any power of enforcement.
 
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Old 04-10-16, 07:13 AM
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Ray, thank you for that information, I will gather some 4ga. thhn and use that for a ground back to the meter ground instead of stripping away a conductor of the gable.
I appreciate the heads-up .
Furd, I will go to the city and find out what if any local codes apply.
Another question I cant seem to find out from GE.
The 200amp main breaker panel of which I have not bought as yet because of the unanswered questions to GE.
Is this TM3220RCUB2K panel.
It has no feed thru lugs but really don't need them as I want to kill power to the Eaton sub which is a main lug panel, by using a 100amp- 125amp double breaker in the main.
Is this code to do that in this way and does anyone know the stab rating for the box.?
Ben
 
  #15  
Old 04-10-16, 03:32 PM
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Is this TM3220RCUB2K panel.
It has no feed thru lugs but really don't need them as I want to kill power to the Eaton sub which is a main lug panel, by using a 100amp- 125amp double breaker in the main.
Is this code to do that in this way and does anyone know the stab rating for the box.?
If the 200 amp GE panel had feed through lugs you'd have to run a 200 amp feeder to the 125 amp Eaton main lug panel AND provide a 125 amp main breaker so you wouldn't want to use the feed through lugs anyway. The proper way to do this is what I believe you already stated. Add a 100 amp or 125 amp 2 pole breaker to the GE main panel and feed the Eaton subpanel from that. I would use the 100 amp. The feed to the Eaton subpanel does have to be 4 wires, but I believe that has already been covered. The stab rating of the GE main panel should be noted somewhere on the label inside the GE panel, but it isn't an issue for you.
 
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Old 04-10-16, 04:55 PM
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Sub feed

Thank you Joe, that is good information I needed, as I wanted to use a breaker to kill the sub and not buy and add feed lugs.
I have wire for 3 conductors (2 hots and a neutral) to the sub using #2ga Thhn. I have a #8 I can use for a ground back to the meter/ground rod , is that a large enough ground?
The sub in place now is maxed out on breakers and is only a 100amp and does not seem to be over loaded.
The Panel I bought for a sub is an Eaton 125 but it is only a main lug but doesn't hurt now that I am going to be able to even kill the feed to it for the main, the every wire in it will be cold when I need to work in it.
I am going to add only one more double pole breaker to it for the ac compressor.
I intend to move it from where it is in a panel outside to the sub indoors.
Intension is to remove a splice that is in the wire in the inside of the house if I place it in the sub.
Shouldn't be a problem.
There are no other 220 volt breakers in the sub, only 15s and 20 amps for receptacle's and lighting.
I had looked for a 110amp breaker to feed the sub but the 100amp are more common , so will try that first, they are cheaper anyway.
All good information , all very much appreciated.
I don't mind doing the work myself and being on code is what I like to do , just finding the right information is hard to decipher reading these codes.
This group has made it plain to understand.
Do it right the first time and shut the door on it.
Thanks
Ben
 
  #17  
Old 04-11-16, 06:12 PM
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I have wire for 3 conductors (2 hots and a neutral) to the sub using #2ga Thhn. I have a #8 I can use for a ground back to the meter/ground rod , is that a large enough ground?
No, the #8 ground is the 4th wire in the circuit and must be run in the same conduit as the 3 - #2 copper conductors. It does not run back to the meter or ground rod, it must run back to the new 200 amp GE main breaker panel and terminate on the grounded neutral bus in that panel. In the Eaton subpanel, the 4th wire (the #8) will terminate on a ground bar that you will purchase separately and install in that Eaton panel. In subpanels, the grounds and neutrals must always be kept separate.
 
  #18  
Old 04-11-16, 06:32 PM
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4th wire

Yes, that is right Joe, the only way to get it back to the ground would be thru the same conduit as the other 3.
Yes it will terminate at the ground /neutral bar in the 200amp panel.
My main question was is the 8ga thhn large enough to work for my ground this way?
I have already purchased the ground bar to install in the sub.
I have been told to put my neutrals all on the neutral bar and my grounds all on the ground bar that is screwed to the steel box. and NOT to use the green bonding screw in the box to bond the 2.
That is what I know but that is the only thing I do not understand.
I know they are the same in the meter, they are the same in the Main and they are NOT the same in the sub or any sub connected to this main.
Anyway I already had the 8ga. THHN and didnt know if it was large enough for the 125amp sub.
Ron
 
  #19  
Old 04-11-16, 07:03 PM
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Anyway I already had the 8ga. THHN and didnt know if it was large enough for the 125amp sub.
I would use #6. Take a look at table 250.122 in the NEC.

That is what I know but that is the only thing I do not understand.
If the neutrals and grounds were not separated at all subpanels, you could create parallel paths back to the main service for the neutral current to flow. In other words, you could put current on the grounding system which includes the metal frames of equipment such as a washing machine or furnace.
 
