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I don't see any ground bar in my panel...so is this a main or sub-panel?

I don't see any ground bar in my panel...so is this a main or sub-panel?

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  #1  
Old 02-20-18, 10:35 PM
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Smile I don't see any ground bar in my panel...so is this a main or sub-panel?

I don't see any ground bar in my panel...so is this a main or sub-panel?

Basically, my goal is to put a sub-panel in my garage so I can put in one 50 amps and one 20 amps breakers. The 50 amps will be used for charging my EV in the garage while the 20 amps will be used for the garage opener, a light and a wall outlet.

From my understanding, I will need to replace two 20 amps (top left) with a 70 amps double poles and 4 wires from here to my first sub-panel since it is already full. Then run four #4 AWG wire from the first sub-panel into my garage's second sub-panel where I'll have two breakers - one 50 Amps and one 20 Amps.

This panel which I assumed is my main panel is located right above the meter in my basement. Strange thing is that when I open up the box, I don't see any ground wire at all. If I understand correctly, the main panel is supposed to have the ground wire connected to the neutral bar (bonded to the panel) with the other end going to the main incoming water pipe right? Unfortunately, I don't see any ground wire nor any ground bar on this panel.

Does it mean this is not my main panel?

And if this turns out to be my sub-panel, is it normal for a sub-panel to have no ground bar?

Can I just run a copper wire from the neutral on this panel to a water pipe to make a proper ground available here?

P.S: I just did a check on all my plugs in the house with a "outlet and GFCI tester" and it showed me that they're all properly grounded...

Hopefully the picture will help you guys see my situation.

Thank you in advance for the all your time and help.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-21-18, 05:05 AM
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That looks like your service panel. It does not look like there is room for any additional breakers.
 
  #3  
Old 02-21-18, 09:12 AM
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You have a lot of connected load to what looks like a 100A main panel.
A 2P100A - sub panel ?
Two 2P60A breakers - ??
 
  #4  
Old 02-21-18, 11:22 AM
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Ground wire (GEC) appears to connect to the disconnect on the left. With conduit and armored cable (AC) you won't see a ground wire.

Those look like 100 amp meter bases so time for an upgrade. Pull in an electrician to do a load calc. Don't use whoever installed this as looks like they didn't follow rules.
 
  #5  
Old 02-21-18, 12:01 PM
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In this case the metal box, metal cables and metal pipe nipple to the meter pan are the equipment ground system. When you have all metallic wiring methods, separate ground wires are not required.

It's not clear if the neutral bar is also bonded to the metal box due to the wires covering the neutral bar in the photo. Some power companies require that the neutral-ground bond occurs in the meter pan, which may be the case here. It also may be the case that the earth grounding system may be attached in the big disconnect switch box. It's hard to make conclusions without seeing inside the locked boxes.

However it does look like this was probably an illegal panel upgrade as I can't imagine why an electrician would have extended those ratty old wires coming out of the meter pan unless they were trying to avoid a permit & inspection by opening the meter pan and installing new conductors.
 
  #6  
Old 02-21-18, 05:13 PM
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Since you are adding a new large load (the car charging circuit and receptacle) you need to do a load analysis to be sure you meet code. The load analysis will reveal whether you must upgrade the panel and service entrance.
 
  #7  
Old 02-21-18, 05:40 PM
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This is really a first for me.... an unlocked disconnect before the meters. It doesn't look like that Federal disconnect is fed with anything too large. The supply conduit looks to be borderline 100A capable.

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  #8  
Old 02-21-18, 05:45 PM
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Looks to me that the FPE box is the main disconnect and the meters in the basement are sub meters. I suspect there is another meter outside.

That said the answer is the same. You have a metallic wiring method and don't really have a need for a ground bar. All the metal is grounded.
 
  #9  
Old 02-21-18, 06:09 PM
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Those are true power company meters. Look at the ring locks.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 06:14 PM
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We don't have those type of locks on meters around here. Ours are just a wire tag. I cut them all the time.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 06:15 PM
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We have two companies..... split by area.
Public Service uses those and barrel locks while First Energy uses the wire tags.
 
  #12  
Old 02-21-18, 07:11 PM
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We don't have those type of locks on meters around here.

We only see locks like that here when there is a history of tampering or power theft at an account.
 
  #13  
Old 02-21-18, 07:21 PM
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Good one Joe.

Why mess with the meter when the disconnect is wide open..... right.
 
  #14  
Old 02-24-18, 05:50 AM
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That is another reason why I think there is another meter before the FPE disconnect.
 
  #15  
Old 02-24-18, 09:18 AM
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Why mess with the meter when the disconnect is wide open..... right.

Usually the meter is outside and there is no "Line" side disconnect so those locks were well for the power company. It's very likely that the disconnect in the picture had a lock on it when the meters had locking rings installed.
 
  #16  
Old 03-10-18, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Looks to me that the FPE box is the main disconnect and the meters in the basement are sub meters. I suspect there is another meter outside.

