Square D breakers installation and shed wiring

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Old 09-30-19, 09:48 PM
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Square D breakers installation and shed wiring

Hello, I installed a sub panel, wired everything up, and went to put the breakers in. They don't fit. I have a QO panel and QO breakers, both bought within the last month at Homedepot.
I dont know if I am just being overly cautious or if these really aren't the right ones.

Pertinent info:
QO-612L100S
I have attached pic of panel and of breaker.

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Last edited by PJmax; 09-30-19 at 10:10 PM. Reason: cropped/resized pictures
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10-07-19, 02:52 PM
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What a mess is right. You have a lot of incorrect connections there.
A lot to read.......

The neutral MUST be insulated.
You CANNOT obtain a neutral from a ground rod.
Can't tell in the picture..... what is the supply to the shed.... UF cable ?

A sub panel is supposed to be connected to the main panel with 4 conductors for a 120/240v setup.
If you only have three wires the best you can do is a 120v sub panel.

The neutral must be completely separate from the ground.
 
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Old 09-30-19, 10:13 PM
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Install the foot over the rail and rotate downward. Push down. It should snap in on the bus.
 
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Old 09-30-19, 10:14 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Each member is allotted 10mb for picture storage. Your four pictures were over 12mb. You need to resize them before you post them. 600x600 max. which is usually 50-75kb file size. You are now at 225kb.

That out of the way.....
Those are the proper breakers and will fit that panel.
Snap them on to the round bar first and then push hard onto the buss bar.
 
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Old 10-07-19, 11:54 AM
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Ok, thanks everyone. I was trying almost in the dark (very little lighting) and after a long day.
i took the one breaker to Menards the next day after work and tried it on the same panel... went in easy. I was swearing in my head.

Went to the customers house after and popped them right in.
 
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Old 10-07-19, 01:26 PM
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Here is what the finished panel looked like. I couldn't find any documentation anywhere that states if a neutral wire can be bare copper or not.
There was already an existing run (2 hots and a ground) coming from the house. Homeowner said there would be no way another wire would fit into his main box. His nephew was a journeyman but died at the young age of 30 (he was the last one to work on his electric), and that was over 10 years ago. He demolished an old shed (home run from the main panel (2 hots and ground) went into some conduit now buried beneath a driveway.

10+ years ago, the home owner demolished his shed (1 of 2 buildings being fed by that electrical extension) and his nephew just wrapped up the wires and buried them in the ground.

Fast forward 10+ years to now, he has a nice new shed (more like little garage), wanted 3 shop lights and a few outlets. Said he already had wiring in the ground just needed it connected.

Long story short, I ended up using the existing ground rod for ground for the new panel and hammered in another copper rod for the neutral. So, coming in from the outside to the sub panel I had a ground (connected to a copper rod) and 2 hots (from the house). Then from sub I had a copper wire going to another ground rod right next to the existing one.

Everything looked great, tested voltages on the 2 hots, 118/119V each, no voltage on neutral, and no voltage on ground. Test both hots together 23XV. Picture perfect.

Go to turn on his LED shop lights which are 5,000lm and they are not very bright. We both though that was odd. went to test out 1 of his receptacles (volt meter tested good and my other tool showed it was green (meaning, grounded, wired correct, and no open neutral or hot)) using an old halogen shop light and the light came on dim, not full blast, but the LED shop lights came on full blast. The lights were on a switch, the 2 receptacles should be on all the time.

I went over EVERYTHING 2 or 3 more times. Everything was text book except for the bare copper neutral... so I disconnected that and ran an insulated neutral (not buried) to the copper rod just for testing purposes... same thing.
Also, when that halogen shop light was plugged into the receptacle the neutral bar was hot.

Frustrated (because it was already after dark and I had been working my regular job all day and then thought this was going to be a quick finish job as I had already did all the runs and terminations), I asked the owner to let me see what the other shed was doing.

He said he's never had a problem or tripped a breaker in his old shed (now demolished) or the other shed (still connected and ran off the home run I was running off of). He used to have welping pad and small heaters and he was a dog breeder and even using a power tools he said he's never tripped a breaker.

So, I checked that sub panel out and right away I noticed he is short a wire.... put my tester in an outlet and it said "open ground".. went back to sub panel, previous electrician had no ground connected at all. Only 2 hots and a neutral. I told the home owner how dangerous that was but he was adamant on how he's never had problems before in all these years.

As a test basis, I removed the ground and taped up the ground wires to the sub panel I just installed and there was absolutely no issue (other than open ground), but the lights were full power (without anything else plugged into the outlets) and no voltages where they shouldn't be on the panel. I told him that if he doesn't want to run a new ground to his older shed and wire that properly (which I think was the reason I was having trouble with the new sub panel as it was getting back feed from the existing sub panel in the older building) then I would super strongly advise he not use his outlets until he gets GFCI outlets for them.

I haven't heard from him since so I don't know if he got them and installed them himself or doesn't care. :/

For those wondering, in the ground I used below grade rated wire nuts and still put a thin coating of Noalox on them before I taped them together, then twisted them into the wire nut, and then taped the heck out of them. The old wires were like that but with a regular RED wire nut.

I then pushed them down a little further and covered them with sand and caution tape and then some stone, then the owner back filled it.

What. A. Mess.