  #20  
Old 04-12-16, 06:48 AM
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Joe, thank you for that.
6ga. it is.
I now understand the sub ground, is to kill off any hot current back fed from the appliance.
One more thing, there will be new GFCI's and AFCI's installed into the sub as needed.(kitchen ,bath, cellar feeds)
Since the Main panel is located outdoors ( under a covered deck) can I use GFCIs there also?
The 60amp breaker (that will be soon be moved to the main) is powering a nearby shop sub is underground in ridged conduit.
Should it have a GFCI on its feed from the main?
Also I could use a couple of 15-20amp duplex breaker for outdoor use on the deck should they be GFCIs also in weatherproof boxes?
Ron
 
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Old 04-12-16, 08:53 AM
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The 60amp breaker (that will be soon be moved to the main) is powering a nearby shop sub is underground in ridged conduit.
Are you sure it isn't EMT not RMC? Is it threaded. Buried EMT is problematic.
Also I could use a couple of 15-20amp duplex breaker for outdoor use on the deck
Breakers are only used in breaker panels.
 
  #22  
Old 04-12-16, 09:19 AM
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Yes it is RMC threaded 1" conduit.
Breakers are only used in breaker panels.
The main and the sub aren't Breaker panels?
Ben
 
  #23  
Old 04-12-16, 10:26 AM
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Since the Main panel is located outdoors ( under a covered deck) can I use GFCIs there also?
You can use GE Type THQL GFCI breakers, but the most common way would be to use weather resistant GFCI receptacles.

The 60amp breaker (that will be soon be moved to the main) is powering a nearby shop sub is underground in ridged conduit.
The 60 amp feeder isn't required to be GFCI protected, but indivisual 15 and 20 amp 120 volt circuits in your shop may be.

I'd use weather resistant GFCI receptacles (one for each circuit) and in-use weatherproof covers on the deck.
 
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Old 04-12-16, 11:01 AM
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The main and the sub aren't Breaker panels
Yes, but that isn't what you wrote. You wrote you wanted to use water resistant (?) duplex breakers (no such thing) on your deck.
Also I could use a couple of 15-20amp duplex breaker for outdoor use on the deck (not in a breaker panel).
Perhaps you just misworded your sentence.
 
  #25  
Old 04-12-16, 06:13 PM
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Thank you Ray, Thank you Joe.
I see that I did not word that right and also did not know there were no "duplex GFCI's"
But a bit more information may help on my part.
The deck where the meter is and the new main will be is covered with a wood and metal roof, but 2 sides are exposed to the elements.
When violent , snow or rain comes it is wet.
There are things that are now powered thru the old sub that I would do away with later and use main since there is more buss room and it will handy there.
Things like a small pump in a fountain, Tv, party lights, ocassional fan, etc.
So you think a GFI receptaclaes should be used than GFCI or AFCI breakers?
Probably cheaper too?
All your advice is appreciated and will be heeded
Thank you
Ben
 
  #26  
Old 04-12-16, 06:33 PM
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If you use GFCI receptacles no need for GFCI breaker. Usually a GFCI receptacle is a bit cheaper and you don't need to go to the breaker panel to reset it. If you use a GFCI receptacle you only need one per circuit.

Terminology: Hope you don't mind a bit of nit picking.
duplex GFCI's
There are multiple types of GFCI devices so you need to specify if it is a dead front, breaker, receptacle or switch/receptacle combo. GFCI receptacles are as far as I know always duplex (a switch/receptacle combo does have a simplex receptacle).
 
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Old 04-12-16, 06:58 PM
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No I do not mind any nit picking that is how I learn.
I do for a fact don't type it the way it is in my head and I know you are not mind readers but is my fault for being a speed typist.
I made a mistake by stating to use a Duplex GFCI as I didnt know they don't make them as I was referring to this but as a GFCI THQP115
I was just wrong. Wanting to save space.

I know what breaker, receptacle or switch/receptacle combos are but not a "dead front" I have not heard that term used.
I do know that the GFCI receptacles are cheaper than the breakers are, I may already own the GFCI breakers from things I have bought over the years and never used, but I may have the receptacles also.
Are you saying that if I have one feed out of the main to the deck and use probably 3 different receptacles on that one feed that I only have to have one of the receptacles as a GFCI? or all 3 of them should be?
Ben
 
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Old 04-12-16, 07:07 PM
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Are you saying that if I have one feed out of the main to the deck and use probably 3 different receptacles on that one feed that I only have to have one of the receptacles as a GFCI?
That is correct. You make the first receptacle a GFCI receptacle then feed the next from the load side.