That said the answer is the same. You have a metallic wiring method and don't really have a need for a ground bar. All the metal is grounded.
I really appreciate your response but I have some more questions though.

If metallic wiring method doesn't require a separate grounding, where should I hook up the green ground wire to my NEMA 14-50 outlet in the garage? There's two hot, one neutral and one ground terminal on that type of outlet.

Do I just use a short piece of wire and attach it to the metal box (green screw) for the outlet on one end and the other end to the ground terminal on the NEMA 14-50? (This way I will just run 3 conductors from the house to the garage.)

Or should I add a ground bar on both the sub-panel inside the house as well as the new sub-panel in the garage? That way I can connect to the ground bar on both panel using a separate ground conductor? I'll need 4 conductors if I need to do it this way.

FYI, I'm going to run #4 THWN insides rigid metallic conduit.

Thanks a million for your help!!!
 
  #17  
Old 03-10-18, 11:03 PM
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We can't tell if the neutral bar in your panel has the bonding screw in place or even if it should. I would consider that a sub panel. There is no ground bar in it because it wasn't needed. All the circuit cables are metal clad and pickup ground thru the metal box.

You're talking about adding another sub panel off of that one. As was asked previously.... how do you plan to add a sub panel with no extra breaker spaces in the old panel ?

You will need to install the sub panel right next to that one so that at least two circuits can be moved over to it. If your new sub panel is connected via metal conduit.... you need three wires. Two hots and a neutral. You'll install a ground bar in that panel for your new receptacle. If you use anything other than conduit for the new sub panel.... then you would need 4 wires. You could attach a lug to the old sub panel with a nut and bolt or you could also use a ground block there.
 
  #18  
Old 03-11-18, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
We can't tell if the neutral bar in your panel has the bonding screw in place or even if it should. I would consider that a sub panel. There is no ground bar in it because it wasn't needed. All the circuit cables are metal clad and pickup ground thru the metal box.

You're talking about adding another sub panel off of that one. As was asked previously.... how do you plan to add a sub panel with no extra breaker spaces in the old panel ?

You will need to install the sub panel right next to that one so that at least two circuits can be moved over to it. If your new sub panel is connected via metal conduit.... you need three wires. Two hots and a neutral. You'll install a ground bar in that panel for your new receptacle. If you use anything other than conduit for the new sub panel.... then you would need 4 wires. You could attach a lug to the old sub panel with a nut and bolt or you could also use a ground block there.
Thank you for your detailed clarification!

I've decided to use three wires through a galvanized rigid steel conduit 6" underground for the outside. Coming inside the house the conduit will be connected to a metal armored cable straight to the sub-panel in the basement. That way everything will be metal clad together for a proper grounding.

Since there will only be three wires to the outlet, what should I tie to the ground terminal on the NEMA 14-50 outlet? Do I just leave it empty?

Thanks again for your help!
 
  #19  
Old 03-11-18, 10:23 AM
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Coming inside the house the conduit will be connected to a metal armored cable straight to the sub-panel in the basement.
I'm a little uncertain here. As far as I know... that flex is not considered a proper ground from the pipe to the sub panel. That means you will need to run four wires between panels. You can bolt a lug to the inside of the first panel. At the new sub panel install a small ground bar.

Whether or not you need to run four wires between panels..... you can still put a small ground bar in the new sub panel for the receptacle ground.
 
  #20  
Old 03-11-18, 01:17 PM
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What type of cable is being used?
 
  #21  
Old 03-11-18, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
What type of cable is being used?
I'll be using #4 AWG THWN wires
 
  #22  
Old 03-11-18, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
I'm a little uncertain here. As far as I know... that flex is not considered a proper ground from the pipe to the sub panel. That means you will need to run four wires between panels. You can bolt a lug to the inside of the first panel. At the new sub panel install a small ground bar.

Whether or not you need to run four wires between panels..... you can still put a small ground bar in the new sub panel for the receptacle ground.
I'll be going with 4 wires, through a schedule 40 rigid electrical PVC conduit 18" underground to the detached garage.

Despite the ground in the garage sub-panel already linking to the basement sub-panel, some people mentioned that two additional ground rods should also be wired to the ground bar on the sub-panel in my detached garage.

Will that make any difference at all?
 
  #23  
Old 03-11-18, 05:52 PM
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A grounding system is needed at the detached structure.
 
  #24  
Old 03-11-18, 06:19 PM
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You are confusing GEC, ground rods, for atmospheric charges with the EGC, a low resistance path to trip a breaker if there is a short to the metal case of equipment.
 
  #25  
Old 03-11-18, 07:13 PM
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Umm. What about doing a load calc as that looks like only 100amp service that's already overloaded?
 
  #26  
Old 03-12-18, 06:39 AM
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Not only is there no physical space for another breaker, the service already seems to be at or above capacity. I can't imagine another 50A on there.
 
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