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Last edited by PJmax; 10-07-19 at 02:49 PM. Reason: cropped/resized pictures
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Old 10-07-19, 01:29 PM
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Forgot this one. Definitely a nice little building. It is detached from his house and his other detached garage.

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Last edited by PJmax; 10-07-19 at 02:50 PM. Reason: resized picture
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Old 10-07-19, 02:22 PM
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Why did you put in a rod for neutral on a subpanel?
 
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Old 10-07-19, 02:52 PM
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What a mess is right. You have a lot of incorrect connections there.
A lot to read.......

The neutral MUST be insulated.
You CANNOT obtain a neutral from a ground rod.
Can't tell in the picture..... what is the supply to the shed.... UF cable ?

A sub panel is supposed to be connected to the main panel with 4 conductors for a 120/240v setup.
If you only have three wires the best you can do is a 120v sub panel.

The neutral must be completely separate from the ground.
 
CasualJoe, FinsToTheLeft voted this post useful.
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Old 10-07-19, 06:39 PM
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In response why I connected the neutral to another copper rod; I wasn't sure where else to connect the neutral to but I knew there needed to be one.

And I agree with PJmax! There should have been 4 wires coming from the main feed from the house then I wouldn't have had any problem (I would have bought 10/3 wire instead of 10/2.

The gauge coming from the main panel in the house is 10 but the home owner admitted they had a 60A breaker on there. He says there is a 30A on there now. If there was still a 60A I think at that point I definitely would have walked away. I still probably should have walked away.

As for the bare copper I was using as a neutral, it was not touching any other metal or other bare wires. About an inch from the box entry, I started wrapping it in heavy electrical tape up until about 1/4" for the connection to the lug. I used schedule 80 PVC and the cabling I bought was rated for direct burial.

I am the director of IT for a global food manufacturer and I was running this whole situation through our lead electrician... of course he had an easy solution right away and I was kicking myself for not seeing it. Though I never passed myself off as a licensed electrician or even as an electrician, just someone who knew a little about wiring. "Bill" told me that since the 60A breaker was swapped out with a 30A I should have just used one of the hots as a neutral (so I would have had 1 hot, 1 neutral, and 1 ground) coming from the main feed, The home owner is only using 2 x 15A breakers in his new shed and I think 2 x 15A breakers in his existing shed.

If I did it the way "bill" (and PJmax) suggested I know I would have only had every other slot live in the panels but at least they would have been totally safe!

If I would have been more thorough in the original inspection (before I even began the work) I probably would not have even started the job. Instead, I took the homeowners word that things were 'code' because his nephew the journeyman said they were.

Well, live and learn.


In response to what is the supply to the shed, I wouldn't bet the farm on it but I am almost certain it is direct burial also. The jacket seemed to be more rigid than a regular jacket.

Oh, finally, in my pic of the sub panel, other than me not using an insulated neutral, what connections are incorrect? I have the ground(s) isolated and bonded to the panel, I have the neutrals on their own bar (insulated from the panel), I have the 2 hots where they should be and (if we use our imagination) I have my insulated neutral (yes, a big stretch) on the neutral lug. And until I took it out and disconnected it, I had a #6 copper going to the ground rod about 2ft away on the other side of the panel.

Thanks for not jumping down my throat and telling me what a noob/idiot/moron I am (at least in chat.. lol)
 
  #10  
Old 10-07-19, 09:42 PM
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Did you install a bonding screw to connect the neutral bus to the case? This is absolutely required for your 3 wire 120/240V installation.
By the way, this type of 3 wire install was legal (with some conditions) until the 2008 NEC. Since 2008, the NEC requires a grounding wire.
 
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Old 10-07-19, 09:52 PM
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so I would have had 1 hot, 1 neutral, and 1 ground) coming from the main feed
YES..... that is exactly what you should have done. You would have a safe 120v 30A sub panel there.
The black wire would be hot and you could jump it to both sides of the panel so that all the breakers were live.
 
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Old 10-08-19, 05:13 AM
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danyael: I am sorry but there are so many things about this project that bothers me. You did this work for a customer meaning you charged them for it? Have you given any consideration as to what your liability is on this and any other project you do with work such as this?

This statement here alone:
In response why I connected the neutral to another copper rod; I wasn't sure where else to connect the neutral to but I knew there needed to be one.
Honestly?!!

Only 2 hots and a neutral. I told the home owner how dangerous that was but he was adamant on how he's never had problems before in all these years.
I absolutely have never let a customer dictate to me how to do my job safely and correctly especially when I hear them say "I know it is not done right but I have never had problems with it before". If any protential or existing customer ever attempted to get me to do something incorrectly to save them money or because they insisted they read something off the internet or their "friend" or whoever said it was not necessary or should be ok I would walk away from the job if they did not agree to have me do it the safe and proper way and to code.

danyael with all due respect I suggest you hold back from doing any more electrical work especially on someone else's property until you learn more of the fundamentals. You can't just guess where you can connect a wire you must know where you can connect a wire etc.

And, before you do anymore electrical work on someone else's property be sure you have liability insurance.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 08:17 AM
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By the way, this type of 3 wire install was legal (with some conditions) until the 2008 NEC.

From what I see from the pictures, this type of 3-wire installation has never been compliant.
 
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