A dead face GFCI:

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  #29  
Old 04-12-16, 07:14 PM
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I am tickled that I learned that for sure!
SO the dead face is not even a receptacle but something that will trip due to a ground fault but I can feed other receptacles from its down side?
Ben
 
  #30  
Old 04-13-16, 08:52 AM
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I need a little more technical advise that is not readily available anywhere.
The panel I am to use for my main ( has not been purchased as yet is a TM3220RCU GE 3R typ.
It says can be used for main breaker panel.
It comes with a "dead front adjusting cover", does that mean "door" or is that
the metal cover inside the box to cover any of the live wires coming from the meter that cannot be shut off? Like above the main breaker? Do you know if this panel comes with such a cover?
Thanks
Ben
 
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Old 04-13-16, 11:37 AM
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It comes with a "dead front adjusting cover", does that mean "door" or is that
the metal cover inside the box to cover any of the live wires coming from the meter that cannot be shut off?
The dead front cover and the door are two different things. The dead front cover will cover the box opening except for the face of the circuit breakers. There will be "twistouts" to remove to correspond to the number of breakers you have installed. The NEMA 3R raintight cover should hinge from the top. Some brands will hinge from the left side, but I believe all raintight GE panels hinge from the top.

So you think a GFI receptaclaes should be used than GFCI or AFCI breakers?
Probably cheaper too?
At a box store a weather resistant 15 amp (the one you want) GFCI receptacle will cost about $20, but a GFCI breaker will cost at least $40.
 
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Old 04-13-16, 11:51 AM
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Thank you Joe,
I do understand that there is the hinged door and now I understand what is called the dead front cover.
I never knew what the proper name was for that with the breaker twist out slots.
But I want to go deeper beyond the dead front and under that, is there a metal cover that protects the "worker" from accidentally entering above the Main breaker where the wires are live from the meter? without removing that cover first?
Or are these special order items or only come on certain panels?
That you for help in clarifying the CFCIs , and I will use the receptacles for sure.
Ben
 
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Old 04-13-16, 12:36 PM
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When the dead front is removed the main breaker is exposed. You need to take care when working in the panel. If you're nervous about it you can call the power company to pull the meter.

SO the dead face is not even a receptacle but something that will trip due to a ground fault but I can feed other receptacles from its down side?
Usually you would just use a GFCI receptacle to start a run of receptacles. One example where it would be used is some spas that have a 120 volt receptacle under the skirt. It would be difficult the reset a GFCI receptacle under the skirt so a dead face GFCI is installed at a more convenient location. A gfci receptacle is not used because it is a dedicated circuit and there shouldn't be a second receptacle that could be used for other purposes.
 
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Old 04-13-16, 02:49 PM
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Not nervous about the live wiring Ray, was wondering about the Main I am going to buy if it had this extra panel, if not what are they called,
Something you cant find out about until I have it in my hands and can see it.
I have seen main panels online that did have these inner covers, that shielded the live wires feeding the main at the top.
Anyway does not make any deference, My main will sit right next to the meter and the feed will come thru its side near the bottom of the box.
It will be in an 1 1/2 ridged offset, then come up thru the one side of the panel to the top lugs of the Main Breaker, unless the internals are convertible and I will put the main breaker at the bottom.
I have to have the top for feeding the Sub.
But all the other breakers I need to feed into the main will have to come thru the bottom also, so that may not be a good idea to invert it.
Ben
 
  #35  
Old 04-14-16, 05:15 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
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Not nervous about the live wiring Ray, was wondering about the Main I am going to buy if it had this extra panel, if not what are they called,
I don't believe I have ever seen a cover just for the feeder wire terminations in a loadcenter.
 
  #36  
Old 04-14-16, 05:52 PM
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I've seen suggestions on the net to use cardboard as temp protection but just the act of protecting it carries some unnecessary risk IMHO.

One safety rule I have heard and try to stick to working in the panel is "keep one hand in your back pocket".
 
  #37  
Old 04-17-16, 08:55 AM
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Ground bars in Sub.

Since I already have the new Sub panel, BR1624L125.
It has no ground bars installed, so owning a new 24 place CH bar I thought I would use it.
Of course the hole locations were different than the Eaton panel, and the holes factory drilled into the panel were right in between the neutral bars on both sides and the breaker hook for the buss bars.
Very little room if any for working on the breakers ,neutral and grounds if put there.
So I put them in a different place.
I first cut the bar 1/2 into with a band saw.
used one factory mounting hole in each bar to install the bars up near the top and to the left and right of the buss and away from the neutral bars.
the most roomy place for any mounting.
I drilled small holes into the box back and used 2- 8/32 self tapping machine screws each for mounting.
So I now have 2 -12 place bars for grounding in the box out of the way of everything but the incoming romex leads.
The mounting is solid but I also used a piece of bare 6ga. wire to tie them together, a straight shot from one over to the other and laying against the back of the panel.
Green bonding screw for the neutrals is now gone also.
So what did I do wrong?
Ben
 
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